If I was dong this list myself there are a few things I’d take away and a few things I would add in regard to what to think about for the New Year – 2013. However, this list is a good starting point, courtesy of our friends from AT&T.
1.) Forward-thinking: As a business owner, it is important to understand and implement innovation and advanced technologies in your business. Innovation and technology can drive increased efficiency and expand operations. By employing solutions that keep the customer’s evolving needs front and center, small businesses can do a better job of empowering their customer base and ensuring continued engagement.
2.) Social Media: According to a recent blog post by Intuit, Facebook has helped fuel sales for a variety of small businesses. So strongly consider leveraging social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest to engage your audiences as a part of your overall business strategy to not only effectively communicate what‘s new with your business, but also to directly help drive sales.
3.) Tech support: IT-related issues can deplete time and resources, but hiring part-time IT support or training an employee can also be inefficient and take time away from growing the business. Tech support services, like AT&T’s Tech Support 360, provide 24/7 access to experts who can remotely troubleshoot issues over the phone and/or the Internet- quickly and easily.
4.) Data Storage: Customer data is essential to small businesses’ vitality. Restoring critical information is simpler, faster and more affordable than starting over if a disaster hits. Recovery plans can be as simple as regularly backing up to a CD, removable hard drive(s) or other portable hard drives, storing offsite or cloud-based storage using automatic online backup programs.
5.) Marketing: Marketing your small business is even more important in this competitive landscape. Services such as mobile marketing connect businesses with consumers when and where they are ready to buy – either online or using their wireless device. Whether through SMS/MMS, push notifications, in-game mobile marketing or QSR codes, small businesses can provide customers personalized information that will ultimately influence their buying decisions.
6.) Mobile payments: If your business sells products and/or services, invest the time to accept mobile payments. It’s easy (only a smart phone is required); it widens your customer base (the consumer market prefers merchants who accept major credit cards); it’s a fiscally efficient choice (they charge less per swipe than larger card-processing counterparts and the fees are steadily going down); and it’s proving to be good for the bottom line (according to a recent article in Advertising Age, mobile payments will total around $1 trillion by 2014, up from $162 billion in 2010). Mobile will continue to play a big part in consumers’ lives and small businesses can leverage an advantage in this area.