Solutions to 3 Common Small Business Problems

Three common issues faced by small business owners includes maximizing results from email marketing campaigns, building customer trust and leveraging communication capability. In this guest post by Valerie Jocums we discuss some of the solutions to these problems.

Every small business is different, except in one respect: their owners all have to wear multiple hats. Depending on the size of the business, each employee may also have to take on multiple roles. For the people involved, this is quite often a good thing, as they never get bored doing the same thing every day. However, this can also mean that everyday tasks or problems may be handled by someone not completely suited to the situation. Below are three solutions to common small business problems that you may not have the expertise to solve or the time to research.

Better responses to your email marketing  

Email is the most cost-effective form of marketing. However, crafting an effective campaign can be a complex process. If you are not a marketing professional, this might be a frustrating part of your job. Luckily there are services that will help you get your emails past spam filters and can track if they have been opened.

Sometimes, that is still not enough. You are not seeing the response you would like. A simple solution is A/B testing. Basically, you create two versions of a campaign and send each one to separate subsets of your list. Then you can compare which one gives the best results. Then use the results to craft more effective emails for your next campaign. Items you might change include: different subject lines, different lengths of the email body, adding or removing graphics from the content, or text versus button form for the call to action.

It might take multiple tries to make a difference in your response, but it will always give you information about what speaks to your clients and prospective clients.

Building Customer Trust

The best way to build customer trust is by doing a great job and getting positive reviews and referrals. However, sometimes you need a little help getting started, especially if you are a service business that goes into homes. One tool that can help you to build trust is a surety bond. How many times have you read the words, licensed and bonded? You might not have known exactly what that meant, but it helped you feel better about that business.

Surety bonds are a third party agreement that protects consumers. Basically, they guarantee to the customer that work will be completed according to the contract. If not, then the consumer can file a claim against the bond for compensation.

For some businesses, such as notary publics, auto dealers, and contractors, surety bonds are legally mandated. These businesses must have a bond in place before they can receive a business license. In some cases, you will need to have a bond before you can bid on a job. Otherwise, a bond is not required unless another party requests one. However, if you are a service business, especially one that goes into homes, you might want to consider one anyway. It is an added expense, but it is also a trust-building tool.

There is one other type of bond that small businesses might want to consider: a fidelity bond. Often accounting or financial businesses will get one. They will cover any thefts or misconduct by an employee that your regular insurance won’t cover. They can be tailored to cover all employees or just the one handling the finances. This will protect your business’ financial health.

Communication Capabilities

Many small businesses do not have a dedicated technology person. Often they would like to be able to do something other businesses can do, such as forward calls to people out of the office, and will find a way to do that one thing. Then something else will come up, such as conference calls, and may use another single solution tool for that.

However, there is one technology that can help small businesses save on communication costs and give them many new capabilities: Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems. VoIP uses the internet for phone calls rather than analog phone lines. There are now cloud-based services that make VoIP extremely easy to use and despite what you may have heard about VoIP systems.

  • Phone anywhere – As long as you have access to a broadband connection, you can use your VoIP system. If you travel, or you have remote workers, everyone can access the VoIP system. Customers can reach everyone from the regular phone number, which is easier for them, and saves you cell phone minutes.
  • Fax and voicemail in email – Most systems will allow you to have faxes and voicemails forwarded to your email inbox. They can then easily be forwarded or archived like emails.
  • Phone calls on laptop – Some systems allow you to make/take phone calls through your laptop using special software and a headphone/microphone unit.
  • Virtual Phone numbers – our phone number can have any available area code, which is extremely helpful if you are located in one place and most of your customers are elsewhere.
  • Other capabilities include conference calls, video conferencing, and virtual receptionists.

Finally, besides the low cost, the other great benefit for small businesses is the scalability. It is easy to add new lines when your business grows.

One of the best things about working for a small business is the variety of tasks. Usually, all employees fill multiple roles. However, sometimes this means solutions are not obvious due to lack of knowledge. There are many tools available to small businesses to help with communications, email marketing, and even customer trust issues. Encourage your employees to think outside the box, look past immediate solutions, and find the one that will truly solve all aspects of a situation.

 

Bio – Valerie Jocums is just starting her new career as a writer. When she isn’t writing, she is mountain bike riding or reading. Follower her on Twitter @vkjocums

 

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