Complacency is something many of us are guilty of. Whether it’s waiting until the last minute to accomplish a task or not heeding the advice of a friend or colleague because you’re content and satisfied in the manner of doing something, this state of mind can close the door on many opportunities and not allow you to grow as an individual.
Complacency can also be a dangerous trait for small business owners, especially ones so comfortable in the way they manage their operations that they refuse to adopt any new technology or processes, regardless of the potential benefits. Their competitors may not share this trait, and their openness to new ideas and procedures could hamper the way the close-minded owner attracts and keeps new customers.
Change can be a good thing, and small business owners who delve into the following areas can expect “change for the better” in their overall operations:
You use them. Your customers use them. And your business could benefit from them as well. We’re talking about mobile applications, which have taken the business world by storm as the use of smartphones continues to rise at break-neck speed. Having a professional Web site is still important for all businesses, but so is an easy way for customers and prospective customers to easily interact with your business through their iPhones and Androids. An owner or operator can quickly draw in a significant amount of traffic by offering a specific service or discount only through their mobile Web app. Every business is different, so put yourself in your customers’ shoes when developing a mobile application. What works for one business may not work for yours.
If you think social media sites like Facebook or Twitter are just for communicating with friends and colleagues, think again. Small businesses are utilizing these sites at a growing rate and capitalizing on their huge popularity among people of all ages. It’s becoming more common for a potential customer to search out a business’s social media page before visiting their main Web site. This makes it the perfect spot to provide information on your products or services, offer specials or discounts exclusive to those visiting the site, allow them to purchase items or schedule services and reservations, and provide a forum for individuals to post questions and communicate with other customers. Some sites such as Facebook also offer advertising opportunities, which is often a great way to target specific customers.
Customer Relationship Manager
Sometimes thought of as a software application geared only toward larger businesses, customer relationship management (CRM) software or variant of it can nonetheless be a vital component of your business. These systems typically allow for such pertinent tasks as tracking and recording interactions, maintaining current and past customer contact information, documents and other details, and tracking. They empower your organization to build a more holistic record of each customer, and therefore enable you to provide them with continually more customized and better service.
A Professional Web Site
Ever stumble upon a Web site that looks like it was designed in 1998? That feeling you have is the same one your customer experiences if your Web site shows signs of aging and neglect. Although social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others play an ever-increasing role in building awareness of your company and communicating with both current and prospective clients, a modern, easy-to-navigate and fully functioning Web site is equally important, if not more so. First impressions can make or break a business, and its Web site is typically the first spot a prospective customer lands on to learn more about its products and services.
As history has shown, businesses and organizations that choose to let technology pass them by do so at their own risk. Adopting current trends and innovative processes not only gives your business a competitive advantage—especially among other businesses that haven’t incorporated them—it also provides your business with the means necessary to grow and be successful. An open mind, a little research and then focused execution goes a long way in keeping up with today’s technology.