How to help local business grow

Ivy Wang
Ivy Wang
May 26, 2020 · 4 min read

Digital transformation is on the way!

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photo by Freepik

Everybody struggles during the pandemic. It is the hardest time for small businesses during the lockdown. Small businesses tend to live only with a few months of cash flow and very limited ways to get financial support, compared to the big companies. so when something as significant as this hits, it could be devastating.

In March, IHK Berlin launched a platform called “ Unternehmer helfen Unternehmern” ( Entrepreneurs help entrepreneurs) and I started the project called “ Thrive local business”. Considering the very special situation during the lockdown, I intend to help local businesses to gain more engagement and sales while fewer people are on the street.

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The project ends now but you still are welcome to write to me.

My offer is free and the project went quite well. It helped many local businesses to move their business from offline to online. Even without the crisis, digital transformation is inevitable and I think business owners should embrace the new normal when insisting the traditional.

When God Closes A Door, He Opens A Dress

Here are some awesome insights and experiences from my work. You don’t need to worry about the “new tech” or the “ large budget”, most of the tools that I recommend are free and easy to use.

List your business on Google

Local search is vital for small or family size business. More than 80% of customers will use a search engine to find local stores before they enter one. Therefore, if your business has a low impression for local search, you are almost invisible and will miss out on large amounts of potential customers.

Use Google My Business. It’s free and also a power pack for you to list your service, product, opening time, contact, and other features on Google. Potential customers may easily find you on google search results and Maps.

A good impression leads customers to you.

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Make your website user friendly

40% of local businesses don’t have a website yet. In the past, they can live a fine life without a website. However, the good old days are gone, we are living in a highly competitive and customers have the most power era. Therefore, it’s time to turn your focus from market-centric to customer-centric.

You can hire a good web designer to build one or just use the website builder in Google My Business. It’s also free and quite intuitive, what you see is what you get. You can get a simple and organized website immediately even without suffering tech issues.

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Example of Google My Business

Some business owners doubted the importance of a website because their websites did not bring as many customers as they expected. I would say, having a website is a good beginning, but there’s room for improvement.

  • If you did not see a lock icon(🔒) before your domain name, you need to add an SSL certificate for your website. An SSL certificate encrypts data that a user inputs into your website so it can securely travel from their browser to your web server. More important, Search engines crackdown on perceived ‘non-secure’ websites.
  • Make your navigation strong and clear. Here is a bad example.
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One Example
  • Make your website responsive to the mobile device. I have seen many old-school websites that look beautiful and perfect on the desktop but quite distorted on the mobile device. For the last decade, it is not a problem. Nowadays, you should not ignore the impact of “responsive”, as increasing numbers of users turned to mobile and 61% of mobile users are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site.
  • Make your website more functional. Use a Google Map API to create a dynamic map, it’s more convenient for customers to come to you.
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Look at the red circle, just one click and lead customers to come to you.
  • Make your offer good-looking and organized. It could be your opening time, your product, or service, adding nice and authentic photos is very helpful to build trust.
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The left side is before, the right side is after

I made this local SEO course for helping business owners to start their digital transformation. It’s free and will show you how to list your business on Google and create your own website immediately.

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Course Preview

Well now, you have a very attractive online presence and people can easily find you on the search engine. Welcome to the digital world and enjoy the benefit! An online presence maintains a local business 50% of sales while others almost drained in cash flow.

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