Finding ways to stay ahead of the competition in a tight market can be a challenge. From web-marketing to janitorial work and everything in between, gaining a leading edge against the competition may mean the difference in success and failure.
Of course there are many facets involved in the race to the top, such as customer service, great PR, and advertising, but an often overlooked aspect is cutting-edge software. While some software, such as bookkeeping programs and social media management interfaces are fairly generic, others are very industry specific. Find the software that works for your business, then learn to use it well.
Way #1: Harness Social Media
Social media has quickly risen to being one of the leading marketing platforms around the world. There is little reason to wonder why when usage statistics are considered: 1 million+ Twitter users and 800 million Facebook users (1) represent a large chunk of the population. It is statistics like this that drive many otherwise reluctant business executives to start viewing social media as a viable, and even critical advertising niche. However, a company’s greatest downfall may be attempting to deal with their social media sites like a normal end user: one site at a time.
The best way for your company to utilize social media effectively in your marketing campaign is by utilizing a social media management platform. The most popular of these sites is definitely Hootsuite (2), which offers a way to integrate your marketing campaign across multiple social media sites, interact with consumers through comments, track individual campaign success (or failure), and even schedule your posts to be made live at the most opportune time for your particular business. Of course, Hootsuite is not the only option out there, so be sure to explore and find out which one works best for you.
Way #2: Track Expenses
If you are still using the old-fashioned ledger method to keep track of your company’s productivity, you have already lost the battle to your competition. Why? Because likely they are spending less time, money, and staff resources on tracking expenses than you are, and producing more useable reports. More than likely though, you are like many small businesses: puttering around with a bookkeeping software that you do not really know how to use. If that is the case, get some training!
A host of accounting software packages is available, with Quickbooks being a commonly known one. But whether you are a non-profit or a for-profit entrepreneur, choosing a package that fits your needs and your budget is critical. Make sure you choose one that will allow you to track profit on individual products or services, as well as generate overall progress reports. Knowing if you are making money on a certain item can help make decisions that give you that competitive edge.
Way #3: Get Specific
Industry-specific software may not be available for every business under the sun, but it certainly is for many. Take CleanTelligent (3) for an example. A janitorial bid generator, this software truly does help you “cleanup” the competition. One of the great features of this type of software is the ability to track trends in your jobs in order to bid more efficiently in the future. If construction is your business, then choosing Smartbidnet may be the answer for you. Both of these software platforms claim to help business get more bids and make more money from them. Many industries have productivity software that makes their specific line of work just a bit easier to handle.
Whatever your industry, do a little research to see what software applications are available to help you. From bookkeeping to industry specific, the key to using any application is educating yourself or someone on your staff to use it, and use it well.
Meg Jones works with a janitorial bid software company that strives to provide the very best in competitive programming to bring your business to the top of its field.