One of my favorite things to do is feature new apps and tools that make life easier and more profitable for small business owners and entrepreneurs. I especially like it when the app creators contact me and share their product and the inspiration for the product with us. This is one of those stories — from TaxiMeeting.com
It’s a constant battle. Prices, competitors, discounts, promotions. How do you work competitively as a small business? There are a lot of ideas out there. More increasingly, small business and start-ups are turning to products using a free model for use within their organization. In many cases these tools are invaluable, Google Docs and Gmail are golden, I can’t imagine working any other way! But sometimes, I think companies compromise. Let me give you an example.
In my small business we spend a lot of time presenting to current and potential clients. It’s crucial that we have a quick, simple way to present ourselves professionally online to these clients, or else we cease to exist as a company. There are many options that fill this need, services that will help you present online, even for free. The problem is, many of these free and cheap options clutter our clients’ screens with ads. Talk about a turn off. As a potential client, they’ve agreed to hear from you, not from sponsors. This is one of the perfect examples where free does not equal better.
On the other side is the bulky, expensive options (which is what we used until recently). These services take out the ads, but present several new problems. They have so many bells and whistles it’s a downright labyrinth getting our clients set up for a presentation. By the time they download, install, log in, do a dance and give the secret handshake (okay not all of those things — but almost) half of our scheduled time is gone — and you can imagine how much potential clients love that.
One of the most rewarding things about owning a small business is the opportunity to find meaningful, powerful and simple solutions to problems like this. For us it came in the form of HTML5.
How can you find simple solutions to problems in your own small business?
1.) Don’t Settle – Sometimes we are so fast to find a quick answer that we aren’t finding the best solution to the problem. If we find a program or a service that does what we want, we buy it. Sometimes with a little more looking, you’ll find something better for less. And searching online (bless Google’s heart) it’s not hard to find competing services for less.
2.) Look to your Network — We all have a network, ever thought of using it? While building up your small business, you’ve made some connections and maybe even a few friends. What skills do they have that you may be able to tap into? You probably have a few skills, or expertise others would appreciate. Never forget that others will be much more likely to lend a hand when you’ve helped them with their need first.
3.) Be Creative — You can’t find new solutions by doing things the way you always have. Look at problems from different angles. Maybe your solution can’t be purchased somewhere, maybe you need to make it yourself. The benefit to this is that you’ll get something that addresses your problem exactly, not to mention save you some money.
Name: Ivana S. Taylor
About: Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com – an online marketing publication that provides marketing strategies that help entrepreneurs and business owners get and keep profitable customers. She is the DIY Marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum. Her strategic consulting firm, Third Force specializes in helping companies find their best customers and be the one they choose – regardless of price. Ivana is the co-author of Excel for Marketing Managers. You can find her on Twitter as @DIYMarketers.