Technology has become the great equaliser for businesses, proving tools that can allow small businesses to compete on an equal basis with the big boys.
In the next couple of articles we’re going to follow-up last weeks “IT Priorities for start-ups and small business” with a look at some of the different ways that IT can put your business on an equal footing with much larger rivals, and in some cases, even give you the edge!
A professional website
A website is the modern-day equivalent of a traditional shop window and there is no reason why your website cannot look just as attractive, and be just as professionally done, like that of the largest corporation. Web creation services such as Word Press make creating a drop-dead-gorgeous site with contact forms and other state-of-the-art widgets accessible to all, with surprisingly little learning needed. A well-presented website can also give the impression of a much larger business if that is something that you are aiming for.
When it comes to the look and feel of your website though, here is where not looking like the ‘corporates’ might be an advantage.
Large enterprise websites tend towards uniformity and blandness due to being ‘designed by committee’ and the need to appeal to the lowest demographic. Small businesses can afford to give their site the sort of character that these corporate sites eschew. You can differentiate yourself by getting a little creative – advice that applies to a few of our entries in this article – so keep it in mind.
Another way to give your website a professional edge is to include a chatbot, such as Tidio who offer a perfectly workable free option. This allows visitors to ask you questions and can be programmed with stock responses to common questions by recognising keywords, such as “opening times”, for example. It will also email you to tell you that someone is enquiring.
Going back to my “shop window” analogy – if you were a shopkeeper and you saw someone looking in your shop window, it might be good business to ask if there’s anything particular they’re interested in? Tools such as Lead Forensics can give you the ability to do just that by identifying those businesses that are looking at your business website. Tools like this, along with a simple follow-up process, can maximise the ability of your website to create new business.
One dead giveaway of a small business is your email domain. Having a email@example.com email address is not going to give anyone confidence and they certainly won’t mistake your business for an established firm.
But if you have a firstname.lastname@example.org email address, that’s a whole different story. Likewise, setting up alias addresses, such as email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and so on give the impression of a well organised and structured company. This is easily accomplished by purchasing a “domain” (the @abcd.co.uk bit) for your business, is inexpensive and something you would likely have done for your website anyway – so why not make the most use of it?
Another sign of a business with its ducks in a row is professional email signatures. Services like Mail Exclaimer make managing signatures across multiple accounts a breeze, allowing you to create email “departments”, such as Sales, Accounts, Enquiries, and so on.
In the next article, I will look at how IT can give small business the same back-office and day-to-day productivity tools enjoyed by large companies and how this can drive efficiency. I hope you will join me then.
Want more advice?
If you would like advice on IT for your small business or start-up, get in touch…
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About Supreme Systems
Supreme Systems is an information technology company established since 2008.
Leading IT Services provider and Cloud solutions for businesses in West Midlands.
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