Starting your own business may have been a dream of yours. Taking that leap of faith to finally do it may have took courage and strength, and to get where you are today perhaps is your dream come true. Like many start up businesses, after a lot of work and effort, your business moves forward and gets to the stage where it outgrows you and your working environment. So much so that you expand, perhaps get a business location and hire staff and continue to move your business forward in the direction of success. But you can hit snag points along the way. Now you have other people responsible for different elements of your business, you have the overall responsibility for their welfare and productivity levels. So how do you make sure you get the most out of your workforce? Here are some suggestions.
The place you work can have either a positive or a negative effect on your productivity levels, so thinking about the working environment could help you to make your workforce more productive. It’s things such as ensuring that the rooms are not too hot or too cold. Ensuring there is a place to make drinks or store food for lunchtimes and snacks. Even things like having the right equipment so the job can be done properly or supportive chairs and desk areas so that people can comfortably work in their environment.
Streamline communications and processes
Jobs within your business can get complicated when there are other people involved. There may be people that are required to help with the decisions making process, people that need to authorise certain actions within your business so that other staff canconitime to do their jobs, and so you may find that you need to look at something like a workflow management software to help keep things in check. It might be that having certain processes in place can enable your staff to continue working at a productive rate.
Consider team bonding
The people within your team will be spending a significant amount of time together, and even with you, so you might want to consider team bonding sessions. This coudl be something that you do during the working day, such as team meetings. Or it could be something that you organise as a separate event. There are many things you could try that encourage the group of people attending to work together as a team. Highlighting personality traits and encouraging people to get on better.
Are you a people person yourself?
Finally, it could be you yourself that is the problem within your team. The questions to ask yourself would be whether or not you consider yourself to be an approachable and motivated manager and business owner? If not, then don’t worry, as people skills and the way you react to people can be improved upon. It could be that you talk to people more, get to know people on a personal level and try and get some common ground.
Let’s hope that these tips help you to encourage a more productive workforce in your business.
Having an idea for a business and setting it in motion is all good and well, but when you’re operating online – either exclusively or in part – then you’ll need to know much more than just about your company’s products and services. The online world has its own rules when it comes to code of conduct and etiquette, and if you’re not aware of/following them, then you’ll be making things extra difficult for yourself! Below, we look at four aspects of the internet you’ll need to keep in mind when it comes to the online presence of your home business — they can make a big difference to the overall success of your company!
Everyone makes snap judgements, every single day. While people try to overcome those judgements when it comes to other humans, there’s no such courtesy extended to websites — and with some justification. If your website looks like it’s been rushed, or is overly dated, or is just confusing, then your customers will have doubts about your legitimacy. Don’t give them any reason not to trust you — make sure your site looks good and is easy to navigate, and all they’ll see if your awesome products and services.
How To Be Seen
You’d like to think that if you built a high-quality site, then people would visit. Alas, this isn’t the case. There’s no shortage of alternative websites internet users can visit, no matter what your theme is. To make them visit yours, you need to make sure they see it. Working with an SEO agency is almost as important as your content and other website details — they’ll help to nudge you towards the top of the search engine results page; the higher up you are, the greater the chance that a Google searcher will visit your site. Don’t downplay the importance of internet exposure — it’s critical to your success.
What Annoys Internet Users
There are sites out there that get most things correct, yet which people quickly end up hating — and it’s for the stupidest reason, too. The website annoys the visitor. Things like invasive pop-up ads, autoplay videos (especially those with sound), and manipulative language are enough to make a website visitor move their cursor to the ‘X’ button. There are merits to having all of these aforementioned things on your website, but they’re very often more trouble than they’re worth. Don’t annoy your visitors!
You Can Measure Everything
It can feel like you’re walking blind when you run a website, but this isn’t true. In many cases, you have all the answers you’ll need right in front of you. You can measure all aspects of your website, including from where they came (Google, Facebook, etc.), which pages they visited, and so on. This can all push you towards figuring out the type of content that your visitors like. With that information, you can curate your website to meet the needs and interests of your visitors, and get rid of the rest.
The chances are that you’re pretty quick to jump on employee mistakes. Your business rests on your team getting things right, after all, and there’s little room for error. No wonder, then, that you come down like a hammer on silly mistakes. Spotting weaknesses like these is essential if you’re to stand any chance at success. In many ways, this is how your team learn to do things better. Your efforts would soon come crumbling if you didn’t spot problems like these and take action to prevent them.
The trouble comes when you ONLY call staff up for the things they do wrong. If you’re going to punish people, you need to balance things out by recognising what they do well. Otherwise, you’ll soon have an unhappy workforce. If that happens, mistakes could become far more frequent. You may even lose valuable members of your team. With that in mind, balance the scales by taking the following steps towards recognising the good, as well as the bad.
Make an effort to spot the best work
If you never make an effort to find your team’s best work, they’re going to stop producing it. What’s the point when you don’t notice? They may figure that, as long as they aren’t making mistakes, they can produce mediocre stuff. But, that’s not going to do any good for your business or your reputation. Instead, make an effort to spot those who go the extra mile. Use something like this 360 feedback software to spot strengths within your team instead of just weaknesses. It may even be worth looking through each day’s work to find the best, rather than weeding out the mistakes. This simple switch in your thinking could result in a significant change within your team.
We’re always quick to hand out punishments at work, such as probation or reduced hours. But, how often do you hand out rewards? In truth, these can often work as a better incentive than any of the punishments you already have in place. The chance to finish early on a Friday could provide more encouragement than anything else. Even the promise of an ‘employee of the month’ title could be enough to see improvements within your team. You can bet that a focus on rewards like these leads to a more conducive work environment than your current tyrannical approach.
Take your best staff further
To some extent, even rewards will get old. If you’re forever offering the same things to your best staff, they’re still going to get bored. They may decide that the effort they put in isn’t worth that ‘best employee’ parking space. At some stage, then, you also need to take your best staff further. This means recognising continually good work and offering promotions off the back of it. The moment your team see that they can progress, you may find that they all start working better. All because you changed your thinking and focused on rewards instead.
When you work from home as a freelancer, it can be so easy to put off certain tasks. For example, the admin or keeping record of your expenses can seem quite small and insignificant, but they are things that need to be kept on top of, otherwise it will all add up and be problematic later down the line. It can be easy to just want to get on with your creative side of the freelance business. But letting the freelance business run on autopilot isn’t the best thing to be doing, especially as life can be so busy, and you’re never likely to get back around to do those smaller things. The good news is that improving your freelance life doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. And if it is going to help your stress levels, then it can only be a good thing.
So here are some of the things that you can be doing to improve your freelance business in a way that won’t feel like a big deal and will allow you to keep your sanity.
Even as little as five minutes every day (you could even set yourself a timer) to check up on your finances, who has paid what invoice, or what you owe, can be five minutes well spent. If you have late invoices to chase then this can be the time to do it, as well as keep on track of what you need to buy or if you owe money to people that you have worked with. If you have been finding that cash flow is a problem for you, and you’ve been thinking of asset refinance to help your business, then taking greater control over your finances is really important. A few minutes to make sure that your financial side of business is tidied up can help the business to keep running smoothly.
As a freelancer, some weeks and days are going to be busier than others, as some work really is seasonal. So make sure that you are making yourself a to-do list so that you can get your work in order and see what needs to be done and what the priorities are. You can then plan what you will do and when, so that it can all get done and get done on time.
Learn To Say No
As a freelancer that is running a business, it can be hard to say no to things. But if you are taking on too much work or doing too many small favours to friends or clients, then it really can overwhelm you and take over your life. Learning to say no really is a skill when you’re a freelancer, so make sure that you try your best to do so when you are taking too much on. You could always offer different things that you could do that wouldn’t take as much time up for you, or things at a later date to help.
All of your friends get so jealous when you tell them that you work from home. They have to drag themselves out of bed each morning and put up with their boring nine to five in the office. When you’re running a profitable home business, it isn’t all fun and games, as some people might think. You put in hours and hours of hard work each day and you can often find yourself stressed and overwhelmed with your to-do list. Instead of allowing your workload to override your feelings, you can start to take control. Consider the following ideas to have a happier home business and reduce stress.
One of the best ways in which you can improve your working environment at home, is by clearing up your space. If you are surrounded by belongings, stock, papers and equipment then you aren’t going to be able to get very much done. Look into cheap storage for your clutter. As long as you can easily access it when you need to, it should be the perfect answer to your problems.
Plan Out Your Day
When you work at home it can be very easy to sit back and allow the day to pass by without really thinking about it. By planning out your day step by step, you will be able to achieve much more. Create a daily task list and you will soon start to see the benefits of this during your everyday work life. Make sure you are prioritising the most important things too, because you don’t want to be left scurrying to finish something at the very last minute.
When it’s time to get into work mode, you need to learn how to switch on and remove all distractions. It will never be easy to fully concentrate when you’re at home, but with the correct mindset you can to it all. Turn off the television, move your mobile phone into another room and focus on your tasks at hand.
Learn How to Switch Off
Now that you have learnt how to stay focused, it’s important to learn about tuning out of work mode. When you work from home it can be incredibly difficult to simply switch off and relax for the evening. Relax and wind down in your own special way so that you can really zone out of your busy day. Whether you take a walk once you have finished your jobs for the day or you head upstairs for a bubble bath, there will always be a way to unwind.
As long as you can follow some of these ideas you will be set up for a happy and healthy home life. Working in the comfort of your house is a lot easier than it sounds, so make sure you’re not too hard on yourself. People might give you a hard time and insist that you don’t have a “proper” job, but you are working harder than ever to reach your goals. Stay positive and make the relevant changes if necessary, you will soon find the ideal balance for you.
Finding good employees for your business is always a challenge. A lot of people overvalue their own skills when they are applying for roles, and some will even lie to you, creating a big challenge when it comes to choosing the right one to work for you. Of course, though, this doesn’t stop here, often becoming a greater challenge once you’ve taken someone on. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the modern methods bosses are using to keep tabs on their team members. This can make your life as a business owner far easier, while also improving your work.
With more and more people taking on roles which involve computers, a lot of the data being produced by your outfit will be stored digitally. Unlike paper documents, it’s often hard to see how much work has been done when you’re relying on devices like this, making it worth using a couple of collaboration tools. Systems like Office 365 let your team share their work with you. With each document which comes in, you will get a notification, making it incredibly easy to see how well the day is going. Having a smart system in place for this is hands-down the best way to ensure that every handles it correctly.
Along with making it possible to easily share work, digital systems provide some other benefits when it comes to keeping an eye on the people working for you. Automating this process as best you can is always a good idea, with a computer network which tells you how much work is being done being far better than relying on people. Something basic, like a tool to tell you which application each employee is using at any given moment, can solve a lot of productivity problems. In more specific industries, like transport, options like advanced telematics can be used to apply physical sensors to this sort of feature.
While it may seem like an obvious option at this point, a lot of people don’t realise quite how advanced modern CCTV systems have become. Unlike the older options which a lot of companies still use, today’s digital CCTV can be very high resolution, and can offer features like facial detection and smartphone notifications. Alongside becoming more sophisticated, tools like this have also gotten a lot cheaper over the last few years. With just a couple of inexpensive cameras and some software, you can keep an eye on your employees at all times, even when you’re out of the office.
With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of keeping constant watch over your team. A lot of employees don’t like to feel like someone is looking over their shoulder all the time, making it worth searching for more subtle ways to keep everyone in line, even if this means watching from afar. It’s never worth simply leaving people to their own devices.
Obviously, every business is different, and every industry is certainly different. Still, there are paths to success that are applicable to all manner of businesses in all manner of industries. If you’re running a homegrown company then there are key things to get right, regardless of the marketplace you’re trying to crack. In this article, we’re going to talk about what every profitable home business needs.
A plan is the first thing any home business needs if it’s going to be profitable. Yes, a business plan is a necessity for any company, big or small, but plenty of home entrepreneurs take a laidback approach to building their brand. If you want to ensure that your home business is profitable in the long-term, however, then you need some foresight. Nothing can be predicted, but a plan gives you different objectives and multiple solutions for a range of possible scenarios. You need to be prepared to adapt your plan as the market changes; consumers are always changing in terms of their needs, and competitors are always changing in terms of their services.
Most importantly, make sure you figure out a monthly budget for any investments you need to make towards resources for the products you create or the equipment you use. If you’re struggling to fund your business from your own pocket then you might want to consider one of the long term secured loans from Evolution Money. That could give you the necessary funding to make your business plan a reality. After all, you have to be brave enough to spend money if you want your home business to make money. We’ll talk about that more in the following point.
An expanding service.
Most entrepreneurs create businesses from home because they love the freedom of taking charge with regards to their career and their income. They also love the creative freedom to make a living from their innovative ideas rather than producing whatever their employee requests. Still, whilst you might reject the traditional business model, that doesn’t mean you should limit your home business’ potential for growth. This little one-person operation could become much more profitable if you expanded your services; that would allow you to cater to a larger client base and pull in more sales.
Rather than trying to do everything by yourself, you could outsource some of your services to create a more productive and efficient business model. You could even hire a small team of full-time employees to help you out. It’s not about slowly transitioning into a fully-fledged company; it’s about giving yourself more time to focus on the technical side of your operations. That way, your business can grow without you having to compromise on the quality of the goods or services you deliver to clients. That’s the key to expanding the service of your home-based empire in a way that increases rather than squanders potential profits.
A good reputation.
Finally, every home business needs a good reputation if it’s going to be profitable. You might be competing with huge and well-established corporations, but branding is the thing that matters. If your company has a reputation for taking better care of its customers than other businesses do for their customers then you’ll get the attention of the market. Offer rewards such as discounts to loyal clients. Keep them coming back for repeated purchases.
Wintertime has its ups and downs. For one thing, there is the Christmas rush when customers spend money hand over fist without the usual scepticism. For another, the snow, wind, and rain can pose a major danger to small and medium-sized businesses. Sadly, SMEs don’t have the resources to dig them out from underneath an avalanche when it hits. The good news is that quality leaders only need a handful of things to ensure the show goes on and output isn’t interrupted too much. Here’s a look at the risks and how you can manage them by being proactive and flexible this wintertime.
It’s not nice to think about, but people do slip, trip, and fall over in icy conditions. When it happens on corporate property, the owner is liable for compensation. Therefore, you or the company might end up on the wrong end of a lawsuit that costs the business thousands of pounds. One way to manage liability is to make sure everything is as clear and as ice-free as possible. Putting down grit and digging out the snow should be enough. If there are still hazardous spots, be sure to put up signs warning people of the danger.
With rain falling at a higher rate than usual, offices are open to flooding especially if they’re on the ground floor. Even a cold snap can be a problem as water in the pipes freezes and causes them to burst. A simple solution is to install the correct fixtures and fittings so that the load isn’t too much to carry. Stainless steel weld fittings are usually heavy duty enough, plus they won’t rust either. Alternatively, keeping the heating on at low temperature should stop the water from freezing. As always, an insurance policy will come in handy if the worst happens.
Snow is a productivity killer as it stops people from travelling. Or, it gives them an excuse to blame the weather and take a day off. Thankfully, slacking off isn’t an option any longer thanks to remote work software. By uploading documents and files to the cloud, employees can complete tasks from anywhere in the world at any time. They might be as productive as normal, but at least half of the office isn’t sitting at home watching daytime TV. Create a work-from-home policy to ensure everyone understands their responsibilities.
Being snowed-in is one thing, but illness is another. Unfortunately, workers who are ill won’t be able to do anything until they are better. Therefore, there should be an emphasis on preventing coughs and colds and the flu from spreading. Get your employees to use tissues when they sneeze and then dispose of them properly. Don’t recycle them. Also, encourage people to go and get a flu jab so that they are immune from the virus. If you have to give them half a day off, it’s a good trade-off because you’ll win in the long-term.
What poses the biggest problem for your business during the winter?
All businesses need to brand themselves. Without that unifying design, they will seem ephemeral, ethereal and almost less present than they might otherwise be. This can be a challenging scenario to experience, and when you’re trying your best to establish your business life, it’s hardly one you want. But the presence of branding and the presence of good branding are two completely different things. Good branding could be defined by many ideals. Magnetism, the ability to represent yourself and your ideal at the same time, and being understandable are all pointers of a great self-branding effort.
But none of that would be worthwhile without relevancy. Catering to the modern market is essential, because it’s the only market you can ever cater to. Does this mean any slight twinge of historical reference will tank your business? Of course not. But staying updated and vibrant, even in your aesthetic callbacks, will be essential.
But what branding choices to modern customers and consumers truly respond to? Consider:
Minimalism has taken on a life of its own in recent years. This is because while color explosions, vast reams of text and a range of other eye-catching designs could be considered artistically viable and well-worth-it, sometimes your brand does not require it for success. Does your brand of paperclips truly need the most artistically excellent packaging? Or does a simple, clean, efficient package seem much more identifiable and less ‘busy?’ It can be worthwhile to consider how your firm’s artistic presence might best be understood and digested. Minimalism is popular because almost any firm can make use of it, almost anyone can appreciate how easy it is to understand, but if done well you needn’t sacrifice aesthetic professionalism or magnetism.
Intelligent design always be responded to. For example, if you’re opening a barbers and looking for a wonderful storefront banner, the name of your business written in barbering tools such as scissors or straight razors could be considered novel, interesting and intricate. This is just one small example of course, but a little forethought in design like this can certainly help you stand out, and it provides that ‘wow’ factor you might be looking for. This is where using a professional branding service such as Designed By Duo designedbyduo.co.uk could be the most appropriate, especially as they have an excellent proven track record for smart design.
The best branding is digestible. It’s memorable. It will be instantly recognizable when a customer once again sees your logo, or is reminded of your establishment. For that reason, your branding needs character. It needs to be a entity all on its own that supports your brand. This is why more and more forms enter mascot territory, or will often streamline their branding efforts over time. A solid logo, a simple slogan, a simple name for your business and a navigable website UI that conforms to all of these choices will seem cohesive, supportive, but most of all digestible.
With these tips, you’re sure to brand yourself effectively.
I was just having a chat with a friend over our WordPress frustrations. She had the most amazing responsive theme in terms of how the site looked but it was really affecting the speed of her website.
So why does it matter?
The speed and security of your website is super important. Think about it from your customer’s perspective. If they want to view something on your page and they just find the whirling wheel of death, chances are they won’t stick around and you’ve just lost a potential customer.
I think a slow website is like being on hold for ages, it’s just poor customer service and a reflection on you. It’s almost like you don’t care.
You don’t want to compromise on security either. Think data breaches, theft of data and credit card details in the wrong hands. One word – headache. And probably some big fines, don’t forget about those.
Our good friend Google also loves a fast site. It picks up on abandonment, so basically if someone loses all hope on your site and buggers off then Google doesn’t like it. You then get scored in the abandonment section. The more Google doesn’t like you, the less you show in search results. Not helpful.
So what can you do?
Well first of all you’ll want to check the speed – is there an issue with your website? You can use tools such as this one from Pingdom.
While there is a very romantic notion associated with working from home, when you apply the perks of this to someone who runs a business and has to treat the bedroom like a boardroom, can it be done effectively? For those people who are looking to run a business, but they don’t have the funds to hire an office, what does the average entrepreneur need? And is it physically possible to keep a business going with just a remote workforce?
Outsourcing Is Your Ally
If you don’t have the money to rent physical office space, and you’re relying on your employees staying at home to complete the tasks, you’ve got to start thinking about running the business as loads of different external aspects working together as one. If you need to improve your marketing, you can very easily hire a digital marketing service to ensure that they are working on that aspect of the project effectively. The big difficulty in outsourcing when you are as external as the other components is that you have to be comprehensive in how you communicate with them all. It’s important that big picture thinking form part of your ideals but it’s very difficult when you don’t see the results in front of you as they are being developed. This requires you to make the most of the next point…
Communication Is Key
Improving your communication isn’t just beneficial for the business, but it’s a way to keep your external workers feeling like they’re part of the process. People like the idea of working at home because they are away from the business, but if you want them to feel part of the organisation, you’ve got to work harder at the most beneficial communication tools. It’s all grist to the mill as each person has their own preferred communication method. It all depends on the duties they undertake. If you have someone who has to stay focused for long periods of time, it’s unhelpful to contact them regularly throughout the day because it will distract them. On the other hand, if you’ve got delegates that you need to communicate with, they need to be easily accessible, but they also need to give you the information you need quickly. In which case the instant messaging approach wouldn’t work; pick up the phone!
Working Extra Hard At Maintaining The Feeling Of A Team
Because each aspect of the business is remote, segregated, and don’t see where they fit into the big picture, this is your responsibility to ensure they are part of the entire process and feel like a team. If you have workers dotted all across the world, this won’t be easy. But if you work at regular contact, but also doing what you can to highlight your personality, either through video conferencing or video messages, it works at providing the personality, rather than making each employee feel that they work for a faceless business.
Can you run a business with just a remote workforce? You can, but you have to realise that you may save money although you will have to expend your efforts in other ways to ensure that morale stays up.
Right now, it seems like it’s harder than ever to grow your Instagram organically because it’s not easy getting followers. That’s why many turn to buy them. But once you learn how to grow Instagram followers organically, you will find out the difference between a paid follower and a real one.
Well, nothing is impossible, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’re going to focus on 6 techniques to grow Instagram organically, without buying followers, using bots, or any other shady practices.
1. Optimise your Instagram username
First of all, did you know that the words in your Instagram username are searchable? If you can, try to add your specialty / industry / passion / locationin your username. Think about what people would type on Instagram if they wanted to find an account like yours.
2. Optimise your Instagram name
It is very important to focus on your Instagram name because the name is searchable on Instagram too. Try to use important keywords related to your business/brand in your Instagram name. Write something that your audience would use to find your account.
3. Optimise your photos to grow your account
Keep your photos clean and good quality. It doesn’t mean you can’t be creative anymore. Just make sure it is easy to see what your main subject is.
People don’t typically follow accounts that post low-quality pictures. They want to be inspired by what they see.
Instagram is using a technology called “image recognition”. This means that this technology can “scan” your photo to figure out what’s on it.
4. Use hashtags as keywords
Hashtags are keywords. People can search for a hashtag on Instagram to find you. And Instagram checks what hashtags you are using to show your posts to people who like the same things as you.
5. Interact with people on Instagram
Make sure your followers know you’re listening and that you genuinely care about their comments by interacting with them or even liking their comments.
Spend a few minutes a day liking and commenting on other people’s posts. Interact with people outside of your feed is key.
6. Post at the right time.
Before you post your photo to Instagram, there are two important things to keep in mind: your audience’s time zone and what time they’re most often checking Instagram.
If you want to get the results on Instagram you need to keep up with your audience.
If you want to improve your results in business to the next level (think full time income) click here. It’s a 34 page download filled with amazing tips and strategies from a business coach perspective!
Being able to provide your team with a conducive working environment is an easy win; it allows you all to be more productive, do all that you need to, and be comfortable and happy. But is it possible to create such an environment without having to spend a lot of money? Here are some of the things that you can do to make sure that the work environment that you create is the most conducive to working as possible.
In work and business, the ‘chicken coop’ theory is often talked about in many ways. There are chickens that live in cages all cooped up and squashed together. Though it is uncomfortable and in many ways unethical, they do still produce eggs. But there are also chickens that roam around, have plenty of space, and they also produce eggs. They both still get the job done, so to speak, but which are the happier ones producing better quality work? The ones that have space to roam and a little bit of freedom. So think about how much space your team have in the office, as well as considering the option of flexible working from time to time.
If we are comfortable and happy then it means we are much more likely to get on with the job that we have to do. If we aren’t comfortable then we can keep adjusting and putting off doing work, as well a generally feeling frustrated. So the comfort of your team is something that is important to think about. What are their general working areas like now? Do they have comfortable and adjustable desk chairs? How about a restful break area with comfortable chairs for their break time? If you look at a site like Civic Australia you can see the wide range of tables and chairs that you can get for offices, so it is worth seeing what you could improve upon.
We live in such a digital age and we have access to a whole heap of technology at our fingertips. But are you using technology in your workplace to really impact and benefit your team? For starters, you could look for tech that will help to make things like conference calls or meetings simpler and more effective. Are you using software that allows internal communications and messages much more easily and quicker than emails? Team collaboration tools and tech to help with HR can all be good ideas to think about as well. Are you using all that you could, at the moment?
No tool is perhaps going to be more effective at helping to boost productivity and performance much more than incentives. Bonuses or rewards for things, even small things like finishing early on a Friday can be just the incentive that a colleague needs to get their work done in a timely manner. When they are performanced-based incentives then it can be one of the best ways to do things and keep it all fair.
Are you looking for help and support in your business but either don’t know where to start or would love a business coach but can’t afford one? Start here! My free 34 page guide gives you 6 proven strategies to supercharge growth and profits!
Running your own business is a lot less champagne fuelled launches and lot more hard daily graft than people think – but you already know that. From chasing up unpaid invoices to managing employees performance, trying to keep the lead generation flowing to balancing the books, applying for funding and developing your marketing strategy – your to-do list is never ending. You already know you have persistence, creative vision and sheer hard work to thank for getting you this far. But could technology be giving you more of a helping hand? By using software to automate business processes where possible then you’ll free up valuable time for high value tasks such as creative thinking or networking, plus free up yourself and your employees to work from any location at any time, giving everyone much greater flexibility. The right technology can make your entrepreneurship so much smoother, so if you haven’t already got on board, here’s what you should be using this year…
Manage Tasks On The Go
Does your day to day just feel overwhelming? With so many competing priorities and tasks needing your attention, it can be quite easy to never feel on top of things. A good task management solution like OneNote can be the answer to your prayers. It operates like a tabbed digital notebook. You create as many sections as you like and you can set up lists, import graphics, set reminders and generally plan out your current workload. You can also share a notebook with other people, and it all works on any device, meaning you can clip items from your browser to a notebook which you can then access on your phone or tablet. The lists sync automatically in real time, so whoever is looking at them always has the most up to date version.
The Ultimate CRM Solution
Any company worth its salt needs a best in market agile CRM system to take care of your most important asset – your customers! A system like Nimble gives you the insight you need to make guiding business decisions and plan marketing promotions and customer events based on sales data and segmentation. Any contact you input can be updated automatically from their social media profile and you will also have full access to analytics and reporting in real time on the move. A great way to make smarter, informed decisions and keep your contacts to hand.
Financials In A Snap
In business, money is equivalent to energy. If you don’t have money matters sorted, you’re stalling the energy flow and inviting all kinds of problems. Get sorted with a one stop solution like Cloudpay. Using Cloudpay Payroll ensures that everyone gets paid on time without a whole lot of paperwork – just a seamless, easy to use online interface that will make it much less of a monthly hassle.
Streamline Your Documents
Did you know that up to two billion business related documents are created globally every single day? That is an awful lot of time spent on what is probably a lot of needless duplication. If there are certain types of documents you and your team create all the time, remove the hassle by using an app like Templafy to create fully adaptable, professional looking templates that anyone in your business can access. Your next professional looking sales pitch or wrap up report is just around the corner.
Are you looking for help and support in your business but either don’t know where to start or would love a business coach but can’t afford one? Start here! My free 34 page guide gives you 6 proven strategies to supercharge growth and profits!
If you’re serious about Pinterest marketing, scheduling on Pinterest is very helpful, especially if your target audience is in another time zone or you just want to save your time. Hashtags are necessary, long pins are out, and pinning daily is more important than it has previously ever been.
So, if you love Pinterest and use it for your business like I do, relax because I’ve got some cool features to share about the best tool for making a schedule –Tailwind.
Tailwind is a scheduling tool that you can use to schedule pins on Pinterest. You can see when is the best time to pins, use it for analytics and that is not all! Using this tool you can save time and grow your blog traffic.
Scheduling on Pinterest with Tailwind
Tailwind has a great feature where you can automatically schedule pins for specific times weekly. When you join on Tailwind, it will begin to analyze your account and figure out the best time to pin. Tailwind will suggest times, based on when your audience is most engaged.
An important thing is the Browser extension
Tailwind Browser extension – It’s the easiest and fastest way to schedule Pins on Pinterest. And it’s available via Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. This also allows you to schedule pins from anywhere around the web, including blog posts.
Fastest way to schedule pins to several boards at once!
If you use Pinterest for your business and you’ve realised how important group boards are, then with this tool you can reduce the time invested and increase the effect. Board lists on Tailwind are the best way for you to schedule one pin to many boards at a time. One click, multiple boards. You will see how much of a time saver this is.
You can use it for analytics
This tool gives you in depth analytics and insights so you can see what’s working and what’s not. It’s helpful to know how your Pinterest account is performing and what content your followers like to see.
You have ability to compare your best performing pins and see how many repins and likes each one has garnered.
I know how important it is to be well organized in your own business, therefore Tailwind has helped me a lot. This tool saves my time and makes my job easier.
Use Tailwind, find your flow and hustle with ease!
If you want an in-depth guide and 6 proven strategies to take your business to the next level (think fulltime income) click here. It’s a 34-page download filled with amazing tips and strategies from a business coach perspective!
Let’s face it, as businesswomen, we are busy busy busy. Throw into the mix a family, or maybe you still have a job alongside your business, we need all the help we can get. Automaters are our best friends. From Tailwind for Pinterest to Facebook’s own scheduling tools. Automaters and schedulers automatically post and take action on behalf. Set them up and let them run!
Instagram, if you aren’t already familiar with it is a brilliant way to reach potential customers, but we rely on a few strategies to really leverage Instagram. You need as large an audience as possible, you need great content and you need to be consistent with posting.
Doing all that yourself is hard!
But I have discovered an automater which really take the effort out of Instagram. Meet….Unsocialise! I was originally asked to test the software. After testing it I fell in love with it. It just does everything I need so effortlessly. I walk you through some of my favourite features, and I’ll also share the ones I WOULD NEVER use!
The scheduling tool
Unsocialise comes with a scheduling tool. It’s easy to use. Just drag your pictures in, write your captions and select the time you want it posting and wooosh! Unsocialise automatically posts. Not only that but you can put in the first comment. Currently (Jan 2019) I recommend putting 4 hashtags in the caption and 26 in the first comment.
You can tag the location – great for people who want to promote to a specific location. I recommend at least putting your country in as Instagram tends to like it when you use its different features. (Get yourself a boost in the old algorithm!)
It has a calendar and photo editor built in. To be honest I don’t use the photo editor as I really like VSCO for editing. The calendar is useful to make sure you have a post every day or as required.
I love love love the insights tool on Unsocialise. From the insights section you can manage all the automaters you have at your disposal, you can see how they’re performing and you can see your engagement level (aim for over 5%!). It’s really useful for at a glance account performance and also managing the account through Unsocialise all in one place.
Smart Follow Feature
This is like a little magic wizard in the Unsocialise box of tricks that finds your ideal customers for you. Well with the help of hashtags and your competitor profiles of course! Just give it a clue and it will automatically run at a speed that doesn’t endanger your account.
I liken following my target audience to leafleting through people’s doors. You’re simply letting them know you exist. It’s up to them to follow you back or not. I then use the unfollow tool to unfollow anyone who chose not to follow back. Otherwise, I’d be following about 30K!! It’s clever enough to know who it’s followed through the program and to only unfollow them. You can also set it on different speeds if you are confident your account can take it.
Smart Like Feature
This is probably my favourite tool on Unsocialise. You can set it who to like for a start. I have people who I support on Instagram and it’s really important to me to like their content, however it’s difficult to always get to it in my feed and I’m worried I’ll miss their posts if Instagram doesn’t even put them in my feed. So my Unsocialiselikes them specifically for me. A must if you have clients!
You can also use it to encourage growth by setting it to like certain hashtags. For example, if someone uses the hashtag #shehustles, Unsocialisewill automatically and instantly like their post! The hope is they then come and check you out and like what they see gaining you a new follower.
The final thing I use Smart Like for is to like my feed. It keeps on top of it so I don’t have to. This works in my favour as Instagram feels I’m an engaged member of the community. Believe me with the hours a week I lose on Insta I truly am, but this just makes sure everyone gets a like and my engagement levels are high!
Smart Message Function
The Smart Message function sends a DM when someone follows you. Now sometimes I find these spammy, but it’s receiving them, its the content inside the message. I personally like to have a bit of fun with it, like “here’s your spammy DM, no but seriously get yourself a brew and have a read of this….” that kind of thing. Entertain them and share your latest freebie or blog post. My Facebook Group grew mainly from including it in DMs believe it or not!
Just don’t be a Spammy Pammy!!
Functions I don’t use
I don’t use the Smart Comment function. I have never seen an auto comment that isn’t spammy, I’m terrified it’ll land on the wrong post. Once I posted on my personal feed about my darling cat passing and I got the most inappropriate comment. I’d hate to do that to someone I just find them really spammy and they’re not for me, but if you know a way to use them in a non spammy way then do let me know. Maybe owning it and having a hint of humour/sarcasm is how to do it!
The other one I don’t use is the repost function. My feed is curated or colour co-ordinated to the max! So I wouldn’t share other’s content on my main feed – only in my stories so I can’t tell you much about this function either.
Why I trust Unsocialise over other Insta automaters
What I really like about Unsocialiseis how “caring” it is for your account. It’s a very considered automater. Due to the monitoring, auto function and speed settings, my account has never been restricted by Instagram on it. They monitor Instagram’s terms and make sure the automated behaviour is compliant for you. It’s nice to know they have your back but also help you to get the most out of Instagram!
It’s now bringing in a DM manager so you can manage all your Direct Messages in the program which I love as it means I can do it on the laptop and I’m a far faster typer on there!
I have hit a few snags and technical errors along the way, and if I’m honest if it weren’t for how amazing it is I probably would have defected, but each time customer services dealt with it super fast and they’re honestly so nice. I think a few other companies could learn from them to tell you the truth!
I’ve been using it for 4 months and I haven’t found another program as safe, that has all the functions I need in one place and that is so bloody useful!! Happy Instagram growth!!
Oh and did I forget to say – it’s only £10 a month!! Check out Unsocialise here!
Are you looking for help and support in your business but either don’t know where to start or would love a business coach but can’t afford one? Start here! My free 34 page guide gives you 6 proven strategies to supercharge growth and profits! Enter your details to receive an instant copy!
In the past, I’ve posted snippets of my story and how I got to where I am now in business, but for the first time ever I thought I’d tell the story from the perspective of how you might be able to use my failures to help you on your journey.
The first thing I’d like to point out however is;
THEY’RE NOT FAILURES – THEY’RE LESSONS
It’s only a failure if you give up right!
Let’s take it back to the start
So let’s go back to the start, well the uni days at least. I actually studied Forensics and Analytical Science at university. However, I didn’t complete the course. A group of 8 girls on a night out had other ideas for me and unfortunately after a lovely night out with a friend we were attacked walking for a taxi. My skull was fractured in two places. They attacked for the sake of it, they didn’t take my phone, purse or jewellery.
I wasn’t very well for a while after and so I struggled to keep up with uni, with my bills and life in general. At the time I worked in marketing for a night club, this meant working the evening, and the noise and lights were too much with my head injury. I slipped into debt. By the time I could be around actual lights again, I owed so much money I needed to work full time and so I couldn’t manage my degree..
And that was that. Welcome to being an adult!! But so began my interest in marketing and sales!
An so the obsession began
What I love about marketing and sales is the psychology behind it. It’s not luck that you get a sale. It’s about understanding people’s behaviour and predicting it, and even shaping it. However, I didn’t know this at the start.
I loved working in marketing, I worked for a German engineering company, I worked for a entertainment business. I got to travel and studied and perfected my craft. Now you have to remember I did all this just as websites were really getting popular for businesses, Facebook was a mere twinkle in Zuckerberg’s eye at this point.
Then 11 years ago I had my first side hustle that was all mine. I started dog walking. The business had a small website but Facebook was the main place I got the business from. Boy was it easy to get business on Facebook back then!! I dog walked whilst on maternity. I put Kaitlyn in a carrier and earned extra money to make maternity leave a little more comfortable. When I went back to work, however it was hard to give time to the business, a 1 year old and my job, so the it was the business that gave way.
Rinse and repeat
Over the years this happened a few times. I’d want extra cash, maybe for a holiday, maybe a new car. I’d start a business, earn what I needed then pass the business on to someone else and resume my neat employed life.
I sold jewellery, I trained for 2 years (alongside my fulltime job) to be a personal trainer, I made handmade children’s clothes (still do!), I blogged. I tried Avon, looked into Forever Living and more!
But over time I wanted more. I’d got the bug. Structuring my own time, no earnings bracket. The decisions being all mine. Not disagreeing with a boss but having to do their bidding anyway.
I didn’t know it at the time but I’d been learning all there was to know about marketing and sales, and I’d been practicing on what I call my “mini businesses”. And all this was there ready for what came next.
The horror bag
One of my best and worst qualities is that I give give give. This is usually to the detriment of myself. And then when you can no longer give I find people get really annoyed with me and treat me quite poorly. When you have some one that is fair and doesn’t take take take the relationship works well. I’m not sure what you think, but I find many people are happy to exploit your good nature.
In the last job I was in the boss went one step further. She didn’t just take advantage. She was an outright fruit loop! She took great delight in making me feel as degraded as possible. I felt sorry for her really. She was in her fifties, and it makes you wonder what happened to a person to make them so mentally cruel?
At this stage in my life, mid thirties, two children, bills to pay, responsibilities area driver, especially in the work you do. I felt I SHOULD have a 9-5, I SHOULD go out to a job. My status was measured on my job title. My happiness certainly was not.
And boy did I start to slip. I got really down. I would sit at my desk in floods of tears before my boss arrived at the office. I would have to ring my sister or my other half to get help in stopping the sheer unhappiness pouring out of my body. You know that crying where you can’t breathe and it’s overwhelming – yeah that.
Life became empty
It was like coffee didn’t have any taste, like the sun had no warmth, my children’s happiness was a necessity but I no longer felt it with them. I was going through the motions lost in the routine of the mundane and the SHOULDS.
And one day I broke. Now don’t confuse matters. Was I severly depressed and broken – yes. Did I have half an eye on my dignity – thank God -yes also! I calmly told my boss if she wanted the document finishing that I was working on then she’d have to do it herself as she wouldn’t be seeing me again. Got my coat and left. For good. Mid day.
Sheer panic kicked in. What had I done? How would I pay the bills?
For one month I existed. That was all I could manage. I prayed for the anti-depressants to kick in so I could feel something again. I waited and waited. And after 3-4 weeks the clouds parted and I felt the warmth of the sun again.
Welcome to the new and best chapter
So there I was, it was like I’d climbed out of the pit of depression and I was sat perilously on the edge. I could sink or I could try to get away. And I crawled away with every single fibre of me. I started writing for people. I made a decision that this was the time. This was the time for my own business I just felt it in my gut. It would take me away from the precipice, I just knew it. The business began “As Acorns Grow” – why was me growing and placing down strong roots. I didn’t feel it was quite right so I changed to Female Entrepreneur Hub, but then not long after discovered the Female Entrepreneur Association so thought I’d better change again and I became She Hustles Inc!
The official launch
I officially launched in May 2018 and I knew what I wanted from the business. I wanted to work from home. My home is my sanctuary. I was still having panic attacks from the episode in February and I just felt like when I was home I was safe and comforted.
I wanted to be able to choose my own hours as much as possible. I had learnt from all my service based businesses that in working for clients they dictate your hours, so ideally my business would be around a passive income model. And obviously, I knew that I wanted to share my passion for growing businesses. I wanted to share my 14 years of working in marketing and sales, and all the lessons from my side hustles.
The business grew… and grew… and grew!
Within 3 months the business was fulltime. A mixture of courses, products, paid blogging opportunities and clients was bringing in money, not just enough to pay the bills but to enjoy life again.
In October I was invited to speak at an event in London. That’s around 3 hours from me in the North of England. It took me about three weeks to say yes as my anxiety really kicked in. It was the thought of leaving the kids and my home – AKA the sanctuary. But something said to take the opportunity. And I did. My other half came with me for support and the last of my anxiety ebbed away.
I started the trip clinging to his arm. Trying to be brave. I ended it thinking I could take on the world!
What can you take from this?
Well, I’ve been a rock bottom. Crappy jobs, no money, the depths of depression. But that doesn’t define you. What defines you is how hard you climb. How hard are you willing to fight for your goal? What will you do for your dream?
Find your fight then make a plan. (I can help you with that bit! But the fight, that’s on you my lovely!)
I decided recently I wanted to give my fellow ladies a real boost in business. I know what it’s like trawling around Google looking for all the answers so I wanted to give you a head start and skip that part.
You can get my 6 best performing strategies here for your business
I hope it helps you to know that you’re not alone, that it can be done and that we don’t all have shiny perfect Insta lives! I’m always here if you ever need help!
Pop-up shops are taking over the retail world and really are rethinking traditional brick-and-mortar and big-box shops. As an up and coming business, a pop up could be a fantastic way to push your business to the next level. Here’s what you need to know.
What exactly is a shop that ‘pops up’?
Pop up shops are simply temporary retail spaces that sell merchandise of any kind. Since the vast majority of purchases are made online, pop ups help to drive sales through the highstreet and also have a novel and ‘cool’ factor. They can sell anything from art to baked goods to clothes, meaning if you’re the kind of business that sells products then you’re able to utilise a pop up store.
How long do pop up shops sell for?
Pop ups tend to stick around from anywhere between three days and three months. They’re very short term which is what makes them interesting. For the customer, it’s great news as they always have something new and interesting going on. For you as a business owner, it gives you the chance to promote your brand and awareness, if you’re currently only selling online and looking to get shop space, it gives you an idea of how things will eventually work.
Why are pop up shops good for business?
They can generate a lot of hype just as they’re novel, the feeling of ‘it won’t be around for long’ can encourage interested customers to take the plunge and buy something as they know they won’t be able to return at a later date. Pop up shops are usually in malls or on streets of busy towns and cities that get a lot of foot traffic, and so can mean a lot of exposure for your brand. The location is something you wouldn’t necessarily be able to afford as a permanent spot as a growing business, instead it enables you to utilise the location for a short time and generate awareness. In fact, pop ups tend to be up to eighty percent cheaper than a traditional retail store, which is exactly what you need as an upcoming business.
What do you need to set up a pop up shop?
First things first, you need to find the right space. Pop ups come in different shapes and sizes, and you need to be properly showcasing your items. Cram massive items into a small space for example and it’s going to put people off and feel crowded. On the other hand, you don’t want tiny items to feel lost in a vast room. Work on your branding, you’ll want to have signs and banners made up, as well as things like leaflets or business cards that you can hand out to customers while they’re there. In most cases, things like rails, shelving and the till will come with the space but you’ll need to check this out. If not, you could utilise an app like PayAnywhere.com. Think about the decor too, you won’t be able to start painting walls but you should create an atmosphere that suits your brand. How about interesting plants, large glamorous mirrors against the walls or colourful accessories?
Computers, laptops and tablets are at the core of everyday business interactions and processes. Whether you’re connecting with customers or preparing your accounting period, everything happens at a keyboard. From a business perspective, it makes no doubt that IT has become a definite part of your growth and success. The days were job applicants would state on their CVs that they can use a computer are long gone. Today, everybody in the business world expects employees and customers to be computer-savvy. While the market doesn’t bargain on individuals mastering complex programming and coding skills that are out of the scope of their expertise, there are fundamental processes that are taken for granted, such as using computing technologies to share and store data, to target and interact with your audience, and to run everyday business tasks. That’s precisely because IT is inherent to business activities that it is the best-suited investment strategy for growth. Without reliable IT solutions, there can be no growth.
Because you’ve got better to do than google your IT problems
Ah, the blue screen of doom. It can freeze your activities on an individual computer, or even on a while server for good! While it’s likely to be the result of a faulty update, you can’t know for sure without expert knowledge. More importantly, you can’t fix it without painfully troubleshooting your issue via Google Search and hoping for the best. If it doesn’t work, you’re just left with no other option that googling further. Ultimately, scheduled maintenance, dedicated support and software patches and updates should not be the responsibility of your team. You need to save everybody’s time by investing in managed IT services http://www.intelligis.com/our-services/managed-it-services/ that can deliver the expert IT strategy you need. At the end of the day, your computing system is one of the tools your employees use to complete their tasks. Leave the tool repairs to professionals!
There’s no digital marketing without robust tools
A computer is a physical tool that a company can use as part of daily processes. You need it to access your virtual tools, namely the solutions used in house to interact with your audience. Digital marketing, as a result, is constantly growing in performance. It’s easy to understand why; when your customers engage with the brand in the online sphere, you need to invest in the best solutions to support these digital interactions, https://www.shehustlesinc.com/how-should-your-business-spend-its-marketing-budget/. Your marketing budget should encompass investments in popular and effective online tools, from email automation to mobile-friendly websites.
Data breaches happen all the times
It didn’t even take 24 hours for 2019 to register its first data breach in the state of Victoria in Australia, where the data of 30,000 civil servants were stolen from a directory. While large-scale data breaches are becoming a trend, it doesn’t mean that small businesses can’t be affected. On the contrary, 43% of cyber attacks directly target small companies, forcing 60% of the targeted brands to go out of business within 6 months. In other words, cybersecurity is not something you can afford to ignore. Investing in your digital safety combines both educative approaches and protective measures.
Small businesses have limited funds to dedicate to their growth. Consequently, they need to be money-savvy when it comes to investment and to target elements that are fundamental to their sustainable expansion. Every penny you spend to make your IT greater has the potential to make your company more effective, relevant and secure in the future.
It is so important that your business brand gains a little more recognition. At the moment you’re running a small business that not many people have heard of. It is your job as the entrepreneur to make sure everybody in your target demographic has something to say about your brilliant brand. You need marketing strategies that actually work so that your brand name is shining strong even if the most crowded industry. Making your business brand stand out from your competitors is always going to be tough to achieve, but with some of the following ideas you will be able to get one step closer to success.
Find Innovative Ways to Get Your Name Out There
When your business is relatively new it can seem like a huge uphill battle trying to get your name out there into the world. There are some clever ways in which you might be able to achieve this, but you need to be creative and think outside the box. Check out the following range from the Pin Factory. You can design your very own pins, badges, coins and keyrings that represent your business brand. If you choose this option you can be sure that your idea will be completely unique to anybody else’s, because it will have your own design and your brand name printed right on there.
Don’t Blow Your Budget
When you’re trying to get your business off the ground it can be very easy to lose track of your budget. Getting over excited with your ability to spend money will land you in hot water eventually so make sure you are keeping track of everything you are buying. From start-up equipment to marketing methods, you will soon find that your hard earned savings are being eaten up by these day to day expenses. Monitor your income and outgoings carefully so that you never have to worry about running out of money.
It is very important to ask your customers for feedback once they have spent their money on your product or service. This is the only way you will be able assess how good your services really are. Once you have gained some useful feedback from your loyal clients you will be able to start making much needed improvements so that you can make everything bigger and better than before. Feedback will help you to stay on top of any glitches or errors that might arise along the way too.
Always Keep Improving Your Methods
You should never feel settled with your business strategies; there will always be a way to keep improving them over time. As soon as you feel as though you have mastered everything, something better will come along. Stay on your toes and keep changing up your way of working so that you are challenging the norm.
So allow your business brand to be seen and heard amongst your target audience, using your very own creative ideas. As soon as the word starts spreading you will be proud of everything you have achieved so far in launching your new business.