Archive for the 'General Interest' Category

Selling To Eyes And Not To Minds

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Humans are incredibly vain creatures. When you see something you like, you are drawn to it a lot more than items which don’t catch your eye. For this reason, businesses have been using visual techniques for many years to encourage their customers to spend, with varying degrees of success. Of course, the way your business looks is very important for many reasons. But, people rarely consider how it could impact people’s decision to spend, and this post is here to help you out.

  • Online

The internet is where you’re most likely to sell goods to your customers, and is one of the most important places to consider when you’re thinking about visual marketing for your business. Nothing sticks out more than a bad website, especially since they have become a lot easier to make. It’s entirely possible for you to create a business website by yourself, nowadays. But, instead, you should be looking at the idea of going with a professional developer. This will almost always ensure that you have a better result at the end, and will also guarantee that your website looks as good as it possibly can.

  • In-Store

If you have a physical store which you use to sell your goods, you will also have to think about this area of your business. There are loads of companies out there which can design and fit your shop for you, taking a lot of pressure out of your hands. Of course, though, you may have to get some of the pieces yourself. In modern stores, options like those found on http://www.fireflystoresolutions.com/c-1053-gridwall-displays.aspx are becoming increasingly popular in modern stores. From the way that you decorate to the displays you use for products, this part of your business has to be done right.

  • General Marketing

Once you have the inside of your shop sorted out, you can start to think about the different ways you market the business. A lot of companies rely on marketing to make sure that they get enough business to survive. So, it’s likely that you will have to deal with this at some point in your career. To help you out, a graphic designer can design all of your materials for you, with the results being much better than if you did the work yourself. Along with this, though, you could also look into getting some help from a marketing company, too.

  • The Rest Of Your Business

Most customers won’t want to buy items from a company which looks bad. But, likewise, you can often convince people to make a purchase with looks alone, if you do it right. Of course, most companies don’t put the right level of effort into this work, though. When you’re designing different parts of your business, you should always try to look at it from a customer’s perspective. This will give you a good idea of the work which you’ll need to do to improve, while also giving you an idea of the other work you could do.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start selling to eyes instead of minds. This sort of approach can do good things for a business, especially in a world dominated by speed and the need to get things done fast.

The Smarter Way to Fund a New Startup

Everyone has ideas, but very few people manage to convert those ideas into successful businesses. Unfortunately, not everyone has the means to do so and you’d be surprised at how often fantastic ideas go to waste due to a lack of action. Taking action is perhaps one of the most important things to do when you have a good business idea. Even if you only think that you have a good idea, it’s vital that you don’t let them slip away or else you’ll be kicking yourself because you noticed that someone else is using your ideas and making millions off it.

If you want to turn your ideas into a company, then you’ll have to look for ways to fund your startup. Even if you’ve had failed ideas in the past, it’s a good idea to look at how you can secure the funding required to try again, and here are just a couple of examples to help you get started.

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Business Loans

Sometimes, the most straightforward method is often the best method. In this case, going straight for business loans from a company such as smallbusinessloans.co is perhaps the safest bet if you don’t have much to start with. If your idea is purely at a conceptual stage, then it’s better to look for advisors or assistance and then go the standard route of taking a business loan. Yes, it sounds boring, but it’s usually the best way to get started unless you already have quite the following through previous endeavours.

Crowdfunding

Whether you want to create a restaurant or a tech company, crowdfunding is usually a solid bet to go for especially if you can offer something amazing back to the consumer. Take a look at this article from entrepreneur.com to learn of 10 different ways that you can crowdfund your very first project. Even if it’s something small, it’s possible to do so with the help of the public who believe in your ideas. In a sense, they almost become like investors because they believe in your ideas and want to give you something to help get started, but they are also like your very first customers that believe so strongly in your cause that they’re willing to pay money months or even years in advance for your product.

Before you crowdfund your business, it’s a good idea to try and bring out a sample product or something that can whet the consumer’s appetite in order to convince them to give you as try. For example, before you start a restaurant, consider setting up a street food stand to give samples to people while still making a bit of cash to fund your startup. Yes, it does take a bit of money to hire a food truck and rent space, but every business is going to need some form of monetary investment, so it’s a cost that you’ll have to deal with. Plus, it’s better than starting a crowdfunding project with absolutely nothing to show.

Making Money From Street Food: Is It Really Possible?

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As an entrepreneur, you are probably always on the lookout for a new and exciting project in which you can invest your cash. If you want to get involved in a current trend and are interested in the food industry, then thinking about starting an exciting street food project could be just the thing for you! Even if you don’t want to get your hands dirty and spend all day cooking on a market stall, it’s a really good idea to look into investing some of your money into an up and coming street food company.

But is it really possible to make some money from these street food stalls? It certainly is, you just need to remember these important factors.

Invest In Top-Quality Equipment

When your employees are out on the streets cooking up food, it is important that they can rely on their equipment. After all, if their cookers or truck break down half way through the day, then you will lose a half day’s worth of profits! Rather than buying equipment cheaply on eBay, you should look for specialist suppliers. Kickstart My Coffee Trikes are known for their coffee machinery, trikes, and small vans, and are highly regarded within the coffee industry. If you want to serve food rather than drinks, you’ll be able to find lots of other specialist street food truck manufacturers. It’s a good idea to ask other vendors for their recommendations.

It’s All About Location

Location really matters in this business. When you are deciding where to go with your stall or truck, you need to choose an area or street that will get lots of passing trade. This will greatly increase your daily sales. Once you start to get a good reputation, you will be able to place another truck in a location that doesn’t get as much passing trade. But, as long as people know you are there and they know that your food is good, they will go out of their way to visit you! But you really do need to build up an established reputation first.

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Safety First

Your van or stand will be super important to your whole business. Without it, there is no way you can trade. So, it is absolutely necessary to ensure its security whenever it isn’t in use. The best way to keep your van safe is to store it in a garage overnight. You should be able to rent one out for a reasonable price in your local area.

Establish Good Relationships With Suppliers

Once you find a good supplier, it is a good idea to establish an excellent relationship with them. That way, you can work together for a very long time, and this will save you the hassle of continually trying to find a new, reasonably priced supplier for your ingredients. If your supplier is also well established, they might be able to give you a few handy hints and tips about the business too!

You can make money from street food – just bear in mind these useful tips!

Bridge The Gap To Get To Know Your Customers Better

Working in the office all day long, it can seem like you have a better relationship with your desk and computer, than you do with your customers. For businesses that don’t keep up with customer demand or don’t know even know what they want, it’s a slippery slope downward. Getting concrete proof of what your customers love about your business and what they hate, is extremely difficult. There is no magic bullet any business owner can use to get a list of all these things, but there is a list of how you can. It’s possible in this day and age, to leverage crucial information about individuals and implement solutions in the right way that correlates with the key data. The people in businesses that don’t treat their demand, i.e., the consumer, as robots, who just want to be wooed, builds something that not many things can destroy; and that’s a relationship.

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From the horse’s mouth

Part of being a leader is to have thick skin. Never be afraid of someone telling you that you’re wrong. Modern businesses rely on their customers telling them what they could improve on, in plain language. You could improve customer service, by improving customer relations first. Be honest when you’re on social media as if you were having a chat with all your customers at once, in their living rooms. When you get a complaint on social media, your marketing team should log the precise details of the issue and how this is affecting customers. Reply back in a humane manner and never let your emotions get the better of you. You should also encourage customers to leave reviews for you on your website as well as the website where your products are distributed. Customer reviews with a negative tone, should be logged, categorized and then solutions to these problems should be thought up with the utmost priority.

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Have a sixth sense

Consumer shopping trends are a very useful to any business that wants to know what they could potentially improve on to take advantage of a short term rise in interest. However, it’s not so far-fetched to know what each customer or client may want from your business when they contact you. Many business leaders are now wondering, Is Visual Visitor Worth Signing Up For? It’s a tool that allows you to know the exact interests of those who are contacting yours by displaying information about the pages they have visited. So before you pick up the phone, you can log the details of the individual, take an educated guess as to what they might be interested in with regards to your products and services, and have an increased chance of finalizing a sale.

Knowing the future

Nobody knows what the future holds, but you can prepare for it. By conducting customer satisfaction surveys with you customers either on your website or on social media, you can ask them what they may want to see in the future from your business. Rather than responding to negative feedback about your current products, you can ask specific questions on how to improve the lives of the public. The same can be applied to clients, who want to see your services improve in a specific way that would help them personally. Pretty soon you can form a trend and take this information back to the boardroom and decide how to utilize it.

Bridge the gap, and get to know your customers better. They’re not walking dollar signs; they’re intricate and unique. Every individual must be listened to, so your marketing technique can be pinpoint accurate, equalling in a stronger chance of converting their curiosity, to purchase.

Simple Tips For Boosting Sales And Growing Your Business

Working in Sales is not an easy game; it’s competitive, the market always changes, and even when you think you’re successful your fortune can change overnight. This is especially humbling when your business lives or dies depending on how much product you sell. Fortunately, there are many sales strategies available to help your business to grow; some are as old as the sales business itself, and others have developed alongside technological advances. There are so many strategies at your disposal, that you only have to find the few that work for you and your business.

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Have a clear customer in mind

You might want to believe that your product is universal and therefore everyone will want to buy it. Unfortunately, that is never the case, and you will miss out on profits if you don’t sell to the right customer. Ask yourself; who is most likely to buy your product immediately? How old are they? Are they male or female? What is their lifestyle? What problems do they have that can be solved by your product? The more specific you are about your potential customer, the better you will be at marketing your product for a target audience, therefore increasing your profits. It also saves you valuable time; when your target is smaller, you don’t have to work as hard to make your product relevant to as many people.

Always work on your pitch

While it’s important for any business to have a clear mission statement, it’s also important to recognise that not every customer will have the same response to the way you present your statement. For example, if you want to sell an anti-ageing cream to women over 40, some might respond well to a declaration that your product will prolong their youth, while others who are happy ageing gracefully will have a different reaction. You always need to update and practice your pitch to win over as many clients as possible, while also remaining true to your original purpose. If you’re not making sales, then your pitch might be falling flat and you need to keep working on it.

Website

Most new businesses get launched on a website nowadays, so it’s in your best interests to make sure your website is engaging, connects to all the social media platforms for your business, and that your customers can find it. Having a website is a form of MSP marketing for a multitude of industries; other forms include email marketing, speaking events, and telemarketing. Whether you’re selling products, promoting services, or setting yourself up as an industry expert with valuable advice, your website can reach out to thousands of people if you market it correctly. Give yourself a domain name that is unique, yet still gives an idea of your services – the easier it is to find when someone types a certain phrase into a search engine, the better.

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Make your website mobile friendly

These days, there are very few people in the world who don’t spend at least two hours a day online. Smartphones and mobile devices are incredibly convenient, and most people browse the internet when they’re out and about. A successful marketing strategy would take advantage of this; drive up your website traffic by making a mobile friendly version of your site. By doing this, you can ensure that your customers stay updated on your products and business news, even on their morning commute, during their lunch break, and on the long bus ride home.

Build relationships

Even in an age where business is mostly conducted online or over the phone, there are still plenty of opportunities to build relationships with your customers. Usually, the best way to do this is to include links to your social media pages or a company email address on your website – although anything that might include an instant response would be better. Chatbots, for example, are featuring more frequently on websites because they’re an instant way of communicating with customers, and they don’t have to wait for someone to respond to their queries or complaints. Make yourself open to feedback from customers regarding your products, services, and the ease of use with your website. Their feedback improves their experience, which in turn improves your business. You can also build relationships in person by attending industry events and trade shows.  Remember, the easiest way to destroy a relationship is to overpromise and underdeliver; it’s best to set the bar relatively low so that customers always feel they have experienced the best service.

Avoiding Bankruptcy: Life Jackets For Your Business

Business is like a game of Monopoly. One minute you’re riding high and the next the Chance card is telling you to go to jail without passing ‘Go.’ There are some things that you can’t foresee, but others you can prepare for. In a bid to safeguard your business against financial ruin from the unlikeliest of causes, consider the following as life jackets that will keep it from sinking if the unexpected happens.

Assess risks

Risk assessment from a health and safety perspective can prevent accidents. For businesses, risk assessments help you to identify potential threats that you can mitigate with the right controls. Before launching any project or undertaking an expansion or drastic decision, assessing the risk could be the factor that decides whether you fail or success. Risk analysts are commonplace in major financial businesses, and their approach to assessing risk could benefit you too.

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Insurance

If your business employees anyone insurance is a must. Even sole traders or small business owners should consider getting business insurance. Not only does having insurance show that you are serious about your business but it also helps by covering you against property damage and any potential liability from a customer or a client. You should revise all types of business insurance available to make sure you’re covered against all possible outcomes that could devastate your business.

Legal help

Business lawyers are essential for registering your business and helping to get it off the ground. They are also vital for managing contracts between employers and employees or suppliers and clients. Other ways you may find yourself needing legal help include facing a personal injury lawyer should an employee or a customer decide to make a claim against you. Lawsuits and legal action can be taken against anyone from a contractor to a large corporation, so it’s best to be prepared for whatever is lurking around the corner. Forming a good relationship with your lawyer will make them an asset to your business that can be relied upon to help you avert a crisis.

Internet security

If you’re a business that operates online or even uses online systems, internet security is a critical business need. It’s important that you make your website a safe place for those who access it and your systems also need to be protected. It’s estimated that $400 billion is lost because of hackers each year, a risk your business cannot take. Having someone steal your customer/client data is one thing, but the reputational damage can be the thing that causes people to lose faith in your company and see your profits nosedive. It’s something you won’t want to scrimp on and will become a growing concern as hackers become more sophisticated in their methods.

A marketing team that knows what it’s doing

Internet fraud and hackers are one thing, but business losses could occur from a fault within the walls of your organization. One false marketing move and your reputation could be damaged in a blink of an eye. Where social media is concerned, where public falls from grace spread like wildfire – the damage caused to your business through one misguided tweet or Facebook post could be catastrophic. To sit alongside your marketing team, a communications or PR team to manage any crisis communications could dig you out of any holes that happen because of an error in judgment. As well as a capable and experienced marketing team, you should also put social media policies in place that employees must adhere to so that public mistakes can be avoided.

Investments and contingencies

If your business were to suffer significant financial losses due to a poor performing quarter or as the result of a wider financial crisis, could you survive? Safeguarding your business by investing when the profits are up and setting aside contingency funds can help you to cushion the blows. Doing this will mean that you won’t need to rely on credit and also allows you to take some risks from time to time. Good relationships with your bank and accountant can help you foresee issues before they become full-blown problems.

In business, nothing is certain. Even the largest of businesses can be affected by unexpected events, and those that suffered during the global financial crisis can teach you some valuable lessons. By doing all you can to protect you and your business from risk, you’re managing your finances better and safeguarding your assets. From the legal requirements to the smaller considerations you should take on board, being prepared is better than being caught off guard.

Let It Grow: Expanding Your Business Doesn’t Need To Be A Challenge

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If there’s one thing that you can guarantee to be the death of any business, it’s stagnation. The moment that you decide that you’re happy with where your business is and that you no longer want to push it forward is the moment that you’re officially doomed. In the modern world, you simply can’t afford not to constantly push your business forward and grow at every opportunity. However, a lot of business owners really struggle with knowing how to expand their business in a productive direction. After all, you can’t just push your business forward without having something that you’re aiming towards. Here are just a few things to think about in order to take the challenge out of growing your business.

Think about what you want to achieve

When thinking about growth and expansion in your business, ask yourself what your goals are? These goals should relate to the overall goals that you have for your business as a whole as well. Do you want to attract new customers? Then you need to start thinking about the ways to extend the reach of your marketing through things like social media. Are you attempting to increase the level of manufacturing that your business is capable of? Then you may need to reach out to companies like http://armstrongsteel.com/ with help creating new buildings and warehouses to achieve that. If you’re just trying to make your business “bigger” without any real understanding of what you want, then your business is just going to end up becoming bloated.

Think about what you need to achieve it

Once you know what the goal the next step is to figure out what are the things that you need to do in order to make them happen. After all, just having a goal isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t actually have any way to achieve it. The biggest barrier to your goals is, of course, likely to be a financial one. It’s important to think about how you’re going to be able to afford to push your business in the right direction. There are plenty of ways to do this. You could reach out to investors for help, try to maximise your profit margins, you can even use crowdfunding as a way to both market your business and bring in extra investment.

Be realistic

Of course, there’s always another side to every story, and it’s important that you’re aware of the dangers of trying to grow your business too much too fast. Many businesses failed because they got too ambitious and collapsed under their own weight. The most common issue is that businesses often fail to realise that with extra investment comes a great deal of added pressure. If you don’t grow your business carefully, you could end up with more pressure than you’re actually able to handle. Not only could this lead to problems in your business but it could end up with you being unable to bring in enough money to offer your investors a return, causing you to lose out on an incredibly important source of financial support.

5 Business Areas To Outsource For Efficiency

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When it comes to running your business, what’s the one thing that you’re always aiming for? Efficiency, of course. If your company is running as smoothly as it can, you will definitely be feeling like things are on track. But, when you’re running at a mile a minute just to get everything done, it can feel very stressful indeed. So, if you’re serious about making the day to day running of your business a lot better, you may want to think about doing one thing in particular – outsourcing. By outsourcing some of your business activities, you may find that running it becomes a little easier.

Administration

You probably find that general administration tasks often drag you down. Whether you’ve got lots of email responses to send, letters to draft, or even research to do, it can take up a significant chunk of your day. So stop doing it. Instead, hire a Virtual Assistant (VA). You’ll find that a VA can take a lot of tasks off of your hands and get them done more efficiently, leaving you more time to focus on more important things like growing your business.

Social Media

Then there’s also the social media to think about. Even if you enjoy doing this, the actual everyday management of social media marketing can be tedious. Composing posts and uploading them can take a lot of time. So, instead of doing it yourself, hire someone skilled in marketing to do it for you. That way, you won’t ever have to think of a catchy tweet or a compelling blog post title again!

SEO

You may also want to think about outsourcing your SEO. Making sure that you rank well on google can be tough work. It can often take a lot of time, planning, and effort too. And when you’re a business owner, you don’t always have that. If you want to make sure that it’s done right, you may want to think about hiring an SEO agency to do it for you. With more experience and time available to make it happen, it’s more likely that they’ll get your SEO to where you want it to be quicker than you can.

IT

If there’s one area of your business that you might want to think about outsourcing to save yourself a lot of time and hassle, it’s going to be IT. IT is one of the areas of business that can cause us the most trouble. When your computer breaks or you just can’t get a piece of software to run, you don’t want to spend hours looking at it yourself. So, outsource your IT. It might be one of the smartest things you do for your company.

Finance

Finally, you also want to think about outsourcing your finance too. When it comes to ensuring that your business is running smoothly, finance is definitely one of the crucial areas. You’re going to want to make sure that your finances are always done right, so outsourcing it to an accountant or finance professional is always a good option.

Become A Marketing Guru With These Easy Tips

Do you need to be more familiar with the world of marketing for your businesses success? Then read on, because whether you are at the beginning of your marketing journey, or have some experience already, it is a field that is always changing and updating, and there is always more to learn.

Get the lingo down

One thing you will need to have down pat if you want to become a marketing guru is the language and terminology that is used. From an outsider’s perspective, it can seem like there is a lot of lingo to get your head around. But once you start putting definitions to the term you will realize it’s not that difficult.

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For example, A/B testing might sound like something out of a science project, but it’s really just about comparing two forms and seeing which one is more effective. For example, you may compare two differ e-mail headers, or images and see which one get the most responses.

Then there is PPC or pay per click marketing. Something you can read in detail about at https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2016/06/30/4-tips-for-mastering-pay-per-click-marketing-right-now.

However, in its basic form, PPC refers to paid online advertising where your page is promoted when someone types in a key worked associated with it. This is crucial in marketing because it’s known that most clicks through to commercial sites come from the first page of a search engine results. So by paying for yours to be placed above the natural results, you maneuver your brand into the best place to get the most visits, that you can convert into sales.

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Do your research

Also before you can become a marketing guru, you need to know about what works and what doesn’t. The best way to do this is to study the textbooks on the subject, as well as research previous iconic and effective marketing campaigns.

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It’s important to do both though. This is because, while it’s good to know the theory, seeing it being put into practice in the real world like the ones mentioned at https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/05/integrated-marketing-campaign-examples.html, can really help you get a good sense of what works and what doesn’t. Something that you can then apply that to your own brand.

Get some training

Of course, in such a specialized field as marketing t can really help to get some training like the courses provided by Cisicon mentioned at http://theprauthority.com/insight-intelligence-influence-one-platform-need/. This is because there is no point reinventing the wheel. In fact, it’s better to learn from those professional that are already in the field, as they know what they are doing.

Also, by using a single platform company for you training needs, you will also have access to other information and service that will allow you to create the best marketing campaign to get your products noticed.

Get your planning skills in order

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Lastly, to be a marketing guru you have to have amazing planning skills. This is because a good marketing campaign is planned right down to the last detail.

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Planning isn’t just about scheduling things in either, it’s also about having achievable goals that are broken down into action points. So you have an easy map to follow that will result in marketing success.

How To Win Over Investors To Invest In Your Business

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Funding a business venture can be difficult. Most people will either take out a loan or get the help of investors. Winning over an investor is ultimately trickier but much more rewarding – you’ll only be paying money back based on your profits, unlike a loan in which you’ll be paying the money back regardless of whether or not your business venture is successful. Almost everyone will get nervous when pitching to investors. Here are some tips to make the process less daunting and ensure that you give the best pitch possible.

Decide how much you need, not what you want

Investors will want to know exactly what you plan to spend their money on in order to make it worth their while. This means only budgeting for what you need, not what you want. If you’re raising money to start a shop, don’t throw in funding for a Christmas party or luxury coffee machine in the staff room. Focus instead on the cost of the deposit, staffing recruitment and important expensive equipment such as tills and software.

Know your figures

An investor won’t feel confident funding someone who doesn’t know their figures. Show your investors that you have budgeted everything by making a note of every individual cost. You don’t have to memorise every cost, but should at least have it all recorded in writing if the need for it arises.

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Choose the right investors

It helps if the person you approach has an interest in your area of trade. You should try to avoid conflicting interests (e.g. approaching the owner of a marketing company with your own marketing company that aims to rival it) and be selective when pitching a niche business idea (e.g. somebody in the fitness trade may be more able to understand the potential of a new fitness gadget).

Get a working prototype

A roughly drawn up plan with no evidence that it works won’t win over anyone. Having some proof that your business model works will encourage investors that it’s not a far-fetched venture. If your business idea is a product, you’ll want to build a working prototype. There are many companies such as these sheet metal fabricators that specialise in the production of prototypes. If you’re hoping to gain investment for a service, similarly test out the service first or even let your investor take part in a free trial.

Collect positive feedback from others

Positive feedback from other people can help to support your cause by showing that there is a demand for your business idea. You can collect feedback through online surveys or through market research sessions with focus groups. Quote any positive feedback at your pitch. You can even use constructive feedback that may support your need to seek investment. For example, if someone has said they like your restaurant but wish it had a delivery service, you could let investors know that their funding could make this happen.

5 Tips For A Successful Trade Show

Small business, big business, it doesn’t matter: whatever the size, trade shows should be an essential aspect of your business. They’re cost effective, allow to you engage with interested parties face to face, and can function as a terrific way to market your product or service. However, it’s not just about turning up and waiting for all the benefits to roll in shortly after. Executing a perfect trade show takes time and effort. Below, we’ve put together five tips that will make sure your exhibition brings you plenty of new sales leads for when you return home and long-term success.

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Be Well Prepared

OK, it’ll hopefully come as no surprise that you can’t just throw together your trade show the week before the event is to take place. You should start your planning many months before, outlining your sales pitch, your target, how your exhibition will look, and so on. Getting your stall all arranged is one thing, but remember that you also need to get all your materials to the event, and also maybe figure out accommodation, staff requests, and so on.

Well-Trained Staff

You’ll want your brightest and best staff members on hand to talk with the public, and they’ll need to be trained on exactly what’s expected of them. When it comes to picking which staff members will represent your company at the trade show, it’s important to bear in mind a few considerations. You’ll want staff who have been working for you for a while and know your company inside out. Also, it’s best to have outgoing personalities; there’s nothing wrong with quiet people, but you have to make sure they’ll want to be there and will have the energy to speak with people all day long.

Visitor Engagement

When your booth is all set up, it’s all about visitor engagement. This is a tricky balance to strike because you have to bridge the gap between being too eager to speak to visitors and not being eager enough. Letting people approach your booth and letting them know you’re there if they have any questions is a solid start. If they do want to talk, then your staff can fully engage and give their pitch and whatever other approaches you have developed.

Bring the Fun

Getting people to visit your booth shouldn’t be a problem: getting them to stay long enough for you to talk to them properly is the difficult part. As such, you need your booth to be fun. All the best ones are. Have custom promotional materials made by www.bluebeeprinting.com and hand them out to your visitors. They’re fun, but crucially they’ll also be a way for visitors to take your company branding home with them.

Following Up

After a fun trade show event, the real work begins: following up on the connections you made during the day. It is here where you’ll really be able to tell just how successful the day was. There’s a fine balance to getting your follow up just right, so take into consideration the advice over at http://spearmarketing.com/blog/10-tips.

Make Sure Your Office Move is Smooth!

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Businesses move offices all the time – sometimes they simply change floors, sometimes they go to new part of town, and sometimes they relocate to another city or country entirely! In any case, isn’t not a simple process. There are a lot of things you should be considering. This process needn’t be expensive, stressful, or dangerous. (Well, it needn’t be too expensive, stressful, or dangerous!). Here’s how to ensure as smooth as move as possible!

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Consider the budget

This is going to be cheap – after all, the world of business never is! There’s no such thing as a free move, even if you’re just moving up or down a floor. Sure, the process might be as easy as cramming things into an elevator, but you still have to account for all the work time that’s lost as a result of the move. In most cases, you’re going to have to directly spend some money to make sure the move goes safely and smoothly! Our advice? You should create a budget for the endeavor. This will help you figure out what you can afford to spend on the move.

The checklist

A lot of people assume that checklists are something that only dweebs use, just like written lists of pros and cons when making a decision. But you should definitely be making a checklist. Don’t assume that this is too informal a practice for a serious business to deal with! Checklists are one of the simplest yet most effective ways of keeping track of completed and outstanding tasks – and if you’re not keeping track of those, then the move can disorganized very fast. Develop a plan and keep track your progress.

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Shopping around for movers

Don’t just choose the first movers you find, because the fact is that no two moving companies are the same. There are some really bad ones out there. (Trust me, I’ve had the displeasure of working with a few of them.) It’s best that you take the time to find the best commercial movers for your specific needs.

Remember to use more criteria than simply price. Sure, one might charge you less for what you want to move, but they may charge you more based on the location – and they may have a bad reputation with previous customers. A company that seems too expensive at first might actually be worth it once you take into account all the benefits as well as their positive reputation. Long story short: research your options carefully.

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Safety first

I’d say “last, but not least” – but safety is, in fact, the opposite of least. Safety first, remember? A move can be surprisingly dangerous thing if you’re not careful. There are ladders out, piles of boxes lying around, heavy equipment being carried, transport to be utilized… the safe haven you call the office will suddenly become a hazard zone! Pay close attention to health and safety during the move. Draft up a list of safety measures specifically for this scenario and make sure they’re emailed to everyone. You don’t want to end up with an injured employee. (Well, I hope not, anyway.)

Is Your Business Doing Everything It Needs To Survive?

In this world, running a business can be surprisingly tricky to get right. There is so much that can go wrong, even if you are extremely careful, and you need to be able to make sure that you avoid this at all costs. In this article, we are going to look at some of the major things that you will need to keep an eye on if you want your business to be as successful as possible. It is often true that struggling businesses are simply not paying attention to a few key areas, and those are the areas we are going to delve into. As long as you focus on the following with honesty, integrity and confidence, you should find that you are able to succeed much more effectively, no matter what it is that your business is set out to do.

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Goals & Plans

First of all, any business which is destined to succeed will have a good idea of its ongoing goals and plans. Whatever it is that you want your business to do, you should be able to express it well so that you can get there easier. When you have specific goals, it means that you can streamline your efforts towards achieving those goals. Without goals, a business can easily become lacking in focus and direction. Those goals can be pretty much anything you like, so long as it is clear what they are and what you want from the business. They could be short- or long-term, they might be based around earnings or customer satisfaction, or anything you want. The main thing is that there is a goal, or set of goals, and you are working towards them.

Equally important as this is that you have some kind of a plan – and this is something which your goals will help you decide upon. Having a plan means that you are going to be able to know exactly where you are headed – but more than that, you will know why you are doing what you’re doing. If you find that your business feels a bit lost, it is probably down to a plan which is incomplete or not existent at all. The only remedy is to sit down and figure out what you really want to do, as well as a logical framework for getting there. With a major goal, and a plan to get there, there is no reason your business won’t survive as long as you want it to. This will also provide a remedy if anything does start to go wrong, which can happen in any business, no matter how well things start out.

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Customer Base

It is important that you are able to build a customer base, for the obvious reason that they are going to be the ones who actually help your business grow. This can be surprisingly hard to make happen, however, and you will need to spend a lot of time developing your customer base to the point where you feel comfortable with where your business stands. If you find you are struggling here, then you might want to think about what you can do to make your existing customers so thrilled with your service that they want to recruit more people. This might sound like a business utopia, but there are businesses out there which have succeeded in exactly this way – and it can be one of the best kinds of marketing available to you.

To get there, you just need to make sure that you are keeping your customers as happy as possible. This requires a consistent effort on your part, but it is definitely worthwhile for what dividends it brings in the future. The rest is marketing, and that is something which can itself take a lot of practice and determination to get right.

Marketing

No business survives for long without a clear and strong focus on its marketing. If you find that your business is struggling at any point in its life, looking at the marketing is one of the quickest ways to bring it back from the brink. This might be easier said than done, but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible – and sometimes it will be your only course of action. Therefore, you should do everything you can to make yourself and your business experts at marketing as soon as possible, so that you can develop the skills necessary to sell your business when it matters most.

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There are certain parts of marketing which no business can ignore, and it is in your internet to gain particular credence with those styles of marketing. For example, most businesses these days will find that they benefit greatly from proper online marketing. If anything, you can no longer really consider a marketing campaign complete if it does not have a proper online component which you have put a lot of effort into, so you need to focus on this, if anything, for than anything else. One of the most important aspects of digital marketing is always going to be SEO.

As long as your website is designed and written with SEO in mind, you will be consistently high up in the search engines’ results and your business will continue to gain popularity and grow. This is an essential which you must ensure has top priority in your business. Most businesses find that they need to use an SEO agency for this purpose, and if you do the same then make sure that you shop around for one which you feel you can really trust. That way your main port of call in your marketing is likely to succeed, and that will have positive knock-on effects for your business too.

As well as SEO and other digital marketing efforts, you should remember to bear in mind that the more traditional methods are still as powerful as ever. This means using word of mouth to get the word out about your new business, as well as using business cards and so on to do the same. You might be surprised at how effective and powerful these old methods can be, so make sure you do not overlook them just because of their apparent antiquity.

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Pricing

If there is anything which ensures a more positive response from customers, it is always going to be pricing. As a relatively new business, it can often be tricky getting your pricing right, partly because you just don’t have the necessary experience to do so. However, if you engage in the proper pricing analysis, you should be able to make sure that you are offering prices which are both fair and balanced, but also profitable for you.

As long as you continually find this balance, you should find that there is no chance of your business really suffering in any big way. Price analysis can be made much easier for you simply by adopting the help of the professionals – there are plenty of firms out there who can help you with this data, and it could make a world of difference in the long run. Again, this is something which you can focus on if you find your business starting to struggle, as reducing prices temporarily is always going to please customers for a time.

As long as you are keeping prices fair, you will find that customers tend to love your business – and as long as that is happening, they will keep recommending you to their friends and family. With that, your business will be in the healthiest possible position, and you will be able to succeed for as long as you wish.

How To Find An Office On A Budget

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One of the easiest ways to build an office on a budget is to do one from home, but as simple as it can be – this just isn’t an option for some people. They either don’t have the space, or there are too many distractions around – in which you are best renting somewhere to separate home life from your business life.

It doesn’t have to be an expensive investment though. Sure, it will cost more than what it would from home, but it doesn’t have to make your business finances disappear.

Here’s how you can create the office of your dreams on a budget.

Go outside the city

The benefits of being right in the center of a city means more interest, simply because there are more people walking by. But depending on your business, this may not make a difference anyway if you plan to do everything online, as a pose to meeting face to face with clients on a regular basis. So choose somewhere just outside of the city, essentially the further you venture out – the cheaper it will be to rent.

Share the space

You don’t necessarily have to have the whole place to yourself (unless you really wanted to.) Like having a roommate when looking for properties, you can do the same thing when looking for an office. If the space is empty when you get there, but realize the rent is a little above your budget, then put out an advert for a potential office roomie. They can work in one end, and you can work in the other.

Don’t overdo the decor

If furniture doesn’t already come with the office, then you may want to look at some modern office furniture to add to the room, but don’t get carried away with things you don’t need. Depending on whether you have any employees with you, will determine how many items you need, but if it’s just you – focus on the essentials – nothing more. It’s also wise to invest in a good chair, because sitting down looking at a computer screen all day can cause minor injuries over time if you’re not supporting yourself properly.

Get second-hand equipment

Who said you will need the top of the range gadgets and equipment? Shopping second-hand is fine as long as everything still works perfectly as it should. There are plenty of sites where people have bought a brand new item, used it for a week, and wanted to invest in something else so they put it up for sale, so second-hand doesn’t necessarily mean old.

You can also rent out equipment if you wanted to. – This is best suited for when you throw an event and want the latest tech available. The great thing about this option is that you will look modern and up to date with the latest gadgets for the day, and no one will know that you’re giving them back later.

As long as you keep your budget in mind and don’t overspend on things that aren’t necessary, you should have no problems looking after your office.

Why You Keep Getting Business Finances So Wrong

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You might be an expert in the services you provide. You might know your customers like the back of your own hand and you might be a marketing whiz. However, if you can’t start getting your finances right, you are never to going to see the heights of success that perhaps you should be seeing. So, how do you get it right, exactly?

You’re not organized

This is easily one of the most common reasons that businesses get a poor understanding of their financial situation in real time. They fail to keep and record different incomings and outgoings as they happen. Records go missing in a disorganized system that not only harms your understanding of your finances. Bad records can get you in a lot of trouble when tax season comes, too.

You’re not capturing that raw data

Humans fail, of course. Errors happen, whether because numbers are read or added wrong, or repetitive tasks lead to slip-ups. Using tech like a POS payment system can take the human error out of the equation when possible. Automating a system that takes the raw data and converts it into easily read information can simplify your accounting a great deal.

You’re not looking ahead

It’s not just enough to know how your finances have been in the past and how they are now. Your business needs to start getting an understanding of how they will be in the future. Cash flow projections aren’t just an essential part of business planning. They help you realize how far you far from current targets or how much you’re outstripping them, yes. But they also help you prepare for those periods where cash reserves are going to be low and prepare some cost-saving strategies in the event of them.

You’re not prepared for the unexpected

Projections aren’t always accurate. A crisis in the business like a liability claim against the business or the loss of resources due to disaster can throw them well off. You should have the preparations in place to insulate you from those risks. A more comprehensive understanding of which risks are most likely to happen to the business and the right insurance in place is the most crucial of protections.

You don’t get all the money you should

Sometimes your projections don’t match your reality and not because your business has hit obstacles. Sometimes, you just haven’t been paid. When your business relies on billing and invoicing, you better make sure that system is as precise as it can be. Automating invoices and setting payment standards and periods through contracts can make sure you get paid when you’re supposed to. Don’t be held back by evasive customers or your own forgetting to send the invoice.

There are lots of ways to get your finances wrong. You can lose precious dollars in poor record-keeping and data management. You can fail to plan ahead and find yourself with much less than you thought. You can even wave goodbye to cash that you didn’t chase up. The tips above should help you solve all that and take control of the business’s finance.

Are You Giving Customers What They Want?

When it comes to your business, few people are more important than your customers. After all, without them, it’s hard to say that you even have a business at all. If you’re not constantly focussing on building your business around your customers, then you’re never really going to get over that hurdle of being a decent business to being a truly great one.

Of course, doing that is rarely easy and requires a fair amount of work and commitment. The important thing is to focus on what it is that your customers really want. How can you give your customers what they want? Well, first you have to know what that is. Here are just a few ways that you can figure out what it is that your customers really want, and how to give it to them.

Listen to them

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 Let’s face it, the first and most obvious thing that you need to do is to talk to your customers. Ask them what it is that they want? Don’t be vague about it either. Ask them specific questions about exactly how your current products and services could be improved. What do they like about them? What do they hate about them? Don’t use this as a chance to defend your business, that’s not going to get you anywhere. Simply listen to their feedback and take it on board. Make sure that you’ve got a pretty thick skin though because if you ask for your customer’s honest opinion, you’d better be ready for them to give it to you.

Do your research

That being said, customers aren’t always the very best judge of what they want. That might sound a little bit odd, but it’s true. A lot of the time what a customer thinks they want, and what they actually want can be very different things. There are plenty of market research companies that have dedicated years to understanding the subconscious things that influence customers buying habits. By getting in touch with a company like that you can get a much better idea of your customers and what they really want from you than you would ever achieve otherwise. That way you can offer your customers amazing things that they never even knew they wanted.

Don’t follow trends

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As tempting as it might be, don’t just try to fit in with whatever your customers are currently doing at that time. Sure, it might net you some decent profits in the short term, but the reality is that you’re just going to end up chasing after trends that never last. This is going to leave you in a pretty unfortunate position when the trend dies down, and customers move on to something else. Instead, focus on pushing things forward, offering customers something they’ve never seen before, and providing products that are going to stay relevant in the long term. Chasing fads might get you a quick buck, but long-lasting, high-quality products are how you hold onto customers for years.

Surefire Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Business Failure

Failure is a word every business owner dreads hearing. If you run a company or you’re interested in launching a startup, you may not even want to consider the possibility that your business won’t be a roaring success. Sadly, the statistics don’t lie, and many new businesses fail. If you’re keen to reduce your chances of hitting hurdles, here are some surefire ways to maximize your chances of success.

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Don’t leave any stone unturned in the planning process

When you’re planning, whether it’s for a new business or an existing company, it pays to be thorough. If you rush into things without laying the groundwork first, the chances of failure are much higher. If you’ve got a new product, for example, take time to conduct market research, get to grips with a pricing strategy, work on marketing plans, and get some initial feedback from buyers and retailers before you go full steam ahead and give mass production the green light. It’s wise to leave no stone unturned and to consider every aspect of planning for the future. You need to focus on everything from branding and marketing to managing your finances and working out how you would cope if things didn’t run smoothly and you needed a plan B.

Be a strong leader

When you run a business, people look to you to make the right decisions and to steer the ship in a calm and considered manner. Not every entrepreneur or CEO is a natural leader, and there’s nothing wrong with admitting that your leadership skills could do with some work. If you find it difficult to manage a team, look into workshops and training programs that will help you hone your skills or consider options like an online degree in leadership. Studying and training will give you additional skills and enable you to react in the right way if you do encounter difficult situations and scenarios. Even if you think you’re a good leader, you can always improve, and you’re likely to learn new things if you’re open to doing programs and courses.

Focus on the numbers

It’s incredibly exciting and reassuring to get positive feedback from clients or a glowing review from bloggers, but what really counts in business is the numbers. Make sure you’re on the ball from day one, and you have a good understanding of what’s going on in your accounts. If you’re not making as much money as you hoped, try and identify ways of driving sales and increasing revenue and reducing your outgoings. If you’re struggling to find solutions, it may be worth seeking advice from consultants. You may find that you’re overspending in areas where you could cut back, for example, staffing, marketing budgets, and production costs.

Nobody goes into business thinking about the prospect of failure, but the reality is that this is a real threat. Whether you’re an ambitious entrepreneur or an experienced businessperson, there’s always a risk of things not going to plan. Sometimes, it’s impossible to prevent issues, but these suggestions should help you minimize the risk of falling into pitfalls.

Building the Perfect Public Event for Exposure

Improving your brand awareness is all about getting your name out there. Whether it’s through tough work on the streets to tell people about your brand in person, or clever social media marketing tactics that are planned by your advertising department, there are many ways to expose your brand to the public. However, one of the most effective ways to engage with customers and consumers is to actually attend public events. This can be trade shows, exhibitions, or outdoor events that are related to your company. For instance, if you sell sports drinks, then you might want to try and get a spot at a sporting event to advertise your drinks. If you’re a video game developer, then you want a slot at any gaming convention to show people about your latest products.

However, attending a public event can be stressful, often difficult and very time and money-consuming. To help your next public event be more successful, here are a couple of useful tips that will help promote your brand with ease.

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Talk about the event on social media

The first thing you should do is build up excitement around the event. If you’re going to make a public appearance at a well-known event, then make sure all of your social media followers know about it. If you have a company blog, make sure you post about it and share it on social media as well. The idea is to build up as much gossip around the event as you can, and also to mix yourself into the social media hashtags and handles that other larger companies are using. This will open up your business to exposure, people will wonder who you are and what you offer, and they’re more likely to have a look at your business when the event takes place.

Plan your appearance

Make sure you plan all the promotional materials and marquees that you need. If you’re going to host your event outdoors, then make sure you have a tent or a stall to ensure you’re protected from the effects of weather. You can find more info at www.dynamicgift.ca/marquees-tents if you need a tent that can also support your business’s logo. Make sure you have plenty of staff on hand if the event is going to be a long one and if you have a lot of ground to cover.

Make sure to carry plenty of samples

As long as your products and samples are safe and won’t cause liability claims to be thrown at you, make sure you carry plenty of them and take them to the event to show people. It’s no use turning up to a public event just to talk about your product and show videos or pictures. For example, if you’re selling a new product that’s useful around the house, set up a demonstration and invite people over to look at it. If you’re selling a new type of candy bar, then carry lots of small samples and hand them out to people as they pass by to get them interested.

Give your guests a gift to remember you

Even though you’re probably hanging out free samples, business cards and telling people about your upcoming products, make sure you’re not neglecting to give them something to remember you by. This should be a simple gesture of appreciation, and it could be something simple like a set of pens, a discount coupon for when your product is released, or even just some branded sweets and chocolates. This will help build customer relationships and also ensure that your attendees have something to remember you by.

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Always attend events that are relevant to your business

If you’re going to sell car parts, then you don’t want to show up at a motorboat trade show. If you’re trying to get people interested in your cloud computing solution, then you might have some luck showing up at a video game convention, but you’re better off elsewhere such as a tech exhibition. Make sure that the event you’re attending is in some way related to your business or else you’ll look out of place for all the wrong reasons.

Hire people that have great communication skills

You’re going there for public exposure and to network with people, which is why it’s important to actually speak to others and draw in crowds with fantastic communication skills. If you or your company doesn’t have many people who are great at showing demonstrations and speaking to the public, then you may want to hire someone that can do it for you. Give it a week or two to ensure the person you hire has familiarised themselves with your product, then take them along to the event in order to promote your brand.

Learn to network at the event

Networking is incredibly important at any public event you attend. It’s a good way to size up the competition and also create links with other suppliers and companies that could help your business. For instance, if you’re going to attend a software exhibition with your product, then you might encounter people who are demonstrating a new piece of technology that could boost your own product’s usability and accessibility. Take some time to explore the event as well and connect with people all over.

Keep communications open with the organisers

You should always be in constant communication with the organisers of the event. This is to ensure that any changes made to the event or your space are related to you almost instantly. This usually isn’t much of an issue, but if you plan to make the most of your space or you have time-sensitive demonstrations, then you may want to triple-check your time slot to ensure there are no mistakes or issues that could appear at the last moment.

While attending a public event isn’t very difficult, it’s important to understand how to make the most of your visit and how to get the most public exposure. It’s time-consuming, costs a lot of money, and it’s a lot of effort, yet it’s worth every penny and drop of sweat as long as you put in the work to ensure it’s a success.

Say Goodbye to Product Liability Claims

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If you sell your own products as part of your business, you have to be very careful to ensure that your product is free from any defects or safety issues that could potentially cause harm to your customers or hinder you from running a successful business. If you don’t do this, not only could you cause serious harm to someone, but you could be on the receiving end of a product liability lawsuit!

Ensuring your products are safe might seem like a daunting task, but as long as you’re diligent and you do the work, you should be fine. Here are some tips to help you get it right and say goodbye to product liability claims:

Set Up a Risk Transfer Program

If you use components like Heavy Duty Ball Casters or exhaust gaskets that are sourced from a third party, not only should you ensure that you purchase the best quality parts you can find, but you should also aim, where possible to set up a risk transfer program, which means that your company will not be held liable should your product fail and cause issues due to the components supplied by the third party. A good attorney will help you draw up a binding agreement to this effect, and you really should get this in place at the beginning of your working relationships with any suppliers.

Collect all Necessary Information

If you are importing goods or supplies from another area, it is up to you to gather all of the necessary information about the goods from the supplier. This includes making sure that you are sent safety warnings, product labels, instructions and any other documentation that could have a bearing on the safety of the goods when they reach the end user.

Make Safety a Part of Your Design

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In the design stage, as well as thinking about how your products look, perform and feel, you should also be thinking about how safe they are and, wherever practical, you should aim to add safety features to the design. Once a prototype has been made, put it through rigorous testing to ensure that it meets your country’s safety guidelines and make any modifications you can think of to increase its safety.

Maintain Accurate Records

When you manufacture products, you must pay attention to local regulatory requirements and the regulatory requirements of any other countries you plan to sell in. A big part of this will be maintaining accurate records of everything from supplier and components used to design specs and manufacturing processes and quality control. If you have all of this paperwork on file, then should a problem arise where you need to defend against a liability claim, you will be better prepared to do so.

Ask for Consumer Feedback

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Once your product is out there, it makes sense to ask for and make it easy for consumers to deliver feedback. If you do this, you might just be made aware of potential safety issues before they become a big problem, so you can issue a product recall or redesign your products to make them safer and avoid future product liability claims.

The Best Way To Promote (Market) Your Business

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Custom is the most vital thing, regardless of the scale of your company, big or small; it builds business and gives you the base you need to turn a profit so you can build up the company. Your customers should never be taken for granted, neither should they be underestimated. Just because you have their custom now doesn’t mean that you’ll secure it in the future. Ultimately, you need them more than they need you, and that is a fact. So, what do you really need to sell your business to customers old and new?

Clarity

It might sound like some sort of a pseudo-psychological cop out, but being clear from the off is the best thing for everyone, customers, and employees. It makes happy employees, and it makes happy customers because they know exactly what they’re getting from you. This is what you need to broadcast from the start, being clear about the product and what it can and can’t do for the customer is a refreshing piece of honesty. Customers are used to smoke and mirrors, rather than any sort positive reinforcement before they’ve bought the item from you, so buck the trend.

Marketing Routes That Don’t Cost The Earth

Especially for local businesses, it’s hard to get any word of mouth so a company can really turn a profit. This is why marketing online has become a popular approach, because of things like social media. And people will tend to do their shopping online rather than go down to their local store so you can make the most of cheaper tools to bump yourself to the top of the search engine results. This is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play, and SEO is important for local businesses because it will help you to pick up the slack online when people aren’t paying you a visit personally. Word of mouth is the way to build up a reputation and using social media combined with SEO techniques, it’s a way to communicate straight to the customer.

Let The Customer Try The Product Themselves

It’s the best way to put the message across to them. While you can bombard a customer with reasons why something is the best, it’s merely your opinion that it is, so why don’t you bypass that by sending them a sample and letting them see why it’s the best. The try it yourself method has worked plenty for businesses over the years, and it’s a small cost for a big return if your product is good enough.

Don’t Force It

Ultimately when it comes to pushing a product onto a customer, it’s not about you changing their lives to fit to march to the beat of your drum, you need fit into their routine and make it suitable for their needs. You need them more than they need you, remember! If you force it you will succeed in driving the customer away, and the same applies to any sort of product you want to sell. Simplicity is key sometimes, instead of confusing the customer so they don’t know what type of product it is.