A Small Business Digital Checklist

To paraphrase a book I like a lot, The E Myth, far too many of we small business people spend too much time working in our business and not enough time working on our business. Planning is the solution; it can help you create the type of enterprise you love and that will grow.

So the question is not whether you should make a plan for the rest of this year, but rather, what that plan should entail. Aside from the particulars of your own specific business of course, let me suggest that you should be sure to include a thorough and updated digital strategy as part of your plan.

There are many reasons for this, but let me start with two:

First, as we all know, the e-world is growing exponentially in importance. Whether we are talking about e-commerce, mobile, social media, hacking, or what not, digital issues are taking on an even bigger role than ever.

Second, small business owners would be remiss if they failed to capitalize on the huge increase in small business and consumer confidence that we are seeing right now, and increasingly, that means having a strong e-presence.

So how do we take advantage of it? Here are a few things your digital plan could include:

Update your website: You don’t have “© 2012” at the bottom of your homepage, do you? Let’s hope not because if you do, you are missing a golden opportunity.

People are increasingly shopping online and as such, they likely will first be going to your website even before your physical store.

What will they find when they get there? Your site needs to be

  • Beautiful and sharp
  • Branded right
  • Fresh and engaging
  • Fast and easy to navigate
  • Mobile-friendly

Videos are increasingly important online these days, and the good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot to create a few great ones. But you do need some. People click on them. Additionally, make sure your About page is up to date. And be sure too to add some fresh content – even a couple of ‘how-tos’ would work.

People are going to increasingly find you first online. As such, it is incumbent upon you to make a great first impression.

Get serious about cyber-security: In a recent survey, more than one in 10 small business owners reported having been the victim of a cyber-security breach. Not surprisingly, almost 2/3 also expressed concern over protecting their proprietary data.

Cyber crime costs U.S. businesses $100 billion a year. And a report from McAfee last year said that 60% of all cyber crime is now directed at small business.

So what this means for you is that you need to not only be concerned, but that you need to have a plan of action to protect your business and e-assets.

Our friends at Allstate have some cyber-security insurance you should also know about. Called CyberOne, it protects your computers and systems against damage to electronic data due to a virus or computer attack. CyberOne also offers third-party liability protection. To learn more, contact your local Allstate agent.

Rethink your technology: Small businesses are not only increasingly using technology to interact with and help customers, they are also now regularly investing in that technology.

Our friends at Microsoft are the best at this. Check out Windows 10 for security and Office 365.

Bust a new social media move: OK, so maybe you have mastered Facebook by now. Way to go. But what about Instagram? Or Pinterest? Or Snapchat? Different demographics are out there waiting to be tapped.

© 2017, The Strauss Group, Inc.


Steve Strauss

Steve Strauss is the senior small business columnist at USA TODAY, the Editor-in-Chief here at Small Business Connection, a speaker and spokesperson. He can be reached at

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