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Scaling Up: 6 Survey-Backed Strategies for Small Business Growth

3 Mins read

A small business is at the heart of every community and a driving force of our economy. Small businesses employ 62 million Americans, create connections within our cities, support local causes, and make a positive difference in our daily lives.

Despite being a cornerstone of the community, it can be difficult for small businesses to compete with larger enterprises due to limited budgets and resources, particularly in specialized areas like marketing. And now during a time where businesses of all sizes are looking to achieve more ambitious goals with less, finding efficient and creative ways to grow is increasingly critical.

At Typeform, small businesses make up a notable percentage of our 150,000 customers. Companies use our intuitive form builder and data collection platform for everything from customer acquisition to feedback to market research. We recently conducted a survey to uncover small business trends, revealing key learnings that many of our customers can use as a resource to help strategically scale their business.

Here are six insights that can help small business owners better reach, connect with and market to their customers:

1. Prioritize the Local Community You Serve

Consumers like to support the small business community, with nearly all respondents (93%) frequenting small businesses. Nearly half (47%) shop small to support their local community and an additional 11% say they have established trust or an emotional connection to their local shops. Consumers have a positive affinity for their neighborhood stores, presenting an opportunity to improve sales by investing in relationships.

2. Showcase Your Uniqueness

Since many consumers are drawn to small businesses for handcrafted or locally-sourced goods (43%), businesses can focus on showcasing the uniqueness of their products. This differentiation from mass-produced goods offered by larger retailers can be a compelling selling point. Additionally, the range of goods most frequently shopped from small businesses is diverse, from food and beverages (29%) to clothing and accessories (21%) and home, garden, personal care and wellness items (7%) – suggesting opportunities for cross-promotional marketing.

3. Enhance the In-Person Customer Experience

While an online presence is crucial (68% of consumers consider it highly important), the desire to shop in store remains strong (73% prefer in-person vs. 27% online). As our world becomes increasingly digital, there is a growing preference for human connection and in-person experience over the convenience.

4. Optimize Your Digital Presence

Given that the majority of consumers (89%) discover small businesses through social media, with Instagram being most influential (86%), and most consumers (87.5%) are likely to follow small businesses they like on social media, business owners should invest in a robust social media strategy that prioritizes building a loyal online community.

5. Use Data to Personalize Marketing

The fact that 65% of consumers say targeted social media ads and personalized emails catch their attention indicates tailored marketing efforts are crucial to small business success. This is where tools like Typeform come in – businesses can leverage zero-party data collection platforms to learn more about their customers by asking them directly, enabling them to further personalize offers and marketing efforts.

6. Engage at Local Events

While online discovery is key, traditional methods like local events (17%) and word-of-mouth (26%) remain significant for discovery. Small businesses can use this information to prioritize community engagement and meet customers where they are (by attending, sponsoring or participating in events and fostering a sense of community around the brand). This tactic can maximize reach and weave your business into the cultural fabric of the community.

These insights enable small businesses to not only meet but anticipate their customers’ evolving trends and expectations. By leveraging the power of data, small business owners can craft strategic growth plans, scale operations, and forge deeper connections with the communities they serve.

Joaquim “Kim” Lechà is the Chief Executive Officer at Typeform. Kim joined Typeform in 2018 as Chief Operating Officer, bringing more than 20 years of experience at high-growth companies, to focus on consolidating market leadership and ensuring operational effectiveness. Prior to Typeform, Kim held roles as COO and Chief Financial Officer at Social Point and has served in various leadership positions across sectors, including mobile gaming, e-commerce, SaaS, online classified ads and other technology-enabled businesses. Kim is a graduate of Esade Business School in Barcelona, Spain and the Stanford University Executive Program. 

Small business stock image by Air Images/Shutterstock

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