Last updated on January 21, 2021 by Dotsquares
If you have been keeping up with our weekly blog posts, you would have seen our recap of how the digital landscape has changed throughout 2020, and where it is headed with 2021. We explored growing technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) Data and Customer Service Tools, as well as the essentialness of mobile shopping and an effective digital marketing strategy – all of which businesses are starting to adopt in order to stand out among competitors and keep on top of innovation.
With these trends in mind and with the budding digital economy constantly pushing people and businesses outside of their comfort zone, we would like to offer our first-hand guidance to small businesses and start-ups that are looking to thrive in 2021 and beyond. Since we understand that navigating the direction and daily operations of a new business can appear overwhelming or convoluted, our experts have boiled it down to six simple yet important lessons that start-ups can keep in mind.
1. Embrace the Unfamiliar
During the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, successful businesses have had no choice but to adapt to changes in the macro and micro environment, including dynamic consumer sentiment and buyer behaviour. These changes alone have reiterated the need for businesses to stay connected to the customers to learn about the performance of your offerings, your business model, areas for improvement and more. The same goes for the data from your marketing efforts, such as social media posts, surveys and newsletter readings. This can allow for quick business pivots and trials to explore different directions and profitable ideas amidst periods of uncertainty.
2. Customer Communications as the Centrepiece
As mentioned, regularly updating your online communication channels with the customer keeps businesses informed of how well you are meeting their needs and listening to their preferences. In turn, keeping your customers informed with changes, product information, discount offerings and events makes your brand more personable and relatable. Over the long-run, this can make a substantial difference to conversion rates and word-of-mouth recommendations. Some examples of communication channels can include a website, review sites, email newsletters and social media channels.
3. Your Business has a Story
In the heavily competitive marketplace, businesses might be prone to spending hefty amounts on “hard marketing”; that is, prioritising SEO, Google Ad words and other related strategies to drive traffic to their website. On the other hand, “soft marketing” is the essence of brand building. Customers are driven by the stories of how small businesses came to be, and the passion behind the brand. While consumer culture is incredibly dynamic, research shows that in 2021, people are making more environmentally-conscious buying decisions, and supporting smaller businesses in their community. So, who are the people behind your business? What are your values and purpose, and what problems are you trying to solve?
4. Data, Data, Data!
If you have been keeping up with our previous articles, you would have heard this word repeated hundreds of times. However, it is no blanket term to overlook. If you are trying to make a successful business, accessing data like the interests, demographics and behaviours of your audience can allow you to tweak existing products and consider the viability of new offerings. This is essential to keep up with rapid market changes and competition. If you understand optimal data reporting, the relevance of business automation as well as consumer segmentation, you have the strong foundations you need to run a successful start-up.
5. Educate yourself on Online Optimization
Having a website is now normal and expected of any business, and arguably has been for years. However, is your website mobile-responsive? Do you have a shoppable landing page? Can customers easily look you up on social media? All of these actions should be priorities for any business, especially for start-ups to look tech-savvy and in touch with their audience. For more tips on how to optimise your online sales and communication channels, reach out to the team at Dotsquares for catered solutions based on our 18+ years industry experience.
6. Prepare for Uncertainty
Lastly, you will want to regularly assess the efficiency of your “normal” operations. That means making sure that the business infrastructure and daily tasks are all up-to-date as a standard process, allowing you to focus on adapting whenever and wherever you need to. A classic example of this is how the pandemic affected businesses the least when their day-to-day operations were already running like a well-oiled machine, and they were able to take full advantage of the resources available to help them power on through. They were also educated on the resources available to them throughout it all, such as government funding, business guidance, customer sentiment and other helpful tools.
There you have it! We hope that these six key takeaways can be helpful to all start-ups navigating the ever-changing global landscape. Starting up a business can be a huge learning curve, but incredibly rewarding. Our advice is to stay connected and don’t be afraid to seek advice, ask questions, and talk to a friendly Dotsquares team member for an obligation-free analysis on how you can optimise your online strategies.