When starting up a business, the sky’s the limit. You got so much ahead of you that the first 12 months can be some of the most exciting moments of your entire professional career. But those first 12 months can come with a lot of trial and error, not to mention frustration. When you are trying to find your feet during those first few months you may start to think about the best ways to develop your product or think about bringing new people on board that can help boost your brand. But you’ve also got to remember to make a significant impact in the right areas. What are the best ways to make sure that during these pertinent few months you make a substantial impact that you can build upon?
Setting Up An Exhibition At A Trade Show
A trade show is one of the best ways to make a very quick impact. Trade shows consist of people that are already in business or people looking for something different. When you’re trying to acquire custom or clients, a trade show is, arguably, one of the most successful methods. But in order to make sure that you truly make a splash at these events you’ve got to have everything fully realised. There’s also a lot to consider with regards to the exhibition itself. And while there are companies like Infinity Exhibits that can help you to create a trade show booth you still need to remember that you’ve got to go in all guns blazing. It’s not just about the image of the stall at the event, but it’s about the complete package.
Creating A Functional Business Operation
Learning what works and what doesn’t is par for the course during the first 12 months. Once you understand where everything fits it’s now time to put processes in place to make everything as productive as possible. Creating a functional business operation is partly to do with the legalities. There are many legal firms like Peters & Peters that can help you with business law but when you feel like you are flying by the seat of your pants all the time it’s important that you have a structure and process in place. This is what will help keep everything on track even though you think it’s all falling to pieces. You need to cover your back in a regulatory sense but also have a process in place to follow, rather than winging it.
Working On Your Networking Capabilities
Networking is one of those skills that we all need. During the first 12 months, you may struggle to come out of your shell but you have to remember that the first 12 months is about trial and error. Once you begin to work on your networking skills and realise what your personal strengths are, you can use this to your advantage and begin to build the right image. This is as important as building the image of the company.
The sky’s the limit and when you start to realise your ambitions you’ve got to ensure that you put the key things in place to reach then.
Anyone in the business world knows the importance of earnings forecasts. Indeed, it’s these forecasts that are used to make the financial investments that can make or break a company. Alas, it hasn’t always been the most reliable of tasks, and that’s why the process of coming up with these forecasts is always developing.
In recent years, it has been crowdsourcing that has been used to create these forecasts. The rise of technology has made these possible, and they’ve been shown to create forecasts that are more reliable than older models. So what is crowdsourcing, exactly? It’s a term that is used in many different professions and forms, but broadly speaking, it’s a system of obtaining information from large numbers of people. Because it uses information from a large group, it can be better than relying on the system of smaller sources.
Companies have adopted this type of forecasting model because it gives them an advantage over companies that do not use the model, and can be used for a variety of accounting tasks. It can have an effect on things such as investment timing and stock prices, and also helps to make forecasting more equal and diverse, since it takes the task out of the hands of the traditional companies. In other words, there’s a lot of value in this model.
To learn more about this forecasting trend, take a look at the infographic below, which is based on research conducted by professors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business.
When you are starting out your own small business, money is often too tight to mention. Unfortunately, when it comes to business though, you do need to speculate to accumulate. If you are to create a successful business, you may need to spend a considerable amount of money.
However much you have to spend though, you will need to create an accurate budget for your new business startup. If you don’t work through all of your costs before you start spending money, you may end up spending your money in the wrong area.
When it comes to working out where to spend your money in your business, you need to determine your priorities. Work out what the most important areas that you need to spend your money are. Do you need premises to work from? If customers need to come to you, then you will need a professional venue. However, if you are not a customer-facing company then your options are much wider and you can make some savings by taking cheaper spaces that are not suitable for other companies or even run from home.
If the place you are working from is not a priority, think about sharing space with another company for a while and focus your attention on the things that you will really need to get your moving. Anything else can wait until you start bringing in revenue that can be reinvested in growing your infrastructure.
You Don’t Need To Buy Everything New
If you need a vehicle, you should look at Used Vans. You don’t need to buy a vehicle that costs the earth or has never been used. Instead, get a van that does the job you need from it for as little as possible.
Obviously, when buying a vehicle you will want to make sure it is one that is not going to end up needing lots of repairs or have excessive running costs. Do some research into the insurance prices and fuel consumption of the vehicle before parting with any cash.
Wage Costs Are Important
It is a false economy to not spend money on wages. You will need people and they do deserve to be paid an appropriate wage. Often, you will find if you are not willing to pay this, then you will not get productive employees.
If you reward people then, they will work harder and you will be more likely to achieve your goals. Cutting money when it comes to your wage bill should be avoided if at all possible. Instead, think about reducing money from other areas of the budget.
Don’t Forget To Allow For Things To Go Wrong
When creating a budget for your business, don’t forget that things do go wrong from time-to-time. Something may cost you more than you anticipated. For this reason, you should always keep some of your budget set aside for this. Having something to fall back on may make the difference between your business’ success and failure.
If you’re somebody trying to make it in the business world, you need to look at reality for what it is, not what you would like it to be. Other companies aren’t there providing you with an excellent service just because they’re nice people – they’re doing it for the money. The same goes for your employees: not all of them will be as committed to the cause as you are. Many just want to get paid so that they can feed their families.
But when it comes to the government, many people have a different view. All of a sudden, the people who seek official state power have a special moral status. They’re often perceived as acting in the best interest of the people they serve, not because of their own ambitions or desire for power.
Successful entrepreneurs need to understand that this is not always the case. While there are examples of politicians throughout history who have worked for moral causes, they’re not the norm. Most will use whatever tools available to them to get ahead.
If you’re in the world of business, you need to see the world for what it is if you want to make headway. You need to understand that the authorities regularly deploy propaganda to further their ends, often putting you at a disadvantage if you can’t see it for what it is.
The following infographic shows how various governments, particularly the US, have used information warfare against its own citizens in the past. Some of what follows will shock you.
At some point, your side hustle may grow to the stage where you have no choice but to take on new people to satisfy demand. If you don’t, you could be leaving profits on the table.
Hiring people, however, is challenging. Not only do you have to contend with a mountain of additional regulation, but you also have to invest a lot of time finding the talent that you need. It’s a significant drain.
There are, however, a variety of strategies that you can employ to make the whole process a heck of a lot easier. Check out these tips.
Tip 1: Hire People You Know
Going out into the marketplace and finding people with the skills that you need is a challenge. The available pool of workers is small, and the competition for them is fierce. Recruitment agencies often charge high fees and rarely provide you with people who really fit your criteria.
A better option might be to approach someone you know. Not only is it free, but you probably have a rapport with this person already, making the initial conversation easier.
Don’t use this as an excuse for hiring friends and family. In general, that’s a bad idea. You want to maintain a professional distance at all times.
Tip 2: Outsource Your HR
Once you take on new people, you suddenly have to get to grips with the world of HR. Employees aren’t robots who tirelessly do your bidding, day in, day out. Instead, they’re regular people like you and me, who need time off and to take sick leave.
Managing all this is a time-consuming process that can cut into other activities. Fortunately, HR function companies can take over a lot of the burden for you. These agencies assist with payroll, attendance, benefits, and onboarding, so you don’t have to.
Tip 3: Hire Professionals To Write Your Job Descriptions
If you take a look at popular job sites, you’ll notice that the majority of job descriptions are both comprehensive and well-written. There’s a reason for this: most businesses don’t bother writing them themselves. Instead, they hire people who do it all day, every day.
Outsourcing this task has two critical benefits. First, it saves you time, just like outsourcing other HR functions. And second, it makes your brand appear more professional. The more precise you can be in your job descriptions, the more prospective employees will trust you to provide them with a positive work experience.
Tip 4: Create A Remote Workforce
Setting up an office and providing all the facilities that you need to keep people happy is a massive administrative challenge, not to mention the overhead. Many innovative firms, therefore, are experimenting with remote working.
Implementing effective remote working is surprisingly easy with modern tools. A combination of cloud services and chat tools means that you don’t actually have to have people come to an office every day for them to be productive. Remote working also expands your potential talent pool, allowing you to hire people overseas.
All businesses rely heavily on communication every single day. Quite frankly, the quality and clarity of interactions will go a long way to deciding whether the company succeeds or fails. As such, mastering this part of the operation should be a priority at all times.
While there is a huge list of contributing factors to consider, here are some of the most pertinent issues that require your full attention.
It’s the oldest cliché in the book, but time is money. Therefore, finding ways that allow your remote workers to stay effective without the threat of mixed messages is vital. Group chats and cloud collaborations can be used by staff members across all workspaces too. When supported by simple ideas such as running shorter team meetings, employees will stay on task. This increased sense of clarity is sure to enhance their workflow. If you cannot perfect the internal communication, there’s no chance of mastering the external ones.
Focus On Branding
Your brand story has a telling role to play in business communication. Crucially, getting it right will ensure that prospective clients enjoy positive first interactions. The right logo, colour schemes, and slogans are all vital. Meanwhile, shop signage and packaging materials deserve a lot of attention. When consumers trust the brand, they are more likely to complete a purchase. On a side note, a clear brand story will support employees on a daily basis, especially in relation to customer care.
Redevelop Your Website
Whether you plan to generate online sales or not, you must not ignore your website. Most prospective clients will actively conduct research on your site. As well as a clear design and easy navigation, you need to present the info in a winning manner. Using an animated explainer video is the perfect way to share your message in an engaging manner. Whether providing support to clients that have made a purchase or trying to convert more sales, the results can be huge. The info will be retained while it becomes very unlikely that the user will gain a mixed message.
Use Modern Tech
The company website isn’t only a source of info. It also gives clients a chance to contact the firm directly. Fielding their queries in an effective way is one of the most significant steps to success. Chatbots are a very effective tool. Other modern forms of modern tech include call redirecting services. This ensures that calls make their way to you without the need for a dedicated telephone support team. Therefore, it can be one of the best tools at any startup’s disposal.
Good communication is the most integral feature needed to stop internal problems from surfacing. However, you aren’t a mindreader. With this in mind, building a robust employer-employee bond is vital. When your staff members have the confidence to speak up about mistreatments, including from colleagues, you can stamp out the issues far sooner. Subsequently, then, the entire business venture runs smoothly while the positivity can extend to other teams and customers. Conversely, when the team are too shy to speak, problems will persist.
More and more of us are buying products and services online, but having a website for your business is not always a blessing. While a seamless, visually enticing, interactive site can work wonders, there is a chance that your website could turn buyers off. If you’re getting a lot of visitors, but you’re not converting leads, here are some common pitfalls to be wary of.
Missing out on the mobile market
You only have to look around you when you catch a bus or grab a coffee to see that mobile phones have taken over the world. More than 50% of online traffic now comes from mobile devices. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities to attract customers and generate profits.
Too much information
It’s vital for websites to provide information about the services and products a business offers, but if your pages are packed, and there are text boxes, flashing banners and adverts all over the place, this can put customers off. Your pages should be attractive, information should be easily accessible, and passages of text should be broken up with images, infographics or video clips.
Drab, dull aesthetics
Your website is essentially a virtual shop window. If you owned a store on the high street, you would probably dress that window to encourage passers-by to pop in and take a look. If your homepage and landing pages are dull and uninspiring, you might find that online shoppers are inclined to look elsewhere. If you’re not a design guru, it’s well worth considering working with a professional web design agency. Your site should embody your brand and really showcase your business in its best light. Injecting colour, adjusting the format, changing the theme and diversifying the content could make all the difference.
No clear call to action
When you design a website, every page should have a clear objective. If there isn’t an obvious call to action, you may find that your site isn’t delivering the results you anticipated. Make it easy for your customers to achieve their own goals at the same time as maximising the chances of hitting your targets. If you want web users to buy products, for example, take them to the page they need to get to via a bold or coloured link or include an add to cart button. If you’re encouraging people to join your mailing list, add a box or banner to enable them to subscribe in one click. It’s important to find the right balance between promoting your brand and being too aggressive. You want to include a clear call to action without bombarding people with offers or links.
There are few things more frustrating when you’re trying to buy a product or book a table or a hotel room than slow-loading pages. Your website should be slick and seamless. Customers should be able to make a purchase, find contact details, ask a question or sign up for emails or a callback in a matter of seconds.
A website can send sales soaring, but success is not guaranteed. If your site isn’t delivering, look out for these common errors and take steps to improve your chances of converting leads and boosting sales.
There is no denying that all retail stores need to make a positive impression, especially at this time of year. To do that, you need to make sure that your store is laid out and designed in a beautiful manner. You want to represent your brand and show of your products in the best possible way. So, with that being said, read on to discover some useful tips and suggestions.
Show Off Your Products
Firstly, you need to remember that it is all about showing off your products. Sometimes this can become a bit lost because we get wowed with glitter and shiny colours and all of the different decorations. However, it’s all about enticing the customers to want to buy your stock, so consider this with every move you make. Start off with buying mannequins and ensuring that they are perfectly designed in your most valuable garments. You can easily get a male mannequin or female mannequin online.
Carefully think about how you are going to put these outfits together. Layering and considering the outfit as a whole can tempt people to purchase the entire lot. Why not design something that’s perfect for an office Christmas party? There will be a lot of people looking for this sort of thing right now!
Consider Using Wicker Baskets
Retail display wicker baskets are definitely worth considering for your business. No matter whether you sell luxury food items, cosmetics, or home accessories, you can be sure that wicker baskets will make a positive impression on your customers.
There are many wicker basket companies providing a wide range of products to cater to all requirements. Thus, no matter what type of products you sell, you can be confident that you will be able to find wicker storage baskets for them. But, why should you choose wicker?
Well, wicker has a classy appearance, and it certainly looks better when compared with the likes of plastic and other common materials. It will show your business in a more professional light. After all, branding is of paramount importance nowadays, and your brand needs to be considered with each and every decision you make. This includes the display solutions you select. If people walk into your store and they see your products displayed in lovely wicker baskets, they are certainly going to be impressed. There are many different ways to display your products too. You can get wicker hampers, which are great for filling with luxurious foods and drinks. There are also display stands, which you can use to store your products. This works well with small items, for example, cosmetics, soaps, and body products. Wicker also has a natural feel too, which makes your business feel more homely and environmentally conscious.
So there you have it: some suggestions that you can follow if you are looking to make a great in-store impression. Good luck!
There is no hiding from the fact that many people have decided to start a business online. It can be an easy way to strike that balance right for home and working. You can do it from home, which gives you low overheads and flexibility, and it can often be an easy way to get to the market fast. But are you doing all that you can to make your online business fly? Here are some suggestions to help you make your online business fly off the charts this year.
Outsourcing and putting a value on your time
The first thing you may want to think about would be to outsource and put some value on your time. When you run a business, you feel responsible for every aspect of it, but there will be areas of that business that you just don’t do justice. It may be worth thinking about outsourcing to a digital marketing company to help you strategize with advertising and social media. This can really help your business as it frees up your time to focus on the areas that you can make a difference in.
Humanising your social media
The next thing you may want to think about would be your social media pages and what you put out there. It can often feel like some businesses are just too much of a scrolling sales pitch, and this can put off your audience. Instead, try and humanise your business a little. Use instagram stories to showcase your business from a different angle. Give behind the scenes looks into things, like production or planning. Perhaps even look at ways to put your face in the camera and talk to your audience, engaging with them and responding to messages. It can make all of the difference.
Having a great responsive website
Your website is what people will look to the most these days. people search online for answers to questions, they seek out websites and online stores when they see things, even in person or online, so your website needs to be responsive and stand out from the crowd. Things like slow page loading times, and incorrect content can really put off a potential client or customer. Make sure your website is doing its job properly. It might also be worth working on your ecommerce site to ensure that shopping online is quick and easy. If things are too difficult to navigate, people just tend to look elsewhere rather than stick with it.
Online reviews and recommendations
Finally, online reviews and recommendations are a great way to seek out new business. They are a great advertising tool, asd people look to seek guidance from others that have either used your products or services or recommend you as a brand. It is worth trying to get your current and previous customers to leave feedback, either through an online questionnaire or return email.
Let’s hope these tips help you to move your online business forward.
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.