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By: Jennifer Devitt on May 13th, 2014

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National Small Business Week. 3 tips for small businesses to embrace.

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This week is "National Small Business Week". According to the White House, the United States has 28 million small businesses. They also state that 2 out of every 3 jobs in the country is created by small business. So, small business is vital to our economy and our countries prosperity.

With numbers like 28 million small businesses and 2 out of every 3 jobs being tied to small business, it is alarming that only four out of ten small businesses have a dedicated website! One survey done by Hibu shows that only 6 percent of small businesses have a mobile site! It is estimated by Forrester that in 2014 mobile commerce sales will top $14 million! Estimates predict that 29 percent of e-commerce will take place via tablet or smartphone this year. With numbers like these, it's time small businesses make adjustments. Below are some ways small business owners can invest to boost their business.

1. Go Digital. If you are a small business without a dedicated website, you need to get one. Even if you believe in the "shop local" mantra you still need a visible web presence. Unless you live in a town the size of Mayberry you cannot expect that every resident of your city or town knows about your business or the services/products you offer. How can a local customer buy from you versus an online retailer or big named store if they have no idea you sell what they are interested in because they cannot find you in an online search for the product or service they are looking for.

2. Go mobile. Whether you are a restaurant, clothing boutique or any other small business, potential customers are looking for you or your competitors via a mobile device. comScore reports that 159.8 million people in the US have smartphones. If a potential customer is searching for you via a mobile device, what will they find when they search for you or the services and/or products you provide? Rest assured if they don't find you they will find your competitor who is happy to have their business. 

3. Offer e-commerce. It is estimated that B2B e-commerce could hit 1.5 trillion this year! It is time to offer online sales as well as in-store. It is time to get your inventory online, offer digital product catalogs, streamline your inventory by using system integration, link your inventory to your accounting system and reach more customers.

Even if your small business is built on the "Shop Local" mantra it's time to embrace digital, web, mobile and e-commerce. You can't tell me you would turn away a customer that doesn't live local if they were a tourist who wandered into your store, so why turn them away if they were a virtual customer? Local customers are using mobile devices to search. Do they know that someone in their town sells their favorite brand of jeans, the hottest style shoes or have hard to find trendy pieces? Boost your business by investing in your business. Online e-commerce is no longer a competitor to small business or brick and mortar retail it is a partner. You need to offer your customers every opportunity to purchase from you. It is time to stop viewing e-commerce as a competitor, but use it as a tool in your businesses tool box. Use your web presence to bring in new business or offer existing clients the opportunity to shop from the comfort of their home if they so choose.

Talk to a developer today to work out a plan to move your business forward. I understand budgets are tight, and you can't do everything at once. Work out a plan of attack with a developer or marketing firm today to ease yourself in. You may say these tactics are not in your budget, but I believe based on the above-mentioned statistics that your budget will suffer dramatically if you don't embrace the web and mobile and all it has to offer.