Ten Things Every Small Business Needs
Though getting a small business off the ground is not easy, it can be a thoroughly rewarding experience if you manage to. You will have to contend with issues such as breaking into a new market, winning customer show probably have better options, crushing competition and thriving in dynamic market conditions. There are a few things that a small business needs to survive and turn in profits, but it can all be summed into one; adopt digital technology.
Business technology does not necessarily mean modern robotics. Small mobile and web applications can give you the tech advantage that you need for growth. From marketing software, customer relations to employee management, business tech solutions can enable smooth operations, seamless communication and connect businesses to the right customers.
1. A roadmap to success
You will get to see an overall picture when you have a business plan that outlines the route your business wants to take with projected milestones and revenues. A business plan can be the benchmark for your strategies when it comes to product development, marketing, and cost-cutting.
For a laser-like strategic focus, business plans can help your new venture to stick to its target market and bring out the desirable unique identities that customers will fall in love with. By following the clear roadmap of your business, you will be able to keep track of progress or regress to allocate time and resources to areas of need.
Change is inevitable even when you have a business plan. Just like the weather, your small business will change over time as it adapts in the environment and grows. Even in the face of drastic changes, with a business plan, you will still get to be in the driver’s seat of your business.
Automated business plans are living plans that will enable your business to reach the next level of growth. SBA’s business plan tool is an example of a powerful tool with which you can create fantastic business plans even without having an MBA. Once you log in using your password, you can create, update and save your business plan in PDF document format. And there is step by step guide, so all you have to do is fill in the information.
2. A compelling mission and vision
Just like a ship can operate without a radar, your business needs a real purpose and insight to help steer it in the right direction. Companies that work in here and now often spend more time surviving than thriving. Successful entrepreneurs understand that looking forward towards a mission and vision helps to drive growth.
Think of the mission and vision as a strong foundation or blueprint for success. Start by thinking of the horizons you would like your business to reach and its impact on the community. The mission statement should be able to communicate the purpose of your business, your ethics, how you operate, make decisions and interact with customers and members of staff. See an example of our mission and vision statement below.
A business mission and vision answer critical questions such as why you chose that particular line of business, who your customers are, how you relate with customers and employees, what sets you apart from the competition, and what you want your legacy to be.
3. A logo and color scheme for your brand identity
Logos form the backbone of business branding. Think of it as a graphic seal of ownership- an incorruptible identity. When you get the best designer’s however, your business logo will do you one better – it will summarize your business in one symbol or typographic. When they look at your logo, people will get to understand your business at the drop of a hat.
Brand identity also goes beyond logos and insignias. It is a collection of all the visible elements that are unique to your business. Color schemes come in handy to reinforce your brand identity and distinguish it from the rest in the industry. At Smg. we can assist with your logo creation and so much more.
Many small businesses suffer misrepresentation, misunderstanding or misconception in the market due to inconsistent branding. For an edge in the market, it is essential to keep the brand as consistent as possible. You can quickly do that by seeking the services of a professional branding.
It is easy for your business to achieve awareness with a consistent brand. Once customers see your brand elements, they will have immediately recognized the unique products and services you have on offer.
Branding serves to smoothly introduce your new products and services into the market, sliding past colliding messages from competitors. To attract the best customers and kill competition, you have no option but to invest in a nice logo and color schemes.
Color schemes can be made using adobe color wheel. If you have a specific theme you had in mind, you can easily import the color to the color wheel.
4. A properly maintained website with reliable hosting
It is a digital awakening that businesses have to adapt to- consumers have shifted to making online purchases. Studies show that- customer visits to physical stores has been declining increasingly. Many companies are in fast closing stores to focus mainly on e-commerce.
Small businesses need websites, if not for e-commerce then for brand communication. You can choose to either go online or go underwater in the face of competition. With a proper website, you can manage to create a favorable brand and increase the top of mind awareness among your customers.
Your website should address consumer needs when it comes to convenience and instantaneousness. As they say, content is king. Provide relevant and useful information that can help customers to live better lives, be safe from danger or save money.
An updated and well-maintained website will boost interactivity between users and your brand. At Smg.we specialize in building mobile-friendly websites for small businesses in Las Vegas. Our web development is inspired by the art of brand storytelling. We make use of digital graphics 3D web designs that increase user interactivity and brand favorability online.
We also offer stable web hosting for small businesses, both regarding servers and network connections. We are a reliable and high performing web hosts that will provide your website the speed and security it needs. Smg. will monitor your site uptime and send the reports to you on a monthly basis. We are available; 24-7 through phone, email, and chat to answer all questions you might have.
5. A business email platform
Companies with more significant revenues subscribe to Microsoft service, while Google caters for a substantial percentage of small businesses. GSuite comes with Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Drive and much more. The advantage with the GSuite is user-friendliness. If you know your way around the free GSuite, it will be much easier to get the most out of your google cloud email for business.
GSuite for business enables users to read and create messages even when offline. At a monthly fee of $ 5 per person per month, small businesses can get 30 GB of storage for Gmail and Google Drive. You will be able to send emails from your business web address, get 24-hour support, data migration and admin controls. At Smg. we are huge advocates of Google and all the tools that they offer. Read our blog post on why every small business needs an official email here if you want to learn more about Gsuite. Get 20% off your first year by using promo code 9AW7P7LLNTQM9QN .
Outlook also does offer businesses an opportunity to have several email accounts in one platform. It supports emails for Outlook (with a 50GB storage space) and, Hotmail, Live and MSN all on one platform. You can make a one-time purchase of the Office 2016 at $229 for the Office Home and Business; and $399 for Office Professional. It comes with word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook 2016 while the professional one also includes Publisher and Access. There is also a subscription option where businesses owners can pay $70 per year.
6. An email marketing provider
For small businesses that want to have a bite of the bigger market share, email marketing is a no-brainer. Since email marketing is a time-consuming process, young startups can subscribe to services such as MailChimp to expand their customer base, push brand awareness and increase revenue. Email, marketing is a type of direct marketing. It empowers you to personalize your brand message to specific customers. Small businesses can be able to carry out customer segmentation in categories such as new customers, existing customers, loyal customers, and potential customers. These groups require different messages and promotions.
The good thing with email marketing is that you are sending messages to consumers who have signed up to receive them. You have higher chances of success with this form of marketing than any other. You can create engagements that last, and achieve higher conversion rates. You can also use the app’s analytic tools to understand your audience and create messages that appeal the most to them.
7. Stylish business cards
When it is time for you to stop desktop marketing and step out into the real world, business cards are a must-have tool. Think of it as an easy form of marketing. When you are out there networking, having coffee with your friends or meeting with strangers all you have to do at the end of a conversation is to give them your business card. That simple act of contact exchanging can push your business’s brand awareness to the next level.
A business card should contain a short description of what your business does, physical address, contacts, and a web address. But what can make a business card to be exciting and inspiring? You guessed right- it is the design. The biggest question, however, is how do you keep your brand colors consistent and still manage to come up with an attractive business card. Vista Print has all the answers.
8. Marketing budgets
What ails many young businesses is the failure to plan when it comes to marketing. If you analyze many failing firms you will find that they have one thing in common- they don’t have a marketing budget.
Marketing can seem like a costly undertaking, but without it, your account will remain in the red. Luckily, with digital technology today, you can cut costs with various forms of internet marketing such as search engine optimization, Email marketing, social media marketing, and influencer management.
A marketing budget helps to control the marketing expenses, allow the right resources to each strategy and project revenues. Your marketing team will also be better able to coordinate their different activities towards the same goal – increasing revenue. You can use google sheets to create a simple marketing budget.
9. Active social media accounts
Social media is an unavoidable component of business today- it is what your business needs to go viral. There are many perks to having active social media pages and accounts for your business. For starters, you get to take advantage of platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to expand your reach. But what is more rewarding with social media for business is the increased engagement levels.
Potential customers can interact in real time with your brand messages. They can share with their friends and help to amplify your brand awareness. You can also take the opportunity to be part of their lives, to show that you care with customized products and services for their special days like birthdays, graduations and weddings.
When you get active on social media, you will be doing your website a big favor. Search engines, for instance, Google and Bing consider your social media traffic in the ranking of search results.
10. A Customer Relationship Management Software
A CRM system lets you manage your existing customers, win back former customers and find new ones. Essentially, what CRM does is collect, analyze and manage customer data in a way that you can quickly mine insights from it.
CRMs are profitable both for big and small business ventures. By obtaining useful information on the levels of customer satisfaction, you can use strategies to improve the situation and treat them better than the competition. You will be able to decrease customer agitation when you streamline customer service operations. Better customer service will lead to brand loyalty and increased revenues. CRM also helps with upselling, internal communication and marketing. Take advantage of platforms like Capsule which is free to start. Others include Salesforce and SugarCRM.
The market is full of monopolies and upcoming businesses. All that competition and barriers can suffocate your small business even before it sees the light of day. Hope lies in business technology. Arm yourself with the tips mentioned above to facilitate survival and growth for your business.