Small businesses, particularly those that are home-based, often let re-investing slide. It’s a shame because investing in small ways now can reap great benefits later. If you’re an entrepreneur working from home, it may be time to think about doing some upgrades, from how you handle your daily tasks to the communications equipment you’re using to stay in touch with your customers or clients.
Diversify How Your Reach Customers
Retail and service industries often operate and reach their potential clients one way, forgetting that there are other methods if what they’re doing is currently working. But there’s a vast difference between what you ARE doing and what you COULD be doing. If you have a successful brick-and-mortar store, consider branching out with an online shop where you can reach customers outside your immediate location. If you have an Etsy shop but don’t have a social media presence, it’s time to create a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram presence. The more places you’re visible, the greater your odds of reaching new customers.
Invest in Quality Phone Equipment
It’s tempting to stick with your old cell phone as the “business phone” to save money. After all, it’s with you all the time, right? But cell phone reception isn’t always dependable. If you’re using your personal phone, there’s bound to be a time when you don’t answer the phone appropriately for your business (ouch!). Instead, invest in a dedicated phone system for your business. Polycom phones are a great way to have a dedicated business line while offering the flexibility of using a cell phone. You’ll also be able to quickly put one call on hold while answering a second line, so you don’t lose either customer.
Having a dedicated line and a secondary number send the message that you’re an established business. As your business grows, you’ll also be able to easily scale up to multiple users without having to invest in a new system down the line.
Create Business Alliances
There’s a common perception that being a start-up or owning a home-based business means going it alone. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Network with other companies that are tangentially related to yours via social media, in-person meetings, and attendance at trade events. When you share your knowledge with other businesses, they’ll usually reciprocate, creating additional opportunities for both parties. Offer to cross-promote, include them in marketing campaigns, and make it clear you’re serious about your business. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working out of your garage or a dedicated office building.
Plan for the Long-Term
Right now, you may be focusing on short-term goals – increasing sales for the month, making sure you can pay the bills, or simply staying in business. But don’t neglect long-term planning while you’re establishing yourself. Studies have shown that having a five-year plan for where you want your business to (realistically) be in five years can increase your focus and give you the impetus to achieve more urgent, short-term goals. If you know where you want to go, it’s easier to get there.