Hi Tech on a low budget

Many small-business owners suffer under the misconception that Hi Tech is “too expensive” for them. The reality is that the avalanche of new technologies include many that whose cleverness is in their simplicity, and as a result are well within the budget of even a microbusiness. And, as with many “new inventions”, something that costs a lot of money when it very first comes on the market quickly drops to an affordable level.Here we look at three examples of what you can now afford to make life easier and potentially more profitable.

Digital marketing expertise is a must to propel any small business into the limelight, and it could well pay to have someone on your team who understands computer code.

Small-business owners have moved beyond just providing the right goods at the right price in the right location. Their role has become vastly more complex in a fast-paced world of increased competition and digital distraction.

Online retailers are constantly upping the ante, offering delivery to customers within hours.

All this means that entrepreneurs, small-business owners and start-ups need to look after more moving pieces every day. They need to:

  • create a user-friendly website that informs impatient customers who have more choice than ever before
  • offer an easy-to-use e-commerce experience
  • maintain and manage Facebook pages and advertisements
  • stay on top of public reviews
  • support customers
  • work out the secrets to being No. 1 on Google for any number of relevant keyword searches (both organic and paid)
  • effectively use other social media such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Twitter.

And all this while still creating a brilliant product or service offer.

It truly does take a team to build a thriving and successful business today. If you’re going to launch a business, as well as being a domain expert, you need to be either a coder or digital marketer. You need to be able to solve problems quickly and make the right decisions first time.

Google is the first place people go for nearly everything: browsing, exploring, window shopping and buying, both products and services. Meanwhile, Facebook is where they hang out to kill time. While you may have the most unbelievable product and can create the best website, as the saying goes, it is all about location, location, location. Only 3 per cent of users ever go past page one on the Google results page, so if you’re not there, you’re not being found.

Expertise needed

To thrive in the competitive small-business sector, owners need to become expert digital marketers, or hire one. Their team needs creativity, copywriting skills, strategic thinking, an analytical approach, scientific methodology and coding knowledge.

Coding is the ability to control a computer with step-by-step instructions, and is the basis of creating software, apps and websites.

From understanding the complex algorithms of Google’s search engine (SEO) to creating efficient Adwords campaigns (Google ads) or generating engaging Facebook ads, being a great digital marketer is understanding the journey your potential customers take to reach your website, and what they do once they have arrived. Knowing how to use code to connect the dots will dramatically improve your results, sales conversions and, of course, your bottom line.

“Only three per cent of users ever go past page one on the Google results page, so if you’re not there, you’re not being found.”

At Code Camp, we advocate teaching children to code. As well as being fun and engaging, learning to code can help youngsters think logically, test ideas, lose their fear of failure and build useful products. It is all a matter of breaking down larger tasks into smaller logical bite-size pieces.

This will all lead to creating better entrepreneurs and marketers, which will enrich the economy. It also means more people can find better ways to solve problems.

Being able to use code to make quick changes and run tests of your website, e-commerce shopping cart or advertising will allow you to take on your bigger competitors. Being agile is a small company’s best advantage.

Benjamin Levi, Co-founder, Code Camp

This story first appeared in issue 20 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine.

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