The first few years of any business are critical to its future success. Making sure that you have all the right branding, products and marketing processes in place is crucial, of course.

But so is ensuring your customers can pay you as easily as possible.

The market across many sectors is saturated at the moment, whether you are operating purely as an ecommerce outlet or have a bricks and mortar store. To ensure success, you have to go that little bit further than all the rest.

Branding is Vital

Without a clearly identifiable brand that people recognise, you are going to find it difficult to garner any long-term success. It’s not just about your logo or a catchy by-line on your store front or website. Branding is about your personal ethos, what you bring to the world and it’s what consumers are going to like about your business model.

According to The Branding Journal:

“Think of a brand like a person, each individual has their own personality, way of dressing, communicating, their own values, friends, characteristics and story to tell. It is this that makes up who we are and it is also these characteristics which make a brand.”

Pick the Right Marketing Channels

It’s never been easier, or more confusing, to market a business than in today’s climate. You have access to numerous channels including email advertising and social media at a low cost. The trick is to find the approaches that yield a good return on investment, both for your money and your time. Learning how to market effectively on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, for example, should be top of your list of skills to master.

Make it Easy to Pay

While entrepreneurs often put their focus into building brand and marketing, they can sometimes forget about the other end of the spectrum. What happens when the customer wants to pay?

If you haven’t got the flexibility to allow payment through a variety of different methods, you are instantly putting yourself at a disadvantage compared to your competitors. Building a good, strong relationship with a merchant bank in the first place is important. That means you’ll be able to cross boundaries and set up payments in different ways, for example, using a card payment machine in store and allowing ApplePay and Paypal transactions or processing credit and debit card payments online.

Keeping Up with the Joneses

Your competitors are important. They certainly won’t be standing still and you need to keep up with them. In bygone years, people used to pay with cash. Now they can access their bank accounts online and transfer money directly to you. If you’re competitor is making it more flexible for their customers to engage, you have to do that too. The good news is that there are services which can provide a free quote to get the best payment facility in place.

That’s not all, if your competitors are updating their sites and improving their product range, you need to think seriously about how you can keep up. Most businesses that fail, do so because a new competitor comes onto the market and simply does things better. If you want to succeed, regularly checking out the competition is a very good idea.