Small business leaders have faced some challenging times in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic, which began in 2020, put pressure on many small firms, especially those that operated from physical premises. Shops and other customer-facing premises experienced significant reductions in footfall during the height of the pandemic when lockdowns and movement restrictions dramatically reduced sales.

While the worst effects of the virus have passed, in 2024, there are still other economic factors for small businesses to contend with. Higher-than-normal levels of inflation are increasing the cost of many materials and products, and these increased costs are eventually passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices. This, in turn, can reduce profitability as less sales are made.

Put simply, the current economic climate is challenging for small businesses. In this difficult trading landscape, business owners must seek to increase their market share and become more visible to their target markets to ensure longevity.

One way to achieve this is by boosting the image of your small business. Firms that enjoy a positive brand image and are instantly recognisable in the marketplace will enjoy improved sales and long-term profitability. In this article, some of the key ways in which small businesses can boost their image will be explored.


Invest in high-quality signage

In an era when web presence is incredibly important, and social media marketing is an important tool for small businesses, it’s easy to overlook physical forms of promotion that can boost the image of a firm.

For example, professionally designed business signage can speak volumes about the company and help to give it a suitable image that resonates with its target market. In comparison, poorly made or difficult-to-read signage will likely create negative connotations in the eyes of potential customers.

As a small business owner, it’s important to consider, what does your sign say? Does it appeal to your target market in terms of its design and message? Is it easy to read, and do the design and fonts mirror company branding across other parts of the business?

Investing in quality business signage and working with a professional graphics/signage company will ensure that your final design will project the image you seek for your small firm.


Encourage staff to post online

While your small business may only have a few staff members, these workers can play a key role in boosting your firm’s image. Encourage your staff to create short but memorable posts on social media channels that illustrate the roles they undertake and the projects that they’re working on.

Actively encouraging staff to use social media to illustrate the culture and working environment of your small business can create an authentic brand image that gives extra credibility to your firm. It can help you to become more visible online and demonstrate the company ethos and values from the perspective of your staff.


Create targeted content for your website

Your business website can be a key resource for boosting your company image. Naturally, your site should provide an enjoyable user experience for visitors and returning customers. Still, it can also be used as an outlet for regular informative content relevant to your firm’s niche.

For example, if your small business sells building materials and DIY equipment to the public, consider writing regular blog posts or articles on how to undertake a range of common DIY jobs in the home. By creating helpful, relevant, and informative content that’s of interest to your target market, you’ll be offering more than just your products. Over time, this content will allow your business to gain regular traffic to the website as customers seek information on subjects that are of interest to them.

In addition, well-researched and authoritative content that obeys the best practices of search engine optimization (SEO) will help you rank more highly on search engine results pages. This will boost the visibility of your small business online while helping you to gain increased revenue streams.


Support local good causes

Finally, it’s important to understand that supporting local good causes can be a key way to improve the image and visibility of your small business. Consider supporting a local sports team in your community and supplying funds to kit them out with apparel and equipment. You may even be able to advertise your firm on their team kits to further boost your image in the local area.

Other options to consider when supporting good causes are working with local charitable foundations, non-profit organisations, or grassroots foundations that help to improve the lives of local people.