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All Posts by Hannah Thornton

6 Top Tips To Enhance Your Businesses’ Content Marketing Strategy

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One of the most popular ways to advertise a business’ products or services is through content marketing. In this process, businesses are able to create and share online materials (whether it be social media posts, blog posts or another type of content) to stimulate customer interest. 

A far more affordable and effective way to market your business in the digital age, it’s one that any modern business should be investing in. If you’re interested in creating a content marketing strategy or you’re looking for ways to boost your current one, the following tip tips might prove to be invaluable in the long run:

Tip #1 – Make Sure That You Have a Prominent Online Presence

Even if the content that you’re putting out is high-quality, you need to ensure that you’re frequently creating it. You want to drum up interest and keep customers intrigued about what you have to offer throughout the years – not just entice them one time.

Keep your content fresh and make sure that you stick to a schedule. This way, your customers won’t get bored and you’ll be thought of as a prominent figure within your industry. 

Tip #2 – Engage With Your Customers

As part of your content market strategy you should make sure that you engage with your customers. Why? Because customers want to know that you’re interested in their opinions and that you’re there to answer any questions they might have. 

You can do this through ensuring that you’re active on social media (i.e. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) – replying to any mentions that you get and showcasing that you’re there to assist them when they need it. 

Tip #3 – Create Clear Content Guidelines 

No matter if you’re running a startup business or a larger organisation, you need to provide your staff with clear content guidelines. Your online content is a reflection of your business – so you don’t want to post content that doesn’t align with your tone or target demographic. Once there are clear guidelines in place, your customers will start to understand what your business stands for and get to know you better.

Tip #4 Boost Organic Search 

Following on from the above, to ensure that your visibility in organic search is high, you need to make sure the content is relevant and fresh. Search engines can now identify valuable and high-quality content, so make sure that you never compromise on this.

To increase this natural search visibility, make sure that you’re continuously creating content that answers any potential questions that your customers may have. The more you do this, the more traffic your website will generate. 

Tip #5 – Set Goals (And Try to Stick To Them)

Another prominent way of enhancing your businesses’ content marketing strategy is by setting goals that you hope to achieve. By doing this, you and your staff will have a clear vision and can plan exactly what you must do throughout the year to increase traffic and customer interest. 

Tip #6 – Repurpose Content 

Even though it’s a great idea to create fresh content, that doesn’t mean that you can’t repurpose it too. Whether you choose to use the content across several channels, create a webinar based around it or produce ebooks (to name a few examples), it will not only save time but make your content useful for longer.

As part of this process, you could use a content aggregator which is software that gathers information from various sites across the internet. Curated and enhanced information, this ensures that each piece of content you develop will drive up interest and enhance your overall marketing efforts.

Ways to Make Your Business More Digitally Secure

If your business is lacking in terms of its digital security, now is the time to do something about that. These days, it’s something that businesses can’t afford to overlook or take for granted because it’ll come back to bite you sooner rather or later. And you can’t afford to have your business compromised because of lacking security measures. Here are some of the things that you’ll want to put in place to keep your business safe going forward. Read on to learn more.

Set Up a Network Firewall

A network firewall will prevent any unauthorized infiltration of your workplace network. This is especially important when you have a remote workforce, but it’s vital no matter where your team is working from. You don’t want anyone being able to access your network and systems if they don’t have explicit authorization from you to do so. Be sure to set this up at the soonest opportunity.

Secure Your Website and Online Presence

Securing your business’s website and ensuring there aren’t any ways in which it can be compromised will save you a lot of headaches later. You should also get the basics of good password protection right on your social media accounts and all the other areas of your online presence. These things are very simple but they’re worth thinking about.

Put Strong Malware Protection in Place

Malware is a real threat and you need to make sure that all the devices and systems you use are equipped with the proper software in order to keep your business protected. If you fail to get this right, you’ll have to foot the bill of dealing with the malware infection and that’s not going to be cheap or easy to sort out. When it comes to this type of virus, and any for that matter, prevention is far better than cure.

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Use a Virtual Private Network

Using a VPN improves the security and privacy of your business. Not all businesses feel the need to use a VPN, but if you want to be extra careful and ensure that you can’t be compromised in any way, using a Virtual Private Network is a good idea. And they’re very affordable as well, so there aren’t many reasons now to start using one in your workplace.

Regularly Check for Vulnerabilities

No business is ever going to be 100% secure in every way. That’s why it’s always going to be important to regularly check for any vulnerabilities or problems that might be present in your business. That way, you can spot them early and take fast action to put them right before those issues before even bigger and more potentially damaging to your business.

Right now, digital security should be one of the things very close to the top of your list of priorities. Any business in any sector, no matter how big or small, can be impacted in disastrous ways by failures in the digital security department. 

Getting Things Back Up And Running After Lockdown

Many businesses have struggled with the recent events and unprecedented times that we have found ourselves in. Having to diversify your business and look at alternative ways to trade became part of your daily routine as you kept your business going. However, with things slowly starting to get back to normal, it is at this stage that you may be looking at resuming some normality back to your business. With social distance and new guidelines in place. So how can you pick things up where you left off? Here are some of the things to think about. 

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Continue to diversify your business

During the last few months you may have had to diversify your business. We have seen restaurants offering take outs, bakeries doing deliveries and other businesses using online methods to keep their business going. Thinking outside of the box has helped but now that things are getting back to normal there is no reason to change. You may have found that certain ways that you have diversified your business has helped you to gain new business and also allowed you to move forward in a different way. Continue to diversify where you can and build upon some of the success you may have experienced during lockdown. 

Check tools/machines and other aspects of your business

For some people, heading back to abandoned workplaces to kick start their business once more may mean you need to implement some new health and safety checks. There might be new guidelines in place that you need to be aware of, social distancing regulations and points of sale that need to be addressed. You may even need to check tools and machines you use, replace mains neon indicator lights or parts within it if they suddenly are not working as they should be. Health and safety will be a massive focus now, so making sure you get things right will help your business to thrive. 

Be flexible with people that work with you

Now more than ever it is important to be flexible. Personally, a lot of lives will have changed when it came to children being at home and working from home arrangements, so it is important for you to be flexible with anyone that you have working with you. Continuing working from home or offering up personal protective equipment for returning to work will be paramount. 

Use the opportunity for change 

Finally, see this as an opportunity for change. It could be the perfect time to rebrand your website and make some permanent changes to how you do business. You could rebrand, change the logo or colour schemes that you use. Packaging and logistics changes and implementing some of the new ways you have done business on a permanent basis. It is an excellent time to relaunch a business in a new way. What could you change within your business? 

Let’s hope these tips and suggestions help you when it comes to getting your business back up and running after lockdown. 

Boosting Your Bank Balance When Running a Business

Some people think that running a business is a surefire route to wealth, but those people either: have never run a business before or got extremely lucky. It takes time to get to the stage where a company has a positive impact on your bank balance. And this isn’t just because a company doesn’t become profitable overnight. There’s also the matter of your time. If you’re putting so many hours in at the office, then that’s time that eats into earning money from other sources. In this blog, we’ll take a look at a few ways in which you can be financially healthy when you’re running a business.

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Pay Yourself First

You’ll be focused on making your business a success, but don’t forget that you’ve also got bills to pay. Of all the pieces of financial advice that can be given to new business owners, perhaps the most important one is to pay yourself first. Setting your salary is tricky, but usually only later on when the company is profitable. In the early days, it’s pretty straightforward. You should pay yourself enough to get by (that means enough to pay the bills, not live a life of luxury). You shouldn’t put yourself into mountains of personal debt to grow your business.

Cut Your Costs

You may have been used to one type of lifestyle when you were a traditional employee, but when you become a business owner, you’ll have to be prepared to cut your costs, at least for a while. If there was no risk involved in starting a business, then everyone would do it. But they don’t, because it can be challenging. In the early days, focus on reducing your expenses and living a more frugal life, until you can increase your salary.

Invest Your Money

It’s not just that there’s not so much money in the early days of business; the issue is that you don’t have much free time. After all, your working hours (which are long) are spent trying to develop and grow your company. There are other ways to earn money, however, ones that can help boost your bank balance but which don’t take up all of your time. Take trading, for example. This used to be a time-consuming task, but if you use a Virtual Private Server, then you can run automated trading strategies. This will allow you to put your money to work, ultimately resulting in a healthier financial landscape. 

Sort Out Your Tax

Finally, take a look at your accounts, and especially your tax situation. We live in a business-friendly society that allows you to save money through tax breaks. It’s up to you to proactively work to figure out your tax situation — many business owners inadvertently spend more money than they need to. If you’re not sure how to go about this, then look at hiring a tax expert. They’ll be able to tell you all the tax breaks that you’re entitled to. You might just find they can save you a lot of money. 

Improve Your Business’s Online Presence

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In recent months, how we do business online has become increasingly important. Not only is the world growing digitally, but the pandemic has forced even quicker change upon us. With many employees and consumers stuck at home, businesses have had to innovate new ways of reaching people online. From restaurant takeaways to Zoom lessons and services, the internet has become the world’s most lucrative marketplace. Even if you do not offer an online product, it’s more vital than ever that you have an attractive online presence, especially if you want to grow your business. With reduced footfall and higher online orders set to continue for the foreseeable future, having a polished and thorough online presence may be the difference between struggle and success.

Website Design

Your website is the shop window for your company. This is where consumers will come to purchase items, contact you, or simply just to check out who you are. They may land here initially through a web search, or they might be directed here from your social media channels. Either way, this is where their impressions of you will be formed. For the best results, don’t attempt to design your website yourself. It might seem a simple case of drag-and-drop, but the best websites are carefully crafted by companies such as R6 Digital to be both ergonomic and stylish. It’s harder than it looks! You want your website to be easy to get around, and for its design to match the logo and style of your company. Consistency is key.

Social Media

Gone are the days when simply having a website was enough to constitute an online presence. Now, if you don’t have a profile on sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, it’s as if you don’t even exist. These platforms are a great way for users to contact you with questions, and for you to engage with the public. Targeted ads can be very useful for building a profile in a certain area or with a certain demographic. However, the real benefit of social media is in the personal touch it allows you to give to your business. The internet is flooded with screengrabs of business giants’ social media accounts bantering with each other, and with customers, and for good reason. They’re funny, engaging, and they give a brand a personality that endears consumers towards them. If you can tap into this trend for yourself, your online presence will truly be a success.

Blog

Blogging isn’t just for bloggers. You may have noticed that many business websites now have a ‘blog’ section of their website. This can be filled with many articles, from news updates to advice columns, to how-to messages about products, services, and more. A blog is another way to welcome customers and endear yourself to them by offering valuable information. It also promotes yourself as an industry expert on certain topics, allowing potential customers to trust you and the services you offer. Finally, blog posts are much more likely to be shared by others, resulting in free advertising as they link back to your website and your business.

Face Masks: Do Employees Need Them?

(Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

There’s little to say about the unexpected nature of this year that hasn’t been said already. With the general upheaval of the world has come to a mandatory new fashion trend: face masks. While public opinion is primarily split on their effectiveness at preventing the spread of disease, the statistics seem to favor wearing them. Wearing face masks, combined with other preventative measures like social distancing and frequent hand washing, significantly reduces the risk of spreading disease.

As heartening as it is to know that face masks do the job when it comes to keeping sickness at bay, many employers are still torn between forcing their employees to wear them and making their own decisions about it. Even though wearing face masks may now be one of the most important public health measures workers can take when interacting with community members, logistical issues arise once employers get involved. Read on to learn a little more about both sides of the debate.

The customer is comes first

Some people argue that employees should wear Hygiene Masks to represent best the brand of the company they’re working for while they’re on the clock. Letting employees take these matters into their own hands may cause more trouble than it’s worth during this unprecedented time. Seeing as it’s standard for health departments to implement rules regarding food safety, keeping, and consumption, it would make sense for higher-ups in a company to establish similar, uniform rules. However, if companies decide to take responsibility for enforcing this rule, they’ll also be responsible for informing their employees how to correctly put on, wear, and dispose of a face mask. Not only that, but employers will be on the hook for providing these masks to their employees. “Employers that opt to provide employees with single-use coverings must provide a sufficient supply to enable employees to replace them as needed, which may be more than once a day,” says Devjani Mishra and Alka Ramchandani-Raj, New York-based and Los Angeles-based public health lawyers, respectively.

It’s not the company’s responsibility

However, the argument against this is that it’s not on employers to foot the bill, or responsibility for that matter, for the masks. The language of business reopening orders varies widely from state to state, ranging from mandatory face mask-wearing for all employees in the state to strategically-crafted loopholes that give employers the freedom to choose. Regardless of whether a business decides to enforce this rule or not, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does require employers to pay for this personal protective equipment (PPE).

Another tricky loophole arises here, though. Some employers argue that if employees wear the masks out of the public eye, they aren’t obligated to pay for them, as moving from a public to a private location allowed these face masks to transcend the status of work equipment.

No matter what side of the debate you fall on, it doesn’t hurt to take precautions not just for you but also for the people around you. Keep washing your hands, and thanks for reading!

Ensuring The Safety Of Your Manufacturing Process

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If you are the proud owner of a production line integrated as part of your business, it’s essential that you take care of those who must attend to it. Factory and manufacturing line injuries are unfortunately more common than the ideal number of ‘zero’ and yet we must do all we can to pursue that golden number.

Of course, as a business owner, you’ve likely already seen to many of the essential standards that come with structuring this utility. We’re not here to patronize you in the least. However, we can offer a few extra tips to help you continue your great work, and to stay in the right line as far as safety is concerned. After all, when it comes to safety, there is always room for improvement.

Furthermore, it’s often the most commonplace, easy-to-apply wisdom that grants us the most effective results. Increasing the break times and lengths of those who work in an intense section of your manufacturing line is a great place to start for instance, because attentiveness avoids harmful outcomes.

With that in mind, please consider the following advice for the best possible results:

Stock Safety Replacements

Of course, the equipment that allows us to measure safety, in all its forms, must be functional and have replacements on by. From the best air pressure gauge replacements to help your staff continually measure the correct levels, to industrial aprons and gloves necessary to avoid burning when handling chemicals or cleaning solutions – there are always tools you can use to improve the safety of your staff, provided you also ensure they’re in reliably great condition.

Repeated Training

Training is not something you can ignore, or an investment we can avoid making. Bi-yearly or yearly training can allow your staff to feel refreshed regarding certain processes and security protocols, and in the end this should grant them full autonomy over their best practice. Training can also be dedicated, such as helping staff learn how to utilize a new system, or how to integrate automated processes well, or simple things, such as what to do in a fire. Training can also coincide with new pursuits in your manufacturing process. For instance, you may be taking on a new job to produce certain items for another company, and so training your staff in best practice via the specification sheets can be another worthwhile step.

Investigate Issues

Unfortunately, issues will take place, and it’s up to you do deal with the aftermath. One issue can lead  to extensive safety practicalities that you were missing beforehand. If an employee of yours is injured, how did it happen? Did they fail to use the proper safety equipment? Might it be that next time, employees are only allowed into the lab if they are fully protected and verified to be so? It’s worth considering the additions you can make to your policy, because this can help you turn a negative into a future positive.

With this advice, you’re certain to ensure the safety of your manufacturing process.

Keeping Your Business Afloat During the Pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic is a situation that has impacted the entire world. This medical emergency has had a detrimental impact on almost all areas of almost all of our lives. As we try our best to adapt to new ways of living that can control and slow the spread of the virus, we’re watching our usual day to day lives slip further and further away from us. For months now, the vast majority of countries around the world have been following shelter in place, social isolation and social distancing measures. This means that even those of us who haven’t been sick with the virus or Covid-19 disease have had to radically alter our lives on a day to day basis. We’re no longer heading into the workplace. Kids are off school. Pubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms, theatres, spas, shops and pretty much everything else that operates on a face-to-face traditional brick and mortar basis is closed. We’re having to learn to live within the confines of our own homes – video calling loved ones rather than seeing them face to face, learning how to cope with being around the same people 24/7, or learning how to deal with loneliness if we live alone. It’s not all too surprising that many of us are struggling. If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’ve been heavily impacted. So many small and medium sized businesses are struggling to stay afloat right now, as they try to adopt new working patterns to operate without contact between individuals. If you’re worried about how you’re going to pull your business through this pandemic, here are a few pieces of advice that could help!

Seek Financial Support

Many businesses are struggling. Either their staff are unable to work, they can’t operate their physical stores so can’t make sales, or are simply struggling to make any sales because countless people have lost their jobs, are struggling financially and consequently have no disposable income to spend on non-essential goods. Governments around the world are aware of this and are consequently offering different types of financial support. It’s important to see what’s available to you and to apply for anything you’re eligible for. You may be able to furlough your staff, which means they don’t work but the government pays a large percentage of their wages. This ensures your staff are financially secure and you can put your business on hold until this situation passes. You may be eligible for stimulus checks. You may be eligible for loans or grants.

Contact Landlords, Lenders and Others

Many businesses are struggling to pay rent on commercial premises or to repay loans and credit cards they may have been using to operate. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to reach out to your landlords, lenders and any other relevant individuals sooner rather than later. Everyone is aware we’re in the midst of a pandemic and many countries have placed payment holidays on mortgages and other payments. So, you never know, your landlord may be lenient and allow you to make smaller payments or may agree to let you pay the outstanding rent later on in installments. Many credit card providers and lenders are also removing interest from current payments to help companies. It really is worth asking – the worst outcome is that these people simply say no and you’re no worse off than you already were.

Do Some Post-Pandemic Planning

We have no idea how long this pandemic will last. So, it’s important to start planning your business’ return and determine what you may need for when your business can reopen. It’s highly unlikely that one day we will just recommence life as it was. Instead, we’re likely to go through a gradual process that sees us all take baby steps back towards normality. You are highly likely to need to invest in plenty of personal protective equipment to protect staff and customers once people can return to stores and work. This could include face masks and face coverings, which you can buy here. It could include latex gloves. It could include perspex dividers that could be placed between desks in offices or between cashiers and customers in traditional brick and mortar stores. If you run a tangible store, you may need to lay down stickers on the floor to direct people around your store in an orderly manner where people can distance from one another. You may need to rearrange desks and seating plans in offices to keep everyone two metres apart. These plans can make all the difference and better prepare you for your business’ future!

Know If It’s Time to Call It a Day

Many businesses have really struggled during this pandemic. It’s important that you know if it’s time to call it a day with your company. If you’ve found yourself in irrecoverable debt from trying to support staff and keep things running over the past few months and cannot see yourself making sufficient money to pull your company out of this situation, you may need to go bankrupt. It’s generally best to use the help of a professional financial advisor, who will be able to survey your business, its financial situation and its prospects. They can let you know whether you can realistically get your business back on its feet, or whether you need to put a stop to things and start over on a new path.

Sure, times are troubling right now. Many businesses really are finding it difficult to operate in these hostile conditions and difficult times. But many will pull through. So, it’s important to maintain hope and to take steps towards actively improving your business and pushing things forward. Hopefully, some of the above advice will help you in some way or another!

Tips To Improve Quality In Your Business

Quality is essential in your business, and it can be improved in all areas of your business. You need quality staff in order to produce great work for the company, and you need a quality product or service to make sales. Here are some tips to improve quality in your business.

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Track Your Mistakes

Mistakes happen in business, and it’s usually done through human error that we are all capable of. However, there might be things happening within the business that keep happening, and these mistakes can often be avoided. The quality of your work processes for example, can be improved and hopefully reduce the number of issues that happen on a daily basis. For example, it could be the quality of the workstations that your staff use and that perhaps IT issues are a common problem when it comes to daily productivity. Improving the quality of your IT services and technology can help reduce any mistakes or delays that can come from that. Tracking your mistakes is a helpful way of spotting the weak points in your business. 

Focus On Areas Of Concern

There are certainly areas of concern for all businesses, whether it’s the use of medical fridges in your pharmaceutical business or the lack of management in certain departments. Being able to pinpoint these areas in your business that need focus can certainly help to improve the quality in all aspects. Identifying your weaknesses as a company is a good thing, yet many businesses won’t like addressing them. Instead, they’re likely to focus on the advantages and strengths.

Train Your Employees

Your employees are integral to the business, and it’s key that you’re providing progression or at least an interest in building them as individuals. Whether it’s offering them training or building their skills and experience in the hopes of offering them a new role or promotion. The quality of your employees can really make a difference to the success of your business, and it’s definitely one area that you want to invest in for your business.

Listen to your employees, and although some might not want to progress in their role, there will certainly be those who want additional training or joined the company to move up the ladder. Give all of your employees the opportunity to thrive where possible in the business.

Listen To Feedback

Feedback is something that businesses should be listening to more often, especially when it comes to clients or customers. They are the ones using your products or services, and therefore, they’ll likely know more and want to give honest feedback on how you can improve. Listen to them, take their considerations on board, and really move forward with the intentions of improving on what they suggest.

The quality of a business is shown in many ways, but it can only happen when there’s a willingness to improve. Listen to that customer feedback, work on training your staff where relevant, and focus on those areas in your business that need improving. 

Protecting Your Remote Business From Digital Threats

A lot more of us are working from home than ever before. Not only does it pose a challenge to our work routine that we have to get used to, but it can pose a threat to our business as well. Given that home computers are rarely as well protected as business-only equipment, hackers and malware makers have become a lot more prolific, and more businesses are being targeted than ever. Here is how to ensure that your remote workers aren’t endangering your data and your business.

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Training is key

Most cybersecurity threats are not caused by outsiders hacking into secure systems, but rather by people who leave massive gaps in that security. Make sure you are giving employees regular training and tips of password protection, avoiding unsecured connections, recognising fishing scams, and other ways they may accidentally leave the business open to intrusions from the outside, as shown by Fraudwatch.

Make sure your team is equipped

Whatever device your employee is using, it should be equipped with the software needed to help them protect it. This includes finding a decent professional-grade anti-malware software such as Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, as well as firewalls. You should make it part of your company policy that any device connecting to your data or resources is using the right protective software. Don’t forget to apply access settings for your own resources, too, so that employees aren’t able to access data that isn’t relevant to them, helping to segment your own data.

You need a team to monitor

You can put in place all the security software that you like, but nothing works as well as human vigilance paired with the right tools. To that end, a team of experts like Levit8 IT Solutions are necessary even when your team isn’t in the office. Not only can a managed services provider help you respond more quickly to potential threats, but they can also proactively look for the vulnerabilities in your network and secure them, too.

Keep your connections private

Lastly, one type of protective software that’s more important than others is the VPN. When you send data over the internet, that’s when it’s at most risk of being intercepted. A good secure VPN will encrypt that data so that, even if it’s intercepted, it will be unreadable to whoever steals it. Similarly, make sure that your employees know not to use public Wi-Fi servers, including those that anyone can get a password for if they are in the same cafe or train station, for instance.

Consider investing in your own equipment

If you really want to make sure that your employees are using equipment that is fully protected and doesn’t allow them to use any unauthorized software that can lead to threats, then you may want to get rid of that BYOD policy. Providing them with work laptops that are fully prepared by your own IT team may be the safest option.

Simply put, it’s essential that you maintain professional standards of cybersecurity training and investment, regardless of where your team is working from. The tips above should hopefully help with that.

Everything You Need To Work From Home Efficiently

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Over recent months the majority of the workforce has had to shift to ‘working from home’, and it looks like this shift could be something that stays longer than the Coronavirus pandemic will. Many people will not only have enjoyed working from home but also found that they are more productive. Working from home can help people to achieve a better work-life balance, save money on the commute and then there is the added benefit of the convenience for childcare and managing the home. So, as the world slowly gets back to a “new normal”, working from home could become a part of that, even if it’s just for a few days a week. As many people were forced into working from home with almost no notice, if it’s going to become a more permanent way of life, then you need to make sure your home is set up for this. So, what do you need?

An Office Space

You might have “made do” with the kitchen table up until now, but if you’re going to be working from home more regularly, then you might want to create a more permanent space. It doesn’t have to be a whole room, but is there a corner or an area under the stairs you can use? You’ll need a desk for your laptop and papers, but the other thing you’ll need is some peace and quiet. Also, check there are enough electric outlets for everything you need. 

Security

You will, of course, need to make sure you have your cybersecurity sorted. This is something you could ask your company’s IT department to sort out for you as it is in their best interest. As well as cybersecurity, though, you need to make sure your home is entirely secure. If you handle confidential documents, then you’ll need a safe place to keep them. It might even be worth looking at video door entry systems for your home too, which will not only reduce your distractions but also keep your information extra secure. 

Software 

Make sure that all the software you usually use when you’re at work has been installed on your laptop so that you can carry on doing your job as smoothly as possible. Then it is also a good idea to install a good communication software for you and your team. As you can’t just turn around from your desk to discuss something work-related, it needs to be just as easy to ask a question and get in contact with people. A platform like Slack is great for keeping the conversation and going and getting everyone connected. 

Motivation

This is the one thing people struggle with the most when working from home, but once you get into the swing of it, it becomes the norm. It’s essential to keep a routine and to separate your work from your home life and home admin. To get motivated, you need to make sure you get up and get dressed just as you would for going into work, sitting all day in your pyjamas will likely mean you’re less productive. Get up, exercise, shower, eat breakfast and get dressed (in whatever order suits you) and then get to work. 

How to Plan an Unforgettable Networking Event

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Organising a networking event can be a hugely effective way of boosting your professional career. Not only is it an opportunity to promote your brand, but it allows you to expand your business network and meet a large number of potentially valuable connections in a short space of time. In an ideal world, you will go away from a networking event with an address book full of business opportunities, job offers and prospective new customers.

A successful networking event is an opportunity for business professionals and entrepreneurs to discuss ideas and build relationships. If done right, hosting such an event can be a massive boost to your career, but it is crucial that it is well-organised and targeted to the right audience. You don’t want your event attendees to leave after five minutes or to have a room full of people in entirely different industries.

With this in mind, here are some things to consider when planning a successful networking event.

Purpose

When creating your event, it is essential that you define its purpose. Is it targeted to people in a specific industry, entrepreneurs, or exclusive to people within your company? Be clear on the types of people you want to attend and what you want them to get out of the event.

Format

There are several different types of networking events, and you can make yours as structured or as informal as you like. Organise a speed networking event in which attendees meet as many people as possible in a short space of time, or host informative workshops and lectures to give participants an extra incentive to turn up. Alternatively, you could simply hire a room with a bar and a buffet table and allow everyone to mingle freely.

Location

The location of your venue is crucial to its success. First and foremost, it must be easy for your participants to get to so they can easily fit the event around their busy lives. Such functions are often held before or after work, so ensure there is sufficient food and drink to keep everyone’s energy up and prevent them from leaving out of hunger. An exciting venue can be a huge draw, but if you are on a budget, hiring out a pub or small community hall can be just as effective.

Budget

What can you afford to spend on your event? Even if you are not looking to turn a profit, you will need to spend some money to get it off the ground. Consider whether you could generate some funds from ticket sales, sponsorship or allocate some money from your company’s budget. 

Promotion

Once the event planning is underway, you need to get the word out. Get in touch with all of your existing connections to let them know about it and ask them to spread the word. Use social media, email lists, or any other marketing streams to promote your event.

Follow-up

Once the event is over, you will no doubt have a pocket brimming with business cards from connections you have made. Don’t let these valuable contacts go to waste. Follow up with all of your attendees by connecting on LinkedIn and sending a short follow-up email to say thank you.

Organising a networking event can be a huge boost to your professional career, but it takes time and a great deal of planning to get it right. Consider hiring an events agency to help you.

5 Signs You’re Ready To Attend Your First Trade Event

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If you’re thinking of attending a trade event but you’re unsure whether or not you’re ready then don’t worry, you have definitely come to the right place. Whether you’ve been in business for years or you’ve only just started, you need to be sure you’re 100% ready before you start making any plans. Luckily, there are lots of clear signs it may be time. From wanting to network with other business owners to wanting somewhere to sell your products in bulk, you may be surprised at how prepared you actually are. With that in mind, here are 5 signs you’re ready to attend your first trade event: 

You’re Looking To Network With Like-Minded Business Owners

One of the best reasons to attend a trade event is to network with like-minded business owners. Whether you’re new to business or you’ve been operating for years, having like-minded people to talk about is a great way to grow as a business owner. From sharing ideas to finding comfort in the same struggles, it’s always a good idea to surround yourself with inspiring friends and trade shows, of course, are the best way to meet them. For a guide to networking at a trade show, you can visit this site here. 

You Want To Check Out The Competition 

If you have seen that your competitors are going to be attending a number of trade shows, you may want to consider attending as a way of checking them out. Whether you attend as a guest or you attend as a business, it’s always worth doing a little bit of competitor research and analysis. For more information when it comes to researching your competitors, you can visit this site here 

There are A Number Of Sessions You Want To Attend

Although not all events have workshops and sessions, often you will find that there are lots of opportunities for you to learn. If you don’t want to run your own stand or you have hired promotional team members to take over, you may want to spend some time learning from industry professionals. Make sure you’re taking your notepad and a pen, there are going to be lots of things you want to write down. 

You Want To Sell Your Products In Bulk

If you have the capacity to create the stock, selling your products in bulk is one of the main reasons people attend trade shows. In order to do this, however, you need to ensure you’re doing all you can to attract customers to your stand. From stand design to promotional giveaways, you may be surprised at all of the methods to try. For more information when it comes to exhibition stand designers, you can visit this site here. 

You Want To Make It Part Of Your Business Strategy

Finally, if you want to make attending events part of your business strategy then there is no time like the present. 

With lots of great reasons to attend your first trade event, you can be sure you’re making the right business decision. Why else might you want to attend? Did we miss anything off of the list? Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. 

Business Efficiency: Tips to Help You Make It Happen

One of the worst things to happen to a new business owner is a failing business. The problem is that most new business owners can’t see where they are failing, and then it’s the beginning of the end of it all. The thing is, it may not be something you are directly failing at, but inefficiencies plaguing your business that you cannot get away from. So, you need to do what you can to figure out those inefficiencies and make them better.

There are so many small things that can bring your business down, from using the wrong Online HR Management Platform to not using the right IT company to help. You need your business to work at the best possible efficiency so that you can grow swiftly and smoothly. With this in mind, here are some of the best tips that you can use to make your business more efficient than ever before.

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  1. You shouldn’t expand your business too fast if you want to make your business efficient. It’s nice to see those dollar signs rolling but if you go too quickly, you build your business far too fast and you don’t have the resources to keep up. You need to think about how you can adjust your workflow properly and have the right people to help to support that expansion. 
  2. While it’s nice to have new ideas for software, you need to only employ technology that has been tested. It’s not a good idea to use new workflow systems if you don’t understand them. You should never make decisions about technology without the right outsourced team on board to help you with your release date. 
  3. Before you make any business decisions, consider your staff and how it affects them. If you don’t have the consideration to at least float ideas to other team leaders, you shouldn’t be making huge business decisions. Pulling the trigger on big decisions is not a good idea as it will only fail and make your business look worse when you do it.
  4. Communication has to be the most vital piece of your business puzzle. You should have an open door policy with your staff and ensure that every piece of work is documented correctly. You need to communicate with staff, colleagues and clients, too. The more you open yourself up to communicate, the better your business will be.
  5. Technology must be as reliable as possible and when it doesn’t work, things go wrong very quickly. You need to make sure that your technology strategy is secure and reliable  so that the business can run well.

Efficiency comes in many forms, but if you’re not paying attention, you won’t be able to maintain your business for long. Instead of things not working, improve and ensure that your business is one to envy. Beat your competition by making sure that your business is as efficient as possible – you won’t regret the decision to make it happen!

How To Set Up A Recruitment Company

Do you believe you have the knack of finding the right person for the job? Why not monetize that skill and find the right people for everyone else’s jobs? Setting up a recruitment firm will be hard work, but it will be rewarding. You’ll get to match up thousands of vacancies with applicants and help scores of people find work. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can set up your own recruitment firm. 

Research Recruitment Law And Regulations

The first step in setting up your recruitment business will be to do some research into the local laws and regulations in your area. 

You’ll need to have a full understanding of this before you can set up your business. Find out if there is anything specific that you need in place before you start to operate. 

Create Your Recruitment Business Plan

Once you’ve done your research into the requirements associated with running a recruitment business, you can start to create your business plan. 

In your business plan, you should factor all of your costings and how you will generate a return on your income. You should also look at the threats to your business such as competitor activity and how you will combat this.  

Set Your Pricing Structure

All businesses need a pricing structure. Work out how much you will charge each business per recruit you find them. 

Find Your Specific Niche

Your business needs its own angle. Maybe you’ll specialize in recruiting for specific industries. You might want to focus on office-based employment services, or you could specialize in healthcare. 

Look where the gaps in the market are and fill them. 

Innovate Your Business 

Once you have found your niche, you need to find new ways of working that will set you aside from your competition. 

Don’t be afraid to be bold. At this stage, you can think outside the box. You might land on a winning idea.

Find Your Startup Capital 

Once you have addressed all of the finer details about how your business will be run you can start looking for investment capital. 

Make sure that you have every detail worked out. When pitching your business to potential investors, you will need to know all of the numbers. 

Set Up Your Business

Once you have received investment funding it will be time to set up your business. Find a premises from which you can run. Look into recruitment web design to help create a specialist site that can be used for marketing job vacancies and taking applications. 

Then, start to buy all of the IT equipment and phones required to run your business. 

Recruit Your Recruitment Team

Once you have set up your office space, you can recruit and train the team of employees that will be working with you. 

Your ability to recruit the right people will really put to the test by employing the people who will be working for you in your own recruitment firm. 

How To Prepare For Anything In Business

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When it comes to being in business, it’s safe to say that so many weird and wonderful things can happen. Whenever you start your own company, you do it with the very best intentions. You have dreams of what you want to achieve and you’ll do what you can to make that happen. Even when it seems a little scary or you’re not really sure of the future, you’ll definitely do what you need to do to make sure that you give it your all. And a huge part of that is preparing for anything. Just like you’re planning your marketing month to month and year to years, it’s a great idea to make sure that you’re planning for the unknown too. This can sound a little crazy, but it’s just something that you can do to protect your business.

And how do you do that? It can seem very alien to you to try and prepare for anything when you have no idea what anything looks like. You won’t always know what it is that you have to do or put in place, but anything that you can do is always a good idea. And sometimes, it’s not always things that you put in place in a what if kind of scenario. Sometimes, it’s the thing that you do on a day to day basis and how you approach business in general. These can be the things that you do that help to save your business. Let’s take a look at what you can do to prepare for anything.

Have A Business Plan

To start with, you’re going to want to make sure that you’ve got a business plan in place. If you want to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible, it’s good to think over what could happen in business and plan and prepare for it.

Know Your Brand

From here, you’re then going to want to make sure that you know your brand. When you are aware of your brand and what fits into it and what doesn’t, you will be able to ensure that you can make decisions based on that. It’ll help you to ensure that you can grow in the right way.

Hire A Coach

It could be that you need to get a coach or mentor. When it comes to helping you to make the right decisions and get to where you want to be, you may not always be able to do this yourself. Hiring someone to advise you can be exactly what you need to do to be prepared.

Constantly Create

If there’s one thing that you can look to do to make sure that you are prepared, it’s for you to make sure that you’re always coming up with ideas. It could be that you put aside different business ideas or ideas for products or services. Or maybe even marketing ideas for the future. Having a bank of ideas gives you something to fall back on should you need it.

Prepare In Case

Of course, it’s also a really great idea to prepare for things to happen too – just in case. Here, we’re talking having insurance in place should you need to fall back on it. Having a diesel generator or some kind of secondary supply to ensure that you can operate should you need to. Even making sure that you have first aid supplies in case you need to look after staff or customers. These little things can help.

Have A Safety Net

From here, the next thing that you might want to do is consider having some kind of safety net in place. It’s safe to say that if there were to be something that goes wrong, it’s great to be able to have money behind you. Maybe it’s collateral or cash in the bank? Or maybe you have a great credit rating and you know that you have access to a line of credit should you need it? This is always a great idea and will make you feel protected.

Always Put Your Customers First

Finally, you’re going to want to make sure that no matter what you do in business, that you’re always putting your customers first. It’s the best thing that you can always do for the success of your business – but not only that. In case things go wrong with your business or the market, you’re always going to want to have your customers on your side. So always put them first, because they’ll stand by you when you need them to.

5 Ideas To Enhance Your Marketing

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Marketing is a continually evolving industry. Just when you think you’ve got your strategy sorted, in comes a hot new trend to shake things up. To enhance your marketing in 2020, try focusing on the following areas.

1 . Enhance UX

To boost your marketing, begin by improving your UX. It’s advisable to focus on enhancing all stages of user experience. Providing highly engaging content is the easiest way to improve the UX on your site. This year, many marketers are using animated videos to express their brand stories. Ensuring that your layout is neat, concise and easy to use is another crucial step. Providing users with ‘micro-interactions’ is also a  beneficial way to enhance user experience. For example, you might offer simple ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons on your website.

2. Intelligent Content 

Intelligent content refers to an approach to your content; the approach involves treating it as a business asset and ensuring that it is semantically rich and structured. The end game is that the content is discoverable, high performing and engaging. Content marketing is of crucial importance to businesses across every industry. To help you to create high performing and intelligent content, there are a number of platforms available.

SEMrush is a top piece of content marketing software. It’s a platform which allows individuals to create a content roadmap by discovering topics, questions and headlines. You can also organize your marketing activities and keep track of your progress. Another option is StoryChief, the great thing about this platform is that it has some top collaborative features. Using StoryChief you can streamline the process of working as a team on content.

3. Use Stories

To forge a deeper connection with their audiences, many brands are using ‘Stories’ on Instagram. Using Stories is a top way to increase engagement and reach out to new audiences. There are plenty of ways that your brand can use Instagram Stories. For example, NASA often uses polls to ask their followers questions about science-themed topics. The Museum of Fine Arts Boston likes to add memes and funny quotes to their art history videos. When it comes to Stories, it’s all about using creativity to draw people in. Using video content in general is the best way to improve your branding this year.

4. Use a PR Agency 

Investing in a professional PR agency takes the work out of your marketing, and delivers amazing results. A great PR agency will be able to pitch stories that generate a real buzz amongst both influencers and journalists. You’ll be able to get yourself some top-notch creative content, without putting in the hours yourself. It’s best to choose a PR agency who has experience in your industry specifically. For example, law firms can try Elitelawyermanagement.com.

5. Use AI

Artificial intelligence can help you to improve your marketing in several ways. First up, using chatbots on your website is a fantastic way to boost your customer service. Chatbots can serve a large number of customers at the same time, plus they can answer queries 24/7. Another way to use A.I in marketing is by using remarketing tactics. With remarketing you can show potential leads your ads on their social media accounts.

3 Reasons to Invest In The Best Business Tools

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When trying to boost your business’ efficiency and reputation, you need to look at the tools that you use. For small businesses, it’s tempting to try and get by using services that offer free trials or are at the very best stripped down and basic versions of the most essential programs. Sometimes, you even need to resort to cheap imitations. While this can be beneficial in the financial short term, it can have adverse effects on the potential for growth.

Because of this, you must make the necessary investments to push your company forward. But if you are straining to stick to a budget, it can be difficult to justify such expenses. Still, here are 3 reasons to invest in the best business tools. 

They Are Something You Can Trust

High-quality products and services, whether software, IT support, or devices will come with a level of trust and dependability that you will not get with cheap alternatives.

Using something that you trust will put your mind at ease. Neither you nor your staff will worry about what could go wrong. Instead, you can glide through projects or meetings with ease. 

Even if there is an issue at any point, the customer support directly from the merchant will be clear and thorough. You will have the information to overcome any problems immediately, while the risk of losing out on essential data or work because of breaches or system failure will be minimal. 

They Will Boost Efficiency and Productivity

As the best business tools are so easy to get used to and take advantage of, you will find that your office is much more efficient and productive. The best tools cost more money for a reason. They are typically packed with features that are designed to make your life easier. 

Because of this, you can automate programs to do the menial tasks for you, and this frees up time in the day to focus on more critical parts of the business. 

Furthermore, as the program or service is robust, you will experience minimal downtime, even when there are scheduled updates.

They Make Your Business More Innovative

A business that uses the latest tools and technology will be considered an innovative company by customers, clients, and investors. It shows that you are thinking ahead and you want to stay on top of any developments. 

Innovative companies are more attractive than those who prefer to stick to what they know. By embracing innovation, you can also provide a better experience for everyone who works with you. If you want to take your business to the next level, the best way to do so is to work with the most recent technology to demonstrate how you are focusing on the future. 

What’s Best for Business

Doing what is best for your business should always be at the front of your mind. Sometimes, you need to make big decisions to help increase your company’s chances of growing within your industry. If you use the best business tools, you will find that such success and growth comes much more naturally. 

Ways to Start Scaling Up Your Business

If your business needs to scale up and start growing as demand grows, it’s vital that you go about doing this in the correct and proper way. There are lots of ways of doing it that aren’t particularly safe and you don’t want to take any unnecessary risks with your business at this point in time. That’s why we’re going to cover some of the steps you might want to take and why they’ll help your business scale correctly. Find out more below.

Start by Clarifying What You Want Your Business to Be

First of all, you should be clear about what you want your business to do and what you really want it to be going forward. It’s impossible to scale up your business if you don’t yet have a clear idea of where it’s going and what you expect it to look like going forward. Try to talk these things through with your colleagues and come up with a plan of action that way.

Look at How Rivals Have Grown

If you want to look for ideas of how to achieve the right outcomes when scaling your business, you should look to businesses in your industry that have already managed to do it successfully. It’s not about imitating their success; it’s simply about learning from successes and failures of other companies and enacting a strategy that you feel is likely to succeed for your business.

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Find the Resources and Equipment You Need

If part of the process of scaling your business involves the use of new resources and equipment, you should tread carefully. Investing huge sums in expensive equipment can backfire quickly if you’re not careful. But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. Things like Ute Van Hire can allow you to hire for a while and you can then think about investing in purchases later if it still feels necessary to do so.

Make it a Team Effort

It needs to be a team effort if you want it to be a success. That’s one of the most important rules of growing and scaling any kind of business. It’s not something that you can do alone, so you really need to bring your team with you and ensure they’re onboard with it. Discuss what you’re planning on doing and tell individuals what role they can play in the changes about to take place.

Don’t Compromise Values, Quality or Consistency

When it comes to growing and scaling your business, there’s always a risk that certain things, such as values, quality levels and consistency might be compromised along the way. If you want your business to achieve lasting and sustainable success, you can’t allow those kinds of compromises to take place.

Getting this part of your business’s growth and development right is always going to be really important. If you want to ensure everything goes to plan, take into account the tips and advice above because they’ll serve you well.

Taking Business Into Your Own Hands Is Mission Critical Now

This pandemic has been quite a shock for most of us. Businesses have come to realize that partnerships and deals with clients don’t always work out as one might think they would. What happens when you can’t rely on others? What happens when you simply cannot deliver to your customers because your B2B partners are unable to operate? We’ve seen what happens during this lockdown, businesses simply collapse. Customers turn to someone else to fulfill their needs and before you know, your brand is but a distant memory. You can stop all this from happening, but you have to be willing to commit to taking business firmly into your own hands.

Invest in local marketing

One day this lockdown will be over. But what if similar circumstances happen during ‘normal’ working days? Right now, you can’t deliver products to far-flung customers. The highways are shut. But really, it’s the same when they are full. Your products don’t get anywhere fast. Instead, you have to rely on the locals. This is why you need to invest in local SEO. These solutions will include claiming a Google business listing. This way, customers can find you on Google Maps on via quick local or ‘near me’ searches. Create a social media image that is both national as well as local by setting your location settings to your real-world location. Use hashtags of the cities, towns, and villages you’re near. Interact with locals online. It only takes one click to see someone’s bio or post and see where they are posting from.

Forge your own fleet

This lockdown has shown how small businesses have come on leaps and bounds. SMEs are incredibly flexible and many retail businesses have resorted to making local deliveries themselves. Local restaurants have begun to deliver restaurant-quality meals to customers at home, as well as local retail stores for beds, furniture, and cake shops to name a few. But what if you didn’t have to use your own car to make these deliveries? What if you could create your very own fleet? Speak with a trusted Truck Dealer to see what kind of options you have for haulage requirements. They will show you a range of models that are used by all major companies as well as more affordable but just as reliable truck brands. There’s something emboldening about having your own fleet because you are able to bridge the gap between you and your customers at ground level. 

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Keep staying relevant

Don’t sit back and wait for this lockdown to blow over, it’s time you started to hold live streams on social media. Customers are blown away when they see business owners of the businesses they use, speaking to them, and answering their questions. This is something that CEOs like Tim Cook from Apple and Elon Musk from Tesla have been doing for quite some time. Show your face, speak directly to consumers and you’ll find you slowly become a part of their normal daily lives.

We’ve all woken up to the fact that when push comes to shove, the majority of business owners are on their own. You need to take a firm grasp of your business, everything from the marketing, deliveries to the social media interaction. 

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