One thing I've learned over the years as a small business accountant is that in business you have to embrace change. To stay competitive and get business growth, you need to keep your eyes open, be not afraid to experiment and always be ahead of the curve. Does that mean you will always get it right? Of course not. Whilst I have seen the odd example of an enterprise doing well without any digital presence, these are rare in the extreme. Alexandra Cain recently made some observations in the Company Director magazine which I thought were quite informative. Here are some of her key points.
Figure 1: Ignoring the digital age is almost certain death for any small business.
1. Without Being Online You Will Be Hard To Find
If I look at my profession there a hundreds of small business accountants Sydney & Dubbo. Most people looking for a service or product these days will go straight to Google. According to inbound marketer, Hubspot 44% of all shoppers use a search engine when they are researching purchases.
Whilst other forms of offline still work such as word of mouth and television, print and radio still work, not being found on the internet will make it harder for people to perform their 'digital interview'.
2. Get A Professional Website
If you are going to take the plunge and take advantage of being online then you should have an up to date and professional looking website. Remember the days when people turned up to the shopfront and obtained their first impressions? Well, these days your website could be the first impression. If it looks shabby, is not very easy to navigate around or out of date, chances are they will jump to one of your competitors.
When was the last time you had a look at your website?
Figure 2: A webiste like Homer's probably isn't going to work!
3. Understand Search Engine Optimisation
Making your business easier to find will usually involve having an understanding of search engine optimisation (SEO). This is simply making sure that your website or online content such as blogs has keywords that people are searching for on search engines that relate to your industry. If I am a small business accountant Sydney that wants business owners who need help with cash flow, profits, business valuations, taxation, business growth and asset protection, then I am going to make sure my website and content contains these key words.
Do your research in Google and find out how many times people are searching for certain key words that relate to what you sell and then make sure these have been populated accordingly in any online presence you have.
4. Have A Digital Strategy
Sit down and work out what you need to do to get a digital strategy in place. Where necessary get an expert to help you. Dollars invested upfront should come back at least 10 times if you do it right. Business valuers these days will look to see whether you have a digital strategy in place that's working when performing their small business valuation on you. If this is already in place, the prospective purchaser will put a big tick beside this point making it easier to sell and for a much higher price.
Figure 3: Whilst stone age tools still work the world has moved on to digital and so should you if you haven't done so already.
5. Consider Google AdwordsLike any marketing test and measure is always necessary. If you have a great website and you have done your research, try Google Adwords for one part of your product or service and see how it goes. Of course you need to work out costs per click and the number of clicks it might take to get the sale (compared to the cost) but you also might be getting a new customer who will buy from you over and over again so that should be taken into account.
If you are in business, do not take the new age for granted. If you want to protect what you have consider the digital age as a very useful tool to drive more revenue and profits your way while others continue to ignore it. Do not wait until things get very slow and your business is sitting at death's door to act.
Embrace it now while you can and get the impetus to push your business forward to not only survive but also thrive!