by Constantine Anastasakis, Senior Director of Business Development, Fiverr
Small businesses and startups regularly face some of the same challenges. They need to drive demand and awareness through creative channels. They need to find skilled practitioners who can propel business growth. And they have to stay on top of all the administrative duties required to run a business. These challenges are nothing new and usually indicate potential business opportunity, but they can be overwhelming for business owners running a lean organization and counting on a small team to accomplish large and complex projects. While the need to drive results and quickly onboard skilled people aren’t new challenges, there are new approaches to solving those problems. Some of them can ultimately save you a lot of time and money. Consider trying the following tips to stay lean while starting up and run more of your business online:
Old school: If your ad spend is still dedicated to space in the local paper, it’s definitely time to shake things up. Even if you have quality online ad programs in place, you’re only reaching a sliver of your targeted audiences. It’s important and inexpensive to get the word out about your business online and on social media, and you stand a much better chance of measuring the impact of online tools
New school: A recent survey found only nine percent of small businesses effectively use social media. Social media platforms are valuable marketing channels for small business owners because they allow you to do a lot for free or on a limited budget. Most businesses know they should be on Facebook, but they get frustrated when their posts don’t reach their audiences or drive engagement. Paid promotion of posts is the most surefire way to expand reach on Facebook and ensure that the people you care about see your content. Exploring new platforms also offers opportunities to share your story with new audiences. Regularly sharing fresh content on Twitter emphasizes expertise in your field. Instagram and Pinterest allow you to show the world your perspective, as well as promote visually appealing product placements.
Old school: Considering the amount of time it takes to find, interview, hire and train the right person, the traditional approach to building a team can be expensive and exhausting. Further, the majority of small businesses are one-person operations. Bringing full- or part-timers on board for special projects like web and graphic design or content development to get that social media program up and running is most likely out of the question.
New school: Instead of spending so much time and energy hiring and onboarding fresh talent, consider hiring a freelancer for projects you can’t handle on your own. Finding talent online simplifies the process, saves time and opens up the pool of potential candidates on an international scale. If you’re nervous about finding the right freelancer for your needs, try using an online freelance marketplace. Marketplaces can match you with the high-value services that you’re looking for, and thanks to strong review systems and a wealth of styles and experience levels, you’re likely to find a good professional fit that has experience with your kind of business or project. A distributed team of freelancers can build a website or WordPress page, write custom content for your social channels and draft quality new graphics and branding material for your business. If you’re resourceful, you can get creative, agency-quality results for a fraction of the cost.
Old school: From budget tracking to payroll, running the backend of a business is no easy feat. How many spreadsheets do you have to stay on top of in order to run your business? Cluttering your desktop with Excel documents is one way to keep track of everything, but unless you genuinely enjoy manual data entry, there are plenty of online solutions to help with email lists, time sheets and the like.
New school: If you keep a busy schedule, consider using a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants can help you stay organized and don’t cost a fortune. You can tap an assistant for a few hours a month at a low rate through a number of online services, or find a freelancer that offers a similar service. Similarly, make an investment in software that can handle day-to-day needs. Use an app like iCapture to collect and manage customer contact information, or try ClickTime to track hours and expenses.
While these business challenges are here to stay, new tools are constantly being rolled out to address the pain points small business owners face. Given the influx of talent available on demand, it’s almost guaranteed there’s a service available to help meet your business’ goals. As you turn to new solutions for your traditional business problems, you’ll find that you save time and money while scaling your business.
Constantine Anastasakis is the senior director of business development at Fiverr. Fiverr is the world’s biggest online marketplace for creative services, where skilled freelancers offer high-value services you can purchase quickly and efficiently. Find graphic design, web design and audio and video work quickly.