Millions of people around the world dream of running their own business, whether that be because they want the freedom to be in control of their own destiny, to earn more money, have more flexibility, or to change the world.
In the 21st century, setting up a business has become easier than ever. The internet has made it possible for us to trade with people in our community and all over the world with few resources.
Today, it’s possible to set up a business in minutes, build a website from a template and begin selling products that you don’t own and will never touch. These low barriers to entry have created a trend of many people starting a “side hustle”, a micro-business that they run alongside their main employment.
But with so much competition fighting for customers in just about every market, it can be hard to know how to get your business to stand out. If you are finding this tough, here are some ideas that may help you boost your sales.
Run a Promotion
Offering products and services at a reduced price to encourage new customers is a practice as old trading itself. Businesses of all kinds run promotions as a way to get potential customers to try a product with less risk, hoping that they like it and decide to buy more.
A common example of this is the coupons that are printed in magazines and newspapers, offering customers the opportunity to try a new product for free. Other common promotions include discounts for customers who buy in bulk or who subscribe to a regular subscription like Amazon’s Subscribe & Save service.
You don’t have to be selling a physical product either. Sportsbooks often offer deposit matches and risk-free bets to customers to encourage them to use their service over a competitor. This is particularly important for online services as their offering is often very similar to others in the market, and a promotion is one of few ways they can stand out.
Offer a Free Trial
If your service is something that customers will need to pay for on an on-going basis, then a free trial is a good way to get them to try out your product. If it offers value and solves a problem that the customer has, then the customer is unlikely to want to give up what they have at the end of the trial.
The trial can be time-limited, such as a 14-day period for the customer to try out your software and see if it is for them. Alternatively, you could offer a free tier in your packages that can be used with limited functionality. Then, when a customer wants to use the extra features, they’ll have to pay extra.
If you’re entering a market that contains many established businesses, then to stand out you need to offer something different. Many examples of this can be seen in the finance industry, where new businesses are beginning to offer cheaper and easier savings, investment, and banking products.
In the UK, consumers have been able to buy stocks and shares in companies as well as make investments in bonds and precious metals like gold for many years. Many established companies even have websites where users can manage their investments, however, they charge relatively high fees of around £11 per transaction. For retail investors, this can wipe out any chance of making a profit.
To better serve these customers, new challenger companies have begun offering services where consumers can buy shares, ETFs and gold without paying fees. Companies like Freetrade, Revolut, and Curve have even made their services mobile-first, reflecting the demands of modern consumers who want to manage their finances on the go.
The same can be seen in the US, with companies like Acorns, Webull and Robinhood.
If you’re trading online, your customers may never meet you before they buy anything. Therefore, it’s important to find other ways to build trust with your potential customers. This is especially true if you’re selling an expensive product or service where the perceived risk for the customer may be higher.
You can reassure them of your ability and credibility by creating case studies that demonstrate how your business helped solve a problem for a customer. If you sell smaller and lower-value products, customer reviews through sites like Trustpilot, Facebook, and Google Reviews. This helps to show that you’re an established business with happy customers.
If you follow these steps, you’ll find that you can make your business look more attractive to potential customers compared to your competition.