By Geoffrey Gray of Heeluxe
At the beginning of every year, business owners make what they perceive to be attainable resolutions for the next twelve months. According to the Brother International Corporation Business Survey, nearly one in five of small business owners cited, “responding to competition in their industry,” as a goal.
One quarter into 2017, our goal at Heeluxe, LLC remains the same as it was in 2016: To raise awareness of our brand and grow our company to compete with other industry players. Year after year, we like to look at our business with a fresh set of eyes and reflect on what organizational and operational adjustments need to be made to help achieve this goal. We strive to propel our business forward, increase brand awareness and boost revenue, all without increasing expenses.
Although there is no easy solution to this seemingly universal business goal, there are a few technology trends that can help any business maintain relevance amongst peers.
1. Deploy Mobile Solutions
A big trend in my industry is customization. Each client has different needs and we seek to meet them using appropriate technology solutions. The need to continue this custom experience does not stop after face-to-face interactions with customers. With so many of our customers now doing business online, providing mobile solutions and access to our services through online channels can have a direct correlation to sales.
Internally, mobile solutions provide our staff with access to resources and connectivity to each other at any time and from anywhere. Implementing these solutions has created a convenient channel of communication across the corporation as our office continues to grow year over year.
2. Consider Offering Wireless Capabilities
In previous years, wireless technology was seen as a convenient add-on. In 2017, wireless has become a requirement. Customers often have the predisposed notion that new products and services they use and interact with will be fully equipped with these capabilities. To appease the ever-changing needs of our clients and prospective clients, adding wireless capabilities is something we consider on a day-to-day basis as we develop new products and services.
In a small but growing office, making the decision to finance innovative wireless solutions can provide employees with the tools they need to make their daily lives easier while simultaneously giving our business the best return. Take our Brother printer as an example. Employees are able to wirelessly print from and scan to smartphones and tablets which helps increase productivity and minimize downtime.
3. Leverage Online Analytics
In the last year, customers appear to be migrating online. Conversely, big box store performance is declining, fundamentally shifting the way our company traditionally does business. As we shift resources online for our customers, analytics are becoming more and more important to determine the spending habits, trends and patterns of online customers.
Data by itself has little value. With proper systems to analyze the data, we can learn more than we ever dreamed possible about customers. For instance, at Heeluxe it used to be ‘normal’ to analyze 20-100 returned shoes to find out why customers did not like them. Last year we were able to analyze 144,000 shoe orders with over 20,000 returns in less than one week. This analysis helped create a better experience for future customers and was only possible with new data tools.
Whether it’s January first or late December, setting goals helps my staff stay organized. Implementing these three digital tools significantly advanced my business over the past year, and will further support our growth in 2017. With our goal in mind and the right digital tools helping us get there, I have no doubt that we will continue to strengthen our business until we blow our competition away.
Dr. Geoffrey Gray is the founder of Heeluxe. His background in Physical Therapy, professional athlete rehabilitation, woodworking, and classic car building give him a unique skill set to progress the research and design of all styles of footwear. Heeluxe has been part of the Brother Business Advisory Panel and has received compensation.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.