4 Things to Do Today That Will Help Your Business
It’s a time of uncertainty for small businesses. With most people holed up at home, no one knows what will happen with the economy – but people are feeling anxious and it is really easy to lose focus. If you're a small business owner, you're likely not thinking about marketing, sales, or business planning - you're just hoping to stay afloat.
Still, there are things we can be doing now to set ourselves up for success later. And focusing on the future helps us to not stress so much about the things we can’t control. So, in order to gain more control over your business destiny, below, please find four things you can be doing now to take care of your business.
1. Get serious about CRM
CRM (customer relationship management) software helps you keep track of customers and leads, market to them, and nurture them over time.
If you already have a CRM system in place, chances are that it isn’t always updated in real time. You likely have business cards, emails, spreadsheets, and random scraps of paper with lead info on them that should be entered into the system. There’s also a good chance that you haven’t yet explored all the features of your system. With things slowing down, now would be a good time to watch some tutorials, play around, and learn how to get the most out of your investment.
For those that haven’t implemented CRM software, there are a host of free, nearly free, and reasonably priced options. You can read about some of them here. If you're serious about growth - and want to be more disciplined in your business development efforts, you really need a CRM system. Start shopping around, reading reviews, and signing up for free trials to see what you like. Then, once you’ve picked one, spend some time learning the system, entering your contacts, and planning ways to use it to start growing your pipeline.
2. Revisit web content
Do some keyword research – and then update the title and text of blog posts, sections and pages to incorporate your new, improved keywords; add relevant section headings; add links to other relevant pages on your site; update graphics (and alt text).
3. Communicate with your contacts – thoughtfully!
If the current situation is impacting your day-to-day operations – and your customers and contacts need to know about it, make sure you’re communicating that. The best way to reach folks is an integrated approach:
· Update your website
· Email your customers
· Post to social channels and pin those posts to the top of your feed
· Update your details on your Yelp, Facebook, Google My Business profile and any other sites where you have a listing
However, if you do not have any useful information to share, try to avoid emailing your contacts. They are likely receiving messages from every business that has their email address – and many of those messages are not only unnecessary, but are also feeding the sense of panic and fear. Stand out by only communicating what you need to and offering only relevant info.
4. Review expenses and business practices
Your bookkeeper can be a lifesaver here. Take a look at expenses: Are you paying for monthly subscriptions that your business doesn’t really use? Are your receivables coming in a 30, 60 or 90 days past due – and might moving to a monthly credit card charge on the first, 15th or 30th of each month address that? Conversely, are you losing 3.5% or more of your fees on credit card transactions – and does it make sense to incentivize clients to pay by check?
By examining trends in your business, you can put processes and procedures in place to improve cash flow now – and in the future.
Don’t despair – prepare.
Everything might seem very overwhelming right now – but you can take control now to reap the benefits when things calm down. Feel free to reach out for advice or assistance – and don’t forget to stay positive and look forward.