Whether you’re a small business owner or solopreneur, new to the field, or a seasoned professional, there are tried-and-true rules of the game to follow if you want to be successful. Some are more obvious and take precedence over others, such as hiring the right people, managing your cash flow, and making sure you’re providing value to your customers. Over time, there may be key practices that fall by the wayside, and if you’re not doing them, you’re not getting the most out of your business. Consider the following tips on how to stay competitive.
- Have a Killer Website
Many small businesses don’t have a website. Having an online presence is a must if you want to expand your reach and stay competitive, so if you don’t already have one, now’s the time to get started. Even if you do have one, Raven suggests that it’s a good idea to do a little self-audit to make sure your site is working for you the way it should.
One area many small businesses neglect on their site is the quality of images and graphic elements. Hiring a graphic designer to create (or update) your logo and other visuals will set your website apart from the competition and isn’t as expensive as you might think.
- Implement a Reliable Invoicing System
Organizing your business’s finances and tracking cash flow and expenses is crucial to profitability. Grow your business by automating time-consuming tasks like invoicing. Software like QuickBooks Online Advanced allows you to create invoices faster, send out multiple invoices simultaneously, and duplicate invoices, all of which help you stay mindful about cash flow and expenses.
- Develop Relationships With Other Businesses
Between your employees, customers, vendors, and the businesses you regularly work with, it’s tempting to keep your connections only within that sphere. Though it does require a little extra effort, developing relationships with other professionals in your community is a best practice you shouldn’t forgo.
Networking groups, charitable events, and your local chamber of commerce are not only great places to meet people, but they help you put a face on your company and get your name out there. When other professionals begin to know and trust you, they will wholeheartedly recommend your company when the right opportunities arise.
- Revamp Your Marketing Strategy Regularly
Successful businesses regularly evaluate their marketing strategies to ensure the plat
forms they’re using and the money they’re putting in are actually increasing profitability. It may be time to get more creative and think outside the box. Maybe you could try:
- Blogging and creating regular content
- Participating in daily hashtagson social media
- Commissioning a mural
- Holding contests
- Using infographics
If all of this feels overwhelming to you, consider hiring a marketing strategist to analyze your data and point you in the right direction. A freelance social media manager could also do wonders for your company’s online presence.
- Make Sure Your Data Is Secure
If your company has an email list, has direct contact with customers, and also stores their data, it is of the utmost importance that you protect your network from cyberattacks. This is relatively easy to do, though you might need to hire help if you don’t already have an IT department. Make sure to:
- Backup your data regularly and have a disaster recovery plan
- Install antivirus and endpoint security software
- Create secure passwords and store them securely
- Provide regular security training for your employees
To be sure, running a business requires managing many moving parts and it’s often difficult to address everything, but regularly holding strategy sessions will help keep you on track and moving toward your goals. Even if you’re working on your own, there are qualified professionals you can lean on so you don’t have to do everything yourself.