Running your own business is, no doubt, time-consuming and full of variety. And business owners often wear many hats at their companies, which can prove challenging if you’re not an expert at everything. (But who is?)
Below are three key business areas business owners should educate themselves on how to avoid unnecessarily spending money in the future.
Social media is a must for business owners
Let’s face it: the price of hiring an outside marketing or advertising firm is steep. Some cost upwards of $100 an hour, which, for many businesses, is just not feasible. Social media is an effective tool to use to give your company a free online presence and market your message to your audience.
Even if you feel your target audience isn’t social media savvy, it is key to have an online presence to show your customers and potential customers that you are reputable. If you don’t already have a Facebook page, this is the first priority. Facebook is the most used social media channel today, so setting up a Facebook business page is essential — and free. You can even customize posts and create ads that reach your target demographic by age, gender, location and more (for a fee).
If your company’s products or services are visual, consider an Instagram page to share photos. If your customers are tech and social savvy, a Twitter page may be a great place to communicate with them. Better yet, using all three, plus a LinkedIn page for company news and information (like awards and job postings), is a great way to cover all the social bases.
Human resource essentials
Most business owners do not have formal education and training in human resources. And, many times, do not have the resources to hire a dedicated HR manager. That being said, there are several HR elements business owners should be accustomed to in order to avoid potential litigation and/or penalties.
Know your state and federal labor laws and regulations as they relate to employee wages, hours, overtime required postings and more. Further, unless you’re savvy to payroll taxes and withholdings, etc., you should consider hiring an expert. You can hire a payroll company or an experienced accountant — to handle your payroll. Because, well, if employees don’t get paid properly, let’s just say you’ll hear about it (rightfully so).
It’s also wise to draft an employee handbook so that all of the company rules and regulations are clearly outlined. This will help make staff aware of policies. Also, they can be aware of any ramifications that come along with not following company protocol. A handbook can be your saving grace if an employee ever tries to sue due to punishment or termination. There are plenty of online resources to help you write your handbook, including templates from the Society for Human Resource Management.
Protecting sensitive information
Hiring good people is key to any business. After all, a company is only as secure as each individual within the company. Making smart hires — particularly for those in positions that will be in contact with sensitive company information — and controlling who has access to data can help ensure your data stays safe and private.
Further, using an offsite cloud provider for data storage can help reduce the likelihood of a cyber attack. Also, it can offer a backup in the event your information is lost or compromised.
Identity theft is a real threat, and no one — and no business — is 100 percent safe. By educating yourself on the latest news and technology solutions related to security puts you one step ahead of becoming a victim of a data breach, data loss or hacking incident.
Being a business owner can be stressful, but it can also bring many rewards like flexibility, financial security, and enjoyment. You don’t have to be an expert at everything business-related. But, staying on top of key business elements (even if they’re out of your realm) can bring you success. Even it can position your company to further success.