The world of business is rapidly changing, and it can be overwhelming trying to keep up with the latest advances. However, it is what business owners need to do if they want to keep their company relevant and earning a profit.
Failing to embrace what is new can be the end of a company’s existence. Therefore, whether you do it voluntarily or are dragged into it kicking and screaming, you have to bring your business into the 21st century if you are to succeed.
Some of the biggest culprits when it comes to pretending the 21st century is not happening are small family-owned businesses. The prevailing attitude is that things have been done in a certain way for many years, and there is no need to change a system that is working. While that system may be working, is it sufficient to grow the company’s profits and keep it abreast or ahead of competitors?
The answer to that question is likely to be no. Therefore, it might be time to heed everyone else’s advice and focus on the future of how business will be done. Here are four ideas to help business owners get started:
Activate social media accounts
This might sound like child’s play, but there is a science and art to using social media to boost sales. Both sides need to be balanced if the company’s use of social media is to be successful.
First, bear in mind that there are different social media platforms for a reason. They serve different purposes and reach different audiences. Therefore, a social media approach cannot feature a one-size-fits-all approach.
Posts might convey the same message, but their construction, frequency, and content might need to differ to have the maximum effect on each platform.
This sounds intimidating, and it would be a mistake to assume that a few random posts constitute an optimal use of social media. Small companies often use freelance digital and social media marketing workers who help put their strategy together and execute it.
For social media to work, posts need to build a follower base that continues growing. They should also feature backlinks to the company’s website so that those interested in finding out more can do so with one click of a button. A simple online search will provide you with dozens of testimonials from companies that have expanded significantly after starting to use social media.
Change the way you sell
It might be time for a radical shift in how goods and services are sold. The days of people visiting a store are coming to an end, with far more people than ever wanting to make their purchases online.
It could be well worth looking for successful online stores available for sale and buying one to integrate your products into and generate a strong ecommerce presence.
Buying an ecommerce store allows you to use its infrastructure and customer database to get your online business running quickly. Look on trusted platforms if you are interested in buying an existing business that features an online store.
Another way to generate more sales is to accept various payment methods. While cash might be king, very few people carry it around with them anymore, preferring to use online payment mechanisms. It is time to accept debit and credit cards, both in-store and online.
An ecommerce store comes with payment options included in the checkout facility. Find out if there are additional ways you can use to let customers pay for purchases. The more convenient you make shopping online for customers, the likelier they are to make a purchase and return for another in the future.
Widen your product offering
While what the business has been selling might be tried and true products, that does not mean that there is no room for expanding the range. Consider adding to your product offering as this widens your customer base.
However, do not wander too far from what you currently sell at first. An incremental increase and expansion of products on sale are often best. Otherwise, customers might feel that you are abandoning what you are well-known for too swiftly.
Part of increasing the range of what you sell includes building on existing products and finding ways to improve them. People are always looking for products that will offer them multiple uses, so find a way to incorporate extra functions into yours.
Alternatively, find a way to make it more efficient by streamlining its design. Sometimes, something as simple as changing your packaging or the product’s color can renew its popularity. The move to the 21st century means embracing changes, even small ones, as they may have significant ripple effects.
Digitizing the company’s records is a useful exercise as it allows you to find documents with ease, instead of digging through dusty archives to find them. Once this task is complete, make sure that all future processes happen electronically.
This includes email correspondence between employees and with customers and suppliers. It also means conducting transactions electronically as this helps with recordkeeping.
This will require investing in tablets, computers, and printers for the odd documents required as hard copies. POS (point of sale) units with debit and credit card machines will also be a necessity in store.
A stable internet connection is also essential to facilitate online communications. Regular backups of information and using the cloud for data storage is easy and more secure than ever.
Developing a database of customer contact details will help with digital marketing campaigns, including email newsletters and sales brochures. Compare having that online instead of trawling through invoices and receipts for the information.
With all the company data online, it is possible to do trend analysis to determine what products are selling well, what strategies for generating sales are working, and any problems in supply chain management. These are only three trends a database provides an analysis of, but there is a lot more you can do with the information.