Unless you have a very unique product or service, chances are that sooner or later, your small business is going to have to face some competition. Although the economy is on the upswing, many consumers are being a little more careful where their dollars are spent. In order to standout among the sea of businesses like yours, you need to have a competitive business strategy. This starts with staying on top of technology and knowing how potential customers use it to determine where they will shop.
For example, last night I went to order Chinese but the restaurant from which I planned to order not only lacked a website, I also could not find their menu posted online. As you may guess, I ended up ordering from another place. In this day and age, it is essential that almost all businesses have a website. Most of these can be easily and cheaply made one-page deals because most brick-and-mortar establishments only have to have a few details on their site.
The most important thing to include on your site is contact details. This can be as simple as posting the phone number and location of your small business; or it can be more elaborate by having a Contact Us form that people can use to ask questions. It is important to note, however, that if you choose to go this route, that any questions you receive should be answered not only courteously, but also in a timely manner. Think of it this way, every hour that a customer waits for an answer, is an hour that they could be spending on your competitor’s website. Another must-have for your business webpage is an About Us section. This can include a story about what makes your business unique, but it can also simply outline any goods or services you offer.
Some other things that you can consider offering on your small business webpage is a feedback area and a newsletter. Both of these allow you to reach out to your customer and the former allows customers to reach out to you. This is important to help develop a relationship with your customers that can lead to brand loyalty. The more areas of a website that a customer can explore, the more time they can spend on your site. This is important because the more time a customer has to familiarize themselves with your business, the more likely a sale will be made.
You should also consider implementing a mobile version of your website. In the age of cell phones, as many as 4 out of 5 customers may visit your site using a mobile device. The easier it is for them to navigate your site, the better.
Having a well developed website is only the first step in creating a competitive business. The rest is really about staying knowledgeable on the technology available to your field. This includes having recent business systems—whether that means having an up to date point of sale system or using new programs for your back end. Staying on top of the technology can help you stay organized and relevant. It can also help increase productivity, as many newer technologies are designed for ease of use.
Finally staying competitive means learning to use current marketing channels available to your type of business. This might mean implementing a social media campaign but it also may mean using local media to advertise. Check to see what other small business owners are doing to get into the customer’s eye but also do your research to see what strategies will work for you.