(StatePoint) These days, it can be an uphill battle for small business owners. Even with all the makings of success — a great product or service, the right location, good equipment and a loyal staff — gaining customers in today’s world spells new technical challenges and new costs.
Small businesses always have and always will be tasked with gaining recognition and standing out from the competition. But with everyone’s eyes forever on their gadgets and smartphones, a simple billboard won’t cut it anymore.
American small business owners are showing up on the Internet in droves to market themselves, according to a recent report from online business community Manta. Because the competition is already there, building a website and participating in social media via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media tools is crucial. But an Internet presence is just the first step.
Maximize the Effort
From creating web text and social media activity to the development of interactive graphics, audio and video, turning your website visitors into true customers and sales requires expertise. Whether you are hiring a qualified tech specialist to work for you full-time or outsourcing your efforts to an agency or freelancer, maximizing your online presence is an expenditure for which you may not have accounted for when you first drew up your business plan.
It’s all about spending the time and money to design an easy-to-use website and to continually communicate new information via social media. Once you start a dialogue with your customers via Facebook or Twitter, you need to keep it up. You can’t start and stop, and use social media sporadically. Online marketing needs to be a continual process, say experts.
While the economy may be taking a turn for the better, traditional lenders have not made funds more easily accessible. As a result, direct access to capital remains tight for many small business owners, making it harder to fund the marketing projects necessary for survival.
Experts say that exploring your options is critical to avoid going dark.
“Alternative financing rescues many small businesses facing tough times because these options are often easier to qualify for than their conventional counterparts,” says Stephen Sheinbaum, CEO of Merchant Cash and Capital, an organization that provides funding to small businesses.
If you’re short on capital, consider an alternative with more relaxed restrictions on credit history and fewer paperwork requirements. For example, a Merchant Cash Advance (MCA) is gaining popularity as a financing option. MCAs have no collateral requirements and are extraordinarily flexible because borrowers don’t have to spell out what the money is being used for and repayment can be based off credit card sales, monthly gross revenue or through several other measurements.
More information about alternative financing can be found at www.MerchantCashAndCapital.com.
Small business owners can look to their forebears for guidance in many ways. But when it comes to overcoming today’s new technical and financial challenges, the successful entrepreneurs will be the trail blazers.