Find Career Opportunities by Enhancing Your Small Business Job Search

The recent U.S. unemployment rate has improved slightly as of December 2010. We’re still over 9% and this is a far cry from the 5-6% decade average before the recession. If you consider the unemployment rates by level of formal education, the rates drop drastically for those with some college education and recent rates (various sources) for 4 year college graduates are about half of the overall average.

As businesses return to growth, there is a need to bolster their top-line revenue generators (sales and marketing) as well as IT staff for desired system upgrades, website enhancements and integration between order-entry and shipping systems, for example. Small businesses traditionally have contributed the majority of new positions to the economy (companies with 50 or less employees). Small businesses look to marketing, sales and product development to establish their identity and create sustainable growth in their market. Cash flow is often more of a concern for small businesses than their larger counterparts.

If you’re looking for employment with a small business, do your research and have an understanding of typical small business challenges as well as the company’s growth vision. If you’re interviewing with a business that designs e-learning courses for local companies, think about how you can help the company extend their reach through sales resource allocation, technology support and marketing strategies. Businesses are in business to make a profit and if you can inspire the employer to hire you because you share that vision, your odds of working for that company will increase drastically.

Nobody is going to hire you because you need a job. They will hire you because you’ve branded yourself as an innovative resource who can bring value to their company. Pretend you are running the business with which you are interviewing, and bring that entrepreneurial spirit to the job interview.

Steps to Starting a Small Business – Market Research

Getting enough information on your target market of potential customers is vital to starting a business that will produce income. Making guesses on what the customer really wants will not bring you very far, so it’s important to do some digging and get the answers directly from them through market research which is an important steps to starting a small business.

Some of the following questions to ask in order to device effective strategies:

  • Who is going to buy your product or service?
  • What kind of people are they? (buyer, influencer or end user)
  • How big is the market? (Competitor’s annual sales would give you an estimate)
  • How will market trends going to affect your business?
  • Does your business has any unique selling point?
  • Is the need for your product or service currently not being met?
  • Is the market already saturated?

Why do it?

You will not be able to sell something or services that has no demand. Knowing what the market is looking for and so that you can present it in a new twist, drives the need for a market research. The advantage of small businesses is that they are close to their customer and can easily get information on their purchasing habits.

How to do it?

Most of the big companies spend huge amounts of money on elaborate surveys from renowned researchers to determine if their products or services will appeal to customers at a price they are willing to pay. But for small business owners on a tight budget, there are other means to collect the key data needed without having to spend a fortune.

3 ways to collect information:

  • Get business school students to collect data at the mall.
  • Look for financial data and statistics in local library.
  • Join trade association not only to access market research they have conducted but do the networking there as well.

Do I need any ongoing market research while running the business?

Yes, this is how you gather information to evolve and adapt to the changes in market trends.

3 types of methods:

  • Keep a close watch on what your competitor is doing.
  • Install point-of-sales software to track sales or services trend.
  • Put up customer suggestion box where they can write suggestions.

Every business needs to conduct market research, it is a crucial steps to starting a small business, and tight budgets are no excuse for omitting a research plan. By starting out with some easily accessible resources, you can begin to develop better marketing strategies that can position you for market growth.

Quick Tips For Growing Your Small Business

Most small businesses start with the grand ambition of quickly becoming a medium, then a big business. Here are some quick tips for setting your business up for growth.

1. Increase Your Customer Numbers

Customers are those people who buy from you at least once. Your job is to find more customers who will buy from you. There are a number of ways to do this, however, if you want to do it fast, you need to identify who your customers are, where they congregate in great numbers, and direct your sales activities towards those ‘places’ where your prospective clients gather.

2. Develop a Marketing Plan

Undertake market research to determine the context of the market you are in and use this, and primary information gathered from your clients, to help you develop an appropriate marketing plan for your business, products and services. A well thought out plan is much likely to be more cohesive and more successful, while a hit and miss approach is likely to be more miss and less hit.

3. Sell More Stuff

Use your existing customer database to sell more stuff. If your customer has already bought a product from you, try to sell your other products and services to them. It is not only easier, it is cheaper too. Research has shown that it can be up to five times cheaper than the cost of finding new customers. You could even ask your customers for referrals.

4. Add More Value

Research has also shown that customers buy based on perceived value and not on price. So look at ways to increase the value of your products or services. A quick way to find out what kind of value you should be offering is to ask your customers. Calling them or asking them to complete a survey about your products and services will help you to find out what your customers are wanting, demanding or wishing for. This information can help you to add value, improve or develop products to keep your customers happy and buying more.

5. Build More Capacity

Improve your customer service processes by making them cheaper, faster, easier, etc. Train your staff to be more competent, learn new skills and improve the customer experience. The more work you put the development of your business, the better able it will be to meet ever-changing demands of your customers and increase it’s ability to adapt to the prevailing business environment.

6. Extend Your Sales Opportunities

Look for ways to generate sales opportunities. This could be through co-operative marketing, new lead generation ideas, the addition of new products and services or greater networking, just to mention a few ideas.

This is just a few ideas to put your small business on the path to growth. With a bit of research, a bit of planning and a lot of focussed activity your small business can become a medium business in no time at all.