Improve Your (Small) Business

Having started my own small business, I have picked up a few ideas to help improve yours. This article is not only about Excel (which is my main area of expertise), but consists of a few ideas that has helped my business, and can probably help yours too.

Social media links. Everyone knows how important social media is, and we will all probably have some business page or account of sorts. People are far more likely going to see what you have to offer on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ than they are to look at your website (especially for new businesses). Besides, you also use social media to send traffic to your website. There are all sorts of plug-ins to put social media ‘buttons’ on your website, and it is also a good idea to add these ‘buttons’ to your email signature.

Google+. Having been on Google+ for a few months now myself, I have noticed the distinct lack of UK people and businesses there. Personally I think that Google+ is better than Facebook and Skype, and although different to Twitter and Linkedin, I think that it could incorporate all of the social media sites in one. The big plus with Google+ (yes there was a pun there) is that I believe (from the SEO gurus) that having links to Google+ does elevate you up the Google search ladder! It also allows you to create and join ‘communities’. For example, I have created a group for businesses in the London Borough of Bromley (where I am situated), in order to meet other local businesses. I would suggest a personal account (people like to connect with a person) and a business account (once you connect with them) which you can refer people to from your website.

Company logo. Create yourself a company logo. Something that will appear on all of your stationery, website, social media pages and businesses cards. It helps people identify your business, and it helps when people get to know your business, just the logo will remind them of you. It gives your business an identity and allows you to ‘brand’ all of the work and information that you send out.

Server backups. There are a few options out there (Dropbox, One Drive, Google Drive, etc.), so if you have a small business, I suggest that you use these. I have backups of all of my work documents on at least one other drive (other than my laptop). You can get a certain amount of space for free with these options, so if you use a few and split your documents up, you’ll have a fair period of time before you have to start paying for space. If something happens to your PC or laptop, you will be glad, actually ecstatic, that you have the files backed up!

Bespoke software. This is important to me because this is what I do for a living. Large companies rely on custom made software to tie all of their business actions up into one streamlined process. Small businesses tend to have folders with Word documents in each, in order to try and keep things organised. This means that people end up duplicating work unnecessarily. I create bespoke software in Excel, so it is much more cost effective than bespoke programmed software.

Videos. People love to watch videos. If you record a video personally or get one made for you, they are handy to have on your website. If you are clever, you’ll upload your video to YouTube, and then embed the YouTube video to your website. This way you can see how many people view your video, as well as use YouTube’s bandwidth and not yours.

I hope these suggestions help you to improve your business as they did mine. I wish you all the best with your company!

Richard Sumner

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