How Can You Turn Reputation Into Your Greatest Business Asset?

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There’s a form of currency that your business has that you may not have realized the full potential of – namely, you and your reputation. The old saying that “people do business with people” is just as true in the digital age. In fact, the reach of your reputation, and it’s power to either enhance your business or hold it back, is more amplified than ever through social networks and company review sites. You have a great opportunity as an entrepreneur to establish yourself. And once the right people trust you, they are much more likely to buy into whatever you’re selling – whether you’re trying to attract new clients, building relationships with suppliers or pitching for funding. So how do you establish yourself as one to watch?

Do What You Say You’ll Do  – When You Said You’d Do It

Okay, this one may seem a little basic. But you’d be surprised by how many people don’t abide by this simple tenet of good business sense. Obviously, life likes to throw us curveballs once in a while, but planning is absolutely key – even planning in time to handle interruptions and other unscheduled tasks. If people have to follow up with you, it creates a minor level of mistrust. Conversely, when we deal with someone who always delivers, we tend to go back to them time and again. We quickly come to think of them as reliable – and that creates a halo effect where we tend to think of their other characteristics in a more positive light.

Become A Connector Of People

Learning how to network effectively is a big goal for most business people. And yet if you only approach it thinking narrowly in terms of the direct benefit to your business, you’re missing the point. Too many people are dismissive of those contacts that either don’t have an immediate use for them or are seeking something they can’t provide themselves. The real secret lies in connecting others as well. Contact looking for web development services and you only do marketing? Recommend that little firm down the road you know can do a great job. Not only will they be grateful – and more likely to recommend your company back – but the person you connected will remember you as a ‘fixer’, and you’ll then be top of their list when they do need something that you provide.

Position Yourself As A Thought Leader

Becoming known in your industry involves understanding your personal values, finding your point of difference, and giving your comment on current topics and issues. Sites like LinkedIn can give you a platform on topics in your sector, and seeking out opportunities to give keynote speeches is worthwhile if you have something to say. Working with a PR specialist, such as Elite Lawyer Management in the legal space, can help you to develop a strategy around your personal brand and what you want to become known for. Being the ‘go to’ person for an insightful opinion in your sphere can have a tangible effect on your company’s bottom line.

3 Tips for Revitalising Your Entrepreneurial Dreams

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One of the key things about being an entrepreneur that everyone has to remember, is that the entrepreneurial path inevitably comes with lots of challenges, potential setbacks, and moments of frustration.

All the most influential and successful entrepreneurs out there – people who have created business empires for themselves – nonetheless have failures on their professional records, and projects and endeavours that just didn’t go their way.

Whether a business of yours has failed outright and has left you disheartened, or whether you have just lost your passion for the process, here are a few tips that may help you to revitalise your entrepreneurial dreams and get back on track.

Consider relocating to somewhere new

At some point, if you feel as though a particular location you’re based in simply isn’t serving your professional interests whatsoever, it might be time for you to look into hiring packing services and relocating somewhere new.

Depending on the industry you work in, opportunities may be scarce to make an impact in a given area, but  much more prevalent in another area. And it can certainly be the case that you have bad associations with your current environment for one reason or another, that prevent you from operating to your peak potential, professionally and personally.

If nothing else, relocating to a new location can give you a great psychological “reset,” that can inspire you going forward, and can give you back the sense of enthusiasm that you may have been missing.

Take some time to reflect and incorporate the lessons you’ve learned, and then approach again from another angle

Whenever you’ve had a professional failure and setback, it’s natural to feel disheartened, confused, and frustrated by the entire situation.

Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that in every failure and setback there is a learning opportunity, and there are lessons which – if incorporated properly – can help to make you wiser and more effective in the next iteration of your entrepreneurial life.

Before switching to a new project, or a new business, take some time to reflect and incorporate the lessons you’ve learned, and to benefit from the wisdom you’ve accumulated along the way.

Get back in touch with your core motivation, and reconnect with a vision you find meaningful

When you first started out along your entrepreneurial path, there was almost certainly a strong source of motivation and purpose leading you forward – some vision that you found genuinely inspirational and meaningful.

Unfortunately, as time goes on and setbacks accumulate, that initial motivation and vision can fade, and you can be left trying to push yourself forward day by day, without any real sense of meaning or purpose.

It’s essential that you get back in touch with your core motivation – or establish a new core motivation. In order to pursue your entrepreneurial vision with passion and purpose – and to be effective when doing so – you need to be able to align yourself with a deeper sense of meaning, and you need to pursue a goal that you can be genuinely excited about.

Tips For Protecting Your Business Creations

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If you pour your blood, sweat, and tears into a business venture, the last thing you would want would be for all your creative work to end up being stolen from under your nose.

Unfortunately, however, it is not uncommon for businesses – especially young businesses created by first-time entrepreneurs – to leave some quite dramatic weak spots in place, when it comes to protecting their professional creations and intellectual property.

 

Though there is no absolutely certain way to ensure that the service or product you create will remain “unique” for long, there are certainly a variety of steps you can take in order to help protect your business creations to the best of your ability.

Here are some of those tips.

Be aware of the applicable legalities

It might be that where you live, and with the type of business you do, your intellectual property is already subject to certain protections by default. Then again, maybe it isn’t. Do you know for sure what the case is?

Not only that, but have you consulted with a company such as Progressive Legal to understand the nuances of trademark law and infringement, and how those things might relate to your business?

A lot of entrepreneurs become so passionately caught up in the momentum of what it is they’re doing, that they don’t do their due diligence with regards to researching these sorts of topics. Your first step in protecting your professional creations, therefore, is to do your due diligence and make yourself aware of the applicable legalities to the best of your ability.

It will almost certainly be a good idea to consult with a legal expert, in any case, in the early days of your business.

Trademark at the earliest possible point

It would be a terrible thing to end up developing a brand only to have it immediately ripped off by someone else – or even essentially stolen outright – simply because you had not gone through the process of registering your professional trademark at the right point.

If your business “hasn’t yet taken off,” or if a particular product or service of yours hasn’t yet attracted very much attention, it’s natural that you might end up completely overlooking the need to register a trademark. The problem is that when things do pick up, it might be too late.

As a general rule, trademark everything that you plan to stick with long term, at the earliest possible point.

If possible, keep your routines, recipes and so on concealed

While the branding, and certain particulars, of a product or service of yours can be trademarked, that doesn’t necessarily prevent close imitations from appearing in a hurry, should that product or service become popular.

If possible, keep your routines, recipes, and so on confidential and concealed. Don’t make it any easier than it needs to be for third parties to undermine the uniqueness of what it is you’re offering, or to replicate your formula for success, either.

How All Businesses Should Protect Themselves

It’s not easy being in business. You have to continually think about how you can improve your products and services, manage the many small tasks, look after your employees, and so on. You also need to protect your business; though it would be nice to think that running a company would be one positive interaction after another, this will not always be the case. Bad things can happen, and you need to be ready for that. In this blog, we’re going to guide you through a few essential tasks that’ll keep you protected.

 

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Clear Terms

You want to be there for your customers, and you want them to be happy with your company. However, that doesn’t mean that you can just give them everything they want — you are, after all, running a business, and that approach would only lead to financial problems. You can’t just tell customers no, however, not without a good reason. As such, it’s really important that you have clear terms relating to your business, regarding refunds and things like that. It’s always good if you can point to the fine print when a customer complains.

Against Fraud and Cybercrime

Sometimes, the people that harm your business will do so intentionally. Fraud and cybercrime have been on the rise steadily in recent years, and it’s not something that’s likely to change anytime soon. If you’re not working with an IT service provider that offers extensive cybercrime protection for your data, then be sure to do so soon. Cybercriminals disproportionately target small to medium sized businesses, because they’re more vulnerable than large organizations — but that doesn’t have to be the case. It doesn’t cost a great deal, yet could end up saving your business more than once over the years.

Threats from Other Companies

Competition is good for business, so you should welcome the challenge of rival companies. But that’s only true if they’re playing a fair game. If they’re stealing your ideas, then you should take action by working with intellectual property lawyers; they’ll be able to ensure that your intellectual property remains protected. More generally, it’s a good idea to be aware of what your competitors are doing, just in case they’re actively steering the industry to a place that would not benefit you. This isn’t illegal, of course, but can still have a hugely negative impact on your business.

Horizontal Hierarchy

We get so used to vertical hierarchy setups, that we don’t always step back and wonder if it’s really the best approach. If there’s too much power at the top, then the company is weakened — sometimes subtly so, since the talents of employees aren’t being used to the best of their ability. At other times, it has a more direct impact. For example, if all the power is in the hands of the owner, then what if they fall ill, or simply want to take a break for a few weeks? The company would be vulnerable. Spread the power around so the company is a dynamic organism.

Should You Rent Out Your Spare Office Space?

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Working patterns are changing across the country. Many people are working remotely or are looking for flexible workspaces and hotdesking facilities. If you are in an attractive location and have an abundance of space that won’t be needing any time soon, then renting it out could be a great option for you.

When considering sharing your office space, here are a few advantages of putting that space to good use.

Earn extra money

The setup costs are relatively small for renting out space. You already have utilities and the internet, it’s just a case of making sure that there are sufficient furniture and facilities available. If you’re letting out space for residential and business storage then you will need to check if you need any additional insurance to cover this.

You can choose to rent out desk space on a pay as you go basis or charge by the month. Either way, having extra income for the business can only be a good thing.

Expand Your Network

Small businesses and freelancers are a tight-knit community, often passing along referrals and collaborating. By building this type of community right there in your office, you’re exposing yourself to a whole host of professionals that you can build great relationships and potentially find your next graphic designer, financial advisor, or web developer.

You can choose who you rent out to, meaning that you can build a community of freelancers who have the same values as you do.

Contribute to sustainability

Renting out your office space can help in sustainability efforts. Freelancers who are able to find office space close to home will be spending less time commuting. Additionally, by using up empty space, it reduces the need for additional office space being built and only partially used.

What to consider before you start renting space

Don’t just jump into renting out space. There are a few things to consider first. Do you own your office building? If not, check your lease to see if you are legally allowed to sublet. If not you might open yourself up to legal action if you do.

When it comes to legal advice, have all contracts professionally drafted. You have to make sure that you are fully protected in the event of a dispute and that you have the right to take backspace when you need it in the future. Contracts should also layout any protections for the people renting the space too.

Check with local authorities if you are entitled to any grants or funding to help you with set up costs. There are many initiatives that fund small businesses and freelancers so you may be able to take advantage of these.

Conclusion

If you have space, why not use it for something good? Low-cost coworking spaces are more in demand than ever before. The number of people entering self-employment or working remotely for companies is increasing. It is expected that this trend will continue to rise rapidly due to the changes to working practices following COVID-19.

Why Location is Important in Business

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Location is a critical factor when it comes to commercial success. If you want your business to be profitable, choosing the right location for your premises is essential. Although the internet lets you connect to a global marketplace, this doesn’t minimize the importance of your physical location. By choosing the right town, city or country for your premises, you can transform your commercial performance. To learn more, take a look at these top four reasons why location is important in business:

Hiring the Right Team

When it comes to recruitment, hiring the right mix of talent is crucial. If you can’t attract top talent to your business, you’ll struggle to succeed in your industry. Of course, you’ll only be able to attract great employees if you’re located in an area that’s popular to live in. Similarly, you might want to select a location that offers a reasonable commute from outer suburbs.

Furthermore, some areas are known for being home to particular sectors. Silicon Valley in California and the Silicon Slopes in Utah are linked to the tech industry, for example. If you want to launch a global manufacturing firm, you may choose Build It Tasmania to create your commercial premises. Alternatively, finance companies may search for premises in the Square Mile of the City of London.

Capture Your Target Audience

If it’s not convenient for your target audience to visit your premises, you’re going to lose business. When your services or products can’t easily be translated into online sales, a poor location can be even more damaging to your business. If face-to-face sales and meetings need to be conducted, choosing a location that’s convenient for your target audience is the first step to building a successful enterprise.

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Tax Liability

The location of your business has a determining impact on your financial liabilities and, in particular, the amount of tax you’ll need to pay. Tax rates can vary from region from region, so consider potential locations carefully before you commit to opening. If your tax liability is higher, you’ll need to generate more revenue to cover the extra costs. While higher sales can sometimes offset this, it’s a calculation you’ll need to make before you decide whether or not to take the risk of situating your premises in an area that commands higher taxes.

Cost of Real Estate

Whether you’re leasing a commercial unit or buying a building, the cost of your premises has a major impact on your business. Of course, securing commercial premises in popular locations is often more expensive, so it’s vital to ensure that a high-priced lease is going to be worth the extra expenditure. With a savvy property search, you can secure a lease or purchase a building that’s in an up and coming area. By doing so, you’ll minimize your costs but still gain access to your target market.

Choosing the Right Business Location

Selecting the right business location is more important than ever, despite the widespread availability of the internet. With the potential to lower your costs, enhance in-house talent and boost sales, the location you choose could be the key to commercial success.

Is It Wise To Start a New Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

It’s clear that the global COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of chaos and havoc among the working population. Millions of jobs have been lost, thousands of businesses have been shut down and the future of the economy is looking bleak. But despite these difficult conditions, some companies continue to thrive. Whether it’s adopting safety measures in their stores or switching their customer service focus, there are plenty of businesses that are doing well for themselves despite the difficult conditions. And it’s not just global corporations either. There are actually a surprising number of smaller businesses that are also doing great in terms of profits and growth, even during COVID-19. So this begs the question; is it actually wise to start a new business during the pandemic? Or is it a stupid idea that will waste your time and money because it’s doomed to fail? In this post, we’re going to explore this idea a little more to help you decide if it’s worth investing in your business now or waiting until the pandemic has settled down.

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It’s difficult to get the right funding and find the right businesses to work with

Many businesses have shut down as a result of COVID-19 and banks aren’t willing to lend money if the risk to their investment is too high. If you can offer a fantastic pitch to a lender then you have a good chance of getting the funding needed. However, if there’s even the slightest amount of concern due to the pandemic, then your funding request will likely be rejected. This means you’ll need to find other ways to fund your company, such as from your savings or by crowdfunding.

You’ll also find it difficult to work with other businesses. Many companies have collapsed as a result of COVID-19, so it can be difficult to find another business to work with. You’ll need to find ways to establish a great working relationship. This will help you build trust with other businesses that will strengthen your company and make it easier for you to stay relevant despite COVID-19.

Most businesses can operate entirely on the internet

With a mix of virtual assistant services online and collaborative processes, most businesses can actually operate completely over the internet with no need for a physical office or close interaction. This depends on the products and services you offer. If you’re starting a new business, then you have the opportunity to tweak your services and products to match a post-COVID world.

For example, you can offer your services over the internet, you can dropship products directly to customers, or you could simply send your products from your home storage to each customer. If you’re working as a consultant, then you can provide most of your services over the internet via a program like Zoom or even older one-to-one communication tools like Skype.

Taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation

It’s not recommended to jump on trends because there’s no telling when COVID-19 will end, but it’s possible to build up a business based around the COVID-19 situation itself. For example, some people may establish themselves as COVID-19 experts that can help businesses navigate the difficulties surrounding the pandemic. Others may turn to producing products like custom designer face masks. Some might even buy and sell protective equipment wholesale.

There are lots of unique opportunities that have arisen from COVID-19. However, you’ll need to have some kind of exit strategy or a way to pivot in the future. If you don’t, then you’ll find yourself struggling in the future when COVID-19 (hopefully) disappears. A lot of the processes from COVID-19 will stick around, but it won’t be as prevalent.

Some final words

Starting a new business is always a risk. Depending on your ideas, starting one during a pandemic could be an even riskier move. However, if you’re willing to put a bit of work into the process and invest in ways to make yourself stand out, then it’s entirely possible to start a new business now and be successful. After all, most businesses operate remotely and many companies are starting to realize they can cut costs on things like office rental because most of their workflow is carried out on computers anyway.

In short, it’s only wise to start a new business during the COVID-19 pandemic if you’re willing to adapt to the circumstances instead of trying to use old strategies that no longer work in a post-COVID world.

5 Top Tips to Adapting and Improving Your Customer Service During COVID-19

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Customer service is among the most important aspects of business and can make or break the image and reputation of a brand. Some companies might be able to win over a large share of the market only because they offer lower prices or unique selling points. However, all other competitors will need outstanding customer service to win over customers and retain them over time. And, of course, customer loyalty is at the core of a successful brand.

However, Covid-19 has created several challenges to today’s companies, changing the way customer service is run and implemented. Without the chance to meet your customers in person or speak to them directly, it has become difficult to find valid alternatives. However, in this case, technology is on our side, and the same obstacles that have to represent a major challenge for all companies can also offer brilliant opportunities! Check them all out below.

Create a Buyer Persona

First off, you should not rush into a customer service strategy without understanding the needs and issues of your target market. Indeed, your company and the services you offer should represent a solution to the problem your audience is experiencing. Without understanding this, the whole product creation process, marketing strategy, and customer service system won’t be effective or successful.

So, start by understanding and defining your buyer persona. This should represent your ideal customer, including needs, wants lifestyle, financial situation, and family composition. Give your customer persona a name and add as many details to the picture as possible. This will help you identify the issues your audience is experiencing. In turn, the process can offer you valuable hits regarding how to solve these issues.

Focus on Business Growth

Customer service is all about business growth. Winning over a new customer can be extremely expensive for a business, especially if you consider that a portion of the budget spent on marketing is dedicated exactly to this.

Oppositely, a loyal or returning customer represents a lower cost on the business’ behalf, but it might represent increased profits. Indeed, returning customers are likely to remain in the company for longer, so you can count on repetitive sales.

Additionally, returning customers can become ambassadors of your brand and help you through positive word of mouth and reviews. And, if something has gone wrong along the way, you can use your customer service strategy to transform a negative experience. It has been seen that customers who have gone through this process are more impressed by the business and are more likely to speak about it positively.

Use Social Media to Create a Community

You might not see your local customers daily any more, but this should not be an excuse to interrupt the relationship you have been cultivating throughout the years. And, if face-to-face interactions might seem too dangerous, opt for the virtual world!

Start by getting the most out of your social media pages, creating a strong community of old, new, and potential consumers. Use your accounts to show more about the brand, yourself, and the work that goes on behind the scenes. Don’t forget to use comments, likes, and direct messages to keep in touch with your audience.

Make the Most Out of Email Marketing

Email marketing is another way to ensure you have a direct communication channel you and your audience can enjoy. Email marketing is an excellent way for your customers to receive all the latest offers, and it gives you the chance to add a personal touch to the marketing strategy you have decided to introduce.

While you would have been able to advertise promotions within your business, this might not be a viable alternative any more. The pandemic has fueled a change in all companies and businesses and, without a doubt, it has revolutionised email marketing, giving it a completely new meaning.

Invest in the Right CRM Systems

CRM systems are excellent ways to look after your customers, in a way that is personalised and unique. However, selecting the best CRM for your company or brand can represent a real challenge, especially if you have never needed to introduce one of them in your company before.

It is crucial to speak to an expert professional who can help you identify the specific needs of your company and the CRM system that best supplies working solutions to these needs. While this can represent an investment at first, you can be sure to see an incredible return on investment on this strategy – especially in a moment when customer service can be enhanced only through such systems!

4 Ways To Ethically Grow Your Business During The Global Pandemic

From the fashion industry to the energy industry, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the business world. Several companies have already gone under, with a lot more facing an uncertain future and at risk of closing down. The business environment is more challenging than ever, with many companies looking for new ways to stay afloat or weather the storm. But the great news is that there are ethical ways to keep growing your business during this pandemic. So, are you a business owner tempted to use unethical methods to survive this pandemic? Read on to find ways to grow your business without compromising your values.

  1. Take a step further to support your team

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Many companies are under scrutiny concerning how they respond to the pandemic. While some are taking measures to support their workers, other companies put their workers on unpaid leave, sparking outrage in the process. Consumers would remember how companies treated their own during this period. Companies that positively affect consumers are sure to grow their customer base, while companies that treat their workers’ unfairly’ will suffer significant brand damage and lose their client base.

  1. Focus on value

This pandemic offers the right time to emphasize the value your business provides to your customers. The chances are that your sales are taking a hit, as many consumers are now more hesitant to spend money. If you can offer your customers better value now, they will remember you when they are comfortable paying again. Take advantage of the period to focus on the message you want your business to send out; consider new ways of improving the content of your newsletters. Contents like tips and tricks, sales and discounts, job openings in your industry, news, and views, and discussion starters are all valuable content this time.

  1. Create an online presence

Although online businesses come with so many benefits, moving some or all your business online may be easier for some companies than others. But if your business was primarily operating face-to-face, then perhaps it is time to start thinking of ways to go online. Retailers, for example, can take advantage of e-commerce platforms to reach a broader market. Gym owners and instructors can consider online sessions, while restaurants and food vendors can also try adding online cooking lessons to their operations. The point here is to get as creative as possible to use online platforms to promote your business.

  1. Do not capitalize on the disaster

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The term “disaster capitalism” has been coined by some experts to refer to the unethical ways that some businesses take advantage of the pandemic to promote their products. For example, several hand sanitizer companies doubled their products’ price as demand increased, while other companies stockpiled on essential products. Price gouging and stockpiling of highly demanded products may rake in some money for now, but they are only short-term. However, the negative implications will catch up with your business – and those are long-term.

Contrary to what you may have believed, this period would not rob you and your business of any benefits. Instead of dwelling on the pandemic woes, use it as an opportunity to create new and unique ways of attracting new customers and making business for your existing clients better.

How The Pandemic Can Actually Be Pushing Your Company To Do Better

We’re always hearing about how the pandemic is negatively impacting business and a whole range of other things. While it’s true that this is happening, it might also be doing some businesses a favor. We know it doesn’t look like it right now, but in some ways, the pandemic is actually pushing your business to do better than it was before. In this article, we’re going to be looking at how it’s doing this, so keep reading if you would like to find out more.

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You’re Working Harder

Have you noticed that you and your employees are working harder? You don’t want to see your business fail, and your employees don’t want to lose their jobs, so everything is going that little bit smoother. Your employees have far more patience with your customers who are calling to complain, all paperwork is being filled out to a higher standard, and your business in general is functioning more effectively than it ever has. It’s a bonus for right now, but you’ve got to keep this momentum going when the pandemic is over. This is the level that your business can work at, which is what will be expected of you from now on, so don’t forget that when the time comes and other businesses are opening back up.

Your Marketing Is Better

Another thing that you might have noticed is that your marketing is currently far better than it ever has been. You’re trying to get more customers to be interested in your business, and because you know that this isn’t happening across the board, you are making yours better. You need people to take an interest in what your company is selling otherwise, you’re going to fall flat. For example, if you are a construction labour hire agency, we bet that you’ve found more creative ways than ever to advertise your services to your target audience. The same goes for every business that is currently seeing success at this time. We guarantee that if you look at the marketing campaigns you are producing, there’s a world of difference between them and the pre-pandemic marketing.

You’re Putting In More Effort

The last thing that we’re going to look at is the fact that you are putting in more effort. The fact that so many businesses are struggling right now is forcing you to put more effort into maintaining yours. You might not have looked at it this way yet, but it’s what’s happening. You are kicking everything up a gear in the hopes that your business does not meet the same fate as others have, and it’s working.

We hope that you have found this article helpful and now understand some of the ways that the pandemic might actually be pushing your company to do better. If you’ve noticed this happening in your business, then you’re one of the lucky ones, and you should thank your stars! Good luck for the future, and hopefully, you continue with this drive.