Improving your online business is a constant task that means a lot of internal and external research, keeping track of more than just profits and finding the right financing when you need it.
There are many ways to improve everything from your processes to your customer relationships, but these are seven ways that can help you start small and build big on your improvements.
1. Embrace Cloud Technology
Cloud technology has come a long way in just a few short years. The public has gone from being confused about what, exactly, it is, to doing much of their personal and professional data storage on various cloud platforms.
For online stores, cloud technology is more than just storing your files. You can use cloud-based software solutions to create analytical reports for your marketing, sales or budget concerns, you can access important company and customer information from your mobile device, and you can even use mobile printing to get physical documents to your office on the go.
2. Be Flexible With Employees
Embracing cloud technology can also help you be more flexible with your employees by allowing them the option of working remotely for most tasks and still have the benefits of real-time collaboration on projects, accurate hours-keeping for payroll and much more.
Flexibility does not just mean remote work; however, you can bring on freelancers and 1099 subcontractors for less fixed-overhead with more professional work, collaborate with employees on benefits packages and much more.
This flexibility can help motivate employees to be more productive and allow feedback on projects from those closest to the issues at hand.
3. Build Partnerships Strategically
Just because your ecommerce business is small, it does not mean that you cannot have strategic partnerships with others.
In fact, one of the best ways to get professional help with accounting, marketing and answering calls as a smaller company is to outsource these tasks to partners.
By outsourcing as many non-core tasks as possible, you are reducing your costs without sacrificing necessary processes.
4. Automate More Tasks
Using available software and hardware solutions to automate some of your mundane tasks can save you and your employees valuable time in your workday.
This can mean finding Point Of Sale software which automatically updates your inventory and accounting spreadsheets, having mobile P.O.S. systems which help employees find inventory as well as check out customers, or using a secure chip card system for timekeeping and computer log-ins.
Automating as many tasks as possible not only avoids repetition of effort, but it can help motivate your employees to be more focused and productive.
5. Build Customer Relationships
A solid relationship with your customers is the best way to increase your sales profits, but it is also a good way to improve your business in other areas.
Customer relationships can help you find areas to improve your company that you may have overlooked because your clients will have a different perspective on those areas.
For instance, you may not know that it may be difficult to get information on your website, making customers call in more or give up.
Knowing that this is an issue can help you add more information to your site such as better product descriptions or make it easier to contact a representative by partnering with an answering service for calls and online chats.
6. Monitor Trends and Marketing
Keeping up with the latest trends in your industry and the market does not have to mean spending hours researching every day; it can simply mean subscribing to social media influencers, Pinterest pages and news outlets relevant to your company.
This can help refine your marketing strategy, find influential partners and even inspire new products and promotions.
Monitoring your marketing campaigns through analytical tools offered by your website host or by search engines can help you see which strategies are effective and which need to be reworked.
Having a partner for your marketing needs does not eliminate your need to monitor these things, and can help you work with your ads team to build more effective campaigns as well as standardize your branding and message both externally and internally.
7. Know Your Limits
No one can do all the things all the time, so knowing your limits is important.
When you know that your skills in a certain area are lacking, you can improve your ecommerce business by finding an employee or partner with those skills.
When you take breaks from the work, you can come back refreshed and ready to go as well as show your employees that you have confidence in their abilities. Remember, absence makes your heart grow fonder for the company and the hard work it represents.
There is no one trick for improving your business and instead a toolbox stuffed with different techniques, technologies and tips you can use.
By focusing on your core proficiencies and finding partners with skills in other tasks, automating as many repetitive actions as you can and working with both employees and customers to identify problem areas, you can make steady improvement to your company.
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