9 Tips to Grow Your Small Business In Ontario
What if someone pitched you a business opportunity and told you it required the following: countless hours of work, minimal pay, sleepless nights and no guarantee of ROI?
You’d probably tell them to take a hike!
But what if that same business opportunity would potentially yield significant income, job security, a sense of accomplishment, and a fulfillment of your dreams?
You might pause and reconsider.
These are the benefits and the risks of owning your own small business. It’s an alarming fact that 80% of small businesses will fail before they hit the 2-year mark.
So why take the risk?
As a small business owner, you can introduce yourself as an ‘entrepreneur’. You have the flexibility of making your own hours to fit your lifestyle and schedule. You’re your own boss.
But what does it take to become a successful small business in Ontario? Let’s take a look at 9 tips that will help you grow your small business and become a success.
1. Love What You Do
Not everyone in this world is blessed enough to love their job. According to a recent report, only 16% of Canadians are engaged in their work. 70% of workers are not engaged and another 14% are actively disengaged.
Those are some sad stats.
The beauty of owning your own small business is creating a job based on your passion.
Are you a book lover? Perhaps owning a bookstore or interactive cafe is your dream.
Are you a foodie that enjoys watching others indulge in delicacies you create? Maybe opening a coffee shop or deli would be perfect for you.
Make sure that whatever premise your small business is based on is something you love to do. Because you’ll be putting in a lot of hours.
2. Expect To Work Long Hours
Being your own boss means that you’re responsible for the success of your small business.
You’ll have to make important decisions. If the results are positive, great! But if the results negatively impact your business, that also falls on you.
When starting a small business, expect to spend time getting it off the ground. It will take countless hours to get your business up and running the way you want.
Business start-up includes marketing, contacting vendors, making design choices, interviewing and hiring employees, just to name a few.
3. Be Prepared To Sacrifice
Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. That’s what owning a small business will take — lots of sacrifices.
We already discussed sacrificing your time. But be prepared to sacrifice your money also. You will lose money before you make money.
Promoting your small business in Ontario will be an ongoing effort. You need to market, make contacts and create a name for yourself. This could take between 1-2 years.
One way to prepare for this start-up process is to save money beforehand. This can be done in a variety of ways. The time it takes for a business to become profitable is subject to many factors, so flexibility is key.
4. Be Flexible With Your Small Business
To piggyback off the last tip on our list, flexibility will serve you well when starting a small business in Ontario.
Things don’t always go as planned. Orders arrive late or incomplete, employees call in sick and quit without notice. You can’t please every customer and you will make mistakes.
You need to be prepared for the unexpected and roll with the changes. Adaptability means you can calmly and effectively address problems or issues that may arise.
In short — keep your cool.
5. Market Yourself
If you fail to properly market your small business, you will be missing out on a lot of potential customers.
There are several important factors to consider when discussing marketing and how it will help boost business: competition, promotions, pricing, customer needs, and expenses.
Online marketing is essential for any business. But that doesn’t mean as a small business you should rule out the use of paper marketing, and even face-to-face promotions.
Make a visually appealing flier or pamphlet and ask surrounding businesses if they’d be willing to hang it in their window or place it on their countertop. Often, local businesses are happy to help other local businesses.
Want an opportunity to meet your potential customers face-to-face?
Host an event where you can promote your new business, hand out information and shake some hands. Sometimes all it takes is one handshake to spark an important relationship that might benefit you down the line.
6. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
There are small businesses that came before you, and there will be ones that follow. There’s no shame in learning from experience and taking advice from other professionals.
There’s a good chance another company nearby will be selling a product or service similar to yours. Do your research. See what’s working for your competition and areas where they need improvement. Then capitalize on these opportunities.
Asking for help ties into your marketing campaign also. Most small business owners consider their project their “baby” — one that they know best and therefore they should be the only ones to market it.
This will hurt you in the long run. There’s no need to be a know-it-all.
Hiring a marketing company or publicist who can dedicate their time to promoting your small business could do wonders for your marketing campaign. It will also allow you to focus all your efforts on building the business you’ve always dreamed of owning.
7. Know The Correct Tax Info
With increased revenue from your small business comes increased taxes.
Knowing the correct tax information beforehand could make or break your finances.
Managing your end of the year income taxes will set you up for success in the New Year. Some techniques you can use include maximizing your deductions, deferring or delaying income and increasing business expenses.
8. Create An Online Presence
Your marketing plan won’t be complete if you don’t include some online advertising. This can be done in numerous ways from PPC ads to Facebook and Instagram posts to running something as basic as a website or blog.
All of these platforms provide you, as an up-and-coming small business owner in Ontario, the opportunity to tell your story and persuade customers.
Everyone loves a good story. And (mostly) everyone is using the Internet daily. The International Telecommunication Union estimated that 3.2 billion people access the Internet around the globe.
Showcasing yourself online is a great way to connect with people, spread the word about your business, and create a following.
Blogs are a great avenue because, most times, they cost little to nothing to run. Once you purchase your domain name, it’s yours for the duration of your subscription.
You choose the design, layout, graphics and, most importantly, the message. Here you can promote yourself and your business, service or product.
Just be sure to keep your blog updated. Followers will quickly lose interest if they are disappointed visit after visit by outdated posts.
It’s important you have a website. A functioning, high-speed website to be exact.
People searching for your company online should be able to find it quickly. Once they do, make sure they can navigate it easily.
Post important information where it’s readily available. This includes business hours, address, contact information, and directions.
Other websites like Google Business and Bing can also help create buzz about your business.
9. Make A Name For Yourself
This last tip on our list ties into many others. Making a name for your small business is essential to success.
Stand Out Among The Crowd
First, you must make a name for yourself within your business niche.
If you’re a coffee shop, what is it about the brews you offer that help you stand apart from others? Perhaps you import your beans from an exotic land, offer cold brew options all year-round or promote discounted coffee in the early morning hours.
Once you’ve made a name for yourself among competitors, the most important thing to remember is the follow-up. Standing behind your offers and product will develop trust with your customers. This is a key element to the success of your small business.
Create A Trusting Relationship With Customers
When customers trust you and trust in the quality and integrity of your business, they’ll refer friends, family, and co-workers. Word of mouth is an excellent way to drum up business — especially for small businesses.
According to BiznessApps, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know and 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when they hear about it from a friend or family member they trust.
By making a positive name for yourself within the community, you’re sure to receive numerous referrals and a steady customer base.
As an up-and-coming small business, it’s important to remember there will be many ups and many downs throughout your business journey.
Yes, it will take a lot of hard work.
No, there’s no guarantee you will succeed.
But there are accomplishments to be made, deals to seal and people to meet. Keeping a positive attitude, utilizing resources, and being prepared will all aid in your success.