Before online set-up, it was notoriously difficult to get any business established, and there was restricted entry into the business world as a whole. As before, the internet businesses depended on their local customer base for survival and had to rely on newspapers and magazines for any promotion. However, now with the internet, the initial start-up fees are reduced, and it is far easier to start a small business. You can gain visibility and make relations with consumers, other companies, or even investors through your website or build a strong customer base by utilising social media, which we touch upon more in the section below if you continue reading for Growing Your Small Business.
Putting your business online allows your goods and services to reach a worldwide audience and can also help you find and manage competitors or companies that you may want to affiliate with. The internet has also made it more manageable in terms of recruitment for businesses. Especially if you’re small business applies to a specific niche, it makes for a much faster process. It enables companies to find talented individuals who can help your business continue to grow.
Using Social Media to Growing Your small Business Online
One of the greatest inventions that stemmed from the internet is the creation of social media, which many small business owners claim is one of the most extensive tools in their arsenal. The luxury of social media enables advertising opportunities and promotion through ‘sharing’ and interacting with businesses posts, all of which small businesses rely on to expand and broaden their customer base. As well as promotional benefits, social media has effectively eliminated the middle man and enabled small businesses to interact with customers and other companies directly, therefore improving business and customer relations.
Examples of such would be responding to reviews online, giving information and answering customer queries via email or an online form, and submitting return requests/labels, which would delay the production of small businesses further, especially without the advantage of the internet. In addition, you can create online surveys for your customers so that you can trial products before committing to producing larger quantities, which reduces the chance of failure and money loss. Without the creation of social media, we also probably wouldn’t have access to many online shopping platforms, which most small businesses first build an online platform off. If you’re a small business owner, do you think you’re using the internet to your advantage or to the best of your capability?
Choosing the Correct Website and Add-Ons- Growing Your Small Business
As a small business owner, it’s paramount that you choose or build a suitable website for your business needs, including add-ons such as security and implementing SaaS contract best practices wherever possible. Choosing incorrectly will not only cost you more money but limit your business growth potential. If you imagine, your website is the first impression that a potential customer will receive of your business, and it needs to be relevant otherwise, the customer could lose interest. It would also have to appeal to the ideal demographic for your product/service; you could also try following these best practices to help you manage when building your SaaS stack.
Listening to Customer Feedback and Taking Criticism
It is known that customers are your best critics, and although criticism can hurt at times, it can be helpful in the grand scheme of things, especially when it comes to business. After all, some of the best business decisions are based on data, and customer feedback is one of the best ways to gather business-specific data that lets you understand how your customers feel about the product or service you deliver. You could do this by sending out satisfaction forms via email when a customer has placed an order or asking for reviews where possible.
In doing this, you can measure customer satisfaction and use this to determine whether you have met, surpassed, or failed your customer’s expectations. You can then use the data you’ve collected to formulate plans for the following product or service you provide and apply the findings to your future business plans. In doing this, you appear empathic to your consumers, and they will be more inclined to shop with you again, especially if they can see you’ve taken their feedback on board and will next time aim to fulfil their short- and long-term expectations.
Follow the Latest Trends- Growing Your Small Business
Successful entrepreneurs understand that keeping up to date with the latest online trends is crucial to keeping business afloat. Simultaneously the business industry and market are constantly changing to meet the new demands of their customers and stay relevant amongst the online community. Companies must comply with these changes, regardless of their size; otherwise, they risk becoming alienated or disappearing like so many other companies who aren’t successful with adaptation.
Keeping up with online trends can be beneficial in other ways for small businesses, as they can help you as an entrepreneur formulate business ideas and plan as to which trends might emerge in the future. Trends also set you aside from your competitors, as following them and implementing them in your business makes you look like a leader and not a follower, as the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who create trends and apply them to the business market.
To sum up, in this modern day and age, it is tough to operate a business, irrelevant of its size, without the internet. It has transformed the very nature of working life due to it being so all-encompassing and so accessible. In addition to revolutionising the way a business operates online, the internet has also introduced a wide range of changes necessary to business survival. The online web has given business owners the ability to promote their products and brand without solely relying on the media and the ability to engage with consumers and other businesses to build rapport and a loyal customer base. Simply put, any business today would struggle to survive without an online presence. Undoubtedly, it has had a profound effect on the way most companies operate, especially small businesses.