Operating a small business isn’t always smooth sailing. With competition from other local businesses, online retailers, giant enterprises, it can be hard to make your company stand out from the crowd. If you’re struggling to attract more customers or need to improve your company budget in the new year, here are some ways to make 2019 your best year yet:

Make an impression online

The internet offers plenty of options to market your company to thousands of people for free, so if you rarely invest your time in your social media pages or websites, you’re missing out on one of the easiest marketing tactics available today. Customers today expect modern businesses to respond quickly online and people often do research on companies before deciding to visit the store or buy products. If customers can’t find you online, they’ll choose another venue to buy from. To keep up with competitors, every small business owner should:

Have a website. Make sure your website is optimized so shoppers can access your site easily on any type of device. Choose a clean theme with quick loading times and be sure to update your website often.

Be active on social media. At the very least, small businesses should have profiles on Facebook and Twitter. These platforms can help you increase your company’s reach and introduce more potential clients to your business. Be sure to actively participate online by sharing your own content, commenting on other people’s posts, and answering questions from customers.

Create content. Shoppers today typically dislike blatant advertisements and being overly sales online might cause you to lose followers or seem untrustworthy. Instead of advertising your products or services, describe them to your audience. Write articles about how your business compares to others, make video tutorials, share photos, or provide other “inside looks” into your company.

Collaborate with others

If you’re determined to make your small business a solo venture, you might not be able to reach your goals as fast as you would like. Working with other companies, being active in your local community, and forming relationships with other business professionals can boost your company’s reputation and help you gain more loyal customers. The following tips can strengthen your business network and may even save you some money along the way:

Be open to complementary and similar companies. Instead of viewing similar businesses as your enemies or competitors, consider ways you can work together. For example, if your company and another both purchase some of the same products, suggest combining your orders to get bulk discounts. Forming alliances and partnerships with local small business is infinitely wiser than trying to improve your company on your own.

Share ideas, office space, advertising, etc. Combining your marketing efforts with other businesses will ensure that new consumers will see your company. For example, instead of sharing your content on just your social media page, imagine what could happen if other businesses shared your content with their followers as well! In the workplace, sharing an office space with another entrepreneur can help you save money and allow you to invest more into your company.

Host events. You don’t need to have a limitless budget to create a memorable event for your community! You could host a class to showcase how your products work, have a community ice cream social, contact local musicians to provide music, or organize a fun outing for interested consumers. Be creative, and feel free to ask people in your local community for ideas!

Connect with customers. Be open to feedback and suggestions from your customers. By being friendly, open to change, and considerate of people’s needs, your company will earn a great reputation in your community. Asking for honest feedback can also give you some valuable ideas for improving your products or services. You can do this by creating a brief quiz online, asking customers for ideas in person, or posting a question on social media.

Save on communication costs

Many business owners overlook their business phone plan when they’re looking for things to improve or save money on. Having reliable communication is essential for all businesses, but traditional phone companies often overcharge customers for service and maintenance, and may even include other hidden fees that could drain your budget.

This is why BNESIM introduced a solution for small business owners with BNESIM Enterprise. This cloud-based phone system for small businesses can be up to 95% less expensive than your current provider, and it provides the industry’s best coverage and uptime around the world. If you’re tired of paying too much for your current business phone system, click here to find out how easy it is to switch and save with BNESIM Enterprise.