Running a small business or starting up from scratch can be very challenging, especially if you don’t really have an abundance of resources. Your budget restricts your every move, and with just one or two people helping you manage a handful of employees, you can only focus on a couple of tasks at a time. You may have a lot of ideas to boost your business, but you simply can’t put anything into motion because of these restrictions.
Fortunately, there are ways to augment your limitations without spending a lot of your money. The following is a checklist to help your small business or startup thrive and achieve small business success.
3 Tips for Small Business Success
1. A good website for your business, to project a favorable image that will attract more customers
Maintaining a website for your company is a good way to make your presence felt online. Even if you’re just starting up or just a relatively small local brand, a good website lets your customers know that you exist, and it keeps them aware and knowledgeable of your products or services. It also gives them a way to connect with your brand, a channel for them to inquire about whatever it is you offer, or ask for after sales support.
Your website should look reputable and professional. You can start by choosing the right domain name, like your brand/company, or your best product. Remember that this will be a part of your site’s URL, so it should be easy to remember and search. Once you’ve settled in with the domain and URL, find a hosting service that suits your needs and your budget. Find the balance between reliability and affordability, because the last thing you’d want is a fast website that has nothing on it because you’ve blown your budget on hosting fees alone.
With the above items taken care of, you can now proceed with creating content for your page. It pays to learn about SEO or search engine optimization, so that you can have your page rank well on search engines like Google and Bing.
Using an online tool like SEMrush can help you get acquainted with effective SEO practices. This will help you plan your content so that it can attract more visitors, be more visible, and overall boost your sales.
2. A complete communications system that you can afford on a small business budget
Whether you have just two or more than 20 employees working for your small business, it is important to have a reliable communications system in place. Running a startup or a business with limited resources usually means that some people will have to take on extra roles. If you and your employees are involved in multiple, overlapping tasks and projects, communication is the key to success.
You need a robust communications system that provides not only voice calls, but also text-messaging and chat, team-messaging, and even conference calling. You may think that this is too much to ask from a communications system provider and that it would be very costly to have all these features. However, there are providers like RingCentral that provides all these and more at an affordable package. You can get an efficient team messaging and collaboration platform in one package, at a price that most small businesses can afford.
But before you sign up, ensure that all your communication needs will be taken care of by a single provider. You don’t want to sign up for a service, only to find out that you need to sign up for another one because your current package doesn’t have a feature that you need. Here are some of the things that you need to look for in a provider:
- Stable, high-quality voice calls with unlimited minutes
- Chat or SMS-enabled so that you have other means to connect with your employees
- Conference calling or online meetings
- Team messaging and collaboration-ready
- Integration with some of the most common workplace applications today
3. A robust CRM to make sure everything else is running smoothly
Lastly, you need a good customer relationship management system in place, so that you can keep track of your most valuable asset: the customers. A CRM is a software that tracks your business’ interactions with your customers and potential clients. This is where you store their information, including the names, email addresses, contact numbers, the company they work for, and more. In a way, it simplifies keeping a log of all the people you do business with, and it helps you analyze important data that you could use to tweak how you do business with customers.
With CRM, you can register your contacts and leads. Some of them may not be willing to purchase from you from the get-go, but in the future, it pays to keep track of them and wait when the time comes for them to buy. Properly tracking all of these data will reveal trends and possibilities that can help you improve as a product or service provider. Record your success and rejections, find a pattern, and learn how you can do better. You can start by learning about some of the top CRM providers, like Zoho CRM, and see if your business really needs one.
Running a small business or a startup can really be a challenge, especially when you don’t have deep pockets like the big-name brands in your industry, or the workforce that’s capable of taking down mountains of tasks in record time. However, if you are diligent enough to do your research, you can still make-up for these shortcomings with several items mentioned above. It pays to have a website for your brand/business because it keeps you visible online. You also need a reliable communications system to connect your employees and your customers. And finally, you need a robust CRM system to keep track of your interactions with your customers, so that you’ll be able to gather data on how you can improve your business further.
Author’s Bio: Francis Mansueto has been writing for more than a decade now, focusing on Digital Marketing in the last couple of years. He is currently in charge of writing web-optimized content for RingCentral, an industry-leading cloud phone systems provider. Francis is also a voracious reader, spending most of his free time immersed on fictional worlds. You can reach him through Twitter.