Services for Entrepreneurial Success

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Business Process Automation (BPA) is a term all businesses, especially small ones, need to be familiar with. What is it you ask? It’s the “technology-enabled automation of activities and services, such as sales, marketing, management, operations, human resources, and information technology,” Gulf South Tech explains. Why is it so important? For starters, chances are your small business has a small staff count, so business process automation frees up you and your employees from manual, day-to-day tasks to focus on other, more important areas. In doing so, you can improve task efficiency, reduce errors, and enjoy increased sales and customer service as a result of your speedy, but efficient, processes.

Small businesses run on limited time and funds, so anything you can do to increase your chances of entrepreneurial success and gain a competitive advantage over other companies in your industry is a win-win. Keep in mind that some services are free, while others come with a fee, but you can be certain they will help your business flourish now and in the future

Don’t Agonize Over Website Design

It’s true what they say about your website being the first impression a customer has of your business, but this doesn’t mean you need to spend hours figuring out HTML code, graphics, and design. You want your website to be eye-catching, but there are online website builders that make things so much easier by simply dragging and dropping various design elements and functions to build a website that accurately represents your business and attracts customers. Website builders like Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, etc. all make it easy to update your website without design or tech know-how. Pick a template and build from there by adding a FAQ page, product descriptions, blog, and contact information. Do your research, as each website builder comes with its pros and cons. For example, Wix is often touted as the best all around website builder due to its advanced customization, but Squarespace offers the best design options, although it is a little more complicated. When deciding on which company to use to host your website, make sure to consider costs. Business hosting offers superior performance, but if your website doesn’t have high traffic, you can save by using a shared hosting service.  For example, GoDaddy offers shared hosting for as little as $12 a year.

Take the time to really make your website shine. You don’t have to make it complicated, but we’ve all come across more than our fair share of websites that look like they haven’t been updated in decades. It simply doesn’t make sense to spend money on a website builder only to let it sit and collect dust. Update it with fresh content and promotions, and consider adding a fun touch by switching up the design with each holiday, or at least every season. If you have a blog, try to update it at least once a month yourself, or hire a freelancer to provide you with engaging content.

Simplify Your Marketing Campaign

In order to keep your business afloat, you need to regularly attract customers and engage them via interesting content, social media activity, email blasts, etc. It’s a lot of work, but you don’t have to scramble to do it alone. Marketing automation software helps you boost and market your brand via content marketing, lead management, email, and social media management to help keep your message on target and turn those leads into returning customers. Look for software that provides the tools you need with built-in analytics to collect and organize data to help you gauge the success of your marketing campaign. You might also consider a program that is easy to integrate into your other software and systems, as well as one that is mobile-friendly for on-the-go management and progress check-ins.

This leaves you to focus on other areas of marketing, many of which are free. For example, you could follow up with customers to ask them to leave a review or give your company a shout out on their social media page. You could even turn it into a promotional tool. For every review or customer referral you could offer a small discount or freebie. Don’t forget to engage in the other tried and true methods of marketing such as networking, press releases, and email blasts.

Juggle Social Media Platforms With Ease

With busy customers that are always online, you’ll need to be able to juggle various social media platforms to capture unique and interested audiences on each via scheduled posts and promotions. It can be hard to keep up with posts and monitoring, which is where a social media management tool comes in to give you a single view of all your social media channels, enhanced workflow, better monitoring/listening, more user engagement, and an analysis of your social media marketing. Some of the popular management tools for small businesses are SproutSocial, Agorapulse, Buffer, Raven Tools, and Likeable Local. Each provide a free trial before committing, and offer their own unique features such as Facebook ads, which can be really beneficial to drive more customers to your business and website to boost sales and take a little of the marketing pressure off.

Keep in mind that using social media to further your business requires more than simply sharing your business Facebook page or gaining relevant followers on Instagram. Social media is a free tool you can use to engage your customers. Post a poll or ask a question. The question could be something fun or a question specific to your business such as gauging interest in a new product or asking for feedback on a new website feature. A great way to interact with current customers and attract new ones is with a social media contest or challenge. The possibilities are endless here. Perhaps you could draw names for a coupon from those who share a particular post or offer a prize to the funny photo that gets the most likes. Social media is your direct connection to your users, so utilize it.

You should now have a better understanding of how technology tools and services can support you or your employees in being more efficient. Isn’t that just what a savvy business owner needs? In part two you’ll learn even more ways to use technology to support your small business,… which of course supports you personally too.

by Lucy Reed

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