Whether you’re selling custom leather belts, getting your new t-shirt business up and running, or hawking local honey, there are always new ways to generate buzz for your small business. Farmer’s markets, street fairs, conventions, and swap meets all provide an opportunity to reach new consumers that a traditional establishment or online store may not provide. Capitalizing on that unique opportunity can lead to success. Here are a few tips to help you get your business out into the world!
Find a Venue for Your Business
Taking your business mobile puts you into direct contact with the consumer, allowing you to engage with them in a unique, memorable setting. This one-on-one interaction can make product demonstrations feel more intimate, and less like a hard sales pitch. It also allows for the consumer to feel more connected with the brand or product itself as it presents you with an opportunity to share your brand’s story.
Depending on where you’re doing business, there can be entry fees or permits that you must acquire before setting up shop. Though this does add some extra overhead for you, they are generally low fees and permits can be easily attained.
Another benefit of doing business in a small setting is that you can bring as much or as little product as you need or have on hand, which is important for small businesses that are just getting up off the ground.
Get the Word Out
Once you’ve found an appropriate setting for your de facto storefront, you then face the challenge of ensuring people know where you are. In the last decade, the ability to reach out to new customers and the public has become much easier. While small business owners still have to take on the costs of production and other logistical issues, they no longer have to knock on doors or take out ads to advertise themselves.
This is the information age, and to truly thrive in it we must embrace the changing technology around us. Luckily for us, the meteoric rise of social media has given everyone an incredibly useful tool in regards to outreach and advertising in general. Setting up a dedicated Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account for your business is simple and quick, and doing so makes sharing your ever-changing location as easy as clicking your mouse.
Another added benefit of engaging with customers through social media is the opportunity to make them feel as if they are closely connected to your brand. The importance for them to directly reach out to you when they have questions, comments, or concerns cannot be understated! It’s a fantastic way to retain your customers!
Being connected through social media platforms also gives those customers who love your product an easy way to share that love, engaging in word-of-mouth advertising that is so beneficial to small business operations.
Catch Their Eye
Now that you’ve set up shop and let the world know where they can find you, it’s time to set yourself apart from the dozens of other booths next to yours.
There are many ways to do this, but a tried and true method is to engage with as many of your customers’ senses as you can with the nature of your product. The ability to feel the material of a screen printed shirt, or smell the aroma of candied nuts floating through the air can spur a customer to make a purchase that they normally wouldn’t.
Consider putting your products prominently on display, so to encourage customers to come and interact with, or at least observe them. If your product is intangible — like a window washing service — consider having large banners made that advertise what you do. You might also offer complimentary coffee or lemonade to entice customers to stick around during a pitch. Bright colors, inviting music, and a friendly smile can do incredible things for your sales when used appropriately.
Finally, look at the packaging of your product itself. Is the design streamlined, eye catching, yet simple? If you put yourself in the shoes of the consumer, would you be intrigued by the labeling, or would you pass it by? Be honest with yourself when asking these questions. Even though you might be passionate about your product, it’s important to objectively look at it when considering whether it is visually appealing or intriguing at first glance. If you have a great design, it’s very easy to order custom printed labels matched to the dimensional specifications of your product, giving it a sleek, professional look.
Make Transactions Easy
With the advent of services like Square and Paypal Here, customer transactions have never been easier. A dedicated iPad can function as your entire point of sale (POS) system, or even a smartphone can take on the job of cash register.
Even with this new ease of payment, there is always room for further improvement. Try to accommodate your customers’ needs by accepting payment from digital wallets such as Google Pay and Apple Pay — the easier it is for a customer to spend their money, the more likely they are to do so.
For a unique but old school touch, acquire a handheld barcode scanner and attach stickers with 2D barcodes on them to your product. Not only will this add a subconscious sense of legitimacy to your storefront, but it also easily tracks your inventory and sales, helping to manage your bottom line.
Remember, even in a new city where you don’t know anyone, some quick research will show you new places to set up your mobile business so you can start to make new connections.
Posting to social media platforms letting your followers know you’ve found a new space in a new place will help bring new people to where you’ve set up shop, increasing the likelihood that you’ll make plenty of sales. Make sure that your new pop-up shop looks unique and attractive. An eye-catching display will entice new customers and make your product look professional.
Finally, be sure to make it as easy as possible for consumers to purchase your products, by accepting as many forms of payment as possible. If you follow these tips, you will have no problem taking your business with you wherever you go!