Small business is making a comeback thanks to technology. For a while, it seemed like every small business out there was being eaten up by the corporations, or trampled over by them. But thanks to advances in equipment and the Internet, more and more people are rising up to take advantage of these technological improvements and open their own businesses.
Technology used to be accessible only to the big companies that could afford to invest in it. Now, there are companies that have become big because of the demand from the people who have always dreamed of building their own start-up businesses. Yet, not every small company is using technology to its fullest.
Mom and Pop retail stores may be using apps to stay connected to suppliers and maintain their inventory levels. Self-employed accountants may be using the latest tax-preparing software. But to run their businesses effectively, they need to do more; use more. The technology discussed below are some of the items that are being underutilized by small businesses. Perhaps these can help you boost your revenue and make you the success you always dreamed of becoming.
It all starts with your name. If your business does not have a catchy name, then you are more than likely going to get lost among all of the other companies out there. Your small business may be brick and mortar, and so may your competition, but you also need to compete on the Internet if you want to be successful. Your competition is.
Even if your office is involved in a business that cannot be conducted over the Internet – not every service can be provided on the World Wide Web – you still need an online presence. You need a website to attract clients in, let them know who you are, what you do, and where you are located, or what area you service. As such, your website should match your business name so potential clients will recognize your company when seeking you out.
This is why the domain name for your site is so important. If clients see an unprofessional name, or one that does not fit well with the type of service you provide, then they are less likely to use your services. Your name can either draw clients in, or it can send them to the competition.
Google Analytics is a great tool for determining what words and phrases people are using when conducting an Internet search. Although it is not the only one, Google is the world’s largest search engine. It accounts for approximately 77% of the world’s searches and is used almost four times more than its closest competitor, a Chinese company called Baidu. This market share gives Google access to an unprecedented amount of information, and the company is constantly looking for ways to use that information, and for ways businesses can use it as well.
Analytics, as mentioned, can help your business’s likelihood of being discovered online. By examining the words used on your company’s website and comparing them to the keywords being used to find similar businesses to your own, you can leverage that information to your benefit. You can regear your website to better match what and how potential clients are searching.
You can also use that information to improve your search engine optimization. Using the keywords clients themselves are using, you can improve your search results even more. Maintain a blog on your site and insert these keywords into the articles you post, giving Google more to find. The more it finds related to your business, and the more relevant the content in your articles is, the better the chances of your business ranking on the first page of Google’s search results.
Customer Relationship Management
CRM is important because it gives you a means of not only fulfilling the clients’ needs through your business, but it gives you an opportunity to build a relationship with them. Customer Relationship Management is the process of collecting information from your clients and gearing your interactions towards their preferences. If used correctly, you would not only gather their transaction histories, but you would use that history to generate future revenue as well.
Through the various CRM software on the market, you can reach out to clients and market directly to them to create repeat business. You can send out emails to your clients who fall under certain categories (the criteria for those categories would be up to you to configure) and send out an email blast advertising a particular service or product, provide a thank you discount towards a future purchase, or display a line of products on sale. With CRM, you can do the same with each category, only you have the ability to change what it is that you are emailing out to the different categories of clients.
You also have the ability to manage your social media accounts from one CRM portal. You can target your clients in a similar way through Facebook, Twitter, and any other platform. This also allows you to expand your clientele by reaching out to friends of your clients as well as people within a specified geographical region who have used other services like yours. You can steal clients away from your competition by managing your CRM effectively.
Cloud Storage and Applications
Cloud-based information storage and applications are a cheap means of doing business. They can also save you the time it takes to establish an internal storage system and network. You can grant access to that data to whomever may need it, so the information can be used remotely should the need arise. Applications in the Cloud are also instantaneous, giving you real time results and updates.
Almost every industry can take advantage of Cloud apps. There are payment processing apps, CRM, inventory management applications, project / task managers, accounting, and hundreds of other applications available from the Cloud. Finding the ones that will help you manage your business efficiently is the key, but once you do you will see an immediate change in your processes and the speed of doing business.