When we see a PR pitfall, especially when a large company falls into one, we think ‘how on earth could they have been so dense?’ For example, when a corporation seems to fall into misunderstanding a meme, or suggesting something culturally insensitive, or running an advertisement that not only offends but humiliates the firm, we really wonder just who was behind the scenes, making those fateful decisions.
That being said, while some PR pitfalls are of course unavoidable and just plain bad luck, there are many that are completely avoidable provided you adhere to the best practice and conventional, common wisdom. This can sound so easy, but if improperly applied, even common sense can find it hard to become applied in the right manner.
We believe that it’s a shame for a firm to be caught in a PR backlash if they meant no harm, but understandable. To that end, we hope that the following advice can help you and your business, no matter how humble and small, to avoid this kind of bad publicity. Because in the business world, not all PR is good PR.
Consultants have years of experience in this pursuit, and so have many tidbits of advice that can prove useful when creating and reviewing your marketing strategy. For example, the best digital marketing consultant will be happy to tailor your progress to the best ends, to make you aware of certain outcomes, or to help you transition your idea into something more practical, while keeping your message thoroughly understandable. This may give you the edge in not just avoiding bad PR, but in truly establishing a strong message.
Market research is very important, because in 2019 and beyond, trends can shift at the drop of a hat. It’s important to know what’s here to stay, what norms are changing, and what novelty is only superfluous and not worth your time. It’s not uncommon for modern companies to dive on viral memes as part of their marketing strategy, eliciting groans from almost everyone who can imagine the levels of signing-off a business had to approve before they could be that ‘hello, fellow kids!’ joke. When you conduct market research, you not only know what is popular now, but you can get ahead of it, and value its real worth.
A Little Patience
Have a little patience before moving in with a marketing strategy. It may seem that something needs to be shown right away, but often, if you wait for the right moment, you may have a fantastic impact. If a competitor, for example, is releasing their flagship product, you may be able to make use of noted flaws in their design by pointing out how your new product is free from those errors. Sometimes, the best way to avoid a PR pitfall is to allow someone else to make it for you.
With this advice, we hope your business can avoid 90% of the pitfalls it may otherwise experience.
Work-life balance is a difficult thing for entrepreneurs to master. Although being your own boss seems like a perfect life, the reality is quite different from the fantasy many people imagine. Working from home, setting your own hours, and wearing whatever you want are benefits many business owners enjoy, but there are drawbacks to contend with too. Without care and organization, your professional and personal lives could easily eat into family or work commitments. Balance is the only way to be successful. With that in mind, here are eight ideas to improve work-life balance.
1. Make An Office Space
Being productive at home isn’t always easy. After all, most people view their house as a place to relax and unwind. Because of this, you must separate your work life and personal life at home. An effective way to do this is to make an office space. Having a home office creates boundaries for yourself and anyone else at home. When you’re in that office, everyone must understand that you shouldn’t be disturbed. Once you leave the office, however, you must leave the work behind.
2. Work With A Team
Growing a business is a passionate and personal undertaking. For this reason, many new entrepreneurs attempt to be actively involved in every area of the company. However, taking on too much work will make it impossible for you to relax at home. Eventually, you’ll start working longer hours to get everything done. Instead of doing so, you should hire great employees. Whether they work at your home or their own, having workers will take some pressure off you.
3. Stick To Work Hours
Any entrepreneur can work whatever hours they choose. While most new business owners would imagine that means working fewer hours, the opposite is more often true. Even with a heavy workload, you must set and stick to sensible work hours. If you often answer your work phone after hometime, then invest in virtual professional receptionists. With a virtual receptionist, any after-hours phone call would record a voicemail that you could then listen to the next day.
4. Break Up Every Day
Even during office hours, you shouldn’t be working nonstop. Regular breaks are necessary to recharge your batteries, which will then boost productivity and creativity. During busy periods, you might be tempted to miss a break to get work done faster. Unfortunately, this is more likely to have a negative impact. Without rest and nutritious foods, your body will burn out. What’s more, sitting and staring at screens all day can cause backache and eyestrain, among other issues.
5. Put All Distractions Away
Unlike business premises, your property isn’t designed for productive working. Although having an office space available does help, there are many distractions around the house that could cause problems. Family members might respect your office hours, but animals likely won’t. Because of this, you must find ways to keep your beloved pets from under your feet. Make sure you also keep your home relatively tidy, as clutter can cause stress, whether you see it or not.
6. Wear Real Clothes Daily
Many new remote workers try working in pajamas. With no reason to leave the house, wearing real clothes can seem pointless. However, pajamas aren’t associated with productivity. Instead, many people imagine sleeping and relaxing while wearing them. This makes it difficult for you to get into a professional mindset. What’s more, if you begin wearing pajamas for work, you’ll struggle to relax at night. That is why you must wear clothes you’d happily leave the house in.
7. Look After Your Body
Working your best is impossible when you don’t feel your best. If you neglect your health and body, you’ll struggle to feel productive. For this reason, you must take care of yourself. Start every day with a healthy breakfast, and never skip lunch or dinner. Make sure you also find time to exercise every day and drink plenty of water. Adopting healthy sleep habits is important too, so try to stick to a bedtime and get at least eight hours rest every single night.
8. Book A Break Away
Sometimes, the best way to improve work-life balance is to get away from home and work. Leaving everything behind gives you a chance to have fun and enjoy some rest. That being said, taking time off isn’t easy for entrepreneurs. Without you available, you must put someone else in charge. This person should be someone you can trust to work hard and take care of things. Whoever you choose, make sure that every other employee knows that they’re in charge.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is difficult, but with the advice above, you should be able to do it.
The most crucial component of any business is its customers. And while there are obvious aspects to corner the market, such as going online and marketing the business in new and exciting ways, one of the main aspects of ensuring that your business is up to code is through its customers, and specifically, maintaining a solid relationship with them. Because a business needs to develop that solid relationship this can bypass a lot of marketing, and can have customers coming back for more. So, are there any great ways for you to keep a relationship with your customers that yields positive results?
Understand Each Individual Customer
What is the key to a great relationship in the real world? It’s having an understanding of each other. And this can be difficult to achieve in a business respect, but a lot of companies now tailor individual offers for unique customers. This can be hard to achieve with a minimal budget, but if you can invest in something like a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system you are able to keep information about the customers on file. This means that when things occur in their lives like their birthdays, or they haven’t bought from you in a while, you can provide a specific offer. This makes them feel special.
Take On Board Feedback
Asking for feedback is something that we should all do in life because it helps us to learn from our mistakes. But when you’re trying to please the customer, asking them what you are not doing right gives them the chance to tell you how you can benefit, not just your business, but them as well. Everybody has their own unique perception as to what makes the business work, but you don’t know until you ask the people that you are catering for. Feedback can be done in so many different ways, not just by questionnaires, but now, because of social media people are able to offer their opinions right away. And if you don’t respond to them, you are showing yourself up as someone who doesn’t care about their customers.
Exceed Their Expectations
As customers have a specific goal in mind, rather than having to manage their expectations, if you can exceed them, this is what will make them think more of you. Their expectations are pretty straightforward. Usually, they want great services or products, but if you can raise the bar each and every time, this is what will keep them coming back. We have to remember that it’s not just about how you market the business or ways to make your product stand out. Because your customers are the bread-and-butter of your business, you have to ensure that they are coming back each and every time. They have specific expectations, and if you don’t meet them, they will very easily go to a competitor. It’s a cut-throat world out there, and as a business thrives on its relationships, we have to remember that ensuring our customers take pride of place is crucial.
If you’re reading this blog then chances are you’re someone who reads hundreds of blogs each month. You value the hot takes, the life hacks and the insights that you gain from reading them and you like the variety that you find.
So what about blogging for your business? What could having a blog on your site do for you and why should you devote time to producing content when you’re busy with the day-to-day work of running your business.
In this article, we take a look at why you need a business blog and how to go about making that happen.
Image from Pixabay: CC0 licence
Blogging For Traffic
Very simply, creating regular blogs on your site can help drive traffic to your site. The process is a little more complicated than just writing, but with a little research you can produce a tool that employs Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques that will help your blog get discovered on Google searches.
How to go about this? You’ll need to plan ahead. Google likes blogs that are posted regularly with high quality content. You should do the research and find out what words are used in Google searches that lead to websites like yours. When you have that list, you can begin to introduce them into your own blogs.
Try not to overstuff your blogs with these keywords but instead use them organically throughout your writing.
As mentioned up post, you’re looking for content that offers value and isn’t just there for the sake of it. You want to offer your reader some extra value, something like a reward for taking the time to visit your site.
Take, for example, a plumber who blogs regularly about common plumbing problems. Offering ideas for solving problems hits all the Google keywords and brings people to his site, pleased to take the advice of a professional and tackle the job themselves before having to pay for a plumber to come out. When they can’t solve the issue, it’s this plumber’s site they return to, especially if they are local.
If you’re planning on posting once a week, then think about posts that are between 500 and 800 words long. If you’re looking at posting less regularly then go for long form reads, somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500.
When you’re a blog fan and a business owner you can easily combine the two to create content that works to improve traffic to your business site. If blogging isn’t for you, then you might need to think about producing content via a third person, a paid professional who can supply you with posts. Not a cheap option but certainly one to consider if you’re serious about taking your blogging to the next level.
Get planning some great content, start your keyword researching and get your blog on.
When you are a mamma running your own business, you need all the help you can get. Happily, there are lots of virtual and online products and services out there that can make managing your empire a little easier. In fact, you can find some of the most effective ones below. Keep reading to discover what they are.
One thing that can make your life a heck of a lot easier is a Virtual Reception service. These are people that will answer your business calls 24/7. Something that can make a great deal of difference if you have been up with the kids half the night, and are just managing to catch some shut-eye when your business line rings!
In fact, even in the day using a virtual receptionist service is beneficial because it means you can work uninterrupted. Something that can help to make things much more efficient, and stop you from losing your flow of concentration. Oh, and having a professional answering service makes your business look as professional as possible as well. Which is never a bad thing!
Social media templates
How much time do you spend doing tasks such as social media posting where apart from the content, there is a lot of repetition in what you do? Probably too much, and with so many demands on your time, this isn’t a great way of working.
Happily, there are ways around this problem. One is to use templates for platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. Something that ensures you maintain a high level of consistency and professionalism in your social media marketing, without it having to take up all of your time and energy.
Due to the gig economy, you can outsource pretty much any part of your business. This being great news if you have tasks that you either do not have time for or would be better in the hands of an expert. That means if you need some specialist content created for your blog or Youtube, you can pay someone else to do it, and so take some of the strain off of yourself.
It is also possible to engage freelancers for things like graphic design, website creation, and even translation if you need it. This being a tactic that can help you better manage your time and where your attention is focused on your business.
Desktop and secure storage
Finally, some virtual services most business people cannot do without are desktops and secure storage for their company files. In fact, without the latter, you can risk breaking the law when it comes to data protection, as well as causing a severe incident in terms of PR for your business.
Luckily, both customised virtual desktops and secure storage are available virtually due to cloud technology. The former meaning you can work from any location, including the poolside when you take the kids away during the holidays. While the latter means you can be sure of your company’s security without having to get involved in server management. This being one less thing for busy #bossbabes to worry about.
The internet. Since it first launched its virtual head back in the early 90s, many of us have been gripped with the possibilities that it can afford us.
Connecting with old school friends? Check.
Receiving regular updates on global events? Check.
Watching funny cat videos? Erm…check.
For these reasons and so much more, there is much to love about the internet. And this is especially true in business, as there is much scope for growth potential when you use the services available to you online. Still, you do need to be mindful. The internet can also bring about the downfall of your business.
Here then, are the pros and cons of the internet for your business.
#1: The marketing potential is huge
Traditional marketing methods aren’t dead by any means, but digital marketing is definitely the way to go for any business trying to stay relevant in society today. You can engage with new and potential customers through social media marketing. With the help of an SEO company, you can be the first business your customers find when Googling local businesses. You can promote your business on free listing sites. And you can research new marketing methods quickly and easily. For any business not online, financial troubles will surely follow.
#2: You can research anything
We just alluded to this, but there is so much you can research. So, you might visit the websites of your competitors in an effort to outsmart them. You can research consumer trends, and then tailor your business to stay in line with them. And you can look for advice on all kinds of subjects that are relevant to the every day running of your business, such as how to manage your finances, or advice on managing a staff team. Thanks to Google (other search engines are available), you can research absolutely anything!
#3: Downloads make light work of your business tasks
There is a downloadable app and software program for nearly every aspect of your business. So, if you’re short-staffed, or if you are hesitant about outsourcing every task pertaining to your business needs, there is bound to be something you can find online to help you. Check out some of 2019’s best apps, for a few prominent examples. And not only do they make light work of your business tasks, but because they are mobile-friendly, you can also work from almost anywhere.
#1: The internet is a distraction
Facebook is great for marketing purposes, but it’s not so great when you’re tempted to see what your friends have been posting. And those cat videos are hilarious to watch, but you shouldn’t get drawn into them when you have a meeting to prepare for. Our advice is this. Use a website blocker on those sites that tempt you, as not only will you struggle to get work done otherwise, but you might fail to bring in a profit to grow your business.
#2: Cybersecurity issues
You’re not the only one spending time online. Sadly, there are people out there looking to bring down your business, perhaps by blackmailing you through ransomware, or by stealing the financial information pertaining to your customers. If your business gets hacked, it could be the beginning of the end. So, check out our cybersecurity advice and do what is necessary to safeguard your business.
We haven’t covered every pro and con here, but we hope you get our point. The internet could be your greatest asset, or it could be your biggest obstacle to success. So, be mindful when you’re online, and be sure to heed some of the points we made for the betterment of your business.
Taking time off when running a small business is incredibly challenging, which perhaps explains why , but with good preparation, it can be done. Here are four things you can do to ensure your company will continue to thrive even in your absence…
#1 – Name your interim replacement
Being able to help employees make decisions is a crucial part of owning a business; you will have the casting vote in any disagreements, and be the one who decides how a problem should be resolved. While you are away, another member of staff will need to fulfil this role. Choose someone who has worked with your business for a long time, and who you trust would make similar choices to your own; and then ensure all other members of staff know who to contact for any issues they would usually bring to you.
#2 – Provide a “who to call” list
As a business owner, you will usually be the one responsible for contacting outside help if a serious issue develops – for example, if all the lights in your building suddenly don’t work, or there’s a plumbing issue in the bathroom, or a delivery from a supplier doesn’t arrive as expected, you’ll be the one who deals with it. As a result, your chosen employee will need to assume the same role while you are away, so make sure they have a complete list of who to contact; detail a potential problem, and who to call to resolve it (for example: Main supplier doesn’t deliver – call Karen at Main Supplier Name on 555-555-555, etc). This call list should be as comprehensive as possible, so go through all of the worst case scenarios you can think of and then provide the number accordingly.
#3 – Ensure that crucial business processes can continue
Realistically, a business has to be performing well before it can be left alone. Think about areas such as finance first and foremost; if it’s been awhile since you audited the books, then doing this before leaving (and attending to any problems you encounter along the way) is a must. In addition, ensuring that your IT infrastructure will be in good hands is also crucial; IT managed services are a good idea at any time, but are particularly useful when you’re planning to take time off, so find out more at hudsonvalley-it.com and ensure you have everything setup before you leave. Lastly, look over any SEO or marketing campaigns (including posts on your business’ blog) that will be running while you are away and ensure you are happy for everything to proceed as planned.
#4 – Explain your schedule to your employees
Even with all of the above measures, there may still be issues that can crop up about which your staff will want to contact you. It’s simply impossible to plan for every single eventuality that might occur. However, your staff need to know when you’ll be available, and when they might have to just place an issue in a holding pattern until you can be reached. So, if you are going to be uncontactable for a portion of your time off (for example, you’ll be on a long haul flight) ensure that your staff are aware of this in advance by using calendar.google.com to store your intended itinerary; doing this rather than providing a paper copy before you leave allows you to update on the go if necessary, so your employees can always be sure they are checking the most up-to-date version of your schedule..
Enjoy your time off from your small business!
So much advice is offered from many web designers, friends and colleagues all offering different tips and it can become information overload. We have put together some essential concise tips that may help improve your website.
Ask yourself, what are you trying to achieve with your website? Is it to showcase your products, online
In today’s business climate it is important that you’re
Decided on your business idea? It’s time to
Before you decide to use a template, create your own web design or use a web designer, start planning and researching your website design. Questions to consider at a starting point are: What colours represent your business? What features will you require? A Shopping cart, chatbox, Newsletter, database, contact us form?
You may find a student who is willing to create a
Limited technical knowledge
No long term experience
Once qualified may move to a new town/country and you cannot contact them again
One man band
If you are technically savvy you will be able to update and set up a template website.
Designs to choose from
Quick to upload text and images if they are ready
Set format like so many other websites that are also in your industry
Lack of creativity
Not Search Engine Friendly
You can also get a web designer to bespoke a template for you to make it more unique and potentially add some widgets to it.
Using a qualified
Unique creative design
Add any features that you like
Developed from scratch
Use the latest technology
Launch SEO Friendly
Experts in field
Finding the right company
There are many website company’s in the UK, so it is important that you research and meet with them to ensure you have chosen the right one to represent your business.
It is proven we react more positively to Pictures and videos than text. Both stand out and help us decide if we want to then read the text on the website. There are some great cameras available and with the right light boxes you may be able to take your own pictures or hire a professional photographer or buy Stock images. It is important you have good quality images and videos that are copyright free. They will speak a thousand words and help do the hard work on your website. Human brains process video 60,000 times faster than text, giving you the opportunity to impress potential customers.
Whilst adding images and videos do not be afraid of white spaces through your web page, it actually breaks the page up and gives the browser an opportunity to see things properly rather than a cluttered website where important information can be missed.
Remember if you have more than one video on a page for SEO purposes search bots will only read the first video at the top of your page, but your SEO Company can discuss this further with you.
More than 80% of browsing is done via a mobile, so it is important that your website adapts to screen sizes such as tablets and mobiles. No one likes pinching and pulling whilst browsing, if anything they will leave your site and go elsewhere.
Remember the layout and design will be different on a mobile as screen dimensions are different. We browse in a different ways on mobiles by wanting to scroll down and get as much information as we can on one page without necessarily wanting to go to another page. Again your web design agency should be able to advise you with this.
SEO is an ongoing strategy and should be part of the beginning of the design and development stage of your website as well as once it is launched. A SEO specialist will explain to you how important it is for your website to be optimised whilst it is being developed and how relevant keywords will help your website be ranked and found.
Understanding your customer base will really help you get the best out of SEO. You must know who you are targeting and also going back to the start of this article, ‘what do you want to achieve from the website? What do you want your browsers to do? What is the follow up action? Speaking to a professional SEO expert can help you devise a plan.
Social Media is a great platform to promote your business and website. They both work so well together where hyperlinks from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, P interest, Linked in, Vlogs and Blogs are directed and increase traffic to the website. Referrals and reviews on social media also help with your website ranking.
Decide on the relevant social media platform that best suits your website, if its 30+ females you are targeting then Facebook is the medium you should be using. If its professionals, Linked in is the platform.
You do not have to use every single Social Media platform, choose the ones that suit your target market and concentrate on that platform to start with. If you need help with writing content and looking at new ideas you can always look for Social Media Experts who can help you create some fresh ideas.
Keep on testing and reading and checking your website. Is the content up to date? Does the Contact Us form work? Are the Social Media links connected?
Get your analytics for your website and see which page browsers land on, what is the bounce rate, which is the most popular page? What have you done differently on that page compared to the other pages?
Good Luck with your new website, Let us know if you have any further questions as we are always happy to help.
Outsourcing is defined as ‘an agreement in which one company hires another company to be responsible for a planned or existing activity that is or could be done internally.’ It sounds good, but is it really worth it and does it really work? After all, it eats into your probably already overstretched budget. The short answer is yes, it really does work. In the world of business, outsourcing is one of the most common practices that you will come across for one main reason – it’s cost-effective! Would you rather outsource and pay a fee to a company who knows what they are doing, or would you rather spend lots of money on employing someone in case of the eventuality?
There are lots of jobs that you may consider outsourcing to a freelancer or a third party agency. These include:
As well as some of the benefits which we have gone into more detail about below, outsourcing can also help you to access a much broader skill set – possibly from all over the world. It also allows you to take advantage of different time zones – if you outsource your telephone answering service to someone in a different country, it may mean that they can deal with customer and client inquiries while you are tucked up in bed, allowing your business to run on a 24/7 hour basis.
Outsourcing works well for all parties involved too, so check out these instances where outsourcing really is the best option.
The great thing about outsourcing is that there are fewer rules and more flexibility. For someone who is working as a freelancer hiring their skills out, it means you have less repetition in your career and fewer regulations to work by. For a company looking to outsource a freelancer, you do not have to worry about giving them constant work, or paying any associated employment benefits such as maternity pay or holiday pay, because you are only hiring them for one particular job, and if you no longer need them or they are not up to the task, it is much easier to let them go than if they were a permanent employed member of staff. Everybody gets what they need and want, so it is a win-win situation all round!
We all know that computers break down from time to time or that sometimes, you will need someone who has more technical knowledge and skilly to sort out some issues within your business. However, having a dedicated person hired just for IT can be rather costly, especially if you are running a small business that doesn’t need someone on-site 24/7. That’s where outsourcing comes in. Using an IT services company will save you overspending on an unnecessary member of staff, and allow them to gain the business they need.
If you have been in business for a few years, then it is likely you have noticed trends in your sales. For example, at Christmas time, shops tend to be busier because of people out buying gifts for Christmas, and stores need to make sure that they have enough staff to handle the crowds. The same goes for pretty much any type of business when there is high customer demand. However, hiring more staff will leave you with more employees than you have hours to give. Outsourcing members of staff will allow you to bring them in for as long as you need them and then return to normal!
Finally, one of the greatest things about outsourcing is that it is so easy to do, especially in this day and age! Do you want a content writer for a specific niche? Head to Fiverr or Upwork and post your job for free and allow freelancers to come to you. All you have to do is pick the most suitable person for the job, provide them with clear instructions, and pay them when it is done. Platforms like Upwork ensure that both parties are covered in the event of non-payment or no work produced, and you can check out reviews from people who have previously hired them to make sure that they really are up to the job. Yes, it really is that simple!
Google is a hard master to please. You can spend days creating unique content and coming up with novel marketing ideas, but it doesn’t always have a significant impact. The amount of effort you put in isn’t commensurate with the value that you get out. You feel like the search giant is short-changing you.
Google and other search engines have spent the last twenty years refining their search ranking algorithms. The idea is simple: to provide their customers with pages that offer them genuine value. The better results that they can provide, the more people will use their services.
The problem, however, is that these algorithms have had to evolve in an environment where people try to trick them. A website developer might create a page that appeals to the criteria of the algorithm but doesn’t actually provide users with a good experience. A page stuffed with the keyword typed into the search bar might appear relevant, but the customer doesn’t get anything from the experience. They could have a similar experience by cutting and pasting their keywords in a Word document.
Getting Google to rank your site higher is a challenge. You want to promote website visits but do so in a way that proves that you’re offering value. How do you do it?
Tell Google You’re A Real Business
The first hurdle is legitimacy. Google wants to know whether you’re a real business or if you’re just trying to gain publicity through deceptive methods.
Google has a service called Google My Business. The way it works is simple. You log onto your Google business account and then tell the search engine that you’ve set up a real business with a valid address. Google then sends a code via physical mail to your address which you then type into the Google My Business tool to prove you have premises.
Once you’ve done that, Google will list your business when people search for related services in your area. Your company will appear on Google Maps, showing your location, along with things like your opening times and contact details.
What’s great about Google My Business is that it has an immediate impact on the ranking of your domain. All of a sudden Google sees that you’re a real business and attempts to get your content in front of customers when they type in relevant searches.
Use Influencer Marketing
While links aren’t the only determinant of a rank of a particular website, they’re one of the biggest. The more high-quality links that you have, the better your pages will rank.
How, though, do you get quality backlinks? The first way to do it is to use a backlinking company. These agencies create legitimate content on third-party websites and then link to your pages.
The second way to do it is to use influencer marketing. Here you approach somebody willing to showcase or review your product and get them to share it with your audience. In the process, they create links to your site. If they’re considered an “authority” site by Google, it can boost your ranking tremendously.
Entering into the world of becoming a new business owner can be as scary as it is exciting. You may be daunted by the prospect of all of the hats you will need to wear, from boss, to project manager, expert sales pitcher, through to researcher. It will be a very busy time for you. There will be a great deal of stress, and you may well regret even getting into it.
But ultimately, there is a great freedom involved in opening up your own company, and whatever service or product you have decided to offer, you will find the right customers with perseverance, and planning.
Here are a few key areas you should be focusing your attention on when it comes to the early stages of going into business for yourself.
Get The Right Advice
People will no doubt be queuing up to give you the benefit of their experience and wisdom. Hopefully you will be able to determine which pieces of advice are great, and which belong in the bin. Listen carefully to what people tell you, and then sense check it before you act on that advice.
Get second opinions and read up as much as possible about everything. Having as much information to hand as possible will serve you well.
Go and seek out the support of a business advisor. There may be some organizations that offer this in your local area for free. Take advantage of any offer like this. You’ll get impartial advice which will be massively beneficial.
Plan Your Budget
Your business plan needs to be watertight. Each and every aspect of the set-up and initial running costs should be factored. You will want to think about your Wido shop-fit, your rent, the taxes, website costs, your staffing costs, equipment, stock, and so much more.
Make a comprehensive list and get several quotes for each item on the list. You should budget on the high side for each item too. The price you see something today, may not be the same when you come to pay it.
You’ll need to think about planning to go over budget. It is highly likely that it will happen, and when it does you need to be ready. With that in mind your budget should have an extra ten percent at least added onto it incase anything overruns.
Get The Right Team
You may well need a team when it comes to setting up your company, and the people that you hire from the start may be with your for sometime. Find some people that you will get along with, and who you can work well with. Think about the areas that you are not so good at. Get someone who can fill that gap in your business. Covering all aspects of the business means getting a broad range of skills in a number of different areas.
Remember that you team will need training and support from the start. You may well feel lost, but they will be even more so. Make sure you help them get to where you need them to be.
When it comes to your business, marketing is one of the things that should be a big priority. After all, it is an easy way to ensure that your business is seen and you advertise in the right way. However, marketing might be a priority, but you can always lose focus from time to time. Instead of trying new things or exploring and analysing your current methods, you can become complacent. Investing in the same things that give you the same results. With that in mind, here are four things that could switch things up a little for your business.
Have you tried every method?
As mentioned before, we can all be a little guilty of getting stuck in a rut when it comes to our marketing opportunities. We stick with methods that we always have for ease and also fitting things into our work routines. But there could be other avenues that you haven’t tried that could prove successful. Telemarketing was often seen as something that was once a chore, but when you get an expert B2B telemarketing agency this could prove to be very successful for your business. You could also look at old school methods such as advertising in print, magazines or leaflet drops.
Get some of the experts on the case
You may be struggling with your marketing purely because it isn’t your strong point. Not all business owners and entrepreneurs are experts in this area, and so it may be time to get some of the experts of the case. We already suggested an agency for a particular marketing approach, but you can enlist the help of a generalised marketing agency to help you cover all aspects. If you think it is just the content you share, what about having a content strategist on your team? If social media is your bug bear a dedicated manager could help alleviate some of the pressure.
Focus on one area of social media
On the subject of social media you may want to focus on just the one area to help build your presence and brand. There are many platforms, all offering something different, and there are also different approaches that you can take. It could be worth focusing on one platform and building that up, which can then help boost your other platforms and profiles. It might be worth focusing on engagement, or even the type of content that you share. Humanising your business and brand and making it appeal to your audience.
Could an email list be your saviour?
Finally, maybe an email list could be a great way to boost your engagement and advertise your business. The email newsletter is fast becoming a popular option for many businesses, and it can feel like a less intrusive way of sending marketing information. If you do have an email, make sure you get the relevant permissions before sending out marketing emails, just to cover yourself.
Let’s hope these tips help you when it comes to focusing on your marketing.
Cloud-based tools have been touted as the next big thing when it comes to optimising your business’s workflow, but how exactly do they work and what advantages do they offer you?
Seamless backups to protect your data
Cloud-based services allow you to backup your data to a remote server, meaning that your data is safe, handled by professionals and cannot be tampered with unless users are given access. This also means you can create seamless backups of your data with minimal effort.
Powerful tools that do not rely on expensive hardware
A lot of expensive software requires you to have powerful hardware in order to run it. With cloud software, the processing requirements are handled by the service itself, meaning you can run powerful applications without needing an expensive device. This reduces your operating costs and makes it very easy for you to harness powerful tools for your business.
Reduce operating costs
Cloud-based tools are often much cheaper to operate due to their subscription-based model. Not only does this offer flexible pricing for businesses, but it can also become more predictable which makes it easier to calculate as part of your budget.
Access your cloud solutions from anywhere
A massive advantage to cloud solutions is that they can be accessed from anywhere. Whether it’s a mobile device, a laptop or even a full-sized desktop, you can access your cloud solutions and run your business wherever you are. Even powerful tools like Power BI can be accessed from virtually any internet-connected device.
<a href=”https://www.stl-training.co.uk/sharing/what-is-power-bi/84″><img style=”width:100%;” src=”https://www.stl-training.co.uk/asset/image/sharing/what-is-power-bi.png”></a><br>Design by <a href=”https://www.stl-training.co.uk/”>STL Training</a>
You probably remember that moment when you walked away from your 9 to 5 job for the last time and found yourself on your commute home, wondering if you’d done the right thing.
Sure, you needed more flexibility to fit your job around your family life and to pursue your own ambitions but you couldn’t help but wonder if losing the predictability of that monthly paycheck was worth it.
But that’s what you chose to do and now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is and take the new professional you back home to start your business. How you set up your home working space is a crucial part of this process and we take a look at what you need to do get it done the right way.
Get Your Tech On Spec
Probably the most crucial piece in the puzzle of setting up your home office. When you’ve got so many customers relying on you to deliver their projects on time, you need to know that your technology is going to support your efforts and not let you down.
You need to make sure that your network supports you and if you’re someone who’s home network has any blips or cuts out regularly then you need to find some IT support and upgrade your system. It’s an investment but it’s one that’s worth it. Talk to CyBerJaz Corp for advice.
Find a Space That Works For You
If you’re going to spend long hours behind your desk then make that desk as comfortable and supportive as possible. Find a chair that fits you perfectly and supports your back. Find an area in your house where you’re able to work peacefully and without interruptions. If that means creating space in a bedroom or in your shed, then make that happen, anything that helps you to spend your time and focus on doing work is a great investment.
If you find that you seek the company of others, then consider coworking. You’ll find spaces across the country where you can pay a fee and have access to a desk, wifi, printing and all the other facilities you’d expect from an office. If the hum of others working nearby helps inspire you then this is a great option. If you’re someone who needs a little bit of calm, then this environment probably isn’t for you.
Image from Pexel. CC0 licence
Wherever you work, whether a cafe, coworking hub or from the comfort of your own home, treat your space as the professional office you need it to be. You’re offering a professional service and you’ll feel inspired and ready to go to work in an environment that’s geared towards making your everyday a success. Avoid slumping on a sofa or staying in bed. You’ll quickly lose motivation, not to mention suffer from a bad back that comes from working somewhere without the right support.
Start today to get your home professional life sorted and you’ll be glad you made that decision to step away from corporate life.
We all want to find ways to introduce more productivity into our businesses, but that isn’t quite as easy as reaching for your third flat white of the morning and burning the candle at both ends. Instead, productivity is a practice which evolves over time, and needs constant fine-tuning for your company to run like a well-oiled machine. Things suck our time and attention without us even noticing, so we need to be vigilant and work proactively to shut down the creep of time-wasting activities in favour of staying in the zone. And whether you’re running a small business empire, or you’re a solopreneur, learning some tricks to keep your productivity high should always be top of your agenda.
We’re all guilty of it – and in fact, most of the apps on our phone are specifically engineered to hook us into a cycle of scrolling and tapping ad infinitum. Mindless phone scrolling or web browsing on a laptop is all too easy to fall prey too, and there aren’t many people who could say that they don’t do it all. Policing your own browsing is key to staying on track with your workload for the day. Try making a rule about what times of day you will check your phone and keeping it locked in a drawer when not in use, silencing notifications from apps or distracting email pop-ups, or even using a social media blocker app if you’re really struggling. When you do use your phone at work, keep in mind an aim for checking it, and make a habit of putting it straight down once you.
Productivity is closely interlinked with motivation – and if you’re struggling to find that drive, it’s very hard to keep going with tasks which don’t inspire you. And yet some essential admin or other less enjoyable jobs are part of every role, especially when launching your own business. Stay productive by reminding yourself of your mission – what you’re in business to change or develop. Keep this prominently written out where you can see it. If you have an annual goals document, it’s also a good idea to review this on a daily or weekly basis, and note small milestone activities you have completed which are taking you closer to your ultimate aim. If you keep the big picture in front of mind, it’s easier to see how even the smaller, less absorbing tasks contribute to where you want to be.
It’s impossible to maintain productivity if you aren’t looking after your mental and physical health properly during working hours – something that can often slip due to the pressures of starting your own business. Make sure you are covering the basics by taking regular screen breaks, staying hydrated, moving around outside during lunch breaks and checking display screen equipment training is set up correctly. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance will make you more productive than trying to work all hours – your focus, mental skills and creativity will be much more functional without constant pressure.
Getting the name of your business onto the lips of your customers is a big challenge. But time-and-time again, brands have successfully proved that it is possible to grow from nothing, to become known the world over. How do they do this? Brand marketing.
Marketing may not be your area of expertise, and that’s fine. If it were, you’d be a marketing executive. But, while you bring the knowledge and skills in your specialist area, you should understand the basics of marketing, and realize its significance in helping you build your brand.
How will you communicate your name, and concept to any potential clients? Your business needs a brand strategy, and these are the questions you will answer as you devise it.
Meet Your Customers Face-to-face
Trade shows are central in the calendar of many businesses. Buyers and sellers alike will convene, and between them determine what consumers will be taking home six months from now. Your brand needs in on that. You need to put your name out there.
If you want to stand out at a trade show, have a company design and build an exhibition stand for you. You’ll need something that shows that you are professional, and matches your concept.
Trade shows can be quite busy, and there may be many other businesses represented that you will be competing with. You need to offer some point of difference to them. Think about what your specific unique selling point is. You should know what your competitors are offering, as you may get asked about the differences between what you are offering.
Getting your message across means having a clear message. It might be worth writing a sales pitch that you can deliver to groups of people as they visit your stand. Practice your pitch in front of others until you can deliver it confidently. Remember, you are an extension of the brand, when your customers visit your stand, how you treat them is significant to their impressions of your business. Give them lots of reasons to like you, and to choose to work with you.
Show, Don’t Tell
The best way to get the features and benefits across to someone is to let them try the product in question. If you can show something working, then you should always choose to do this. If you stand around talking about it, it’s not going to sell it. People have great imaginations, but if there is no need to imagine, why would you make someone do that?
Think About The Big Picture
Give your visitors something they can take away from your stand. Let them know that they can get in touch with you anytime, and you can arrange a deal then. Take contact details and follow up on potential leads. The sales you make from a trade show might not materialize straight away, but it is an excellent opportunity to get out there and put your business in the radar of your potential customers.
If you’re looking for new ways to market your business but you don’t know where to begin the don’t worry, you have come to the right place. With so many different marketing strategies to consider and trial, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of the choices. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in operation for years, having a strong marketing strategy is the key to business success. With that in mind, here are 5 great ways to market your business:
One of the best ways to market your business is to make use of the various different social media channels that are available. Although it may be tempting to sign up to all of them, you need to think about the ones your target audience will be using the most, putting all your efforts into perfecting them. Whether that means you solely post on Instagram or you use Facebook and Twitter to share offers, you need to think about what will work best for your business. For a guide to which social media platforms you should be using for your business, you can visit this site here.
If you’re looking to get the word out about your product in a quick and easy way, why not consider working with influencers and bloggers? Although it may take some time to find the right people to work with, working with influencers is a great way to put your product in front of people who are going to be interested. For guidance when it comes to running influencer marketing campaigns, you can visit this site here.
If you’re going to be using social media to market your business one of the best things you can do is create video content. Most social media apps are pushing video content so if you’re creating as much as you can, you can be sure you’re posts are going to be seen by your followers. Whether it’s live video or animation, video is one of the best marketing tools you can be using.
For more information about using an animation company to create videos, you can visit this site here.
If you’re a local business looking for the best way to market your business, why not consider buying ad space in local papers and magazines? If you know your ideal audience are going to be reading a specific paper or magazine, paying for an advertisement is a great way to get your brand in front of the right people.
Finally, why not hire a PR to help you when it comes to press releases? Whether you’re launching a new product or you’re running a new campaign, hiring a PR is the best way to ensure you’re getting the right coverage when it comes to the media.
Are you looking for new ways to market your business? What can you do to ensure you’re getting the reach you want? Let me know in the comments section below.
When your business needs a little input, a little know-how from the experts there can seem like an overwhelming amount of choice out there but what’s really needed is someone who you can trust to fully understand what you need. That person is likely to come in the form of a consultant, someone who will take on a specific element of your business and mould it to start delivering the results you’re looking for.
Choosing a consultant can be a long process as you weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of a smaller or larger agency but whether you’re looking to improve your marketing strategy or organisational development there’s a consultant out there for you.
This blog takes you through what you’re looking for to find that perfect fit for your business.
Before you appoint, you need to figure out some clearly defined goals. Without tangible outcomes you run the risk of sending your business backwards rather than forward and an agreement that might end up costing you a small fortune.
Be as accurate as possible, using real figures or percentages but base your goals on realistic outcomes. Ambitious is one thing but they will still need to be attainable.
Listen to the Pitch
Invite several agencies to pitch their ideas and services to you, making sure they have a clear knowledge of the budget you’re working towards. You will find many promise the earth and all the results you need but take time to carry out a reality check and follow-up by going through with them exactly how this will be achieved.
During the presentation check to see how well the consultant listens to you and responds to your questions. Good communication and a rapport will help during the project and helps to establish two-way trust.
Image courtesy of Pexels
Trust the Process
Once you’ve appointed someone, you need to let them get on with their job. Establish a regular catch-up, say once a week, where you can update yourself on the progress your consultant is making. Though trusting someone else to take over an element of your business can be hard, when you’ve made the right choice let them do what they do best, leaving you free to do what you do.
Finding the right consultant can change the path of your business for the better. Those jobs that require a little extra expertise and skill are taken on by experts who can make a real difference. Whether you opt for a small, bespoke agency who specialises in the area you need support with or appoint a much larger agency with access to a lot more resources, find someone that sits just right in your business. Find someone you click with, someone you can open up clear lines of communication with and someone you know understands your business and your budget. Then let them get on with overhauling your marketing strategy, streamlining your organisation and creating a future-proof business that’s ready for the next stage of the journey.
If you are hoping to be able to lead your business to true success, one of the things that you need to make sure of is that you are running it in such a way that you can expect it to operate pretty much of its own accord. You want to get to a point where you can leave your business to run, and it will do so, but how do you actually manage to get to that point in business? Certainly, it is the kind of thing which is going to prove very hard to make into a reality, but it is always possible. In this post, we will discuss some of the things that you can do to ensure that your business is truly a well-oiled machine, and that you can trust it to do its thing day in, day out.
Smooth Over Processes
Whatever internal processes your business might have, you need to make sure that you are smoothing them over so that they operate as automatically as possible, and with as little friction as possible. That will generally mean that you need to undergo a general kind of streamlining process, as that is the only way to ensure that you are going to be able to keep those processes simple. With simpler processes, and with a little automation on some of them which could do with it, you can hope for all your internal processes to happen easily and with minimal input from you or anyone else. That is a hugely important and central part of keeping your business running smooth when you are not there.
Take Care Of Devices
You’ll need to ensure that you are taking good care of the technology in your business too if you want to be able to keep your business running smoothly. The better you look after your tech, the more likely it is that things will keep on running as they should, without anything going wrong at all. For that reason, finding a way to properly take care of whatever devices you might have is certainly going to be a good idea, and often the best way to make sure of that is simply to hire the professionals to carry out some Device and System Monitoring. That will ensure that those devices are going to be looked after at all times, and that your business can therefore operate as it should at all times.
Train Staff Well
Finally, you should remember that your employees are the most important part of this equation overall, and the better equipped they are to run your business, the more likely it is that you will be able to leave it in their capable hands. That means that you need to make a point of training them up as well as possible, so that they are going to have the necessary knowledge and ability to be able to do whatever needs doing. Be sure to focus on this, and it will really make all the difference in the world.
You and your business entirely rely on being able to do business; without it, you cannot operate. So ensuring that you’ve got a steady pipeline of work coming is crucial in being able to function and grow as a business. This is easier said than done, as these things are, and it can be challenging to get the work in and secure clientele.
There are a variety of methods that you can choose to win your business, from cold calling to digital marketing to referral schemes. It’s all about finding which one works for you, and how you can use it to grow your company. Time is money and money is time, and so you should always seek to practice your methods in a time-efficient way.
Search engine optimization
SEO, or search engine optimization, can offer your business a consistent flow of traffic to your website. If you’re a bit tech-savvy and you don’t mind doing a bit of research, you can do your own SEO for your website. There are easy steps you can take to get ranked and make a difference in how you appear within search engines. If you’re not capable of doing this yourself, you don’t have the time, or you simply want the best, then seek a digital agency. There are plenty out there that will be able to assist in your journey to become higher ranked. They have the expertise to get you where you want to be and can do so at a price that you’re comfortable paying. They can also give you a crash course in SEO and how you can complete your best practice SEO to maintain your ranking and creep up the rankings.
Use a finders service
If you don’t have the time to go out and actively seek contracts and business then using a service that offers just that might be perfect for you. Many companies offer online platforms that allow you to find online tenders and contracts in one spot quickly. You can browse catalogues of active contracts dependant on what industry you’re in and how big of a company you are. There’s something for everyone, no matter how big or small, the business that you can win will help you both stay afloat and grow.
Word of mouth is a great way to spread the word of your business. There are many companies that operate purely on word of mouth. If people are referring you, it’s usually done in good faith and so with a referral, often comes a positive review. It’s an excellent way to build your reputation and grow at the same time. If you’re going to opt for a referral scheme, it’s best to make it an incentive that you know will motivate your existing customers. Make it something that doesn’t cost you too much but equally, will be of benefit to the customer. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting your time with a referral scheme that doesn’t work, because no one will have any incentive to do so.