Archive for the 'General Interest' Category

Are You Harnessing The Power Of Visual Analytics In Your Business?

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Analytics has earnt itself a bad reputation for being boring making people think of spreadsheets, percentages, numbers. Although these three things can get some people out of bed in the morning they can also make other people’s eyes glaze over and send them straight off to sleep. What’s the answer? Visual analytics. In our increasingly digital world, we are more exposed than ever to visual media in the form of images, gifs, graphics and videos and our brains simply get bored unless stimulated by bright, colourful and interactive subjects. Visual analytics combines data-driven analysis with visual presentation providing a fun and stimulating way to process business data.

What are the benefits of visual analytics?

  • It stands out
    Visual analytics is a modern way to deal with data sets looking clean, crisp and current helping you to stand out as a business at the forefront of your sector. Visual representations stand out on presentations, white papers and marketing material helping people to engage with your findings.

  • It aids understanding
    With visual analytics, you can explain your data patterns to anyone, even if they have no understanding of analytics. Turn seeing into an understanding with visual representations of complex data which can help those without data-driven minds to see patterns within the data.

  • It speeds up analysis
    Analysing data can be a long and tedious task. Visual analytics helps to quickly summarize key facts and presents them in a way that is easy to understand across the team.

Where can you use visual analytics?

Visual analytics is extremely diverse and can be used across any area of your business where you harness data, including but not limited to;

  1. In marketing
    Turn key performance indicators, return on investment, campaign performance and budget figures into something people want to see in their marketing dashboard with visual analytics. Set your own metrics and goals and monitor live performance updates all from a sleek and sharp interface that can be accessed across multiple devices – no more shared spreadsheets.

  2. In sales
    Monitor the progress of your leads and achieve actionable insights by creating a visual sales pipeline that can be shared across your sales team and to senior members of staff. Watch the progress made in real-time as your sales team work towards their goals enabling you to better reward outstanding achievements and motivate your team to meet their targets.

  3. When doing research
    See the bigger picture and any underlying connections between the data by making your research visual. Quickly spot any important relationship between the data and create eye-catching visual representations of what you find which can then be used in your marketing or other research papers to demonstrate your findings.

  4. When looking at finance
    Whether you are keeping track of project costs, department budgets or expanding your business, visual representations can help both finance officers and the rest of the team to see what money they have left and where the money is going. By making budget figures accessible and transparent team members can learn how to make better spending choices.

Finding Business In Unlikely Places

The thought of starting up a business can be thrilling. The desire is fueled so much, and then it leads to searching for ideas that might work. And often we jump to the most obvious and predictable, but that’s what everyone else will be doing. The easiest of ideas are not exactly easy to execute, simply because there’s so much competition, and you might be swamped. It’s the unlikely places that you will find the best business ideas. Even though the groundwork to understand them might be a little bit harder, and it might not be as mainstream as you would like it, they are sure to bring you profit far easier. So, if you have been pondering the idea of setting up your own business, but have become lost in the same ideas everyone else is, keep on reading to find a fresh idea.

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It’s Not All Doom & Gloom

Some business ideas just don’t carry the same bright light that some of the others do, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t carry more potential. This business idea involves funeral homes. It’s such an emotional business to set up, and you have to be invested in the emotions of others for this to work. You’re there to help them plan a perfect day to remember their loved ones by. BSF is just one company who you can contact to begin the first step, understanding how to buy a funeral home. Then legitimising yourself and building a reputation amongst the local, and wider community will come next. There are partnerships you will need to make such as florists amongst many others. This is an idea for a business where you will feel great reward, and will gain great profit as well.

Simplicity Is Sometimes Best

We often dive right into the complications of business and trying to understand how to run this huge corporation. When often the simplest of ideas are the best, such as setting up an elegant coffee shop. We’re living through an era where a coffee shop has become a staple of people’s lives. Either to gather with friends, to work in, or just to read a book and listen to the chatter going on nearby. So setting up one that sells the finest coffee, the best homemade cakes and sandwiches, and focuses on quality rather than quantity, could go a long way. If you can secure a location in a bustling city, the profit you could make could mean franchising your business out in other areas.

Be Part Of An Emerging Trend

There are many trends in business at the minute, and some have room to spare One of these being trading, which can be very fruitful if you understand how it works. Many people are self-taught, make a fortune, and then go on to teach others. Forex trading is proving to be the most popular at the minute, and there’s more than enough in terms of research that you can do, to understand how it works!

Catering For An Ever-Expanding Business

Setting out on an entrepreneurial adventure usually means you have one thing in mind: to make your business a success. Something that many people don’t think about when starting out is the ‘what ifs’. What if your business suddenly kicks off and you’ve got to meet demands? What would you do? Could you handle a sudden increase in sales? Every business person dreams of the day where their business is making more money than they could have imagined, but not many know how they’d execute the situation when it gets to it. Take a look at these tips on how to cater to your ever-expanding business so that when it does happen, you’re ready!

 

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Outsourcing

As your business grows, you’ll find the need to have more hands on deck to help deal with everyday responsibilities. The hiring process can be slow, long, and extremely tedious, and if you need someone right there right now, outsourcing could be the way forward. Whether you’re a builder needing more builders on-site, or you run an office-based company and need more people to complete necessary tasks, you can outsource staff members until you can find your footing and hire more permanent members of staff. Websites such as Upwork and Fiverr house freelancers in many trades from all over the world!

Space

With your team expanding, you’ll need to think about the amount of space you need and more often than not, businessmen and women don’t think of this problem until they come across it. Finding the right kind of space for your needs can be tough, especially if you need office space, a testing area and an office. Using www.proplist.com will allow you to list your needs, the area you want to be located, and your budget and you simply sit back and let your next ideal business premises roll in.

Supply and demand

Have you thought about how you’d cater to increasing supply and demand? More customers means more demands for products and services, and more products and services means you’ll need more materials, machinery and time to complete specific tasks. As mentioned earlier, you’ll also need a larger workforce. Many businesses take on all of the work that comes their way, but if you can’t keep up with supply and demand, you’ll end up losing custom. Putting a waiting time on products and services not only allows you to complete tasks but also creates a sense of urgency from the customer’s point of view and people will happily wait if they think it’s worth waiting for!

Frame of mind

Finally, without the right frame of mind and the ability to stay calm during stressful situations, you won’t be able to handle your business expanding. Hiring a second in command can often help these situations, so why not take the load off and appoint someone to help you through your business expansion?

Tips For Buying Your First Business Property

Are you thinking of buying your first business property? It’s a big move but one that’s definitely worth it to take your company to the next level. Whether you’re looking at it being just an office for yourself or for you and a growing team, there are a few things worth considering as you go into this business investment. Here are some tips for buying your first business property.

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Know Your Budget

The budget is where you first need to start your journey when buying a business property. Depending on the current situation of your company, how much can you afford to spend? Not every business will be able to purchase their ideal location the first time around, and some might find it more affordable to rent or lease the property first. A shop for rent is going to be much more affordable than buying it outright. Whatever your decision is, your budget should always be factored into the decision. Remember, it’s not just the purchase or money that you pay for the property, but also you have moving costs to consider and additional purchases that you may want to get for when you have new staff or even the existing ones now. As this is your first office, you’re unlikely to have any office furniture currently. So pop this all into a budget sheet and take this with you when you start looking, and you’re approaching commercial property agents.

Look At The Current Property Market

The property market is one area that you need to be exploring now to ensure that this is the right time to be buying a property. You can get an idea of what’s currently being sold or bought and whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. There might not be much on the market or anything that suits your needs, so there is no point in seeing places that don’t match your criteria. Take a look at the market yourself but then approach some agents to find out what they have and what might be coming up soon. They could well have a property that they’ve not yet put up on their website or are in the process of dealing with the seller to become responsible for the sale. Some agents might ask you to come back a few months later, or perhaps you’ve made a conscious decision to leave it until it picks back up. Unless there’s a rush to find somewhere, you want to take this process with some caution.

What Are Your Requirements?

What do you want from the workspace, and what does the business need? Perhaps it’s merely a small space for a handful of people, and therefore, a floor in a shared building might suffice. Or maybe you have quite a big company or plans to bring in remote staff to work in one place. With that said, it might be a whole building that you require. What type of security would you like upon entrance, and do you need any specifics in terms of decor and design? There’s a lot to think about and a lot to consider, all of which need doing before you start approaching agents and seeing properties. You want to have a checklist of requirements on you, and on each visit, you can compare how many of your requests appear on the property.

Think About Your Staff If You Have Any

When it comes to your staff, you want to be considering their needs and requirements if you have any. You may just be a one-person band at the moment, but if you have a handful of staff that you require to come into the workplace, then it needs to be a commutable distance from their home. If it’s a costly expense, then you may need to consider pay rises, and if they just can’t travel, then you may need to look for new staff members. This might have to be a moment where you have to make decisions for the benefit of your company. For it to move forward, there may need to be some changes, and if you want a business space to work, that means checking in with your staff. Consider the type of layout you’re looking for and how you want your business to look.

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Remember Curb Appearance Is Important

The appearance on the outside of your business is really crucial because it’s the first thing that staff, clients, and new guests will see when they approach the building. So curb appeal is very important to get right, and that’s good to look at when visiting properties. Where is it positioned, and how much space do you have to play with on the outside? Think about visibility and how easily it stands out from the crowd. These are all very good factors to consider, and curb appearance is definitely one that can determine whether you end up going for the property or not. There are always ways to improve curb appeal, but it’s about whether you’re able to provide that or not immediately or whether that will be something you can only do further down the line.

How Easy Is It To Get To?

And finally, you want to consider the location of your business. How easy is it to get to? If you’re expecting a lot of regular guests and client visits, then it needs to be within a reasonable distance and not in the middle of nowhere. If it’s the latter, then you may have some issues when it comes to building those connections for your company. Factor in the location for the purchase of your business property and make sure it works for everyone, whether that’s staff member or client.

Buying your first business property is a challenge but also a wonderful adventure and the next chapter for your company. Be prepared with a budget and your list of requirements. Don’t rush the process and ensure you’ve got the best deal before signing on the dotted line. Think about your staff and what they need and how easy it is to get to.

Business Structures: Advantages & Drawbacks

One of the first things that you need to think about when you set up a business is what kind of structure you are going to use. There are so many of these that it is hard to appreciate which is best at a glance, and it is much better to look into them in some detail and work out that way what they might be good for, and in which ways they might detract. In this post, we are going to help you out on this front by looking at a few of the more common structure types, along with a discussion of their benefits and disadvantages.

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Sole Proprietorship

This is probably the most basic and simplest kind of business, so much so that many people don’t really think of it as a business at all. In a sole proprietorship, it is exactly as it sounds: you don’t hire anyone or work with anyone, it’s just you. You are the business – and of course that means that you personally take the brunt of everything that happens. So if you experience debt in the business, it’s your debt. This is a risk, but sometimes this is the only business type that you really need.

Limited Liability Company

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is one of the most common types of business structure out there. In an LLC, the main benefit is that you are personally protected from anything that happens in the business – within reason. If there is any liability at all, it is not passed on to you as an individual, or to anyone else, but rather it stays in the business itself. Debt in the business doesn’t move anywhere. Clearly, that’s very useful. There is also the matter of tax. The tax implications vary by filing type, and in an LLC you don’t have to worry about the double taxation of many other kinds of business.

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Partnership

There will be many times when your business is going to be owned and managed by several people equally. When that is the case, you will usually set up a partnership, which might be one of the least understood of the business structures. In a partnership, everyone – well, all of the partners – share responsibility, and that also means they share debts and so on too. This is not usually the best choice of business unless you think you are going to have lots of passive investors.

Corporation

In many ways, the corporation is what a lot of people are probably thinking of when they picture themselves running a business. But it is actually one of the rarer types out there, and it’s not necessarily true that you will turn straight to this with your business. A corporation is a separate legal entity, and as such it is entirely independent from its owners. Because of this, there are more regulations and more taxes that you have to worry about.

As you can see, the types vary greatly. Get to know them well, and you will be able to decide which is best for you much more easily.

Promote Your Business Effectively

So you have gone through all the hardship of creating a business. You have thought of a suitable name, logo, and branding. You have set it up, registered it, and made it legal. Now you have to consider how you are going to market and promote it. A lot of companies do not put the necessary resources into this step and lag when they could have hit the ground running. Fortunately, in this day and age, thanks to the Internet, not all advertising has to cost a fortune.

To help you think of ways to promote your business, we have come up with a list:

Website

No company worth its salt does not have its own website. This is an absolute must. It must be modern, attractive, easy to use, and have all the relevant contact information in it. You could create a blog and attach it to the site. You could have interviews with previous customers and get advice from experts in your field. The more content there is on a website, the more authentic and trustworthy it will seem. Without a website, a startup company may as well be invisible.

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Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Make sure you have the correct URL for your website so when someone searches for your particular kind of business, you list in the top results. Give each page a proper title and description. Add alt text to images and make sure you have good relevant headers. All this helps the search engines find your site, meaning it will appear higher in search results.

Social Media

Get on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These are excellent sources of free advertising. You should also consider creating videos using YouTube, for example, which you can embed on your company website.

Tradesmans site

You can promote yourself on a tradesman’s job site where previous customers can leave reviews.

Join professional groups

Local businesses usually have some kind of meeting where they can discuss the local community, ideas, and proposals. Networking in the community and meeting like-minded people will help you move forward. Have a business card created for this purpose and create some sort of partnership with other business owners.

Local business events 

You may decide, along with a group of other local business owners, that you want to host some kind of promotional day. This can be a great place to show the community who you are and what you do. If a few of you get on board, the event will grow and expand out more than you could naturally create on your own. Think about caterers and a crowd barrier between the different stalls. The more local businesses you can get involved the better the event will be.

Speak at other local events

Get your name out there in any way possible, within reason. For example, whenever you know that some local event is going to take place, get in touch with the organizers, and offer to give a talk. It could be about creating a small business, or how to deal with angry customers, anything at all that may be relevant to the upcoming event.

4 Lessons To Learn From The Modern Healthcare Business

Are you looking for inspiration on how to improve your business? You might want to consider the current successes in the healthcare industry.

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Going Automated 

You need to think about how to speed up processes in your business to deliver the best possible service. There are a few ways to do this and the healthcare industry has already taken great strides here. For instance, when you attend your appointment, it’s common now to interact with a touch screen display rather than a member of staff. There are a few benefits here. The first is that you can free up the team members to focus on other areas of your business. The second is that you can speed up processes in the healthcare model. This ensures that patients can be seen more rapidly and that they gain a greater level of service. That’s likely going to lead to more positive reviews.

Keeping Connected

Have you ever wondered how medical staff can quickly identify who you are, what your issue is and what treatment they need? A quick look at a tablet and they seem to know everything about you. Well, this is all due to healthcare IT solutions. This could and probably does include a cloud set up. With a cloud set up, it’s possible to immediately gain access to all the information that medical teams need including key data. Crucially, all the data stored on the servers is protected and encrypted which means that the latest privacy laws are effectively upheld and compliance is achieved.

Online Interactions 

With online interactions, medical businesses are highlighting how easy and effective it is to use modern technology to deliver a great and efficient service. So, what are we talking about here? Well, these days it’s not uncommon to be able to schedule a video call with a doctor. The benefit of doing this is that you can immediately gain the support that you need. At the same time, you won’t have to wait for hours on end in a waiting room. This is possible thanks to improvements and the clarity of video technology. This is a great example of how the latest tech can be used to reach customers in brand new and particularly exciting ways.

Effective Engagement

Finally, you do need to make sure that you are engaging and interacting with customers and clients the right way. The medical industry is starting to get this down to a tee. It’s not uncommon these days to receive updates to your phone through text, email or even social media when you have an appointment due. This helps ensure that patients remember to attend appointments and ensures that the time of doctors isn’t wasted while the greatest number of patients can be seen on a daily basis. Alternatively, these contact points can also be used for campaigns at critical times throughout the year.

We hope this helps you understand some of the greatest ways that businesses are effectively achieving growth in the market in the healthcare industry and how you can take the same lessons to make similar strides.

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4 Great Ways To Invest In Your Business

When you are running your own business, you are often looking at ways to reduce your costs, not spend more money. However, in order to succeed and grow, there are certain areas that you would be wise to invest in, as you should then reap the rewards. We are sharing a few of these suggestions today, here are 4 great ways to invest in business.

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You need to invest in your reputation

Your business’ reputation is key to your success. As such, you need to foster and grow it, and do all that you can to protect it.

You will want to work on your image and branding from day one of your business. You will, of course, be looking to deliver excellent service to every single customer. You know that receiving positive reviews about your services will boost your reputation and that should in turn, boost your business.

Your reputation will then gradually build and get stronger over time. However, your reputation is not solely about the products and services that you offer, it is also about the safety and security of your business. People need to be confident that their details are safe with you so it is worth investing in security for your website, as a breach in your web security can be fatal for your reputation. Visit netcomsolutions.net for more information around how that can be prevented.

You need to invest in your team

Your team is on the frontline of your business so it makes sense that investing in them will pay huge dividends.

Ensure that you are hiring the right people for your business in the first place, and then spend time giving them the correct training. This will enable them to carry out their jobs properly for you and it will also give them the confidence to do so.

After any initial training, do prioritize coaching every member of your team regularly so that they feel that they have ongoing support from you and to help them to develop their skills.

You need to invest in your equipment

The type of equipment that you need is going to vary widely depending upon the industry that you are working in. Some businesses will require a lot of specialist equipment to enable them to carry out their work, others might need laptops, phones and comfortable workstations. Whatever your business’ needs are, you must invest in buying or hiring the best equipment that you can afford.

You need to have the correct equipment for you to fulfil your customers’ needs. It might appear to be cheaper to cut corners here, but it will cost you more in the long run by doing this. The right equipment means that you will have happy staff as they can carry out their jobs and happy customers as you are able to meet their demands to a good standard.

You need to invest in yourself 

This is the one that so many business owners overlook. You will need to invest in yourself, your skills, your confidence and your motivation.

You might choose to look into business coaching, joining business networking groups or upskilling yourself by attending relevant training courses. Your team will respond well to seeing you focus on your own development and your business will benefit from your increased knowledge and determination.

Small Business Start-Up Tips that will Rocket your Success

Launching your own business can be tough. The line between failure and success can also be very fine, but there are things that you can do to try and boost your chances of becoming the best that you can be.

Involve your Family

If you have a spouse or even children, then try and involve them in your decision to start a business. It’s important that you have a home atmosphere that is supportive and that you are also able to bounce your ideas off people as well. If you do not have anyone like this who you can rely on, then seek out a mentor or even see if it is possible for you to team up with your friends.

Analyse your Personality

You need to ask yourself if you really are the right person to be starting a business. Come up with a checklist and find out if you can work long hours or even if you are able to take criticism. You also need to find out if you are able to cope with some degree of financial insecurity too. If you are not able to do this then you may find that you are not in the right position to go ahead with your idea right now.

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Know your Market

Carry out as much research on your market as you possibly can. Find where you stand and focus on your product demand. It also helps to talk with potential customers, competitors, suppliers and more. This will give you the chance to develop your products and it will also help you to get a better idea of who you are dealing with.

Partner with the Right People

Finding someone who has had a career in endocrinology will certainly help you out if you are starting in the medical profession. Finding someone who is experienced in advertising will help you if you are planning on starting an SEO company. Believe it or not, the people who you partner with will have a huge impact on your success, so make sure that you understand your strengths and weaknesses. When you do, you will soon be able to complement your own skills by enlisting the help of other people.

Get a Good Mentor

Two heads are always better than one. Seek out help from a family friend who has experience in business, or even someone who has been recommended to you by another professional. Either way, the more knowledge you can gain in the early stages, the more efficient your business model will be.

Create a Good Plan

When you create a business plan, you have to remember that everything you write down isn’t actually set in stone. Your plan needs to have long-term objectives and forecasts too. If you don’t then you may struggle to keep your idea on track, and you may even find that you are not able to push yourself as hard too. If you are having a hard time creating a business plan then there are plenty of resources out there that can help you.

5 Things You Need to Do Before Launching a New Product

No matter what field of business you’re in, product launches can be hectic. If you haven’t done enough preparation, the process can easily go haywire, so if you aren’t sure how to get started, it’s important that you know the key components needed for a successful product launch. To help you on your way, here are 5 factors to consider before you launch a new product.

Research Your Target Audience

Before you launch your product to the masses, it’s crucial that you take time to recognize who your target audience are. To do this effectively, you need to conduct thorough market research which can give you a valuable insight into who is likely to buy from your brand, and what sorts of products the consumers want. There are various questions that need to be taken into account first, such as how you plan to position the product, where you plan to distribute it, how you should price the product, as well as where and how you should market it.

Develop Your Product Messaging

The words you choose to describe your new product can make all the difference. Once you’ve performed market research and have a better understanding of who your target demographics are, you will need to craft a message that will include the most valuable features of the product. To hook consumers in from the get-go, you should feature a catchy tagline that should highlight the best features of the product, as well as the problems that they solve.

Have the Right Tools & Software

If you haven’t got the right tools and software in place to create and launch a product, it’s likely that your idea won’t get very far off the ground. When it comes to finding the best design software, you may wish to use a tool like Altium where you can download free cad software to improve the quality of your design.

Plan Your Promotion Strategy

After you’ve got the right software for the designing of your product launch, you need to figure out how you are going to promote your launch. Understandably, the more you promote your product, the more chance of success you will have. There are lots of avenues that you can go down, such as starting your own blog, submitting guest posts to be included in industry publications, as well as setting up your own business page on Facebook to expose yourself to a larger audience. Also, make sure that you use email as a way to keep your subscribers in the know.

Plan Your Post-Launch Strategy

It’s all well and good launching a product, however, it’s important that you stay committed to the product afterwards, otherwise consumers may lose interest. Make sure that your post-launch strategy features various tactics to keep your target audience engaged, such as through content marketing, social media, and influencer marketing.

Researching your target consumers, developing your product messaging, taking time to plan out your promotion and post-launch strategy, as well as having the right tools and software in place are just a few things that you need to do before launching a new product on the market.

Creating A Winning Brand Strategy

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Creating a strong brand identity for your business can take a great deal of time and effort. There will be an element of trial and error at first as you find your niche and how to position yourself in the wider market. There will be many factors that you will need to consider when it comes to honing your strong brand identity. However, once you have found the message that you want to convey within your branding you will be able to build a lasting impression for your customers and keep attracting them back to you to help you build successfully.
Branding is not just about your company logo or the choice of typeface that you use on signage, headed notepads, and your website. Brand stretches out into the very fabric of the information that you want to convey to your customers. It is a representation of the core values that make your company what it is. It can be communicated through so many different channels, through the way that you set out your stores, how your team members talk to your customers, the ID lanyards that your staff wear, through to the point of sale that your store uses. Branding should be considered in everything that you do. When it comes to making any decision in your company you should always think about whether or not it matches your brand.

Thinking ‘On Brand’

When it comes to boiling your company down to a set of images and messages that your customers can latch onto, you need to think about what exactly you stand for. Are you a company that wants to save people money? If so your brand may be built on trying to deliver value for the customer. This may mean using simple images and straight forward language to communicate this. If you want to convey quality, then you may consider a cleaner approach with more depth in the message. You may want to drive home the ethical concerns or green credentials of your business, in which case you will want to work with the kind of language that puts this point across in a firm and friendly manner.

Study The Success Stories

If you want to understand how to create a strong brand for your business, have a look at the successes in your market. Spend time taking apart this branding, and try and explore the way in which it has evolved. There may be quite a bit written about them online, and if they are well established then there will be plenty of images available to help your research.

While it is important that you do not try to emulate their branding as this will be very apparent to onlookers to your business, you can certainly learn a great deal from the companies that could be considered masters of branding. Understanding how their businesses have benefited through their use of brand could really help to build your success too.

Dealing With Your First Small Business Emergency

All kinds of accidents and emergencies can occur in the working world. If you’re a brand new business owner, you probably dread a few of them cropping up on your doorstep. And if you do, this post is here to tell you it’s OK to calm down – even if an emergency does occur, there’s always going to be something you can do to get your company out of it again.

What do you when you’ve barely gotten your business off of the ground? How do you know who to turn to, and what numbers to call? Well, we’ve got some ideas you might want to listen to, just in case tomorrow holds a disaster for you.

So, without further ado, here are some examples of the most common emergencies small businesses face. Even when you have the most efficient and structured of safeguards in place, one or two mishaps are always going to slip in through the cracks.

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Something’s Happened to an Employee

Your employees have their own lives to lead, outside of work. Because of this, their working schedule can be interfered with from time to time, and as the boss, you’re going to have to understand this going forward. Try to be flexible with the people who work for you; if you give them an inch as and when it’s needed, they’ll give you the effort back tenfold!

But at the same time, understand the moment an emergency looks like it’s cropping up on the horizon. For example, if an employee has been repeatedly late to work, or taken a lot of time off recently, be sure to schedule an HR meeting with them – try to determine the cause, to make sure things work out best for the both of you. You’ll always have to be on the lookout for as and when measures need to be put in place, to ensure emergencies don’t halt the proceedings of your business.

Your Company Fleet Has Run into Trouble

If you have one, there’s a good chance that one day a vehicle that’s part of your fleet might be involved in an accident or emergency on the road. What do you do when a situation like that crops up? Well, hopefully you already have a comprehensive insurance policy in place, but you’ll also need to further the proceedings into legal matters. Unless the other driver admits that the blame is on them, you’ll usually have to go all the way to the court.

Of course, that can be very scary, especially when this is your first time running a business. But in order to absolve blame, determine the cause of an accident, as well as get you and any employees that were involved off of the hook, it’s a necessary evil. Settling outside of court would be the best case scenario, but it’s not often that’s an option for you to take.

Make sure you have the right people on your side to help out during a time like this. Be as specialist as you can; for example, look into services such as truck accident lawyers with a strong record of success, depending on the other vehicle involved. And try to bring in the best your budget can afford – this will hopefully save you a lot of money in the long run.

There’s an IT Issue Slowing Everything Down

And of course, you might run into some IT troubles down the line. Seeing as most modern businesses are run off of network infrastructure, there’s a good chance you might have some troubleshooting issues to deal with on a regular basis. If a computer won’t turn on or gets stuck in a bootloop, a quick phone call to an IT professional can help you out.

But if something like a malicious outside attack takes place, you might need to put some serious measures in place to ensure it never happens again. Not all IT problems are created equally, and sometimes, you have to spend quite the investment to make sure your data banks and business structure live to see another day.

Ready For an Emergency? 

If you’re a new business owner, and you’re dreading the day an emergency plagues you, be sure to channel that energy into doing something about it! There’s no point worrying, not when there’s work to be done, so make sure you use tips like these to ensure your business keeps on operating on an even keel – for the foreseeable future at least!

Running Your Own Fleet Of Vehicles

There are plenty of business types which would require you to be in charge of your own fleet of vehicles. For one, you might be running a local taxi company, taking people from place to place, or even a bus company. It might be a national coach company that you are thinking of starting up, a somewhat bolder and bigger version of this kind of business. Or you might not be carrying human cargo at all, but rather goods as a business-to-business operation. Whatever it is that you are specifically doing, running your own fleet of vehicles is the kind of thing that is always going to be a challenge.

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There are plenty of things that you need to be aware of in order to make sure that you are going to get it right, and in this article we are going to take a look at a number of the major ones. As long as you have thought about the following, you are going to have much more luck indeed with this business.

Insurance

The matter of insurance is a very important one, as you need to make sure that you are protecting yourself and your employees as well as you can in those worst-case instances. Being insured will mean that you can absolutely make sure that you are going to be protected, so it is something that you should not overlook if you can help it. In most parts of the world, the US and the UK included, insurance is unavoidable, a legal necessity. So there’s really no getting around it either way, and you are going to have to make sure that you have thought about it early on.

When you do look around for insurance, make sure that you shop around and go for the one that is going to be as good for you as possible. You need adequate protection, so there is no use settling for an insurer which is not going to do much for you at all. As long as you can insure your fleet properly, however, you will find that this is really going to make a huge difference to things.

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Tracking

You will also find it essential to keep a close eye on where your vehicles are at all times, how far they have gone, and how fast they are going. There are many reasons for this, not least that you need to ensure you are staying within legal limits – but also because you need to keep your employees in check, and you need to make sure that the vehicles are being looked after properly and not abused by taking them for longer distances than necessary. In order to keep track of all this, you might want to use something like TripLog Mileage, which will tell you the exact mileage as an app on a phone, and will show you individual trips the vehicle takes too. With that kind of tracking in place, you are going to find that it is much easier to know what is actually going on across your fleet.

Safety First

The number one priority at all times is safety. After all, driving is a dangerous business, and you need to make sure that your employees – and members of the public – are going to be as safe as possible along the way. If you are wondering how you can actually make sure of that, it’s pretty simple. You mostly just need to make sure that you are going to train your staff well, and that you provide them with the right kind of equipment too. Also, you will have to ensure that you are taking proper care of the vehicles, as only properly serviced vehicles are going to be safe, and that is not something that you can easily overlook. As long as you are regarding their safety in this way, your people will be much happier too.

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Permits

You will find that there are a number of permits and licences that you need if you are to operate such a fleet of vehicles, and you need to make sure that you are doing whatever you can to get the right ones. This will depend partly on what kind of vehicles and service we are talking about, and also on the area you are in, so it’s something you need to research if you are to run your own fleet of vehicles legally and therefore successfully. This will ensure a brighter future for the business.

3 Types Of Business Expansion & How To Master Them

If you are ever thinking about expanding your business, then that is generally a pretty good sign that things are going well. After all, you are not going to be able to expand a business if that company is not already in pretty good shape, so this is something that you should be pretty glad for, for that reason. Of course, that is not to say that it will necessarily go to planned or as well as you would hope, but there is also no reason to think that it won’t. As long as you know how to approach it and what to expect, there is every chance that you will be able to master your business expansion and make it work out as well as possible for you. That will mean great things for the future of the business if you do it right.

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In this article, we are going to discuss a few of the types of business expansion which you can consider for your business, or which are going to present themselves as opportunities at some point in the future. By understanding these well and ensuring that you know what they actually entail, you are empowering yourself and your business to succeed in mastering them. Let’s take a look.

The Merger

One way that your business might expand is by merging with another business into one larger company. This is one of the most common types of business expansion, and it is one with both its own interesting benefits and potential drawbacks and challenges. After all, merging with another business means that you are going to have to work out how to make them fit together. You will have two working cultures, two brands, two way of doing everything – and you will need to find a reasonable way to bring it all together into one cohesive whole. That is something which can be incredibly challenging, but there are things to consider which might help you out.

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If you look at this m&a closing checklist as an example, you will see that there is a lot that you can do to ensure that it all goes smoothly and to plan. Making sure there is a culture fit, hiring outside help, all of this is going to be important, and as long as you are thinking about those things you will find that your business is going to have a much better time of it during the merger. Done right, this could be one of the most exciting things to happen to your business since its creation.

The Overseas Expansion

It is a particularly exciting time when you are thinking about expanding your business overseas. For one thing, it generally means that you are doing pretty well, as it requires a strong base to be able to do this, and that is something that you should be glad for. But it’s also the case that expanding overseas is going to mean that you have plenty of great opportunities ahead, as it is often the beginning of a really strong part of any business’ life. That is, of course, as long as you do it right, and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that it is also one of the more challenging means of expanding a business, and one which requires a lot of work in order to make it work out.

To be sure of that, ensure that you have a strong base to work with. Having that will help hugely. You will also want to think about researching the culture that you are going into in plenty of detail. You want to avoid faux pas in the workplace, but you also need to work out how best to infiltrate the system for your business’ own benefit. Be careful, and this could work out well for you.

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Opening A Second Location

For something like a retail business, the mere possibility of opening up a second location is a good sign that things are going well. What’s more, this is one of the most exciting ways that you can expand a business, and generally it is one of the earliest that you will manage to do. In order to make sure that you do it right, you should be choosy about where that second location is. If it is chosen well, it could spell the beginning of a new life in your business. But if you get it wrong, the opposite might be the case. Be careful, and you should come out the other side intact.

Three Hurdles Growing Businesses Face (And How to Overcome Them)

If your SME is expanding, congratulations on your first growth stint. Creating a well-known and profitable company takes time, so the more you can learn from this phase the better. This exciting period of rapid growth can be quite daunting if you aren’t prepared for the extra challenges your business will face. The increase in pressure could provide you and your team with opportunities to shine, but it’s worth getting your head around what will be required to smooth that process and keep your business operating at full-tilt.

Here are some of the biggest challenges growing businesses encounter, and some helpful ideas to help you manage them.

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Increased Complexity

In the startup phase, when your business was manageable and simple, you were probably able to spot trends, notice opportunities for improvement and predict what effect your decisions will have on your bottom line without the help of expert advice or sophisticated software. But now that your company is growing more complex, it’s seeking outside support to nail down your strategy going forward. For example, you may like to develop more effective and specialist procurement strategies with the help of trusted partners. You might also benefit from Business Intelligence (BI) if you find that your company has become too complex. This data-driven technology offers insights into the complexities of your business, helping you make better decisions.

Reams of Paperwork

As a small company, you may not have had to bother with much of the complicated regulatory requirements and red tape that will take effect now that your business has grown. The bigger your operation becomes, the more regulations you will be required to demonstrate adherence to, and the more crucial it becomes that you meet them adequately. Whether it’s trader regulations, HR regulations, or new tax requirements, making sure your business paperwork is up to scratch doesn’t have to be a headache. You’ll need to do extra due diligence, which your team may not be used to. The key is to be organised from day one. Effective record keeping and enviable File Management will save you hours when it comes time to compile the requisite paperwork.

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Your Office is Getting Too Cramped

When your company is growing, you’ll invariably require extra space for your growing team. Additional workspace requirements can be a headache, especially if your business hasn’t been around long enough to qualify for a long-term office lease. In your first major growth period, it’s helpful to look for real estate opportunities that offer the flexibility you require without a significant upfront investment. A coworking space could be the answer to your prayers, at least until you’re sure where your business is growing and can find a more permanent solution. If you’re limited on space, allowing employees to work from home is a great way to help not only cut down on the space you need, but also save you some money.

Growth can be an exciting time for you and your team, but it can also be a huge learning curve for all involved. The increase in demand might be exhilarating, but without the experience that comes from long-term engagement in your industry, your new business might hit a speed wobble or two. These tips will help you maximise this growth opportunity, without falling at the inevitable hurdles.

Gradually Creating A Well-Known And Profitable Company

Creating a successful business takes time. The big companies in your industry didn’t emerge from the blue, even if that seems to be the case. They had to gradually build their brands from the ground up. In the face of ever-changing competition, it’s hard to not only gain success but maintain it, too. You have to compete not only with the huge corporations at the top of your marketplace but the small businesses in the same boat as you. So, where do you begin? Well, the advice in this post should help you to gradually create a well-known and profitable company.

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Collect information on your target market.

The first step to gradually creating a well-known and profitable company is to collect information on your target market. Obviously, you know that market research is essential to the success of your business. You can’t make accurate and well-calculated plans for your company unless you know what your intended customers want from a business such as yours. Your strategies depend on the data you collect. You should use online statistics to deduce which aspects of your website and social media pages appeal to your target demographic; Twitter and Facebook both give excellent information with regards to engagement from followers. This could give you an indication of the type of posts that will resonate with your target market.

Of course, talking directly to consumers is the best way to figure out what they want. Talk to both your current customers and potential customers that you’re trying to attract. By finding out what they like or dislike about your company, you’ll be able to make the right kinds of changes to your business. But you might also find out what problems face your target market in the industry at large. In turn, you could find some gaps in the market that need to be filled. Spotting a problem that your competitors have yet to solve could help your business to set itself apart from its rivals. That’s how you’ll start to get noticed by consumers in your marketplace. Additionally, that’s how you’ll gradually start to create a well-known and profitable company.

Create an appealing brand.

You also need to create an appealing brand if you want your company to become well-known and successful in its industry. Branding is the key to success. In most industries, even the distinctive corporations at the top of the market sell similar products and services to each other. Their brand identities are the things that set them apart. So, if you want to differentiate your business from a sea of similar competitors, you should focus on your brand. That’s how you’ll stand out in a fast-paced and overcrowded marketplace. Remember, consumers have multiple options, and your brand might be the only thing that sets your products and services apart from others being offered in the industry as a whole.

You should try to relate to your target market. Your business is run by people; remember that. Your brand shouldn’t feel cold and impersonal. It should demonstrate the human side of your company because that’s how you’re going to connect with potential customers. Perhaps you could donate some of your profits to local charities on a regular basis. This would show that your business has a caring and selfless side. It would show that you value the community and not simply making a profit. Perhaps you could try to run your company in an eco-friendly way, too. Sustainable business practices are so important in the modern world. It’s not just about protecting the environment and saving money for your company, of course; it’s about showing consumers that your company is responsible and focused on the future.

Invest your money sensibly.

It’s also wise to invest your money sensible if you want your business to be profitable. Your company can’t grow effectively if it doesn’t invest its profits effectively. Bringing in sales will help your business, but continued success depends on how you spend those profits. That’s why you need to focus on margins. A company that sells a lot of products but has massive overhead costs will not have big profit margins. As a result, such businesses often struggle to invest in themselves. That makes it difficult for them to grow in the long run.

So, you have to focus on your costs and make sure that you’re spending your money in a way which benefits the expansion of your company. Sustainability was mentioned in the previous point – perhaps you could stop using paper and insulate your office windows to trap heat. These are two examples of environmentally-conscious measures that could save your business money. With increased profit margins, you could put more money towards investments that would help your company to grow.

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Improve your ranking on search result pages.

You should also focus on your digital marketing strategy if you want your business to be successful. In particular, you should focus on your online ranking. You should strive to push your company’s website to the top of search engine result pages if you want it to gain attention from the market. This requires a good content strategy, so you might want to outsource that aspect of your online marketing campaign. You could get help from an SEO agency such as seoexplode. Specialists in this area could help your business to show up at the top of search result pages by improving the content of your website. It’s all about smart keywords and an appealing design.

Spread the word on social media.

If you want to gradually create a well-known and profitable company, then you should spread the word on social media. Continuing from the previous point, this is another important part of your digital marketing strategy. Social networks are valuable platforms for businesses, but you have to know how to use them. Simply posting endless adverts won’t help you to captivate your intended audience. You need to post relevant and engaging content. Talk to people, as suggested in the first point of this article, and hop on the latest trends. You might even want to get help from online influencers to promote your brand to their followers. If you choose an influencer with a following that would be interested in your business, then that would be an authentic way of marketing your brand.

Meh to Marvelous: Killer Ways To Maximise The Effect Of Your Marketing

Screaming into the void! That is how some folks approach marketing. Of course, with so much competition for the attention of potential customers, this is not the most effective way of doing things. Happily, there are several strategies you can use to turn your marketing from meh into marvelous. Read on to find out what they are.

Make it client-focused

Catchy headlines and awesome content are all very well and good. However, what matters above all else in marketing is appealing to the specific type of customer you are targeting. To that end, if you want to make your marketing as effective as possible, you must know your target demographic inside out.

Of course, that means researching far more than just what your audience thinks about your product. You also need to know they feel about key issues, and what goals they have in life as well. All of this being useful information to help you better focus your campaigns.

Personalize on a micro level

Client focus can now go beyond tailoring things to a specific demographic. In fact, it is entirely possible to target a particular individual and create marketing material such as specific landing pages especially for them.

Of course, this is another tactic that can help to make your marketing much more impactful. The reason being that not only are personalized assets likely to catch an individual’s attention, but they can provide a much higher conversion rate as well. Something that means you can maximize every single marketing interaction your business makes.

Employ and train the best marketers

Additionally, employing the best people for the job is a crucial element of making your marketing as effective as possible. In fact, many people forget that just like any specialized role, being a good marketer is a skill that requires considerable talent and experience.

To that end, investing in the highest quality employees for marketing strategy and content development is vital if you want this part of your business to be effective. Some companies even go so far as to offer higher-level training to their works. Such as this MBA degree in marketing online which employees can compete alongside their job. Something that can help to advance their performance and so the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns a considerable amount.

Use analytics to guide your strategy

Long gone are the days where you just estimated the effect that a marketing campaign would have on your business. In fact, with the digitization in marketing analytics, feedback on how effective what you are doing is are available like never before.

Of course, all those statistics are worth nothing if you don’t use them to inform your practice continually. Something that means making adjustments to your campaign regularly as you go along. However, if you choose to utilize analytics in your campaigns, you will be able to maximize the effect of your marketing in compelling ways. Something that will move your campaigns from meh, into marvelous, and perhaps even into the echelons beyond.

5 Crucial Things To Do To Protect Your Business

As a business owner, your business is your baby. This means you’re going to want to take every possible step to protect it. Read on for 5 crucial things to do.

  1. Be Careful Who You Give Access To

You don’t need to give access of your sensitive files to all of your employees. Be careful – you need to trust your employees but you also need to be sensible.

  1. Use The Cloud

The cloud is a place you can store your files to access them even if something happens to your systems. Make the most of it!

  1. Secure Your Business

Secure your physical premises too – make sure your doors are strong, install security lighting, and so on. Most burglaries are unplanned, so make sure you deter them with CCTV.

  1. Security Training

Make sure security training is available so that everybody knows what to do if a serious threat does take place. Your team should also be able to recognise suspicious behaviour.

  1. Secure Your Equipment

Carry out equipment audits and make sure responsibility for particular items is handed over to individual employees. Consider securing your most expensive equipment to floors and walls. Make sure you have the appropriate software installed to secure your equipment, too. Learning about data permanence can help you to understand how it all works and give you further ideas on protecting your data.

 


know that Data permanence is not an issue with WipeDrive

Why You Should Power Your Business With Hydroelectricity

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Hydroelectric power is a type of power where water is used to create electricity to be used at home or for large businesses. We all know how important it is to think about our planet and the resources it has, and by switching to energy such as this we can make a huge impact on the planet in a positive way. Today we want to take a look at how you can utilise hydroelectricity as a business and why this is the best way for you to power your empire.

Originally, hydroelectric power was used mostly for powering sawmills and helping farmers to grind grains for flour and other uses. It has been a staple in the agricultural business for a number of years and now it looks to spread to a wider audience.

It sends a great message

As a business it is always crucial for you to take the effort to be green and send a good message to those who buy from you. In a position of power such as a business, you are able to influence the general public and guide them in the right direction, and by using renewable energy sources in your production of products is a good way for you to show the world that you care. With the stakes put on being eco-friendly these days, it is incredibly important for us to work towards being green as this can even increase the likelihood of a loyal audience.

Economic

One of the main reasons why, as a business, you should choose hydroelectric power is the fact that it is cheap to run. You would be surprised at how affordable this type of generator is to set up and it will make a huge difference to the running costs of your business. A hydroelectric system is simple in design with pressure sensors, turbines, and a generator to create electricity. The beauty of using water to power your business is that it doesn’t need to be purified so any water source will work and this will reduce the cost even further.

Renewable and clean

When trying to change the way we power our businesses, it is important for us to consider how clean the energy will be. Hydroelectricity uses only moving water and the momentum from this to generate energy, and this means it avoids using the many natural resources we have that won’t regenerate such as oil and natural gas. Water covers a large percentage of the world so there is no reason why we shouldn’t use it to power our offices and machinery.

If you were reading the first part of this article you will have noticed that hydroelectricity is used for more than just to power your office lighting and computers. If you manufacture your own goods and use heavy machinery to perform tasks, water can be used here to power these machines and sharply decrease your labour costs. This can be a big improvement for your business and will allow you to use your revenue for other things such as business expansion.

Can Your Marketing Cut Through The Noise?

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How many adverts does the average consumer see in one day? With figures reaching ten thousand, it’s little wonder that most of them are reduced to noise in a screamingly loud arena. The marketplace is absolutely saturated, and more and more brands now are finding that their old strategies aren’t paying off anymore. But the fact remains that marketing is still effective and does generate a return on investment – provided you do it right.

The way that we consume content has changed, and so content marketing is an avenue which helps potential customers to absorb your messages in a much more palatable way. Digital advertising can be highly effective as long as you use demographic data to target it properly and to the right audience. If you manage to create a strong brand that resonates with people, you have a valuable foot in the door.

Creating Trust

Relationship-based marketing activities are now an essential in order to make potential customers more receptive to your messages and promotions. Start by developing your vision and values and finding causes that you can ally with. This gives your business an authenticity which allows you to connect with customers. Consumers state that trust is the second most common reason that they will choose a brand – and they trust brands which are true to themselves. Nailing your colors to the mast may seem intimidating – many small businesses gear alienating anyone and insist that their product or service is for everyone, but powerful messages require you to narrow the appeal. People trust businesses which stand for something and aren’t afraid to communicate that.

Try New Formats

The channels you use to communicate are extremely important. Do your research to find out exactly where your target audience is, and us the information to develop your approach. It could mean working with a podcast agency to produce broadcasts which address topics your audience is invested in, or authoring blog posts which tap into a trend that is capturing their interest. You may need a tool which helps you produce infographics or a campaign across social media channels. Tailor your activity to what the data shows you is needed. Focus on adding value – sharing knowledge to position your business as a thought leader in the field.

Live In The Moment

In a globally connected world, your customer experience is connected to a series of moments. Work out current topics of interest which connect to your mission and give you topics to comment on. This could mean building an editorial calendar of national and international events, or creating a customer journey map which shows the emotions that different personae go through during their purchasing process. If marketing speaks to a customers life and personal experience then it’s far more likely to have an impact. Hunt out exactly what is happening at each stage of their process and respond to that.

Standing out from the crowd and getting your marketing to cut through all the noise isn’t complicated – it just requires an amazing focus on your customers and an understanding of how best to talk to them with the right message at the right time.