Is this the greatest time ever to be in business?

This was one of the questions I put to a group of small business owners recently, and I was a little surprised at the answers. There was of course the usual, red tape, staff, traffic, suppliers and of course issues like parking and the local council.

I can assure you that I was not expecting the barrage of issues that were raised.

One of the first thoughts I had was this, if being in business is such a pain in the arse, why are you all still doing it?

Probably going to be more than one response to that!

Now I know that many of the burning issues for small firms have been around for a good number of years, and they are not going away soon, really, that’s a given.

To be in business, is to have these issues, some of which need resolving and many of course do not.

You simply can’t change some of them.

Waiting for the council to sort out the parking before you make changes to your business will leave you facing the ‘poor house’ and nothing else.

So there are some quick answers for you these are bulleted below.

There has never been a better time to compete with every other major business in the world.

20 years ago your only method of marketing your business was offline, newspapers, local radio and direct mail. Now you have all of that plus the world via the internet.

10 years ago if you wanted to produce a TV style advert for your business you needed a camera crew, purchased airtime and a budget the size of Fred the Shreds’ Pension.

Now you can produce it on a laptop, after filming it on a £100 camera, and edit it using your bog standard laptop.

15 years ago if you wanted to make contact with your clients you were stuck with the phone, post or fax, now you have PR, Blogs, Websites, Social Media, Email, SMS, Phone and all of the other stuff that is still around.

You can now take payments for your product or services via credit/debit card online or offline and be set up instantly. 10 years ago it took months and you had to literally beg most banks to give you a merchant account, let alone an online one. It still feels like the major card transaction providers are walking with Dinosaurs, which is why we recommend you don’t bother with them.

You can now reach a global market overnight using the power of the internet, whether you want to sell, manufacturer it, advise or consult on it.

If you want a product manufactured and shipped for your shelves within days from a choice of providers, all of course based in China, the US or Europe this is now possible. Oh and you can get them competing for your orders using an Australian based comparison service, and pay for it in US $. If you like. That’s the power of the web.

I could go on, and there are many hundreds of other positive things happening that will improve, enhance or boost your profitability.

The big question is this.

Will you take advantage, will you take a long hard look at your business and start to make the changes that will dramatically improve your life and your bank balance.

Social Media will not solve your business problems, nor will a web site, nor will conventional marketing, or telemarketing, Google Adwords, email marketing, outsourcing, joint ventures, video or audio marketing.

But, if you combine them you have the start of an uber powerful strategy.

Have you noticed how many Social Media experts around now – Snake Oil sales people if you ask me, one trick pony’s (thanks Sir Alan) they are not going to deliver for you fact.

But let me assure of this, the few firms we are working with that are doing all of this are really, I mean really flying.

And that other 80%, well they are waiting for the council to increase the waiting times on the High street so people can park for longer.

So what’s working for your business? Is this the greatest time ever to be in business for you. If not why not?

Richard Smith