- Small Business Tips - What every small business needs to know
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For small businesses, adapting to the changing times is crucial. Periodically, it's important to review what's working and where there's room to transform.
"The new year is a blank slate for small businesses, offering the opportunity to streamline everything from connecting with customers to cash flow management," says Tim Carroll, vice president of small business engagement at Deluxe Corporation.
With this in mind, here are resolutions for small businesses to succeed in 2014:
• Connect with customers - Nothing beats word-of-mouth recommendations. Thanks to new digital technologies and social media, it's easier than ever to share these kudos.
"In today's digital world, you can reach millions of eyes simultaneously. The key is to also get customers to engage with you and share your story with others," Carroll pointed out.
You don't have to be a social media maven to make the most of your digital presence. Take a look at other websites and incorporate appealing aspects of these on your website. Use the space to highlight successes. But don't overlook more "traditional" communications. A recent survey found that 86 percent of consumers preferred receiving customer appreciation gifts - including thank you cards - through traditional rather than online methods.
• Get noticed online - A website can be a powerful marketing and sales tool. But if nobody visits, it's a virtual ghost town.
Your website needs to be indexed properly to show up high in search engine results. According to researchers, more than half of online shoppers don't go past the first two pages of search results.
This is why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical. Optimize your website for keywords and phrases your customers are searching for online. To accomplish this and improve search engine rankings, small businesses increasingly turn to marketing services firms, like Deluxe.
• Think ahead - Don't get caught off guard by annual events that matter to your business. For example, it's never too early to think about holiday marketing. Plan now to maximize sales when it matters.
• Streamline payments - New payment technologies can streamline logistics and keep you in complete control of the payment process.
For example, with Deluxe eChecks powered by VerifyValid, you can create a check in a few keystrokes on a computer or tablet and pay your vendors in seconds - whenever and wherever you want.
With its proprietary technology, anyone can send or receive a Deluxe eCheck, without requiring payees to sign up for the service. The eCheck can be sent to anyone who can cash or deposit a check.
• Prevent identity theft - Identity theft and fraud are increasing, and businesses - like individuals - are at risk. Before giving out confidential information, confirm how it will be used or shared.
Ensure password protection on your accounts, and don't use easily available information as a password or authentication.
It is crucial to have a contingency plan in place prior to ID theft or fraud. Services like EZShield Business Identity Restoration can help businesses quickly recover to pre-incident status.
This new year, make business resolutions to help set you up for success.
More tips and information about small business services can be found at Deluxe.com.