Small businesses owners can face multiple challenges, such as limited budgets and strong competition. In recent years though, unexpected opportunities have emerged that make setting up and running a small business on a budget far easier. A 2022 study conducted by the financial services corporation Visa revealed that 90% of small businesses owners worldwide are optimistic about their future. Among them, 54% said that they viewed 2021 as an opportunity to improve and reported good performance leading up to the New Year.
Businesses can ensure success by using the right tools. Technologies like CRM software, eCommerce platforms, chatbots, and social media pages can all help to boost business reach and improve a company’s bottom line. Below, we discuss a few of these effective tools, and how small businesses can maximize these for success.
If you want to keep all customer-related information in one place, consider using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. CRM software can track customer interactions across all channels, such as social media, emails, websites, and phones. They can even automate customer communications, such as email campaigns. With CRM software, businesses can understand where each customer stands in their respective buyer’s journeys.
USA Inquirer’s guide to the best CRM software recommends choosing CRM software based on budget, usability, personalization, integration, and support. Salesforce is a popular CRM option thanks to its sleek user interface and extensive customization options.
Social Media Pages
According to 2021 numbers, more than 240 million Americans, or 72.3% of the population, use social media. This creates a massive online market that small businesses can definitely tap into. Having a social media presence has thus become essential for small businesses.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow companies to create a profile and start sharing blog posts and deals in minutes. Social media pages allow businesses to interact with customers and increase their reach. Once a business is ready, it can even start to target paid ads to a specific audience defined by location, interests, and income.
In a time of massive algorithm-based marketing, people appreciate the effort put into personalized physical mail. Print media allows local businesses to send coupons that appeal to the particular needs of their neighbors, making them more effective.
A report from the United States Postal Service, for example, states that paper ads tend to provoke a stronger emotional response than their digital counterparts. Potential clients can choose to read the content or keep it for later, without having to remember how they found the link.
The lower costs of shipping a product have made owning an online store more profitable than ever. Setting up a system to process customer purchases used to be impossible for the average business owner, but today many websites offer this to businesses as a complete service.
AskMoney explains that platforms like Shopify are especially popular because they offer easy to set-up stores, together with the secure hosting needed to process payments. It also provides inventory, sales, and marketing analytics, making it an all-in-one solution for online selling, and a great asset for small businesses.
In the last couple of years, the demand for online stores and services increased considerably. Not all small businesses have the manpower to respond to every customer inquiry on time, which means that new technology like chatbots are a huge boon.
As we explain in a previous post entitled ‘6 Technologies to Extend Customer Touchpoints’, chatbot platforms are capable of answering questions like a human. This type of solution allows small businesses to quickly answer most of their clients requests via email or messenger. This is great if you want customers to be serviced even after hours, but leaving an open human-operated channel available as an option is always a good idea.
As time passes, the challenges small businesses face also change. As the landscape evolves however, so do the tools necessary to help manage a company. There’s no way to predict where the future of business is headed, but with the right set of tools there’s no problem small businesses cannot overcome.