By Wendy Fichter
Small Business Development Director
Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce
As a small business owner, you are probably an expert at what you do. After all, it’s the reason you opened your business in the first place.
Sometimes though, maybe it seems you spend more time attending to the everyday details like payroll and forms, than doing what you really love to do. Here are a few low-cost ideas to help make your operation more effective and let you get back to what you love about your business.
1. Use social media to promote your business and connect with your customers. “I don’t do that,” you say? But your customer does! Social media is just another way to reach your customer where they spend time. Many people start their day by reading Facebook as if it were the morning papers.
According to “The Social Skinny,” sales via social commerce are expected to reach $30 billion within the next five years. Don’t you want a piece of that proverbial pie? Start simple and it won’t be long before it becomes part of your routine.
Make a social media plan (and some general rules) and find your most exciting “20-something” employee to maintain it for you.
2. Review and update your business plan/budget/strategic plan, etc. The old adage holds true: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. If you are not an expert at creating these plans — and let’s face it, very few small business owners are — get some help from local professionals. Following a plan takes less effort than flying by the seat of your pants.
3. Update your location’s curb appeal. Do you and your employees use the back door? Go out front and see what your customers see.
An exciting window display compels new customers to find out what’s inside. Update your signage; plant shrubs or flowers and clean up the trash. First impressions are important. Make sure they count.
4. Do you need some help implementing these tools but don’t have the cash to spend? Use local resources like Service Corps of Retired Executives, supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration and volunteers. They can provide mentors, counseling, workshops and online tools to make the small business owner more effective behind the scenes.
5. Contact your local chamber of commerce for resources. They have an extended network of professionals and organizations from which to draw. Chambers also offer opportunities to come out from behind the counter and network with other business experts.
You can get involved in a networking group where you can share services with other professionals while trading referrals and working toward achieving the same goals. Your business outlook will be rejuvenated in no time.