Location is one of the key things you need to be thinking about if you’re starting a new business or searching for ways to grow your existing one. You don’t have to have a physical office space or retail store to use your location to get the most from your local customers. From fulfilling local demand and showing online consumers where your business is based, we explore how you can utilise your location in this post.
- Look for gaps in the market:
If you can find there is a need for your products or services within your location, the demand for your business could already exist. For example, if the local hairdressers has a two-week waiting list and the closest alternative is a car journey away, a new hairdressing business could prove very popular with those local customers straight away.
Researching businesses in your location is key if you’re thinking of starting a new venture so you can begin to look for gaps in the market. You can make a start by looking at doing some competitor research and exploring your new competitor’s online presence and customer base. For example, perhaps the local hairdressers has been offering a discount which has contributed to the increase of customers and the high demand is something of an abnormality.
- Be a confident local business
Whether you are starting a new venture in your local area, or looking to grow your existing one, don’t be daunted by the bigger, more corporate businesses. You’ll find that it’s not uncommon for smaller local businesses to be perceived as more trustworthy and you could reap the rewards of word-of-mouth reviews and recommendations quickly.
After all, according to a small business survey, 49% of consumers prefer to support small businesses over larger ones when possible. Most customers enjoy searching for more unique products by shopping with local businesses, and choose those that offer services closer to home to avoid travel costs. Keep this in mind when you’re looking at your marketing messages and unique selling points, what can you offer customers that larger businesses can’t?
- Make sure your business can be found easily
The internet has had a big impact on how consumers now search for local products and services, and has also opened some new opportunities for businesses to reach customers within their local area. The key point here is that local customers need to be able to find your business online.
With 94% of UK internet users now searching online to find local businesses¹ you need to make sure you’re visible. You should start by creating and building your online presence, including your website and social media channels. You can also tell customers where you’re based at first glance by choosing a country-specific domain name, such as .uk, .cymru or .wales.
Don’t forget to submit your business details on Google Maps, Apple Maps and Bing Maps as well, so your business can appear in location searches, such as [hairdresser near me].
- Maximise your local business by being online
Even if you only want to reach and target customers within your location, you can still utilise being online to maximise your business.
For example, an online presence gives you the perfect platform to showcase what your regular customers are saying about you in online reviews. And with 84% of people trusting online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, doing so could have a positive impact on your local sales. You could also use your website and social channels to show images of your work or pictures of your products to encourage enquires and reassure new customers.
You don’t have to be selling online to maximise your business, just making it clear to consumers where you’re based or what times your shop is open can go a long way to attracting them to your store. And who knows, you might even want to grow your business outside of your local area in the future, and your online presence is a great way to do so when the time is right.
- Don’t be afraid to start a new venture in your area
Once you’ve done some all-important competitor research if there’s a gap in your area for a new business venture, why not start to draw up a business plan or conduct some market research? With customers still favouring small businesses and a demand for more trades in the local area, now is a great time to get started.
If you’ve already established a business, why not look closer at your location? Perhaps local consumers are calling out for a service that naturally fits with what your business is already offering. Or maybe there’s a chance to target a new market that you haven’t looked at before.
- Showcase your business’ heritage
Consumers like to know who they are purchasing from, and your business’ unique story and heritage is a great way to become more approachable and interesting to consumers. If you can use your location to strengthen your business’ heritage it can be a great way to become more ‘human’ to your customers.
Perhaps your surroundings have influenced your products or someone in your local area inspired you to start your business. Your domain name can be a great way to reflect your location and heritage within a second, for example a .uk domain showcases UK businesses and a .wales or .cymru domain can strengthen your Welsh connection.
Location is an influencing factor for new businesses as well as those looking to grow, and how you utilise where your customers are based will be different for each business model. You could find that people in your area are crying out for a handyman and you could take advantage as part of your already established maintenance business. Or, you could look to reach customers in your area using a special discount to get your start-up off the ground.
¹The Consumer Barometer Survey / Google 2016