If you’re are thinking about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship, you should avoid making common business mistakes and learn from thriving small business owners. Recently Ramon Ray hosted a small biz panel discussion, consisting of three successful small business owners. Ramon and guests discussed various aspects of running, growing, and surviving a small business. Also, their social media marketing tips were extremely encouraging and insightful for all entrepreneurs.
Business Lessons You Can Learn from Small Biz Panel Discussion
The members of the small biz panel included:
- Dr. Dionne Mahaffey, Founder of Culture Greetings
- Latosha Stone, Founder of Proper Gnar
- Kel Cadet-Lyons, Founder of R-Ki-Tekt
During the discussion, these small business founders shared many tips to grow a small business.
Here are five key business lessons you can learn from the panel discussion:
1. Solve a Problem
When you’re thinking about starting your business, you should consider offering a must-have product, not a nice product.
That said, you should find the pain points of your target audience and offer solutions that can remove those pain points.
The point is,[Tweet “You shouldn’t just start a business, you should solve a problem.”]
Dr. Dionne Mahaffey, the founder of Culture Greetings, started her company to solve a problem,
We, as African Americans, or black people, or indigenous people, or other people of color, walk down the greeting card aisle, we don’t see ourselves. It’s very frustrating. And there are brands that have attempted to do it. But it’s not for us by us. So, sometimes, it’s not as authentic or it doesn’t really speak to me, or I’ve seen the card before. So I wanted to solve for that.
Solving real problems that your audience actually faces increases your chances of getting success.
2. Stand out from the Crowd
In addition to competing with large companies, small businesses also have to wrestle with other small businesses active in the same niche.
Therefore, it is imperative that your small business should stand out from the crowd if you want to command a large share of the market.
Kel Cadet-Lyons, Founder of R-Ki-Tekt, believed the same,
I think a lot of leather goods companies – they have passport holders, they have their wallets, they have key fobs. But I guess what makes mine stand out from theirs is all of my are hand-painted. All of them are individual. There is no two that are the same.
3. Create a Community
Be it an in-person event or online forum, a community is a key to success.
Having a community of customers and prospects can help your small business increase:
- Brand awareness
- Offer customer discovery
- Foster brand loyalty
- Improve customer success
Latosha Stone, the founder of Proper Gnar, pointed out,
I think community means [having] support. It’s not just people supporting you, but [the] kind of the people that you [also] support.
4. Include Social Media in Your Marketing
These entrepreneurs shared social media marketing tips that help them to be successful. Small business owners should leverage the power of social media to reach out to the audience. Why?
Social media is an effective tool for marketing on a budget.
What’s more, you can use a Facebook group or a LinkedIn group to create a community of customers and prospects.
So if you haven’t included social media in your marketing strategies, do it now. Share useful content on social media regularly, and you can see more people are buying from you. But remember that apart from being another community channel, social media should not just be about sales but also education.
Latosha Stone, Founder of Proper Gnar, seconded it,
And I don’t just post pictures of my products and [saying] hey, buy this. I try to give information and skateboarding tips. I share art and videos of skateboarders learning new tricks. So instead of just trying to straight sell stuff, I try to get people to be interested.
Dr. Dionne Mahaffey’s social media marketing tips were similar. She echoed that it can help customers understand how the product can impact their lives.
At Culture Greetings, they even leverage Messenger to send automated reminders to customers to remind them to send cards for birthdays or other occasions.
She also pointed out that in social media marketing you should:
- Share more than just product information
- Tell more stories
- Post PR wins and opportunities
- Make sure you’re adding value for readers
Kel Cadet-Lyons also added that Instagram is gold for small businesses. It’s essential for building community. She shows a lot of behind the scenes, especially how much time and care are put into making the products.
5. Build a Positive Mindset
Small business owners continually face challenges. Recently, COVID-19 pandemic affected 80% of small businesses.
So when you are entering the small business world, you should get ready to tackle unforeseen hurdles.[Tweet “Building a positive mindset is a must for all small business owners.”]
When asked about how she tackled the challenges COVID-19 presented, Kel Cadet-Lyons, Founder of R-Ki-Tekt, said
My main tip that I advise everyone during this time is self-preservation is essential. If you don’t have your right frame of mind, you don’t really have anything at all.
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