As a small business, you have a lot of advantages over your larger counterparts – you’re nimble and agile, you have complete control over where your business is going and it’s easy to get close to your customers. However, there are plenty of cost effective practices and technologies SMBs can borrow from larger enterprises which will help you run your business more efficiently.
Here are four inexpensive and achievable techniques you could be using now:
Make use of Google Analytics. Big data is a buzz word you might have heard thrown around by marketers in large companies, but big data can be useful and accessible to small businesses as well. The best place to start is your own website, and Google Analytics is a free tool that will give you a wealth of insight about your audience and how they use your site. This can help you refine and target your website to increase the time spent on site and encourage them to return promptly. You can also use this data to understand who is viewing your product, which can help you with overall strategic planning.
Cloud technology – hosting your key business processes in the cloud is no longer out of reach for small businesses. This includes both cloud based storage tools that allow you to access your collateral anywhere, whether you’re with a client, at home or out on the road; or cloud based service tools that can allow you to complete tasks such as your accounts or tax returns from anywhere. When it comes to selecting the products, there are lots of options and many are inexpensive and aimed at a small business audience. Talk to your peers to get an idea of what they use and whether it might be right for you too.
Social media is a great way to keep track of your customers’ views on your business products or services. This kind of insight used to be only accessible to big businesses through expensive qualitative research. Although it may not provide all the detail qualitative research does, engaging with your social community and listening to what they have to say can tell you what you’re customers are loving that could be extended or replicated across other parts of the business. It also acts as an early warning sign that something may not be quite right so you can fix it before it becomes a bigger problem.
There are some expensive technologies that provide real value for money in the long term but require significant capital outlay, for example environmental solutions that minimise waste, energy or fuel consumption. However some companies will support you in purchasing these as an operational, rather than capital expense, which can give small businesses access to technologies normally out of their reach.
All these techniques are great low cost ways of bringing big business efficiencies into your small business at a fraction of the cost. Small businesses achieve very big things. By taking advantage of the tools and technologies on offer for big businesses, even more is possible.
About the Author:
Peter Burr is the Chief Marketing Officer for Forum Group