Small and medium businesses (SMB) are always facing challenges, but successful small business owners and entrepreneurs are innovative and keep evolving. That’s according to entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.
“We have some really big changes going on in an SMB world,” says Vaynerchuk, the chairman of VaynerX, a media and communications holding company; CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency; and creator and CEO of the NFT project, VeeFriends.
He advises SMBs to be patient and to build a business around things they like so they’ll have the energy to put in the time required to make it successful.
The past few years have been particularly challenging for SMBs, who have struggled with the pandemic, supply chain issues, inflation, and attracting and retaining talent.
Known as a forward thinker, “GaryVee” spots business trends and patterns early. He encourages SMBs to innovate their way around supply chain issues, including limiting offerings or offering new items.
Inflation solutions may include strategic price increases and charging for shipping. While these are tough decisions to make, “the reality is, businesses have to be profitable, otherwise they go out of business,” says Vaynerchuk.
Vaynerchuk says employees between the ages of 22 and 30 have a lot more job options these days. Instead of working for a small business, they may earn salaries as NFT artists, product sellers on Amazon, internet content producers, or other non-traditional occupations. As employers, SMBs need to be competitive with these alternative careers and create a work environment where employees want to stay.
“If another company comes along and offers $80,000 and you’re paying them $45,000, that’s going to be hard. The only thing that can combat not having the finances to compete is to have the heart and soul to compete,” Vaynerchuk says. “Work culture is a real thing. Many human beings, especially the ones entering the workforce today, genuinely are looking for an environment where they can feel comfortable, safe, happy, and seen.”
Whether a business is struggling with the supply chain, inflation, or other concerns, Vaynerchuk says there’s one equalizer.
“I believe that good marketing can solve everything,” he says. “If you’re great at marketing, you can be gaining customers faster than you’re losing them or losing margin. You might go from a 20% margin to 10%, but if you triple your business and sales, you made more money.”
These days, promotion is digital. Text messaging, known as SMS marketing, is huge because consumers pay more attention to texts than email. SMBs can use it in two ways: as a utility, like reminding customers to come to an appointment, or as an incentive, such as offering a limited-time promotional offer.
Social media presence is also a must, including TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
“It’s a full-time job, besides the job that you have,” says Vaynerchuk, who encourages SMBs to find time to learn these new technologies and then hire someone to help them create content for each platform.
While it may seem overwhelming, SMBs need to market themselves where their potential customers are: on social media. “You’re missing an opportunity if you’re not willing to go where the attention is going,” he says.