As a small business owner, you undoubtedly wish to expand your digital footprint, and streamline operations. Most importantly, you would like to try and save funds in day-to-day operations. Here’re steps that can not just help you survive but grow in the post-COVID-19 era.
- Give back to your community
Studies state that shopping habits have drastically changed post the coronavirus crisis. Now, consumers prefer buying locally.
They like spending money on brands that are doing something for the local communities. Thus, building brand awareness amongst locals can be a good idea for attracting new business.
Participate in local events, invest time, and build new networks. Hosting or sponsoring local events will encourage locals to try your products or service because of word-of-mouth. Events also help to build strong relationships with existing consumers.
- Presence in local search results
You must have basic information about search engine optimization and digital marketing. These procedures ensure people see your website in results while using search engines to find products or services. Local SEO strategy focuses on attracting consumers living nearby your business location.
Now, you might start thinking about the benefits of local SEO. Data indicates around 95 percent of individuals perform searches for local businesses. Roughly 59 percent of location-based searchers visit the store on the same day. More than 50 percent of search inquiries result in phone calls for more information.
The first and foremost step you should take is ensuring your business-related information on GMB, or Google My Business, is accurate. Whenever a consumer searches the internet with relevant keywords, details mentioned in the GMB appear in search results. Put simply, your business address, store working hours, location, website, and other contact details should be accurate.
- Automation can control operational costs
The coronavirus pandemic has triggered human labor-related issues for many industries. Several sectors moved towards automation solutions.
Automation can improve business efficiency, effectiveness and help in saving human resource costs as well. Yet, some firms have not adopted the same.
Unsure of business processes that you can automate for improving the firm’s productivity? Here’s a list of procedures to begin with:
- Marketing email automation
- Deploying website, social media chatbots to handle basic queries
- Automation in recruitment procedures
- Automation in billing and payments
- Use e-documents and e-signature
Even the world-trade-organization has authenticated the use of electronic signatures and online transactions. In April this year, the WTO members negotiated and finalized the ground rules, ensuring online transactions with e-signatures are not denied legal value in member nations.
The pandemic has already put pressure on several firms to go paperless. The concept of a paper-free office is slowly moving forward to turn into a reality.
An electronic signature or e-sign consists of data that people can authenticate when required. The legal standing of such signatures is as good as handwritten ones in most countries.
It’s considered a legal way to get approval or consent on documents. There’s no need to use pen-paper-based wet signatures anymore.
There are several e-sign platforms; you can also choose an electronic signature app like GoSigner that’s free for use.
Upload your documents in the system, add recipients, signers. Then, email a secure link to them. Recipients can open the link, sign the e-documents and send them back. You can also let recipients and signers edit the document.
Before giving serious consideration to implementing e-signatures in business procedures, you would certainly like to know the advantages of benefits. Here’s a quick look at the most appreciated ones:
- Electronic signatures are safer and legally valid. The eIDAS law validates e-signatures in Europe. The United States has the UETA and ESIGN Act for validating such signatures in most states.
- E-signature software creates digital audit logs or audit trails that prove how the document was delivered and signed.
- Electronic documents and signatures are convenient. They have also turned remote authentication into reality. There is no need to spend resources and scan, print, or courier documents.
- Studies suggest every employee spends roughly $80 on paper costs and another $20 filing the same. Operating without paper eliminates the need for printing and courier costs.
- E-signatures also result in a faster turnaround time for documents.
- The document can be assigned to multiple people for signatures at the same time. Everyone can authenticate the same within seconds.
- Outsource rather than hiring in-house staff
Small businesses, especially startups, might find it challenging to hire and handle full-time in-house teams for various operations. Thus, several firms outsource important tasks to outsourcing companies.
Outsourcing allows companies to let professionals handle crucial tasks. It helps in keeping costs under control and increases business efficiency. Outsourcing is way cheaper than hiring employees, paying them salaries, and providing other employment benefits.
Here are functions that SMEs can consider outsourcing:
- Finance and accounting tasks
- Digital marketing and sales
- IT systems management
- HR and administrative functions
- Customer service
- Logistics and shipping
- Social media is one of the most critical tools in your arsenal
Search engines, TV ads, word-of-mouth, and paid social media advertisements help brands in reaching consumers.
Roughly 55 percent of customers discover new companies or brands on social media. It remains one of the most crucial tools for small and large businesses.
Estimates suggest 31 percent of individuals from the 16-24 age group find new products on social media. The percentage is undoubtedly not ignorable. So, presence on social networking sites is a must for small firms.
In today’s era of targeted marketing, your business can use social media to reach individuals who would consider your product or service a strong lifestyle fit. Identifying the core demographic was never so easy. Social media and search engine targeted ads have simplified things.
The model on Instagram is worth noticing. Roughly 60 percent of photo-sharing app users learn about new products after visiting their favorite influencer’s profile.
Influencer marketing helps brands reach consumers without emptying the bank. It offers a better ROI compared to other marketing channels.
Firms are using paid social media ads and influencers to reach prospective consumers. It will help if you do the same.
Out of all these steps, going paperless and using e-documents with e-signatures can help you save a fortune quickly. Why wait when you can start using free e-sgn tools?