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Forbes, December 2014

The Single Most Important Thing You Can Do to Build Your Business in 2015

Looking to gain more attention for your business in 2015?

If you’re like the 28.2 million small businesses in the United States – according to a Small Business Administration report – you know all too well how hard it is to build a brand, gain consumer awareness and generate sales. What use to work for the Mad Men era of brand building simply doesn’t exist anymore. Instead, brand building is all about technology, accessibility and timely information.

Tech, Time and Data

Technology is at our fingertips 24/7 nowadays, which leads consumers to both good and bad ends when it comes to brand searching. Is your business easily found online? Or it it lost among big box competition or even like-minded, small business competitors? The challenge to stand-out among the masses will always exist, but fortunately technology can be on your side if you leverage it right.

For starters, consider how you currently lean on technology to strengthen your brand identity. Is social media your only angle? Or are you gaining data through technology that helps you better understand your customer base? Data should be top of mind in all you do, as this helps you best understand existing customers, allows you to identify holes in which customers are not being met and offers ways in which you can problem solve before bigger problems arise.

Point of sale companies that include LightSpeed, ShopKeep and TouchSuite are all fantastic supporters of small businesses, helping merchants not only process sales but also gain data. For businesses that sell B2C, point of sale companies should be on their priority list for 2015 as a way to help gain data for their business. The catch? You need to utilize the data that is generated, then review it regularly to ensure you are staying on top of your business and brand growth as the year progresses.
Other companies that can help small businesses leverage data include email marketing providers, such as Constant Contact, SnapRetail and Vertical Response, all of which generate data that allows businesses to see if their emails are being read, opened and what click-through is taking place. These are vital statistics to track, as every email sent offers businesses a chance to learn about what is engaging their customers most. For that matter, it also helps identify what is least engaging, and offers brands a chance to change their strategy should they see a slow trend of consumer engagement.

With so much data to review, businesses often feel overwhelmed as to what is most vital. However, reviewing all data is essential and even more so, reacting to the data reviewed is a must. With companies such as those mentioned above making it nearly turn-key for small businesses to gain from and use, busy business owners have nearly no excuse not to lean on data gained. Quite simply, reacting to data is the single most important step that businesses should make in 2015 – giving themselves the chance to learn from their strengths, mistakes and missed opportunities – and ultimately, the chance to improve.

As 2015 approaches, make it your resolution to build your brand, your business and your sales with the help of tracked, proven data.

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