Gene Marks, CPA, author, and small business expert, answered small business questions live on our Twitter account. He offered valuable insight to small businesses and accounting professionals, answering questions and providing solutions. Check out some of the questions and answers from our Twitter Takeover below.
Q: What should a small business look for in an ERP?
A: Top 5 features to look for in an ERP:
- Data accessibility
- Availability for add-ons
- Strong partner network
- Good reporting capabilities
- Popular among your industry
Q: What are some of the biggest mistakes that small business owners make?
A: Top 5 biggest mistakes small business owners make:
- Not delegating
- Not having a good knowledge of accounting
- Forgetting to surround yourself with good advisers
- Not having enough capital, time = capital
- Lack of understanding of your customer and the market you are in
*Gene Marks has admitted to making a few of these mistakes as well!
Q: What advice would you recommend to a small business looking to speed up payment from vendors?
A: A good CRM system helps to make sure follow ups don’t fall through the cracks. Another great way to speed up collecting money is accepting credit cards and mobile payments. More payment options will increase the likelihood of on time payments.
Q: Is it vital for SMBs to invest in Google platforms such as AdWords or is hitting the pavement and cold calling effective for marketing?
A: Depends on where your customers are…if your customers are searching for you online, Google AdWords is very important. If your customers are on Facebook, it’s important that you advertise on Facebook. Invest where your customers are!
Q: What do you see as one of the biggest challenges up ahead for small businesses and what should be done to both prepare for and address it?
A: The biggest challenge right now is finding people. You have to have a compensation plan that is suited towards the millennial generation (who make up half of the workforce today). Good compensation plans are made up of a strong PTO policy, good health plans, flexible scheduling, the ability to work remote, and good training program.
Q: Should we all just give up and let Amazon take over…how do we Amazon proof our businesses?
A: HAHA Amazon isn’t so scary! That’s because Amazon doesn’t have the great people that you have. Your customers will keep coming back if you continue to provide them with great service. Prices are important, but people want to do business with people. Make your people great at what they do, and you will always have a leg up on Amazon.
Q: What advice do you have for small businesses looking to grow?
A: Advice for small businesses looking to grow:
- Delegate, do what you do best!
- Build off your existing customer base
- Don’t be afraid to try new things
Q: How important is social media to grow a small e-commerce business and what platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or other) do you see returning the best engagement/conversions in 2018?
A: Social Media is very important especially for an eCommerce business. Choose the social platform where your customers are and that best suits your products. If a picture best tells your story, strongly consider Instagram. Otherwise Facebook is still the #1 place for small businesses.
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