One of the biggest fallacies is believing that there’s no point in doing something now because it would have been better if you made a decision earlier. This is not even a conclusion; it’s an excuse, and it’s almost always making you lose even more time and putting you further behind your competitors.
Therefore, here are a few things your business should have started doing long ago.
Invest More Into Your SEO
SEO can ensure that your business is found even by the laziest of your potential customers. Many people don’t do the research; they pick the first result after a Google search. Others do some research, but this still comes down to comparing the first 2 to 3 results.
This platform comparison process seldom extends past the first page. Here’s what you should do to get ahead.
- Think globally: You can benefit from global targeting even as a small business. First of all, it’s more traffic, which is a significant ranking factor. Second, with so many drop-shipping and freight forwarding services, as long as your goods are not perishable, you don’t need a complex infrastructure to find buyers abroad.
- Increase your authority: Another hidden perk of your SEO is that, with better rankings, your trustworthiness also grows. People don’t understand how the algorithm works, but they assume that the best sites (after careful vetting by search engines) come to the top. They’re not wrong, either.
- Convince them it’s their idea: SEO is like “Inception.” Your job is to position yourself so well that your audience starts believing they are the ones to find you and not vice versa. This means that their defense mechanisms will remain inactive, and you’ll have an easier job making a sale.
The best thing about SEO is that once established, it gives passive benefits for quite a while.
Pick-up Some Accounting Software
Theoretically, you could handle all your accounting via Sheets or Excel tables. You could even do it on paper. Does this mean that it’s the optimal way to handle things? Of course not! You need accounting software, and you need it as soon as possible.
Fortunately, there are many great accounting software options out there, and you can go through the selection of the best ones to find the ideal choice for your organization. For a small business, any top-rated software will be good enough.
The benefits of using such a tool include:
- Higher accuracy: The likelihood of human error is drastically reduced, which is incredibly important in accounting. This is not only in your best interest but also your legal obligation. In other words, good accounting software can keep you out of jail.
- Saving time: Most accounting processes are related to data entry, all of which can be automated with the right platform. When you connect the platform to your accounts, you’ll find that the majority of these processes get sorted out on their own.
- Real-time oversight: In the past, you had to do an audit to determine if someone was keeping their hands in the company register. Today, you can receive an alert for every transaction (even an authorized one).
Overall, using accounting software is a no-brainer for anyone looking to improve their organizational efficiency.
Prioritize Customer Experience
Everyone’s experience is subjective, but this is just a lazy answer when it comes to customer service. So many ways are almost guaranteed to improve your customer service, from small quality-of-life improvements to your UI to major executive decisions.
- Profile your customers: What kind of language do you use when talking to a child? What about when you talk to a coworker or a friend? You always adjust the message to the recipient, so why would it be any different in the business world?
- Provide exceptional customer service: People always return where they’re treated right. This is your cheat code to get a great number of returning customers. Great and forthcoming customer service will amass many loyal fans, and this is probably the first point you need to start addressing.
- Act on feedback: Everyone gathers feedback, but many brands stop there. They ask you what you (as a customer) want, and then they fail to deliver on their promise. You’ll already be way ahead of your competition by just taking action on this feedback.
In the end, you must prioritize customer service above all else. If you fail at this bottleneck, nothing can help your growth. Remember that regular customers make up about 60% of all your revenue, so you should always take them seriously.
Diversify Your Revenue
In an ideal scenario, you would sell just one product/service (the most profitable one) and outsource all the rest. However, relying on a single stream of revenue makes your business a lot simpler, but it also makes things a lot riskier. Here’s how you can diversify to make things a bit simpler.
- Find new sales channels: Selling through your site is a standard procedure, but it’s not necessarily the best way to conduct business. Why not use your social media as well? Why not make an app? With more sales channels, you’re creating more revenue venues.
- Introduce new products/services: Even if you have a product that’s doing well, these things can change in a heartbeat. You need a way to secure your sales and an easy way to pivot if things go south. You’ll ensure this by introducing new products and services early (while your main product is still doing well).
- Offer subscription services: Some people want your service but can’t afford it. So, what are they going to do about it? Either pirate it (if there’s an option) or not use it. Well, if you start a subscription service, you can capitalize even on this corner of the market, giving them affordable monthly access rather than forcing them to pay a large sum upfront. The best part is that you can create a more steady revenue stream.
This doesn’t have to be anything major, like branching out your business. Sometimes, you need to add more variety to your earning potential.
Invest in Employee Development
Many employers are reluctant to invest in their employees because they know they could leave the company at any point. However, this is never a good business strategy. In fact, this lack of progress and career growth could drive them away a lot sooner.
- Grooming future leaders: Hiring a specialist or bringing a leader from outside is expensive, unreliable, and difficult. This is why you must look inward and find people you believe would be great future leaders. You can start mentoring them and give them more responsibility, little by little.
- Ask them about their future aspirations: Here’s an idea: why not ask an employee where they want to be in a few years? Perhaps a lateral move (that puts them on a better career path) could feel like a promotion. The only way to tell for sure is to ask.
- Lead by example: Going home early while your team has to do extra work will not make people respect you. Never ask your team to do something you’re unwilling to do yourself. Invest in your education, and others will respect you (perhaps even follow your lead).
Ultimately, your staff is your future. Sure, employees will come and go, but you have to work with the team that you’ve got.
Enhancing Your Cybersecurity
In the past, getting hacked sounded scary, but the consequences weren’t really that dire. After all, what could a hacker steal from your computer in 2001? Your savegames and a few photos? Today, when all your banking data is saved in your browser, and every single one of your employees works from home (logs into company accounts from your home computer), things are much different.
So, how do you do it?
- Insist on stronger passwords: If your employees don’t understand how to make good passwords, you must make it a policy. Don’t allow them to register with passwords that are too short and don’t have numerals, capital letters, and symbols. Also, tell them to avoid using the same passwords for other platforms.
- Teach them about phishing: One of the most important things you need to do is teach your team how to recognize phishing. You’re already moving in the right direction by just teaching them what phishing is and what forms it can take.
- Introduce BYOD and working from home policy: People who work from home are your weakest link, as well as those who use their own devices for work (their own phone and laptop). Unknown devices may have malware and keyloggers installed. Also, if people are not always working from an office, they can expose themselves to unverified networks. You’ll make a difference already with a good BYOD and working-from-home policy.
As you can see, no matter which tools you use, educating your employees is the key to making your company’s cybersecurity more resilient.
Automating Repetitive Tasks
One of the things you need to take into consideration is the automation of repetitive tasks. By doing so, you’re freeing up your team from having to handle these tasks, which gives them more time to focus on those tasks that can’t be done without them.
It’s not just that these repetitive tasks (like data entry) take time; they also kill productivity. After a few hours, concentration begins to slip, and it’s much more likely that mistakes will be made.
Automating these tasks also reduces the likelihood of human error. This also brings us to the topic of this article – the sooner you introduce it, the fewer errors there will be. Each error can be potentially expensive, so automation saves you money.
- Data entry and management: You can use scripts to automate data entry. Modern intelligent information management tools can sort even unstructured data. The progress in the field of NLP has made sure of that.
- Customer relationship management: With the right CRM software, you can have all the customer data saved in a centralized database. This way, it’s easier to analyze, segment, and retarget all your customers.
- Employee onboarding: While gaining experience is something that can’t be skipped, there are some tutorials and briefing segments that are quite repetitive. Creating instructions and videos and combining them all into a single platform can make a world of difference and save everyone a lot of time. It also ensures that your entire staff gets the same onboarding.
If nothing else, automation helps you become more consistent across the board.
Investing in Social Media
Every business owner knows that their brand needs to have a social media presence; however, how much do you actually commit to social media?
The first misconception you need to get out of the way is that you understand how to run your brand’s social media accounts. First, just because you have social media doesn’t mean you understand how to run it for a brand.
Second, just because you can register and post for free, this doesn’t mean that you should completely ignore sponsored posts. The potential of going viral as a free branded post is more limited than you think.
Here’s what you should do as soon as possible:
- Get a social media manager: A professional or a lead generation agency fully dedicated to your brand is the only way to get a decent representation on social media. This way, your engagement will skyrocket, and you won’t burden yourself with additional responsibilities.
- Set a social media marketing budget: As we’ve mentioned, you need to spend some money to make money, and setting a social media budget is a step in the right direction.
- Create a brand persona: Brands perform best when they have a consistent tone of voice and values. This is why it’s so important to create a strong brand persona. Some of the best brands ever are already doing it.
There’s a difference between being on social media and doing it right. You need to start doing the latter as soon as possible.
Later is Always Better Than Too Late
Remember that even if you miss the window of opportunity where an idea is ideal, adopting it may still make sense. This is not an investor’s market where buying a stock that exploded a few months ago is no longer a solid financial choice.
A good business decision is still a good decision, and it’s still worth making.