If you’ve been in business for the last twenty years, chances are you’ve seen a lot of changes. You might have seen relationships come and go.
Employees have changed, and your own reflection is different. You’ve changed cars a dozen times, and you might even have moved house once or twice. But how much has your business actually changed?
The people and the cars parked out front might be different, but what about the way you invoice customers? What about your marketing strategy? Has your branding updated?
Big businesses seem to refresh their logo and product portfolio every three to four years. If they’re tech companies, this might happen even more often. But small businesses tend not to change much at all from one decade to the next.
So how can you be certain you’re still current and not deemed ‘old-fashioned’? How can you be sure you’ve not missed something vitally important?
Every business and every company owner has a lot of legal and regulatory obligations. Usually, the law states it is up to you to find out about changes.
That means that you need to be in the know without knowing what it is you need to know about! There are ways to make sure you’re up to date. Check with your industry regulator.
Chances are everything you need is on their website free of charge.
You should also have a chat with your legal representative and your accountant. Changes to taxes or changes to the law will be something they know a bit about. There have been many changes recently.
Data protection law is something every business must be knowledgeable about. Which law changes affect your business?
The faces of your employees might have changed over the years, but have you noticed that their preferences have changed too?
Many employees these days are looking for opportunities to better balance their working life and their home life. We’ve entered an era where it is necessary for both parents to work just to make ends meet.
And an aging population means we might be caring for our parents too. Are you offering flexible working?
The internet means that every business can reach every corner of the globe. Have you taken advantage of this? Your website can easily be translated into any language without you having to do a thing.
Social media offers you the opportunity to converse with anyone in the world at any time of the day completely free of charge. Is there potential here for you to extend the reach of your company?
What advantages are to be gained?
Your Website Should Do More
Your company website needs to be a lot more than a single page with your phone number and office address. It should be working as hard as any employee.
Build it up with great content that discusses your products and services. Offer plenty of advice, information, and education across each of your posts. Why not sell on your website?
Perhaps you can book appointments, or sell products? Are there merchandising opportunities that could help you earn extra cash from your website?
If customers regularly call for more information or advice, then it makes sense to let your website provide that service for you. As well as an FAQ page, you might install a live chat plugin.
These days, customers prefer this method of communication to the telephone. Make sure you have an email address and social media links.
If you have lots of paper-based or hard copy documents in your office, you’re probably pretty cluttered by now. After all twenty years of paper takes up a lot of space.
But did you know you might not be complying with the latest regulations and laws regarding the correct storage of those records? Secure and fireproof document storage is essential if you have people’s personal details on file.
Use a company that can take care of the paper, and provide secure access to authorized personnel only.
Now you’ve got rid of that paper, you need to start using digital forms and records. Use a handheld device like a tablet to take photos, edit documents and complete forms. It’s quicker, easier, and less cluttered!
It’s a great way to grow your business because it is so portable. It can be far more secure, and apps exist to ensure your customer’s identification can be easily verified.
Using social media scares a lot of company owners. After all, there is a lot of it out there. Stick to three or four platforms you can get to grips with.
If you sell products, you might use YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. These offer you the opportunity to post videos and photos of your products with captions or promotional messages.
You should also use social media to engage your customers. This means you need to use it to communicate. It’s a less formal approach than emails or letters. And it’s a great way to offer a more personal level of customer service.
Customers expect your business to be on social media. But you need to have a reason for being there. Can you demonstrate your products or release new products with offers for your followers?
Perhaps you have industry news and content that can be shared this way? Most importantly, you should be contactable and quick to respond when a customer talks to you using social media.
Yes, there are negative and pointless comments across all the social media platforms. But there are also genuine customers having a problem with your product or service.
They want help and expect a response. You need to be there, and you need to steer that conversation to a more private messaging service. Then you can provide the solutions necessary to maintain a good relationship with that customer.
The future seems to be technological. This means there will be more automated services and more home-based working and purchasing.
Where does this leave you and your business?
Might you be replaced by an app or a robot? How can your business stay competitive in the future?