10 Things Your Business Must Have To Be The Best

All businesses want to be the best in their industry/niche, but with the sheer amount of competition to be found this is usually easier said than done. In order to be the best, you need to have a solid strategy that you plan on executing effectively – and this takes time. You won’t develop a reputation as the best overnight. To help you, here are 10 things your business must have.

  1. A Professional Website

A professional website is a must for any business. What makes a professional website? It should look pleasing to the eye, and fit in with your brand. Users should be able to access it easily, use it with no problems, and find everything they are looking for. It should be filled with relevant content and information, updated regularly. You don’t just create a website and then it’s done – you must continue to work on it when necessary. It should have attractive images. It should also be responsive on a number of mobile devices, as most people browse the web on tablets and phones these days.

The fact is, you can’t create your website yourself. You don’t have the time, and you likely don’t have the knowledge that a professional company has to do it right. Your website not only needs to look good, it needs to perform well. It needs to be both user and search engine friendly. The right company will be able to do all of this for you. It will cost you – you will need to allocate a large portion of your budget to it. Just know that it will pay off. It’s the first impression you’re giving visitors of your business, so make it count.

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2. Appropriate Social Media Profiles

Along with your website comes appropriate social media profiles. You don’t need to have an account on every single platform. However, you should ensure you know where to find your audience, and have a good knowledge of the platforms they use the most. You can start out with one and then create more as you get into a routine. Doing this yourself at first can be a lot cheaper, but consistency is still very important, and this can be hard if you’re juggling multiple plates. Some people like to use programs like Hootsuite to help them schedule posts and get things done. Some hire social media managers. When the time is right, hiring a social media manager will be worth it in the long run!

3. A Well Thought Out Marketing Strategy

Your marketing strategy needs to be well thought out. Every aspect of it needs to be properly planned. Both online and offline strategies can be used in harmony, depending on what your goals are and where/how you operate.

First, you need to know who your audience is. You can do this by performing keyword research and similar things online. Once you know who is looking for you, and the way they are looking for it, you can get to work putting something together. Remember, it’s worth noting that you don’t tell people what they want, they tell you. It’s also a good idea to target your audience down to every last detail. Trying to target everybody will water down your results. This doesn’t mean you can’t target another market in the future. Just focus on one thing at a time for now.

4. A Business Phone System

When you invest in a business phone system, you make everything much easier and cheaper in the long run. You can get plans customized for your business and needs, and there are even engineers that can build features for you. A business phone is one of the next logical steps for a business that wants to expand and grow.

5. A Brand Voice

You will already know how important it is to have a strong brand. But what is your brand, exactly? It’s the colors you use, the fonts you use, the pictures, and everything else that identifies you as a business. It’s how people recognize and remember you. For example, people see a logo and know who it is without seeing the full name or product. However, if your brand doesn’t have a brand voice, it’s incomplete! This is an important step to making your brand memorable. Think about your product/service and how you want to come across. For instance, a women’s makeup company may have a ‘sassy’ brand voice. A men’s sportswear company may be more motivational and uplifting. This voice and personality needs to be used across all social media channels, marketing materials, emails, and anywhere else you communicate with your audience.

It’s all about the choice of words you use and how you come across to your customers. This personality and voice needs to be upheld whatever the situation may be! Not only does it further define and strengthen you as a brand, it enables your audience to relate to you more – you will build stronger customer relationships. Make sure absolutely everybody is aware of this brand voice and personality, and that they use it across all of your channels.

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6. Employees Who Share Your Vision

Hiring employees isn’t something you should do halfheartedly. Some people will want a job with you for the money, while others are actually interested in what you do and want to do their best at it. Ideally, you will hire employees who share your vision. Employees should have an active interest in what you do. They should also bring something new to the table. You can’t be expected to know everything, so who can you bring in to help you grow and expand your business further? Don’t hire people just like you. Hire those with similar views, but with different perspectives and skillsets!

7. A USP

A USP is a ‘unique selling proposition’. Without this, you can get lost among the plethora of other businesses who are trying to do exactly what you’re doing. What makes you different? Why should somebody choose your product/service over another one? You need to define this in your business plan and then make sure you focus on it. Are you all organic? Do you support eco-friendly business? Perhaps you’re not the cheapest, but the best around at what you do. There are all kinds of different things you can choose to focus on, so figure out what your audience will respond to and how you want to be viewed.

8. Incredible Customer Service

Customer service is king. How will you resolve customer issues, ensuring that they feel they have had a victory with you each and every time? The fact is, you can’t please everyone. No matter how hard you try, you are likely going to get a few complaints and negative reviews. With the rise of social media, it’s now even easier for people to get wind of these complaints and reviews. But don’t panic! Providing you know how to handle them, you can ensure your reputation remains in tact, and that you keep a customer. Here’s what not to do when it comes to customer service:

  • Get angry, sarcastic, or unprofessional with the customer.
  • Ignore the customer, especially online.
  • Delete negative comments/feedback.
  • Take too long to reply to the customer or sort out their query.

What to do when it comes to customer service:

  • Keep your brand voice intact, and be apologetic – even if you don’t feel like this was your fault.
  • Go above and beyond to give the customer confidence in you again. Will you reimburse them and give them a discount code? Replace the product for free? How do you think they will feel most victorious?
  • Reply straight away – remember, people are reading what you put. What’s on the internet stays on there forever, even if deleted!

Having a dedicated team of customer service professionals will help you. Amazing customer service is powerful, and the message will spread. Just be aware that it will spread further and wider if you have terrible customer service!

9. Goals

Having both short term and long term business goals is a huge factor in being the best. You could plan these out monthly, holding meetings to determine what your goals should be. In the long term, you might aim to make a million and become an internationally recognized name. In the short term, you might simply want to get 100 customers your first month, and get some good reviews online. The smaller goals will always help you to achieve the larger goals!

Setting your goals out officially will help you to achieve them. Keep them in mind – maybe write them on a board in the office or place them on your desk to look at every day!

10. A Plan

Finally, a plan. You must have a plan so you can see where you intend on going and how you intend on getting there, but what you’ll do if that doesn’t work. You can also secure investors this way.

Does your business have the above 10 things?

 

5 Things Only National Business Owners Understand

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Every business is unique in its own way, but some pose more challenges than others. Or perhaps not more, as such, but just different. If you take two different entrepreneurs, they can have many uniting factors. They can both run their company, be at the head of the majority of financial decisions, and have ultimate responsibility for the future of their company. You would think that they’d have more in common in terms of their job roles than not.

This is not quite the case if the size of their business is vastly different. While there are undoubtedly stresses and strains to running a small, local, lifestyle business, a unique set of challenges faces those who run a business on a national level. When you have more than one office building and more than one community to integrate with, your web spreads far and wide. This is beneficial – the bigger your web the more customers you have, after all – but it can also be sticky, leaving things caught in the sidelines that you struggle to control from your central position.

There’s plenty of things that national business owners fail to have in common with the average small lifestyle business owner. That can sound pretty isolating, until you remember that they have plenty in common with other national business owners. If you’re in that situation, then it might be good to know that you’re not alone, and some of these will sound very familiar indeed…

1) A National Business Owner Never Feels They Are Entirely Grounded

While you have a central office from which you run the majority of your business concerns, there’s always that feeling that your mind is never entirely centered. You may be able to focus on the day-to-day in the moment, but there’s a corner of your attention that has to be reserved for what’s going on elsewhere.

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 2) You Have To Learn To Trust

You can’t be everywhere at once – or so you will quickly learn after attempting to do just that. Eventually, you acknowledge this basic fact and realize that you’re going to need to learn to trust the team you have in place at each location.

That doesn’t necessarily come easy, especially if you built the business up from you as a sole trader into something altogether bigger. You don’t want to be the boss who constantly hangs on people’s shoulders and winds up on Reddit.com as another “bad boss” examples…, but oh, it’s so tempting to do so in the early stages!

Eventually, you learn to relinquish your grip and trust the people you have in place at each location.

… Well, most of the time anyway!

3) There’s Always A Problem Child

If you have three or more locations for your business, then there’s always one of them that demands more attention than the other. If you’re a retail owner, there will always be one shop that isn’t quite performing to the standards of the others. For other businesses, there is always one part of the business chain that seems to be the weakest link.

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4) You Over-Focus On The Problem Child

In an ideal world, you would be able to deal with the issues central to the core of the business only and delegate the rest to the regional staff. However, when it comes to that problem child, no matter how hard you try it always ends up receiving more energy and resources than you ever intended.

The problem child is the one that has you thinking of everything all the time. Your mind is preoccupied with investigating footfall, looking into new marketing strategies,  to worrying about local search results, spending time calling the local council and visit Chatmeter.com for more information on how you may improve the local ties. You know these are jobs that should be outsourced to the regional branches, but when those branches aren’t doing so well, you can’t help but want to step in and fix it.

5) Trust Is Easily Lost

After you have battled through and established trust in your regional areas, you soon go through a hiccup that leads to that trust being lost. If you have reason to distrust a manager of a regional area, then it can be nigh-on impossible to get it back. It’s hard not to see that person as putting your whole business in jeopardy.

It can lead to you being suspicious of everyone, causing more stress and worry than you would ideally prefer. But over time, you will recover, as much because you realize that you can’t go on as you are.

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6) You Lose Touch With The Day-To-Day

You might once have been at the coalface (so to speak) of your business. You knew customers and clients by first names, had exact details of how every moment of time was spent in each region. But as you centralize and work more from a central base, you begin to lose touch with the everyday comings and goings of each area.

In a sense, this is a good thing. No one person could retain all the information required to keep each area of the business afloat; learning to delegate is an essential task. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t moments when you feel a little bit sad, as if you have lost something. It’s a completely normal way to feel; the business was once “your baby” and now it’s grown up and gone to college. Fostering a good relationship with managers in each region can help lessen this feeling.

7) It’s Tremendously Satisfying

For all the gripes and occasional moments of sadness, there is a tremendous satisfaction in seeing a business effectively run itself while you supervise from a central location. You have reached a point that millions of business owners long for – so enjoy it! You’ll have worked hard enough to make it happen, so you may as well enjoy the fruits of your success.

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8) It’ll Always Be “Your Baby”

No matter how big your business grows or how many people it employs, deep down, it’ll always be your baby. Having a personal attachment to the company makes you stronger, not weaker – and it’ll make sure you want to succeed all the more.

Forget The Internet: Try These Real World Marketing Techniques

When it comes to modern-day marketing, it can often seem as though the practice resides almost entirely on the Internet. Digital communication has developed to an almost unrecognizable point over the last few years, and it is often the quickest way for a brand to get their message across. For companies that have only sprung up during the last five years or so, they may not even be aware of any marketing strategies that take place in ‘the real world.’

But consider this: the Internet as we know it today only came into fruition in 1994. Therefore, during that time and before it, companies and brands had to market themselves in an entirely offline manner. This might seem completely alien to contemporary business professionals. But what may surprise you is that many of these old-school marketing techniques still stand the test of time today. That doesn’t mean to say, of course, that you should abandon Internet marketing altogether. That would be fruitless, and you could end up putting yourself at a severe disadvantage. However, by combining your online marketing with real-world promotion, you can give your business the maximum exposure it deserves.

Event sponsorship

Want to break out into a new market, or simply attract some fresh new custom? Sponsoring events is an excellent way to do this. Whether you choose to sponsor local events or ones further afield, it can still be a great way of increasing your reach. Approach local arts groups, charity events or sports teams and pitch yourself to them as a sponsor – or, if you’re already well-established, let them come to you. Rugby balls with your logo are a great way to mark your mark on a local game. Equally, t-shirts for event staff and banners to dress the game with are also excellent ways to shout about your company.

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Guerilla marketing

In the competitive business arena, you often need to do something special to make sure you stand out. Marketing stunts can be a perfect way to do this; think flash mobs, yarn-bombing (yep, it’s a real thing!) and provoking debate can easily get the conversation flowing about your brand. Just be mindful not to do anything too controversial, as this could backfire on your business. Stick within the lines but let your creative mind loose.

Street promotion

The street promotion has a lot to answer for. It is one of the most controversial forms of direct marketing, mainly because it targets the public in a way that some may find annoying or aggressive. But this is only the case if you don’t brief your team the way you should. Hire only your most tactful, engaging sales team to promote your business in the street, and make sure you equip them with props to draw people in.  This could be small samples of your product if that’s what your business is based around (everyone loves a free sample) or an eye-catching backdrop to draw attention to yourselves.

Fixing a Business With an Unstable Foundation

Imagine a skyscraper. Think of all the engineering work and architectural genius that went into creating such a magnificent and tall building. Now think about what it was built on and how it came to be such a tall and powerful structure. It took a lot of manpower, hours and calculations, but the fundamental rule with building a highrise is that it needs to have a solid foundation. Not only do you endanger the people inside, you also endanger the workers and surrounding properties if you have an unstable foundation in a building.

The same also counts for your business. If the fundamentals of your business are completely imbalanced, then you can’t expect to continue operating your business under that shaky foundation. Sooner or later, the lack of work and effort you put into your business will have drastic effects on the future of your company. If you’re in a situation where your business is unproductive, inefficient or borderline about to collapse, then you need to fix the groundwork you laid for your company before it’s too late. To help you out, here are a few ways to ensure that your business remains strong and stands tall among the competition.

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Your Financial Situation

The financial situation of a company is critical because it affects everything else. For instance, poor finance management could lead to a lack of funding, late pay for employees and even fraud. If you want to fix these issues, then you need to find ways to improve your company’s financial situation. You need to think about maximising profits without compromising the quality of your services and products, how to deal with your company’s debt (if you have any) and ways to improve the efficiency of your workforce.

Keep in mind that these aren’t the only financial concerns you should have. If you don’t have an accountant yet to do things like calculate expenses and fill in 1099-MISC forms, then you’re going to need some finance management knowledge. Hiring an accountant is one of the basic ways to secure your business’s foundation because, as mentioned before, your financial situation is incredibly important to the rest of your business.

Customer Relations

Without a solid bond between you and your customers, you can’t expect to get much exposure or attention. If you aren’t meeting their demands, then you have no place in your industry and you’ll soon find yourself closing your doors and laying off your staff. If you want to establish a great business foundation, then you need to focus on your audience and understand them.

If you can’t read your audience, then it’s likely because you’re targeting the wrong people with your product. Ensure that you have channels open for communication, such as email, phone, social media or even snail mail, and read the feedback and comments you get. This will ensure that you’re in constant contact with the people who use your products and services so you can refine, improve and update your brand’s image.

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Employee Relations

Another relationship that you should focus on is with your employees. If you aren’t treating your employees with respect and trust, then they probably aren’t going to pay you much attention. You need to win their respect and loyalty if you want them to stay with your company and do their best. A disgruntled employee isn’t going to work hard and they may even quit their job. Establish good working relationships with your staff if you want them to grow into dedicated team members that will go the extra mile to see your business succeed.

A fantastic way to improve your relationship with employees is to balance micro-management and macro-management. If you watch your employees like a hawk, then they won’t feel like they have much freedom in the workplace and may even find it difficult to work while under constant monitoring. However, if you leave them to their own devices then they might slack off, produce sub-par work or even take advantage of the situation. Every good business has a positive office culture at its core, so make sure you’re paying attention to your staff and caring about their situation.

Summary

To summarise, these are three of the most important points that every business should focus on. Treat these as the foundations in your business. If any of these collapse at any point in your company, then you may as well say goodbye to your business. Focus on managing your financial situation and keep a solid relationship between you and your customers, but also manage your employees with respect so you can build trust and teamwork in the office.

6 Ways To Improve Your Company’s Financial Situation

Overheard at a strategy meeting this week:

I think we can improve our company financial situations through the following ways:

  1. Make money: maximize our pricing, identify our top customers
  2. Save money: review our labour cost, negotiable with our suppliers, reduce bad debts, restructure financing, reduce work errors, track advertising investments
  3. Improve the efficiency of processes or procedures
  4. Improve the quality of our products/services, create more value
  5. Fix existing problems: do regular variance analyses
  6. Prevent future problems: prepare reliable budgets, projections and sensitivity analyses

Pretty interesting discussion/meeting…!

Broaden Your Business

When it comes to business, it’s all about broadening. It’s about broadening your customer base. it’s about broadening your network. It’s about broadening your ROI. If you are a business owner, no matter if it’s a startup that you own or if it’s a market leader, when you see something that has a realistic potential to be broadened, you broaden it!

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For any business, customers are key. Without customers there is no custom. Without custom there is no income. Without income a business can’t pay its necessary outgoings. And when it can’t pay its outgoings, a business dies. Because of this, you should always be doing all you can to broaden your business’s customer base. And there are few steps you can take to do so. One way is to delve as deep into your industry as you can go and act accordingly with the results that you find. By seeing how your competitors are grabbing the people you want to grab you can then take to implementing these tactics in order to turn said people into customers of your business.

You can also broaden your customer base by offering incentives for people to use your services in the first place. This should then be followed by graduate and loyalty incentives in order to keep the customers you’ve reeled in. And when it comes to these kinds of incentives, you should provide your customers with a card that has your details on. That way, if they put it in their wallet they carry it about with them wherever they go, thus meaning you’re never far from sight. The fact is, you need to be doing all you can to get your business noticed and then to keep it noticeable if you want not only broaden your customer base, but also cement it.

Another way to broaden your business’s horizons is to broaden your own, personal network. As a business owner you have a duty to sell your business as best you can. By broadening your business network, you have more of a chance of doing this. And this can be done in many ways. You could attend a talk or seminar about your field of business. You could attend trade shows or business fairs. Or you could go back to university or college and take a business degree. The learning environment of an MSc Management online degree, for instance, allows its students the chance to broaden their network through connections made with like-minded people and through the professionals that teach the degree. And as this is an online degree, if you took this venture in order to broaden your network, you wouldn’t even have to get out of bed in the morning!

Before you can broaden your business’s horizons, every single aspect of it needs to be broadened. Your customer base. Your network. Both yours and your staff’s knowledge of your business and its market. Once all of this has been broadened, only then will see your ROI start to broaden too.

Loud And Proud! How To Get Your New Business Noticed

To make a splash in modern business, you need to be loud and proud. There’s no point in making a quiet entrance and hoping that people will notice you. You have to get out there, shout it from the rooftops, and let everyone know all about your amazing new business and what it can do for them. If you have a new venture, and you’re keen to get people talking, here are some of the best ways to get yourself noticed.

Organizing a business event

One of the best ways to introduce yourself to potential clients, partners, and investors is to organize a business event. If you host a launch, the entire event is focused on you and your company, and you don’t have to compete for attention or try and steal the limelight from other firms. If you do plan to organize an event of any kind, make sure you do a proper job. The event you host will reflect on you, so it’s essential to make a good impression. Choose a venue that is suitable for the product or business you’re promoting, and try and be original. Remember that the people you invite probably go to similar exhibitions or launches on a regular basis. How can you stand out? How can you make sure that it’s your company everyone wants to know more about? Perhaps you’ll choose a venue with a difference, or you’ll capture your audience with an incredible presentation.

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Think carefully about who you want to invite to your event. This is a chance to showcase your new company in all its glory and to put yourself on the map. If it goes well, you could enjoy overnight success, so ensure you have the right crowd in attendance. Send out invitations in advance, and try and get some media attention. If you’re running an online venture, it’s a great idea to try and team up with bloggers who can feature your business, and hopefully boost your profile on social media. It’s also wise to invite people from firms you’re keen to work with and buyers from companies and retailers you’d love to stock your products.

Once you’ve got a venue and a guest list, start working on the presentation, and your pitch. How do you want the room to look? How can you show off what you’re selling in the best way? Make sure you look the part. It’s not just about what you’re selling. People also have to believe in you. Practice your pitch, and promote the product at all times. Let people have a go, do some demonstrations, and be ready to answer potentially tricky questions. Put together some goody bags with branded items your guests can take away with them. You can order everything from badges and key rings to t-shirts, pens, and lanyards. If you’re keen to see what’s available, you’ll find more info here. After your speech, take time to mingle, chat, and really take advantage of the time you’ve got with people who could prove instrumental in the success of your company. Ask guests to leave their contact details, and encourage them to give you feedback on the products or services you’re selling.

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Maximizing the power of social media

These days, if anything is going on in the world, you’ll find out about it on social media. For businesses, social media can be an incredibly useful and effective platform to reach out to clients and customers, and drive traffic to the company website. Before you go in all guns blazing, and start setting up profiles here, there, and everywhere, do some research to find out which platforms are used by your target market. If you’re aiming at buyers aged between 25 and 40, you’re probably not going to get as much joy from Snapchat as you are if you focus on Facebook, for example. Draw up a strategy, and make sure you use feedback and the findings of market research. Once you’ve got pages and profiles set up, make sure you maintain a presence online. It’s not enough to get people to follow you or be your friend. You need to keep them interested. Update your profile, share images and clips, and encourage people to share your page so that your posts attract more attention. If you’re just starting with social media, running competitions is an excellent way to increase your follower numbers quickly.

 

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When your campaign is underway, devote some time to trying to increase traffic to your website. This is particularly important if you accept orders online and customers can pay through your site. Make sure your pages are all linked and use a similar name or handle to enhance the brand. Blogging is a really effective way to give customers more information and to improve your website’s SEO ranking. Using keywords and popular search terms, you can lift your link up the page, encouraging more people to click on it, and hopefully, place an order.

 

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Traditional tactics

If you’re launching a new business in the local area, you may find that traditional techniques work best. If you have a new dog-walking, window cleaning or mobile hairdressing business, for example, you want to tap into the local market, and compete with existing firms. Order flyers and post them through the door, and get in touch with local papers and magazines and place an advert. Offering a discount to new customers can help you to attract clients quickly.

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Are you about to launch a new business? If so, your aim should be to get your name out there and to encourage people to take an interest in what you’re selling or offering. It can be hard to make yourself heard in a crowded marketplace, and that’s why you have to be loud and proud. Hopefully, these tips will help you to generate a buzz, and start attracting clients as quickly as possible. Do some research to find out more about your target consumer, and organize a launch to show off your business to an audience of potential clients, partners, investors, and buyers. Get social and don’t forget the tried and tested traditional techniques if you’re looking to break into a local market.

All You Need To Know About Running A Service-Based Business

There are plenty of businesses anyone can choose to start. However, they normally fall into two categories, you either sell a product or you sell a service. Naturally, some businesses blur the lines and fall into both categories. But, for the sake of today’s article, we’re going to focus solely on service-based businesses.

Specifically, what advice is there for anyone looking to run one of these businesses? Are there certain things to look out for? Check out the advice below, and you’ll soon know the key considerations when starting a service-based business:

 

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Ensure You Have Financial Backing Before You Commit

The trouble with service-based businesses is that they can be hard to secure financial backing. Much harder, in fact, than a business that sells products. As it shows on springtreegroup.biz, the reason many service-based businesses, such as insurance agencies, struggle to gain funding is that they have no physical assets to hold as collateral against their loans. So, big banks are unlikely to fund a business as they can’t hold anything against the business if it doesn’t repay the loan on time. As a result, service businesses need to look for funding from elsewhere to raise the capital they need. The advice here is to focus on finance before anything else. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself and start buying offices or hiring people until you’re fully funded and financially capable of starting your business.

Set Your Service Apart From Everyone Else

Competition is rife in the services industry. No matter what service you offer, there will be other companies trying to offer a better version of that service. As you can see on flybluekite.com, there are many ways to stand out from the competition. With a service business, you need to make your service different from others by offering things that aren’t already on the table. The service-based business industry is full of companies trying on one-up each other. You see this all the time with marketing agencies, one will offer a free consultation to get ahead of the rest, then another adds a free e-book or access to a free tool to move ahead again. You need to constantly be on the ball and get ready to make your service stand out from the other similar services out there.

Market Your Business Properly

It’s crucial that you market your service business properly as you’ll be catering to a specific market. For example, an accounting agency that offers help with business finances will need to market itself to the business sector instead of the general public. This means being clever with adverts and printing them in business magazines or sticking them on billboards in inner city areas that are full of offices. As we noted in this posthere  it’s very easy to make a marketing mistake that ruins your company. So, be smart, think it through, and ensure you’re targeting your key market with everything you produce.

When run correctly, a service-based business will bring in a lot of success. If you follow this advice, you will find it a lot easier to start one up and make money.

Quick Solutions To Everyday Business Problems

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Running a small business can be a little like looking after a child: if you do not keep your on it all the time, something is likely to go wrong. Life can come at your fast sometimes, and if you are not prepared, you will be punished. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong. If something at your office breaks, like the heating, not dealing with it is not an option. Your staff may not be able to work and your entire business could grind to a halt. Similarly, if someone has an accident in your workplace, you need to quickly deal with it before it spirals out of control. While some may say that modern society is becoming selfishly litigious and that lots of people are exploiting Lady Justice and robbing her blind to make a profit, the threat to your business is real. A long protracted court case can exhaust your resources and your energy. Swift action is the best option. Problems will arise every day. Here are a few that you may have to deal with and how best to combat them:

Cash flow problems are something that every business may suffer from at one time or another. While it is certainly inconvenient, it is something of a luxury problem because it means that your business is working at near capacity. If all of your capital is tied up in working on projects for clients or on initiatives intended to expand your business, it shows that you have ambition. However, you need to deal with it immediately. Failing to meet your obligations (such as paying your staff or a company to whom you outsourced some work) is a dangerous game to play because debts have a tendency to compound themselves, which only exacerbates the problem. A prophylactic option to consider for the future is having a fund ready for emergency costs in the future, but in the short term, you may want to consider factoring services (check out FactoringDirectory.org to find the best option for you. While factoring payments may be slightly more expensive in the long run, it can save your business money over time. Having a reputation for not paying your bills will stay with you much longer than the actual bill from a factoring service.

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The most important part of any business is the customers. Without them, the business itself would simply not exist. The law of supply and demand proves it. It should, therefore, be no surprise that keeping your customers happy is a priority. If you work in an industry like retail, you may get so used to complaints that they no longer register with you. However, the statistics speak for themselves: improving customer retention by as little as 5% can lead to profit increases of as much as 25% to 95%. This is why you should deal with unhappy customers as quickly as possible. Attending to their needs may take a great deal of time and resources but is worth it. Besides, if you do it as soon as possible, you have a better chance of dealing with every customer.

Irrefutable Reasons To Sponsor An Event

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Businesses are always looking for new ways to succeed. Since the mid-2000s, the most popular tactic has been a mixture of SEO and social media. In fact, both of these platforms are still effective to this day. Unfortunately, they aren’t as potent as they were in the past. Companies now understand the importance of modern marketing, and it’s diluting the impact. The only choice you have is to adapt and evolve. With that in mind, it’s time to find a new technique that hasn’t been done to death. The good news is that one exists: sponsoring an event.

Here are the reasons why your next marketing strategy should be to pay other firms to bear your name.

The Exposure Is Real

It’s easy for bosses to look at media exposure and think, ‘does it work?’ After all, it doesn’t seem like any hard facts exist to support the claim that it’s real. But, the experts say the stats don’t exist until you take the plunge. AMW Group is a PR firm that specialises in organising corporate events, and they believe revenue and sales increase as a result of the media. There is no way to tell the catalyst, but it isn’t a coincidence as customers directly link your brand to the event. So, if it’s a charitable thing that saves lives, it will reflect positively on your brand. There is a reason the industry broke the fifty million mark for sponsorship spending in 2013. Since then, spending has only been getting higher and higher.

Brand Recognition

Regular readers of the site understand the importance of brand recognition. Without a brand, you’re nothing. Sure, you might not go out of business, and you might even shift a few units. But, it’ll never be enough to grow and expand into a market leader. The biggest and baddest firms have an impeachable reputation, and they get it from their marketing campaign. As you know, people link the event and the business together. So, as long as the event is a success, you are also a success in the eyes of the guests. And, why wouldn’t you be successful? A legitimate cause asked you to be a sponsor, and that means something. Of course, there is no real link because you both have mutual resources – that’s all. Still, it doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the way consumers think.

The Perceived Image

In layman’s terms, the advantages above link with the way people perceive the company. What they think might not be true, but it doesn’t have to be true. Nine times out of ten, customers go with their gut, or they make a rash judgement and stick with it for the rest of their lives. As long as they think you’re a top-class firm with good intentions, they will remember you. And, if they remember you in a good light, they will use the company at every opportunity. Events are the best way to give off a certain image as you get to choose which one you sponsor. If the occasion fits with the company brand, the results can only be constructive. Sometimes, what people think is more important than the truth for businesses.

Cultivate Leads

Events are a fantastic opportunity for businesses to generate more leads thanks to the structure. You will find it difficult to locate an event that doesn’t play games or giveaway prizes. Pardon the pun, but it’s part and parcel of a corporate event because people want entertainment. Plus, a freebie never hurts. The savvy businessperson can see that this is an opportunity. If you’re sponsoring the occasion, it isn’t wrong for you to ask for a favour. For example, you might make a stipulation which states that everyone who wants to enter the prize draw has to write down their email address. It’s a small thing, yet it makes all the difference. The result is a plethora of free contact details which you can add to your email blast. Many people will ignore it because they aren’t interested. However, a percentage will make a conversion, and that is huge.

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Network

When you talk to customers, it’s called generating a lead. When you talk to potential clients, it’s called networking. Making contacts within the industry is crucial to your success because you’ll never be able to ask for a favour with zero friends. The favour might be something as simple as a contact number, yet it can make all of the difference. The key, then, is to make friends, and to make friends, you have to brown nose. No one likes people that suck up to them unnecessarily, so don’t go overboard. You should talk about your shared interests and bond with them on another level. That way, the relationship is more than just business. A word of warning: you can only network with another firm if they are present. If you’re the sole sponsor, it won’t work.

Target The Right Market

There is no point in contacting a bunch of people if they don’t fit the criteria. What criteria? The ones which make them a perfect fit for the firm. It might be their age, or it might be their shopping habits, but, either way, it makes them more likely to choose you. So, once you have the leads, you can’t just fire away like a gunslinger at the O.K. Corral. No, you need to sort through the list and pick out the people that are most likely to respond. It sounds harder than it is because they are strangers and you don’t have much info. But, it gets easier with the help of the event organisers. They know things about the guests, and they should be willing to divulge the information. Or, you can do your research before you agree to any sponsorship. That way, you know all the leads are legit.

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The jury is back, and they have come to a decision. That decision is to tell you to sponsor an event at the next opportunity. It could transform the business completely.

The Importance Of A Strong Business Reputation

If you want your new business to succeed in any way, focusing on building up a positive reputation for your company is the best way of laying the right foundations. Whether you want to attract new customers, build up your brand, or expand your business’s horizons further afield, there is nothing that will impact on your ability to do so than your reputation.

The trouble for small businesses is that you have no reputation. And it can take a lot of time and effort to ensure that your audience sees you in a positive and credible light. With this in mind, here are a few ideas that you can use to get things off to the best possible start.

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Always keep your promises

When you let down a customer, statistics suggest they will tell ten other people about their experience. And while the obvious solution to that is to ensure it never happens, the simple fact is that you will never satisfy everyone all of the time. Your job is to make sure that you keep any promises you make, and ensure that you deliver at every opportunity. And if you do make a mistake, be quick to address it. It’s easy for customers to complain in public these days, thanks to social media and review sites. But as long as you are honest and straight up in your responses, you can limit the damage of these issues.

Be secure

Don’t underestimate how much safety and security plays on the minds of your customers. It’s a huge issue, thanks to the many news stories on data hacking and online security threats, but it’s vital that your clients know you have their best interests at heart. Look around for identity verification services with the security you need to gain your customer’s’ trust. Highlight the fact you take security seriously on your website, too, and offer sound advice to customers on how they can protect their data.

Do more

When you are just starting out in business, you have to make a lot more effort to impress. But, if you go above and beyond the call of duty for your customers, they will always keep coming back, and you will establish a loyal customer base. Try including extra services for no additional cost, or offer recommendations to customers if you don’t have what they are looking for. Always try to help, even when it might not be profitable. Treating anyone you encounter with respect, kindliness, and integrity will always win out.

Say sorry

As we mentioned above, people will make complaints, and everyone in every business will make a mistake. And while some individuals in the world will grumble and complain about anything, the vast majority will be happy with a simple apology. Most people realize that mistakes happen, and a foul up won’t damage your business in any way – as long as you ‘fess up and react positively and appropriately to their concerns. Don’t forget, you can learn a lot from your customer’s complaints, and who knows? Perhaps the next big complaint will lead to you changing things and improving your business offering altogether?

Options: The Gold Standard For Business

You walk up to the fast food counter – you’ve been in a rush, you always are, but you know at the counter there will be a big grand board full of delicious options for you to choose from. From burgers to hot dogs and fries as well as shakes and soda pops – you know you’ll be sorted. That’s the standard everywhere, right? Big boards full of options.

So, you get to the counter and look up – there are no options, you’re going to have to suffer for their choice of food – but you really wanted something else! There’s nothing even close to what you want! How does this make you feel? It won’t be good. The thing is, if that business offered a wider range of choices to you, the customer, they may have made a sale – but you went to your favorite place after being left unsatisfied. They lost out on a sale by bottlenecking their sales into one product that might not be enjoyed by all. Does this make sense? Only if the product captures the heart of many audiences! That’ll be a one of a kind product, though.

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Businesses always need to offer choice – choice allows for compromise and compromises mean a deal can eventually be done – whether it means a different color for a design, or even removing cheese from the burger of someone who is lactose intolerant. Choice allows for a sale to be made when one may not have been made originally. Choice could be the thing that saves your business. When is a variety of choice not a good idea? Only in specific circumstances – vegan eateries might not cater for dairy lovers and meat eaters, but that is only part of the choice, they will still offer a wide range of options via a menu or specials board. Even in this situation, options are available.

What can you offer options in? Well – everything. You can offer different ranges of products that bridge the gap between different audiences. Video game publishers do this by signing up developers to make games for both kids and adults. Restaurants do this by offering various menus at different price points. These aren’t the only options you can offer – will you take cash, card, check, credit or organize a payment plan with http://vyze.com/consumer-financing/point-of-sale-financing/?

There are plenty of options that you can offer to your customers and expand the chances of a sale, but some of these aren’t suitable – so be smart. Allowing yourself to offer payment options gives your business a great chance of bringing in more customers, as they find themselves being able to pay for their goods. If customers can’t pay, they won’t be able to buy goods – so offer the choices.

If you can find yourself attracting secondary markets beyond your target market, you’ll expand your profit margins easily. Offering options is the way to do this. Options and choice? They are the gold standard for your business, don’t give anything less.

How To Overhaul Your Bland Brand

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Realising that a business is about far more than hiring hard-working people and selling a great service is the first step towards expanding your eyes to the true scope of your potential market. You might have achieved some success already, but perhaps branding has been holding you back even though your team is professional and extremely motivated to help the company succeed and deliver an amazing product or service to consumers.

If you want to overhaul your bland brand, the key is to start showcasing the aspects of your business that your customers want to see in as concise a manner as possible. If you have the talent, dedication and amazing service that customers should be rushing in to buy, then you need to portray that effectively throughout your branding. Here are some pieces of advice to help you achieve that.

Keep it focused

Your brand needs to be clear to the customer. You may have many different dreams in terms of directions the business could take, as your entrepreneurial mindset could lead you down many creative avenues, but your brand can only succeed if it focuses on the consumer. You need to be addressing their wants and needs, which means you need to keep things simple.

The name needs to be straightforward, the product or service needs to be unified in solving a specific problem or meeting a specific market. If you’re running a beauty salon, you need to remain focused on the beauty element of things and not start offering a jumbled selection of services related to clothing or other “vaguely related” industries. You need to define what your brand does. You can provide different services, but they must be related.

Create a strong internal brand

Your brand doesn’t just flourish through marketing, but through the team behind the logo. In order to create a real brand that customers can believe, it needs to be real for your employees too. That means you need to put effort into making the workplace modern, engaging and fun, perhaps with a pool table in the break room, so as to deliver on your promise of a contemporary, fun and relaxed business. You could look into office cleaning services if you don’t have the time to constantly keep a workplace spotless on top of your workload. There’s always a way to prioritise the appearance of your office area and keep your workers as happy as your customers.

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Build an airtight reputation on trust

Your brand is more than pretty images and catchy marketing slogans. Your brand is a name, and that name signifies something to your target market. If you want to start reeling in great numbers of potential customers, you need an airtight reputation in order to prove your worth to them before they take a leap of faith in trusting you. You need to be making solid promises and guarantees to your customers in order to build a very real, personal bond of trust between you both.

Promising that you’ll give the customer their money back if you were lying about the fantastic nature of your product or service proves to them that you’re really committed to genuinely pleasing them, rather than simply taking their money and leaving them to deal with a dodgy product. You need a voice which makes a real impact on your customers. This is the difference between a company which tries to make a quick buck and one which tries to build a permanent, long-lasting reputation for itself amongst a growing client-base. This is how you create a real brand, rather than simply a business.

Never Bet Your Bottom Dollar In Business!

Business can be a risky thing for many reasons. A lack of planning can see a start-up fail before it has started up. Annoying customers can lead to a lack of income. A lack of income can derail a business and turn any sign of success into failure. But business doesn’t have to be risky business, no.

Many businesses operate on unsteady incomes. For a prime example of that, take freelancers and designers who charge invoices to clients. These invoices might make up all, if not most, of a freelancers income. Most clients pay invoices bang on time and do you know what, that’s great! Some clients might have other priorities though and might not meet payment terms often. For a freelancer, that can be a huge problem.

For any business that relies on invoicing, it can bring insecurity to mind – the invoice has been sent, the work has been done – but the cash isn’t there. Frankly it’s an unsustainable business model for that to happen, but it does and it is because of circumstances out of the workers hands. That being said, you need to work to the situation at hand and not the hypothetical best case scenario, which in this instance simply does not exist at all.

If a freelancer spends on the basis of invoices that haven’t yet been completed by the client – it can be a huge issue. What if the client never pays up? What if bankruptcy is declared and the invoice is never fulfilled? In these circumstances, it might be your invoice that sits at the bottom of a steep list of creditors – which might mean you won’t see your money – ever.

If you spend that invoice and don’t see the cash, you’ve made a gamble. Big mistake. You need to think these things through and seek alternatives – debtor finance – for example. It’s not your fault, no, but businesses cannot be run on pure assumptions. Always consult the spread of options before you before putting it all on black…

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Gambles in business shouldn’t factor into anything you do. What could be seen as a gamble? Any move without the backing of hard facts and data! For instance, if you are looking to move premises without taking into the key considerations such as why, how and cost – you could be setting yourself up for business disaster! Every move you make in business needs to be grounded in reality, and not hypothetical situations. If you make decisions that cost, it could be a bigger expense than you initially thought – and that could sink your business. Another example would be in the hiring of employees – are you hiring to fill a need in your team or are you expanding your payroll for no reason? These ungrounded moves are going to lead you to disaster if they are made recklessly and often.

Every move you make in business needs to be grounded in reality, and not hypothetical situations. If you make decisions that cost, it could be a bigger expense than you initially thought – and that could sink your business. Another example would be in the hiring of employees – are you hiring to fill a need in your team or are you expanding your payroll for no reason? These ungrounded moves are going to lead you to disaster if they are made recklessly and often.

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There’s no excuse anymore and data is available in all forms from income to production statistics. The foundations of plans lie before your very eyes and if you are making big business moves without consulting the truth, and the facts – you might not be in business for long. Don’t bet your bottom dollar in business, because it could be the last mistake your business makes.

Business Continuity is More Important than You Think

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When people talk about running a business, a lot of essential elements get covered. Financing, recruitment, health and safety, energy usage, social media, etc. But something that isn’t spoken about quite as much is business continuity. Sure, its importance may not be as immediately obvious as with some of the other business elements listed previously. But although it doesn’t sound very sexy, there’s no doubt that your company needs a business continuity plan.

What is this “business continuity plan” you speak of?

Some businesses put a lot of focus on disaster aversion. They’ll put up all the barriers they can think of to assure that nothing goes wrong. They’ll install hundreds of dollars worth of Internet security measures. They’ll install fire alarms, put sprinklers on the ceilings, place fire extinguishers in every corner of the office. They’ll make sure their office is somewhere with as low a risk of earthquakes as possible. But they won’t put any focus into how they’ll keep certain areas of the business going if these disasters strike, and how they’ll recover afterward.

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Business continuity puts a focus on just that. Putting together a business continuity plan is a way of acknowledging and uncomfortable but simple truth: sometimes, disaster can’t be avoided. Fires, earthquakes, cyber attacks, falls, floods – these things can’t always be averted, regardless of how many resources you pour into prevention.

That’s not to say you should take the attitude of the person who smokes because “they’re going to die anyway”. Disaster isn’t guaranteed, and putting measures in place to prevent them from happening in your business are worth the trouble. But without a business continuity plan, your business could be in serious trouble if you find yourself unable to avoid those disasters. It’s about making sure you lose as little work time as possible; keeping the ship moving towards its destination even if some of its parts need fixing.

To better elucidate what we’re talking about and highlight its importance, let’s take some examples of a few problems that can cause severe disruption to your business and how they can be best dealt with. We don’t need to look to the possibilities of fire and floods to do this – we can look at much less dramatic scenarios to get the point across.

 

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Common disruptions

One of the simplest and most common examples – seriously, if you run a business, then you’ve probably dealt with it – is that of a disruption in employee availability. It’s a crucial day for your project and you need all hands on deck. But one of your workers has been struck with a terrifying illness and can’t make it in. A disruptive scenario indeed. How do you keep the train moving?

This isn’t a scenario in which you should have to come up with a solution on the spot. If you need a certain number of employees on a particular project at any given time, then you need to plan for the continuity of that project should numbers fall short. You could ensure that you have more than the minimum numbers of workers at any one time on a project. Or you could look into telecommuting methods that allows housebound employees to contribute from home, should they feel okay to do so.

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Something else that affects more businesses than you think is service discontinuation. Let’s say your office relies on another company in order to do its job. This can take many forms. Perhaps you work with a particular supplier. Well, what if something happens to that supplier? What if they go out of business, or are unable to make an important delivery? You need to come up with a way to keep the business running regardless.

Another area this can affect is in software and Internet services. What business doesn’t rely on some sort of software these days? Let’s say your business uses, for example, Google Docs for collaboration purposes. It’s how you create and share documents. One day, Google Docs is down. You need an alternative to turn to if this happens; you can’t take its functionality for granted at all times. And if software that you use is discontinued due to the creators going out of business, then you either need a backup program that can take on the same task and import the required data, or you look into source code escrow in order to retain access to the software.

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I’m going to paraphrase a sentence I wrote earlier to help highlight what it is business continuity planning is supposed to do. It’s not the avoidance of a disruptive scenario; it’s the avoidance of a disruptive scenario in which you should have to come up with a solution on the spot. There should already be a measure to which you can turn in order to keep your business moving towards its goals.

Considering the size and work of your business

As you can probably guess, how global your company is and what service it actually provides to others will influence just what scenarios you need to plan for to keep up business continuity. If you’re running an airline. Some of you may remember the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull (no, I can’t pronounce it, either) in Iceland back in 2010. When volcanoes erupt, it’s a pretty big deal for business the world over. No, the lava eruption doesn’t reach so high that it can reach planes – but the ash plumes they emit afterward can cause serious problems. They spread far and wide. Flights were disrupted for over a month due to many businesses being unsure how to keep up business continuity in such a scenario.

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Now let’s say you’re a business that is fairly simple in its operations. It’s office-based and fairly small. Let’s say it’s in New York City or London. But some of the servers you’re outsourcing are based in Thailand or Japan – this is fairly common, and you may not necessarily know they’re based in such countries. Back in 2011, a flood in Thailand caused the destruction of a lot of servers and other computer-based companies. This caused problems the world over.

So while you may think you’re safe from natural disasters where you are, disasters in a completely different continent may affect you in some way! Remember this as you go forth and plan to preserve your business continuity.

Don’t Neglect To Protect Your Business

Smart business act preemptively, rather than waiting for problems to occur before they develop a solution. If you want any chance of success, you shouldn’t be neglecting to protect your business. This is about putting measures in place to prevent damage from not only the things your business can control, but the things it cannot. External factors in the wider market will have an effect on your company, and you need to be prepared for shifts in the tide of consumers or the economy as a whole.

You need to also ensure, of course, that your business doesn’t make foolish mistakes on an internal basis. You have control over your employees and the general operational processes of the company, so it’s your duty to ensure everything is up to scratch in terms of regulations and what the general consumer expects. If you’re wondering what more your organisation could be doing to protect itself from all manner of threats, then here are some broad and varied pieces of advice.

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Foresee danger

Organisations of all sizes will face threats in all forms over the course of their lifetimes, and not all of these threats will be preventable or even directly related to your company. For example, you could head here for a look into a notification system to help prepare your business and its employees for emergencies in the form of natural disasters.

Of course, danger can come in many forms, and a smart business, which protects not only its assets but its reputation, will put measures in place to prevent cyber threats; for example, backing up data on a cloud server in case the physical onsite server is damaged and also installing firewalls along with other defensive measures as a preventative tactic.

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Secure the premises

In a more physical sense, you should be protecting the office in which your business is based. This might seem like an obvious piece of advice, and perhaps your business doesn’t seem as if it would be a likely target, but most burglaries are unplanned. That means if somebody is feeling opportunistic and they see a weakness in your work premises, they might try their luck. A loss of important information or resources won’t just cost you the money required to replace them, but likely put a dent in your profits whilst operations suffer and you try to bounce back from the theft; depending on the scale of the robbery.

Whilst strengthening doors and windows should be a priority, there’s always a chance that somebody determined enough will find a way into a premises. The key is to deter people from doing so, as it’s uncommon for people to plan burglaries, as mentioned above. If you install CCTV, you’re essentially telling criminals that, even if they manage to break into the premises and steal something, you’ll have captured the crime on tape. This will be enough to discourage most people from even attempting to do so.

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Protect your brand

The business world can get vicious, and you need to protect your intellectual property. If your company finds itself onto a good thing, then other competitors or aspiring imitators might attempt to jump on the bandwagon and steal elements of your branding and products. That’s why it’s so important to patent everything so as to ensure that another company doesn’t take the beginnings of your product idea and race to the finish line, gaining all the credit and all the profit.

Ultimate Guidelines For Protecting Your Business

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When you first have an idea for a business, your mind will be whirring with excitement and creativity. You’ll be keen to get started with the fun stuff of drawing up your long-term plans, designing products and websites, and getting out there and networking and marketing your ideas.

However, the unfortunate truth is that there are a lot of things that can go wrong when you start a business. And unless you spend a significant amount of time and energy looking at the broad range of protections you need to take, you’re just setting yourself up for trouble, rather than success.

With this in mind, we thought we would give you a brief outline of everything you need to cover when starting out in a new business. Yes, there are probably more interesting things you want to be doing. But, ultimately, it will all be for nothing if you don’t have the right protections in place. Let’s take a closer look.

The basics

First of all, make sure you form the company in the right way. There could be a multitude of issues later on down the line if you don’t choose the right legal framework for your new business, so get it right from the off. You can visit Your Company Formations Limited or head over to the HMRC website for more information on setting up a limited company or forming any other type of business. It’s advisable to hire a business lawyer and an accountant in the early stages, too. Your accountant will help you keep your nose clean with regards to finances and tax laws. And having a lawyer on board right from the start will give you a secure and experienced foundation that you can draw upon in any legal situation – which will occur, no matter how you try and avoid them.

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Your Intellectual Property

Don’t underestimate the threat of industrial espionage and the impact it can have on your business. Your ideas – if good enough – are an attractive prospect for other entrepreneurs, who may be in a better position than you are to make them happen. It would be catastrophic to be beaten in a race with another company to launch a product you have created, so make sure you have protections for your intellectual property. Trademarks, patents, brand protections – get cover for them all.

Contracts

Here’s another big reason to get a business lawyer involved at an early stage – your contracts. You will need to have agreements with everyone involved with your business, from your co-founders and your investors to your suppliers and customers. Employment contracts are essential, too, of course, and the slightest mistake or incorrectly worded statement in a contract could result in a lot of financial pain. Contracts give you legal protection when hiring people, trading goods, and enforcing processes with your suppliers, so do not neglect this vital part of starting a business.

Insurance

If the worst happens – which it will do at some point – you need insurance to cover your costs. Let’s assume a worker or a visitor to your business premises suffers a severe injury while in your workplace. A day or two in court could result in crippling compensation payments, which could well see you going out of business. There’s theft to consider, too, as well as product malfunctions, service disruptions, and anything else a customer might take issue with.

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The technical side of running a business

Make sure that you don’t get carried away with the exciting side of running a business and leave the core stuff to one side. No one likes doing admin, of course, but if you forget about the basic corporate and legal responsibilities – such as keeping your accounts in good order – your business dreams might end in tears. There is an enormous range of things that will need doing, from license renewals through to meeting minutes, but you need to make sure that you cover yourself by doing everything in the correct way.

Day-to-day cover

As a business owner, it can be hard to track everything that needs doing on a daily basis – you just won’t have the time. There is a solution, however, which lies in the field of human resources. Whether you hire an HR team full-time or outsource to a third party HR service, they can be a great help ensuring your business is going about its duties in the right way. While many business owners look at hiring sales or marketing teams first to grow their businesses, you might be better off installing an HR presence instead.

 

 

 

Make An Exhibition Of Your Business At Any Trade Show!

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Despite all of the advances that technology and the internet have brought about in the world of modern business, one thing that will never change is the importance of being able to communicate with your customers and investors face to face directly. Human beings are social by nature, and no amounts of technological advancements are going to change that. One of the most consistently effective methods of being able to speak to customers directly is by having a stand at a trade show. People might find out about products and businesses online more than ever these days, but there really is no substitute for some hands-on experience when it comes to enticing customers. The problem that presents itself is that your business is probably one of dozens of stands at any given trade show. If you want to draw in customers, then you’ve got to make sure that you’re able to stand out from the crowd. Luckily, there are a few pretty simple ways to do just that.

1. Visual interest

The hardest thing about standing out at a trade show is that you’re just going to be one of many stands that are vying for the attention of various attendees. This makes is incredibly easy for you to fade into the background unless you do something about it. You should aim to get people’s attention from the second that they step into the venue. Distinct branding, bright colours, and large displays are all ideal for this. Flags either side of your booth are a fantastic way to keep yourself in people’s eye line no matter where they are. Companies like Selby’s provide all kinds of opportunities to create visual interest for potential customers. Once customers reach your stand, then you can let your charm and passion for your business reel them in, but you won’t get the chance to do that unless something draws them to it in the first place. Whether you want to use portable banners that you can set up in front of the booth, or you’re looking for something a little more ostentatious like large flags with your logo on them, it’s absolutely crucial that you make your stand as visually striking and engaging as possible.

2. Do something unique

It’s just the visual elements of your booth that should be unique, bringing in customers with exciting flags and banners is only going to get you so far. Once people are at your stand, then you need to make sure that their experience with you doesn’t blur into the dozens of others that they’ll potentially have throughout the day. Try to think about what you can offer that other companies might not. Of course, there are few things more effective than giving people a hands-on experience with your product, allowing them to discover it for themselves rather than having you just explain to them why it’s amazing. Of course, if you wanted to combine such an old school approach with more modern technologies then why not look into things like VR? Virtual Reality might seem like the realm of science fiction, but tech like the Oculus Rift and Vive are bringing it well and truly into the present. So why not take advantage of that, give your customers a virtual tour of how your product is made. It’s the same basic idea as the videos that many businesses have had at booths at trade shows for years, but it’s guaranteed to leave a much greater impression on your customers.

Are You Providing Your Customers With the Very Best Products You Can?

If your customers are not getting the very best that your business has to offer, then it’s up to you to make improvements. Your customers can easily head to one of your rivals if you don’t offer them products that are of the highest quality. So, don’t leave things to chance and don’t take steps that save money but harm the products that customers buy. Saving money in the short-term is a false economy if you lose lots of customers in the long-term. Here’s how to offer the best products to your customers.

Offer a Promise and a Guarantee

Offering your customers some kind of promise or guarantee when they come to you and buy from you can really help a lot. It shows them that you really care about them and the products that you sell to them. It also shows that you believe in the things that you’re selling. And if something goes wrong, they will be backed up by the guarantee you offered. It’s an extra layer of security that your customers will really appreciate, so don’t underestimate how important it could be.

 

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Create Products That Are Built to Last

Your products should always be built to last. If they’re not, then your customers will be left disappointed sooner or later. Many businesses give in to the temptation to create products using cheap methods and cheap materials. Although this might seem like a good idea from a budgeting point of view, it’s one of those decisions that is highly likely to backfire on you, so you really do need to be careful. If you create products that people are not able to rely on for a long time, customers won’t come back for a second purchase. If you want to improve the protective coating of your products, you can view spray booths online. This will show customers that your products are strong and reliable.

Never Skip Product Testing

The product testing phase of your product’s development is one that cannot and should not be skipped. If you think that this part of the process is not really that important, you’re very wrong. When you test your products, you often find minor flaws and problems. You can then rectify these problems before your customers hand over their cash and their hands on the products. It’s always better for you to find these mistake during testing than for your customers to discover them after the purchase has been made.

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When a Customer Has a Problem, Make Sure it Doesn’t Happen Again

Finally, you need to know what to do when one of products does have a problem. Listen to customers and what they’re saying about your products. When you do this, you can be sure that you are on the right tracks and able to put right the problems that are there. Then, the next batch of products that are manufactured can be sent out to the world without any of those same problems. That’s really important. You should never let mistakes repeat themselves.

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How to Ensure You’re Giving Your Customers the Best Possible Attention

Put your customers first at all times, and you will be able to generate more business. It’s really important to make sure you come up with ideas that will help you retain clients. And these suggestions are great for helping you give them the full care and attention they need.

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Take the Time to Understand Them

Take the time to understand your clients and what they want. Not enough businesses do that anymore. It’s no good coming up with ideas that you think are great if the customers don’t. Use your initiative, make use of marketing and market research, and find out what people want. Giving your clients care and attention is really important. And the best way of doing this is to focus on exactly what they want and make sure you get it right for them.

Service is the Most Important Thing

Don’t forget how important customer service is. Your business goal should not be to simply secure sales then get people out the door as quick as you can. You want them to have an experience and enjoy themselves. You want repeat custom, and you can only get this by giving the customers attention and service. It costs a lot more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones. So it’s hugely important to make sure all of your customers are satisfied with your business. This is the reason customers service is so vital.

Free Up Time in the Business

A great way of giving your customers better attention is to free up the time to do that. This means making changes within the business to make sure everything is more efficient and better run. There are so many ways you can go about doing this. For instance, you might use Physical Address to secure virtual mail for the company. This will save you time and effort by organizing important documentation for you. It might also be worth going down the route of running man a leaner company. This will save money and free up time and manpower to dedicate to customers. Freeing up time gives you more to focus on making sure the customers have all the attention they need.

Deliver on Promises

There’s nothing worse for customers than businesses not delivering on their promises. People don’t like being deceived or lied to. So you need to make sure you don’t make promises you are unable to fulfil. And you have to honor the promises you do make to your clients. This is the best way of making them satisfied and keeping them around. Stop talking about being customer-oriented and start actually putting it into practice. Too many companies aren’t focused enough on customer experience sustainability. And this can end up being their downfall.

You have got to remember that, as a business, your success starts and ends with your clients. If you can’t bring in and retain customers, you aren’t going to be successful. That’s why it’s important to give your customers the best attention you possibly can. This will help you provide them with the best possible experience, and help drive the business forward.