Dream Big, Start Small

Promoting and growing your business is what National Small Business Week is all about

“Dream Big, Start Small” is the slogan used by the Small Business Administration during its yearly National Small Business Week, this year celebrated May 1-7. Every year since 1963, this week has been a time to recognize the contributions made by American small-business owners and entrepreneurs.

That same slogan could probably have been your motto when you started your own business. It takes a dream, some risk and a lot of hard work to create and grow a company.

You probably did start small and have been working on growing ever since. So in honor of National Small Business Week — and keeping “dream big” in mind — here are some tips on growing and promoting your business.

Define your value. If you’re selling a product or service, find out what your customers value, because that’s really what you’re trying to sell. In order to do this you need to differentiate your business and learn how to stand out from the competition.

Use social media to get referrals. Word-of-mouth communication will still get your name out there, but a lot of those conversations are happening online these days. Social media can be tough in this industry, but it’s worth the effort to try getting your customers engaged with your business. It’s not like traditional advertising, and will take some time and patience. See some tips here.

Do thorough research and planning before expanding your service area. There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for successful growth. Sometimes you work by trial and error. It’s a lot of pressure, but it can be worth the risk if you’re ready to grow. Ask yourself these three questions if you’re thinking about expanding.

Learn to be a better salesperson. Whether you’re manning the office or covering your own route, if you own a portable restroom business, you’re in sales. It’s easy to allow your pitch to get derailed when a potential customer jumps right to the bottom line, and it’s even easier to cave just to make the sale when they immediately ask for a lower price. But you’re not helping your profit margins when you let the customer tell you the value of your services instead of showing them why your services are worth your price. If you’re routinely giving in when customers ask for discounts, read these five tips to win the sale without losing on price.

Think about adding complementary services. One logical add-on service for portable restroom companies is providing party rentals like tents, tables and chairs. This makes you more of a one-stop shop for special events. Adding these services takes as much planning as expanding your service area, however, and probably more in terms of startup costs, so do your research first and read tips for getting into party rentals.

For more on National Small Business Week, including nationwide events, webinars and more, visit www.sba.gov/nsbw.


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