The world of business can quickly swallow up those who enter it without being fully prepared. A lot of startups can go under as quickly as they formed, whether due to a lack of planning, foresight or management.
So, from the get-go, you need to have these three traits under control. It won’t come overnight, but by working hard and staying focused, any small business can become a force to be reckoned with in no time.
But not without help. Here are five critical web resources for small business owners around the world!
1. Tax Information
Anyone who’s self-employed hates the phrase tax return. It often makes for a less-than enjoyable evening slogging through numbers at a computer. It would be far easier if there were more information available, especially regarding expenses.
Well, surprising no one, there is. Small business owners can use the web to find information on the different kinds of expenses they can claim. Some are obvious, like vehicle costs – but did you know that you can claim back the cost of the coffee at that business meeting?
Doing this can save you quite a hefty sum of cash. If you do your tax return and realise you’ve missed something you could’ve knocked off, you’ll be kicking yourself. Make sure you’re aware of all the intricacies – every single piece of money saved really does count.
2. Economics Updates
It’s important for small business and startups to keep tabs on the financial market, including stocks and politics. The latest financial news is one such way to do this, and it can lead to more informed decisions being made about your own company.
The latest stock market news can tell you what’s hot and what’s not in your industry and with your rivals. Also, the market price of a particular commodity could directly impact any products you sell. So it’s important to make sure you’re buying in profitable materials.
Additionally, if the stock price of a particular company falls suddenly, you can use the news to assess why, and learn from those mistakes. All around, it’s just a good idea to stay well-educated and informed. Economics, finances and politics affect all of us in different ways, and the sooner you know the sooner you can act – if necessary.
3. Social Scheduling
Your small business needs the best possible start in life, and that means making sure your marketing game is top notch. But realistically, how much time do you have to devote to it? The answer, especially for entrepreneurs, is likely to be minimal.
But, in today’s wonderful world, you don’t even have to lift a finger. Well, maybe you have to lift one, but only for five minutes! Social media scheduling is an art form that’s been perfected over the years. It involves setting up a day’s worth, week’s worth or month’s worth of posts and tweets. Plus, you are given analytical data on how your pages are doing. Not too shabby at all!
4. Customer Management
Management. It’s important for small business owners to keep control of their growing company, from finances to staff. This also includes the protection, analysis and regulation of customer data, but it’s not easy to do alone.
There are plenty of CRM’s available that can help you store customer data, including contact details. The very best also help you track any sales you’re making, so you can send a message to the customer to spur them on.
By managing customer data properly, you can gain a better insight into what’s selling, and what’s not. This is vital data for startups, who are in a position where they can easily tweak their inventory.
5. Business Listings
As we mentioned before, your social media game has to be top notch. Once you’ve sorted that out, it’s time to move onto your overall web presence. Most marketing tips are in reference to the worldwide market, but what about your local one? How do you use the web to draw people to your storefront? How do you get more exposure?
Google recently announced updates to its business and maps functionality. Now, if a customer searches for a company like yours in their local area, they’ll be provided offers, opening times, branding, you name it! But only if you supply Google with this information.
So make sure you do! The process is rather simple, and it shouldn’t take very long. And the benefits, in terms of online to store conversions, are numerous.
And that’s our list! Have you used any of these tools as a small business owner? Let us know your favourites in the comments below!