3 Affordable Tools for Running Your Small Business: Social Media, E-commerce and Online Shipping

Starting your own ecommerce business used to be so much harder. A generation or so ago, starting a business usually meant renting a storefront, getting a bank loan, and risking it all. The good news is that today, not only is it more affordable than ever to start a business, but it is easier too: Whether we are talking about e-commerce, online shipping, or social media, the fact is, it is now easier than ever to get the word out about your business and grow it without breaking the bank.

Indeed, one of the best parts of being an entrepreneur today is that there are just so many tools that allow you to run and grow your business affordably.

Tool #1: Social Media

Social media essentially serves three purposes:

  1. First, it allows you to grow your network. By connecting with people you would not normally connect with, especially offline, social media allows you to expand your business and network in a very organic, inexpensive way.
  2. By the same token, as you grow your network, you are correspondingly growing your brand. While it used to be that it would cost a fortune to create brand awareness (television, print, and radio advertising are not inexpensive), with social media, you spend your time (valubale, yes of course), but not your money. How great is that?
  3. Finally, social media is increasingly becoming an important source for getting traffic to your website. According to Experian Marketing Services and Business2Community.com, “Although search is still the most dominate method of driving traffic, social media is closing the gap and becoming a more significant source of traffic on the Internet as consumers continue to use sites such as Pinterest, YouTube, and Facebook as discovery platforms.”

Tool #2: E-commerce

In the B.I. Paleolithic era (Before Internet), it would cost a small business a small fortune to buy inventory and stock the shelves. Getting the word was equally expensive, and a bit of a crapshoot: It was a matter of advertising in the right medium, and hoping the right people saw the ad on the right day.

But today, e-entrepreneurs have it so much easier. They can virtually stock the shelf. They can use pay-per-click and pay for only warm, qualified leads. They can post on their website. And they can use e-newsletters to announce specials and promotions to folks who have given the business permission to market to them by opting-in.

Tool #3: Online Shipping

Finally, consider the magic of online shipping. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, shipping was a major hassle. Small businesses had to bundle their packages and trundle down to the post office, wait in line, and then do it again the next day. But again, this is where the beauty of business today comes into play. Using online shipping service tools, entrepreneurs can save a lot of time and money, print postage and labels at home or the office, and thus spend their time more effectively doing what they do best – running and growing their businesses.

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