Tips for Reinventing Your Established Small Business

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Starting a new business is always challenging. What's equally challenging, though, is reinventing an established business when you recognize that it's time to make some adjustments. As technology and public tastes change, it's essential to adapt and evolve. If you've been in business for years or even decades, the very products that helped you succeed in the past may now hold you back. Let's explore some of the ways to reinvent yourself to meet the needs of today's customers. 

Keep Up With Technology

Rapid changes in technology require businesses to adapt in order to survive. This can mean many things, depending on your business model. If you have a retail store or warehouse, offering products online as well is a way to expand your business. For some businesses, the next step is starting or updating their website and social media presence. 

Western Union is a good example of a company that's consistently evolved over the decades. Founded in 1851 as the New-York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company, Western Union has made numerous changes to keep up with technology. As long distance phone service replaced telegrams, Western Union changed its business model to money transfers and faxes. It was a leader in communication satellite technology and email services. Western Union recently released a new platform to connect money transfers to bank accounts. This is a good model to study and emulate. If a business founded on 19th-century technology can remake itself as a leader in 21st-century technology, you can surely make a few updates to your own business!

Change Your Product Offerings

Most companies don't need to transform themselves as drastically as Western Union. More common is the need to update your product offerings to reflect current tastes. If you notice that your old products aren't selling as well as they used to, don't cling stubbornly to the past. Research the marketplace and think of ways to improve your products or replace them. It's helpful to study companies that changed their core products. Nintendo, Apple, and Xerox are just a few famous companies that dramatically changed their products over the years.

Adapt to New Platforms

Most businesses today realize that they need a website, email, and social media presence. However, many businesses only pay lip service to the latest platforms and don't really make the most of them. Here are a few examples.

  • Website Design - Is your website up to date? Keeping up with the latest web design trends shows your visitors that your business is up-to-date. Is your website attractive and easy to navigate? Do you have appealing and professional looking images to catch the eyes of visitors? If not, it's time for an update.
  • Mobile - More and more people are browsing the web and buying products from mobile devices. If your website isn't mobile-friendly, you'll be losing lots of potential business. You may also want to consider other mobile marketing options such as text message marketing or mobile ads.  
  • Social Media - Social media is another aspect of modern communication you can't afford to ignore if you want to connect with today's audiences. This goes beyond setting up a Facebook page (though, that's a good place to start if you don't have one yet!). Research various social media sites, including Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat and get active on the ones your customers use most.
  • Email - If all you do with your email address is post it on your website and business cards, you're overlooking the power of email marketing. By capturing the email addresses of customers and leads, you can build a growing list of contacts to help your business grow.

These are some of the ways to reinvent your business. Your own business probably doesn't need to apply all of these changes. The point is to identify any gaps and look for areas where you're lagging behind.   

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