Your small business is one-of-a-kind. So why would you stick with one-size-fits-most services or strategies? From processes to software, the more customized solutions you have for your protocols and tools, the more efficient you’ll be overall—and that’s good for revenue.
Still, you might be tempted to just pick services and partners that seem close enough to what you need. Don’t. Even industry-specific solutions may not be quite tailored enough to help you thrive and scale. You’ll just end up struggling to fit a round peg in a square hole, which wastes time and energy.
Instead, look for ways and opportunities to individualize your internal workflows and external dealings.
Customized Solutions for Your Small Business
Below are several areas that deserve a little unique attention.
1. WiFi and Network Security
It might seem strange to talk about WiFi in terms of customized solutions. Aren’t you just supposed to partner with an Internet service provider (ISP) and then hope their simple password protection works? Certainly, you could take that route, but it probably won’t serve you well in the long run.
A better approach is to find a customizable, full-service WiFi experience that includes extra security measures. Business intelligence platform provider Plume offers an innovative WorkPass membership that marries adaptive WiFi and business insights with AI-driven security. This type of setup allows for easier control over WiFi, guest log-ons, and routing issues based on your specific usage and business needs. You can finally get a handle on your security, too, instead of feeling at the mercy of your ISP.
2. Sourcing and Recruitment
Finding the right people for any position can be challenging. But trying to unearth the gems in all the usual places like Indeed and Glassdoor? That can leave you feeling disappointed and like it’s just not the right fit. After all, many top job boards aren’t filled with high-quality candidates who possess the skill sets you need most. Consequently, you might need a more creative way to source new faces.
If you’re planning a DIY approach to recruitment, do a little research to find out-of-the-way places and methods to track star applicants. For instance, you might want to conduct social listening on LinkedIn or Facebook to see who’s looking for a change. Or you could check out some of the lesser-known companies connecting diverse job seekers with employers. From that point, you can come up with a fresh hiring journey that matches your corporate culture and objectives.
3. Estimates, Invoices, and Collections
Does your current software make it easy to send out estimates and invoices, or to collect on outstanding orders? It’s essential to have a system that allows you to work on your preferred cycles, especially when it comes to money. Yet many systems just aren’t right, especially for startups or smaller companies with unconventional billing procedures.
Stop before investing more money in another cloud-based subscription service that promises to handle this type of bookkeeping. Write down everything you wish your current software offered—and what frustrates you about it. Maybe it’s not adaptable enough. Perhaps you dislike the limited templates available. Rest assured that in the wide world of small business invoicing software, there’s a choice that won’t force you to compromise.
4. Customer Service
How you treat and manage your customers should always be on your terms. However, you might feel like you’re expected to offer one type of service over another. Ideally, you’ll want to study what works best in other businesses and then have the freedom to try some of those techniques. This will give you differentiation among your competition, because you won’t be a service-as-usual option.
Here’s the tough part, though: Many customer relationship management portals and systems are built with embedded service workflows. The trick is to find one that closely mirrors the way you want to work with your customers. For example, you might want to set up your frequent shopper loyalty program in a novel way. In that case, your customer service software should also be one of your customized solutions.
5. Corporate Financing
A final area that deserves—and maybe demands—individualized concern is your financing. As the leader of your organization, you get to determine how you fund your business entity. Sometimes, that means following your gut (and lessons in life) rather than what the rule books say.
Many founders get stuck thinking they can’t take out loans, or that bringing investors on board is a bad idea. But it’s up to you to determine which funding your business could use most to meet your goals—or just payroll. Stop feeling like you have to finance everything the way your dad, uncle, or former college professor said. Cobbling together a customized financing solution can often be wiser than going with the “tried and true” choice.
One-size-fits-all only works for scarves and playing cards. It’s rarely right for a business that’s trying to disrupt the marketplace. So get imaginative—and get comfortable going against the flow now and then.