Alphabet of Web Business

By Miles Burke

When you are up to your elbows in running a business, it can often be easy to overlook some of the strategies or ideas we should be considering every once in a while.

With that in mind, here is an alphabet of words to spark those all-important reminders.

A is for Accessibility
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’d already be aware of the need to make all your websites as accessible as possible. It means that not only can sight impaired website visitors enjoy a better experience, it works to your advantage with search engines and other devices. James Edwards has written some great thoughts about accessibility in The Art of Accessibility and The Angst of Accessibility on the SitePoint blogs.

B is for Business Cards
You meet someone at an event, and swap business cards. A week later, that new contact looks at your card. What does it say about you? Sure, it has your contact details and name, but does it portray the right message? Take a critical look at your business cards – is it time to give them an update? See John P’s great blog post, titled The Massive Business Card Gallery to see over 250 examples of great business card designs.

C is for Communication
For nearly every business, and certainly every customer, communication is vitally important. You may craft the perfect solution for a client, however if you’re poor at communication, the whole project will seem tainted in your client’s eyes. You should do your best to focus on ensuring all communication, written, verbal or visual, is professional and meets your brand personality.

D is for Debtors
If you’ve been reading the Tribune for a few years, there’s pretty well no chance you haven’t heard me mention keeping an eye on your debtors. In any case, it’s worth mentioning again – chase debtors quickly and get paid as soon as you can! Research has shown that every day a debt goes unpaid; the likelihood of recovering that debt becomes harder. Good luck and keep those credit terms to a minimum.

E is for Ethics
How you approach business is as much about ethics as it is about profits. To be really successful, you should be extremely happy, profitable and also true to your word. That’s right; being upstanding ethically means a lot to yourself, your employees and your clients.

The next time you are considering turning a blind eye to something ethically challenging in your business – don’t, it’s not worth the lack of sleep and the feeling of disenchantment it could produce.

F is for Finance
One of the biggest reasons that small businesses have such a high rate of failure in their first five years is lack of access to money. Financing growth can be really rewarding and risky in equal measure.

There are many options for you to access money for growth without relying on cash flow only. There are loans, equipment leasing and invoice factoring to name just a few. Make sure you’ve done your research and that you can easily make the repayments, good luck!

G is for Greatness
Who wants to ever be average at their job, or wants their business to be known as just OK? Aim for greatness every day; great service, great work, great team and a great environment.

Sure, we all have those not-so-great days, however without an aim, you’ll just meander along. What have you done recently to work on being great?

H is for Health
Without your health, what chance to do have of being a success? Too many people I know work night and day, and most weekends, and struggle to be happy or healthy. That certainly makes them less productive and more than likely not at their peak than someone who doesn’t smoke, eats well and gets plenty fo exercise.

Do something for yourself by getting healthier. Try the stairs instead of elevator, walking instead of driving and eating a salad for lunch, instead of takeaway food. Your body will love you for it!

I is for International
If you’re marketing yourself beyond your own country, be aware of the differences in language, time-zones, seasons and other internationalism.

For example, in Australia we’re heading into winter, yet I am always receiving emails with ‘summer deals’ available now. Then there’s the emails I get at midnight with ‘lunch offers’ valid that day, and of course, the complexities of local customs and events mean that I’m often left wondering what this particular event they are celebrating actually is.

J is for Junk
Whenever you send an email, regardless if it is unique, or part of a large marketing merge, there’s a chance your email will be delegated to the junk pile.

How do you avoid this occurring? Ensure your recipients have given you consent to email them, avoid link-riddled emails with little other content, avoid the all-common names of medicines, and ending words with too many exclamation marks and more.

This may not completely rid you of having your emails sent to Junk, but they sure would help.

K is for Killers
When I say killers, I’m talking productivity blocks, not killing your clients! Look at how you spend your time – what time killers do you suffer from? Reduce your wasted time, by continually reviewing what works and doesn’t work for you.

L is for Learning
There’s something we can all be sure of; there’s always more knowledge out there, and more learning to be had. Set aside time every week to explore something new about your role or business – even a pursuit you’ve always wanted to try. It keeps you engaged, and importantly, your skills are constantly improving.

M is for Marketing
We can always improve how we market ourselves – make time to regularly review and improve your marketing, it (hopefully) encourages new sales, and helps keep your business evolving.

Look to try something different with your marketing in the next few months – and regularly review and revise it. It’s important to track where your sales come from.

N is for Need
Here’s some homework for you. Ask a favourite client or two what they need in their digital marketing or websites. What service or product do you currently not offer, that your existing clients really want? Consider adding these to your folio, and help service your clients needs.

To follow the Alphbet, go now to the next section.

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