icesugarmedia digital small business growthSmall business owners often must wear many hats. For this reason, some hesitate to embrace the digital world.

Small business owners may feel they simply do not have the expertise or the resources to allocate to digital innovations.

However, it is not necessary for a small business to be staffed with marketing or Internet experts in order to begin taking advantage of the many digital opportunities available.

There are a number of ways that small businesses can begin to learn about and benefit from digital immediately.

If you are a small business owner and struggling to find your way through the myriad of confusing and conflicting messages out there, here’s 5 simple steps you can take to help your business grow.

1. Visit Google Places for Businesses and get your company listed on Google maps. This will help people find your business locally when they do a search online.

You don’t even need a website. It’s free and only takes a few minutes, and you can add information like your hours and contact information. This will raise your profile among potential customers immediately.

2. See what the competition is up to. Take some time to check out other businesses similar to your own. Do they have websites, and if so, what information do they include there? Do you find their websites helpful or not?

What do you like and dislike about them? What social media accounts do they use? Do you think they use them effectively? Why or why not? This will give you a sense of how you want to proceed with your own strategy.

3. Once you’ve reviewed the strategy of some of the competition, choose one social media account to focus on. Set one up if you haven’t already; if you have several, for now, just direct most of your efforts toward one, and note that many social media accounts allow you to replicate information across a number of them at the same time.

Brainstorm ways you could use the account effectively over the month ahead. For example, if you are a wedding planner, Pinterest would be an excellent site to display some of your work.

A local restaurant might decide to follow some food bloggers on Twitter. Now, you have an actual content marketing strategy for the month ahead.

4. Set up or update a new or existing website. This does not need to be expensive or time-consuming. A website using WordPress can be configured to meet the needs of many small businesses. There is now an abundance of free resource and literature available online to help you build a new website.

If you find all this too difficult to understand and don’t know anyone who can assist with it, you can find a reasonably priced seminar or attend an online webinar. Be sure to include basics on your website such as what services you offer, a price list, location and contact information.

5. By now, you should feel more familiar with some aspects of the modern digital toolkit and technology that can help your business grow.

When more confident, its important to spend some time optimizing your website for your audience using best practice guidelines. You can then evaluate and measure the effect any changes you make have, by reading the small business guide to using Google analytics.

As consumers continue to embrace the digital world in growing numbers, many small businesses are lagging behind in their efforts to keep up with customers changing habits. By adapting your business model to take advantage of the many digital opportunities available, you can leap ahead of your competitors.

Steve Minks has over 25 years of IT & Digital expertise with a background in Property Development, Telecoms and as an accredited Health & Fitness professional. As a Digital consultant with, Steve also enjoys writing on a range of subjects, functional exercise, visiting historical places and spending time with his family.

This article was first published on Business 2 Community

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