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5 Critical Things Every Small Business Owner Should Get Immediately

For small business owners, going digital can seem like a costly decision.

However, with more and more businesses and consumers taking advantage of digital technology, it can be even more costly not to go digital. All small businesses can benefit from transforming to become more digital, but it is important to remember that all companies are different – meaning their digital needs will be unique.

Fortunately, transforming your business to be digital-friendly does not have to break your back or the bank. Consider implementing some of these digital strategies over time to find what works best for your small business.

Accept Credit Card Payments

Not only have debit and credit card payments skyrocketed from $13B in 2012 to $69.5B in 2015, but businesses have seen even more growth in sales by accepting plastic. The statistics are staggering.

As more consumers move to cashless lifestyles, only 23% of people use cash regularly for point-of-sale transactions. What does that mean for small business owners? It means that the cost of updating your business to accept credit card payments is far less than the long-term cost of deciding to only accept cash.

One survey, sponsored by Intuit, found that 83% of small businesses that started to provide cashless payment options saw an increase in sales. Even better? Fifty-two percent of those businesses saw an increase of $1,000 or more in monthly revenue.

When it comes to going digital from a payment standpoint, do not just take our word for it. The proof is in the numbers!

Communicate via Text

Are you stuck leaving voicemail after voicemail to customers who never pick up? How often are potential customers answering your emails? If customers and potential leads are picking up the phone and answering your emails, you are in the minority of small business owners.

Thankfully, the age of cell phone addiction has its perks when it comes to communication for small businesses. Believe it or not, communicating with current and potential customers via text is considered the strongest method to guarantee engagement.

Approximately 99% of text messages are opened and read, with nearly 95% of texts being opened within the first 3 minutes of arrival. To paint a clearer picture, compare that level of customer engagement to the 20% email open rate and 3% email engagement rate.

Incorporating text messages into your small business’s communication strategies requires a small amount of effort (and money!) with the possibility of huge returns.

Create a Social Media Presence

Like with any successful change, a small business must crawl before it can walk. If your business is not yet on social media, start with one social media platform. What is the most popular social media website for the main demographic of your customer base?

Similar to text messages, social media communication moves fast. According to BCG, digital speed is more than five times faster than traditional business methods. Unlike large corporations, small businesses are focused on their community and its members. This involvement in their community allows small businesses to connect more quickly and strongly with customers, and social media is a great way to stay in touch and promote products or services.

A social media presence can truly be priceless for a small business. Outside of paid marketing ads, most social media platforms are absolutely free to use. Without spending a dime, social media is a step in the right direction for any modern business.

No More Paper

A business with no need for paper may not be realistic, but every step toward digital records is a step in the right direction. Communication? Make it digital – texts, emails, social media. Invoices? Send and receive digital contracts and invoices using free or affordable digital software and faxing services.

Not only does less paper make your business more modern and save trees, but it will also save you on paper-related expenses. File folders, file storage, printers, toner and ink… The list goes on! Moving your documents ‘to the cloud’ or to a private server will save both you and your customers time, effort, and money.

Find a Mentor

Just as coaching can be critical to business success, mentorship is also critical when undergoing any business transformation. Without choosing a competitor, is there another small business in a similar industry that has a website or digital presence you respect?

Most small businesses shy away from digital services because they do not know where to start, and they do not know who to ask. Another local business owner that has found digital success will have ideas, advice, and past struggles to share.

The saying, “No need to recreate the wheel,” fits perfectly with this scenario. Instead of being afraid of the unknown, ask someone with experience and success to share best practices as you try new things.

Digital transformation does not have to be one, big change.

It can also be small changes over time that lead to long-term cost savings, customer satisfaction, and business growth. Whether you manage your small business solo or have a team, think about which digital transformation will be the best for your business – and hit the ground running!

How to Make More Money for Your Small Business

It is no secret: everyone wants more money.

However, finding ways to make more money is especially important to a small business owner. For a small business owner, the ability to increase cash flow is the only way a small business can secure its future. Thankfully, a small business can be successful in growing its profits without the need to jack up prices or cut employees’ pay.

Answer these questions to understand if you are truly doing the most for your business and customers. 

Does your business have a website?

According to a recent business research study, less than 64% of small businesses have a website.

An even more shocking statistic? 56% of consumers do not trust a business without a website.

It does not take a statistics genius to do the math. Although many small business owners, especially in the service industry, choose to forgo a website to avoid the cost – this choice may have unintended consequences. 

Building a simple, professional website can give a small business the presence and credibility it needs to grow and succeed. In today’s age of technology, customers are quick to Google search businesses to fit their needs. No website? No cigar. A clean and modern website allows a business to get in front of consumers around the world, with customer testimonials and company information available to prove the company’s purpose and authenticity. 

Is your business turning leads into sales? 

Do potential customers contact your business for more information, but the lead goes cold? If your business has a website, there is no doubt that interested consumers have visited your website without making a purchase. How do you handle those leads? How are you spending time to create more leads?

Without spending anything other than time, your business can begin converting some of those leads into paying customers. When a potential customer reaches out for information on your business, make sure you continually (and respectfully) follow up with them. No need to blast them with constant sales calls, but a well-written email reminder can go a long way. Go the extra mile and include a special, one-time offer for first-time customers!

Many website providers also include automatic follow-up features for those that visit your company’s website. If someone adds products or services to their cart without following through to check out, your website can send an automatic email to remind the potential customer of what they left behind (another great chance to provide a small discount incentive!).

To make a change like this manageable, start by focusing a certain day of the month on potential customer follow-ups. For example, at the end of each month spend time following up on potential emails and website visits, and include some personalization or a discount opportunity so each communication feels individual.

Is your business paperless?

Operating a business entirely without paper may be impossible but reducing your business’s reliance on paper is a healthy first step. Less paper is both good for the environment and good for your wallet. As businesses are challenged with the idea of corporate social responsibility, tools and resources to move your business from paper to digital are appearing daily.

Digital invoices, email communication, and digital fax services are examples of how to reduce your business’s reliance on paper. If it is not crucial that a certain work task be on paper, do not use paper. You will not only save on paper costs, but associated paper costs, as well (think binders, printers, toner, and more!).

Moving your business from paper to digital not only saves you time and resources but also creates a more modern and socially responsible feel for your customers. Trust us – now more than ever, employees and customers alike are placing a premium on working for and spending money with businesses that take the environment into account.

Does your business accept credit?

Regardless of debit and credit processing fees, studies show that customers will spend more money with your business if you have a credit card option. Not only do cash and check options take longer to process (less money in your pocket!), but they also increase the chance of a customer spending less with your business.

In one M.I.T. study, students were willing to spend roughly twice as much on a product or service if they were able to pay with credit versus cash. We have likely all experienced this phenomenon ourselves – paying $50 for a product or service may seem like a lot if we only have $100 in our pocket, but we may view it differently if we can pay with a credit card that has a $5,000 limit.

This advice is in no way pushing your small business to take advantage of customers. Small businesses can only reach full success by providing their customers a transparent, quality experience. However, accepting all forms of payment improves your business’s chance of making more money and waiting less time to receive it.

Increasing the revenue of your small business is no small task, and there is not one right answer. Finding ways to decrease expenses and increase sales is the perfect mixture for any small business. Hopefully these ideas allow you to find ways to bring in more revenue without spending a lot of money to do it.

3 Must-Know Small Business Tips to Share with Friends

To succeed as a small business in today’s economy – especially in the service industry – expertise in your profession is only the first step.

Gone are the days of growing your small business simply based on your industry knowledge. Competition is fierce for HVAC experts, construction companies, landscapers, and other service industry professionals.

If you want your small business to grow and succeed, check out these 3 important small business tips to lead your business in the right direction.

Find a Mentor

As Oprah Winfrey once said, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” Oprah’s inspirational quote may seem soft and fuzzy, but mentorship goes far beyond providing a small business owner a source of inspiration.

As a small business owner, it is important to have someone outside of your day-to-day operations that you can bounce ideas off of, ask for advice, or simply ask for an ear to listen. The ideal mentor would be successful, educated, and experienced in your line of business. However, it is not typically recommended to build a mentorship with someone in direct competition with you. For example, an HVAC professional could learn a lot from a successful construction company owner (and vice versa!).

Networking events and service conferences are a great place to find possible mentorship opportunities. Remember: The worst someone can say is, “No.” If you never ask… The answer will always be no.

Time Management

As a small business owner, time is money. Find a schedule that works best for you and be accountable to sticking to that schedule. For example, many successful business owners swear by starting their days early versus ending them late.

Once you find a groove that works for you, end your day by creating a to-do list for the following day. This allows you to end the day on a high note, and it increases your chances of hitting the ground running the next day. Whether your to-do list includes meeting with team members, clients, or simply tasks to complete yourself – put them on your calendar! Adding items to a calendar that is easily viewable on your computer or phone allows you to schedule your time as productively as possible.

Just as you create a financial budget, a formal to-do list and daily schedule allows you to successfully budget your time. Always feel overworked? Do not be afraid to block time on your calendar to go on a walk, listen to your favorite music, read a book, or spend time with family. What gets measured gets done!


Many entrepreneurs make the grave mistake of trying to do everything themselves. It is easy to think you are saving money by accomplishing every task to avoid paying someone else.

However, just because you can do everything does not mean you should. For example, if you are a landscape specialist that dreads creating weekly social media posts and completing other marketing tasks – is it really the best use of your time? You likely began this small business journey because you are passionate about your green thumb, while someone else in the world is passionate and educated on creating successful marketing campaigns. Hiring a marketing employee or contractor could free up your time to complete more landscaping work (cha-ching!), with a good chance of experiencing more successful marketing efforts.

Many small business owners struggle to master the art of delegation. You will not always love every part of your job, and that is okay. However, consider delegation if certain tasks are completely out of your wheelhouse of expertise and are taking time away from the purpose of your business. Very few successful start-ups continue to be successful with only one brain behind the magic.

Starting, growing, and maintaining a small service business is tough. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to succeeding as a small business, so make sure you use each of these tips wisely with only small changes at first. As you try new approaches, reflect on their success (or failure) and adjust to meet the needs of yourself, your business, your team, and your customers.

Every journey begins with the first step!

Hopefully these small business tips help you and your business continue to prosper while avoiding unnecessary obstacles.