Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, but they arrive at a disadvantage as compared to the big corporations. Namely, they don’t have massive amounts of capital bolstering their operations. Where a small business can make up the difference, however, is in its ability to leverage modern technology and business ideas.
Leveraging technology used to be prohibitively expensive for many businesses (think the supercomputers of the latter 20th Century,) but nowadays business technology has been more or less democratized, available for use by any business with an Internet connection.
The same goes for savvy business ideas, which are no longer exclusive to corporations able to afford top advisors – nowadays smart, cutting-edge ideas are spread among business owners via articles and blogs (like this very one). In short, it’s easier than ever to modernize your business.
Modernizing your small business helps you gain that all-important advantage – over other small businesses in your industry, as well as the big ones. To help you get started, here are four fantastic ideas.
Deploy Workflow Automation
There are a number of workflow automation platforms and apps on the market that help your small business boost productivity by removing unwarranted manual labor. Say, for instance, the retail assistant at your boutique (in this narrow example, the small business is a retail store) spends a lot of time in a day manually tracking inventory, calling suppliers, manually ringing up customers, etc. Workflow automation tools can help systematize those processes to become automatic. The same goes for B2B companies.
Lease Your Equipment and Fleet
You don’t need a high-priced financial advisor in your corner to tell you what the big corporations do. It’s no big secret – they lease their fleet and equipment. Rather than throttle cash flow by purchasing vehicles and equipment outright, savvy companies opt for the less expensive monthly payments of a lease, that way they can use the residual capital to continue growing, marketing and operating efficiently. Leasing, like the commercial auto leasing by Auto One, also comes with tax benefits, and allows companies to drive newer, more image-friendly vehicles.
Redesign Your Website
One of the easiest, albeit overlooked, ways to modernize your business is to improve your website. Tantamount to giving your brick and mortar storefront a fresh coat of paint in the old days, redesigning your website improves your typical first point of contact with a consumer or B2B client. And the consensus is clear: simplify, simplify, simplify. Websites with confusing layouts, multiple tabs and calls to action don’t perform nearly as well as simple, minimalist websites that lead a user toward an end goal (like purchasing a product, viewing a demo or signing up for a newsletter).
Leverage Social Media
Finally, if you aren’t on social media, you have a big blind spot in your marketing and engagement strategy. Social media allows you to cheaply reach consumers, connecting with them, driving traffic to your website, building out brand loyalty and fostering word of mouth recommendations. Find the channels that are right for you, strike a tone consistent with your brand, and offer compelling content.
Those massive companies may have the capital, but your small business can leverage the same technology and employ the same bold ideas.