Archive for the 'General Interest' Category

Small Business Start-Up Tips that will Rocket your Success

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

Involve your Family

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

Analyse your Personality

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

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Know your Market

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

Partner with the Right People

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

Get a Good Mentor

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

Create a Good Plan

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

5 Things You Need to Do Before Launching a New Product

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

Research Your Target Audience

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

Develop Your Product Messaging

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

Have the Right Tools & Software

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

Plan Your Promotion Strategy

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

Plan Your Post-Launch Strategy

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

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

Creating A Winning Brand Strategy

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

Thinking ‘On Brand’

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

Study The Success Stories

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

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

Dealing With Your First Small Business Emergency

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

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

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

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Something’s Happened to an Employee

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

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

Your Company Fleet Has Run into Trouble

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

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

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

There’s an IT Issue Slowing Everything Down

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

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

Ready For an Emergency? 

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

Running Your Own Fleet Of Vehicles

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

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

Insurance

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

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

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Tracking

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

Safety First

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

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Permits

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

3 Types Of Business Expansion & How To Master Them

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

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

The Merger

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

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

The Overseas Expansion

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

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

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Opening A Second Location

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

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

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

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

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Increased Complexity

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

Reams of Paperwork

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

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Your Office is Getting Too Cramped

When your company is growing, you’ll invariably require extra space for your growing team. Additional workspace requirements can be a headache, especially if your business hasn’t been around long enough to qualify for a long-term office lease. In your first major growth period, it’s helpful to look for real estate opportunities that offer the flexibility you require without a significant upfront investment. A coworking space could be the answer to your prayers, at least until you’re sure where your business is growing and can find a more permanent solution.

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

Gradually Creating A Well-Known And Profitable Company

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

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Collect information on your target market.

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

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

Create an appealing brand.

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

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

Invest your money sensibly.

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

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

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Improve your ranking on search result pages.

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

Spread the word on social media.

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

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

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

Make it client-focused

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

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

Personalize on a micro level

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

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

Employ and train the best marketers

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

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

Use analytics to guide your strategy

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

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

5 Crucial Things To Do To Protect Your Business

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

  1. Be Careful Who You Give Access To

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

  1. Use The Cloud

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

  1. Secure Your Business

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

  1. Security Training

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

  1. Secure Your Equipment

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

 


know that Data permanence is not an issue with WipeDrive

Why You Should Power Your Business With Hydroelectricity

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

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

It sends a great message

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

Economic

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

Renewable and clean

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

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

Can Your Marketing Cut Through The Noise?

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

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

Creating Trust

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

Try New Formats

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

Live In The Moment

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

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

How A Short Term Fix Can Boost Your Business

Sometimes the only thing a business needs is a short term boost to catapult it into success. Sometimes these boosts seem out of mind and reach but they’re there and available for you to use. You just need to be able to find them and realise the potential. Business is all about risk. The key is taking on the right amount of risk. Hedging yourself against any unwanted fallout is a must. Yet, if you look at all the top businesses out there you’ll be hard pressed to find one or two which didn’t ever take a risk. Here are some things you can do which can boost you to success.

Get The Asset In Fast
Sometimes you just need that piece of machinery and quickly. Whether it’s to fulfil an order to a client or stand in during an incredibly busy time. You may need to find it quick and it doesn’t mean finding it cheap but make sure you do the sums to work it all out and the work the asset allows you to do could end up covering the cost of the asset and leaving you with a profit. Sometimes, as you would already have a lot of business loans or an overdraft with the bank it can be hard to get things short notice. But, using a trucking firm for example, there are bad credit truck leasing firms out there who can help. You just need to do the research and you’ll find the right person to help your business. Again, you just need to make sure you do the sums to ensure the benefit of bringing this asset in outweighs its actual cost.

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Temporary Staff
Say you work in an event business, or a manufacturing business, you need the staffing to match the supply. There’s no point hiring people permanently if they’re going to end up sitting around doing nothing and costing you money. This is where temp staff can be a godsend. You can scale up and down as you see fit. This can allow you to fulfil those orders and peaks. There is a caveat to this though. Make sure you get the staff from a reputable firm. One which properly vets and trains the workers so you don’t have to, thus saving you more time to devote to your business. If they aren’t vetted they could end up making mistakes which cost you in either monetary terms or reputational damage.
Money Boost
As a business, there are lots of options out there to ensure you get a boost of cash at the right time. Your first option should be your bank. They may lend at a better rate because you’ve got prior form with them. There are other options though. One could be investment. If you’re doing well, think about bringing someone else on board. If you find the right person their skills and knowhow could really outweigh the equity you lose. Asking close friends and family is another option but you need to tread carefully. You can look into revolving credit facilities, business overdrafts or loans from other banks too. Try to keep the repayment terms as short as you can. This way you can minimise the interest and keep more capital coming into your business. If you’re unsure don’t forget there’s tons of advice out there and a lot of it is free.

Profits Plummeting? 5 Areas to Address

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When profits plummet in business it can be extremely stressful. Finance in business is always a fine balancing act, and if you’re not making enough not only will you be losing out on profit but you can quickly get into debt with your suppliers and things can take a downwards turn in a short space of time. If you’re in this situation, here are five areas to address.

Increase productivity

Sometimes plummeting profits can be a simple productivity issue. If the work isn’t getting done fast enough in your business, then it’s easy to fall behind, miss deadlines, upset clients and lose opportunities for new work. Increase productivity by setting goals, check in with your employees and make sure they have everything they need to do their job properly. For example, if slow systems or old manual methods are taking too much time then upgrading to good business software could see an instant boost in productivity.

Look into price monitoring

One issue many retail type businesses can face is their products being re-sold, with seller price wars hurting your margins and even counterfeit goods masquerading as your own stealing your customers. Speak to a price monitoring company who can keep tabs on all of these things, ensuring that unauthorised listings on other websites and ecommerce sites are spotted and removed.

Improve customer service

Customers expect the best service when shopping with a business- if they don’t receive a service that’s up to standard then they will simply go and shop elsewhere. If this happens you lose your repeat customers which are an important part of the sales funnel for many types of companies. Make sure complaints are dealt with politely and efficiently, implement a ticketing service in email and on social media to ensure that all customers are replied to within a reasonable timeframe. Customer service staff should be trained to deal with any complaints and issues they come up against in a friendly and professional way.

Boost marketing

Marketing in business is so important, it doesn’t matter what you do or sell- you need to be reaching the right people. If your marketing efforts aren’t up to scratch then you’ll most definitely notice a decline in profits. Speak to a professional marketing agency who will have the skills and experience needing to improve your visibility, utilise blogger outreach and improve your ads. They will help you create a buzz and interest around your business that will get you the sales you need.

Check reviews

Finally, if your profits are plummeting but you aren’t sure why, checking your reviews is bound to give you some insight. It can be frustrating and upsetting to see negative reviews of your business but these can give you an idea of what to change. Maybe the materials your manufacturing plant are using aren’t up to scratch, perhaps delivery times are too long or maybe customers feel you’re overpriced. Go through reviews as well as reviews of your competitors, see what can be done to improve business and make those sales again.

How Well Protected Is Your Business?

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There’s no doubt that your business is going to be incredibly important to you. After all, very few people would set up a business without a strong desire to see it succeed. And yet, in spite of that, it’s incredibly common for a lot of business owners to treat the safety and security of their business as something of an afterthought. Unfortunately, it’s this kind of attitude that leaves businesses more and more vulnerable to outside forces trying to get in and make life as unpleasant for you as possible. With that in mind, here are some ways to make sure that your business is as well protected as possible.

Brand protection

Your brand IS your business in the eyes of a large portion of the wider world. Businesses spend a great deal of time and money making sure that their branding is as strong as possible. That’s why it can cause so many problems when someone else tries to either piggyback off your brand or gives it a bad time. Brand protection means that you don’t have to worry about that happening. That way your business’s image is as well preserved as possible and you’re not going to end up with an undeserved negative reputation.

Legal protection

No business is looking to get in trouble with the law or get sued. In all likelihood, you would never do anything knowingly illegal but the reality is that mistakes get made every day and without the right legal protection those mistakes could well end up costing your business dearly. Not only that but if someone else is trying to take advantage of your business or defraud you, the right legal protection gives you a much better chance of fighting that kind of thing.

Digital security

We live in a digital technology dominated world in the modern age and the world of business is no different. Because of that, you need to be sure that your digital security is up to the highest possible standard. From fully updated firewall and anti-malware software to ensuring that you and your employees are using safe and secure passwords, keeping the digital side of your business secure really is one of the most important and valuable things that you can do in the modern era.

There are plenty of reasons why the protection of your business might fall by the wayside. The most common is simply that it’s something that a lot of people fail to think about. They focus so much of their energy on the positive aspects of their business that they leave themselves vulnerable. Not only that but it’s all too common for business owners to take the safety of their business for granted, assuming that nothing could possibly go wrong. Being able to keep your eye on the areas where your business might be at risk while also focusing on the positive aspects of it isn’t always easy, but it is always incredibly valuable.

3 Common Ways New Businesses Waste Money

Your first priority as a new business should be managing your costs effectively. If you can’t keep your spending under control, you will spend all of your money before you start bringing enough in and you’ll struggle to stay afloat. It’s the most common reason that businesses fail early on. The problem is, a lot of new businesses make simple mistakes with their finances and they end up wasting a lot of money for no reason. If you’ve just started a new business of your own, it’s important that you are aware of these common ways that businesses waste money, so you can avoid them.

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Outsourcing Too Many Areas

Outsourcing is a tricky subject because, in some cases, it’s very beneficial to your business. However, a lot of new businesses go overboard and outsource too many tasks, and it’s not very cost effective. There are certain tasks that you are not qualified to handle yourself and should be outsourced, like IT management or accounting, for example. It’s a good idea to outsource those areas because they’re important to the company and you may not have the resources or expertise to handle them yourself. Some new business owners decide that it makes life easier for them so they will just outsource as many areas of the business as possible. It does make life easier to start with, but when the bills start piling up, they run into cash flow issues. When you are deciding what you should and shouldn’t outsource, you need to think about which areas of the company you can realistically handle on your own and which areas you cannot.

Poorly Managed IT Systems

When implemented correctly, the right technology can actually save you a lot of money. The problem is, a lot of businesses don’t manage their IT systems effectively and they end up wasting a lot of money. This is one of the areas that you should be outsourcing a company that can offer managed IT services (like this one at https://www.redkeysolutions.com/) if you want to avoid waste. People make simple mistakes like spending money on software that they don’t need or keeping outdated hardware that costs them a lot of money in repairs. Your risk of cyber-attacks is also greatly increased if you don’t know how to protect yourself and the fallout from that is incredibly expensive. Unless you are an IT expert yourself, you need to be outsourcing your IT, otherwise, you’re going to waste a lot of money.

Badly Targeted Marketing

You already know that it’s important to invest money in marketing, but if you aren’t reaching the right people, you’re wasting a lot of money. Targeting your marketing efforts towards people that are actually likely to have an interest in your product is the only way that you’re going to see a return on that investment but a lot of businesses fail to do that effectively. It’s important that you do market research and identify your target market, and understand how to reach them specifically. If you don’t know how to do that, read this guide on https://marketingvision.co.uk/simple-steps-to-reaching-your-target-market/ to help you out.

These are all common ways that businesses end up wasting a lot of money and if you’re not careful, you could fall into the same traps with your business too.

How Do You Think Big In Business?

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We all start off the same way – with big dreams and buckets of ambition. Anyone who has ever had the vision and the drive to start up their own business and grow it into a fully-functional operation is not someone who is short of vision. But pretty sppm, somewhere along the line, you can lose that initial hunger. You wake up one day and there are endless unpaid client invoices to chase, that difficult conversation with an employee, the negotiation skills with a reluctant supplier, and before you know it, you’re so bogged down in the day to day administration that you’re losing sight of the original vision.

Experience has weighed you down, and become the factor that is stopping you from dreaming big. The good news is that you’ve done it once, so you can dare to dream again. Whether it’s your ambition to leave an indelible legacy like Steve Jobs, master your personal brand like Richard Branson, impact the physical world around you like Aubrey Ferro or change the lives of others, what you need to retain is your ability to think big. And yet all the mechanics of corporate life seem geared against this – compliance, politics, risk-aversion, the perfection myth – these are all strong components of modern corporate culture, and they are all diametrically opposed to maintaining vision. However, it isn’t impossible to retain your ability to think big while progressing in business, it just requires staying aware of obstacles, making proactive changes and staying true to your principles.

The Idea Generator

We define a big thinker as someone who comes up with sweeping ideas, the kind which reshape the possibilities of the landscape around them. However, these ‘eureka moments’ generally don’t happen spontaneously. In fact, you’ll find that most idea generators are quite systematic in their approach to it. They may schedule in time during their day just to think and process ideas, or they may set themselves a goal of coming up with one idea a day.

Marketing guru Seth Godin blogs one idea per day. The key is to accept that all these ideas don’t have to be world-changing and in fact, most will come to nothing. The process is more important than the output. Once you get the ball rolling and the process in place you are paving the way for the bigger ideas to happen. It’s also important not to wait until an idea is fully formed before you create some movement on it. You should have a workable concept, but it’s better to leave some wiggle room for things to develop as you share your idea with other people. At least twenty per cent of any concept needs to be collaborative. Accepting that perfection doesn’t exist and that it’s okay for an idea to have flaws that can be worked on is essential.

Blockers To The Big Idea

Most of us are conditioned into over-analysis, fear of failure, and self-criticism. Letting go of these is the crucial step in being able to think big. We must learn how to tackle procrastination, which is usually a fear of a less than perfect execution, as it stifles our creativity. Defensive thinking is entrenched in a lot of companies, and it can be damaging if it stops the progress of ideas. You should start multiple ideas running at once, instead of just focusing on one, but accept that all of those idea ls won’t necessarily make it to full development – and that’s the point. Some of them may spin off into other things, some will fall by the wayside – but that’s big thinking in action!

Increase Your Sales In 3 Easy Steps

If you are a newbie retailer, whether you specialize in ball bearings, hydraulic systems or clothing, the chances are that you are keen to boost your sales. It’s all too easy to begin your startup to great fanfare. With a great digital marketing strategy, you can generate an online buzz about your wares before you even launch your venture. This means that you can hit the ground running and have an influx of sales initially. However, it is hard to keep this momentum going, resulting in a lull in sales. There are ways that you can rediscover that high volume of sales once again.

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Your Market

You need to hone your specific market. Often, you may target a generic age group such as 25 – 34 year olds. Within the demographic are hundreds of mini-markets that you could tap in a more specific way. Consider drilling down into your market and adapting your messages and marketing to go for that new niche. For example, if you design custom made tee shirts for teenagers, why not aim for teenage girls who have a hipster and fashionable edge? Or why not consider expanding your range to meet the demands of younger children? Your market may fluctuate, but your business goals must remain the same to improve your chances of increased sales.

Change Your Sales Strategy

As a retailer, the chances are that you focus on the end user. This is the market where you can make the most markup on every unit that you sell. However, you could also consider the business to business market rather than the business to customer model. By looking further into b2b sales, you can sell at a much greater volume. While the profit you make on each unit may diminish a little, the sheer quantity of units that you sell should make up for this. Consider the best b2b order management system for your business model. This could be Shopify or it could be Magento. Each has its own qualities and niches that can help enhance your sales forecasting.

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Get Online

Sometimes your sales may dry up as your momentum lessens. This can happen because your online presence is no longer as prominent. It’s time to be proactive and get updating your Facebook page, your Twitter feed and your Instagram photographs. Exploit your social media channels and use them as a platform to relaunch your startup. Consider your customers wants and needs and hone the way you market your products to fulfill that need. Be solution minded. Consider what problems your potential customer faces and make your product solve that problem. Utilize Instagram and show your product in action, making it clear just how imperative it is that any follower of yours must head to your website to buy your item.

Increasing your sales is no easy task, especially in the current volatile economic climate. However, by honing your market, exploring b2b sales and utilizing your social media capabilities, you can have buoyant sales figures once again.

Smart Ways to Buy Specialist Business Equipment

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Businesses often require specialist equipment to carry out their day-to-day activities. Knowing where to source what is needed and how to get the best deal is important for securing the best quality and price. If you want to buy the equipment that you need without  any trouble, you should know where to purchase it and how you can negotiate the best prices. There are various ways to buy the equipment that you need, apart from going straight to the main retailer. Take a look at the following options for sourcing the equipment that your business needs.

Use Auctions Online and Offline

Auctions are often a great way to source specialist equipment for your business. You can find auctions designed for your industry with plenty of options to help you secure what you need. Online auctions make it easier to buy equipment from anywhere, but offline auctions also give you a chance to see what you’re buying up close. If you attend in person, what do you need to bring to an auction? You may need to have a cash deposit to bid in an auction, as well as the means to pay for anything that you buy. Make sure that you know the terms of the auction before attending.

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Contact Other Businesses

Sometimes specialist equipment can be tricky to find, especially if you want to try and save some money. One method that can sometimes be helpful is to get in touch with businesses similar to yours. You can ask them if they have any equipment that they are considering selling, or perhaps that they would like to rent or share. Sharing resources could be beneficial to both of you if you also have equipment that they would like to borrow. Buying used equipment directly from another company could help you save money and give you the chance to negotiate the price.

Look at New and Used Sellers

Be sure to look at sellers of both new and used equipment when you’re looking to make a purchase for your company. Both options could present the right choices for your business. Used equipment can help you to save money, but it won’t last as long as new equipment. However, it’s not always possible to source the equipment that you want new. You could be looking for a particular model that is no longer manufactured, so you have no choice but to look for it used.

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Buy Government Surplus

There are some occasions when it can be a smart choice to buy surplus equipment from the government. It can help you to save money and you can find many items that you need. There are various websites that you can look at to find what you need, including the govsales.gov site, Military Surplus, the US Treasury Seized Vehicles Sales and more. You might be surprised by what you can find and how much you’re able to save.

Source the specialist equipment that your business needs from appropriate places and you can find quality equipment at great prices.

How To Reinvest Your Profits Into The Business

It can be a great feeling when you first make a profit in your business, however, to continue its success, it’s important to make sure that this morning is going back into the company to develop and strengthen its rate of growth. Here is where to reinvest your profits into the business.

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Staff Training

Keeping your staff happy and more importantly, trained well is going to benefit the company massively. Your staff are the individuals who are likely making your company money and so it’s  important to invest some money into training and development for your staff to utilise when needed. It’s great for them to learn more and to expand their knowledge and skillset which is all beneficial to you as well. You’ll like to save money on having to hire more staff because perhaps you’ll already have the staff available to you.

Improving The Quality Of What You Sell

Just like Apple and its many versions of the iPhone, they’re constantly developing and improving this make of phone and that should be the same for any product or service you sell. Whether you manufacture a wafer frame to an online task management software, everything has the scope to be improved and perfected. Whenever you have the money to reinvest, look at the process you go through to get the finished product and work on those areas that likely need a bit of tweaking to be more successful.

Technology

With technology already being a major feature in many businesses, it can help aid a lot of our daily working lives. There are still updates and upgrades to newer systems and software developments happening constantly so when it comes to technology, it’s always a good idea to reinvest your money into this area of the business because it helps quicken and improve what we do each day.

The Working Environment

For the clients who come in for meetings to the staff members who work in the space five days a week, the working environment is something that certainly needs focus. Look at how to improve the space to make it a more pleasant place to work and in the same instance, you want to create a space that’s inviting and has a level of professionalism that you are clients will see. A few tips when it comes to improving the working environment is to organize and declutter the space. Storage is certainly king and the less you have on the floor, the better. Think about lighting and how that can affect the mood of those who work in the space. Increase productivity levels through warmer and natural lighting, colour for decor and indoor plants to raise the mood and to present a cleaner atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

Every business owner wants to succeed and reinvesting your money, especially at the beginning of the company’s existence is important to maintaining its success. So follow these tips within your own business and you’ll be sure to find a continued success for years to come.