You’ve just turned your dream of opening your own business into reality. What do you do now to make sure your business grows? How do you overcome the staffing, marketing, and expense challenges that every small business owner faces? Here are some technical tools that will help you meet those challenges while increasing your company’s growth.
One of your biggest assets for bringing in new clients is your company’s website. How many visits is your site receiving? Are those visits from potential clients? How successful are your online campaigns? Google Analytics can help you answer those questions. It provides you with detailed statistics about your website’s traffic – who is visiting, where do they live, how are they accessing your site. Google Analytics also tells you how well your online campaigns are meeting your sales, referral, or other goals and gives you the tools to test future campaigns before launching them.
Google Analytics or a similar tool allows you to test your website design, your online marketing campaigns, or both in a live environment. Multivariate tests go beyond A/B tests that determine which of two content versions users like best. They test numerous combinations of text, images, layout design, and color schemes to see which one is most likely to drive users to do what you want.
E-blasts are an easy way to reach potential clients. MailChimp helps you design professional emails and e-newsletters that entice recipients to visit your website or contact you directly. With MailChimp, you need little or no design experience to make visually exciting campaign materials. Once you send your e-blast, MailChimp tracks how many potential clients open your email. MailChimp is also a great tool for creating and maintaining lists of prospective customers’ email addresses.
Although Skype is a popular way of communicating with friends and family, especially those who live far way, you’ll find that it’s an extremely beneficial business tool too. It’s phone and video features will revolutionize your conference calls and save you a bundle on long distance charges. Skype’s screen sharing is another feature that will benefit you. Need to negotiate a sales contract with a client? Set up a Skype meeting and create or revise the contract on screen as you and the client discuss it.
You no longer need a brick and mortar storefront to accept credit card payments for your goods and services. Square is a portable credit card reader that lets you accept credit cards no matter where you are. You simply attach it to your smart phone or tablet and you can now do business with clients who can’t pay you with cash.
Crowdfunding is the cutting edge way to find investors for your business, and Indiegogo is one of the leaders. Backers don’t receive profits or ownership in the business. Instead, you offer them a non-monetary perk for investing in your business. Indiegogo offers two pricing options – one based on keeping pledged funds even if you don’t reach 100% of your funding goal and one based on if you do.