Simple gestures can make more of an impact than you can imagine. When Allie (Rachel McAdams) in the Notebook (2004) begins suffering from dementia in her older years and no longer recognizes the love of her life, few of us could even begin to imagine how Noah (Ryan Gosling) responded. Despite being a stranger to her, every day Noah continued visiting her at the nursing home to read her their love story. So simple, yet his very actions spoke a thousand words. If there’s ever an environment where these simple gestures resonate the most, it’s within the small business community. Owners require leadership strategies to help them navigate unpredictable markets that hinder them from growth. To give you head start, here are four strategies to establish your business and lay the foundation for success.
1. Devote in your Community
Building positive relationships in your community can only strengthen the success of your small business. Give back to your community through small (or large) acts of kindness for a person, charitable cause, or activity. You could sponsor a youth bake day, raise money for a local charity, or even participate in a large event that your community plans annually (i.e. a parade) to showcase your leadership in the community. How much time and effort you devote to your community—your community will invest back in you.
2. Invest in your Employees (if any)
Solid businesses are only as successful and growth-oriented as the employees they have. Progressive business owners see their employees as a cohesive team, working towards a common goal, as opposed to cogs in the wheel. Throughout the year, do something as simple as gifting branded caps or mugs to your employees or starting an awards system to reward those who have achieved a milestone. For example, celebrating an employee’s 1st year at your company could help them feel appreciated. These types of gestures are not only affordable, but it’s a great way to boost morale and improve employee retention.
3. Network Away
No matter what, one of the largest referral sources is still word-of-mouth. Why? More than anything, people trust positive reviews by people they know. That’s why one of the best ways you can set your small business up for success is by networking. There are associations and societies for nearly every industry and niche and for every region. Head out to events near you to gain credibility and free (or affordable) exposure, exchange business cards, and make invaluable connections that could lead to growth for your business!
4. Exposure—and a Whole Lot of It
Occasionally as a small business, creating a big wave is necessary to turn a profit. Branded brochures, vehicle wraps, corporate gifts, and sponsoring an event in your niche are all simple yet effective leadership strategies to get the exposure your business needs. This strategy is also a great way to gain recognition within your industry, learn from experiences and failures, and weed out the most effective method to gain exposure in a relatively short period of time.