5 Tips For A Successful Trade Show

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

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Be Well Prepared

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

Well-Trained Staff

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

Visitor Engagement

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

Bring the Fun

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

Following Up

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

Make Sure Your Office Move is Smooth!

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

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Consider the budget

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

The checklist

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

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Shopping around for movers

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

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

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Safety first

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

Is Your Business Doing Everything It Needs To Survive?

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

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Goals & Plans

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

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

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Customer Base

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

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

Marketing

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

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

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

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

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Pricing

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

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

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

How To Find An Office On A Budget

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

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

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

Go outside the city

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

Share the space

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

Don’t overdo the decor

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

Get second-hand equipment

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

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

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

Why You Keep Getting Business Finances So Wrong

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

You’re not organized

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

You’re not capturing that raw data

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

You’re not looking ahead

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

You’re not prepared for the unexpected

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

You don’t get all the money you should

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

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

Are You Giving Customers What They Want?

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

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

Listen to them

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

Do your research

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

Don’t follow trends

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

Surefire Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Business Failure

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

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Don’t leave any stone unturned in the planning process

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

Be a strong leader

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

Focus on the numbers

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

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

Building the Perfect Public Event for Exposure

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

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

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Talk about the event on social media

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

Plan your appearance

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

Make sure to carry plenty of samples

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

Give your guests a gift to remember you

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

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Always attend events that are relevant to your business

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

Hire people that have great communication skills

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

Learn to network at the event

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

Keep communications open with the organisers

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

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

Say Goodbye to Product Liability Claims

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

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

Set Up a Risk Transfer Program

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

Collect all Necessary Information

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

Make Safety a Part of Your Design

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

Maintain Accurate Records

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

Ask for Consumer Feedback

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

The Best Way To Promote (Market) Your Business

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

Clarity

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

Marketing Routes That Don’t Cost The Earth

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

Let The Customer Try The Product Themselves

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

Don’t Force It

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

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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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.