Pavel Stepanov is the founder of Virtudesk. He talks about business development and outsourcing.
The quickly evolving digital landscape demands that we constantly readjust strategies and reanalyze the way we operate our companies. But I believe—whether through utilizing social media or exploring innovations to stay ahead—this shift presents an inclusive path for small businesses to gain the upper hand and thrive. Here are five tips to help small-business owners compete effectively in today’s landscape.
1. Establish a well-laid-out business plan.
Every business should have a well-polished and solid business plan before starting to make significant decisions. This plan will serve as your road map as you progress and will outline everything you need to implement before you begin your business—from your goals, strategies, budget and more.
During the start of my company, I made sure to define my goals in order to determine the right approach. Some questions to ask yourself are: “How can I differentiate my services or products from my competitors?” or “What can I offer that would attract more consumers?” Then, think about your answers in the context of the digital landscape and how you can translate it to online. Asking these questions in the earlier stages of establishing your business can make all the difference in terms of setting the foundation for how you’re going to stand out in your industry.
2. Focus on your strengths.
Every aspiring business owner has their own set of strengths that they can bring to the table. Instead of wasting that potential, maximize it by incorporating it into your latest venture. Maybe you’re really good with people and that translates to exceptional customer service, or perhaps you have a deep understanding of your market’s behavior—use every edge you have to your advantage to make a lasting impression in the industry.
For example, I use my years of experience in the real estate industry to my advantage by applying my deep understanding of the pain points of brokers and agents. Through this, I can better present my services online in a way that resonates with my potential clients.
3. Understand your target market.
Building on my last point, you also need to have solid knowledge of your target market. Invest time in performing thorough market research to identify the right approach to promoting your services or products. I recommend combining market research with competitive analysis to find what works and what doesn’t. At the end of the day, every business owner needs to have the answer to the lingering challenge of keeping up with competitors in winning the hearts of their shared market.
4. Embrace social media marketing.
In an era where your presence on social media is becoming vital, utilize different social media platforms to expand your reach in the digital market further. This includes investing in tools to build your brand through engaging content and follower interactions and being willing to constantly adapt. One potential tool is a virtual assistant. Often, they can help manage social media and ease the workload.
5. Adapt, adapt, adapt.
In all my years of handling my company, here’s a pro tip to save you the trouble of dealing with headaches down the line: Change is constant in the business world, and it’s very useful to have contingency plans in place so you don’t struggle to keep your consumers. I recommend monitoring industry trends, adjusting based on customer feedback and staying on top of the latest innovations in your industry.
Personally, I set quarterly meetings with the superiors of each of my departments to go over our performance and discuss what we can do to improve going forward. This discussion usually includes foreseeable challenges or shifts in consumer behavior that we need to address in order to come up with the necessary course of action.
In today’s competitive era of business, we are dealing with an environment that’s continuously in a state of flux. In order to keep up, especially for small-business owners, it’s crucial to be on top of every aspect of your company—and that includes your digital efforts. With these tips in mind, you can equip yourself with the basic knowledge you need to help your business stand out.
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