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3 Things Your Small Business Needs to Spend More Money on in 2020
No matter how big your business is, you are always in a race. And you can’t ever stop running. More and more companies today take the race seriously as the race means their survival. They rush to get in front of their competitors, they rush to get a better job done more quickly, they are trying to keep up the pace with the new technology-induced, digital world. These companies are constantly trying new strategies, different angles, fighting for their brands and profit. And that’s fine and these are not the companies we’re addressing in this article.Primarily, we are addressing small businesses that are still in many ways “old-school”. The ones that are failing to understand the importance of keeping up the pace with the modern world, that think their business is doing fine and that they can and should stay on the sidelines while the whole world is sprinting. But you know what – the crowd doesn’t cheer and love the people on the sidelines. The crowd loves and cheers the winners. If you’re fine with keeping your business right where it is – great. Just be aware that it won’t stay there forever. Eventually, it will fall into oblivion and there won’t be much you can do about it. For this reason, we'll address three things that are constantly overlooked and ignored by most small, local business owners. At the same time, these things are crucial for their business success, and are precisely the things your small business needs to spend money on this year.
1. Design & Web Development
According to Ottawa’s Carleton University research, it takes only 50 milliseconds for a person to rate the visual appeal of a website. This means that your website must make a heck of a first impression in 50 milliseconds or your customers won’t have positive experience when it comes to your business.
Why Design Matters for Small Business?
In case you are not aware, design has been becoming progressively more important to businesses in the last few years, and the trend will continue in 2020 as well. Design is something that brands use to express themselves, to establish emotional connections with their customers and to stay on top of the competition, and web design is no different.
Moreover, the primary brand mark is no longer the company’s logo, but the whole experience that a good website can deliver. Sure, there are still websites out there that look like they were made and put up in 1997. These owners think their business is doing fine, they’re selling their products, so investing money in building brand identity isn’t important or worth it. So, although you don’t think so, such moment would be the best moment to invest in design. Unless you don’t, your business will have a limited or non-existing future when it comes to business expansion and reaching new clients.
As you slowly begin to realize, we live in a hype-driven world and it doesn’t look like things are going to change anytime soon. This means that besides creating hype around things, people like what’s “cool” and what looks good, so having a great web design will help your business draw fans and gain confidence. Because let’s face it, when you do stumble upon that 1997-looking website, your first thoughts are in this likely order: “Yikes”, “What the…”, “This probably sucks”. And then you click “X” and close the website. Beginning to realize why you need to stop turning your head away and start taking your website seriously?
Just to be clear here: your website alone can’t make your business magically grow, but it can give your brand the necessary boost that would otherwise lack. Adding it to the appropriate equation, it will equal success, just don’t expect to invest 5 figures into it and have the money pouring in. Brand development is a slow process, not an instant pay-off.
Can I Afford a Web Designer?
In case you are just starting a business, or you are a small business, hiring an in-house web-designer is probably an asset that’s out of your reach. A web-designer in a small business on a limited budget is an extremely pricey office chair to pay. And what about the developer? You forgot about the guy who will need to put up everything the designer designs and who is going to take care of the hosting, website maintenance, your online shop, the person who’ll take care of the necessary changes and so on. That’s the second pricey chair to pay in such a small business.
The good news is - you don’t really need an in-house designer at this point. Such a high-level customization is perfect for large corporations and all other that are capable to invest a lot of money in brand identity (in which case they should), but it would be a wrong and expensive move for your small business to make. A solid brand identity and a good, trustworthy website with modern design is what you need to elevate your business to a higher level. Even though you are making money without it, design is what elevates.
So, how do you get a new, slick, 2020-worthy business website? Rather than trying to find freelancers on Craigslist, a more serious option would be to hire a company that specializes in web-development. Most of these companies have both designers and web-developers on-board, and since they make a living from getting your brand in front of people and making your business look good, their prices are tailored to fit your company budget. You’ll get exactly what your company needs, no more and no less.
2. Marketing and Advertising
Unless you know how much digital marketing is important in today’s world, you must have been living under a rock. Not knowing the importance of online marketing doesn’t make you ignorant anymore, it makes you irresponsible toward your business.
Why is Marketing Important for Small Business?
Again, if you are a small business, it might seem like there are tons of other things that you should spend your money on, but don’t get fooled. Companies that don’t have an online presence and engagement, don’t really exist. Ask yourself this: what would you do to find something that you need? That’s right – you’d google it, not go through Yellow Pages. And how would you learn more about the company that you’ve found? Learned if it is trustworthy? You’d browse through their website, visit their social channels, see what other people have to say about it. And this is where online marketing comes in.
Marketing is becoming increasingly personal, so your company needs to deliver high-value and personalized content to succeed and surpass competition. People like what is “cool” and what looks good and they are more likely to share such things with their online circles which will help spread the word about your business. Cross-channel marketing (or engaging with your customers on every digital channel and every device) is becoming crucial, and while large brands do it, a very few small businesses are getting on this wave. Getting on the multi-channel marketing wave will boost your small business and outperform competitors that are struggling to grasp the new digital world, so you better get some professionals on board to help you with the surfing.
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How Do I Promote My Business Online?
You see, digital marketing is just a huge umbrella under which different types of marketing strategies are nested: Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing & SEO, Performance Marketing, Branding Strategies and so on. And these strategies consist of numerous other strategies which makes digital marketing world seem like the borderless universe. You can hire an in-house marketing manager, but you must know that the digital world is much more than a single person can handle. You’ll need a marketing team, and again, luckily for you and your business, a profession that deals with this business aspects have developed and evolved in ways you can’t imagine.
For a fixed monthly price you’ll get a social media team, taking care of your social media presence, building your brand and a community around that brand, while advertising your products or services; you’ll get a SEO team, which will optimize your website, so that the right people find exactly what they are looking for; paid marketing team will take care of social media advertising, that is now bigger than ever and is getting more and more competitive, and ever-evolving AdWords; content marketing team’s goal is to get your brand on the 1st page of Google by delivering quality content that draws attention, gets shared and gets the word spread about your business; analytics team will track the performance of all these strategies, because online marketing is constantly changing, so constant tweaking is necessary along the way. Oh, and don’t think this is all, we didn’t go into details and we didn’t mention tons of things happening behind the scenes, like link building, local listings and so on.
What needs to be clear to you as a business owner is: the results of digital marketing efforts don’t come instantly – they come over a longer period of time as a reward for all the efforts. So, the sooner you hire a marketing team, the sooner your business will see benefits.
3. Technology and Cybersecurity
Another valuable and highly important investment that you should make is in IT team. If you are raising your brow now, just think about what technology means to modern life. You carry a smart phone, you talk to your family that moved to Australia via video call, you have a smart TV, your car has voice control, technology brings people to space on a regular basis now, robots clean your house, and yet, you don’t think technology is important to your business.
Why Small Businesses Need IT Support?
You need to spend money on your business IT, or the low-quality of your work performance will put your reputation and revenue at risk.What do you do after you set up chairs and desks in your office (and the coffee machine, of course)? You start cabling, setting up workstations, building up a network and internet coverage, setting up your phones, printers, scanners & security surveillance. Each workstation needs to have an operating system installed, emails, necessary apps installed based on what your business does, everything then needs to be connected to the network and the server, where your files are going to be. Oh, and you’ll needs to secure all that data by implementing a complex cybersecurity strategy, as cyberattacks are only becoming more common. But before you do all this, you’ll need to know what to get, so how well are you familiar with what’s on the market and what your business needs? We didn’t think so. This is where an IT team comes in. As a small business, you have probably avoided setting up an IT budget, as it seemed like other things are more important and need addressing first. But, just as design and online marketing are important to bring your business to the next level, a solid IT infrastructure is the very thing your business lies on. Without the IT, there is no business (unless you hold a lemonade stand in front of your house), and to lay the foundation, you’ll need IT experts.
Can My Small Business Afford Maged IT Services?
Getting an in-house IT technician will be rather costly for your limited budget, so getting a local IT company behind your back is the smartest possible option. Instead of one “IT guy” you’ll get an entire team of remote and on-site IT technicians. And that's not the best part - IT companies usually offer both monthly contracts and hourly rates, so you can choose to either pay a fixed all-inclusive rate for monthly support and maintenance or pay IT pros per hour when you need their help.You should always look for a company that has IT sales specialists and IT consultants in their team. The company would asses your current IT infrastructure, detect flaws and improvement points, and the sales consultant would recommend improvement strategies based on your company’s size, type of business and overall needs. IT sales specialist would recommend the right technology for your business that fits your budget, which is one of the main benefits that your business will get. Namely, to be sure the technology is top-notch, all you have to do is get the latest and the most expensive stuff, which is impossible for most of the small business owners. More importantly, getting the most expensive technology would be wrong, as your business probably doesn’t need it. Rather, important is to find the right balance between the quality, performance and business needs, and make it fit your budget. Remote and on-site technicians would take care of the initial implementation of the new IT infrastructure or adjusting the old one, and if the company also offers IT managed service, they’ll through in environment maintenance and you’d get absolutely everything you need in one package.
IT Support San Diego – Secure Networks ITC
Secure Networks ITC is a trusted local IT service provider with more than 15 years of experience with over 100 San Diego businesses. We partnered up with industry leaders such as Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo & Bitdefender, to deliver the best possible technology options for your business at affordable prices.
Our team of young, enthusiastic IT professionals consists of IT engineers and technicians that are available to you 365 days a year, IT consultants and IT sales specialists that will assess your current IT infrastructure and advise you on possible improvement points.
What we'll do:
- Help you establish concrete-solid foundation by engaging our experienced IT consultants and IT sales specialists
- Help you modernize your IT and innovate your business and workplace
- Help you maintain your IT environment by putting or remote and on-site IT technicians at your disposal
- Secure your business data from increasing cyberthreats
- Help you reduce unnecessary costs