Figuring out the best places to spend money is an ongoing concern for many small business owners. As a CPA, you want to encourage your small business owner clients to spend wisely, and sometimes that means investing those hard-earned dollars into upgrades outside their comfort zone — upgrades like technology. If your clients are weighing their options, here is some smart, tech-oriented advice you can share that will not only pay off, but that could also help their companies be more successful in the long run.
Engage in E-Commerce
Our world is increasingly data-driven, and according to Marketplace Pulse, some statistics indicate e-commerce is growing steadily every year. Customers turn to the web when they want to learn more about businesses and products, as well as to decide where to spend their own money. As more people turn to the internet, it makes sense to become one of those sought-after merchants. Even if your small business clients have a successful brick-and-mortar establishment, this means if they haven’t already established one, a solid website is a must-have.
A web presence tells customers a company is available 24/7, and it broadens opportunities for marketing and increasing customer base. SBOs can build their own website using a website builder, however, the end result might be slightly cookie-cutter in appearance, and runs the risk of a website that’s clunky on some devices. Another option is to hire a developer to create a customized version that can boost a small business website. Either way, your customers aren’t on the web, help them make it a priority to invest in a website sooner rather than later.
In addition to a robust web presence, an app is another great addition for SBOs, and having an app provides an extra edge when it comes to selling products or engaging with customers. Encourage your clients to consider either Android, iOS or cross platform development. What’s more, SBOs don’t need to enlist an expensive agency to develop an app. They can easily turn to freelancers for mobile software development to achieve the custom app that works best for their business.
Expand the Shopping Experience
Do your clients already have a place marker on the web? Or, maybe they’re looking for an easy way to sidestep an e-commerce website. If so, they should consider expanding their outreach by connecting with an e-commerce platform. For instance, Shopify and Shopify Plus allow for quick store launches and they offer customization options. Counsel your clients so they know that ricing for these platforms depends on order volume and the exact features they need.
If your SBO clients have yet to jump into the social media ring, now is the time to do so.
As Quicksprout explains, social media offers small businesses a cost-effective avenue for both engaging existing customers and drawing new ones. Your clients should plan to stay active on the top social media channels, and share interesting, informative posts to keep customers coming back for more. It’s also highly beneficial for SBOs to form and maintain relationships with their customers on social media, responding and interacting with them on a daily basis.
All that might sound like a serious drain on one’s time, but there are tools available to automate the whole ball of wax. SBOs can plan posts ahead of time, schedule them for release, analyze the responses, run contests, and more, thereby alleviating any burden and providing them with more opportunity to work on their next big project or idea.
When communication fails in a small business, there can be an ugly snowball effect. Team members get frustrated, deals fall through, clients are lost, and the business loses money. On top of that, in a world where people can share information with the click of a mouse, the moment communication starts to lag is when businesses start losing to competitors. Finances Online recommends collaboration tools that keep SBOs in touch with their teams regardless of time or place.
Remind your SBO clients that better collaboration is a chance to enhance production, streamline processes, and improve decision-making. Most of the various options provide free or low-cost trials, so SBOs can make sure what they use is a good fit for their team and business. It’s an opportunity to chat, share files, conduct meetings, and stay abreast of status changes as projects progress, all on the fly.
When it comes to advising your clients on where money is best spent to advance their company, point them toward the right tools. Technology can provide small businesses with a competitive edge. Whether it’s time to invest in a website, dip into e-commerce, get more active on social media, or improve collaboration, thanks to technology, there are solutions you can encourage your small business clients to consider so they can take their business to new heights.
Gloria Martinez runs WomenLed, a group that celebrates women’s achievements in the workplace and is dedicated to increasing the number of women-led corporations, organizations, and small businesses. It is her aim to help increase the number of women-led businesses by educating others about the topic.