12 Under-Appreciated Resources Every Small Business Owner Should Know About


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12 Under-Appreciated Resources Every Small Business Owner Should Know About

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12 Under-Appreciated Resources Every Small Business Owner Should Know About

In the bustling world of entrepreneurship, small business owners are constantly on the lookout for untapped resources to give them an edge. We gathered insights from 12 owners, founders, and CEOs, revealing resources ranging from connecting with fellow business owners to maximizing Google My Business profiles. Dive into these under-appreciated gems that could make a significant difference for your small business.

  • Connect With Other Small-Business Owners
  • Harness Local Networking Power
  • Cultivate Supply Chain Relationships
  • Explore Small Business Collaborations
  • Implement Cybersecurity for Insurance Savings
  • Seek Out Super-Niche Grants
  • Utilize SCORE’s Mentorship and Resources
  • Leverage Freelancers for Scalability
  • Optimize with Google Search Console
  • Use Free Online Marketing Tools
  • Nurture Your Existing Customer Base
  • Maximize Your Google My Business Profile

Connect With Other Small-Business Owners

Other small-business owners can understand that running your own business can be a lonely and challenging endeavor. There may be no one to celebrate wins with and no one to encourage you on difficult days. If you can connect with other like-minded small-business owners, they can be a great resource for encouragement during the difficult times and for celebration in the successes!

Luke BeermanLuke Beerman
Owner, Freedom Fence

Harness Local Networking Power

One underappreciated resource that I believe small business owners should know about is the power of networking within their local communities. Most small business owners are not aware of the benefits of networking, and most of the time, they overlook the opportunities.

Local networking can help small business owners access a diverse range of resources and support, including potential customers, suppliers, mentors, and collaborators. You might find your next big client or even a service provider that can help you run your business more efficiently. Finding common connections when networking is a great way to build trust, and this community will then go out of their way to connect you with other business owners, professionals, and community leaders. This can enable entrepreneurs to gain valuable insights, expert advice, and thus help them grow and succeed.

Also, most importantly, networking can help them build trust, credibility, and even visibility for their small business.

By making genuine connections and relationships within a local community, small business owners can generate a steady stream of referrals by keeping customers happy and satisfied, along with colleagues and partners.

Overall, the power of networking within the local community is an underappreciated resource that small business owners should use to expand their networks and build a successful business.

Chaitsi AhujaChaitsi Ahuja
Founder & CEO, Brown Living

Cultivate Supply Chain Relationships

With my extensive experience navigating the complexities of the siding and exterior remodeling industry through JASB Roofing & Exterior Remodeling, I’ve come to appreciate the profound value of established relationships within the supply chain. These relationships are an under-appreciated resource that small business owners, especially those in construction and renovation sectors, should leverage more effectively. The direct access to manufacturers and suppliers we’ve cultivated over the years has not only enabled us to secure better pricing for high-quality materials but also ensured priority access to new and innovative products before they hit the broader market.

One illustrative example is our ability to offer customers exclusive siding options that stand out for their durability and aesthetic appeal, which we sourced through our long-standing partnerships. This not only enhanced our project outcomes but significantly boosted client satisfaction and our competitive edge in the local market. Moreover, these relationships have allowed us to navigate supply chain disruptions more adeptly, ensuring project timelines are minimally affected during such instances.

Another aspect that amplifies the value of these relationships is the ability to collaborate directly with manufacturers on custom solutions for unique project requirements. For instance, we were able to work closely with suppliers to develop bespoke color and material blends for a high-profile renovation project, something that would have been impossible without the strong ties we had established.

In conclusion, the strategic cultivation of supplier and manufacturer relationships stands as a critical, yet often overlooked, resource that can deliver tangible benefits for small businesses. From cost savings and exclusive access to products to enhanced ability to meet client needs and navigate industry challenges, the advantages are considerable. This approach has personally allowed me to steer my business toward sustained growth and resilience, highlighting its potential value across various industries.

Audie BrowerAudie Brower
Owner, JASB Roofing and Exterior Remodeling

Explore Small Business Collaborations

As the co-founder of Frostbeard Studio, I’ve found the underused resource of collaboration and partnership with other small businesses to be invaluable. For instance, when we were just starting out and looking to expand our market reach beyond our Etsy presence, we looked into partnerships with local bookstores and gift shops. This move not only boosted our sales but also allowed us to tap into existing customer bases that shared our appreciation for literature and handmade goods, creating a synergy that benefited all parties involved.

Moreover, the hands-on experience of scaling our production from our living room into a dedicated studio and eventually buying our own building taught me the importance of flexible, scalable business solutions. We initially feared losing our DIY ethic but found that it evolved with us; learning to prioritize tasks and delegate as necessary was crucial. For instance, recognizing the need for a dedicated marketing and fulfillment strategy allowed us to focus on creative aspects, like developing new scents and engaging with our community on social media, greatly contributing to our brand’s identity and growth.

Lastly, engaging with our customers directly and leveraging social media for real-time feedback has been critical. We’ve used customer suggestions to inspire new scents and product lines, turning our customers into a creative resource. This approach not only improves customer satisfaction but also fosters a sense of community around our brand. Through trial, error, and continuous learning, small business owners can uncover unconventional resources that propel their growth in unexpected but rewarding directions.

Roxie LubanovicRoxie Lubanovic
Co-Founder, Frostbeard Studio

Implement Cybersecurity for Insurance Savings

In my experience as the Chief Executive Officer of ISU Insurance Services ARMAC Agency in Victorville, I’ve observed that many small-business owners tend to overlook the significant value of cybersecurity measures in their operations, especially in the context of how it affects cyber insurance costs. Given the increasing prevalence of cyber threats and data breaches, ensuring robust cyber defenses is not just beneficial for protecting sensitive data but can also have a direct impact on reducing insurance premiums. For example, one of our clients was able to significantly lower their cyber insurance costs by implementing comprehensive cybersecurity protocols, including regular software updates, secure password policies, and employee training on recognizing phishing attempts.

Additionally, the aspect of tailored business insurance solutions is another resource that I find underappreciated. Many small-business owners settle for off-the-shelf insurance plans without realizing the potential cost savings and improved coverage that can come from working closely with an insurance advisor to tailor a policy. Customized plans can better align with the specific risks and needs of a business, providing more effective protection and often at a more competitive price. In my role, I’ve assisted numerous businesses in navigating this customization process, leading to enhanced coverage that specifically addresses their unique business models and risk profiles.

Moreover, proactive risk management strategies, particularly in the realm of safety and compliance, can greatly influence insurance costs and coverage effectiveness. A strategic approach to minimizing risks, such as implementing rigorous safety protocols, can not only safeguard against potential claims but also position a business more favorably when negotiating insurance terms. For instance, a construction company we advised to adopt higher safety standards and regular equipment checks saw a notable decrease in their liability insurance rates, reflecting the lowered risk level to insurers.

Through these experiences, I’ve learned that leveraging detailed consultations with insurance professionals, focusing on cyber defense, advocating for customized insurance solutions, and prioritizing risk management, can provide small businesses with overlooked yet valuable opportunities to enhance their protection and optimize their insurance investments.

Ryan MceachronRyan Mceachron
Chief Executive Officer, ISU Insurance Services ARMAC

Seek Out Super-Niche Grants

Super-niche grants are one abundant but underappreciated resource that small business owners should know more about. Many grants take more than your industry into account and will offer funding to businesses headquartered in certain regions.

Before you go searching, create a spreadsheet of long-tail keywords that describe your company. Be as specific as possible so you can pinpoint grants that cater to your industry, mission, or even local community. For example, don’t stop at ‘startup.’ Dive deeper with, ‘grant funding for sustainable bamboo toothbrush startups in rural Oregon.’

Use your keyword arsenal to scour grant databases, government websites, nonprofit directories, and even private foundation listings. Going for specialized grants can help you avoid the tough competition that tends to follow well-known grants and put your name in the drawing for money that has been specifically allocated for businesses just like yours!

Nicole GabrailNicole Gabrail
Marketing Coordinator, Achievable

Utilize SCORE’s Mentorship and Resources

An often-overlooked resource for small business owners is SCORE, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Offering mentorship and educational resources, SCORE provides business owners with access to experienced volunteer mentors who can provide guidance on various aspects of running a business.

In addition, SCORE offers online workshops, local seminars, and a vast library of educational content, all designed to empower entrepreneurs with the knowledge they need to build successful businesses. By leveraging the resources offered by SCORE, small business owners can gain insights from experienced professionals without making a substantial financial commitment.

Robert MudgeRobert Mudge
Managing Director, Co-Spec Building & Pest Inspections

Leverage Freelancers for Scalability

The talent pool of freelancers provides access to skilled individuals who can help small businesses scale up without necessarily making long-term commitments or incurring high overhead costs. Take the example of an SEO specialist: Hiring a full-time SEO specialist costs around $45,000 per year. However, hiring an SEO freelancer for a specific project ranges between $75 and $100 per hour. The cost will depend on their expertise level and the complexity of the task. If you will be working on SEO projects occasionally, hiring a freelancer can save you more than 30% in labor costs compared to hiring an in-house specialist. We regularly hire freelance graphic designers and content creators to complement our in-house team whenever we have an influx of projects. Freelancers are cost-effective and versatile, making them an underappreciated resource.

Eugenia SyrytsiaEugenia Syrytsia
Seasoned Recruiter, HR Expert, Admix Global

Optimize with Google Search Console

Google Search Console is an invaluable resource for small-business owners who are doing digital marketing. The free tool offers a comprehensive view of how the website performs in Google Search results and identifies areas of opportunity.

Most specifically, it shows exactly what queries and keywords are bringing people to the website from organic search. By understanding the actual search terms driving traffic to our website, we have been able to optimize our website’s content to better align with user queries and search intent. This has greatly helped us enhance our visibility in search results.

Additionally, Search Console also alerts business owners of any indexing or crawling issues that Google finds while crawling the site. It can help identify 404 pages, pages that load too slowly, interlinking opportunities, and many more technical issues that may hinder your SEO performance.

Evan FreemonEvan Freemon
Sales and Account Manager, iCONN Systems

Use Free Online Marketing Tools

I believe one underappreciated resource for small business owners is the wealth of free and low-cost online marketing tools available. Many small business owners may not be fully aware of the range and power of these tools, which can be game changers in terms of leveling the playing field with larger competitors. Some businesses don’t even look into social media marketing, which is one of the easiest and cheapest ways of gaining a loyal audience. Somehow, that method is often underutilized. Additionally, platforms like Canva for graphic design, Mailchimp for email marketing, and various social media management tools can significantly enhance a small business’s marketing efforts without the need for a large budget. These tools not only streamline marketing processes but also offer analytics to measure effectiveness and ROI. In today’s digital-first world, leveraging these tools can dramatically improve a small business’s online visibility, customer engagement, and overall brand presence. They provide an opportunity to experiment with different marketing strategies with minimal risk. My advice to small business owners is to explore and integrate these tools into their marketing workflows to enhance efficiency and impact. By doing so, they can achieve a more robust online presence and better connect with their target audience at a really low cost and effort!

Rasa UrbonaitėRasa Urbonaitė
CMO, Breezit

Nurture Your Existing Customer Base

The existing customer base—like other small business owners, I was spending a lot of energy and budget trying to acquire new customers, overlooking the potential within my current clientele. Acquiring a new customer can cost five to seven times more than what you would spend retaining an existing one. Besides being cost-effective, your existing customer base is a goldmine because they already trust your brand. You can easily build long-term relationships with them, leading to loyalty. Customer loyalty will increase your order values, get more referrals, and make upselling much smoother. Focusing on your existing customers ensures sustainable and predictable growth, which all small businesses need to expand their footprint. Small business owners should shift their focus to nurturing their existing customer base to unlock a valuable and sustainable avenue of growth.

Oleksiy TorokhtiyOleksiy Torokhtiy
Founder, Torokhtiy Weightlifting

Maximize Your Google My Business Profile

Your Google My Business profile—it’s odd to think of it as a resource, but consider it this way: it’s absolutely free, allows you to showcase and generate reviews from your customers (to share positive experiences), permits you to share information about your business, and helps people find you in your local area. Most small-business owners pivot to social media to help grow their brand and business (which is still important), but they underestimate the impact of building out a Google My Business profile.

Aaron GrimesAaron Grimes
Industrial Sales, Marketing and Product Manager, TYKMA Electrox

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