Biggest Small Business Successes of 2015
Many small business owners and entrepreneurs are often so involved in the day-to-day activities of their business that they don’t have much time to study the best practices of competitors, peers or other businesses. Are others operating more smoothly, more efficiently, saving money? In many instances, small business owners are more interested in managing payroll and invoices than optimizing operations. Here’s how some small businesses succeeded in 2015, and some valuable take-aways you may be able to apply toward your business in the year ahead.
Small Business Saturday
The Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, recently released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reported that more than 95 million consumers shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday—an 8 percent increase from 2014. This was the result of a 48 percent increase in community-led events for the shopping day, resulting in $16.2 billion in sales at small and independent businesses.
Did your small business participate in Small Business Saturday? What were your experiences, and what did you learn? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Technology and Social Media
Chloe + Isabel is a New York based direct-selling company, but before you bash their business model, consider their use of technology and social media. Merchandisers are able to connect with interactive online portals, and track social media clicks and shares for Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and on various blogging sites. They call the methodology ‘omni-channel,’ or online, offline and social retail. Because of their innovative use of technology and social media, Chloe + Isabel has been deemed one of the 45 coolest companies in New York.
How are you enabling your employees, partners and re-sellers to help to share your product information socially, and in innovative and engaging ways? Are customers getting a positive customer experience with your website and other communication channels? Are there ways you can make ordering, customer service, or other processes more technologically advanced and easier for customers?
Fleet Vehicles and Marketing
Thornton & Grooms is a Detroit-area heating, cooling and plumbing service who replaced their fleet with Ford Transit vans. When doing so, much attention was paid to the quality and design of their new vehicle wraps. According to Matt Bergstrom, president and owner of the company, “I constantly get the feedback from friends and people that I meet. They tell me, “I see your vehicles all the time, they’re everywhere,” according to Business Insider. By upgrading their fleet, Thornton & Grooms were able to get more space in their vans, more “moving billboard” space, as well as increasing fuel economy for the fleet.
Are fleet upgrades in your future? Have you considered the quality and impact of signage and wraps on your fleet vehicles?
Coordinated Marketing Campaigns
San Diego-based accessories retailer Maria Shireen assembled an experienced team of marketing, distribution and media strategists in late summer to strategize for the upcoming shopping season. They launched an integrated public relations, online, social media campaigns that included both paid media and organic content marketing. In the 96 hours including Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, the business generated 30 percent of their annual revenue.
How well-coordinated are your marketing campaigns? Do they build on one another to maximize cross-channel efficiencies, or are they disparate and uncoordinated?
We’ve reviewed some of the best practices that small businesses have used in 2015 to improve technology, fleet vehicle and marketing efficiency. What are some of your best practices you’d like to share? Please leave your comments below.
Eric T. Tung is an entrepreneur, business coach and top social media strategist focusing on technology and communications.