With reports from the Small Business Administration showing that only a quarter of new small businesses remain in operation after 15 years, small business owners’ concerns are clear. They need tools that will allow them to creatively grow and promote themselves in a constantly changing marketplace. Fortunately, there are a number of innovative trends that business owners can draw upon to diversify how they market their business and build opportunities for increasing profit at every step of the way.
One of the most exciting trends is occurring right at the point of sale with the customer. A host of new payment options for small businesses has sprung up, including options for turning your smartphone into a payment processing site, as well as working with third-party online merchants to process payments safely. According to USA Today, mobile payment options, such as the Intuit plug-in device that allows you to swipe and capture credit card information from your phone, is a great option for business owners who don’t use a traditional office space. From food trucks to freelance writers, this kind of business technology allows to the freedom to accept payment wherever you do business, and it’s simple to implement and manage, provided you’re willing to pay the nominal “per swipe” fee.
If you do more business over the Internet as opposed to face-to-face interactions, then you might want to try working with an online payment service, like PayPal or BillMeLater. The Small Business Administration reports that these services are user-friendly and often lower in cost that other online payment options. You can rest assured that these payments are secure and reliable, making them a good fit for the customer who is a bit more wary about giving their credit card information online. The fees for this service are fairly minimal, and adding an option to your site can make your business appear more flexible and up to date, encouraging customers to trust your business and shift them into a purchasing mindset.
With the prevalence of smartphones, not only do businesses have a new way to process payment, but their options for marketing have increased exponentially. Small Business Trends suggests working with your website designer to ensure your site displays properly on a small mobile screen. Nothing says out-of-touch like a poorly designed web display on a smartphone. In addition, you can draw on a tried-and-true marketing method, and fuse it with today’s standards: the distribution list. By collecting your customer’s mobile numbers, you can create a powerful SMS list to keep your loyal base in the know about sales, promotions, and new products.
Advances in technology aren’t just for improving your relationship with the customer. In addition, credit card companies are beginning to develop a more competitive breed of cash-back card perfect for new businesses who are looking to build capital and stay on top of their spending. This card actually rewards business owners who pay their balance early, which provides a built in incentive to stay on top of your cash flow, allowing you to continue new business growth and innovation.