How To Kickstart Your Small Business

How To Kickstart Your Small Business

As we are all too painfully aware, the last couple of years have been a nightmare for businesses across the world.

Covid has wreaked havoc with staffing and supply chain issues – and companies have had to get used to a whole new way of working.

Here, in Australia, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says, 39% of all businesses expect the price of their goods and services to increase more than usual. 40% of all businesses reported an increase in operating expenses over the last month compared to 24% the same time last year. Almost one in five (19%) of employing businesses had staff unavailable because of COVID-19.

When considering the month ahead, 35% of businesses expect operating expenses to increase. The proportion of businesses reporting increases in operating expenses for both the past and future month have reached their highest levels since the survey question was first asked in July 2020.

Of the 39% of businesses that expect to increase their prices, the majority showed that rising fuel or energy prices (88%) and increases to the costs of products or services used by the business (88%) were contributing factors.

Almost one in ten businesses (9%) anticipating price increases noted other factors. These included supply chain disruptions, recent floods, and geopolitical world events.

The manufacturing (46%), transport, postal and warehousing (46%) and accommodation and food services (41%) industries had the greatest proportion of businesses that expect to have difficulty meeting their financial commitments over the next three months.

For each of these industries, there was a greater proportion of businesses expecting difficulty in March 2022 compared to March 2021.

Conversely, Arts and recreation services (32%), Construction (14%) and Mining (12%) had significant decreases in the proportions of businesses that expect difficulty meeting their commitments compared to March 2021.

So much for the statistics then. How does this translate into the real world?

Obviously, businesses which are established are more likely to weather this storm because of their long-standing customer relationships, having systems in place to deal with the hassles, and probably having cash in the bank to see them through to better times.

As a small business, you may not be so resilient. It’s well known that during the first years of any business, start-up costs usually exceed any profits – and even then these tend to be ploughed back into the business in the early days.

Making sure you minimise the initial costs and preparing contingencies for emergencies should be front and centre of your strategy for developing your business.

This is especially true of a competitive field like technology, where there are disproportionate expenses associated with getting your business off the ground.

Effective marketing, to get your company in front of as many people as possible, in the shortest amount of time, and at the least expense, should be your aim.

Paid marketing, like Google ads or Facebook, can be effective but expensive. While the ads are running, they can be superb draws for potential customers and clients – but once the advertising budget runs out, that’s it – no more reach.

Search engines work by algorithms answering queries put by prospects when they are looking for a product or service. The primary way the algorithm finds you is by crawling your website, blogs and YouTube video transcripts, (among other methods) looking for answers. We know this as “organic reach” because it is a natural phenomenon based on a search rather than a paid ad being pushed at a prospect.

Keywords usually provide these answers in your text. We know this system as search engine optimization, and it is vital to your survival as a digital enterprise, that you ensure you maximise your organic search engine results using SEO marketing techniques.

SEO for technology companies can be very difficult because of the complicated technical jargon involved, where there are very few alternative synonyms or expressions, and competition is fierce. The terms “smart phone” and” “SaaS,” for example, have few alternatives.

Because getting your SEO right is so important, it is best to find a competent SEO marketing agency who can take on board your search engine marketing, organising your Google search console and keeping you up to date in search engine land.

Website development for technology companies is becoming more and more specialist, especially with the advent of AI and the sheer amount of products and services out there vying for their share of the pie.

Once you have your website up and running and have optimised for organic search results, it is important that you look at the security of your site. It is not just hackers and phishing scams that you have to worry about. As the recent floods in Queensland have shown, along with fires in previous years, disasters can be a physical hazard as well as a digital one.

What if you lost all of your data and contact details – how would you cope?

It’s very difficult to get hold of figures for losses of data because secrecy is necessary for major corporations like banks to cover themselves from professional liability and reputational damage. In a recent blog, UpGuard.com estimated the average cost of a data breach in Australia to be $3.35 million per breach, an increase of 9.8% year on year.

These figures show why every business using digital marketing with a website and customer contact details needs a good disaster recovery plan. Even if it’s something as basic as cloud disaster recovery with a good recovery point objective as a managed service.

Disaster recovery as a service is a growing field in internet security, with service providers ensuring business continuity in private clouds or hybrid clouds along with managed drass.

When you find your SEO marketing firm, It is worth asking them whether they provide backup as a service or whether you would have to outsource your disaster recovery planning.

Getting prepared for the worst if disaster strikes is a sensible measure of protection to take, especially in the start-up phase of your business where you may have sensitive intellectual property which you need to keep safe.

Online backup services are becoming more efficient and less expensive – certainly less expensive than a massive data loss with all the hassle that would bring to your door.

Business Tech