By Rieva Lesonsky
Feeling the need for an extreme business makeover? OK, maybe you just want to undertake some business improvement projects? If you’re thinking about taking out a small business loan or attracting new business capital to make some improvements, now is a great time since the lending forecast looks promising. To help, here are some ideas to get you started on your business improvement project:
1. How’s your current technology? If you’ve had your computers for three or more years it may be time for an upgrade. Don’t make do with outdated hardware and software—if something goes wrong, it could mean a major profit loss. Be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to your business’s technology.
2. There’s a good chance your non-tech systems and policies could use some improvements, too. Are your employees as efficient as they could be? Are too many steps involved in some of your processes or operations? Enlist your employees for help improving systems—they’ll most likely have some great suggestions about ways to streamline things.
3. Analyze your social media marketing practices. Are you putting your efforts in the right platforms? If you’re a retailer, e-tailer, interior designer, beauty salon owner or any other business with great “visual” marketing power, you should be on Pinterest. Are you offering coupons on Facebook, and sending out mobile texts about sales and events? Check out the Facebook for Business page for more help with that platform, and take advantage of the many social media apps (like HootSuite) that will not only save you time on posting to different platforms but will also tell you which ones get the most retweets, views and shares.
4. When thinking social media, don’t forget about YouTube! Invest in an easy-to-use video camera and start thinking about what customers might want to see from your business. Can you teach them to do something? If you own a sewing supply store, for instance, you could teach them how to sew a simple project. You have an accounting business? Try sharing some little known tax tips. Be sure to keep an eye on the comments for any negativity or profanity, and use the YouTube analytic tools to improve your results.
5. If you’re looking to reward loyal employees who have stuck with you through thick and thin, now might be a good time to improve your employee benefits. Whether it’s adding some flextime to their schedule, offering new insurance benefits, or simply giving them an afternoon off to volunteer in the community, employees will appreciate your efforts to improve their job satisfaction, and your business will benefit as well.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports