One of the biggest challenges many businesses face is the fact that the world around them moves at an extraordinary pace. Keeping up with the pace of change is challenging, especially if your management structure doesn’t support agile responses. After all, it’s your duty to keep up with changes not only in your market niche but with larger changes occurring in society. Many highly promising businesses end up failing because they were left behind by a market that refuses to stop for anyone or anything and they owned a business stuck in an old paradigm.
As a business owner, you essentially have two choices. You can either spend your time constantly trying to play catch-up, or you can take your business into the future and stay one step ahead of the curve. Standing still is only an option if you want to ultimately lose the game. And, it hardly takes a genius to see that the second option is obviously superior, because, by being at the forefront of change, you set the direction rather than following blindly behind. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to push your business forward and help it stay ahead of the competition without completely exhausting yourself. Here are just a few of them.
Upgrade your website
Everyone knows how important a website is to the success of a business and many companies have websites that don’t work hard to support the business, keeping the business stuck in an older era.
Your website is often the central hub for all of the information that anyone could possibly want about who you are and what you do. However, the issue that a lot of managers have is they simply don’t realize how the full potential of their website as more than a vehicle to disseminate information or an online phone book where you post your address.
These websites are dowdy things that haven’t been updated in years. Many aren’t SEO-optimized to current standards and don’t feature mobile-first content. Some still have scrolling carousels (sliders) that load incredibly slowly, especially on mobile.
If you’re only using your site to promote your business or using ancient website development strategies, then you’re missing a golden opportunity. By turning your site into an e-commerce store you’re able to turn it from a promotional tool to a crucial aspect of your business itself. Closing the sale right there on your website rather than sending sales to your physical store. With the pandemic, more stores realized the potential for online sales and saved their business from disaster. Setting up a virtual store might seem incredibly complex, but working with partners like a Shopify Plus agency or using online tools like WooCommerce makes the entire process remarkably simple and easy. If you have a business that can support an online store and you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re missing out on a fantastic opportunity.
Marketing is an aspect of business that’s constantly evolving with the culture that surrounds it, and nothing has had more of an impact on both of those things than the social media boom that grows and changes on almost a daily basis. A business stuck in the old world ignores social or fails to implement it to its full potential.
Social media is more important to our lives than anyone could ever have predicted even a decade ago. This means that if you want to market your business in a way that’s relevant to the modern age, sites like Facebook and Twitter are places you must master to build a community. This means that you’ve got to adjust the way in which you market your business as well. People don’t want ads cluttering up their Facebook timeline. Instead, you should focus on creating high quality, shareable content that your customers want to want to engage with, to share and like your content, which amplifies your message as well as creating a public endorsement of your brand.
For instance, rather than posting an ad for your brand, celebrate your customers by featuring them using your brand or give potential customers a backstage pass to what you do as a company.
Of course, every platform is different, and different marketing tactics depend on which demographics make up your target market. Increasingly, you can sell directly from the platform, such as Facebook Stores.
Hire forward thinkers
If you want a business that’s looking forward to the future, then you need to start with your employees. Businesses are only as good as the employees they hire, the managers who provide direction and motivation, and the tools provided to allow employees to soar.
A business stuck in the past often overlooks the value of employees to spur change. When you hire employees, in addition to looking for ones with requisite skills and experience, look for creative people who think outside the box. Try to find candidates who are interested in pushing your business in new and exciting directions rather than those who are happy with simply maintaining the status quo. Find employees who have strong connections to your communities and the emotional quotient (EQ) to derive insights from these connections that predict where the future lies.
Be willing to outsource
One of the biggest mistakes a lot of business owners make is that they try to retain total control over their entire business and set direction without input from others. Because of that, they end up taking on entirely too much and it makes life incredibly difficult for both the owner and his/her employees.
However, it doesn’t need to be that way. Understanding where your limits lie is an incredibly important skill for any business owner. Once you know that, you can offload parts of the business to others with complementary skills who have the energy and commitment to seeing your business succeed. From SEO to branding to any number of other elements of your business, outsourcing to the right people is one of the best things that you can do.
The reality of trying to run any kind of modern business is that you really don’t have the luxury of falling behind the competition, their business stuck in deep in the past. If you aren’t doing everything that you can to push your business forward then you run the serious risk of being left behind and when that happens your chances success dwindle the farther out you are from the mainstream. You might feel that bringing your business forward into the future is something that you don’t really need to worry about or that your business has done just fine without modernization up to this point. However, that attitude is one that is very likely to end up bringing your entire business crashing down.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.