Sometimes your business doesn’t quite meet your own expectations. Sales start leveling off, you don’t have a clear next step or you’re confused about what’s working and what’s not. All of these are symptoms of a bigger problem: a lack of strategy.
What do we mean? In short, if big things aren’t happening to your business, it’s time to make a few changes so you can take your business to the next level. Here are a couple of essential tools that can help you get there without breaking the bank.
Your Local SBDC
SBDC is short for Small Business Development Center. While some regions have them, most bustling cities in the U.S. have some version of an SBDC. These resource centers are often run by volunteers, many of whom are educated, business owners themselves, or esteemed local professors that have been teaching economics and business development for many years. You can find a local chapter on the SBDC website.
Checklist & General Task Organization
There is something to be said for not forcing yourself to remember everything that must be done at all times. Often, we lose track of tasks we don’t write down, essentially resulting in lost time and good ideas going adrift. Fortunately, there are many solutions to this exact problem, many of which are specialized in organization and deadlines so that tasks get done in a timely manner. This way, you know what you’re spending your time on when you get to the office chair every day, and you know what you’re going to need to do before you leave it. While software like Process, Monday.com, and Trello are excellent checklist tools that will help you tremendously, you can also use a whiteboard or even plain printer paper to organize your daily tasks – whatever works for you.
Leverage Social Media
While many people feel that social media is built for consumers, the vast majority of social media platforms have tremendous tools for small business owners, too. Not only do they allow you to advertise on their platforms for pennies in comparison to Google, but data is also abundant. From audience age to location, you’ll be able to see who clicks on your advertisements, who doesn’t and how much it costs you per click. In addition, once you become more advanced at individual social media platforms, you’ll see tons of additional data that you won’t be able to pass up.
Precise Data and Customer Management
Many businesses do things “old school” or, alternatively, start up a business without any understanding of how to manage their own data. Fortunately, there are many tools to help you not only collect but also decipher customer data. Customer relationship management systems are robust platforms that keep track of your customers by giving you the ability to create internal files on them where all data, including transactions and communication, is stored. These tools can give you insight on what your customers do and how they do it, meaning you can be more proactive and can pursue the correct audiences faster. Not to mention these tools can offer assistance with finding new audiences, segmenting current audiences and nurturing your database for better retention and engagement.
When you employ the right tools at the right time, your business will have a clearer vision and idea going forward into the future. If your solutions are unified and work well together, and you’ll be on your way to success.
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