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All Posts by Hannah Thornton

5 Signs You Need to Update Your Website

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Does your website have a high bounce rate? If you have a solid SEO strategy or paid ads in place but web users are still choosing to leave your site to visit your competitors, it might be time to update your website. There is a strong focus on user experience online and if your website is slow to load or difficult to navigate this could put potential customers off. It could also be that your site isn’t consistent with your branding or vision anymore. The good news is there are plenty of ways you can optimise your site to boost your conversion rates. Here are five signs you need to make some changes.

Lack of brand consistency

Your website is essential for brand establishment and if its design or content doesn’t reflect your brand, this may confuse potential customers. Brand consistency is vital in order to boost your online presence. Your branding theme and colours need to be the same in other marketing material as well, including ads, social media, and email marketing. A web design agency will be able to help you improve your branding.

Poor user experience

Google is releasing a new algorithm based heavily on page experience. This relates to how easy it is for users to find the information they’re looking for, with minimal glitches and clear site navigation. It’s crucial to optimise your website for user experience with a customer-centric approach. Perhaps your layout could be clearer, or you could include stronger calls to action.

Slow load speeds

An important part of user experience is load speed. Unfortunately, modern web users have limited patience and will only wait a couple of seconds. If your site loads too slowly, you may lose potential customers to your competitors. There are several ways you can increase page speed and improve the customer experience. You may need to trim the fat in your coding or remove weightier files.

Outdated design

If it’s been a while since you’ve added new content to your website it might be time for an upgrade. A web design company will be able to assist in bringing your website into the 21st century. There are plenty of new trends and imaging techniques you can experiment with to give your site more pazazz. Here are 5 pro tips for an effective website to help you improve your design.

Incompatible with mobile use

The majority of web searches, leading to purchases and subscriptions, are done on smartphones these days. If you’re experiencing a high bounce rate you may need to improve mobile app experience. For example, if your site loads slowly and users end up accidentally clicking on the wrong buttons they may get frustrated. You can change the format of your website so that it’s more compatible with mobiles and other devices. Optimise your site for voice recognition as well so it can be used through devices such as Alexa and Echo. This will definitely boost user experience and you can get ahead of your competitors.

Tips to Successfully Move Your Business Online

4 Tips To Successfully Move Your Business Online

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Due to the effects of Covid-19, a lot of businesses are moving online in an attempt to boost sales and keep their customers informed. But the fact that you have a successful offline business does not guarantee that you will have the same level of success online. The internet business place is exceptionally competitive, and your competitors and likely to offer your customers some extra value. For your business to succeed online, you will need to go back to the basics of marketing and re-strategize. Here are some tips to help you out.

Properly set up your website

To move your business online, you need an online presence, and the best way to go about this is by setting up a website. You can hire a web developer or an agency to help you create, optimise and update your website as per your needs and industry standards.  A properly set up website should be user-friendly, provide essential information, and have good content.

Be sure to provide all the necessary details to ensure that any person who visits your website can easily navigate it and find whatever they are looking for. Do not forget to include pages that are interactive so that customers may be able to get in touch and have their issues addressed.

Employ the use of good SEO

In the online world, SEO rules. To stay ahead of the competition and show up in searches, you have to make fair use of SEO. Hire an SEO Agency to handle all your SEO needs as they have the tools and expertise to ensure that you rank high in searches. With the requisite know-how, they will grow your web presence and increase your Alexa ranking. Before you realise, you will be popping up in searches all over, and you must be ready to deliver when business begins to boom.

Make online payments secure

A primary reason a lot of customers prefer brick and mortar shops is because they can simply pay in cash and not have their credit card details compromised. Although it may be less convenient than online shopping, there is this fear of having their financial information tampered with. For this reason, take all the necessary precautions to secure all form of online payments.

Set up an online payment system that will enable the transfer of money between you and your customers. Engage the services of a trusted bank and draw up a contract that will secure payments and accept credit card payments. You can also issue invoices to clients via email or text to ensure transparency. Do not forget to set up a return and refund policy and system to prove to clients that they can get their money back in the case of a mix-up.

Take advantage of social media

To succeed online as a business, you must know how to leverage social media to get traffic to your website. Analyse the social media landscape, choose the platforms that best suit your business, and concentrate on building a community. Draw attention to your business by regularly developing and sharing educational content that provides value and is relatable to your target audience.

If need be, get in touch with influencers to help you promote your products or services to draw attention, drive traffic and potentially increase sales. Another way to take advantage of social media is by urging customers to be interactive with your page by offering reviews or sharing experiences to win special discounts, coupons, or prizes.

Being flexible and the willingness to adapt is a sign of a good business owner. In the current economic climate, these are traits that will keep you in business and a step ahead of the competition. Moving your business online is the best way to keep being profitable while providing solutions for your clients.

Innovative Ways To Expand Your Business Using Technology

Innovative Ways To Expand Your Business Using Technology

 Did you know that technology can cause your business to grow rapidly? According to research, 57% of companies say that leveraging key digital technologies is critical to their operations. Technology is currently playing a huge role in all aspects of life, including the business world, and you don’t want to be left out. Here’s how to expand your business using technology.

Target customers

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As an entrepreneur, consider using the many available cloud-based technologies to reach more customers and expand your business. Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube can help you to market your products and services on a larger scale. SEO will also aid you in reaching more customers through Google Search and other search engines. Also, use email marketing to communicate with both new and existing customers. SMS marketing also allows you to run promotions and loyalty programs. Again, if you aim to spread out your business outside of your local region (i.e., city or country), why not get a virtual office? Virtual offices assist businesses to extend services to new places and build a new client base. This expansion is achieved without having to bear the cost of leasing office space.

Get access to funding

When it comes to funding your growing business, technology can assist you right from start to finish. It aids in organizing your expenses, developing your financial plan, and finding potential investors. So many platforms exist to help you determine the possible funds and resources you will need as you expand. They also help you calculate the associated risks and potential value. 

Some of these platforms include Mint.com, iBank, MoneyDance, and other online loan calculators. Social media can also help to raise funds and connect you with potential investors. A lot of venture capitals looking to invest usually join various networking groups and forums for startups. You can, therefore, seize the opportunity and join such groups to get linked to potential investors. Aside from such investment ventures, there are so many crowdfunding apps and platforms that are willing to invest in your business idea. Some of these crowdfunding platforms are KickStarter, Lending Club, and Indiegogo.

Improve your customer experience

Consider integrating your website with technologies such as CRM, live chat, and other customer-centric software to improve your customer experience considerably. You can also use CRM with your customer support software, which will convert your customer emails into tickets that you can track and respond to. That way, your customers won’t have to be waiting on the phone to get connected to an agent. It is also possible to use social media interactions to handle customer grievances while preventing any negative marketing due to unresolved issues.

Increase collaboration and productivity

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You can use technology like Google calendar to schedule daily activities, to enable you to make the most out of your day and increase productivity. Inefficient communication is also a significant cause of low productivity and losses in the workplace. Thus, as a business owner, you can avoid this by quickly signing up for group messaging applications such as Slack and Fleep, where information can move across. It will leave no room for excuses from employees.

You may negatively impact your business when you wait too long or lag far behind before adopting new technology into your business operations. So, to stay competitive, create jobs, and increase your revenue, consider technology trends and how to leverage them for your business expansion.

3 Things You Need to Do for Brand Establishment

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Starting a business isn’t easy as there is usually tons of competition, financial barriers, and planning to consider. But something that goes a long way when starting a business is brand identification:

  • Physical material
  • Digital material
  • Advertising

Combining all three of these elements as a part of your brand establishment plan will set you well on your way to becoming a recognized authority in your niche or field of expertise.

Read all About It

They might say that print is dead but is it really? While ebooks and digital newspapers are extremely popular these days, the power of printed materials can’t be underestimated when it comes to visually representing your company.

They might sound a little corny but using business cards is a great way to expand your network and quickly get people to think about your brand. Cocktail parties, public events, and business meetings are excellent examples of proper business card use and your local print company will be all too happy to create a batch for you.

Flyers are also a very cheap method of promoting a business since you can do the work yourself by posting or putting them up in your local area or paying some kids a couple of bucks to do it for you. Flyers can also be left in public spaces such as libraries, civic centers and even some private businesses like cafes might let you leave some on their counter.

There are also tons of other printed resources you can use for promotion. There are many online companies now offering a wide range of things like pens, bags, and even USB flash drives with your company logo and details printed on them.

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Establishing an online presence in 2021 has been said to be no longer optional, but necessary. The prolific use of social media platforms, blogs and forums in the modern world means that digital brand establishment is an absolutely essential part of any business plan from now on.

Using social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter allows you to reach out to a very specific demographic or target audience so you can capitalize on their user base. Posting relevant information such as guides, promotions and the latest news about your niche will attract followers and in turn potential conversions.

As an added bonus, social media also allows you to engage and interact with your customers and followers so you can gauge what they think of you and your brand which helps in determining each subsequent course of action. Regular engagement will build brand loyalty and trust with your followers, further establishing your authority factor. 

Maybe not Madison Avenue, But…

Any business owner will tell you that advertising is a necessary expense if you want to get anywhere. As a business owner, you should always be looking for any exposure you can find to get your brand recognized and out there in the public domain.

Coca Cola spends around $4 billion per year on advertising alone. While no one is suggesting that you try to find the world’s most generous bank manager, you will eventually need to spend some money on ads. 

This doesn’t need to be expensive TV ads or in established glossy magazines, not just yet anyway, but can be in your local paper, a niche-specific publication, or, yes, social media. Social media platforms do offer ads for business and they start relatively cheap and can be as expensive as you want. The more you spend the more exposure they will give you.

Your Guide To Hiring An Accountant

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When your business begins to grow, your priorities and requirements will begin to shift with it. This might mean you hire more people, start outsourcing your marketing, invest in a larger office space or expand your product line. Whatever the changes you want to make, they are all the product of your fabulous success so far as a business. 

One crucial aspect to your business’ modus operandi is the financial viability and organisation of the company. If you need more support in this area, this is your guide to hiring an accountant for your business. 

  1. Assess your accountancy needs

First thing’s first: you must assess your accountancy needs. If you have previously worked with an accountant and you aren’t sure how to expand this, you should ask them for their expert opinion on the needs of your company, or speak with a financial advisor.

Every business has a unique set of needs, depending on a combined set of factors. These include:

  • The number of employees you have in the company.
  • The current financial state of your company.
  • Your financial organisational system – i.e using automated accounting systems.

By assessing these elements, you will be able to figure out how much support you need from a professional accountant. 

It might be that you need to hire a full-time accountancy staff member, or multiple staff members; perhaps you could recruit from an accountancy recruitment agency; or indeed work with a freelance accountant if your needs are minimal. The first step to this process is assessing your accountancy needs in order to invest in adequate accounting support.

  1. Can software do the work?

One element of accounting technology that you should explore is automated accounting software. While accounting staff are often necessary, small businesses should look as deeply into having automated accounting as possible. 

Not only will using software save your business money, but it will reduce office space, eliminate human error and keep your company finances running like clockwork. Accounting software such as Quickbooks is ideal for making payments to a large number of staff members without error. 

  1. Your accounting budget

Finally, one essential element to hiring an accountant is assessing your budget for this venture. It might be that you can afford to hire a full-time accountancy staff member, or several, but for many businesses this isn’t the case. Working within your means allows you to whittle down your realistic options and focus on achievable accounting goals. 

How do you assess your accounting budget? If you need an accountant but can’t afford one, it’s time to make sacrifices elsewhere. Having your finances in order not only means you are working within the laws of compliance, but also that you are able to prepare for any financial hits you might take in the future. Accounting should be made a priority, and if that means making sacrifices elsewhere, so be it.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, if you are looking to hire an accountant, make sure to assess your company’s needs thoroughly before proceeding. 

Businesses That Survive Even The Toughest Times

One thing that this past year has taught us is that there is great benefit to be found in having a business that can survive sudden and drastic changes in the world. In truth, we never know when another pandemic might hit, and the next one could have even more profound effects than this one. That’s why it’s valuable to have a business that can survive even the most challenging times. In this post, we are going to look at the qualities of those businesses, and how you can ensure that this is true of your own company as well.

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A Robust Industry

One of the most important facets here is not actually to do with the business itself, but rather what surrounds it. Essentially, you are going to have a lot more luck in keeping your business going if it operates within a robust industry, one that is likely to stand the test of time no matter what. Obviously enough, these industries tend to relate to those aspects of society which are always necessary, which is why you will always find the construction industry, the food industry, and the real estate industry, always tend to survive quite well. If you are placed in any of those, that’s probably going to bode well.

Adaptable Marketing

When disaster strikes, one of the first things you need to make sure you are looking into is how your business is marketing itself. Chances are, this is something that will need to change, and that’s why it is important to have an adaptable marketing system in your business from the start. The more easily you can adapt your marketing to suit the situation, the more likely it is that a business will survive. In order to make sure of this, you might want to think about keeping your marketing as open as possible.

Raising Ethics

The ethics of a business are more important than ever, as more than ever before consumers are going to turn their backs on you if you are not doing things in the most ethical way possible. Therefore, if you want your business to be the kind that survives difficult periods, you are going to find that is much more likely if you have a great approach to the ethical side of things above all. If you don’t currently have that, you might want to think about what you can do to improve it.

Staying Local

Very often, the nature of disasters is that everyone starts to act more locally in their lives. That is certainly true of a pandemic, as we have seen. So if you want your business to do well during times such as these, you might find that you can keep things going smoothly if you focus primarily on the local area. Keep your marketing primarily local, offer your services to local people, and you should be able to keep things going strong without giving out too much in the way of resources. That’s a very helpful way to be.

3 Steps To Increasing Your Product Quality

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As a business owner, you are likely highly concerned about your products being the best quality possible. A business cannot thrive without its products, even if every other aspect of your company is working perfectly. 

If you already deliver fantastic products that your customers love, this doesn’t mean the journey is over. There is no such thing as the perfect product, the highest quality or the ideal craftsmanship. There is only progress, continuous work and change as the years go by. As a business owner, it is vital that you keep the momentum in your quest to increase your product quality.

In this article you will find three practical steps to increasing your product quality. Let’s get started! 

  1. Meeting With New Suppliers

Your products are the culmination of hundreds of different workers’ roles, all coming together to create the very lifeblood of your business. If your business makes clothes, for example, the work that occurs between the cotton being picked and the finished piece of clothing hanging in your store is immense. 

When it comes to improving the quality of your products, much of this work is down to your suppliers. The suppliers you choose to work with are integral to your business’ success; their reliability and the sourcing of materials can make or break your product line.

If you are looking to increase your product quality, you should consider meeting with new suppliers who can meet your needs as they change over the years. When you first started your company, your needs were likely very different to what your company requires to grow today. Meeting with new suppliers gives you a chance to explore your options. If you are concerned about your supply chain affecting product quality, meet with supply chain consultants to see how this can be ameliorated.

  1. Go To The Source

Often, the quality level of a product is determined by the raw materials used to create it. For example, a luxuriously soft sweater is only as good as the cashmere it is made from; similarly, computers rely on the metals used to create the motherboard inside the machine itself. If you are searching for a way to increase your product quality, it is a good idea to start at the very source of your product line. 

This could be achieved by visiting the farms or land in which the materials are harvested, in order to get a better idea of how operations could be improved!

  1. Use The Latest Technology 

Technology is advancing at an astonishing rate, forcing our world to change before our very eyes. Technological developments can allow your business to become more efficient and more ethical in its production and distribution of products. To improve the overall quality of your products, you should conduct research in order to understand how technological developments in recent years can revolutionise your product development and distribution.  

Conclusion

Improving the quality of your products often involves financial investment and extensive research. Nevertheless, these improvements will allow your company to grow to new heights as your customer base shifts throughout the years.

Recruitment Strategies For Small Businesses

Recruitment for a small business can be a challenge. Many owners are not experienced in this side of the business, other than what they learned from being an employee for someone else at some point. They may not have the skills to deal with particular HR tasks or not be up to fate with the most recent recruitment strategies and tools. Not only that, they are often working from a very limited budget. Without this fundamental knowledge about the process, recruitment often only becomes a priority when it needs to happen – and at that point, it is too late. 

However, the owners of small businesses are often good at winging it and figuring it out for themselves, meaning that many of them can rise to such a challenge. Here, we look at some of the successful recruitment strategies that work for a small business, just like yours.

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Have a plan in place

As a small business owner that is having some success, you will already know the value of a good plan. To get where you are now, you have likely already put together a business plan. Now, it is time to put together a recruitment plan. Think about who you will need to hire, when you will need them and what you are going to do with anyone who already works for you. Look ahead, so that you are not caught off-guard by the growth of your business and have to make hasty decisions.

Think about how you will encourage employee retention

A high turnover of staff can be damaging to a small business. Not only does it not look great – why are people leaving so often? – but it costs you money in recruitment and training. Look at the steps that you can take to ensure that staff want to stay working for you as long as possible. It is particularly hard as a small business – you don’t necessarily have the resources to pay huge salaries or provide the amazing opportunities and promotions that multinational corporations have. For that reason, you need to look at how else you can attract and retain your employees. Perhaps you can offer a great work/life balance or give them flexible working hours to fit around childcare? 

You may also want to think about insisting on a pre employment medical check to ensure that physically, they are up to the job. The last thing you want is for them to start as a building labourer to find out they have a back problem that stops them lifting anything!

Harness the power of technology

Technology is the way forward when it comes to recruitment. Potential candidates will be using the tools and resources available to them and so should you. Start off with the one that practically everyone uses – social media. Facebook. Twitter, and of course, LinkedIn are excellent places to start with your recruitment drive. These won’t cost you anything and can point you in the direction of a huge pool of suitable candidates. There are plenty of job boards available as well – some will be free while others may have a nominal fee attached to them.

You may also want to consider software that tracks your applicants. This helps to keep you organized – automate job posting, organize the candidate information and keep everything together, making communication much easier. It will save you hours of trawling through things and makes it easier to share information with team members.

Launching A Remote Venture: Key Factors To Consider

The truth is that right now remote businesses are all the rage; everyone and anyone is choosing to either launch a remote business or transform a traditional business into a remote one. The pandemic – and all of the changes that have come with it – have meant that the way in which we do business is changing, which is why there are more people than ever before looking into launching remote ventures. 

If you’re one of these people and you have been thinking about starting a remote business for years, but until now hadn’t had the puss to actually do it, then you have come to the right place. The concept of launching a business – any business – can be exceedingly overwhelming and daunting, as there’s a lot to think about and consider. However, don’t let feelings of overwhelm put you off of taking a leap of faith and actually opening your own business

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Starting a remote business doesn’t have to be a struggle – it’s just a case of knowing what steps to take, that’s all. Bearing that in mind, below is a guide to some of the key factors that it is imperative that you think about and take into account when it comes to launching your own remote business. 

Get the concept right 

As with any business, if you are going to make a success of a remote venture it is crucial that you get the concept right. The truth is that, when it comes to your business, you need to select a concept that is not only a great fit for you and your potential demographic but that also has the potential to be highly successful. Whether you’re offering a product or a service, you need to ensure that the concept is a good fit. Not sure about your concept? Speak to a business advisor to learn more about what it takes to see success when launching a remote business. 

Understand the importance of marketing 

If you are going to give your venture the very best chance of success, it’s important that you are clear about how crucial effective marketing is for your brand. You cannot launch a business and expert to see success without taking the time to actually market the brand and product or service effectively. Marketing is something that it is vital that you get right from the start, otherwise you will struggle to see success. 

Be clear about your online presence 

When you’re running a virtual business, your online presence is the key to your success as a business owner. Without a well-designed and throughout website, you will struggle to make a success of your business. In addition to having a carefully designed website, it’s also vital that you make sure that you have business IT support solutions in place, to help you deal with any IT-related issues. After all, the last thing that you want for your new venture is downtime. 

There you have it, a few key tips and suggestions for how you can make launching a successful remote business a little easier to manage. 

Advertising In A Big Way As A Small Business

Your small business is doing well right now, and you want the whole world to know about it. You want more customers at your door, more recognition in your niche and/or community, and you want to be sure your name is out there for people to get used to. All in all, you want to market like a big company does, even though you’re less than half their size.

However, marketing can be a difficult game for any and all businesses, but most of all, it can be hard for a small business to get their name out there. So many different methods and tactics, as well as different audiences to appeal to, as well as many different mediums to advertise across, and you’re stuck in the middle with no clue where to turn next! And that’s where this post comes in – we’ve got some advice for you below. 

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Be Diverse

You need to market as effectively as possible, and that means you need to be diverse in the way you get your brand message out to the people. Simply put, don’t put all your eggs in one basket here; make sure you’re using many different advertising methods. As a small business, this is what your marketing budget was really designed for. 

Make sure you’re using online (or digital) marketing, as well as in person marketing, and print or traditional marketing. A billboard here, a bus stop there, and a social media banner in between. It all adds up in the end, and it ensures your brand name is in all possible locations that’ll bring it some attention. 

Use Corporate Tools

Corporations use quite a few different tools to get their message out, so why not follow in their footsteps? Yes, you’ve got a much smaller budget to abide by, but the concepts are very similar! For example, video production can be done on a corporate level with just the right software and someone who knows what they’re doing!

Following in this vein, you need to have a professional edge to everything you do. Even just spell checking your site on a regular basis will ensure any easy mistakes are caught – missing out a few letters here and there can really damage the trust you hold with your potential customer base. 

Go for an Award

If you’re proud of your business, and you know how far you’ve come since you started out, why not go all out and enter your company for an award? There are many small business award ceremonies out there, either to do with the length of time you’ve been in business, where your business operates, or the industry you’re in, and you’ve got the chance to put in a stellar application. You just need to know how

Advertising can be your game, even as a smaller operation, as long as you know how to make it tick and what’ll push your efforts beyond the competition. Keep the above points in mind. 

The Benefits Of Partnership Publicity Done Right

A business partnership is like a marriage in which both parties agree to be better off together than alone. A successful partnership in marriage, however, is measured in happiness and love. When it comes to the business world, a successful partnership is all about financial, cultural, and influential profits. 

Therefore, entrepreneurs need to do their homework before they settle for a partnership. The right business partner is a business that delivers the experience and expertise you need to grow while sharing a similar vision. An effective partnership doesn’t just support growth and vision but also delivers a boost in creativity, financial stability, and reliability. A partner is someone you can count on no matter what. 

That being said, however, there is no benefit in finding the right partner if you don’t brag about it. Partnership publicity can drive brands further and establish the new business association. 

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Growing your audience

It makes sense that by bringing two complementary but different companies together, you end up reaching out to a much broader audience group. As such, if you are going to start the partnership with a bang, the priority is to announce it to your respective audiences. A shared announcement can be a great publicity investment, especially if you take the time to schedule and script an engaging speech. A business podcast can be a great platform to target all customers and introduce the shared project as a partnership. Similarly, you can also work with video production agencies to kill two birds with one stone. A video can be an effective way to introduce not only the partnership but also give a face and a personality to both brands. 

Cross-sell products and services

Partners need to have complementary products and services to make the arrangement work. While it’s not uncommon to create a brand new product or service to launch the partnership, it doesn’t exclude existing products from cross-selling practices. While cross-selling is a more common approach in mergers, it can still be a profitable strategy between partners. Admittedly, one partner doesn’t directly benefit from a transaction on the other business’s website. However, in the long term, if both partners agree to push cross-selling opportunities, both can benefit from mutually supporting each other.  

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Reaching out to new markets

There’s a strong argument for reaching out to new markets in a partnership. The phenomenon is true at many levels. Firstly, each business can leverage its partner’s target audience to find new customers and leads. They can increase brand awareness across a market they didn’t access before. Because they benefit from the branded support of a partner, who is known and respected in the specific niche, they can establish their brand quickly and successfully. 

Secondly, partnerships tend to launch new products, which can target a completely new market. As businesses combine resources, they can share financial and creative assets to position the shared product or service. It’s a matter of multiplying resources to conquer all the challenges of a new market. 

There’s a lot to be said about partnership publicity. The more brands let it be known that they work together, the smoother it is to make the partnership work. From leveraging each other’s audience groups to boosting profits while cutting costs and efforts, partners who are vocal about their business association are more likely to benefit from it. 

5 Tips To Consider When Choosing Business Partners

5 Tips To Consider When Choosing Business Partners

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Growing your business to a point where you need a business partner means you are going in the right direction. As such you want people or organizations that will further your goals. This should be a business decision devoid of emotion and must be in your company’s best interest. There are basically two kinds of business partners; people and organizations. 

Businesses need the services of other companies to thrive, especially when it comes to certain ventures. For example, if you produce cutting tools, you might need companies that make custom materials such as carbide end mills to partner with. Engage other people and firms when there is a need for progressive professional relationships. Consider the qualities you expect your business partners to have if you are to have a fruitful relationship. Here are a few characteristics to consider when choosing business partners.

Experience and expertise

Experience is a valuable asset that cannot be taught. It is acquired through years on the job, making tough decisions and shrewd engagements. Experience cannot be replaced with anything else. Therefore, any potential business partner must have experience in the field your business revolves in and must have a certain level of expertise that will be beneficial. Ensure that your business partners have both experience and the requisite expertise such that they won’t need any form of babysitting and can fully function in your absence.

Creativity

In the business world, things are constantly changing. And it takes creativity and innovation to keep up with current market trends to stay relevant. Bringing on a business partner who cannot help in this regard will only weigh you down. Business partners are supposed to help you achieve greater heights in your industry. So, ensure that whoever that is, comes with loads of creativity and innovation, not to just keep up with the current business climate, to actually serve as a catalyst to increase your presence in the market.

Financial integrity

Business partners should be people or organizations with good financial integrity. You do not want to go into business with people and have to look over your shoulder because they cannot be trusted. Only conduct business with people and organizations with a solid credit history and no form of financial blemishes on their records. This will ensure that your partnership will be strong enough to seek financial assistance and free of potential financial scandals that will derail your goals.

Vision

There are few things more important in the world of business than having someone who buys into your vision and sees things as you would. It is of utmost importance that your business partner shares the same vision regarding the company’s progress and growth. In this manner, it is easier to work out a roadmap to achieving organizational goals.

Reliability

Having a reliable business partner is something that cannot be overstated. How reliable your business partners are will determine the success or otherwise of your company. Being able to stick to their end of deals and making sure that you have what you need when you need them shows how reliable they can be. When you have reliable business partners, you are hardly left exposed and can make good business decisions that will help your business grow.

Choosing the right business partner is all about making sound decisions based on the person’s track record. Always settle for people that are trustworthy, share your vision, and can help your company grow.

Take the Stress Out of Being a Business Owner

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If being a business owner is more stressful than you imagined, you’re certainly not alone. Although running your own enterprise might be the culmination of a lifelong dream, being responsible for an entire organization is an immense amount of responsibility. Fortunately, there are ways to streamline business ownership and minimize your workload. To start making changes today, take a look at these top tips and take the stress out of being a business owner now:

Identify Clear Goals

When you don’t know what you’re working towards, it can be hard to stay focused and motivated. However, you can overcome this by setting yourself clear, achievable goals. If you’re launching a startup, for example, you may want to transition into a small or medium-sized firm within three years.

Alternatively, you may be thinking about entering new markets and increasing your profitability via customer acquisition. Whatever your plans are, research them thoroughly and give yourself clear, measurable goals to work towards.

Outsource Business Functions

Instead of trying to do everything yourself, learn to delegate. As well as using your core in-house staff, you can outsource important functions to third-party specialists, such as freelancers or companies. By doing so, you can avoid having to hire more employees and avoid the costs that come with recruitment, but you can still access the specialist help you need at any time.

Increase Automation

There are many areas of every business that can be automated, which means increased efficiency, higher levels of accuracy, and reduced costs. When you use payrolling software, for example, you can reduce the amount of time it takes to process payroll information every month and eradicate potential human errors in your accounting. Similarly, marketing automation tools allow you to launch personalized marketing campaigns at the touch of a button and can even increase your marketing ROI. There are also tailored made software that can automate things such as bookings, marketing, and some management elements, such as SalonIQ

As well as automating general business functions, such as payroll and HR, look at sector-specific automation tools too. With specialist software and platforms, you can significantly increase automation within your business and reduce your in-house workload.

Prioritize Your Well-being

Being a business owner is a stressful role, which is why it’s essential to prioritize your own well-being. If you want to keep running your business in the long-term, you’ll need to ensure that you’re in good health. To avoid executive burnout, take regular breaks, nurture personal relationships and be sure to schedule frequent downtime too.

Many entrepreneurs focus solely on their business to the detriment of their personal lives, which can have a negative impact on their well-being. By prioritizing your physical and emotional health, however, you can avoid falling into this trap and enjoy your life as a business owner instead.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Success isn’t based on the number of hours you put in, but the results that you achieve. By working smarter, rather than harder, you can reduce your workload and still increase your company’s profitability. What’s more – you can make the most of owning your own business and enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with being an entrepreneur.

Help Your Business to Grow and Flourish

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Launching a startup and running a successful small business is no easy feat, so congratulate yourself for getting this far! As you consider how to take your business to the next level, you’ll want to ensure you can continue to nurture your existing customer base while appealing to a wider target audience. For ideas and inspiration, take a look at these top tips for growing your business:

Identify Overlooked Market Segments

Look at your existing target audience and determine whether there are any demographics who are underrepresented in your customer base. If so, it’s important to understand why. Sometimes, increasing your sales is as simple as executing marketing campaigns designed to engage these segments. By doing so, you can ensure your maximizing profitability for your existing target audience before broadening your horizons.

Consider New Markets

Entering new markets can be an effective way of substantially increasing your revenue. When you have access to millions of potential customers in an untapped market, you can increase your sales by a significant amount by increasing brand awareness within this region. With professional translation services, it’s easy to ensure your contracts, documentation, and marketing materials are ready to be used in any market. Furthermore, working with an import and expert specialist will help to set up streamlined supply chains that keep costs low and deliver impressive customer service.

Increase Lifecycle Value

Acquiring new customers is typically costlier than incentivizing existing customers to make a repeat purchase. This means it’s important not to overlook your existing customer base when you’re growing your business. If a customer spends $40 a month, rather than $20, for example, you can double your profit with minimum effort. Every time a customer interacts with your brand and has a positive experience, it motivates them to return in the future. This means you can consistently increase lifecycle value to facilitate business growth.

Update Your Systems

If you want to grow your business, you need to be prepared for an increase in sales. If you’re a manufacturer, for example, you’ll need to be able to increase production in response to higher demand. Alternatively, if you’re a service business, you’ll need to have the staff to deliver high-quality services as demand increases.

In addition to this, you’ll need to ensure your in-house systems are equipped to cope. The tools you’re using to run a startup or small business may not be sufficient for operating a medium-sized enterprise. By auditing your in-house systems and processes now, you can ensure you’re prepared for business growth and can continue to deliver exceptional value and quality to your customers.

Planning Your Business Growth

When you’re expanding your business, it’s important to be strategic. By considering all possible growth options and conducting in-depth research, you can formulate growth strategies that are most suitable for your product, service, and business model. This strategic and analytical approach allows you to make data-driven decisions and base your plans on verifiable evidence. By doing so, you can use your expertise and experience to drive your business forward and to expand your operations.

How to Host a Successful Virtual Business Event

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As a record number of people work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are beginning to see the advantages of having a remote workforce. However, operating remotely, and under current restrictions, does mean that you’ll be conducting meetings, sales pitches, and events virtually for the foreseeable future.

Due to this, it’s important your business is ready to impress potential clients and customers via this new medium. If you want to continue to grow your business in 2021, take a look at these top tips for hosting a successful virtual business event:

Implement a Theme

Virtual events can easily get off track isn’t there isn’t a theme in place. Whether you’re launching a new product, bringing thought leaders together, or pitching to prospective clients, a well-defined theme will help you to create an original, engaging, and useful itinerary for your event.

Triple-Check Your Infrastructure

When you’re hosting a live virtual event, it’s vital that your IT infrastructure doesn’t let you down. That’s why many businesses choose to partner with a webcasting & livestreaming company. When you’ve got professionals on hand to ensure you and your audience are connected, you can ensure your live event goes without a hitch.

Promote the Event

If your virtual event is open to new attendees, be sure to promote it well in advance. If you want to secure signups or generate interest, you’ll need to have an effective marketing strategy in place. Of course, it can take time to create and execute a successful campaign, so be sure to plan ahead and give yourself enough time to promote your upcoming event.

Provide Information in Advance

Sharing information with attendees in advance gives them a chance to get up to speed on the theme, subject matter, and content. This can help to ensure everyone is on the same page by the time the event begins and ensures discussion is more meaningful and useful. When you’re meeting virtually with multiple delegates, providing an itinerary for people to follow also helps the event stay on track and lets people take an active role.

Practice Your Presentation Skills

Most people don’t relish public speaking and presenting to a virtual audience can be even trickier. If you want to ensure your event is successful, it’s well worth practicing in advance. Taking a few coaching lessons can be a great way to enhance your virtual presentation skills and watching yourself back on video gives you a useful insight into how you come across.

Implement Follow-Up Contact

At the culmination of your event, invite attendees to get in touch with you afterwards but be sure to follow up as well. In addition to gaining useful feedback, a follow-up email or call can spark a lead or close a sale. Your follow-up campaign should be part of your overarching strategy, so ensure it’s not overlooked.

Hosting Virtual Events

As businesses switch to a more remote way of working, virtual events are set to become even more commonplace in 2021. By refining your presentation technique, connecting with virtual specialists and creating great content, you can ensure your company is an industry leader when it comes to virtual events.

Best Marketing Practices for 2021

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2020 has been a strange year but from a digital marketing perspective there have been excellent opportunities to assess the quality of practices against higher audience engagement. Moving into 2021 marketers will adjust some of these practices to take account of performance finding and technology development. Don’t miss out on the upcoming trends in DM, read on to find out more. 

Foster Authentic Relationships

The marketing landscape has been changing over the last few years and the next step for companies is to Foster authentic relationships with customers. Gone are the days when a blanket campaign will result in relevant customers.

Today’s customers have grown used to being treated as equals and now expect this as a standard. Personalisation will be big in 2021, and it will be more sophisticated than simply using a customer’s name. Brands will need to craft effective personal for their target audience. 

Marketing Automation 

In the last few years automation has been the technology every marketing professional is championing. Automation tools  especially for email have proved themselves to be extremely effective at grabbing the attention of a target audience and retaining customers.

In 2021, automation will continue to be extensively used, however, it will grow in sophistication and possibility. Marketing automation that was once used to target segmented groups will start to be used for more specific customers based on their personas and browsing history. 

Improved SEO

SEO is not a new trend by any stretch but it is changing, especially as users change their habits and technology develops. In 2020 there was more video and image content uploaded to the net than ever before and that affects SEO.

Technology has also developed with voice search becoming more sophisticated and users responding. In 2021 there will be an increase in voice and video search meaning your SEO should be optimised for this as well. An SEO Agency can do this for you and will give you the edge over the competition. 

Social Media Management 

Not surprisingly there was a massive surge in social media usage in 2020 and this is set to continue into next year. If there was ever a time for companies to engage with their social media audience and build lasting bonds, this is it. 

Transparency has become the buzzword in social media management, and for a good reason. Users want and expect to engage with brands authentically and holistically and social platforms are the best channels. In 2021, build a strong rapport with your audiences and discover new trends .

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

CRO should be at the top of the list for every marketer going into 2021. It might sound complicated but it’s a simple and effective concept. CRO refers to the effectiveness of landing pages and uses certain tests and practices to ensure visitors are pushing the right buttons. 

Marketers have realised that it’s too expensive to invest in landing pages that don’t deliver and optimization seems to be the answer. A landing page can be fine tuned using a simple sign up form, or A/B tested and appropriately tweaked. 

When Being Busy Becomes Bad For You

Being busy is something we tend to see with a mark of pride. If you’re busy, things are going well, and you’ve got a lot going for you, and things are moving at the pace you’ve always wanted them too. Of course, being busy in business is a mark of success, especially when you’ve just had an incredibly slow and expensive period and the company is in need of a break! 

But being busy can also be bad for you, and there’s a fine line between the good and bad side of having next to no time in your schedule. And to ensure you’re a good business leader, and your busy schedule isn’t doing you more harm than good, let’s go through some of the clearest warning signs below. 

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When You’re Saying No a Little Too Often

Being busy means you miss out on opportunities. And when you miss out on opportunities, you start to stagnate, and become a bit of a weak link within your networking chain. In other words, it’s time to start saying yes, and cutting that meeting hour in half so you have the chance to go over a proposal in greater detail. 

Before now, you were passing up on the chances to make it big in your business, or to increase your market standing, and all because you were a little too busy to give these proposals the time of day they deserve. Change the habit! 

When You Keep Forgetting About Admin

Admin is something every business leader needs to juggle, and yes, that paperwork can take an age longer than it’s supposed to. However, when you can’t even keep up with your tax paperwork, or you’re always submitting it the day before it’s actually due, you’ve got a problem on your hands. 

Thankfully, this one has an easy fix – outsource your paperwork needs. For example, if you’ve just started up a dental practice, and you’re still finding your feet, using some accountancy services for dentists could be the best thing for your schedule right now. So, if you just don’t have the time to write down calendar reminders, and you’re way too busy thinking about other things to keep it stored in the memory banks, call in others to help. 

When You Just Can’t Focus on Anything

If you’re someone who is regularly multitasking, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day, you should think about slowing down, and focusing on one thing at a time. Any business leader who isn’t capable of picking out the wheat from the chaff in this manner isn’t going to go very far. On the other hand, when you isolate your tasks, you’re much more likely to notice a rise in your ability to concentrate, as well as in your ability to make a good and informed decision.  

Being busy can be bad for you, and you should always have a little bit of time left over in your schedule, just in case! 

The Best Business Practices to Automate

It would be such a relief to be able to automate at least some of the tasks you need to carry out in your business, wouldn’t it? Those elements of the work that take a long time to complete, or that you don’t enjoy, for example. If you could automate more tasks, you would have more time to be able to dedicate to building the business and you could focus on the parts that you were best at. 

The good news is it is possible to automate a lot of business processes, and it might be that you can already put systems in place that will allow you to do that with some of the parts of running your business that are less enjoyable than others. Read on to find which areas of business you should be automating immediately. 

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Reporting 

One of the best areas of business to fully automate is your reporting. Reporting is important as it gives you a good overview of how things are going. You’ll learn what you’re spending, how your marketing is going, what your sales look like compared to the month or year before, and even what your workers’ attendance rates are like. Knowing this information will help you to make business decisions and point you in the direction of which step to take next, so it’s not something that can be ignored. However, it is something that can be automated.

Instead of manually inputting data into spreadsheets and then poring over the results, you can use specially designed computer programs to do the job for you. In this way, not only will the work be done automatically, but you’ll also be able to see results much more quickly. If you’re buying chemicals from www.chemdistro.co.uk and you need to know how much you’ve sold so you can place another order, the results will be with you in seconds. The time and effort this can save is certainly impressive. 

Payroll

The HR department of any business is always a busy one, and if you don’t have a separate HR department and you have to deal with everything yourself, then you’ll know this first hand. You’ll also know how much this particular job cuts into your ability to grow your business. 

Payroll is a job that the HR department has to manage, and the more people who work for you, the harder this task is. Yet it doesn’t have to be because, as you might have guessed, you can automate it. No longer will one person or a whole department have to work out who is owed what for the month’s work. Instead, by inputting data as you go along and letting the automation do the rest, you’ll be presented with all the details you need to pay people in a fraction of the time it would take someone to do it manually. 

Email Responses 

It’s crucial for any business owner to make time to work on their customer service. The happier you can keep your customers, the more likely they are to review you highly, to buy from you again, and to tell other people about you. All of these actions will help to grow your business, so you need to offer exceptional customer service. 

Answering customer emails is a difficult job, but it can be made easier. If you automate your email responses, you are effectively giving yourself some time before you need to respond in a more personal way. The customer will be happy because they know their query has reached the right department – it’s much better than getting nothing at all. You can also create automated newsletters that contain information, special offers, and other marketing material which can help maintain customer service as well.

How To Get Your Home Office Just The Way You Want It

Many people will be making the switch from working in an office to working from home a more permanent feature next year. As more companies are adapting to this way of working and more employees are demanding this benefit from their employers, home offices are becoming a necessity as the kitchen table just won’t do anymore. If you’re going to be working from home, you need to be in the right environment; somewhere comfortable, somewhere you like, somewhere there is light and somewhere you can get peace and be able to concentrate. So how can you get your home office just the way you want it?

Find a Space

First of all, you need to decide where your office is going to be? The kitchen table won’t do, but if you don’t have a room that you can turn into an office then a corner or a space like under the stairs will do. Try to keep it separate from your home environment though and make sure there is a clear separation between your work and personal life. When you’re working from home, you need to be focused on your work just as you would be in an office. When you go for your lunch break you could pop the telly on and have a sandwich and you can even put some washing on to save time when you finish work, but during working hours make sure that the two things are separated. You could even create a home office from your shed if you have one. You may need to get a few building materials online and you may need a professional to help you. Or if you don’t have a shed but have the space in the garden then having a garden office is something you could consider. 

Find the right furnishings for you

Once you know where you’re going to work then you can start to make it just perfect for you. Most people will need a desk, but it doesn’t have to be somewhere to sit if you don’t want it to be. You could choose a standing desk if you prefer. If you are going for a standard desk then who says you need an office chair? If a stool or an exercise ball is right for you then that’s what you can have. This is your office and you know what will help you to work and be your best, so don’t choose conventional items just because you think you should. Choose colors you like, furnishing you like, practical items such as ottomans which not only look nice but can give you a place to store your files and choose things you like and that is going to make you happy when you’re looking at them every day. 

Keep it light

It doesn’t matter where you’re working, it’s always important to have good lighting. If you can’t get good natural light in the space you choose then make sure you have enough lamps so that you can get the right lighting all year round. 

Make It A Happy Place

Don’t let your home office become somewhere you dread going to in the morning, make it nice and somewhere you want to be. This will make stressful days more manageable and happy days even better. 

7 Steps to Launching a Successful Business

Transforming a great business idea into a successful startup requires effort and a strong drive. The stories of multi-billion dollar multinationals are inspiring. But it is the behind the scene events that crystalize what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. Success is the coming together of different variables, including human and financial resources and legal factors.

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However, getting everything right can be an intimidating task. Your envisioned business empire might crumble in the first month if the foundation is weak. The following steps will help you get your business idea off the ground and turn it into a success story:

Self-reflection

The first and easily ignored step towards launching a successful business is self-reflection. Understanding why you are starting a business will give you a better vision of the future. And most importantly, searching your inner-self will determine the kind of business you want to launch. Taking stock of your skills, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses will shape the future and success of your startup. You might have to pay for business coaching services to firm up your skillset. You can plan, make projections, and source for help once you’ve taken inventory of yourself.

Research and Analyze the Market

Once you understand yourself and settle on the industry, refine your great idea through market research and analysis. Understand market trends, including customer behavior, competitors, and human resources. Refine your business name and brand. This ideation phase allows you to brainstorm and refine your ideas. Gather information and identify areas where you can gain a competitive advantage.

Work on your Roadmap

The blueprint of your success as an entrepreneur lies with a business plan. Every aspect of your operation is captured in this document. Outline the business model, structure, management, and financial performance of your new enterprise. A legitimate business plan can also serve as your ticket to sourcing for financial aid.

Determine the Price of your Business

Do you have the funds to cover all the costs of launching your business? The answer to this all-important question will determine the success of your startup. Identify the source of funds to launch and run your business. When assessing the finances of your business, include the fixed and variable costs. The break-even and profitability analyses will determine the lifeline of your new firm.

Get the Registration Right

Register your company with the right agencies. Get the business model and structure and tax obligations right. Ensure that you apply for all the certifications, licenses, permits, and insurance coverage before opening the doors of your startup.

Build Internal and External Teams

Identify and hire the best talents in the industry. You need employees to get your firm off the ground. You will also need a powerful coalition of external partners to hit the ground running.

Get the Branding and Marketing Right

Create euphoria around your business through creative brand awareness and marketing. Invest in a company website, a captivating logo, and social media ads.

Launching a successful business requires thoughtfulness and meticulous planning. Write a business plan and establish effective and affordable marketing campaigns. Communicate more with your clients and employees to avoid confusion and stagnation of business processes.

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