3 Priorities You Shouldn’t Overlook When Launching A Small Business

Business_Owners_Holding_Money_SmYou have your business plan in one hand, and a cup of very strong coffee in the other. The paperwork is being processed, and the website is in the final round of edits. Your small business is almost ready to launch, but you’re worried you might be missing something.

Websites and business books are full of best practices, quick tips, and mistakes to avoid, but building a successful business isn’t strictly about the business itself. You need to build three pillars that will help launch your vision into the world. Continue reading

CRM Solutions and Your Business: A Story Retold

CRM Solutions and Your Business: A Story RetoldWhat does CRM mean anyway? Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is essentially a system that enables businesses to manage data and information pertaining to clients. The aim is to increase sales and offer clients a better service and this goal is achieved by storing information, accounts, leads, and sales opportunities in a central database so that it is easily accessible by all members of the company, especially sales and customer service reps.

But isn’t CRM only available for the use of large firms? Not at all. Not only can small firms afford CRM solutions, but they can also easily integrate them with their existing operations (customer service, sales, and marketing) too. Once customer relationships start to improve, you will automatically generate a greater ROI in the process.

If your small business is ready to take on CRM, read on to find out which tools are the best bet for your business.

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7 Ways Social Media Can Take Your Business from Good to Great

7 Ways Social Media Can Take Your Business from Good to GreatIn the early days of the internet, the extent of digital marketing for most businesses was deciding whether to bother setting up a company website or not. These days it’s rare to find a business of any size without its own website and the rise of the social media has brought with it a new way to engage with existing and potential new customers. Make social work for you by using these 7 tips to take your business from a good online presence to a great one!

1. Spread brand awareness

According to research from the Pew Research Center, 73% of online adults now use at least one social media site. Facebook remains the undisputed leader with almost one and a quarter billion monthly users – more than 1 in 6 of the global population. Other sites like Twitter and Instagram are also huge and 42% of adults online now use multiple social networking platforms. A social media marketing campaign or presence offers the potential customer to reach a vast new audience across a range of demographics and expand your customer base.

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Why Are Your Designers Leaving You?

Why Are Your Designers Leaving You?Whether your firm is small and speaks to niche-based needs or you are a large company that is trying to be everything to everyone, you won’t get far if you lose designers along the way! A good UX designer is hard to come by, and if you find them and keep losing them, you may need to consider some of the factors going into play as to why you’re losing quality professionals.

You’re Not Paying Enough

Everyone likes to talk about how a great work environment and perks really matter in the workplace, but at the end of the day, it’s all about money. If you are not paying a competitive wage, you are going to find that great professionals may end up at your company, but aren’t going to stay there. Design is an industry that is notorious about underpaying the people who work in it, and if you are guilty of this, word will get around. Make sure that you know what the industry standard is. Depending on the designer that you hire and what their experiences in the field might be, you can be looking at anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 a year. Good designers expect to get paid for their efforts, and if you do not step up, they’re going to step out!

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6 Ways New Business Owners Can Save Money When Starting Up

6 Ways New Business Owners Can Save Even More Money Starting UpIf you’re a brand new small business owner just bursting out of the starting block, how you decide to save money matters. Even if you’ve gotten off to a good start, and revenues are flowing in, every dollar you save goes directly to the bottom line. In order to maximize your savings, keep the following six tips in mind.

1) Score Free Office Supplies

If you typically pick up your office supplies from your local office supply retailer, understand that there are ways to score supplies for free. Enroll in the store’s rewards program and wait for 100% cash back sales. You buy the supplies at full price, then receive the amount you spent in the form of a rewards certificate, usually issued the following quarter. Common free items include printer paper, pens, notebooks, folders, staplers, and scissors.

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How Quick Business Loans Can Encourage Business Turnaround

How Quick Business Loans Can Encourage Business TurnaroundIf you need quick business loans to help you out of a short-term cash flow crisis, what you don’t need is hassle when making these loan arrangements. We know all too well that any delay in making those funds available can lead to an operational headache, or threaten the survival of your business.

Reasons you may need a quick business loan

There could be an unexpected interruption in sales such as a delay in the delivery of stock that slows the flow of money coming into the business. It could be that you need quick business loans to pay for expensive new equipment or machinery in order to maintain production or cope with a sudden increase in demand. In difficult trading conditions, the customer has also become savvier, and more reluctant to make an immediate purchase, if they even make a purchase at all. As a result the retailer is late in paying you, the distributor. They, in turn, seek extended payment terms in order to assist their own cash flow. Suddenly, your usually strict 30 days terms of credit are being extended to 45 days or even 60 days. You will be paid, eventually, but later than you were expecting.

A short term business loan does not always have to be used to plug cash flow; it can be used as a tool to speed up business turnaround. Taking the right loan at the right time can be a great tactic to help you take advantage of business opportunities that come your way. The speed in which you can secure funding may determine how quickly you can push out in front of your competition or equally ensure your business does not plummet further into uncontrollable cash flow problems.

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3 Great Tips on Delegation from Abraham Lincoln

3 Great Tips on Delegation from Abraham LincolnIt’s time to rethink delegation.

Too often this means distributing routine tasks so we can focus on bigger projects. But that’s not delegating — that’s unloading busywork. Delegation should be strategic. If you’re not taking advantage of employees’ skills, perspectives, and interests, you’re missing opportunities to build your team and your business.

A 2013 survey reported 53% of business owners believe delegating would grow their business over 20% — yet less than 15% say they already assign everything they should. We know delegating helps our bottom line, but we’re stuck on how to do it well.

According to the book Lincoln on Leadership, Abraham Lincoln’s delegation strategy included three main concepts: persuade, support, encourage. Although much has changed since the 1860s (indoor plumbing for one!), his effective techniques serve as the following timeless lessons for us all.

1. Persuade Through Shared Vision.

William Seward, Secretary of State, believed Lincoln was “totally unqualified and incompetent.” Undeterred, Lincoln earned Seward’s respect. They visited troops, discussed strategies, and shared patriotic vision. Lincoln convinced Seward they shared values, and then fully tasked international diplomacy to demonstrate trust in Seward.

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Business Basics: Return on Investment (ROI)

Welcome back to business basics! In case you’ve forgotten, every week we take a look at a basic business concept in order to try to help new business owners better understand it. This week, we are covering Return on Investment, or ROI – a fairly straightforward, but often misunderstood, part of running a business! Though you may think you know all about ROI, you could be using it incorrectly. But first… ROI

What is ROI?

Return on Investment, or ROI, is pretty easy to grasp – heck, the definition is right in the name. It’s whatever return you get after your invest in some part of your business. So if you hire 2 new salespeople, a basic measurement of ROI will be the money they bring in, minus their wages. Continue reading

Why User-Generated Content Matters for Businesses

Why User-Generated Content Matters for BusinessesUser-generated content (UGC) refers to any content that is produced by consumers or users. It can take the form of social media updates, reviews, blog posts, Q&A forums, photos or videos. Many businesses use different kinds of UGC as part of their overall marketing strategy and the benefits getting involved with UGC provides are nearly endless for your business.

  • Enriched user experience – UGC allows your customers and prospects to interact with like-minded people and share their opinions – this could be through posting comments on a blog, on discussion forums or status updates.
  • Enhanced understanding of your audience – User-generated content offers you an excellent opportunity to listen to your customers and be able to better understand their needs.
  • Established trust – Consumers usually base their buying decisions on what other people are saying. Having positive reviews on your site enhances the chances of prospects using your service or buying your product.
  • Search engine optimization – Search engines like Google rank sites based on how unique and relevant their content is. Having user-generated content on your site can play a major role in improving your search engine rankings and even make your site more visible.
  • Cost effectiveness – Hiring designers and writers to create content for your business site can be very expensive, but if you work with an in-house team instead, it’ll help you save on money and time.

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