It’s no secret that times have changed. Corporate consolidations, new technology, global markets, banking restrictions, security concerns and a tough economy all impact our business practices and can mean both positive and negative effects to the bottom line. Embracing, rather than ignoring, these changes can breathe new life into your small business via new customers, cost-saving systems, and additional sources of inventory. Here are a few ideas that can help move your small business along:
Compete on a larger level. Are you a small, independent store or dealership losing business to chains and multi-location stores? You can market your wares anywhere via the Internet and have a presence that challenges the big guys. Make sure your web site is up-to-date and provide your customers reasons to come back and visit often. No web site? It’s time to get that going.
Add new tools and technology. Are you still operating your business the way you did ten years ago? Ask your vendors or providers what their new product offerings are. Maybe you can upgrade your inventory software or utilize new payment services to streamline operations and save money. Internet or email marketing may be a more cost effective way to reach out to customers than traditional advertising and many services can offer tracking and measurable results. With a multitude of new tools out there, this a good time to update your systems to better serve your customers and your business. Optio Solutions is always looking for better, faster, more expansive ways to make our collections more effective and to save our clients’ valuable time and effort. Staying on top of new technological trends allows us to keep up with both our clients and the people who owe them money.
Stand out from the competition. Find out how you differ from the competition. Visit them, call them, and maybe buy something from them. Ask some of your customers why they buy from you. Once you’ve defined your ‘differentiating factor’ use it in your marketing, on your web site, and in your emails. Can’t find it? Use this exercise as an opportunity to develop it.
Communicate with your customers. There are many ways to communicate with your customers. Social media and email marketing make it easy and affordable to inform your customers when special sales or services are available. Start with an in-house mailing list and periodically let your customers know they are valued. You can thank them for your business, offer a coupon or invite them to enter a contest.