If you run your own small business and you’re making enough money to pay your overheads and still be left with a nice profit at the end of the month, you might consider your business to be a success. If you manage to receive a steady flow of customers every week, and maybe employ one or two members of staff to help you run the operation, you might think you’ve reached the limit of your success. In fact, the only thing that’s really limiting your success is your ambition.
You might think it’d be ridiculous to believe that you could rival some of the big brands out there. What you need to remember is all of the massive brands out there, which turnover millions if not billions of dollars every year, started in the exact same position as you. Nowadays, it’s rare that you’ll find someone under the age of 50, or even a business or service, without a Facebook account. That website was started by a group of university students as a side project between classes, the story of which has even been turned into a Hollywood film. They found a gap in the market and embraced technology to make the brand a global success. If it’s possible for them, it can be possible for any business. With that in mind, here are some of the ways modern technology and engineering can help your small business make its first million dollars.
Use the latest technology to make your product unique
The secret to becoming successful in business is to sell as many products as possible. This means that you want to persuade people to buy from you rather than any of your competitors. There are many ways you can do this. For example, you could try and offer your product at a lower price than your competitors. You could run a big ad campaign to try and persuade people to shop with you. Whilst these all will affect your revenue, the best way to convince people to buy your product from you is to be the only company offering that exact product or service. If you can come up with a unique product, or at least a new unique design to improve a flaw in an existing product, then you will see a huge increase in your sales. Unlike lowering prices and ad campaigns, there is very little your competitors can do instantly to try and complete if you start selling a popular, unique product. They’d have to go back to the drawing board and redesign their products to rival yours, which could take months, if not years. By then, hopefully, you will have had enough success that many people will already have your product, or it has already been recognized as the best product for the job.
One great example of a business that has always strived to be unique is Netflix. Although movie rental was far from a new idea when they first launched their business, many people flocked to them thanks to one unique idea. For the first time, users could choose to rent from a wide range of films without ever having to visit a store to select them or even return them. Soon after, many different brands tried to copy that same idea. That’s why Netflix soon stopped mailing DVDs out in the post and instead launched a more convenient option, their streaming site. As this meant that people were now able to watch films and TV shows instantly whenever they wanted, they were once again able to be more successful than their competitors. Once more brands, like Amazon and Hulu, started to launch their own streaming services, they then went one step further by being the first streaming websites to produce their own films and TV series. If people want to watch series like Breaking Bad or The Crown, they have to subscribe to Netflix as they are unique to the streaming platform.
Automate your operation
To make a lot of money, you need to sell a lot of products and then dispatch a lot of products as well. The only problem with this is as your sales go up, so will your overheads. This doesn’t just include the cost of either buying or manufacturing the stock you sell. This also includes having the employ more staff to deal with all of those orders. Although your workforce is an essential asset, it can also be your most expensive asset. Unlike your other expenses, the cost of your workforce does not change depending on how many orders you’ve had in a month. For example, if you run an ice cream shop and you know in certain months you’ll sell less product than others, you can save money by ordering in fewer ingredients. If your staff are all on permanent contracts, the cost of their wage bill will stay the same despite any increase or decrease in demand.
You might think that the biggest brands in the world employ lots of people. In fact, these brands became the most profitable brands in the world by employing the smallest number of staff possible to keep the business running. Instead, big companies like these rely on a lot of automation to keep their business running smoothly. For example, you would think it would take an army of people to a particular product in the Amazon warehouse amongst all of the other products that they stock. In fact, thanks to a lot of automation, including label printers, barcode scanners, and a system of conveyor belts, the world’s biggest retailer are able to dispatch orders with a surprisingly small workforce.
As well as reducing the amount of wages you have to pay, automation can also speed up many of the processes in your business. Not only can Amazon save money using the technology mentioned earlier in this article, but that same automation is the secret behind their ability to send parcels extremely quickly. One of the major selling points of Amazon is that they promise their Prime members that a number of their products will arrive at their home the next day for only the cost of their subscription. Speed is also important when it comes to new technology. For example, Apple revolutionized the smartphone market when they released the original iPhone. The device has been the first to incorporate so many unique features over the years. This is because the brand is always working hard to release its latest products as soon as they can, regularly beating its competitors when it comes to new technology. In fact, speed is so important that according to this article, the CEO of Apple Tim Cook regularly recommends a book entitled “Competing Against Time” to managers of different businesses.
Analyze the data
It isn’t just enough to have a successful business. It’s also important to realize what is causing this success. If you know what customers like about your business, you can make sure you’re offering more products or services that include that feature. If you know what is putting your customers off buying some of your products, you know exactly how to improve them to increase sales of those products. If you sell a wide range of products in a wide range of locations, it can be hard to know where to begin when it comes to understanding what is popular and what isn’t.
You might think you’d need to conduct something like a customer survey or another form of market research to get any real idea of what the people visiting your store are thinking. Whilst this would be useful, it can be expensive to run, time-consuming, and may also not give you accurate results. As it’s optional whether you fill out something like a customer survey, you’re only likely to receive the most extreme responses, i.e., the opinions of those who really liked your products and those who want to complain about your products or services. Instead, why not analyze the data you already hold about your customers. You might not think you hold much data about your customers, but if you run your own website, you could be sitting on a lot of valuable information. For example, you could see which pages are viewed the most.
While you might think this would lead you to know which of your products sold the most, that might not be the case. It’s important that you compare the number of times a product was viewed compared to how many times someone bought it. If you find lots of people are viewing your most popular products and then not purchasing them, it could mean that the product isn’t reaching its full potential. Compare these pages to other products on your website that are more successful at converting views into purchases. It could be anything from the image, the product description, or even any negative reviews from other customers that are putting the customer off, making that all important purchase.