Defining your business goals and creating a clear path to success can not only help you plan for the long-term, but it can have an immediate impact on the way you do business now. To help you build focus for your business, read these tips from Small Biz Trends:

  1. Assess your level of acceptable risk. Entrepreneurship is all about being willing to take risks that others won’t. Often times, this risk is correlated to the speed at which you wish to proceed with your business. Evolving slowly will often not only be less risky, but should involve less financial backing as well.
  2. Find a unique sales proposition. A unique sales proposition is what differentiates your business from others and gives customers a reasons to choose your brand. In doing so, make sure to avoid the “superstar effect”, or attempting to be the best business rather than a unique business. Often times, businesses strive to be the best, but this causes them to blend in with the rest.
  3. Leverage the power of blogging. Business-to-business marketers that use blogs get 67% more leads than those who do not. Blogging not only brings in more leads, but it builds trust with your customers. Your business may be too young to start blogging, but remember that main cost behind blogging is your time. For this reason, blogging is a much more effective marketing strategy than pay per click, which in comparison to a blog lead close rate of 14.6 percent, is only 1.7 percent.
  4. Discover the importance of your niche. Although you may think your product is the same as others, a different niche means a different target market. In order to find your niche, you must figure out how to choose your target market, which is dependent on your goals, the customer’s worldview, and careful planning.
  5. Find a gap in the competitor’s market. Finding a gap is another way to create a unique product, but is done so with a different perspective than discovering a niche. This time, try listening to others in order to find out what is being said about competitors’ brands. If you notice that competitors lack a certain skill or feature, attempt to fill the gap. If there are certain qualities that are working, attempt to emulate these qualities, but not all- always be unique.
  6. Get a better idea of your customer base. Figure out who your customers are and why they buy from you. Determining the characteristics of present customers will affect which future customers are most important and the most likely to be interested.
  7. Learn how to deal with bad reviews. At least one bad review is unavoidable, which is why learning to deal with one is a must. One step to a bad review is to contact the review website to confirm the validity of the reviewer, because it may very well be your competition in disguise- be helpful, but be cautious. The second step is to join the conversation to see if your business can do anything to make the situation right. It also helps to share your side of the story, because the negative review may have been a result of just poor communication. For more tips to manage negative reviews, check out this website.
  8. Master the power of social engagement. Social engagement ranges anywhere from interacting in blogs to joining social media. Engaging with customers and potential customers is not only good publicity, but often free publicity. As I said before, the only cost is time, but the results can be endless and easy to track.
  9. Keep up with the latest tools. Whether it’s using cloud software or wireless payment systems, keeping up with the latest technology and trends keeps your business from falling behind. Another useful tool to figure out how to keep up with the competition is business intelligence tools that communicate to you where exactly your competitors are focusing their efforts.
  10. Discover the magic of content curation. Content curation is discovering and presenting content around a certain subject. Through content curation, your business can fill gaps in content by transferring the gaps to those with more expertise. Content curation not only creates more content, but allows others to see your business as a leader, causing it to be more likely that others will reference your content.

With these tips you’re ready to focus your efforts on your small business and create something unique. Whatever market your business is in, be different and do what works! It’s time to get started today!

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