4 Ways Your Small Business Can Remain Competitive

4 Ways Your Small Business Can Remain CompetitiveDo you want to remain competitive and increase your profits? Of course you do! How can you still accomplish all you need to do while remaining competitive?

Here are 4 ways your small business can remain competitive:

  1. Get professional help!

Two questions to ask yourself to determine what tasks you need to get help with are:

  1. What are the things you do that drain you of energy? We all do things we really enjoy and that energize us. We also do things that tend to drain our energy.
  2. What are the things you do that don’t directly increase your profits? You know—those tasks that have to be done in a business but don’t directly bring in income.

Once you’ve identified the things that drain you of energy and that don’t directly increase your profits, you’re ready to call in professional help. A virtual assistant can take on those tasks, leaving you with the tasks that you feel energized about and that contribute directly to your bottom line.

  1. Market by providing valuable education

Any business owner can increase their profits by gaining new clients. The key here is to approach this with a new mindset. Instead of focusing on gaining new clients to increase your business, focus on contributing value to others. The increased business and new clients will come.

Think about how you market to your clients. Is your focus on what you do and what your services you provide? The key is to focus on our prospects and clients, on their needs, who they are, what challenges they face, and what benefits they will receive by using your services.

Another way to provide valuable education to prospects and clients is to write articles and reports, such as this one, and distribute them freely. They not only increase your credibility, they give your prospects valuable information and a way for them to learn more about you and your services.

  1. Build relationships with social networking

Marketing now needs to focus more on building relationships. That’s why we’ve seen an increase in businesses using social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Use these sites to provide resources and referrals. Be involved and participate in a meaningful way. Building relationships at these sites can build trust and at some point you’ll find people asking more about what you can do for them.

  1. Invest in your business

Sometimes the best way to remain competitive in the small business world is to invest in your business. As a small business owner myself, I know how difficult the first few years were and there were times when there was no way I was going to spend any money until I had earned a certain amount of money. However, I learned an important lesson: investing in my business. Investing in my business allowed me to hire additional help so I could take on more work. In the process my business grew, I was making more money, and actually working less because I had a team of people assisting me.

One way to invest in your business is to utilize the resource Kabbage. Small businesses can use the working capital loan Kabbage offers to invest in their business to grow and thrive.

So what are you waiting for? If you want your small business to remain competitive, then get professional help, market by providing valuable education, build relationships with social networking, and invest in your business!

Choose Additional Education Carefully

Technology changes and new technology may require additional education. Many virtual assistants are adding new skills to their portfolio so they can offer more services to their prospects and clients. If you have chosen to add to your skill set with additional education, please choose carefully.

There are many programs and coaches for virtual assistants including virtual office professional community college courses and online skills training. How do you know which one to choose?

Before addressing that question, let’s step back and consider if choosing additional education is right for you or not. Ask yourself:

  • Why do I want additional education?
  • Do I have the time to invest in additional education?
  • Will the cost of additional training fit my budget?

Let’s consider your answer to that first question – why? Why do you want additional education? If it’s because something new has come along and you feel the need to be an expert on all new technologies, you may want to reconsider. Do you really need to be an expert on everything? Is your plumber an expert electrician? Of course not! Each is a specialist. If your specialty is bookkeeping, don’t distract from your focus by thinking you need to become an expert web designer as well. It may be best to hire an expert in the field and be less costly in both time and money than spending your time and money learning a skill you may only use once.

However, if you’ve found a new skill that really excites you and you’re eager to learn it, getting additional education in that skill may be just what you need. You may already have clients that are eager for you to learn that skill as well.

What about your time? Do you have the time to invest in additional education? If your schedule is already filled to the brim, it may not be the right choice to add to your schedule. You may find you’re unable to put your all into it and don’t get the full benefit after you spent all that money on the program. If you really want to invest the time, look and your schedule and see if you can add the time by letting go of other tasks for a while.

What’s the cost? Some additional training and coaching programs can be quite expensive. Do you have the budget for it or should it wait? Are there other options that will give you the education you need at a cost that fits your budget? Make sure the investment you make is well worth it.

How do you know which additional education to choose? Once you’ve determined why you want it, whether you have time for it or not, and if the cost fits your budget, you’ll have a much clearer idea of what program will work best for you. The one you choose needs to:

  • add value to your business
  • fit your schedule
  • fit your budget

Carefully research your options. Talk to others who have taken the additional education you’re considering.

Why Should You Blog?

Perhaps you haven’t started to blog yet for one of these reasons:

1. You have no idea what to write about
2. There’s no time to blog
3. No one will read it anyway
4. You don’t feel there’s any ROI (return on investment)

But there are very compelling reasons to blog:

1. Search engines like blogs and prospects will be able to find what you have to offer more easily
2. Blogs allow your prospects and clients a way to converse and interact with you instantly
3. A blog is an easy, affordable way to connect with prospects and provide valuable education

An important factor often neglected is to respond to reader comments. You want to converse with your readers and that means you must reply to their comments.

What are your thoughts?