“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” – Lao Tzu
The business world has evolved scathingly over the past two decades. As the internet has muscled it’s way into millions of business plans the world over, SME owners now need to embrace brave new techniques and ideologies to reach customers and keep their organizations lean and profitable. Today, we’ll look at some of these developments, and determine their impact upon every small business – important because in the small business world, failure to adapt is tantamount to corporate suicide.
Small Business 2.0 – Three Ideologies That Were Not In Your College Business 101 Textbook
Digital Marketing. Online marketing itself has progressed beyond recognition over the years. In the early days, a good placement in Google could be expected to return tons of targeted leads and prospects for the business owner. As businesses came online in their droves however, the Google landscape became ever more cluttered – ruthless competition for even low traffic keywords meant businesses had to work ever harder, and parlay ever more of their marketing budgets to just stand still in Google’s ever changing ranks. Today, digital marketing means far more than slapping together a keyword rich site. The proliferation of traffic onto various sites – Google, Facebook, Twitter and many more has meant small business must have a strong digital marketing strategy backed up by a generous online marketing budget. This rather fetching Pinterest infographic demonstrates the digital enterprise revolution rather succinctly.
Crowd Funding. Do you remember the chapter about financing in your old school textbook? Those of you who were at college pre Y2k would remember the chapter telling you to create a business plan, know it inside out, and wear a really nice suit when you went to meet the bank manager. While this still remains the status quo, crowd funding is beginning to challenge the bank model as the major source of business finance. Banking has had one blow to the chin after another, and due to various reasons banks are less keen on lending than they used to be. It’s left a huge gap in the business financing niche, and peer to peer companies like Funding Circle have stepped in to plug it. With crowd funding, businesses borrow money directly from one another and from cash rich individuals. No banks and no suits in sight.
Mobile Business Management. Change can be as useful or as difficult as you make it. Today, business managers can happily run their SME’s almost exclusively from their smart devices. There are no end of useful business apps (many completely free) that may be tapped into to help productivity, collaboration and communication.
Outsourcing. Small business 2.0 is often all over the place. We don’t mean that in a bad way – today, many businesses may exist almost exclusively online, efficiently outsourcing required tasks from various service providers. This can add to business efficiency – staff costs abroad are often a fraction of those in the UK, with none of the sapping statutory burdens of taking on permanent staff.
These are three powerful concepts that barely existed in the world of business two decades ago. Embrace them yourself, and upgrade your own business to 2.0.