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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.

Is It Time To Get Serious About Your Blog?

Sometimes it is important to understand that if you have a blog, and you have dreams about making it your job or turning it into a business, that at some point there is a line you cross. The line goes from just playing with it, to taking the blog seriously. This isn’t just about the content you share, it’s all about the whole package. From the contact you make with brands, to how you present yourself at events, as well as ensuring your blog and social media is on point with your readership and your brand. There will be things you can do to cross that line without any issues, so here are some of the steps to take.     

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Turn it up a notch with your content 

With blogging and social media, it isn’t always about the words that are written anymore, although that is important. It can often be just as important to have eye-catching imagery. A blog post can be much more appealing to look at and read with decent images. Platforms like Instagram are going to be more engaging with decent pictures. So it may be time to think about how creative you are with your photography but to also consider editing your pictures, and finding a look that you love as well as fits with your blog brand. You could also look at things such as YouTube and using video as another way to enhance your blog. There is plenty of youtube equipment for beginners you can get and it could be an amazing extension for you and open up some more opportunities. There are plenty of ways you can learn to do this by reading online articles. 

Pitch to brands but be professional 

If you want to turn your blog into a business then you need to work with brands and businesses in order to make this happen. Some opportunities may already be landing in your inbox, but you may also want to approach people as well. Email tends to be the most popular way to do this, but have you thought about the impression your email makes? Be personal in your email, and don’t just copy and paste the same text to every opportunity. It may also be time to refresh your email signature as so many bloggers can have a nightmare sign off scenario by sending out of date info at the bottom. It may also be good to personalise your email signature and content. Include a motivational quote perhaps. 

Have you got a niche?

Do you have a blogging niche? It is a good idea to really know what you are writing about and what your blog is all about. It helps with branding, it helps with collaborations, and also helps you to move the blog from hobby to business. Have you thought about what your niche is? Perhaps it is already obvious to you where you want to focus. 

Put in the time and the effort to make it your reality

Finally, it is also important for you to put in some time and effort to make your blog into a business and a job. It doesn’t happen overnight, which is why so many bloggers start out as using it as a hobby. But having it as a goal will help you to make these steps your reality, making the transition far quicker and easier to overcome. 

Let’s hope these tips help you get serious with your blog this year. 

How To Put The Team First In A Merger

Mergers are a constructive force that can leave a path of destruction in its track. Indeed, mergers make a lot of sense on paper. They combine skills, market, expertise, and audience groups. They seem like the perfect recipe for success. 

However, at a personal level, employees are the first to pay the price of a merge and acquisition decision. Indeed, merging with another company can lead to an increase in stress. Many employees feel uncertain about the future of their role, whether they are on the side of the acquirer or the acquiree. It’s not uncommon to come across alarming gossips in the office, which only reinforces stress and fear positions. Teams can record a productivity drop by 60% to 70% after a merger announcement. Many professionals are likely to resign following a merger as they are worried about being made redundant. How can businesses put their employees first when they merge? 

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Create a collaborative, connected space

You wouldn’t pick random ingredients and throw them into a baking mold in the hope of getting a delicious cake. You’d follow a recipe. If you don’t have any recipe, you are likely to make sure your ingredients work together and complement each other. The same principle applies to merging teams. You can’t force people who don’t know each other together and expect them to hit the ground running. Team building activities are essential to build trust between employees and remove any lasting sensation of awkwardness.

Additionally, it can be helpful to build a community online that connects employees, suppliers, and partners. The idea of a merger is to combine two separate entities into one bigger unit that is fully functional. Therefore, a community platform can be an effective solution to bridge the gap between the two companies. 

Introduce an “ideal employee” profile

Who is your perfect employee? 

You may have a clear idea of who was a perfect employee before the merger. But things are different when you combine the cultures of the two companies. It can be helpful to create a profile of how the ideal merger’s employee should be. You can refer to it when you reach out to a recruitment company to bring new staff to the business. Indeed, recruiting agents are likely to refer to what you want to achieve when they examine candidates. Ultimately, as a merger may lead to redundant positions, it also creates new opportunities for growth, which means you’ll need to hire new talent for your team! 

Create a future for your team

Employees are worried that a merger will cause them to lose their jobs. Redundancies are sometimes expected in those situations, but they are best avoided. Losing members of the team will impact morale and productivity. However, you can tackle the issue by helping vulnerable individuals who may be made redundant with a growth training program. Building a future for your team through a merger can ease the transition and reduce anxiety. 

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Merging companies is more than a smart money investment. It is a business decision that puts a lot of pressure on the people in your team. We can’t afford to forget that people are a business’s most important asset. A successful merger, therefore, begins with your team. 

4 Tips For Success When Using A Recruitment Company To Staff Your Business

A good recruitment strategy is vital to the success of your business, but many companies struggle with it. Often, the best way to make sure that you have the right people for the job is to use a recruitment company. They will help you select the right candidates and streamline the whole process, so you save time and money. 

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However, finding the right recruitment company and building a good relationship with them is important if you want to reap the benefits. Here are some important tips for success when using a recruitment company to staff your business. 

Know What You Want 

The recruitment company has a much easier job finding candidates for you if you know what it is that you want. That doesn’t just mean knowing the position you are looking to fill, but it also means knowing your overall aims when hiring people. For example, are you looking to scale up the business or do you need to fill a skills gap because an experienced employee is leaving? In some cases, if you have long term goals, it’s best to pick less experienced candidates that have a lot of potential, so they can grow within the business. But in other situations, you need an experienced candidate that can jump into the role straight away without too much guidance. Knowing what you want out of a new hire will help the recruitment company find the perfect candidate to meet your goals. 

Use Recruitment Agencies Specific To Your Industry 

General recruitment agencies are fine for some basic positions, but if you have skilled positions to fill, it’s important that you go with a specialized agency. For example, if you run a medical business, you need a recruitment company like Cornerstone Medical, who understand the specific challenges and recruitment needs in your industry. When you find a recruitment agency that is specific to your industry, you will always get candidates that are better suited to the position. 

Prepare A Detailed Brief 

When you approach a recruitment agency about filling a position, you need to give them as much information as possible about the role and the requirements. Writing a good job description is a start, but you should also include information about the company ethos and the kind of person that will fit in well. Anybody can look through a pile of resumes and pick a candidate based on skills and experience alone, but that’s not what recruitment companies are for. They are there to find somebody that is perfect for your business, and it’s easier for them to do that if they have more information. 

Manage Your Expectations 

People often go to a recruitment company with an unrealistic list of qualities that they want in a candidate. Then, they’re disappointed when they are told that person simply doesn’t exist and you have to make compromises. Recruitment companies are not miracle workers, so manage your expectations and you will have a much better relationship with them. 

If you keep these things in mind, you will have a great experience with a recruitment company and your business will thrive as a result. 

How to Communicate More Effectively with Your Customers Online

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Building relationships with your customers is vital to encourage them to remain loyal to your business. To build customer relationships, you need to communicate effectively and provide customers with a positive experience every time they interact with your business. 

The aim of nurturing a relationship between your business and customers is to encourage brand loyalty and increase sales. This is achieved by sharing product information such as new product launches and special offers.

Nowadays, businesses have more opportunities than ever before to communicate with their customers. This is because there are so many more platforms available for communicating and connecting with them. But, to successfully build relationships with your customers and encourage them to engage with your brand, you need to utilize the platforms available to their full potential. 

If you would like to communicate more effectively with your customers to build brand loyalty and increase sales, why not try some of these suggestions?

Provide 24-Hour Live Support

We live in a world where everyone is contactable 24 hours a day for 365 days a year, so it is only natural that customers will expect this same level of availability from your business. Using live chat room software is the perfect solution to this situation. Introducing a live chat function to your website has many benefits, but most importantly, it provides a way of communicating with your customers on their terms. Being contactable at any time could be the difference between converting the customer and making a sale or losing them to a competitor. Live support is an effective way to remove barriers that stand in the way of your website visitors buying something from your site by answering any questions that they may have before completing their purchase. 

Whatever time of the day or night may be, the live chat function is always ready and waiting for your customers to use.

Use Social Media to its Full Potential

Social media offers limitless opportunities for interacting with customers. Research shows that in 2020 there were 3.6 billion social media users worldwide, and this figure is set to increase to 4.41 billion people using social media across the world by 2025. So, if you are not using your social platforms to their full potential, you miss out on a huge opportunity. 

Providing your followers with engaging content that encourages interaction is essential. Pitching your posts in the right tone of voice is crucial to react to your posts positively. 

Posting on social media regularly is also vital, but you need to strike a balance between ensuring that your followers know that you still exist and bombarding them with an endless stream of posts. 

Don’t forget that your customers will use your social platforms as an opportunity to ask questions and comment on your products. Be prepared to respond to these promptly to ensure that any issues are resolved fast. Social media provides a valuable method of connecting with your customers and nurturing a relationship with them when used correctly.

Using Looks To Your Advantage In The World Of Business

assorted-color clothes

(Image Credit)

Appearances can mean a lot in the professional world. People care about what they look like, and the way that other people look will usually influence the way that you feel about them. Clothing, accessories, and your general style can be used as a tool to appeal to the right clients and colleagues, giving you an edge that can’t be achieved with words alone. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring a range of different fields, giving you an idea of the styles that could work well if you were working in these areas.

Creative Industries

Creative work is different from many other industries. While you will interact with people from a range of different fields, you will have much more freedom than others when it comes to the style you adopt for business. People will expect you to be creative with the way that you dress, with most people who work in roles like graphic design or art being fashionable. This opens the doors to more informal garments, often giving you the chance to make your work more comfortable.

While you have a lot of freedom in creative industries, you also have to be a little bit careful. Wearing clothing with large graphics or logos can look unprofessional, and you need to avoid looking like you’ve come straight from a party. Finding a nice balance between formal and informal will work well here. Of course, it’s also worth thinking about the type of client you’re interacting with, with more traditional businesses preferring a more formal look.

Technology

The technology industry has exploded over the last few years, and the age of this market has given many companies the chance to adopt modern practices. Young tech enthusiasts are more likely to feel comfortable with someone wearing similar clothing to them. At the same time, though, it can pay to surprise people when you work in a field like this. Formal clothing can also work well in a field like this, though you need to make sure that you pick modern options that won’t make you look out of touch.

Many people assume that those working in this sort of industry will wear casual clothing to their work. In reality, though, it’s important to remember that you’re trying to impress, and this means that you need to give off the right impression. Tools like eyewear can be used to make you look a little bit geeky, appealing to the sort of people who tend to gravitate to this field. Alongside this, you could also look for small accessories with things like emblems from video games or movies.

Finance & Other Professional Services

Finance is an area that allows very little freedom when it comes to your clothing. You will be expected to dress formally, with clients and customers finding it hard to trust you if you don’t look the part when you’re offering a professional service. Wearing a full suit will be a little over the top for some occasions, though you should consider going all out for important meetings and events where you will represent your business.

People like to see care and attention from the people looking after them professionally. This makes it crucial that you spend the time to consider every aspect of your look, from the garments to the accessories that form the final package. There are a lot of services out there that offer professional styling, providing a chance to achieve a professional style that will impress the people you work with. Of course, though, you could also use sites like Instagram to give yourself some inspiration.

Finding a style that enables you to appeal to the people you work with can be a challenge. Thankfully, though, you don’t have to look very far to find the right answers, and can simply think about what you would expect from the people you work with. This is a great way to find a style that you like and is suitable for your work.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of using your looks to your advantage in the world of business. This can be difficult, though there are loads of guides around the web that can help you, and countless sources of inspiration to draw from.

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