Growing a small or medium business is no easy task. There’s so much to think about, from finding office space, to buying the right technologies and supplies, to finding the right talent to join your teams. But once you have all that down, it’s smooth sailing, right?
Well, not exactly. Your business may still face roadblocks when trying to find new customers, strengthen relationships with existing clients or get up to speed with their demands.
If you are struggling with these issues, it’s okay. You aren’t the first company to face difficulties and there are ways to can improve your operations. Below are a few tips to get you started.
You Aren’t Doing Your Homework
One of the biggest SMB blunders is a failure to perform cost-conscious market research. Perhaps you believe that research and planning are only vital during big, important launches? Or perhaps you don’t have the resources necessary to hire an agency. Whatever the reason, it’s crucial you change your mindset as quickly as possible.
As anyone who’s been there can tell you, a shoddy marketing campaign can do more to hurt your brand than help it. So, take advantage of cheap research techniques such as:
– Contacting secondary sources. Government agencies, industry professionals and college professors often have the answers you need.
– Reading the latest news. Odds are, you aren’t the first person to try something. Look at what others have done, and read into what worked best for them.
– And asking online communities. Quora, Reddit and LinkedIn are wonderful places to garner shared knowledge and put it to use.
Similarly, it’s crucial that you assess the fallout of any campaign. If the saying is true, and hindsight is 20/20, you’re doing yourself and your organization a disservice by not seeking to understand the successes and failures of your marketing strategies.
Over time these evaluations will become second-nature. Not to mention that your experiences, if properly documented, will become your own sources for future campaigns.
You Don’t Have Your Head in the Cloud
In the past few years, cloud computing has taken the business world by storm; and for good reason. Cloud computing is affordable, flexible and arguably safer than on-premise solutions.
Yet many SMBs are slow to adopt cloud technologies. This can lead to inconsistent data management, irretrievable information storage and more clerical headaches than you can imagine. It’s time for a better way.
Take enterprise resource planning (ERP) for example. Instead of having to create, manage and synchronize multiple tables for multiple departments, a cloud ERP for business seamless connect various team members into a real-time pipeline of valuable information. This is perfect for keeping manufacturing, supply chains and global financials on track.
The cloud can also simplify finance, accounting, payroll, customer relationship management (CRM), infrastructure scaling and much more so you can focus on growing your business.
You Aren’t Using the Best in Collaboration
If your company has satellite offices around the country or employs remote workers you may find it difficult to communicate effectively. Email threads can become long and cumbersome and teleconferencing leaves a lot to be desired.
Thankfully, there are several collaboration solutions that won’t break the bank:
– Video conferencing. These tools enable workers, clients and partners to meet virtually face to face.
– Social intranet. In much the same way that social media keeps people up to date on the latest news, events and happenings, a social intranet allows employees to engage in open discussions and stay abreast of company news.
– Chat platforms. These services are perfect for live conversations or archived discussions; much more nimble than standard email.
Once you’ve adopted these services, you’ll realize that a connected company is a productive company.
In the end, the key to growing your business is getting out of your comfort zone and exploring new opportunities in marketing, technology and collaboration. Are you up for the challenge?