Constantly adjusting to give consumers a better experience will always give you a competitive edge, no matter where your market is.

Your online 'brand' is an integral part of your business, whether you actually trade online or not. Being responsive to the world of constantly changing customer needs is essential to avoid fading into obscurity.

Nurturing and growing your online brand also allows you to access new markets without the same growth in overheads, so it's definitely worth regular investment if you plan to stick around.

Be empathetic

Take advantage of data and analysis to really understand what your target consumers look for. Look at trends to predict change and respond appropriately.

Continuing to engage with relevant interest groups on social media will also give you strong pointers on the types of problems that consumers need your business to solve for them.

Social media also gives you the opportunity to respond in real time, building a reputation for genuine customer service. Stay focussed on helping out your target market and don't become unduly distracted by competitors or individual customers that can't be reasoned with.

Automate where appropriate

Sophisticated automation tools are available for just about everything from customer communication to fully integrated multi-outlet sales and stock ordering.

It's easy to become overwhelmed if you haven't planned how and where to apply technology though, so start with your goals and research solutions well before you take the leap.

Be careful not to compromise on service quality either - for example automating social media publishing is a great way to consolidate and stay consistent, but plan well so your feeds don't become un-relatable.


Hiring help can seem like an un-affordable luxury, but once you place a value on your time it becomes obvious where focusing your own efforts delivers the highest returns.

For essential but time-consuming tasks, business support specialists, virtual assistants and crowd platforms can all be powerful vehicles for getting specific, skilled work done at a fraction of the cost your DIY time adds up to.

Take advantage of a free consultation to find out how outsourcing with Hills IQ can help your local business thrive in an expanding and highly competitive landscape.