Business is getting harder

No one said it would be easy. That’s the key finding of a recent Constant Contact survey of small businesses conducted earlier this year. When asked to compare whether it’s easier or harder to do business now than five years ago, 59 percent said it’s harder.

The reason why? Apart from the hit small businesses took in the economic downturn, 49 percent said it’s harder to keep pace with technology. While more than 85 percent of small businesses report they use online marketing tools, one of the biggest issues is finding enough time to get it all done – and done right.

The survey results will come as no surprise to small business owners and managers. Because when you’re trying to sell while growing your business, you need the right tools to stay current.

My advice for small businesses? Look at mobile customer engagement. This is particularly true if you:


 -  Have a more structured approach to selling and invest resources in new business.
 -  Update your website regularly, but it doesn’t have everything your customers might need.
 -  Publish and share a mix of your own content and resources from third parties.
 -  Print brochures, but aren’t sure if anyone looks at them.

My accountant fits this description perfectly. His firm is growing. He spends a dedicated number of hours each week on new business. He publishes a quarterly newsletter, blogs, and mails introductory folders to new prospects. His team has a collection of PDF memos about tax questions. He has all the right content, just not in the right place.Like many small business leaders, my accountant has found that the old way of following up with email attachments is too slow and burdensome. No one’s sitting at their desk all day anymore.

This is where mobile customer engagement enters the picture. Because the ability to respond with urgency is a key way to show you’re responsive – and that you understand your customer’s needs. With mobile customer engagement, your response time is seconds, not hours or days. Clearly, one of the key benefits of mobile customer engagement is saving time. Programs such as Kurryer, which enable you to personalize sales materials for specific customers, go much further. Kurryer enables you to share customized, branded content with prospects even before your initial conversation is over.

More often than not, follow-up appears straightforward. Yet, it's often a hurdle that many small businesses fail to clear. Being responsive to a prospective customer means following up in as little time as possible. The next time you feel pushed for time in your small business, look at mobile customer engagement. Just as your customers want to maximize their spend more than ever before, you should maximize your time.