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5 Common Things Businesses Do Offline, But Shouldn’t

Problem solver. Financial whiz. Sales champ. Running a small business involves wearing a lot of hats. And while you know that embracing digital is important for your business, it’s easy to keep doing things the old way when you have so much to do.

 

But if you’re looking to increase productivity and delight your customers — or just make your life as an entrepreneur a little easier — making your business more digital is the way to go.

 

In this post, Googler Christoffer Klemming covers some of the most common things businesses fail to take advantage of when it comes to digital tools - and how you can do it differently. From keeping your business documents in a drawer to taking appointments through a binder, here are 5 things you shouldn’t be doing “analogue” anymore.

 

1. Not putting your business on the map

Almost all consumers today consider online reviews to be a trusted source for purchase information and a whooping 85% of consumers use services like Google Maps and Yelp to find info about local services (Nielsen, 2014). That means you need to be there when your customers are looking for you, otherwise your competitors will.

 

 

If you haven’t claimed your online business listings and updated them with your opening hours, address and photos - you’re missing out on a ton of potential business. Here’s the remedy:

 

 

2. Keeping your documents in a dusty binder

Still keeping your financial, legal and operations paperwork spread out in dusty binders across your office or offline on a tucked-away computer? Not only is it risky in case they get lost or damaged, but it makes it much more difficult to maintain, retrieve and share with your team.

 

Get your company documents online is easy with these great tools:

  • G Suite - Try Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar for your business for free
  • Shoobx - Smart platform to manage your legal documents online

 

3. Not chatting with your online visitors

More than a quarter of shoppers buy online at least once a week3 and more of it happens on phones. So a must-have is a mobile-friendly website. But that’s not all, you should also be engaging potential customers that land on your website - just like you would if they entered your storefront.

 

One great way of doing that is allowing them chat with one of your staff members. Sounds complicated to set up? Not anymore with these great chat tools:

  • Google My Business - Chat is a new feature coming up if you use Google My Business (look out!)
  • Drift Chat - By just pasting some code on your site, you can instantly start chatting with your visitors!

 

4. Managing your appointments offline

Do you still mainly accept appointments or reservations through your phone? And do you track these appointments in a paper binder? You’re missing out!

 

Taking online appointments today is easier than ever and customers love it. Let them book appointments through your website or your social media page to save time. Even better, this lets you build customer profiles and get great data about how your business is performing. Here are two tools you can try out for free:

  • Setmore - Free tool to manage online appointments
  • Acuity - Manage your appointments like a champ!

5. Forcing your customers to wait

Are customers standing in line in and around your establishment waiting for your service? Do you manage your waitlist through pen and paper or these buzzing bricks (pagers)?

 

You can do better! There’s a slew of smart online waitlisting services that lets you quickly waitlist customers and keep them informed through SMS. That way, they can leave and do something more productive while they wait. Plus,  you’ll get insight into your wait times and customers!

  • NoWait - Smart and functional waitlist solution for restaurants
  • Waitwhile - Free and simple waitlist application (authored by yours truly!)

 

I know it seems like a daunting task to pivot your business to digital. Having to get acquainted with some new technology seems challenging when you’re time strapped and justifying the investment seems hard.  But I promise you it is not as scary or expensive as you think,  and it will be well worth it - to both your business and your customers!

 

So In 2017, make it a New Year’s resolution to power up your business with digital!  Let us know what you are struggling with or if you have ideas for other tools that have helped your business.

Comments
Tierra W Google Small Business Advisor
February

Great article! #2 and #3 are key and easy steps to start a digital transition.

Werner Smit
March

Insightful and very well written!

 

Thank you!

@Brielle B some really helpful websites in this article. I'm a firm believer and power user of all the tools and services in the G-Suite because I can get to them from one central point. Being able to collaborate in real-time makes life and business easier as well.

Mary R
March

Great, I have lots of ideas now, I'm an old dog learning new tricks and it's really not hard, and really is exciting...thanks so much.

Hyun L
March

To expand on #5 - Qminder is another great alternative to managing waiting lines & providing a better customer service.

Overall, great points made!

Dwayne T
March

This was very helpful!

Sanjay S
March

Thanks for the article!

Unknown7 M
March

Good pointers !! we will be implementing these on our website - thank you 

La mejor manera y directa, es el dialogo con el cliente, ellos mismos, ya estan un poco cansado de tanto mensaje, y lo que quieren es dialogar con una persona no con maquinasm, por eso, poco a poco aunque las maquinas hoy en dia estan a la ultima y no podemos vivir sin ellas, los clientes se cambian de empresas, sean las que sean y se dediquen a lo que sean si tienen un buen servicio de atencion al cliente.

 

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Jenn Sargeant
1 month ago

Awesome article! The digital tools that are available to business owners should make their lives easier, not harder. All of these points are accurate and the solutions are even better! Work smarter, not harder!