How-to-Use-Online-MarketingWe continually get asked why we champion small business help. We have even written blogs about “why does an office business centre write small business advice“? Small business owners are always looking for new ways to grow their small business, but forget that their own growth of knowledge might just be what their business needs. Looking for opportunities might not be enough if they do not know what they should be looking for. The secrets to their future success may be right in front of them at the click of a mouse. But if they do not know what they should be looking for, they may miss them.

It is no secret that knowledge is a large part of the success of any small business. Many small business owners start off a business because of their knowledge and understanding of how that business or industry works. A few years into the business when things slow down or competitors are making roads ahead of them, some small business owners will blame the marketing power or the size of their competitors, but still fail to look at what they have not done to keep up with industry changes.

Watching for changes in your industry or knowing what your competitors are doing may be too late. Knowing what is about to change or what will redefine the way things are done in your industry (or knowing the changing products and services related to your small business as seen by your customers) is key. If you are not looking at the future, then you are destined to keep your business in the past.

Just how can you keep up?

Almost every type of company, industry or business has trade organizations or associations that help its members keep up with trends, procedures, advances or technology that is coming or being implemented. These changes could be cost saving strategies, better production procedures, patent changes or even the way the product or service is marketed. Joining industry groups and associations is your best way of keeping up with all the changes in your industry.

Use web searches to keep up on not only your industry, but also on your competitors and your customers. Knowing the changing needs of your customers will help you make choices in your business to better demonstrate to them that you understand their needs and want to be their vendor of choice.

Follow your main clients on the social media channels they use. Social media is not just about promoting your company or your products/services, it is about knowledge. The more you know about your customers and what is going on with them, the better prepared you will be to communicate with them on the challenges they face – or the aspects of their business that you can best help them with.

Watch and participate in webinars and Google Hangouts that pertain to your industry or those that can help you better market your product or service. Participate in those webinars that can help you to better manage your online presence or online marketing activities. Often, it is not about how much time you spend on online marketing, but where, when and how your online activities are focused.

While there are a lot of webinars and Google Hangouts that are free, there are also some paid offline seminars, interactions and discussion forums that should not be ignored. Telsec Business Centres often rents its office space, seminar training rooms, and large meeting rooms to outside groups who use the space to conduct training classes and seminars on various topics. One such regular seminar training room renter likes to conduct on-site seminars with a group that also broadcasts them in a webinar fashion to those offsite via online private networks. That will be a topic for another future blog.