Three Takeaways from Amazon Small Business Academy

There is no shortage of small-business academies or educational programs. Even we have hosted some webinars of our own that help owners learn more about their business. But recently, Amazon has gotten into the space with their Small Business Academy. So, we looked at Amazon’s entry and came away with three key points.

Thinking about making changes to your business? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

It CAN Be Awesome... If You’re Selling Goods Online

The main focus of this academy is selling more online. Which makes sense, given Amazon and how they treat small businesses (outside of the academy, at least). Knowing e-commerce trends, if you are selling goods, you need be online. Who else tlearn from but the best in the business? Amazon helps you build an Amazon storefront to help you sell more on their platform. Amazon is also trying to sell services online, but I’m not sure it’s cracked that code yet.  

Two additional features were the Brand Registry and Project Zero. Both are focused on protecting your brand from online copycats. These aren’t free services, but Amazon is linking people with legal experts. So, if you don’t have an attorney or need specialized advice, this could be useful. 

The Small Business Academy has some MAJOR Curriculum Gaps

Like we said above, it’s awesome at teaching digital skills to sell more online. But, running a business requires more than just digital marketing and sales. Granted that’s hugely important, but so is finance, accounting, operations, and so on. If you use it for improving marketing and sales online, then it will be perfect. If you expect it to teach you all that you need to know to be successful, it doesn’t.

Amazon Competes with its Vendors

Don’t get me wrong, you need to be on Amazon if you are selling online. Otherwise you are missing out on the largest marketplace out there. It’s like selling toothpaste everywhere but Walmart. It doesn’t make sense. HOWEVER, it is important to know that Amazon directly competes against its vendors. As we said in our posts, Amazon vs. Small Business & The Big Tech Effect on Small Business,” you need to ready for this. Those posts can give you some time on how best to manage this risk.

Summary

If you want to learn digital marketing skills for your small business that will help you sell better on Amazon, then you should seriously consider their academy. We’d also strongly encourage you to consider selling on Amazon after taking the class. But, do so with your eyes wide open to the competitive challenges. If you are looking for a more comprehensive program, then Amazon’s Small Business Academy isn’t it

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Is Yahoo! Small Business’s Business Maker a Deal or Not?

Yahoo Small Business

We’ve gone through Amazon and Google and other tech companies before when it comes to small businesses. Now, let’s think about Yahoo, and specifically the Yahoo Business Maker. 

In October 2019, Yahoo Small Business launched its Business Maker. It’s a “a new platform to help small businesses and aspiring business owners start, run, and grow their own business.” So, we thought we’d give it a try, and directionally compare it to other service providers. What we found was surprising.

Thinking about making changes to your business? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

What Yahoo Business Maker Claims

Yahoo Small Business Maker does provide a selection of tailored services that help you manage your small business plans, legal needs, online hosting, local search, and point of sale. 

How It Stacks Up

Like we said in the video, it appears to be a good deal. While it’s impossible to tell if each of the individual services offered by Yahoo will be equivalent to the services provided by the other services we reviewed, it wins from a convenience standpoint. The interface is great. The unified dashboard is definite plus. If you are an experienced businessperson, Yahoo Business Maker’s guided tracks and to-do lists a bit annoying. But for someone starting out, they are a great resource.

Retail Solution Seemed Great, but We Couldn’t Review It

We aren’t a traditional brick-and-mortar business, so we weren’t able to review the POS system and solutions of Yahoo Business Maker. Like the rest of the platform, it’s seems user friendly. However, as to ease of use, functionality, etc., we can only go on what they claim. 

This easy-to-use system will help storeowners automatically track sales and inventory from a searchable, user-friendly app. The Yahoo Small Business Mobile Point of Sale system combines a backoffice where owners can control inventory, sales, and returns, and a payment processing function using PayPal Here card readers for in-person purchases.

Yahoo! Press Release (10/19)

Summary

If you are starting a business, you should consider Yahoo Business Maker. As an existing business, if you have your business plan complete, all your legal paperwork in place, etc., its value is a bit diminished. For us, it only made sense to use the Local Search tool. Unfortunately, that tool was about as expensive as the monthly rate for the full plan, and about the same price as a more wellestablished brand. Therefore, we chose not to use it, as we already have a local provider, and we didn’t see much added value. 

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Top Ways to Use LinkedIn to Boost Small Business

LinkedIn Boost

It should come as no surprise. We use LinkedIn to boost our small business. Why? Even though LinkedIn has become more crowded and the audience a bit more jaded, it’s still one of the best platforms for Business-to-Business (B2B) selling. This is one of the main ways to turn your small business from something starting out into a more contact-driven group. In some ways, it is a unique form of E-Commerce. 

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

#1. Realize that Building Your Network Takes Time 

In reality, this is was my hardest lesson to learn. You can’t rush it. I don’t believe there is a magic formula that does the trick. It’s a time consuming, slow process. Brand building takes time. If you are going to invest in LinkedIn, which I would argue is worth it for B2B companies, you have to be willing to put in the time to boost results. If you’re using it to drive inbound marketing, be prepared for an uphill battle. But it is all worth the effort at the end of the day.

#2. Quality Content is Key

Keyword search is helpful. Hashtag research is as well. We do both. However, that doesn’t always correlate with engagement. We’ve found it the most helpful to track each post to see what gets the most views and the most likes. By doing so, we found patterns within our audience that we wouldn’t have found via the standard recommended tools. Again, this takes time and effort. But, we’ve seen it pay dividends in boosting the numbers of views and likes on LinkedIn.

#3. Social Selling Index

If you don’t have Linkedin Sales Navigator, you’re probably thinking what the heck this is. It’s a measure of how well you are doing in selling your services in a social format. One of the HARDEST things for me was to realize that this is about trying to build connections with others. I’m at a disadvantage. I didn’t grow up with social media. It was a hard concept to learn, and frankly, I am still learning. When I think of writing and video, I think formal. It took me a while to unlearn that behavior. But, if you enter it with a ‘how can we help each other’ mindset, it’s been my experience that it works better.

#4. Groups – Jury’s Out

I’m starting to wonder if there are just too many groups on LinkedIn. We run one. Small Business Bootcamp. We’ve been able to build it to over 400 people in a few months. It’s a great tool to share information with people who are interested in what we have to say. However, I just wonder if people are getting burned out on groups. We’ll just have to see. 

Summary – We Love LinkedIn – Hope It Boosts Your Business Too!

If you are willing to put in time and effort, LinkedIn can be a great way to help boost your brand. By following the four steps we outlined, we think you will be more successful and happier with your experience. Will you still run into jerks – yes. It’s tough when you get a nasty reply when your intentions were good. But there are good people who are genuinely willing to help, and with effort, you can find them.

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

The Big Tech Effect on Small Business

big tech effect small business

Are the effects of big tech a friend or a foe to small businesses like yours and mind? The short answer: it’s likely both. As we said in our recent post about Amazon and Small Businesses, you can still have a chance at winning. But, it’s a little unfair since the people that you are playing against make the rules for the game.  

Thinking about making changes to your business? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Playing Football with the Referees

Working with Amazon, Facebook and Google is a bit like playing football against a team that not only own the refs but can also change the rules of the game in the 4th quarter. Against those odds, it’s hard to win. That’s why it’s not surprising that these digital goliaths are facing congressional scrutiny over their business practices. But tech is taking over, so you will need to learn soon.

Deja Vu?

Many readers may not remember a browser called Netscape. It dates to the 1990s with Microsoft maintaining control where they had no rights. It was using its market dominance to push out Netscape by auto-installing Internet Explorer on all PCs that ran the Windows platform. Microsoft was hit hard by antitrust litigation, congressional scrutiny, but most importantly, European Union scrutiny. The EU took the lead, but by the time action was taken, Netscape was dead. However, one has to wonder if Google Chrome or Google itself would have stood a chance of survival if the Microsoft antitrust actions hadn’t been taken.

Fast Forward to 2020

Congress is starting to seriously look at how these companies impact the competitiveness of small businesses. They are holding a hearing to explore the possible harm these companies have done to small businesses. The questions surround the effect of the mega tech firms have on smaller companies. They want to know if small outlets are disadvantaged when competing directly with internet giants or try to promote themselves on their sites. 

Leaving Las Vegas?

Look, it’s like going to Las Vegas. The house has the advantage in any game you play. In some games, it’s more than others. Antitrust laws are meant to make the odds 50/50. But, rarely is it ever so. Knowing that you are playing against the house, it wise to play the games with the best odds. Thinking the odds are equal across all the games is best way to lose a lot of money. If you’re paying attention to market trends, you’ll notice that it’s best to alter your game so you can play where you do not directly compete.

The Cause and Effect of Big Tech Changes

It’s likely that Congress will find some embarrassing details that will shame the companies for a while. There’s enough fodder. Amazon’s treatment of 3rd party sellers is responsible for E-Commerce failuresAmazonBasics acting like a digital private label. Google and Facebook playing favorites with the ads. I’m betting they’ll find something. But, will it amount to a lasting change or just a PR hit. My money is on the latter. It’s much easier to look like you are trying to solve a problem that to do it. 

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

A Small Business Guide to LinkedIn: Part 2

Small Business LInkedin Guide

In our last post, we shared a guide to why LinkedIn is important and how to set-up your LinkedIn company page and how to post the right kind of content. In this post, we will discuss strategies for optimizing your page and building followers  in our second guide to LinkedIn.

Thinking about making changes to your business? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

So, How to Post Content Effectively?

It’s very important that you post relevant content frequently. The rule of thumb is 1 to 2 posts per day. Yes, this is a huge time commitment. But, we hope that you, like us, feel this is an investment well spent. It also takes time. It can take 6 months to a year to gain the full benefit of your efforts. There will be many disappointments along the way, but persistence is key. 

A profile boost like as outlined in the video can deliver a more meaningful audience. Now, you can showcase your content to people who will find it more relevant. Did you know that nearly half of all B2B web traffic from social media originates on LinkedIn? That’s why it’s so important to have your page optimized so you can make the most of this organic traffic. For more about what you should consider posting, please watch the following guide to LinkedIn. 

How can you guide followers to your LinkedIn profile?

This is no small task. If you have completed the prior tasks, this should be easier. You have relevant content and an optimized page so new contacts will be able to gauge your value more quickly. There are no shortcuts to guide true followers to your LinkedIn. It takes effort. The video shows some ways that great ways to help. That said, you will still need to take the time to research the right contacts, read their profiles, find a meaningful reason to connect, and send a personalized invitation.  

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Amazon vs. Small Business – David vs. Robotic Goliath

amazon small business

It’s hard to imagine now, but in 1994, Amazon was just an online book retailer. Fast-forward 20 or so years, and in the second quarter of 2019, Amazon booked over $63 billion – billion with a “B”! – in retail sales. Amazon killed the likes of Barnes and Noble and has been gobbling up categories left and right ever since. Therefore, as a small business, it’s hard not to see Amazon as a threat, especially for newer businesses. 

Your business is doing well. But what’s next? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Most Small Businesses See Amazon as a Threat

Small Business Ecosystem

According to Lendio’s American Dream Survey, many small business owners see Amazon as a threat to their profitability and long-term health. Over 2/3rd of small business owners see Amazon, Google, and other large companies, e.g. Walmart, as having a negative impact on their long-term growth.  

David’s Story

Our client David was concerned about online retailers stealing market share and customers. He was finding that many potential clients came into his store to look at the merchandise, and then, use their mobile device to purchase it on Amazon. It was infuriating to him. He was acting as a showroom, carrying all the overhead so Amazon could make the profit. He was frustrated and didn’t quite know what to do

David’s Sling Shot – How Did He Overcome Goliath

Well, if you’re looking for the classical biblical ending, you won’t find it here. But you will see how David was able to grow and start to get his fair share by working with Amazon instead of fighting it

Give them what Amazon can’t – an experience

It’s the biggest flaw in the e-commerce’s armor. All the best algorithms in the world still can’t make people feel like they’re special or going to look like a million bucks. David could. So, that’s where we focused. We had to yield the ground to low-end inventory and focus on upselling either the high-end unique products or in selling a full look. If you purchased in-store, David would ‘dress’ his clients. This meant they would leave with a full look. 

He still lost some of the browsers, but they weren’t likely to purchase anyway. It was OK, as this gave him more time to focus on his engaged customers. He was able to increase their average dollars spent per visit by over 40%, just by upselling. He made them look and feel beautiful. That’s something no e-commerce retailer can do, today. It is also why so many new businesses still rely on brick-and-mortar.

Power of Positive Experiences

So, guess what? When you make a customer feel great, what happens? They tell others. This switch in approach caused his Yelp and Google My Business rating skyrocket. It seems like common sense, right? Well, if you want clients to go out of their way, then you need to give them something special. In David’s case, it was the way he made them feel. Emotions drive reactions more powerfully than anything else. David’s brand, essentially, was his care foothers. 

social media customer service

Finally, if you can’t beat them, join them

According to Amazon, small- and medium-sized businesses accounted for $2 billion in sales during the last Prime Day. While that may be true, you want to smart about how you show up on Amazon, so it isn’t a race to the bottoon price. David did. He opened his own Amazon store, where he only sold curated outfits, not individual pieces. Amazon is set up to sell bundles as easily, so there was no simple way to directly price compare. While he couldn’t repeat the store experience online, he could differentiate his product offering. With the added fees, he wasn’t going to win on price without hurting his margin. So, he changed the rules of the game and accellerated his small business growth.

So, What If You’re Not David?

You can still win vs. Goliath if you follow a few key steps.  

      • Focus on what they can’t deliver – an experience: Even if you can replicate what David did, ask yourself this – What can you do to make sure that people leave your store feeling better than they did when coming in 
      • Build on the power of positive experiences: If people exit your store feeling better than they did entering, they are more likely to provide you with positive reviews. A positive review pays dividends long after the experience ended 
      • Learn how to join them: Don’t try to compete head-to-head on price. Find a way to offer something that they can’t. Maybe it’s a bundle, like David? Perhaps, it’s a limitededition promotion? Whatever it is, you’re likely to be more successful if it’s something that can’t easily find elsewhere. 

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

Why We Love Kabbage’s Small Business Index

kabbage small business index

We talk a lot about different kinds of technology that can help your small business, and we might have a very useful one for you. Kabbage is a small business lending platform, and it has released a free tool called the Small Business Index. So often, we, as small business owners, struggle to find data how our performance compares to our peers. This free tool provides live data on more than 200,000 companies so we can see how our business is performing vs. our industry peers in our state and across the country. It might help you when it comes to long-term success for your business. 

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Why We Love It

Most of the research available is static and survey based, so it lacks both timeliness and accuracy. This quote, from Forbes, may answer some of your questions

“The preponderance of small business health reports are reliant on survey responses or static research,” says David Snitkof, head of data analytics and strategy at Kabbage. “This is the only tool available with an ongoing pulse on the financial health of local American small businesses, such as restaurants, hair salons, dentists, lawn care providers, boutique shops and more.”

Forbes

This tool allow you to choose between 15 industry options over a 3 year range, by state or by the US. It’s real time and data driven. Therefore, it both timely and more accurate.

Why We Think You'd Love It

Growth without context is just a number. For example, let’s say your business grew 15% in the past year. That’s good, right? Well, maybe. If you grew at 15%, but the average for your industry in your state was 20%, then no, it’s not. You’re actually lagging, so there are probably things you should be doing that your are not. Conversely, if the average was 10%, then you are doing somethings really well. You might want to consider what’s making you standout, so you can do more of it. You can take the tips from Kabbage and learn how to save yourself.

Some Facts You May Not Know

In 2019, the average small business grew by 19.37% based on the small businesses analyzed within the Kabbage Small Business Revenue Index. That’s pretty amazing when you think about the average GDP growth has been less than 3%. This illustrates the impact that small business has on fueling the growth of the economy. Research shows that we are the driving forces of job creation. We employ nearly ½ the US workforce

To Summarize, Try Kabbage

We love the Small Business Index because it a powerful tool for both ourselves and our clients to understand how we are performing vs. our peers. This is incredible valuable information that can help us to create more effective strategies and to focus on the right areas for growth.

Whether to DIY or Outsource Digital Marketing: Jeff’s Story

digital marketing

Digital marketing is a key strategy for all small businesses. It’s a tough decision whether to outsource part or all of it to a third party. Who can you trust? Will they do a good job? Can you afford it? All leaps of faith to a certain degree. Our client Jeff faced these same questions. He dabbled, and he struggled. Even then, he still was not sure what was best. He, like all of us, has limited time and resources, so what did he decide to do? Well, that’s where digital marketing comes into play. 

Unsure of how to take your business from good to great? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

Jeff's Story

Jeff runs a small boutique store in New York. He’s had been successful with his brick and mortar location, but sales were starting to slow. He had some e-commerce, but it was extremely limited. He wanted to keep his growth going, but he wasn’t exactly sure how. Most of his current business came from foot traffic and through his reputation as curator of unique and custommade products from locally sourced material. Jeff, himself, had a great online presence through is Instagram account, but the business was less well represented.

Digital Marketing 101

Digital marketing requires some knowledge and skill to be effective. Some of the skills from traditional marketing are translatable. Some are not. There are great short courses on digital marketing basics at SCORE and Digital Marketing Institute.

Content marketing

Content marketing cover much of what we spoke about in our blog post on In-Bound Marketing. An example of content marketing is what we are doing right now. Good contact marketing leverages key words that your audience connects with your business. Valuable content is worth its weight in gold. It drives both engagement and search rankings.

Organic SEO

Organic SEO is the holy grail of digital marketing. While it’s the holy grail, it’s the hardest to influence. Google spends millions on its algorithms, and they change constantly. It’s time consuming, but not impossible to do yourself. First you need to see where you stand. This requires setting up a Google Search Console account. It’s simple to do, but harder to manage. Google offers a SEO starter’s guide, which is worth completing if you decide to try your hand at SEO.

Social media

We went through a whole section on social media in our blog post on Inbound Marketing. Social media can be a powerful tool for small businesses. This is the one area in which Jeff excelled. 

Paid search & advertising

Advertising on Google involves keyword bidding. This can be expensive for popular keywords. However, local search can be very helpful. Google My Business coupled with Ads can be helpful. Google Ads provides a Smart Campaign option that we’ve used, and it has been effective. The jury is out if it is more or less effective than a professionally managed campaign.

What Did Jeff Do?

Jeff was a whiz at social media. We didn’t need to hire an expert here, but he did need to make sure that he put the same effort into his business account as he did his personal. All the social media credit was going to his personal account, and if people didn’t know he owned a store, he was losing them as potential customers and diminishing his chances of long-term success.

No one could write content about his business better than he could. What he needed was some help on which key words were the most productive. He didn’t have time both to write and to do the research. As a result, we recommended that he hire someone to manage his SEO. With paid advertising, we decided to try the Google Smart Campaign. We didn’t have the budget for both SEO and paid advertising managers. Therefore, we had to make a strategic choice to avoid wasting money.

Jeff's Results

The brick and mortar results were not instantaneous, but the web metrics were. Within the first month, he saw his web traffic quadruple. Once we had enough clicks, we turned on the remarketing feature. Within the 2nd month, we saw his online sales skyrocket. Let’s put this in context. He had a very minimal e-commerce presence prior, so any change was dramatic. After 3 months, his local organic rankings started to improve significantly, and his in-store sales started to increase. It took roughly six months to see the full impact and his year-on-year in store sales were up +20%, with growth seeming to continue in that upward-swing.

What Does This Mean for You?

If you are planning on including digital marketing into your mix or if you are doing it now, we would recommend that you look at each of the aspects above. We at ProStrategix believe it is a tool that can be used in all marketing plans. Every business is different and has a different set of needs. That said, a thoughtful analysis of how each of these tools can be put the best use for you should increase your chances of success. 

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

How A.I. Can Work for Your Small Business

AI Small Business

A.I. can sound scary, or it can seem like it’s only something large companies can afford to use. Thankfully, it can be for your small business as wellArtificial intelligence is becoming the answer to everything, but it can be a powerful tool if you know how–and when–you use it. We’d like to share the story of Cary and how the use of A.I. solutions helped his business.

Thinking about making changes to your business? ProStrategix knows how to help. Read some of our other articles below, or feel free to connect with us and get a complimentary thirty-minute consulting session.

What Is A.I.?

In simple terms, artificial intelligence uses the power of computers to recognize patterns in data that might not be obvious or discernable to the naked eye. By quickly spotting patterns that correlate to desired outcomes, A.I. can help optimize our efforts by telling us where to put our resources. For example, a program like this can tell us what content drives more people to click or buy on our websites. However, it is important to realize that A.I. is driven by mathematics, not by compassion. It’s important to make sure your A.I.optimized message is what you want your brand to be. The program and the intention might not be the same thing.

How Cary Uses A.I.

Help improve HR functions and HR automation

Cary runs a large events and catering business. His temporary and full-time employees manage the company’s training, reviews, and payroll. Most of his staff works hourly, and turnover is high, just by the nature that this is second job for most of his staff. We worked with him to identify 3 areas where HR automation made sense. 

revenue
      1. Hiring – While it may seem a bit odd to have a bot interview and screen people, it’s not a crazy as it seems if you are using it for simple entry-level jobs. Tools like Entelo can help you  to find which behaviors correlate to strong job performance. Armed with that data, you can more effectively screen candidate so you can spend more time interviewing the best candidates instead of scouring of hundreds of resumes that would never make the cut.  
      2. Turnover risk – there are a number of products that conduct automated engagement surveys. We used Qualtrics, but Hyphen is good as well. By taking these regular pulse checks, Cary could see which parts of the organization were less engaged and therefore higher turnover risk. 
    1.  

Marketing automation

In all honesty, A.I. is further along in B2Cs than B2B small businesses. A.I. is also more powerful in categories with higher concentration (few players, large market shares) than fragmented (many players, low market shares). In concentrated categories, there is more data on each company, making the correlations more obvious and powerful. 

Brandwatch is an example of an A.I. for small business
Brandwatch is an example of an A.I. for small business

Cary used tools like Crayon to monitor his competitors across multiple channels: their websites, social media and mobile apps. This monitoring provides valuable insights into our competitors’ strategies by flagging changes in price, product mix, and messaging. These insights can help you build effective strategies by leveraging the right target(s) where he had a competitive advantage. He also used Brandwatch to help provide insights into his consumer segmentation. He also used AI to help with messaging and targeting as discussed above.

The most valuable tool for Cary was automating his small details. He used Marketo, which allowed him to launch your pre-planned digital ads, social media posts, and email and mobile notifications so that they reach the right targets at the right time and continuously nurture a relationship with customers.

Improving customer service

One of the more effective ways that Cary’s small business used A.I. was in customer service. By leveraging past behavior, he was able to serve up the product and services that his customers were most likely to want based on what they searched or purchased in the past. As well as helping through optimized offerings, he used chatbots to engage his customers with the FAQs. This provided immediate feedback rather than wait for an e-mail or voice mail. While chatbots don’t replace people, and their overuse can have negative impact on customer perception, they are most useful when they can quickly guide customers to the information that they need. 

How A.I. Helped Cary's Small Business

A.I. helped Cary’s small business in three many ways. First, it helped him reduce the time he and his team spent screening resumes by 45%. He was able to recruit new candidates many weeks faster than before A.I. was used. Second, he was also able to reduce turn-over rate by 20%. Second marketing automation helped him do more with his current staff, saving himself the cost of a marketing intern. Finally, customer service was able to connect with potential customers to direct them through his website. 

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

4 Amazing Ways Automation Can Help Your Small Business

Automation

Automation technologies are improving constantly, and costs are dropping. As they do, these automation processes are much more accessible to small businesses. Here are 4 amazing ways automation may be able to help your small business.

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1. Productivity

Productivity is hands-down the best area where automation can help. Its most basic objective of technology is efficiency. Automation can increase efficiency by leaps and bounds. It can decrease the time it takes to do the boring and mundane tasks. Notably, repetitive tasks are the best area for automation. AI has improved exponentially in recent years, but it cannot yet replace people for complex human interaction. 

2. Collaboration

All businesses requires a number of different activities to work in tandem. Small businesses usually require people to wear multiple hats to get those activities accomplished. When you are juggling multiple things, it’s easy for things to get lost in the cracks. 

Automation can simplify communication, ensure the latest documents are up to date, provide an easily accessible database for reference, and track deadlines and progress. So, by tracking progress, you can allocate resources where they are most needed. 

3. Accuracy

People make mistakes. Automation can help improve the accuracy by double-checking or proofing the work. This happens in lending and can help your personal business as well. This can help ensure that errors do not go unnoticed until they cause problems. For example, we are using Grammarly right now to check for typos. When used properly, the whole process can become simpler. 

AI and Lending

4. Retention

People hate boring and monotonous tasks. They become tedious and demotivating. People feel undervalued and morale suffers. Automation can take over some of these tasks, so employees can focus on more interesting tasks where human interaction and creativity are needed. People tend to be happy when they are being challenged and creative. It also can help with customer retention.

How to Adopt Automation

It’s best to take it bite-sized pieces. Start with the most mundane and repetitive tasks you have. See if they can be automated. You can usually see a nice ROI on employee morale, productivity, and accuracy right away. Another area to focus on is collaboration. If your staff feels overworked or overwhelmed, is there a way to make their lives easier and simpler by taking some of the communication burdens off their plate? 

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.