From scarce sources of capital for growth to finding the right talent, small business faces numerous hurdles that make it hard to level the playing field with large corporations and chain stores in today's economic landscape.
Small business accounts for more than 99% of the U.S. economy; yet, surprisingly, less than 50% of small businesses are still around after five years.
With that kind of uphill struggle, small business needs every bit of help it can get. And yes, at surface level, the primary reason that businesses fail is that they simply run out of cash.
But management and branding strategies also factor into the success of a small business and, lately, business owners are looking for ways to leverage high-tech solutions into their overall business plans.
As a value-added reseller (VAR), you've likely fielded many RFPs from small businesses as to how a pro AV and digital signage investment can support their strategies in order to stay economically viable.
While you may not be able to offer 100% guarantees to your small-business customers that pro AV and digital signage will ensure they are still around in five years, you can offer them a few tips that will certainly help tilt the balance in their favor.
Pro AV encourages more personal engagement with customers.
The biggest mistake a small business can make is to lack a complete understanding of their customer base. Customers hold the key to business growth in their needs, behavior, dreams, and values. These attributes are perhaps the primary reason why customers choose one business over another for products and services.
Pro AV and digital signage support customer engagement through targeted messaging and integrated social media, which in turn help drive long-term relationships. It's the long-term customers that provide small businesses with a back-end customer base that allows for future growth.
Digital signage can be a wildly successful branding tool that enhances customer relationships, but when paired with bad content, it can also have the effect of driving customers away or worse.
Digital signage offers immersive customer experiences.
For the same reasons that people watch television, digital signage taps into customers’ inherent desire to visually connect with a product or idea or otherwise experience something new.
In a retail fast-food environment, digital signage allows customers to quickly peruse menu offerings as opposed to having to read someone's handwriting on a chalkboard or sidewalk board. And by integrating menu content with branding or entertainment content, customers perceive reduced wait times?a significant aspect of customer satisfaction and choice.
Pro AV can provide positive ROI and market differentiation.
For many small businesses, a capital investment in pro AV may seem like a luxury not worth the risk. But studies suggest that in addition to providing visually stimulating and engaging content to customers, business owners may be able to recoup their initial investments in nine to 18 months, depending on expenditures.
Part of that positive ROI also comes from not having to invest in costly printed media, which by virtue of their static nature, cannot be updated as quickly as digital signage can and only deliver one static message as opposed to multiple messages from signage.
Then there's also the customer perception that small businesses deploying pro AV and digital signage are more "modern" and have their finger on market pulses better than businesses that don't deploy digital signage.
There are many reasons why some small businesses fail while others thrive, but as the pro AV industry continues to expand, it appears that customers will expect to see more examples of this exciting technology in their everyday lives.
For small business, pro AV and digital signage are relatively easy to set up. VARs can offer installation advice and hardware/software choices unique to each small-business customer.
Regardless of whether you sell pro AV a la carte or as part of a turnkey solution, you'll undoubtedly be able to speak to how an investment in digital signage technology can help small businesses remain in the black rather than in the red.