Each passing year is a milestone for small businesses because running and sustainable business is no small task. While businesses flounder and vanish each year, the spirit of entrepreneurship does not. Economists predict that more businesses will take birth in 2013. More entrepreneurs will join the global community of spirited rainmakers. Whether you are running a business already, or if you are planning to start your own projects this year, these small business tips are sure to help you sustain your entrepreneurial journey by saving you money and increasing your efficiency.
Forget traveling for meetings. Get Smart.
According to an American Express Global Business Travel Report released in November 2012, the travel spend for businesses is set to grow by 2.6% overall by the beginning of 2013. Rising fuel costs, economic uncertainty, and worldwide trend of increasing prices for travel overall are already a burden for the roving business traveler. All of that, and the sheer wastage of travel, is evident given that you can conduct meetings online using tools such as WebEx and GoToMeeting and sign off on documents virtually using Adobe Echosign, RightSignature, or many other tools available.
People are expensive. Try online services where you can.
Frank Addante of Inc.com explains why it makes sense to Hire Fewer, More Expensive People. He does have a point.
For most small businesses though, anything expensive is out of question, which invalidates the expensive hire. Fortunately, there are online services that can take the place of expensive hires. For instance, LegalZoom obviates the need to find an attorney for your business. Online accounting tools such as Xero and QuickBooks allow non-financial business owners to keep books, track expenses, and do their own accounting.
Parmy Olsen writes for Forbes and she helpfully lists some eye-popping statistics to show that the world has gone mobile. She reports that global mobile traffic now makes up for 13% of Internet traffic. At least 33% of all American adults own a tablet, and there are over 1 billion smartphone users growing at 42% per year globally. For businesses, mobile phones are the new kiosks. Get a responsive design for your website so your site can be viewed and transactions completed on mobile devices. You’ll also want to accept transactions via your mobile phone using products like Square and GoPayment, so you never miss a sale.
Cheap isn’t always good.
If possible, run a business with a virtual office. We know that not all businesses render themselves to a virtual setup, though. If you have to invest, get the best your money can buy. Substandard equipment, furniture, computers, etc., are enticingly cheap but often incur recurring expenses for repairs. Offers.com has great deals on quality merchandise that you can buy while saving money.
Get Active on Social media and online communities.
Inbound customers are a result of smart marketing. Give, and you’ll get it all back in spades. Fire up accounts and engage with your social media networks. Participate in online forums, Q & A sites, groups and online communities. Solve problems, motivate, inspire, help, and support. Your business, in turn, can benefit from others’ expertise and a constant flow of inbound customers who trust you.
What are you going to do about your business in 2013?