Archive for the 'General Interest' Category

5 Things All Entrepreneurs Need To Stop Doing

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If you have ever looked for online advice about life as an entrepreneur, you will have noticed a trend— almost all of the advice tells you what you should be doing. You can find endless articles about managing your time more efficiently; learning to pitch to clients; expanding into new markets… and so on and so forth.

However, what about the things you shouldn’t do? It’s all well and good to know what you should be doing, but sometimes, you need to know the things you avoid; the things that you absolutely need to stop doing.

So, let’s dig into those right now; the behaviours, habits, and ways of doing business that all entrepreneurs should stop doing as soon as possible…

#1 – Taking your work home with you

As an entrepreneur, you’re likely far more committed to your business than you were ever committed to any standard job you performed. However, that doesn’t mean you should completely sacrifice your independence and your downtime. Taking work home with you — or continuing to work outside of normal business hours, if you work from home — is guaranteed to raise your stress levels and could potentially even edge you towards burnout. It’s fine to do this on occasion, when you’re working on a big project or to a tight deadline, but don’t let it become a habit.

#2 – Performing non-essential tasks yourself

Replying to customer emails; dealing with enquiries from potential B2B partners; going through order details; constantly updating your schedule… these kinds of administrative tasks will truly clog your schedule as an entrepreneur. As soon as you possibly can, hire yourself a PA to take care of these kinds of tasks for you, or hire a virtual assistant who works out of virtual headquarters to support you. Your mind needs to be focused on achieving all you can with your business, so outsource the management of admin tasks as soon as your budget allows you to do so.

#3 – Comparing yourself to your competitors

You have probably heard the saying that comparison is the thief of joy, and this is particularly true when you’re an entrepreneur. While you cannot ignore what your competitors are doing — you have to keep an eye on your competition for the good of your business, after all — you shouldn’t spend too much of your time on this task. If you start to compare your own business to your competitors, then you run a very real risk of become disenchanted with your own efforts.

So don’t do that to yourself. Check in with your competitors, but then move on, and focus on your own business. Constant comparison is not beneficial, nor is it necessary, so don’t fall into a trap of endless, unfavourable comparisons.

#4 – Neglecting your mental and physical health

Struggling with a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression is relatively common for entrepreneurs, while many business owners work so hard they neglect their own physical health. While it’s great that you are focused and dedicated to improving your business and meet your entrepreneurial dreams, there’s little point in doing so if you’re not going to be well enough to enjoy your success.

We touched a little on how to prevent burnout in the first point of this post, but realistically, avoiding burnout is the bare minimum you should be doing to protect your health. Make sure you take time off from your business every so often, and fill your working week with time that is specifically set aside for self-care. You might want to work hard, but you have to see that hard work must be balanced with taking care of yourself— if it isn’t, you run the risk of working so hard, you eventually can’t actually work at all.

#5 – Focusing too far in the future

Of course, entrepreneurs have to focus on the future in some regards. You have to be able to see what might happen in your industry, and to plan effectively for the potential for business growth.

However, looking into the future constantly is a bad idea. Sometimes, you need to draw your focus back to the present; to the here and now that is influencing the everyday running of your business. Having plans for the future is good — essential, in fact — but not to the point where it distracts you from what’s happening in the present.

In conclusion

By ensuring you stop doing the five things as listed above, your life as an entrepreneur — and the success of your business — should be able to flourish.

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How to Improve Your Brand’s Image Fast

In case you have just started a business and would like to get the word out about what you have to offer and how it can benefit customers, you might want to get creative and start planning your branding campaign carefully. From raising awareness about your company and offers to allowing your potential customers to interact with you, there are plenty of ways you can start connecting with your market. Find out more below.

Branded Clothing

You have to present your logo and main messages in every channel. This means that you and your employees might want to wear clothing that displays your logo and your headline. If you have a company car or van, you might also get it branded, so people know that you are there. Make sure that you choose a slogan that sticks and display all the important information, such as website address, physical address, email, and phone number.

Gifts

Sending out corporate gifts can also be a successful way of branding your new company. You will have to find some creative ideas that will represent your business or industry, and will be used by your potential customers. Check out www.fancyinc.co.za for some great ideas for corporate gifts, including pens, calendars, and other items that will help you brand your company.

YouTube

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If you already have a brand but it doesn’t stand out, you will have to do more than sending out some leaflets. To overhaul a bland brand, you could create your own YouTube channel and create videos for your potential customers. Intro videos are great to communicate what your brand is about and what your unique selling proposition is. Branding videos or “behind-the-scene” funny content can go viral and get shared hundreds of times, giving you free exposure in your local community.

Social Media

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No business can survive today’s competitive market conditions without using social media for branding. As a minimum, you will have to create a business page on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. However, if you are in the creative business, you might want to take advantage of Instagram and Pinterest marketing as well. Video and image content and straight-to-the-point messages will do better than long-winded content on social media.

Review Sites

To boost your reputation and image, you will need to be present on more than one social media sites and review sites. To make people trust you, it is important that you allow them to find out more about how you work and what other people think about your product or services. Whenever you get a new customer, ask them for a feedback, and get them to vote for you. A five-star review on a local business directory can increase your brand’s exposure.

New companies often struggle with creating a buzz about their brand. Today, thanks to social media, it is possible to get the message out without having a huge branding budget. Create a powerful message, and use every channel available to connect with your target market on a personal level.

Why Customisation Is Key For Business Success

‘Customisation’ is a word that gets used a lot in businesses of today. It almost feels like every company is trying to find as many ways as possible to customise themselves. There’s custom this and custom that, but why is this idea so important for business success?

In many ways, it’s the key to setting up a successful business. When you off customised experiences, you’re tailoring them for your customers. People can choose specific things based on their needs, and this leads to increased customer happiness. Everyone ends up with exactly what they wanted, not the same thing as a load of other people. Not only that, but customisation can help you and your employees as well. In reality, the best way to illustrate all the benefits of customisation is to talk about some of the main areas of your company you should customise, and the effect this has.

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Custom Services

Firstly, we start off with something that’s already been mentioned; custom services. By offering a service that’s fully customisable, your customers have greater control over what they purchase. You don’t need to be an expert to figure out that this is a highly positive thing. Customers like being in control as it helps them know they’re making a good decision. No one enjoys spending money that they end up regretting. Immediately, you build trust with your customers because you give them the ability to take control. Furthermore, the chances of someone being dissatisfied are now lower than before. After all, if someone has customised a service to suit their needs, then it generally means they’ve got what they want. You’ll deal with fewer issues, fewer refunds, and complete more sales.

Use software that’s tailormade for your business. Credit

Custom Software

Stepping inside your company, and you’ll undoubtedly have ways of doing your general work. Orders have to be logged somewhere, employees have to be managed, and finances need to be worked out. Now, you can make life easier for yourself if you create custom software for some of these processes. All you need to do is find the best software development companies around, and talk to them about your idea. With custom software, you can use something that’s specifically designed for your company, and your company only. This has a massive impact on how your employees work, as they use something that’s tailormade. With a lot of business software, you end up with a big package of things that you rarely use. You might only need one feature, and the rest is there as a distraction. When you have custom software, it’s all relevant, and should be easier to use. As a result, you can boost productivity and improve your work output.

Make your business stand out with a unique website design. Source

Custom Website

Everyone knows how important a website is for businesses these days. It forms the basis of your whole online marketing strategy. However, there are different approaches to website design and development. You’ll find website building tools online that offer a quick way of creating your business site. Many companies choose this route because it’s cheap, provides a professional looking site, and doesn’t take a long time. But, there’s one major downside; your website can look very similar to other sites. It may have the same template, use similar design elements, and so on. This is one of the reasons I believe a custom website is the better option for businesses. With a custom site, you automatically set your company apart from everyone else. You use a unique design that doesn’t copy other templates, and this helps strengthen your brand. There’ll be no confusion between your site and similar business websites. Everyone will know the site belongs to you! As well as this, you can customise every element of the site to properly reflect your brand values. No stone is left unturned, and you can full align your site with your brand.

In summary; every business should try and offer a service that’s customisable in some way. Even if you sell products on an online store, you can offer custom delivery slots or a choice to customise designs, etc. Alongside this, your business needs to use custom software to help speed up processes and streamline your work. Finally, a custom website is beneficial when it comes to solidifying your brand and standing out from the rest.

When you combine all of the benefits of customisation, you start to see how great it truly is for your company. You end up with happier customers, employees that can do their work to a higher standard, and a thriving brand that people will recognise. So, if you run a business and are looking for new ways of improving your success, then think about customising certain elements of it.

Important Ways For Small Businesses To Protect Their Reputation

The trouble with any business is that people only see the window dressing. If you run a restaurant for example, they only see the pristine table cloth, the napkins and the glittering silverware. They don’t see the turmoil going on in the kitchen, the care attention and effort that goes into each and every dish or the years of hard work and personal sacrifice from all parties that went into making the business what it is today. A good business is like a swan. It must be elegant, graceful and beautiful on the surface while a striving mass of activity beneath the surface. The trouble is that even the most elegant of swans can flounder every once in a while, or encounter something above the surface that ruffles its feathers.

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If you own a small business, you know that your reputation is everything. It’s what brings customers to your establishment rather than your competitors and what keeps them coming back to you again and again at the expense of all others. Every day in business, entrepreneurs face challenges that can damage their reputation from disgruntled customers to angry ex employees to tardy suppliers. If you’re to effectively manage your reputation, especially in your early years when your small business is vulnerable, you need to be proactive and assemble the infrastructure that will enable your business to keep its head held high at all times.

Lawyer up!

It’s important that your legal interests are protected should someone make a claim against your business. This will help to settle matters quickly and decisively without impinging on your business’ reputation. Thus you should have numerous attorneys on standby to protect your business in the key areas in which they often find themselves vulnerable. These include asn employee law firm like Ogletree Deakins, a business transaction lawyer and a tax attorney. By investing in the right legal representation you are well placed to protect your business’ reputation.

Always be training

Outstanding customer service is the key to ensuring that your reputation isn’t damaged by angry tirades from disgruntled customers on social media. While you can mitigate the damage caused by this (which we’ll get into shortly) your first line of defence is your customer facing employees. As such you need to invest in regular training and incentivize outstanding customer service with challenges, competitions and rewards.

Keep that cash flow healthy

Nothing will derail your business more than insufficient stock or cracks in the veneer of our physical store that just scream “underinvestment”. As such you need to ensure that your business maintains a healthy cash flow so that you can pay your debtors on time and ensure that you never experience lapses in normal service. Of course this is easier said than done but here are some pointers on maintaining healthy cash flow.

Be responsive and decisive on social media

Social media is a great tool for consumers to hold businesses accountable to them, but it’s important to manage interactions with customers on social media effectively. Ensure that someone is responsible for monitoring social media platforms for comments that could be damaging to your reputation. Deal with them openly and responsively on those platforms and demonstrate your willingness to make things right. Most customers can be turned around if you give them a platform to let you know what you can do to repair that relationship.

Cooking Up a Storm: Rules for Restaurant Success

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Starting a restaurant is one of the most popular business ideas for budding entrepreneurs, but it is also a field in which it is very difficult to make a profit. You need to have a watertight business model, put in a lot of hard work, and have food that gets people talking about you. Don’t expect to be an instant success as it takes a long time to build up the reputation that you are looking for. However, once you establish yourself in the restaurant sector, it is an area that provides rewards both financial and professional. Here are just a few rules for restaurant success that you can follow yourself.

Stand Out from the Crowd

There are so many restaurants out there these days that you can’t expect to go down the middle of the road, open a generic eatery and get the attention that you are looking for. Instead, you need to aim to create a place that gets people talking. Just like starting any other kind of business, ask what your unique selling point is. Perhaps you are offering a new take on some already established classics. Maybe you are simply serving up some hearty favourites using high-quality local produce. And as well as the food itself, the decor and atmosphere will play a part in the overall impression that you leave your customers with. On top of all this, you also need to put a lot of thought into the branding and marketing. As you can see, there is an awful lot to think about!

Choose Your Location Wisely

Once you have the idea for your restaurant firmly in mind, the next thing which you need to consider closely is the location. Obviously, a place with high foot traffic will allow people to stop and come into your restaurant when they are passing by. However, the price of renting the premises will be higher and you are unlikely to be able to offer parking spots for people coming from further afield. Choose a place outside of the city and you are going to have to work much harder to build a reputation for yourself, but it is likely to be cheaper and you will probably be able to offer parking.

Refine Your Menu

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You are much more likely to achieve success by carving out a particularly niche for yourself rather than trying to please everybody with your menu. Concentrate on doing a limited number of dishes with skill and panache. Customers tend to get overwhelmed when they see a huge menu, and it is also assumed that you can’t possibly do all those dishes fantastically well. When you are trying to stock so many different ingredients, it also becomes extremely difficult to stock fresh ingredients, so you are left cooking food which turns out to the sub-par.

Consider the Layout

Obviously, the more people you serve, the bigger the profit that you will be able to make. But that doesn’t mean that you should just pack as many chairs into the space as you can. Perhaps you are aiming for the kind of big communal atmosphere that you get in German beer halls, but if you are looking to create something that offers a sense of intimacy, you need to think about spacing the tables out properly so people can enjoy their meals with the people who they came with.

Customer Service is Everything

In today’s world of Tripadvisor, Google and the like, a few bad reviews can seriously damage the reputation of your restaurant. And one of the biggest things that people complain about is poor service. So, when you are hiring staff, you need to ensure that they understand the importance of treating customers well. As well as the food, people go to restaurants for the overall experience. If there are any issues, try your best to deal with these at the time in a polite and friendly way. The last thing that you need is for your reputation to suffer online because of something which could have been dealt with at the restaurant.

Plan Out the Logistical Details

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You need to be rigidly organised when you are looking to open your own restaurant, and you should write everything down to ensure that you don’t forget about anything. Just some of the obviously considerations include furniture, decoration, croquery, uniforms, and signage. And then you have the details of partner companies and suppliers that you will be working alongside to provide a full service delivery. These include your food and beverage options as well as waste disposal such as Instant Waste Management professional grease trap services. The more planning you put into the details both big and small, the more likely it will be that you will make a success of your restaurant.

Generate Some Attention

You can’t expect people to simply turn up at your restaurant without generating a buzz about the place. So, you need to ensure that all your traditional marketing activities are done thoroughly. Create and hand out flyers, advertise in the local press etc. But since so much is done online these days, you don’t want to miss out on building a website, creating social media profiles and building up an email marketing list. And once you have that initial excitement, you need to keep this going by hosting events, tying your restaurant in with special occasion, and offering specific promotions. You also need to be attracting attention from online community by inviting bloggers along to build up some attention etc.

As we mentioned at the start, launching a restaurant is always going to be packed with difficulties and a huge number don’t end up keeping their doors open for a long period of time. However, hopefully, this article provides you with some of the basics to give yourself the best chance of achieving the success that you are looking for.

Office Upgrades That Every Entrepreneur Should Consider

You’ve been researching and planning everything for months, and are finally ready to launch your business. You’ve got a fantastic product or service that your market research has shown people are willing to buy. You’ve got a smart looking app and website set up, and have hired a fantastic workforce. Everything is perfect and you’re ready to go. But have you made the right decisions when it comes to your office? So much more than just four walls, your office space can be crucial to the success of your business. This is where you and your employees will be spending a huge portion of your day, it’s where customers and clients will visit and gain and impression of your business. When it’s done well, it can help you secure more deals and create a happier and more motivated workforce. Here are some of the things that you need to consider when it comes to your office.

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The Right Location For Easy Access and Lower Crime Rates

Before considering the building or office itself, you first need to think about the location. A central location is good for many businesses, it’s easy access for customers, clients and employees. However renting or buying in a town or city centre doesn’t come cheap, and so for certain businesses you might be better off going a little further out- especially if you don’t rely on foot traffic to make sales. Just make sure there are good transport links, and that employees who don’t have a car are able to get to the office using public transport. Choosing a secure, well lit location will also help to reduce your chances of being targeted by physical crime. Burglars like office blocks as they’re usually empty after 6pm and contain lots of expensive equipment such as computers, printers and other tech that’s easily sold on. If you’re on a low floor or the ground floor, sliding window shutters can be useful. These can be slid open during the day so it doesn’t feel like you’re working from a prison! Using a safe that’s securely bolted down is another thing implement in your office, although ideally you will have regular cash collections and will never have too much kept on site. Of course you still have to be wary of cyber criminals, which is why it’s worth using a business records management company. That way your records are stored in a secure, off-site location so they’re not vulnerable to criminals, fire or floods. But in terms of your office, it’s important to keep it as secure as possible, and choosing the right location from the get-go can help with this.

A Nice Aesthetic to Make Employees Happier and More Productive

A pleasant aesthetic in the office will benefit both your employees and clients. First of all, providing employees a spacious and calming environment to work from can help to boost productivity and even job satisfaction. Spending eight hours a day sitting in a dingy, old-fashioned and grubby office is never going to allow anyone to do their best work. Even if you’re renting an office, you will be allowed to change and refresh the decor. Go with light, neutral walls to make the space feel bigger and brighter. Ideally, choose an office with large windows since daylight is a natural mood booster, and according to psychologists can promote productivity in the workplace.

Good Quality Equipment to do Tasks Efficiently

There are lots of fantastic business equipment and software out there these days that companies can take advantage of to make their lives easier. Investing in good equipment and technology in your office could mean the difference between success and failure. Modern tech allows you save money since you need to hire fewer workers, with the employees you do have being put to their best use. No need for a human to sit doing manual, tedious work that takes hours when a computer can do it in seconds. There are all kinds of incredible softwares out there these days which allow you to automate areas of your business as well as save time. From accounting software to keep on top of your books, to presentation software to customer relationship management software and much more. In terms of physical items in the office, high quality storage solutions, desks and chairs are also essential on a practical level as well as keeping employees comfortable. Decent chairs which offer proper pelvic and lumbar support will prevent pain and injury. These kinds of strains could lead to decreased productivity or even lead to time being taken off sick.

Areas of Expertise Small Businesses Need

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When you launch a small business, you can’t possibly expect to know everything. Of course, there is plenty that you can learn over time, but there are some things that are worth getting expert consultation on. There are plenty of agencies out there which you could outsource service to or firms that you could get on board with your company. Here is a list of a few of the most important areas of expertise that businesses need to obtain.

Accounting and Finance

A startling percentage of small businesses are trying to deal with payroll all by themselves. But if you outsource this service or employ someone to handle it for you, you are actually likely to decrease your costs and increase your tax compliance. If you make any mistakes yourself, these could end up being costly for your business in more ways than one, so why take risks when you don’t need to?

Legal Matters

There are all sorts of legal matters involved in running a business, and it is always worth enlisting the support of a professional team such as Ogletree. Staying compliant with the law protects your business from getting sued or battling with employers or other companies, and since it is such a complicated area, it is always going to be worth getting expert advice.

Information Technology (IT)

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All sorts of businesses need to rely heavily on technology these days, and if anything goes wrong, it can be extremely time-consuming and frustrating trying to solve the problem yourself. Having an IT team on hand gives you the peace of mind that you always have someone to call in case anything should go wrong – and when it comes to technology, it is bound to at some point down the line.

Marketing

Without proper marketing, you will struggle to keep attracting new customers and retaining the ones that you have. When you are first starting out, you may find that your budget doesn’t stretch to hiring a member of staff full-time, and you instead prefer to outsource this service. There are all sorts of marketing agencies out there depending on what area you would like to focus on (social media, print etc) as well as the specific company that you are running.

Logistics

As your business starts to grow and develop, all sorts of logistical challenges will start to present themselves. Perhaps you are looking to upscale your operation or move to a new office. There are plenty of business consultants out there who can give you advice on the best way to do this without jeopardising the company that you have worked so hard to build up.

Business is difficult when you try to do everything all by yourself, and though you may be on a limited budget, these are just some of the areas of expertise that it may be worth paying for. Work out what is most valuable to your business based on your individual needs and go from here.

Financial Mistakes Most Start-Up Owners Make

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If you are in the process of setting up your first business, there is certainly a lot to think about. This can be an overwhelming process, albeit an exciting one. Nevertheless, you cannot afford to make any critical errors. You are probably already well aware of the statistics regarding start-ups and survival rates. You don’t need to be another number, though, but you do need to get your numbers right. Read on to discover some of the common financial mistakes start-ups make so that you can avoid them.

Not keeping a cash reserve – This is one of the biggest mistakes that new business owners make. It can be very tempting to spend all of the cash that you have available for the purpose of bettering your business. But, what happens when you run out and someone does not pay you on time? You are then faced with the prospect of not being able to pay your staff, or not being able to take advantage of any new opportunities that come your way.

Mixing business and personal funds – While it can be very tempting to operate everything from the same bank account for greater ease, it is only going to make your life more complicated in the end. It can make it almost impossible to track your expenses, and then filing taxes becomes a massive headache. You could even find yourself with legal issues on your hands if the government decide to audit your company.

Not taking any advice – Financial advice comes in many different forms. It is important that you use the service of a financial advisor so that you can make sure your financial plan and projections are solid. Financial advisors can also help you to do more with your money so that you can build your wealth and operate with a better cash flow. You should look for the best robo advisors for assistance with this. These advisors leverage the power of technology to help you manage your money better. They will select investments that are right for your business, helping you to achieve your financial goals.

Not having any goals – Last but not least, you need to have financial goals in place if your business is to succeed. This doesn’t mean that your goal should be creating a business that is worth millions of pounds. Yes, we would all like this. But you need to create daily, weekly and monthly goals as well as that you can stay on track and make any changes that are required for business growth.

Hopefully, you now feel more prepared for managing your new company’s finances. There is a lot to take into account, but one thing you certainly want to get right with any business is money. If you run into cash flow problems, you could miss out on some amazing opportunities to expand your business and take it to the next level.

So Your Business Is Expanding – Why Worry?

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If you have achieved any level of business competence whatsoever, you will likely experience some form of growth. This might be due to needing to expand operations due to increased orders, building new departments on top of the current structure of your firm, or simply because you’d like a new office.

This can be an exciting time. It shows you’ve made the right decisions to develop your firm in a competent way. It shows your self-sacrifice has been worth it to a degree. It gives you the strength to keep pursuing the next level. It can also be atrociously worrying. After all, how can you feel comfortable when you have a whole new set of responsibilities to take care of now? This might mean managing more departments, or having more staff salaries riding on your shoulders. The adage of ‘do not ask for a lighter load, but broader shoulders’ applies here.

Now, in order to gain those broader shoulders you will need tools to increase them. On a personal level, it might be the barbell that helps you overhead press in the gym. In a professional business setting, it’s going to be the support network around you. Here’s what you need:

Complete Services

It’s important to implement solutions that can be set up quickly, and in a compatible manner. For example, is it superior to install many different computing systems with variant software, or to provide one entire, cloud-based, uniform computing solution for each employee? Of course the latter. Using complete services along these lines that outfit your company with the tools and equipment it needs for success is important, both to save setup time and even discount a little cost.

Services such as BCI Worldwide even offer a full outfitting of the equipment requirements of your firm, from top to bottom. It’s much better to consult with companies like this as they offer tailored, easy to communicate with services. When perfection matters and you need your setup quick and thorough (because time is money,) there is no better option.

Communication & Policy

Moving is relatively worrying for staff. An upheaval of this sort makes staff unsure of their positions. They might worry for their jobs. They might need to relocate. This is why you absolutely need to communicate well in advance about your plans to move. By in advance, we mean the moment you do decide on a location, or on a new growth strategy. Wait until you implement it, at least in a reasonable timescale for your staff. It can usually pay to do this at the end of the year if possible, as the long vacation time allows staff to get their affairs in order.

Also, set up customized policies regarding how you expect staff to behave during this period. This will provide them the platform to follow when unsure. Open your doors to communicate at all times. Daily office emails can help your staff stay informed and prevent any strange rumors or decrease in morale from occurring.

With these two suggestions in mind, your move is sure to be worthwhile. We wish you the best of luck.

Minimize Business Costs And Boost Profits With These Smart Tactics

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The bottom line, it’s something that those of us in business always have to be aware of. In fact, it can make the difference between staying afloat and going under in the viciously competitive business world. That’s why it is so important to be able to minimize commercial costs and boost profits wherever possible. With that in mind, read our short guide on just how you can do this below.

Cut costs – refine your manufacturing process

One way that you can cut costs in business is to refine the process of creating your product to the point where it costs you less to make each unit. Yes, you may have to put some initial finances into assessing the current situation through auditing, and then into research and development to reduce the cost of the production process. However, if you do you figures beforehand and the investment will pay off in the long run, this can be a very smart move concerning cutting the costs of your business.

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Boost profits – increase price to customer

Something else that is worth considering is increasing the price you charge your customers. However, this is an action that needs to be made with caution because hitting the right price point can be a sensitive issue. It can even put customers off if they believe they aren’t getting anything additional but the price is higher.

That is why it’s best to launch a luxury model of your product, one that is aimed at a more aspirational market. Then the price increase seems justified as the customer is subconsciously buying into the lifestyle that they desire as well as just the physical item.

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It may seem like this works better for some type of product that others, such as cars, or other big-ticket products like music systems and home tech. However, this isn’t always the case, and recently some companies selling everyday items such as fabric softener have has success by creating a product packaged in a more high-end way and selling it at an increased priced. Just see the video below for an example.

Cut costs – import a cheaper product

You can also cut costs as a business by importing products made elsewhere to repackage and sell to your customers instead of manufacturing them yourself. This usually only works if you haven’t already got a manufacturing plant set up, as the money you would lose having created this will offset any savings you could make. However, if you are a new company or looking to expand the range of items you are offering to your clients, it can work very well.

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 Importing products to sell from overseas can be a smart move to boost profits.

Although, it is important that you realize importing items from another country isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Especially, if you don’t choose the right important company. What some businesses do to remedy this is use facilities like our sourcing agent service that can seek out the exact product that you need, check the quality and then get them shipped to you with the minimum of hassle. Otherwise, you could end up making sales that you can’t then fulfill, and this isn’t going to do your company’s reputation any good or help you more profits in the long run.

Boost profits – increase marketing

A very savvy way of boosting profits that many top businesses used is to shore up their marketing strategy. This can be a complex process that includes creating a funnel that helps to get new potential customers interested in your brand. Something that can be done by creating engaging content that is valuable to your target demographic. Such a strategy also includes encouraging engagement through social media, comments, and sharing of products photos, in addition to putting effective sales closing techniques in place.

Also, a tactic that can seriously help to boost your profits in the marketing field is the use of automation and personalization of ads online.

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Now, this sounds a lot more complicated than it is because, in fact, it’s just about the IT system that you are using learning to identify which available leads fit best into your demographic. Then when these leads come up as advertising opportunities, you can select them over others. Something that means you can end up spending less on advertising costs but improve the conversion rate that each impression makes. An action that can definitely help you boost your profits over the long term.

Cut costs – automate manufacture

Automation is also a strategy that you can consider for your manufacturing and other business-related processes. After all, if you have physical robots or digital system that is designed to be able to carry out the work that you normally have to pay someone a wage to do, you can most certainly cut costs over the long term.

However, that as such automaton becomes more widespread, the taxes charged on it could also increase. This is in part, to fund the universal payment system that will be necessary to enable people to survive if the job market is minimized dramatically. An issue that could seriously eat into the cost-saving potential of such a move.

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Cut costs – negotiate resources

Last but not least, businesses can also use the tactic of reducing the price of the resources they buy to create their products in the first place.

This may sound like a lost cause because people believe that things cost what they cost, but in fact, there is usually room to haggle with you supplier especially if you are a valued customer. This is because they don’t want to lose your account, as it is a good steady income stream for them. Therefore it may well be worth their while to reduce the price of the individual units they supply to you to keep you as a client.

With this in mind, always negotiate prices before you sign a deal, and you can even try your luck at getting the price reduced when an agreement has already been made. After all, you don’t know if you don’t ask, and if it could cut your costs significantly, it is a tactic worth considering.

Making Your Small Business Appear Bigger

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As a small business owner, competing against the larger firms can be difficult. This is especially the case if you are a one-man band. For some reason, a bigger company is one that often appears more professional and trustworthy. However, this does not mean that you simply need to bow down and let these potential customers get away. Instead, you can make your company appear bigger than it is to create a sense of trust. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that this can be achieved…

Start from a higher invoice number – This is a simple trick that you can start using today. If you invoice someone, and it has let’s say ‘#12’ at the top, this will make you come across as inexperienced. It shows that you have not provided your service many times or that a lot of people have not purchased your products. This could set off alarm bells in the customer’s mind, and they may be worried about using your service again due to a lack of experience. The best way to stop this from happening is to simply start numbering your invoices from #1000. So, that #12 will now be #1012.

Invest in virtual receptionist services – One of the best ways to make your small company appear bigger is to invest in a professional virtual receptionist service, such as the one that is provided by Virtual HQ. By enhancing your customer service and having dedicated professionals available at all times, you make your company appear much more substantial. A lot of these services also come with expert software so that customers can be tacked and a more personalised service can be provided, which will enhance your level of service and create a loyal consumer base.

Grow your social media presence – How many followers do you have on Twitter? How many likes do your posts get on Facebook? If the answer is not many, then you need to start working on your social media presence. Social media offers customers a unique way to get closer with brands than ever before, and it also serves as an important customer service platform. If you do not have a great presence on social media, it can seem like your business is behind with the times or that you simply do not have the staff to do so. Therefore, it is a good idea to make the most of social media scheduling software that is available, enabling you to post throughout the day without having to be logged into your social media accounts at all times.

Give your website a bit of TLC – If your website appears amateurish, then this gives off the impression that your company is also of this level. The importance of an impressive and high-quality website cannot be ignored. You need a website that looks sleek and operates efficiently. This is critical for your brand image. Your website needs to say who you are, it needs to be intuitive to use, and it needs to be quick to load. The contact page is also incredibly important, as customers get frustrated if it is not easy to get in touch with a company. This creates an instant lack of trust, and most people will look elsewhere because of this. Instead, make sure you have numerous methods of contact, and state your hours of availability too. Also, it is a good idea to offer numerous payment methods. If you only allow customers to pay via one method, this also creates the appearance of a small company, and you may be alienating people that cannot pay via that system

Choose a prestigious business address – This last point is especially important for companies that operate from their home address. You probably won’t want to put your home address on your website, nor should you. Instead, why not pay for a virtual address? This won’t cost a lot, and it allows your business to benefit from a premium location. Your mail will simply be emailed to you electronically, enabling you to manage all of your mail efficiently.

Hopefully, you now are armed with plenty of suggestions that you can use to make your small company appear bigger. From changing your invoice numbers to making the most of a virtual receptionist, there are many different ways to give your company a bigger feel, which will make your brand more professional too.

Knowing Your Customers As Well As Yourself

The world of business is a lot like competitive fishing. You’re trying to be the best by catching the most and the biggest prize. You do so with skill, finesse and above all else knowing who and what you’re trying to capture. Consumers want to be impressed; there’s very little reason why they should fork over their hard earned money to a company that is anything but. However, it’s not always as simple as licking your finger and seeing which way the wind blows. Business and trade are getting more to grips with the psychological aspect of consumerism in the online world. The beauty and perhaps double-edged sword action of online shopping is, you get a substantially larger crowd to entice. They’re called browsing consumers; they visit many websites before they make a solid purchase. On the other hand, this means you don’t really meet them or get enough time to understand why they came to your website. So how can you grab them hook line and sinker?

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Just ask them

Many shopping websites now have the tried and tested, humble survey. This usually pops up in the bottom left, or right-hand corner and respectfully asks if the potential customer would spare some of their time. From a once ‘nothing to give back’ kind of information retrieved, to now actually giving something back in return. Surveys are great if you keep them short and sweet. So make them your best questions and don’t word them too complicated. Choose from one to five questions are making them a blend of aesthetic enquiry into functional categories. Ask the customer why they end up on your website with a few options like ‘just browsing’, ‘looking for a specific product’, or perhaps ‘a friend recommended me’, etc.

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Lift the veil

Let’s face it, we all like the ability to shop anonymously. We get to browse products at our own leisure, with no one being able to intrude into what or why we like something. However, when it comes to running a business, information is like gold dust. It’s simply invaluable because it stops you from stabbing in the dark hoping to connect meaningfully with your consumers. Services that offer Anonymous Visitor Identification are a resolute solution to this issue. Around 2% of visitors are willing to identify themselves via their own free will. That leaves 98% who are left in the dark. If you utilize this kind of service for your business, you get access to vital information of the overwhelming majority. You’ll see their country, gender, potential interests and their clicking habits. This paints a picture of how they got to your business and where they like to snoop around. With this vital information, you’re better able to market products toward them with a much higher chance of securing a purchase.

Without knowing what the customer wants, businesses are lost at sea. It’s almost like a conveyor belt method of grabbing attention; you just throw as much of yourself out there, hoping someone will take it. Not only is this time consuming it’s also costly. You’d be surprised at the interaction rate you’ll receive when you offer them something back when they commit to a survey. Anything from a 1-5% discount on their first purchase, and they’ll happily answer the same amount of questions. Equally, lifting the veil on just who is visiting you at all hours of the day allows you to channel your products and services to the right person.

Highly Effective, Low Effort Ways To Improve Your Business

You have to put more work in to make effective changes is a facility that too many people believe in the business world. It’s something that can lead to burnout and disappointment as well, especially for those in higher level positions. However, what you really need to do is work smarter not harder. Something that can be achieved by following the tactics discussed below.

Better marketing

You can improve your business hugely by making your marketing strategy work harder for you. That doesn’t mean that you have to come up with catchy taglines or stunning print campaigns though. Instead, why not consider the low effort solution that automated online marketing offers.

Automated online marketing works by using the information collected by cookies on a customers computer to help you identify whether they are a good match for your marketing impression. What that means is you can more effectively target people in the demographic that is likely to be genuinely interested in your product. Something that making it much more likely that you will get a conversion into a sale.

With up and coming technology in the field, you can even personalize the content a potential customer sees to a very specific niche. Something that can further improve your chances of an effective result. This is such a low effort tactic because it is a process that once set up runs on its own, meaning human interaction isn’t needed, despite it having the potential to greatly improve the success of your business.

Better networks

Many businesses find that a great deal of time and effort are used up by firefighting issues with their online and internal networks. Such issues can easily cause problems internally in the business, or be responsible for poor customer satisfaction and complaints. A matter that can cost additional resources and time to deal with.

However, such problems can be improved by using network monitoring tools in a proactive way. These are so useful because they enhance the efficiency of your business quickly, and stop problems becoming so big that they are difficult to manage.

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This then prevents any bottlenecking of services you provided and can help your business run smoothly much more of the time. Something that can improve productivity, and prevent sales atrophy caused by customers lacking access.

Better customer service

While you may have to put in some initial work in improving your companies cultures towards customer service, it is definitely worth it in the long run.

This is because over the long term good customer care can reduce the effort, time, and resources your business expends on keeping customers happy. Something that can help to ensure that they buy your product as well as come back for more.

To illustrate this point, consider the following example. You sell your products online, and a customer checks your website at 11pm to buy an item that they are desperate need of. In fact, they are so desperate for it that they need expedited delivery.

However, because it’s late, there is no one that can check with to make sure it is exactly the right item, and they also can’t see whether it’s actually in stock at the moment. That means they either go to a competitor or delay their purchase until the next morning, then contacting your company directly to find out the answer to their questions.

 

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However, if your site has a chat box, and a stock level already displayed, this sale would neither be lost or delayed. These aspect of customer service are very easy to install as well and can be done created your website designer to function automatically. Something that means you could increase the effectiveness of your website for sales with very minimal effort.

Hire better employees

They say a team is only as strong as its weakest member, and this is nowhere more true than in a business situation. That means employing the best people for the job is vital if you want to ensure that those in higher position are doing all the heavy lifting for the company.

Basically, what we are saying here is that your business is going to be more effective if you employ the right people in the first place. Of course, doing this is often easier said than done, because there are all sorts of constraints that govern who you give a job to.

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The amount you have available for salary and wages is one such constraint. Although, many businesses find that they if they pay well, at least some of the issues with low productivity, morale, and poor quality candidates are automatically reduced because they attract high caliber applications in the first place.

Another constraint is knowing enough about the person you are employing before you give them the job. Unfortunately, traditional interview techniques aren’t always the most effective tools for weeding out those that would rather coast or bitch and moan than do a hard days work.

]In fact, some people are fantastic at interviews but don’t prove to be such a valuable asset when they are actually in the role. To assist in this process, it can be worth putting a little extra effort into the recruitment process and take the time to interview people personally and give them a trial run.

Then you can see what they are like in the actual job situation, rather than relying on what is essentially a performance in the interview. In doing this, you can greatly reduce the effort you will need to put in, in the long run, in term of training, mentoring, motivating and even disciplinary actions.

Teach better management skills

Lastly, while it often seems attractive for those higher up in the business to keep hold of things as much as possible, investing in management training for those in mid-level roles can be very useful.

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This is because if they are better equipped to run their departments, things will be more productive without you having to expend any extra energy. In fact, you don’t even need to do the training yourself, as you can send them on an outside course. Something that means higher managers can trust those under them to run things properly, so they won’t have to put as much effort in for the business to be successful.

Making Your Brand Really Work

Branding is always going to be one of the biggest things that you need to do in business, and it is something which can cause a surprising number of headaches too if you are not careful. If you want to make your brand work, however, it is essential to figure out just how you can master it as a process, as doing so is bound to improve the performance of your business in a great many ways – not least by increasing the number of sales you receive, and improving the public perception of your business. Making a brand work takes a lot of hard work and dedication, however, so it’s a good idea to know what you are about to get into. Let’s take a look at some of the major things to bear in mind when you are trying to make your brand work for you as well as possible.

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Consistency Is Key

The number one concern you need to be aware of here is that your brand is as consistent as possible. You might well have heard this before – but what does it really mean? Put simply, consistency in branding means that it appears the same wherever it might show up. Whether it is on your website, on a billboard, or in the way that you interact with your customers via any medium, your brand needs to always look the same – or as close to the same as possible. Achieving this consistency is vital because this is actually how branding works. If there is not this consistency, it is not really a unified brand – just a random assortment of logos and designs.

Online & Offline Are Equally Important

It can be all too easy to allow your online branding to fall by the wayside, even as you are working diligently on your offline branding. The truth is that you need to try your hardest to give them equal attention, as the facts show that they are both about as important as one another. If you fail to employ any offline branding at all, then it will be as though your business doesn’t really exist in the real world – and you need to avoid this perception, even if it is an online business. If you ignore the online side, you will not be providing your business with the essential opportunities that it needs to thrive upon. Consider using the help of professionals like BrandBits to secure your online branding, and the traditional marketers for your offline branding. Both are essential for your ongoing success.

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Don’t Be Afraid To Rebrand

From time to time, it might prove necessary to rebrand your business. When this happens, it can sometimes be concerning, as you might feel that this means you have failed. But actually, it is all about the perception of the situation. Most of the biggest brands in the world have had to be redesigned at some point in their past, and it is usually at that point that they really started to flourish. So don’t be afraid to do this when it seems to be necessary – but the rest of the time, make sure you don’t spoil a good thing. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken, as they say.

8 Places To Invest In Your Business For High-Quality Equipment

You may already be aware of the importance of investing in high-quality equipment for your business, but you may still be unsure where the best places to put your money might be. Obviously, that may depend to a large degree on what sector of the market your business operates in. However, most businesses have an office section, even if you operate a manufacturing plant. Therefore, below are the eight best places for you to invest money to attain high-quality equipment for your office-based business.

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Desks and Chairs

Every office has rows of desks and chair for staff to work at, but these should be more than just utilitarian chunks of wood or plastic. The desks should be sturdy enough to stand the daily usage of a busy office. The chairs should swivel, be easily adjustable for height and back support, as well as sufficiently padded to be comfortable for a few hours. You should also bear in mind that a good quality chair should provide plenty of support for the lower back and encourage a good seating posture.

Internet Access

Every business will rely on the internet for its daily running. From contacting your customers and clients to researching your market sector and everything in between. When the internet has become such an important part of the way we operate, it is imperative not to skimp on this aspect of your business. Buying the fastest fibre broadband connection available is one thing, but you should also research what the service and actual speeds are like in your area for different providers. You may find out that connections are routinely lost in your area with one provider, but that one of its competitors might offer a slightly slower package that will work more consistently. There is no point in having over 100mb/s download speed if it is only working half the time. You should also be sure to create a strong and consistent Wi-Fi signal for your building if your workstations are not connected directly to the network via an ethernet cable.

Lighting

This may sound like an odd thing to invest in, but you would be surprised at how much lighting can affect both your employees’ health and their ability to work well. Sunlight is preferable to artificial light, but when it’s a really sunny day, you will need blinds to shade the worst of it out. You could also consider tunable LED lighting which will allow you to create the right tone of lighting for your office. This means that you no longer need to choose between bright and crisp lighting or something a little warmer in tone. You can simply switch easily between the two.

Printers

Despite how much the world has shifted to the virtual world, you will always need to create hard copies of some materials. If your business generates a lot of paperwork, the last thing you need is a printer that cannot handle the volume of work that your company generates. Ensure that it is a commercial grade printer that has a reputation for sustainability. You should also make sure that a good warranty is available on the product and that service call out waiting times are low. If the printer does break, you don’t want to be without one for long.

Computers

The real workhorse of any office is the computer. Your IT department will be able to advise you on the best setup for your needs, but at the very least you are going to want something with a high capacity of RAM and strong processing power in order to minimise lag and boot up time. You may opt to abandon the traditional PC format in favour of a Chromebook, which works on a very bare bones operating system, allowing for very quick running speeds. If the compact nature of a laptop is not for you, but the running speeds and ability to avoid slowing down over time appeal to you, then a Chromebox might be just the thing for you. It has all the same processing capabilities as a Chromebook, but works like a tiny PC unit, meaning that you can still plug in a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to allow for a better seating position.

Hot Drink Facilities

Everyone likes a nice cup of tea or coffee to get them going in the morning, and sometimes you might need more than one cup when it’s Monday morning, and you had a busy weekend. Most offices have very simple tea and coffee facilities which usually include tea bags, instant coffee, sugar, and a kettle. Investing in something a little more upmarket shows your staff that you are willing to pay a little extra to make sure that they get more than the bare basics. Even something as simple as a filter coffee machine can go a long way to showing your staff that you value them. But if you wanted to go the whole hog you could splash out on one of the machines which can make all sorts of drinks, from americanos to flavoured lattes.

Communication

Of course, the internet and our computers form the basis of much of a business’s communication. However, if you provide a company mobile phone for some of your staff, it may be worth investing in something a bit pricier than the entry-level model. Firstly, it makes them look good if they are with clients and have the latest smartphone provided by their company. But also, many new smartphones have features and capabilities that will help your business to run so much better than with a more basic device.

Shredder

Running a busy company generates a lot of paperwork, but not all of it needs to be stored away safely. All paperwork which includes people’s personal information, such as address or date of birth, should be shredded before being disposed of. You will need to invest in something that can handle the level of paperwork that you deal with. Cheaper ones may seem tempting, but usually, they can only deal with one or two sheets of paper at a time. This means that if you have a big stack of rejected CVs to dispose of, you will be standing there a while.

There you have it, eight places that you should definitely invest in high-quality equipment for. Money spent wisely here will translate to savings further down the line and increased profit for your business.

What Does Expansion In Business Really Look Like?

Of all the aims of entrepreneurs, one of the very biggest is the aim to expand the business. It’s easy to see why; when you successfully expand a business, it shows that you are doing well, and that it is likely the business will continue to do well future as well. But it’s not enough just to know that you are keen to expand, you need to actually know the workings of such a plan. There are many kinds of expansion in business, and you can never be sure of two examples bedding alike. However, there are a number of common elements, and it is these which we will be interested in in this post. We are going to take a quick tour of some of the elements of expansion, so that you can more fully understand what is involved, what it looks like, and how to know if you have got it right or not. Without further ado, let’s take a look.

 

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Timing

One of the most vital elements of all is timing. If you get the timing wrong, essentially the whole thing will fall apart, so you can see how important this might be, and why. Of course, get the timing right, and that does not necessarily mean you have got the whole thing right, but it does mean that you will be more likely to see the success you’re aiming for. To expand your business at the right time is to ensure that you are giving it the best possible chance of success, and that is all that you are really hoping for here. So how can you be sure whether or not you have got the timing of an expansion plan right? As it happens, it takes on board a number of different elements, many of which we are looking at later on in this post, but which we will look at briefly now as well by way of introduction.

First of all, you need to make sure that your business has been in existence long enough to warrant the expansion. What this means is essentially up to you to decide, but it is basically a way of ensuring that you are not just rushing into expansion for the sheer sake of it. As long as you feel as though you have left long enough between formation and expansion, you probably have – but maybe get a second or third opinion on the matter too. Too early, and it is unlikely you will have the necessary stability and resources to carry on with the expansion. Be sure that your business is known and that it has been around long enough first.

Secondly, you should try to determine whether the market is ready for your expansion. This is hard to figure out exactly, but one way is to make sure that you re paying attention to the markets on a regular basis anyway, so that you can be much more likely to read them correctly. If you do read them correctly, you should find that you can determine sooner whether or not the market is ready for your expansion. If you feel that it is, then by all means it could be time to go ahead with your business expansion  -but do make sure that you are as certain as can be.

 

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Thirdly, it is vital that your financial outlook matches up with the timing of the expansion as well. If it does not look likely that your money will be able to stretch far enough in the right space of time, then you should not expand until you feel that this criterion has been reached. Once it has, it is a good sign that it is time to go ahead with your expansion, as long as the above two factors are taken on board as well.

You might also discover other elements to the timing which are necessary to consider. All being well, you will be able to time it so that your business expands at just the right time, and there is much success made of it in the process. But of course, as we shall see, timing is not everything, even if it is a major part of the operation.

Types

As well as getting the timing spot on, you need to think about the type of expansion you are going to attempt as well. This might confuse some people. The fact is, there are many kinds of expansion which a business can undergo, and it is necessary to ensure that you are choosing the right one for your own business when you start to do this. The type will very much depend on your initial reason for expanding, as it is this reason which will determine what type of expansion you are seeking to carry out. However, it might be helping for the budding entrepreneur to see some examples of types of expansion which you might consider at various points along the lifeline of a business. Here are just some of the most common types of business expansion, along with a brief discussion of what each might entail.

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Probably the most common is expansion of outlet. For retail businesses in particular, this will manifest as the opening of a second (or third, or fourth…) store, and it is one of the most recognisable kinds of expansion which businesses engage in every day. Getting your business to the point where you feel you can do this is no small feat, and if you do manage this, you can truly celebrate being well in business. There is plenty to consider in a case of this kind of xpansion, not least the location of the second building and allocating the management for it too. But as long as these things are taken care of swiftly, there is no reason that this kind of expansion cannot be a great boon for the business on the whole.

Another kind of expansion is more behind-the-scenes: office expansion. This is not so much an expansion in the sense that the customer or the public see it, but a functional expansion, one which affects the employees most of all. This is likely to be the result of a swiftly increasing demand for your stock or service, and as such is definitely something to be celebrated. However, there is a major common pitfall here which should be well avoided if possible. It is not uncommon for businesses seeking to expand offices to end up shooting themselves in the foot by interrupting the workflow, thereby getting to a worse position than when they started expansion. To avoid this, be sure to build a solid base, prepare your staff, and spend as little time as possible during working hours on the actual expansion and renovation. If you are expanding to a second office location too, there are certain other things to consider, not least that you then need to think about hiring the necessary equipment for construction. Finding decent mobile cranes for sale and a good construction team can be tough, but it is worth it in the long run if it means a stronger workforce and a stronger business.

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Yet still another common kind of expansion might be one in which the business is seeking to go overseas. This is a particularly high-level kind of expansion, and only to be undertaken by those businesses which have been in existence for quite a long time, and which have an extremely solid base in the home territory – so solid that it shouldn’t matter if the new venture entirely fails. As you can appreciate, this requires a great deal of capital and investment in order to succeed, and it is not the kind of expansion which is taken lightly. As long as a business owner feels they are ready for it, however, it is often one of the most exciting times in the entire career of a business, and one which can prove to be particularly lucrative in the right hands as well.

There are still plenty more types of expansion, but for the sake of space we will leave it at that for now. However you are seeking to expand, you will still need to make sure that your business is ready for it. This means, as we have briefly discussed, being able to determine the potential risk of the move. As it happens, risk assessment is especially hard to get right, and is worth looking at in a little more detail before you get started with your expansion.

As you can see, expanding a business is likely to often be a long and hard task, and not one which you enter into lightly. But once you have decided that your business is ready, made your choice of what kind of expansion to undergo, and taken the plunge at the right time, you will find that your business tends to respond well to such a leap of faith. Once that leap is made, it is then simply time to stand back and allow it to happen.

How To Take Your Business Branding Efforts to the Next Level

If you want to take your business efforts to that next level or if you just want to make sure that you get the best result out of your branding then it is more than possible for you to do this. Take a look below to get some ideas.

Referral Programs

Customers are usually more than happy to refer your product or even your service if they know that they are going to get some added perks as a result. You can offer them extra services or even free products if you know that they are going to refer their friends to your service and you can even give the friend that they refer some additional bonuses as well. This is a brilliant way for you to step up your branding because it utilises your already existing customer base to further your marketing efforts, not to mention that it also gets customers talking about your brand as well so you know you won’t have any problems there.

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Guest Content

Another great way for you to get your brand more well-known is for you to deliver very valuable content. You can do this on other websites and this is known as guest posting. This is a very powerful way for you to get your name out there and in front of thousands of people. When you are guest posting on other people’s sites, you’ll have to make sure that your content is incredible because sub-par content just won’t cut it. Big websites want to have the best content out there, so if you can provide this, they are usually more than happy to give you something in return.

This is usually done in the form of a backlink and when you do have a backlink from a huge site, this can work wonders for your SEO. Not a lot of people know this, but it can also help you with your branding as well. If you are associated with the biggest company in the industry, this can help people to trust in your company and the benefits of this are truly endless.

Infographics

Infographics remain to be a brilliant way for you to display interesting information and they are often shared by thousands of people at any one time. Other companies are also much more likely to share infographics because they relate to their own business as well, so if you create a good one and then put your own brand logo on there, you can get a ton of exposure in a very small amount of time. The main problem that people have when it comes to infographics is that they want to put their own company data on there and they want to make it relevant to their brand.

This could include information about how many sales they have had that year or it could be how many new customers they have had. This is something that you’ll want to avoid because although it helps for your customers to know this information, other companies and businesses won’t be as likely to share it. You need to stick with facts and figures that apply to the industry as a whole, before adding your own brand or data as a footnote. This will make it much more shareable while also boosting your brand and everything that it has to offer.

A few examples of great infographics for SEO are:

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Watermarks

If you have an image creation software or even a website builder then you can easily add your own company logo on the site or image. You can then charge your customers a fee to have this removed. That way, customers can get the cheap service that they want, but if they want their image/site to look professional then they can pay to get that removed as well.

Fleet Designs

If you want to be a bit more bold when it comes to your advertising or marketing then https://www.vomela.com/fleet-and-transit are a great option. When you have your brand printed on your company fleet, you are essentially advertising your company and your services wherever you go and this is a brilliant way for you to make sure that your brand is constantly out there and in front of people.

So there are plenty of ways for you to advertise your brand and if you want to get more customers then it has never been easier for you to do this. All you have to do is take advantage of the many options that are out there while also making sure that you are always being creative with your own resources.

Invaluable Tools For Business Automation

It’s impossible to say that automated business processes don’t save money, boost quality, or improve service delivery. On the whole, automating a company’s operations is the best thing a boss can do to guarantee success. Okay, there are zero promises in business, but the stats are encouraging to say the least. Firms are falling over themselves to make the transition, and they don’t do that for any reason. But, the people in charge have to be savvy and make sure they have the right tools. Otherwise, the revolution may not go as smooth as possible.

Here are four resources which are well worth considering.

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Needls

This software is a digital marketing program which helps to automate a comprehensive plan. To get started, you upload images, videos and a corporate message. For the best results, make sure they all relate to the brand. What happens after is pretty cool. Needls, without any help, develops tricks to help everything from bounce rate on the site and SEO. It also deals with social media reporting. It that isn’t enough, it’s robot brain keeps track of Big Data thanks to the analytics feature. Another great tool is Spokal, which is very effective if you have a WordPress platform.

Slack

Nothing is as important as in-house communication. Team members that can’t speak and work seamlessly are bound to be less productive. Instant messaging apps may be helpful, but they too have flaws. Take email as an example. People can send free, instant messages, but inboxes tend to clog up as a result. Therefore, it’s hard for colleagues to keep informed of updates and breaking news. Slack streamlines communications by threading emails and making them visible throughout the office. That way, anyone with access can view and easily read memos without missing important info.

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Excel VBA

It stands for Visual Basics for Applications, and it’s the process of improving functionality. Although cheats do exist, Microsoft Office still requires users to input data manually, which is boring and time-consuming. A quality Excel VBA programming tool can turn raw stats into an automatic process. So, rather than type all night, your employees can adjust the settings and let the software take over. Any oldies that can’t see the point in this should focus on human error. People get tired and lose concentration as they get bored. With a VBA, there’s no reason to compromise the figures.

99 Dollar Social

Let’s not forget about the importance of social media. For a business to be successful, they have to interact with their online base. Twitter and Facebook are two easy ways to do this thanks to their popularity and accessibility. Still, coming up with new, eye-catching hashtags and funny memes is tricky work when you are on a deadline. Wouldn’t it be better to leave it to a professional? Well, you can thanks to 99 Dollar Social as it automates all of these areas and more. Ultimately, you can give up worrying and get back to running a successful company.

Do you have any examples which you would like to share?

5 Ways To Fund Your Startup

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Few profitable businesses can be started without pouring a bit of money in first. Whilst you may be able to set up an online business from home relatively cheaply, other business ventures such as setting up a shop or a restaurant are likely to cost a lot more. There are many ways of gathering the required funds. Here are just five effective methods to consider.

Save up

If you’ve got the patience and willpower, you might be able to save up the required funds. Unlike other methods of funding, you won’t have to pay out interest or offer shares. It’s worth opening a special savings account with a high interest rate to help you save. Some banks offer special business savings accounts with favourable rates.

Take out a loan

Another option could be to take out a business loan. This could quickly give you the funds to get your business up and running. Bank business loans are likely to have low interest rates, but may take several months to process and may require you to have a good credit score. Online startup loans may be better suited to some people – strategies such as peer to peer lending allow you to borrow money from online lenders instantly, although higher interest rates may apply if your credit score is low.

Use a revolving line of credit

A revolving line of credit is like a loan, except you only have to pay back what you spend. You’re given a limit as to how much money you can borrow – an amount that you can keep dipping into as you start up your business. This might allow you to borrow the exact amount needed, rather than taking out a regular loan and ending up with surplus cash which you still have to pay interest on.

Seek an investor

You could also consider borrowing money from an investor. This could be a person or an organisation. The exchange for them giving you money is the promise to give them a slice of any profits in the future. Getting someone to invest in your business isn’t easy and it may require a good pitch that proves you’re a potentially profitable company. Some investors may want to be hands-on – they may be able to offer business advice as well as funding your startup. Other may prefer to stay out of your business.

Crowdfund

Crowdfunding involves raising small amounts of money from lots and lots of different people. These  people are all given a tiny share in your business as an exchange. Crowdfunding could be a great way of raising a large amount of money that might be too much of an ask from a single investor. There are lots of sites online for getting involved in crowdfunding. This can be a slower form of funding as you have to wait until enough people have contributed money to make up the total cost.

The Importance Of Investing In High-Quality Equipment For Your Business

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You may have a business that is in its infancy, or you may be looking to grow your business to new heights and increase your profit margin. Either way, you’re looking for equipment to help run your business. You may be looking for general items like desks and computers, or you may be looking for highly specialised equipment such as a turbomolecular pump. Whatever your needs, the principals are the same: Buy cheap, and you buy twice. Below are five reasons that you should stretch your budget a little bit further to invest in good quality equipment, instead of trying to save a little bit of money now only to be hit harder in the long run.

Efficiency and Reliability

Whatever equipment you are looking for, the chances are that the high-quality options are considerably more expensive than some of the more mid-level offerings you have seen. However, if you look beyond the initial cost of purchase and look at the cost over the item’s lifetime, you will begin to see why. Many upmarket pieces of equipment are more powerful, more efficient, and more reliable. Meaning that during your use you can expect fewer repair call-outs, less daily running costs, and more efficient processes. The premium price for quality is justifiable when you factor in the return you will gain with increased productivity and reduced cost for replacement parts.

Cost-effectiveness

This links in somewhat with the points made above but deserves its own place to really drive the point home. Buying cheap equipment such as office chairs or desks that are not built to withstand the heavy usage your business would bestow on them means that you will be buying replacements sooner than you think. It is better to pay the extra for something that is robust and will last. Likewise, with your computing equipment, it can be tempting to save a small amount by buying hardware with a lower specification. However, the decreased capabilities could slow your work down meaning that your company will not be running optimally and will lose out on profit. The overall cost on poor quality equipment when you factor in inefficient working habit, cost of repairs, cost of replacement etc. would be far greater than the one-time cost of the premium equipment you tried to avoid initially.

Credibility

Outside of the fact you will be aiding in your business efficiency and saving money, you also gain certain bragging rights with your customers. If you have invested a lot of time and money into searching out and purchasing the best equipment available to you, it makes sense that you should let your customers be aware of that. It shows that you are a company that spares no expense to ensure that their product or service is second to none. It also shows potential customers or clients that you have faith in your business to have invested so heavily in its infrastructure. By showcasing these decisions, you help to build a reputation as a trusted provider of quality goods or services. A master chef does not use cheap ingredients, and neither should you.

Safety

Your workforce is the lifeblood of your business; without them, your entire operation would fall to the ground. Therefore, it makes sense that you would want to look after their health and well-being. You would already have insurance to cover them for any injuries, adequate sick pay, and a decent pension scheme to help them invest for their futures. These things help towards showing your staff that you wish to invest in them as much as they are investing in you. However, it would not do well to ask them to work in conditions that are unsafe to their long-term health. Investing in quality desks, chairs, and wrist or back supports will help to keep your desk-bound staff comfortable all day long. You will also need to ensure there is an appropriate amount of natural or artificial light to avoid damaging eye strain. If you have a manufacturing facility, you would need to ensure that the air filtration system is good enough to keep their lungs safe and that the equipment is safe for commercial use. By ensuring that your employees feel well taken care of, you make working for your business a more attractive proposition than working elsewhere. This helps you to not only retain staff at a better rate but also increase the ease with which you hire new staff.

Employee Morale

This links in somewhat with all of the points made above, but if your employees are working on machinery that is constantly crashing, or in need of repair, it will start to wear away at their patience, and yours. Having equipment that works routinely and efficiently, is safe, and makes them feel proud to do their job, will help to increase the morale all over the company. All of these things together help to create a company culture that is enthusiastic, hardworking, and reliable. If the staff feel that you are invested in them, and care about their well-being and working conditions, they will be more likely to invest their time and effort into your business in kind. This two-way street of mutual respect and trust will help to make your business stand out from the crowd as a champion of professional conduct and employee welfare.

There are countless reasons why investing in high-quality equipment, from computer monitors to air-conditioning systems, can benefit your company. The five reasons stated above are simply the tip of the iceberg. If you see your company, and all the aspects of it, as worth investing in for long-term gain, then you will find that the equipment you stretched your budget to purchase, could well be the defining moment for the birth of a new way of working for you and your company. Don’t forget to do some research of your own on the offerings available to you so that you can ensure that the premium price tag is buying you a premium product.