The driving force behind any startup business is vision: a keen market insight that spells opportunity for a product or service. When launching a company, most new business owners generally bring two or three marketable assets to the table. Entrepreneurs are fortunate if they can combine sales and promotional strengths with technical and operational know-how. There is a rare breed of new business owners who can wear many hats without sacrificing what they do well. At the outset, there will be many responsibilities, some of which must be learned as time and resources allow. Before taking the plunge into the marketplace, assess which of your skills are essential to success and which ones need improvement. You should have a working knowledge of these four areas.
Your sales prowess may be so strong that you can sell sand at the beach, but all that revenue is no good if you don’t know where to funnel it. Many small businesses fail not because of a lack of sales, but because of financial mismanagement. There are vendors to be paid and taxes to file, yet a lack of knowledge about basic accounting functions can spell doom. Software packages such as QuickBooks Online, which saves the average user about 11 hours per month, offer more convenient ways to manage profits and losses without sacrificing productivity in the field.
If you prefer to use pen, paper, and traditional marketing outlets in your business, think again. In 2014, estimates put forth by the Global System for Mobile Communication Association suggest that there are more mobile computing devices in the world than people. It is crucial to use smartphones and tablets in the workplace, and digital advertising through social media is a necessary part of any marketing campaign. Through September 2016, Facebook had nearly 1.8 billion monthly active users, and about 35% of Canadians expressed interest in receiving coupons on their mobile devices.
Search Engine Optimization
With millions of people shopping online, a prudent small business owner must focus on how to be found in cyberspace. Building a website is great, and no business should be without one – but how do you drive traffic to that website? Search engine optimization is a skill that you’ve got to embrace and leverage in today’s virtual marketplace. SEO uses keywords and phrases to propel business websites to rank high in results returned by search engines, such as Google. While you may want to seek some help in optimizing your website, having a good grasp of SEO is essential for any business.
The days of flooding your prospects’ postal boxes are long gone. Applications and platforms such as MailChimp allow you to customize email marketing campaigns, allowing for delivery of slick marketing messages on optimal days at optimal times. Learning how to compose and design your email messages helps potential customers distinguish between what resonates and what gets dumped in the virtual trash.