It’s Time To Face Some Hard Truths About Your Business

Let’s face it, running a business is far from easy. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things that anyone could ever pursue. For anyone who wants to enjoy the freedom, responsibility, and independence that comes with running a business, they’ve also got to be aware of the challenges that they’re going to end up facing. The problem is that so many business owners tend to ignore many of the things might be causing problems in their business because it’s simply easier to think exclusively about the positive things. Of course, it hardly takes a genius to understand why this is a problem. It doesn’t matter if a ship is sailing in the right direction if it’s full of holes and is slowly sinking. With that in mind, here are some harsh truths about why your business might not be succeeding the way that it should.

Your website isn’t up to scratch

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Over the years there are have been plenty of different ways for customers to seek out and find different businesses. For a long time, things like word of mouth were the most effective, if not the only methods of letting people know about your business. Then things like the phone book and TV advertising because more and more popular. However, none of those had nearly the reach that the twenty-first century’s most popular marketing platform has. That platform is, of course, the internet. The internet allows you to reach more people than ever before and you can be pretty sure that the vast majority of your customers are going to find your business through it. Because of this, you really don’t have an excuse for a lackluster website. You need to make sure that it’s functional, easy to navigate and well designed. Of course, achieving these things isn’t always easy, especially if it’s not a skill set that you have. You should think about connecting with companies like CandidSky. That way you can be sure that you’re going to get the most out of your website and create the most intuitive user experience possible for your customers.

You aren’t connecting with customers

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Speaking of customers, far too many businesses make the mistake of treating them like some kind of monolith, as though they weren’t individual but were simply a single mass that engaged with a business in a single, specific way. Because of this many customers end up feeling as though they have no real connection to a business. If you can’t connect with your customers on an individual and emotional level, then you’re never going to be able to create the kind of loyalty that your business really needs. However, there are plenty of things that you can do to connect with customers more effectively. Of course, the most effective is to speak with them face to face. Let them know that they are important to your business and make them feel as though you really value them. You can also use things like social media as a way to connect directly with them, even if you’re never in the same place. Social media also allows for your interactions with customers to be public. This means that not only are you engaging with customers, but you’re able to use it as an extra marketing tool as well.

You’re not making your employees feel valued

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Your employees are the core of your business. It doesn’t matter how strong your ideas are, without people who can make them real, the whole thing is going to come grinding to a halt. The biggest mistake that a lot of business owners make is that they assume that their employees will be loyal and motivated no matter what. In reality, you’re never going to get the most out of your employees if they don’t feel as though they are an important part of your business or that the work that they do is actually being noticed. It’s incredibly important to let your employees know how much you value them. This is not even particularly challenging to do. Things like recognizing and rewarding hard work and great ideas are incredibly effective, but you can also do things like being flexible with your employees in terms of working hours. That way they will feel as though you’re willing to treat them like people, and not as yet another cog in some sort of large machine. Thinking of your employees and individuals with unique needs and desires is the first step to being able to create a workplace structure where no one feels as though they aren’t being valued.

You’re lagging behind the competition

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If there’s one phrase that is the absolute death of any business in the modern marketplace, it’s “good enough.” If you look at any parts of your business as you think that they’re “good enough” then you’re already doomed. This is because the modern business world is more ruthlessly competitive than it has ever been before. If you try to take any time to sit back on your laurels, then competition is going to sweep the rug out from under you almost instantly. You should always make an effort to push your business forward no matter what. Keep yourself informed by reading business blogs and articles. Stay up to date on all of the most current and innovative business practices. Not only that but you should try to move beyond just keeping up with the times and try to push past them. Think about what it is that your competition is not yet doing that could potentially give you the edge. Innovation should be a key part of your business at all times.

Of course, your business won’t’ necessarily be suffering from all or even any of these problems. However, it’s important to be aware of them and understand that they always pose a risk to any business. If you’re aware of them from the very start, you’re going to be able to avoid them as effectively as possible and really drive your business to truly succeed.

Leaving School? Ideas For Your Next Step In Business

Leaving school is a daunting prospect for any young person. But the pressure to make a decision of what you do next can be even more so. It’s understandable that you may be unsure of the next steps for you, or even what you want to do. However, most young people will know the sort of industry or type of career they would like. If you have at least that sort of knowledge, then you are well on your way for being able to decide what your next move might be. If you are interested in business, then you may want to consider some of the options for your next chapter.

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Become an intern and gain experience

Experience will always be seen as valuable when it comes to working in the business sector. Of course, in some career choices, you do need degrees and certain qualifications, especially when you want to consider a hands-on business aspect like manufacturing. But experience will always be valuable to you and doing straight out of school means you are keen to learn every aspect of the business you are working at. Plus, interns do get some great opportunities when it comes to careers in the future, some even get offered jobs.

Consider different degrees you can do online

There are always options, and studying doesn’t mean heading to school once more. Distance learning is becoming more popular, and you can find that you can get much of your qualifications this way. Manufacturing, business, even things like law can all be learned through a distance learning site. Some have considered things like a lean management master course online, and that has enabled them to look at all sorts of industry options. For example, the automotive sectors, which do have a wide range of opportunities.

Head to University and study

You could always consider heading to university and studying traditionally. Many people do this and go on to have hugely successful careers. It may be worth looking into the schools you want to attend and what course they may have to offer.

Take a year out to work out your next move

You may want to think about just taking a year out from your decision. There is no rule in place to state you have to do something or study as soon as you leave. Often in this period, you can gain some experience in a job role, or even try out some different things to ensure that you are making the right choice when the time is right.

Have a GAP year traveling

Finally, many students consider a GAP year when it comes to traveling. This allows people to have some amazing experiences while traveling the world. This is the perfect opportunity to gain some head space about your future while using a time where you have no commitments at home, to really see the world.

I hope this has made you more aware of some of the other options you have when you leave school.

Small Business Security Tips

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When you’re running a small business, it can feel like you have a million and one things to juggle, and a lot of the time you really do, so I can fully understand that security, above and beyond the basics, might not be the most important thing on your mind. However, in this day and age, business security really is of the utmost importance, and that doesn’t just apply to the big guns –it’s important to small businesses too.

If your think you and your business could be more security conscious, here are some small business security tips to help you improve things starting now:

Create Staff ID

If you want to ensure that your office building is as safe as possible, it’s a good idea to create staff Id Cards. These don’t have to be expensive – you can visit lanyardsusa.com and have laminated ID cards printed up online for very little – but you should have some way of identifying who should and should not be in the building quickly and you should have a staff member who is responsible for checking this out before entry is gained, where possible.

Install CCTV

To keep your staff safer, it’s also a good idea to install CCTV inside and outside your workspace. This will help you to quickly identify any possible security issues, and should an incident take place; you’ll be able to produce evidence to the authorities, which will help the perpetrator to be caught.

Screen Your Staff

It is always advisable that you screen your staff before hiring them. Thorough screening will throw up any potential problems like instances of violence or past security breaches in a candidate’s history so that you can avoid hiring them and keep the rest of the employees, and your business, safe and secure.

Put a Cyber Security Policy in Place

The simple act of actually drawing up a cyber security policy can work wonders. When you’re staff are told that they should be changing their passwords on a regular basis, not writing down any sensitive information or sharing it via email and not opening suspect email attachments, they are more likely to do or not do those things, and your business will be much safer as a result.

Install Security Software

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We are living in the age of the internet and although this is very convenient for so many reasons, it does mean that our businesses are more vulnerable than ever to hack attacks, viruses, and malware, which means that, if you want to keep all of your sensitive data safe and ensure that your business doesn’t grind to a halt due to viruses, you really need to have a good security software package in place.

Most experts would advise that you use a host-based security solution, which is more secure than the alternatives, providing that you update regularly and install it to all of your devices.

Ensure Your Wi-Fi Network is Secured

A lot of small business simply do not take the time to secure their Wi-Fi networks, often because they haven’t thought about the need to do so, but leaving your network unsecured can leave your company open to man in the middle attacks, where your personal information can be gleaned and used for nefarious purposes.

Luckily, securing your Wi-Fi network is pretty simple, and all you have to do is use the highest level of encryption available combined with long and complex passwords to keep the hackers out. You might also consider not broadcasting your Wi-Fi network’s name so that no one can even find it!

Security Train Your Staff

When it comes to security breaches, it is often small business staff who are responsible for any issues. Mostly, they have not intentionally caused security issues – they just don’t know how to prevent them or neglect to put in place the relevant measures to keep everything secure. One way of cutting the number of staff-related security breaches is to give your staff comprehensive security training and to keep topping up that training annually.

Once your employees know how to deal with sensitive data, how to avoid hack attacks and how to use encryption in the office, you will notice fewer problems.

Always Encrypt

The best way to maintain the security of your sensitive data is to encrypt it without exception. You don’t need to worry about encryption all of your business data, but the stuff you wouldn’t want getting into the wrong hands should be encrypted using full disk encryption so that only the people you wish to access it can.

If your business uses the internet to input or exchange data, switch over to a HTTPS browser, which is more secure than a standard one, so your data is less likely to be intercepted by the wrong people.

Install a Network Firewall

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If you run an internal network in your office, you should ideally install a network firewall such as Cisco ASA firewall to help protect you from attacks before they reach your network and cause all manner of havoc.

Install Anti-Theft Software

Anti-theft software should be installed on every single device you and your employees use for business, even if it is your own personal laptop or tablet.

If you have anti-theft software in place, should your device be lost or stolen, it will wipe out every last piece of data on your hard drive so that sensitive information can’t fall into the wrong hands. This, of course, means that all of your data should be backed up so that you can still access it if a crisis situation does occur.

As well as installing anti-theft software, you should also consider installing actual locks on non-portable hardware like data servers and desktops, so that they cannot be stolen and accessed.

There is no sure-fire way of keeping your small business safe and secure, but if you implement as many of the above as possible and if you use your common sense, you are much less likely to suffer from any serious security breaches now or in the future.

Build Security For Your New Business On These Essential Foundations

There are many reasons why so many startups fail in the first year. Any business that is built upon shaky foundations is unlikely to survive. There are many ingredients that can help lead your new company to success. By making sure each one is secure as a footing for your business, you can reduce the risks that challenges may bring. Is your startup resting securely on these essential business foundations?

Reputation

Your business needs to have a good reputation before it even starts. As the company director or owner, your personal reputation should be squeaky clean. Any financial support for your company might be given based on your own history of borrowing. As for your product offering, you are the face and voice of that product. You are the brand, and you are the spokesperson for your product. Build a good reputation for yourself as that subject matter expert. This will generate a good following, ready for your product launch.

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 Security

Customers and suppliers will not trade with you if you cannot assure their security. There are many laws across the globe that are designed to ensure businesses protect the personal data that is shared with them. It’s essential your company has business class cyber security protection to avoid loss of data. As a startup, you can’t afford the lost man-hours while systems are compromised. Protection is prevention, and that’s a lot better than having to worry about the cure.

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 Financial Stability

Your suppliers will demand evidence of your financial stability. This might include credit checks or even a request to see your company accounts. Keep your spending to a minimum in the first year or so. Show care and attention to your purchases so that suppliers and lenders will trust your business decisions. Don’t forget, refunds for purchases are often legally enforced should your product fail to meet expected standards. You may also be required to meet the cost of repairs or replacements. These things can occasionally happen, regardless of the quality of your products. Make sure you can afford it.

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 Excellent Product

Of course, having an excellent, innovative product that is proven in tests, reviews, and focus groups could be the most important foundation of your business. You need a product your sales teams can believe in. And you need their belief to be passed onto the customer. Without a great product, you could fail in your business.

Impeccable Customer Service

Things can go wrong, and customers can become very upset about it. Every company needs impeccable customer service to survive those rocky moments. It needs to go far beyond the apology and the ability to withstand an angry rant. You need agents that are willing to take a case on and put things right. They need to be respectful, sincere, and apologetic. If you can make it right, that customer may even come back again in the future. Most importantly, they won’t be taking their rant to social media.

Is your new business built on these strong foundations? Check for weaknesses and continually strive to strengthen your company from within.

You Can’t Call Your Business Modern Without These Things

Making it as a business in the modern world takes a lot of effort. It’s essential to keep up with the latest developments, whether your business has been going for several decades or it’s a brand new venture. Your industry can move faster than you feel you’re able to keep up, leaving you scrambling to meet customer demands and face up to your competition. Many business owners like to believe that their business is modern, but there are some key things they need to make sure they have. Without some top elements of a modern business, you can’t really call your business modern.

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A Strong Social Media Strategy

Social media has grown in strength over the 21st century. It has become more and more important for businesses to connect with their customers. But, while many companies do have a social media presence, they don’t all have a set strategy for making the most of it. With any marketing move, it’s essential to come up with a plan so that everything you do has a purpose. There’s no point making use of the power of social media if you don’t really know what direction you’re going in. If you want your business to be truly modern, you need to have a strong social media strategy.

Mobile Tech

Getting connected with mobile technologies is another way that modern businesses need to be keeping up. People carry their mobile devices everywhere, and it’s often the fastest way to get in touch with someone. Mobile tech offers a variety of methods to reach people, from apps to text messages. Modern business owners need to look into mobile app development, responsive web design, and whether an SMS campaign could be useful. Mobile tech also links to email and other things that have grown on desktop devices before becoming available as mobile technologies.

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 Cloud Technology

If your business isn’t using cloud technology, you could be missing out. It can offer a host of benefits to make your business more modern, as well as aid in saving money. Cloud technology can help your business with a range of things, from data storage to scalable software subscriptions and automatic IT updates. Cloud tech also helps to protect your business, playing an important part in disaster recovery. It’s a growing area of technology, so any modern business needs to be sure to keep up.

Data Analytics

Big data has become something for businesses to pay attention to. But even if your business isn’t collecting huge amounts of useful data, it should have some useful data. Monitoring different processes and collecting information from various places helps you to decide what’s working for your business and how you can improve. If you don’t have the right data collection and analytics tools, you’re going to trail behind modern businesses that do. Google Analytics is a good tool to start with if you want to begin monitoring visitors to your website.

Modern businesses need to have modern tools and technology to make it in their industry. Make sure you can call your business modern by staying up to date.

Clever Branding Tips For Your Home Business

As a small company, you need to look big. Small companies have a fight on their hands to be seen in the business world, and when you run a business online from home, your online presence needs to be on point. Branding your business is so much more than just your logo, and if you believe that the logo is what matters the most you may as well shut up shop and find something else to do. The logo and name you have may be a huge part of it all, but it’s not everything. The brand you have will cover your name, your colours, your symbols and your marketing materials that you choose to use. Without your brand, you cannot attract customers or keep the loyal clients who work with you the most. A good brand image can get across to people what your company can do. Flexing your business muscles and showing the world what you can do is so important for a small, home business and understanding how you can make your brand stand out is key!

Smaller businesses, especially those that are run from home, need to have clever brand strategies to do well. With our tips, you can ensure that your brand is as big as can be!

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It starts with a name. Your brand recognition is going to start with a name that stands out. The logo that goes along with it should be one you are 100% happy with, as revamping a logo can cost you a lot of money later on. Of course, you could teach yourself how to do your own branding with Adobe training resources and save yourself some money. Either way, you need to create a brand name and logo that everyone will recognise. Think about the Golden Arches of McDonald’s – simple, bright and everyone knows it! People should be able to identify you just by looking at your logo, which is why it’s so vital!

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Your message should pop. Within your brand, you have to be able to tell the world that what you do is unique to your competition. Ask yourself what makes you original and stand out, and then push this everywhere you can! Learn what your current customers love about you and capitalise on that for your business.

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Consistency is key! You are running a small, home-based business and it’s important to have a voice and use that voice to communicate your goals to your customers. You need to be consistent on social media platforms, your company website and across all your marketing materials. Post marketing is still a thing, as is email marketing and the way you design these matter to customers. Brand consistency keeps you familiar and that familiarity will help people to recognise you – and this is how you will generate profit.

Your brand should be out there from the moment you start up and by having a voice online, you can live up to the promises you make to your customers. Be present, be consistent and be familiar to your customers at all times and you can’t lose!

Home Run! Start Strong with Your Home Business

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Starting a business from home is becoming more and more popular all the time, and it’s not hard to see why. There are a lot of opportunities for saving money, and it’s easier than ever to get the resources you really need to keep a business afloat.

But a lot of people are still skeptical about the whole thing – even those who think that it’s something they may want to pursue in the near future. Starting a home business is feasible, but a lot of people think that it can’t possibly have the levity that a serious business needs to thrive. But as long as you have the right mindset and resources, running a small business from home is definitely possible. And, in fact, it may even be ideal for the early days of your business.

The product or service

Starting a home business is going to fail just like any other business if the product or service you’re offering isn’t great. Sure, the lower overhead may mean that mistakes are less likely to kill your business, but you’re not going to get by with a mediocre product that brings in enough money to live while you sit around in your pyjamas. Whatever it is you’re offering as a home business, you should never assume it can be of a lower quality than what you’d get from some global billion-dollar corporation.

Office and software

This is where a lot of businesses costs will come in – thankfully, they’re going to be much cheaper than if you were running a business from a traditional office! It’s important that you have a space that’s dedicated to your business, especially because there are so many potential distractions when you’re working from home. You’ll need a computer that can handle the work, a desk at which to work, and a chair that’s comfortable enough for prolonged sitting. If you’re missing any items, consider checking out websites DontPayFull.com for deals in pretty much everything. You should also look for deals in software – when you’re running a business from home, the right software can be essential for lifting much of the work load.

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Legalities

You’re going to have to deal with a few boring tidbits here. If you want to get assistance from a freelance accountant, you can do so at websites like PeoplePerHour.com. This can ease the legal complexities you’ll have to deal with because the vast majority of it relates to tax and finances. Just because your business is home-based, it doesn’t mean that there’s a go-to selection when it comes to registering as a business entity with the government.

Dealing with employees

So how exactly are you going to deal with employees when you’re running a business from home? Well, it is possible that you have people round during certain hours of the day to assist you with certain things, but that should really only be done if it’s absolutely necessary. Otherwise, you’re much better off keeping it all remote. With things like Skype and websites like Docs.Google.com, it’s easier than ever to collaborate with others on serious work endeavors. These are essential tools if you’re going to hire employees as a home-based business.

10 Things Your Business Must Have To Be The Best

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

  1. A Professional Website

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

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

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2. Appropriate Social Media Profiles

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

3. A Well Thought Out Marketing Strategy

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

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

4. A Business Phone System

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

5. A Brand Voice

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

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

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6. Employees Who Share Your Vision

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

7. A USP

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

8. Incredible Customer Service

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

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

What to do when it comes to customer service:

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

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

9. Goals

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

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

10. A Plan

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

Does your business have the above 10 things?

 

5 Things Only National Business Owners Understand

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

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

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

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

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

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 2) You Have To Learn To Trust

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

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

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

… Well, most of the time anyway!

3) There’s Always A Problem Child

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

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4) You Over-Focus On The Problem Child

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

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

5) Trust Is Easily Lost

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

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

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

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

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

7) It’s Tremendously Satisfying

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

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8) It’ll Always Be “Your Baby”

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

Forget The Internet: Try These Real World Marketing Techniques

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

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

Event sponsorship

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

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Guerilla marketing

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

Street promotion

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

Fixing a Business With an Unstable Foundation

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

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

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Your Financial Situation

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

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

Customer Relations

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

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

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Employee Relations

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

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

Summary

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

6 Ways To Improve Your Company’s Financial Situation

Overheard at a strategy meeting this week:

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

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

Pretty interesting discussion/meeting…!

Broaden Your Business

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

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

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

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

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

Loud And Proud! How To Get Your New Business Noticed

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

Organizing a business event

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

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

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

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Maximizing the power of social media

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

 

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

 

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Traditional tactics

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Ensure You Have Financial Backing Before You Commit

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

Set Your Service Apart From Everyone Else

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

Market Your Business Properly

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

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

Quick Solutions To Everyday Business Problems

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

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

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

Irrefutable Reasons To Sponsor An Event

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

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

The Exposure Is Real

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

Brand Recognition

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

The Perceived Image

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

Cultivate Leads

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

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Network

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

Target The Right Market

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

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

The Importance Of A Strong Business Reputation

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

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

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Always keep your promises

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

Be secure

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

Do more

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

Say sorry

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

Options: The Gold Standard For Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Overhaul Your Bland Brand

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

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

Keep it focused

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

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

Create a strong internal brand

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

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Build an airtight reputation on trust

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

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