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Two Key Digital Innovations for Small Business

By: Steve Minks

 

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There’s never been a more exciting time to be a small business owner. Whether you are a sole proprietor or have a team of employees working for you, never before have so many innovative tools been available to improve your business.

 
Here are two exciting small business trends that can ignite growth, increase profits and foster enthusiasm in almost any industry.
 
How to Identify the Right Crowdfunding Channel
 
Once upon a time, if you had a great new business idea, you went to your local bank or credit union in the hope of obtaining a loan to get it off the ground, or if you were fortunate enough to know any deep-pocket investors, you might have gone to them.
 
These are still tried-and-true ways of getting the cash needed to start a business, but crowdfunding has provided another avenue as well. Increasingly, entrepreneurs are turning to crowdfunding in order to finance their business ideas; the Small Business Administration even offers a short course on the topic.
 
The first step in successful crowdfunding is to identify the right channel for raising the money. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are among the best-known resources for crowdfunding, but increasingly, specialized sites are springing up such as appbackr aimed at app developers and the Seattle-based Community-Sourced Capital that seeks to unite small businesses with the local community it hopes to serve.
 
A Washington State organic juice farm raised enough through CSC to purchase needed equipment; a small business that is less local in focus would find a site like Kickstarter more useful for its aims.
 
Crowdfunding can have a number of advantages for small businesses. The very act of raising the money for the business doubles as an advertising and marketing strategy. Investors will tend to be loyal, quality customers. Entrepreneurs who may not qualify for loans or have access to wealthy investors may fare much better with crowdfunding.
 
Making Full Use of Mobile Technology
 
Crowdfunding may be all very well and good for businesses that are just getting off the ground, but what trends can established small businesses look to? Increasingly, mobile strategies are an important part of engaging customers and developing new marketing channels for small companies.
 
A robust Mobile strategy will encompass everything from ensuring that your website is multi device friendly, app development to exploring a range of both strategic and business mobile marketing opportunities.
 
Nowadays, businesses can make it easy for mobile users to compare prices in storefronts if you are a retail outlet or by offering a clear map and directions to your brick-and-mortar location. A call-to-click button means mobile consumers can instantly contact a business as required, rather than switching between a keypad and a series of numbers.
 
Outsourcing mobile strategies and app development is often worthwhile for small businesses. “User experience” is one of the buzzwords in mobile marketing and app development, and a company like the Austin-based Chaotic Moon—a small-business success story itself—specializes in developing those experiences on behalf of other companies.
 
A great mobile strategy and innovative app can launch a small business way ahead of its competition, drive growth and provide a competitive edge.
 
Crowdfunding and mobile strategies use the power of new technologies to promote businesses, and both are trends that should be leveraged by small businesses of any size to support their strategic vision, facilitate growth and increase profitability.
 
Published: December 17, 2013
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Steve Minks

Steve Minks has over 25 years of IT & Digital expertise with a background in Property Development, Telecoms and as an accredited Health & Fitness professional. Presently he is Co-Founder & Digital Strategist with www.icesugarmedia.com, a Digital Consultancy. Steve also enjoys writing on a range of subjects, functional exercise, visiting historical places and spending time with his family. Connect with him on Google+

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