The advent of the internet has changed the landscape when it comes to small business ownership, in terms of where the market exists and how information makes it to potential customers, and the tools companies use to track that information. With 2.1 million online retailers on the scene and millions of more small businesses using the internet as a tool for continued success, it’s imperative that small-business owners learn how to leverage the power of the internet.
Here are some online-enabled tools and techniques that small-business owners can use to improve their margins and take their ventures to the next level:
Project management software
Keeping your deadlines in order, making sure your invoices are paid, and keeping track of all the efforts you’re putting toward maintaining your organization can be done with pen and pencil on paper — but it doesn’t have to be. Project management software is an online, collaborative tool that can help you organize your projects and coordinate effectively across your business. When there are a lot of moving parts, the chance that one of those parts gets neglected goes up, so utilize project management tools to keep track. Tools like JIRA, Airtable, and Trello are all examples of this kind of application.
The internet is a powerful marketing tool. It’s convenient, cost-effective, and opens your business to a potentially global audience. In the past, brick-and-mortar locations would need to rely on physical marketing (thus, limiting their scope), but internet marketing brings the world to your doorstep in a very real sense.
Utilizing online marketing services could give your business a boost. Social media advertising services, for instance, can help you tailor your marketing efforts for audience and location. If you run a local pet store, you can tailor your advertising to only appear to people who own pets. Consider hiring a freelance social media advertising specialist through online job boards where you can weigh reviews, delivery time, and cost before making any decisions.
Customer relationship management
Understanding the customer lifecycle is an integral part of making sure your business is as successful as you know it can be. Customer relationship management (CRM) applications can help you follow your customers and clients throughout that lifecycle and can streamline the sales process.
Employee background checks
Before hiring any consultants to do the above activities, you want to make sure you perform adequate background checks. If you intend to do an employee background check, be sure to follow the regulations set by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). For instance, some states don’t permit employers to consider arrests not leading to a conviction, while some even prohibit employers from doing a criminal background check until after a conditional offer has been made. The bottom line is: Dot your I’s and cross your T’s.
Power at your fingertips
The internet is a powerful tool — it’s just a matter of using it effectively to take your venture to that next level. Is it time for you to look into streamlining your online marketing efforts and improve your processes? Contact Smartify for more information about how they can help you automate processes and create the business structures you need to fully utilize automation tools.
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