Making Your Small Business Appear Bigger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knowing Your Customers As Well As Yourself

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

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Just ask them

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

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Lift the veil

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

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

Highly Effective, Low Effort Ways To Improve Your Business

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

Better marketing

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

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

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

Better networks

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

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

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

Better customer service

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

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

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

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

 

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

Hire better employees

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teach better management skills

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

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

Making Your Brand Really Work

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

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Consistency Is Key

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

Online & Offline Are Equally Important

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

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Don’t Be Afraid To Rebrand

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

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

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

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Desks and Chairs

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

Internet Access

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

Lighting

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

Printers

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

Computers

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

Hot Drink Facilities

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

Communication

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

Shredder

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

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

What Does Expansion In Business Really Look Like?

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

 

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Timing

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

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

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

 

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

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

Types

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Take Your Business Branding Efforts to the Next Level

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

Referral Programs

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

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Guest Content

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

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

Infographics

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

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

A few examples of great infographics for SEO are:

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Watermarks

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

Fleet Designs

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

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

Invaluable Tools For Business Automation

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

Here are four resources which are well worth considering.

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Needls

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

Slack

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

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Excel VBA

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

99 Dollar Social

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

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

5 Ways To Fund Your Startup

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

Save up

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

Take out a loan

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

Use a revolving line of credit

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

Seek an investor

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

Crowdfund

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

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

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

Efficiency and Reliability

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

Cost-effectiveness

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

Credibility

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

Safety

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

Employee Morale

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

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

Want to Expand Your Business? Here’s How to do it Sustainably

As a business owner, you’ll know all about how important it is for businesses to keep evolving, and sometimes that evolution has to take the form of a big expansion. You can only grow slowly for so long before something bigger has to happen in order for your company to keep up the momentum and carry on eating up that market share. But that shouldn’t allow you to lose sight of how to expand sustainably.

Any business that expands in an unsustainable way will run into major difficulties before long. And that’s the fate you want your company to avoid in the months and years ahead. It’s much healthier for the business if you do this in a measured and proper way.

So if you’re sure that you want to expand your business and you feel the time is right for it to happen, you need to read on and learn all about how to approach this whole thing in a sustainable manner

Don’t Rush Into Anything

You definitely don’t want to rush into any big plans if you want to make this whole thing as sustainable as it can be. When you rush into things, you tend to make mistakes and do things that will probably not turn out to be in the long-term interests of your business. It might seem like time is of the essence right now, but in truth, there’s always time to plan things and do things the right way. It’s the safest path to travel down.

Monitor the Trends in Your Industry

Right now, the world is changing and that probably applies to your business’s wider industry too. Technology is one of the many things disrupting how we do business and how companies function on a day to day basis. It’s definitely worth paying more attention to these trends right now so that you can avoid them causing you problems later on. You definitely need to know what’s happening and what’s changing in your industry before you expand your business.

Save Your Profits

If your business is looking like it’s ready to expand, that should mean that it’s consistently turning a profit. If it’s not, then you shouldn’t even be thinking about expanding it right now. So let’s assume your company is profitable; what are you doing with those profits? Now is not the time to be sharing out profits among shareholders. Instead, you should be saving that cash so you could put it back into the business to help it expand faster and better.

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Do Your Own Investing in the Business

Putting some more of your own money back into the business isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re still paying yourself and ensuring your business financial situation remains in a strong position. You could even invest cash in various ways and then plough your returns back into the business to get that expansion underway. Algo Terminal’s trading platform for quants could help you to do this. Consider your options and see if this is something that could work for you.

If You Want External Investors to Come in, Assess Them Carefully

Many people see the best way of getting their business growing as finding external investors to get on board. There is nothing necessarily wrong about taking that path forward, but you do need to be very careful about it because there are many problems that you can run into along the way. You don’t want to be lumbered with a partner who owns half the business if you don’t like them or agree with them on key issues.

Expand in Ways That Look to the Future

When you’re expanding your business, it needs to be a process that involves looking to the future and thinking about what should or could come next for your business. If you are looking backwards rather than forwards, the expansion might leave your business unfit for purpose in 5 or 10 years’ time. Keep thinking about how things are changing and how your business will need to adapt in the near future.

Fill Gaps in the Market at Home or Overseas

Gaps in the market are always there, and they’re always waiting to be exploited. You need to be wise and savvy so that you can make your business’s expansion all about filling those gaps in the market in order to sell more, reach new customers and make more money. By expanding, you will be able to cover more ground, and that might even mean filling gaps in the market in overseas territories too.

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 Have an Exit Plan in Place For if the Expansion Doesn’t Go as Planned

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee at all that your expansion plans will work out the way you really want them to. And if they don’t, you need to have a way of backing out and recovering your business’s former position. So many businesses completely fall apart when they try to expand, and that’s what you need to avoid. It can be done by making sure you have an exit plan ready and waiting if it ever needs to be used.

Ensure Your Employees Grow With the Business

If your business is getting better, so should your employees. This can mean a couple of things; for a start, you should think about expanding your team and bringing in new people with new talents. However, it should also mean that you help the people who are already part of your team and who have helped you to success thus far to grow and improve themselves through training and other things as well.

Businesses always need to have ways of expanding and taking on new dimensions. If yours stands still for too long, it will only end up going backwards as it gets overtaken by newer and hungrier companies in your sector. At the same time, don’t expand for the sake of it; only do it when the time is right and you have a plan for how to do it sustainably.

If The Product Is Only Half The Battle, What’s The Other 50%?

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By now, you’ve probably heard someone tell you that the quality of a product is only half of the battle for customers. There’s no doubt that high standards must be kept if you are ever going to land long-term rewards. Nonetheless, no entrepreneur can overlook the other key factors.

So, what exactly are the other aspects that need to be considered? Let’s take a closer look at the additional elements you must master.

#1. “Getting The Audience”

Modern consumers don’t just look for great products; they want a winning connection with the brand. Therefore, showing that you ‘get them’ by appreciating your niche and place in the market is key. When clients know that your business is accommodating to their tastes, needs, and backgrounds, it will make a big impact.

Apart from helping your tweak the products and services, it can stop you from wasting energies on outside audiences. Given that their reactions are fairly irrelevant anyway, this is certainly the best way to go.

#2. Customer Care

Even in today’s climate, people buy people. As such, the way you treat customers will often see them pay you back in kind. Assuming that you want them to do so in a positive, manner, upgrading your client care game is key. Whether this means training your employees or using better facilities, such as using virtual assistants like Call Ruby, is up to you. All enhancements are good news.

Transparency and fairness are vital elements to consider too. Return policies and similar tools can remove confusion while underlining your commitment to the cause. Without it, some clients will have doubts about the trustworthiness of the business, and that could cause big issues.

#3. The Sense Of Value

Most customers are happy to pay for quality, but their purchases should still offer value. Nobody likes the feeling of being ripped off, but simple gestures and attention to detail can combat this issue. Experts like C.L. Smith can open your eyes to the need for better packaging. Likewise, going the extra mile to have items delivered in the quickest time can generate smiles.

Ultimately, though, pricing will be one of the central features at all times. There’s nothing wrong with charging premium rates, but you must provide premium quality. Deliver more than is expected time and time again for guaranteed success.

#4. Reaction Of Loved Ones

In theory, our personal opinions about a product or brand should be all that matters. In reality, though, the vast majority of your clients will care about what others think. Therefore, seeking positive reviews on your site as well as external platforms is vital. When there is a genuine sense of excitement about your items, audiences are far more likely to view them in a positive light.

Influencer marketing has become an increasingly important aspect too. Nowadays, having an internet celebrity endorse your products can be the greatest marketing tool at your disposal. Once again, knowing that it fits in with the demands of your core demographic is everything.

 

Why You Absolutely Must Monitor Your Past Business Trends

If you’re a business owner, it’s important you realize just how important monitoring your past business trends is. If you don’t monitor these trends carefully, you’ll struggle to see what’s worked for you and even where you should take your business in the future. Here’s why you absolutely must monitor your past business trends:

Know What Your Clients Want

Wouldn’t you love to have a crystal ball and be able to tell exactly what your clients want? Good news, you don’t need a real life crystal ball to do this at all. You just need to monitor your past trends. By keeping a close eye on these trends, you should be able to figure out what you clients will need in the future. You may have to think outside of the box, but if you’re smart, you’ll be able to work something lucrative out.

Work Out Where To Go In The Future

Monitoring past business trends will also help you to figure out where to go in the future. Comparing these trends can help all kinds of businesses to figure out the right path to take. However, you’re going to need all of your trends easily accessible and comparable in one place. One popular place to do this is Excel. The spreadsheet format is easy to use and you can import files here so everything is exactly where you need it. Take a look at the infographic below if you want to learn 7 Excel tricks all office workers should know:


credit to STL

Meeting The Requirements For A Business Summit Revealed

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“Wait, businesses still have meetings in 2017?”

Yes, yes they do. Although it seems archaic, a summit of minds is a fantastic way to generate leads and investment. Even in today’s culture, there is nothing more productive than a face-to-face. However, setting up a time to convene isn’t all a business has to consider. For it to go smoothly, the firm has to meet specific requirements.

What are they, you ask? Well, you can find that out by reading the tips and tricks below. These are the hacks which may transform the way you do business.

Don’t Assume Liability

The chances of a third-party slipping and falling on the premises aren’t high. Anyway, the majority of organisations don’t bother with an insurance policy. Just because the competition is taking a chance doesn’t mean you should follow suit. As soon as you invite a person(s) through the door, you assume the risk. The good news is public and employers liability insurance from Qdos Contractor means you don’t have to take the fall. Should there be an accident, the insurance policy will cover the company in its time of need. Play the percentages and always have a contingency when clients visit the office.

Invest In Tech

Meeting in person is better than conversing via Skype. The thing is both parties are busy and circumstances change. When this happens, it is essential to adapt than to cancel the pow-wow. As always, the best option is to carry on as planned rather than push back any arrangement. With the right technology, it isn’t hard to conduct a meeting digitally from anywhere in the world. Skype is a favourite of the industry, yet other suppliers are catching up. For example, both Facebook and WhatsApp have video calling features.

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Encourage Dialogue

How many times have you been in a meeting where one person spoke? Usually, the man or woman at the front says his or her piece and the summit concludes. Although you get your point across, you miss out on valuable dialogue. When people talk, it’s far easier to gain an insight into their thinking. Sure, they may nod and laugh when appropriate, but they aren’t signs they are impressed. Encouraging participation is the only way to gauge their views and alter their mindset. The key is to ask open-ended questions which need more than a single answer. Also, ensure your body language is warm and friendly.

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Avoid The Afternoon

A cliché yes, but people view business meetings in the afternoon as a doss. Whether they do it consciously, the people in the room won’t focus. To get results, you need their undivided attention. Honestly, no manner of pyrotechnics and PowerPoint accessories will keep them engaged. The key is to schedule important gatherings during the morning or early afternoon. Why? It’s because people are productive during these times of the day. Another tip is to avoid Mondays and Fridays because they’re too close to the weekend.

A meeting is essential, which is why you need to make sure you’re on (power) point.

3 Tiny Bumps That Can Break Your Business

A small British eCommerce company, M&M Direct, was enjoying an exponential expansion onto the German market until during one weekend their online customers transformed the successful development into a market debt by claiming the pay the difference twice guarantee for finding a cheaper product elsewhere. Indeed, M&M Direct was proud of its claim of presenting customers with the cheapest alternative on the market. Unfortunately, the tool they used to check market prices was not up-to-date anymore. On the wake of this tragedy, the company dropped the best price guarantee and subsequently lost the trust of German customers. Years later, they still haven’t recovered their market position. Of course, every business is doomed to hit a few bumps along the way. But sometimes, the issues are only the tip of the iceberg!

The office issues that need organisation

A simple issue such as getting your staff holiday mixed up is the result of poor organization within the company. At first, it seems harmless. All you need to do is call back your staff or call the clients to apologize. But it can be damaging in the case of a significant mix-up, such as what happened the Ryanair recently that forced the company to cancel several hundreds of thousands of flights and to face legal pursuits for the lack of support they show to the customers touched by the plane cancellation. A small issue can cost them their market position.

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Keeping an organized business

 The growth issues that need planning

Picture the scene: You’ve got a fantastic business idea; all you need is to make it happen to get rich. Except that investing all your savings in the realisation of the concept didn’t work. You may be smiling, but this is very common for newcomers to the world of entrepreneurship. The first lesson that everyone needs to learn is that funding your business needs strategic planning, that’s why business financing solutions such as swiftfinancial.com offer customizable loan options and active capital alternatives to help entrepreneurs tackle a variety of growth scenarios. Requesting fundings without a growth strategy is the best way to waste money and go bankrupt before you’ve even started.

The expansion issues that need addressing

For a lot of companies, recruiting is the most crucial part of your expansion. It is also the part that is the most likely to fail, according to socialtalent.com, if you’re not careful about your strategic approach. Indeed, recruiting is not only a matter of increasing the number of employees in your team but also meeting measurable business objectives, such as nailing a 2% revenue growth with the skills of new employees for example. Not defining your goals means that a company could be investing in employees who are not delivering the appropriate results. Would you be surprised to know that too many companies are still not using the best interview practices for their recruiting process? In fact, for a lot of employers, the interview should be about selling the role to a candidate and showing why your company is attractive. However, the interview time is still primarily spent on going through the CV of a candidate section by section. This poor interview management leads to the potential loss of relevant candidates.

 

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Improve your interview skills

Are you having troubles keeping an organized business, finding the funds you need or recruiting new employees? It’s time to address the underlying issues of these problems before they crash your business.

Why Don’t Consumers Like My Business?

It can be quite frustrating when you feel as if your business is doing everything right and your sales either remain stagnant or begin to decline. You might be selling a fantastic product or service, hiring hard-working and passionate people, and offering a 24/7 service to help customers or potential customers. However, if you’re not marketing that product well, offering something unique that separates your service from all your competitors who offer an identical service, and professionally addressing complaints of your customers then you’re not going to beat the competition in your industry.

In answer to your question, the reason as to why customers don’t like your business is probably less of a personal attack against your brand and its services as a whole and more of a minor flaw with one or several aspects of your company and its current mode of operations. That’s good, however, because it means there’s room for improvement. It means there’s the potential for your business to paper over the cracks in order to better impress customers and increase its sales. If you’ve no idea where to begin on such a venture then here are some reasons as to why customers might not be sold on your business and how you can improve things.

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You don’t know your target market.

You can scoff at that statement all you like but think about it for a second. Are you sure you’re targeting the right portion of the market for your industry? And even if you are reaching the consumers you want to target, are you really offering them what they need? You need to know your target audience if you want to market your goods to them appropriately. It’s not enough to simply tell people what they should want to buy, whether it’s “innovative” or a “great deal”.

People know their own minds, and a successful business is one which attempts to fit itself into the market rather than the other way around. Essentially, you’re looking for a gap that your competitors haven’t seen. You’re not looking to solve problems that don’t exist; you need to listen to customers, find out what they want that they’re not currently getting from your industry, and dive in with the answer to their problems.

You don’t use your existing client-base.

You shouldn’t just sit and twiddle your thumbs whilst you wait for customers to find you. You need to be a little proactive. Of course, the solution isn’t always to shove adverts in people’s faces and say “buy from our company”. Take the human approach and think about the clients you’ve already gained because these people are your business’ most useful resource.

Getting people to give referrals for your company is the best way to draw in new customers because people are likely to believe the word of somebody who says they were impressed by a product or service they bought from a specific company. Of course, you can find ways to incentivize customers to give referrals for rewards such as discounts but we’ll talk about that later.

You don’t work with other businesses.

This doesn’t mean you need to start working with your competitors; obviously, if you’re running a gym then you’re not going to help out nearby gyms in the area. However, collaborating with businesses who sell different goods but to the same target market as your company is a very smart way for businesses to help one another. For example, a hairdresser’s might work with a nearby clothing store so that customers who walk into either store get discounts for the other. Your business doesn’t have to steal customers from competitors; you can find them through companies in different industries who target the same market as you.

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You’re not advertising your brand effectively.

It doesn’t matter how exciting your product is or how much you care about customers; if you’re not promoting your brand effectively then nobody’s going to know that your amazing company exists. You need to utilize the internet to your advantage in this modern, digital age. Use search engine optimization techniques to get your website to rank more highly on Google and Bing; you should use keywords, responsive layout, and concise design to impress not only visitors to your website but the algorithms that search engines use to rank websites. Of course, you might also want to check out companies such as Falcon Digital Marketing for help with marketing options such as PPC management services. This advertising method often involves directly placing your company website at the top of search engine result pages through adverts.

Essentially, you can cut out a little bit of work if you’re willing to spend some money. The point is that SEO is only one of many ways in which you advertise your brand online. The modern age offers many more marketing opportunities than the days of traditional media but the key thing to remember is that you’re trying to smartly place your business in places that will be seen by customers. You don’t want to force your brand in their faces; people like to search for goods and services they want and find businesses for themselves. Adverts can be useful, as mentioned above, but be smart about the places in which you put them.

You’re not giving customers an incentive to stick around.

Even the most ethical and high-quality companies won’t retain all their customers if they don’t have a hook. If a competitor comes along with a better deal then your clients will buy from them instead; you need to build loyalty and trust so that clients want to stick with your business rather than risking the competition. Your company should give its regulars the VIP treatment. Show them that it means something to your business that they choose to stick around and buy from your company repeatedly. That’s the way to build loyalty with your client-base.

If people feel that their purchase was nothing more to your company than a simple transaction then they’ll shrug their shoulders and simply buy those same goods or services from whichever competitor offers the best price. However, if you give your customers great deals and discounts for sticking around then they’ll know that there’s a real reason for them to continue to buy from you. Your brand will become more favorable to them than any competing brands because customers will know that they’ll keep on getting better and better offers by maintaining a long-term relationship with your business.

Unique Ways To Attract Customers To Your Business

There are many articles out there that discuss ways to attract customers to your business when you first open up, but not many that tell you how to keep the customers coming so that you have more profit rolling in for you. Attracting an entirely new line of customers to boost the income from your regulars is not easy, but you can take the time to be innovative and unique with the way you do things.

Customers are often at the heart of a business, especially if you are offering a public product or service. You want people to buy into you, not just your product and customer loyalty comes from believing in what you are offering. People leave reviews on sites like this one to encourage others to a service or to deter them, so as a company you have to offer everything you can to ensure that people want to keep coming back to you and not run from you.

Sometimes, you have to offer something that they will appreciate, whether that’s event voiceover services for customers who are from the other side of the globe and other times, it’s holding community events where your customers can be wowed with local circus performers! If you are looking for ways to bring in new people, then you’ll love the suggestions we’ve got for you.

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  • Friendly Competition. It’s important for you to understand that you need friends in the right places. If you have other competitors on the same street as your business, collaborating with them so that they can make referrals on your behalf is a smart idea. This idea is a unique one, as companies don’t often rely on their financial competition to get them noticed.

  • Hold Events. You may have held a large event to launch your business but that shouldn’t stop you holding more local events. If your product is one that is interactive, then holding a learning event for the local community is a brilliant way to showcase what you can do and invite the community to learn about you. Don’t forget to include a freebie bag – everyone loves a bit of swag!

  • VIP Treatment. Along the same line, think about how you would launch a new product. Social media is a fantastic space to gauge interest in a new service or product you could offer, and you could have VIP treatment at the ready for your regular customers. Hold a small event for the regulars so they can try your new product first in exchange for feedback – which can be invaluable for a company!

  • Offer Alternatives. When you want to bring in new customers, you need to offer fresh new things. Look at what your people have said to you about your service, then adapt to suit the feedback. Hold your horses though – you don’t want to change your entire product or business just to appease one or two people!

Be unique with your marketing for a new product or service and do what you can to tighten up the way you do things so that people know you can offer them what they want!

What A Potential Client Wants To Hear You Say

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The medium in which you are your own boss doesn’t matter. Freelance, contractor, entrepreneur, business leader – it doesn’t matter. What matters is your relationship with your clients and getting to the stage where you hear those truly dreamy words of, “You’re hired!” It is getting to this stage, however, that is so darn tricky.

Luckily for you, that is where we come in.

We have been doing the rounds, speaking to businesses, business leaders and bid specialists to find out exactly what a potential client wants to hear you say before they’ll start doing business with you, and here are the very best of the bunch:

“I Couldn’t Be More Excited By Your Project”

The way you project your interest is going to have a huge amount of influence over your potential clients. Just think about it from their point of view for a second. Do you think they will want to work with the person that says, “I can squeeze you in, sure, it’s pretty slow at the moment anyway,” or the person that says, “This project sounds incredible because of such and such reasons and I would love to work on it.” Show you are interested in their project and tell them why; there is just no better way to prove you are genuinely excited.

“No One Can Do This To The Same Standard As Me”

There is a huge difference between arrogance and confidence, but if you truly believe that your skills and abilities would get their project done to a super-high standard, then tell them that. Every client wants to know that their project is in safe hands and that the person they pick is more than up to the task. Of course, if you aren’t confident that your abilities match up with this specific project, then be honest up front. They will appreciate this and return to you as a result of your honesty.

“Your Security Is Our Number One Priority”

Every client is concerned about the information and data they share with you. What’s more, the bigger the potential client the more concerned they will be. That is why you need to fill them with confidence on this front. It could be that you have just been to get office 365 security for your network, in which case tell them. It could be that you have key cards that allow you to monitor who enters your office building. Perhaps you work with a top-level IT security firm or have restricted access on your server or even security guards. Whatever you can use to fill them with confidence should be mentioned.

“You Can Call Or Email Me At Any Time And I’ll Answer”

Effective communication is one of the most important areas of a relationship in the eyes of a client. They want to know that they can communicate with you at any point, whether it be to discuss the project, check in on your progress or through some feedback your way. They may want to know about your delivery schedule and make sure you will still meet the deadline. T could just be they want to be kept in the loop so they can still take responsibility. Whatever it is, make sure you communicate efficiently and professionally.

No Business Is Too Small To Succeed!

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There was a time when the idea of starting a business was reserved pretty much exclusively for those who were already well established or, at the very least, had a great deal of money to throw around. This was because a business usually needed a premises, employees, infrastructure networks, and a whole host of other things. And sure, that’s all still very important to a lot of businesses, but the reality is that thanks to the rise of the internet, there’s been a pretty radical shift in the possibilities for smaller businesses. Now, all you really need to start your own business is a computer, a great idea, and the drive to make it happen.

Get online

If you want to start your own business and you don’t have huge amounts of money or power to throw around, then there’s only one place for you to go: the internet. The internet really has revolutionised the process of starting and running businesses in a way that no one could have predicted. Whether you want to become a freelance copywriter, you want to set up a retail store, or you simply want to promote a crafts business that you run out of your home, all of these things can be done online. With little more than some cheap WordPress hosting, a decent knowledge of web design, and a few simple resources, you can create your own business in a matter of days. Sure, it’s going to take much longer than that to actually get it off the ground, but the barrier to entry really is that much lower now.

Crowdfunding

For a long time, if you wanted to get some capital for your business then you had to either sink a great deal of your own money into it or go courting investors. Both of these were perfectly viable strategies but they did come with their fair share of drawbacks. The first being that, if you didn’t have money to put into the business in the first place, you were kind of stuck. The other being that, if you wanted an investor’s money, you often had to give up a certain degree of control in your business up in exchange. Now, thanks to things sites like Kickstarter, you can fund your business with the help of your customers. Customers can donate to you in exchange for treats and bonuses which can help you finally get your business the funding that it needs.

Free marketing

Of course, however important funding is to any business, there are plenty of ways in which the internet has made things far cheaper. One of the best examples of this is marketing. Thanks to social media, it’s never been easier or cheaper to reach a huge potential audience. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are totally free and give you access to the kind of potential customer base that businesses in the past could only have dreamt of.

Sure, there are always going to be roadblocks in the way of creating a successful business, but in the modern era, it’s now more possible than ever before for people to start businesses that can become incredibly successful with the kinds of s

4 Methods To Make Your Business More Responsible

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For many entrepreneurs, running a business isn’t all about the bottom line; it is also about giving back to the community and other charitable causes. And the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Consumers tend to trust companies which have a high level of social responsibility and therefore their profits increase naturally. To give you a kickstart, here are five basic ways that you can change to run a more socially responsible business that you can look at implementing today.

Create a Mission and Establish Goals

Aligning yourself to a particular cause is a great way to give your business a purpose. It should become part of your company DNA and a cause that you are your staff wholeheartedly support. You may have a chosen charity and set yourself a particular donation target to reach every month. You may be looking to run a completely environmentally friendly company through recycling programs and responsible commercial waste disposal. Whatever your mission, you should seek to regularly communicate it with your staff and customers alike. Setting yourself attainable goals is a great way to motivate people into achieving your aims.

Employ Responsible Staff Members

If you are looking to create a more responsible business in general, it makes sense that you employ responsible staff members. So, rather than simply focusing on ambition, you should also look what sort of other activities they are involved in. This way, you are all much more likely to be on the same page and it will be a good fit between employer and employee, which is so important in creating a harmonious business environment.

Establish Charity Rewards and Bonuses

Nothing helps to get people more motivated than the prospect of a reward or bonus, so you could try offering incentives that encourage people to meet your aims. For example, you could offer the whole team something like a trip out together or even an extra day of holiday if they hit a certain fundraising target. Alternatively, you could offer a reward if a member of staff has an idea that you implement regarding environmental stability.

Collaborate with Similar Organisations

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As a responsible business yourselves, it makes sense that you collaborate with other companies which have similar ambitions and value to you. For example, your policy may be to only work with local suppliers to show that you are committed to supporting the surrounding community. Creating your own network of socially responsible businesses is an impressive sign for all types of potential client.

Running a business that does more than just generate profit is something that you should look to be doing. Not only will you be supporting some valuable causes, you will also help to show customers that you have values and morals. In an increasingly competitive consumer world, people are becoming more and more choosy about where they buy their goods and services so this may be what differentiates you from your competition and helps you to stand out from the crowd.