Many small business owners are afraid to scale their businesses. They fear the need for that could ultimately cripple the entire company. While that is true in some scenarios, there are viable solutions that provide low-risk opportunities for most businesses.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of many economies. They make out a staggering 99% of all businesses in the European Union, and 99.9% in the U.S. Yet, many of them fight productivity issues, and struggle to scale their efforts. This is especially true for early-stage companies who are often strapped for cash.
Small companies selling digital services/products have a clear advantage over those who sell physical goods. It’s much easier to scale your output without having to invest massively. There’s nothing to produce after all.
That being said, some companies have already their services, some without knowing it. Let’s look at the book publishing industry as an example. It has spawned a variety of professionals who no longer work for publishers. Instead, they have established their own business ventures. In the publishing industry, you can mainly find these three:
Book designers: they specialize in covers, interior designs, and sometimes typography. Some of them might be able to create social media graphics and book trailers.
Editors: they will make sure that your book flows well, hooks the reader, and that it is error-free.
Marketers: they will try to get your book in the hands of those who might be interested in it.
All of them usually have a good idea how much their prices cost. Which is why they can easily bundle their services into a one-time fee. Marketers could even set up a monthly recurring service model because a book needs to be marketed over a long period of time. Speaking of recurring services, let’s take a closer look at them next.
Small and medium sized companies might hit a snag at some point when it seems like they can’t grow any further. In many cases, the growth is impacted by a moderate cash flow. It is indeed hard to plan ahead when you are selling simple one-time services. One month might be great revenue wise, but the next not so much.
They improve the customer journey, and
They reduce manual workload for businesses.
Next, let’s look at a few examples of service types that work well on a recurring basis. Here are a few ideas that some digital companies are already making use of:
Content writers bundle their one-time writing services into bundles. Their clients can subscribe to a recurring service that allows them to request up to a certain number of blog posts each month.
Social media experts often manage entire social media presences of their clients for a monthly recurring fee. Each monthly package includes a limited number of profiles.
Among the recurring service providers, Design Pickle is especially famous. They provide so-called unlimited options for a fixed monthly/annual fee. It’s an interesting business model that does need to be calculated thoroughly though. Each service should have a fixed scope and some sort of limitation that doesn’t create financial trouble. For instance, some providers only work on one graphic project at a time.
Many small business owners are afraid to increase their prices. Investing in new processes, tools, and other quality of life improvements doesn’t come cheap though. Eventually, these costs need to be recouped.
Ecommerce Marketing Checklist for Successful Data-Driven Businesses
Here’s a checklist to identify the most important features that your eCommerce marketing intelligence solution should include to ease your daily struggles with data, help increase sales and lower your customer acquisition.
Find Out More
While it’s a tough decision to increase prices, business owners can keep them the same for old customers. While those remain on grandfathered plans, new customers will be with the new pricing structure.
Another tough decision to make is the following: if we develop new features/products, does everyone get access to them? At a certain point, the grandfathered plans need to be removed, while loyal customers are transitioned to a new pricing model. While many customers are often unhappy about increased prices, it all comes down to your value proposition. Here are a few things you can communicate:
Remind the customer that they get access to certain new features that you’ve been working on in the meantime.
Try to make loyal customers feel special for sticking with you for such a long time. You could offer to include them in a case study, for instance.
Do keep in mind that the most important thing for a small business is to reduce churn, and keep customers with them for as long as possible. A new pricing structure doesn’t bring any benefits if the recurring revenue is lost due to canceled plans.
Keeping a client happy might make them a customer for life. Easier said than done, however, any business should invest in processes than guarantee a long-term commitment.
Where most companies struggle is the retention after a free trial sign-up. Their lead journey might look like this:
Lead lands on a marketing-focused landing page.
Once convinced on the page or via marketing emails, they sign up for a trial.
The trial-period should lead to an aha moment that turns them into a customer.
Friction moments often occur during the trial period. More often than not, it doesn’t lead to the so-called aha moment. Here are a few reasons why that is:
The trial period is too short, and can’t easily be extended.
Leads have to set up too many things to test a service/product.
One way to solve this issue is to set up an experience that mixes self-service with human help. For instance: if the lead is logged into a client portal, they should see links to the help center, tutorial videos, and a way to contact the business
With automated campaigns, it’s also possible to trigger emails based on user . If the lead completes one step in the process, but doesn’t move to the second one, a nudge might put them on the right track.