Business 101: Cut Costs, Not Corners

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When running a small business in 2021, keeping expenses to a minimum is vital. Not least because the negative impacts of the pandemic will probably bring a significant reduction in revenue. However, those financial cutbacks cannot compromise the quality of your output. Otherwise, you will inevitably lose customers in the process.

Most business owners think that they run a tight ship. In reality, the vast majority could generate savings in a variety of areas. Here are five where any changes will be positive.

#1. Team Management

Get more from your employees and the rewards will filter down throughout the entire business. Whether it’s improving the warehouse setup or giving them the tools to do more on the shop floor is up to you. Meanwhile, you should focus heavily on facilitating smoother communication. Losing a needless team meeting in favor of an email or real-time project management software can work wonders. Aside from actively saving time for the sake of your employees, it will reduce the stress levels.

#2. Workspace Choices

The business landscape has changed dramatically in recent times. Consequently, the days of feeling forced to work in a traditional workspace have changed. Home-based businesses and co-working spaces have become increasingly popular. Meanwhile, sole traders working in the gig economy may find that they travel for work. Using virtual services allows you to maintain a professional vibe at an affordable price. When using flexible workforces, this is a particularly smart way to boost the bottom line.

#3. Marketing Endeavors

Successful marketing is at the heart of every successful business. However, you don’t have to pay silly amounts of money for TV commercials or other expensive models. Instead, your strategies can focus on content to drive real engagement from customers. Moreover, using advanced market research to find your place in the arena helps you target the right people. In turn, you will be able to reduce the level of wasted ads. PPC, affiliate schemes, and performance-based ads are great for your capital too.

#4. Supplier Selection

As a business owner, you will quickly realize that working with other companies is essential. Winning partnerships will spearhead far greater results for your business. From finding cheaper insurance and energy rates to better packaging supplies, each move makes an impact. While the individual influence may not seem too significant, the cumulative effect is huge. It should also be noted that confidence in this aspect of running a firm allows you to focus your energies elsewhere. Without mental distractions.

#5. Tech Upgrades

Tech advancements are at the core of business progress. However, many companies are understandably a little reluctant with fear of wasting money. On the contrary, using modern tech reduces wasted time while it also boosts security. The fact that you can recycle old equipment means that the transformation can actually save cash. This is especially true when using subscription software and paperless tech. Finally, where applicable, greener tech will pay for itself in the long run. The future of your company has never looked better.

4 Great Reasons to Set Up Your Own Business

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Many people dream of running their own business, yet few people actually manage it. You might have dreams of being your own boss and managing a team of devoted employees, but more often than not, life gets in the way. When you work full time for a living or have a family to look after, it can be difficult to muster up the courage to take the leap. 

Starting a business from the ground up requires a monumental amount of time and energy. As soon as you begin, it could take over your life, as you’ll be working late into the evening and sending emails on weekends. You must be committed to your company if you want to make it work.

But if you succeed, it will be more than worth the risk and the sacrifice. If you’re still unsure whether to take the plunge, here are four great reasons to set up your own business.

Be your own boss

When you are an employee, you spend eight hours a day working to make someone else’s dream a reality. You have to deal with terrible bosses, micromanagement, office politics, and strict deadlines. But when you run your own business, everything you do is for yourself. You can manage your own schedule, decide on your own tasks, and follow your dreams all day, every day. You will be much more fulfilled in your work and will never want to go back to the office again.

Better work-life balance

The traditional nine-to-five office structure is incredibly restricting. You have to be at work at a set time and finish your tasks according to a deadline. There is little flexibility in your days, which makes it very different to organize things like childcare, holidays, doctor’s appointments, and household errands. But when you are your own boss, you are in complete control of your life. There is no one telling you where to be or what to do, so you can fit your work around your personal life however you see fit. 

More money

If your business is successful, you stand to make a lot more money running a company than you will as an employee for someone else. It may take some time to become profitable, but the results will pay off in the end. You will get out exactly what you put in, so if you work hard and devote yourself to your business, you will reap the financial rewards.

Satisfaction

There are few things more satisfying in life than creating something successful. Building a business from nothing and seeing it take off will give you a sense of pride and achievement that you’ve never experienced before. As you see the profits roll in and the client list increase, the knowledge that you made this happen will make it all the sweeter.

In conclusion, setting up your own business can be a huge challenge, but it will be intensely rewarding and provide you a much better quality of life. Visit https://stepstostartingabusiness.com/ for some excellent advice on getting started.

Big Business Challenges That Will Make You Want To Keep Your Company Small

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Growth is always a major goal for businesses. Whether you work by yourself or have a small team by your side, it makes sense that you would want to increase the size and scope of your operation. Of course, though, there are plenty of perks that come with being a David amongst Goliaths, and there are issues that large companies have to deal with that are completely foreign to the little guys. To give you an idea of why you might want to keep your business nice and small, this article will be exploring some of the challenges big companies face each day.

Unemployment Claims

Large companies tend to have a lot of employees working for them, and this means that they also have a lot more people leaving them than smaller businesses do. Whether someone gets fired or chooses to leave their job, they can file for unemployment if they are unable to find something new. Your state may take this money from your business, forcing you to invest in software to help you through this process and ultimately costing you on a long-term basis. Small companies can also suffer from this, though the more employees you have the greater the chances it will happen to you.

Share Holders/Boards

As companies start to get larger, they often need to look for funding from investors and other groups. To do this properly, though, you won’t be able to remain as the sole owner of the company, and it’s common for businesses to set up boards so that they can assign important roles to different professionals. This gives you less power over the company you’ve worked hard to create, while also creating the risk that you could eventually be ousted from your position if you don’t perform as expected. This can take the freedom you have as a business owner and turn it into something far more similar to a normal job.

Regulations

Governments around the world work hard to make sure that companies can work on a level playing field, prompting new laws and regulations that can make it hard for a company to operate properly. The largest companies out there often get targeted with rules specific to their work, with examples like Amazon and Google under the constant threat of new laws. Of course, this can still impact you as a little company, but making a large amount each year will certainly paint a larger target on your back. In some cases, these sorts of rules are put into place because large businesses are genuinely abusing the system, though this is a separate issue.

With all of this in mind, you may want to think twice before rushing to expand your business. It would be wrong to ignore all of the benefits that come with large companies, but you need to weigh this up when you’re planning your work to make sure that you don’t make costly mistakes that will make it hard for you to keep operating into the future.

How To Help Your Small Business Grow In 2021 & Beyond

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Whether you have just started out on your small business venture or have run a successful company for several years, there are always new things you can do to grow and expand. Remember, the more work you put into your company, the more rewards you will receive back. This could mean, for example, higher earnings or an expanding customer base. However, as always, you have to be willing to put the hard work in. 

Don’t rest on previous success and expect it to carry you through the next year. The most successful companies earned their fame through continuous hard work and innovation – you can’t sit still. With that in mind, here are some different ways you can help your small business grow this year.

Set yourself challenges.

We often work at our best when we are moving towards a specific goal. It allows us to manage our time better, and we often don’t rest until we achieve it. Therefore, one way in which you can help your small business flourish is by setting yourself regular goals. 

If a goal seems particularly large or unattainable, break it into several smaller sections that are more manageable. This means you won’t lose focus and will feel a sense of accomplishment more often. When working as part of a team, you can boost productivity by setting shared and individual goals.

Identify problems with your business. 

Another way in which you can help your business grow begins with identifying problems with your business or how you operate. For example, you may pay for advertisements on social media but receive very little traffic to your website from the advert. This means you might need to redesign the ad or redefine your target audience to ensure you are reaching out to the right people.

Remember, mistakes are a part of everyday life – so when you find a problem, don’t despair. Instead, treat it as a valuable learning opportunity and a chance to grow.

Rely on the experts

Although you may enjoy the independence that comes with running your own business, you don’t have to do it all alone. For example, you can work alongside experienced vendors such as EP Logistics to secure the logistical side of your business. This gives you plenty of time to focus on other areas of your business, such as product development and customer relations.  By working closely with experts, you’ll be able to bring your company to new strengths – which is not something you could do entirely alone.

Develop a relationship with your customers 

If you want to succeed, your customers should be at the heart of everything you do. If you want them to make purchases or continue to support your business, you need to ensure that you develop a strong relationship with them. There are many different ways you can cultivate a relationship, be that through email, social media, or face to face conversation. Always operate with their best interests in mind, and give them plenty of opportunities to voice their opinions. This means you can continue to provide them with the services and goods they need.

A Startup’s Guide to Digital Marketing

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For any small business, advertising and marketing is of such a high level of importance. How will people know about your business and know to use your services or buy from you if they don’t know that you exist? In the modern day and age that we are in, there is a new element to marketing with digital marketing being one of the ways that you can help to market your business. But what is digital marketing all about? Put simply, it is advertising that is delivered through digital channels. Your social media channels for the business are channels of digital marketing, as well as apps if relevant, emails, web pages, search engines, and other digital channels. 

If you are new to digital marketing, then here are some of the basics to get to grips with. There are plenty of things that you can do yourself, as well as outsourcing to someone else like Your Marketing People, for example. So here are some of the things that you can be thinking about and putting into place. In 2020 and beyond, your business can’t be functioning well without some digital marketing behind you.

Search engine optimization (SEO): this is all about being found online when someone searches for your website. They may also be looking for something generic, like wedding planners in Houston, for example. If they do that, then you need to make sure that if you are a wedding planner in Houston, that your site comes up. This can be done in a variety of ways, starting with a blog on your own website, and building up some relevant backlinks. Think about keywords in your website too, because if the words ‘wedding planner’ or ‘Houston’ aren’t mentioned, then it will impact how much your site is seen. 

Content marketing: this is all about creating backlinks through content. The content can be on your own channels, as well as placed on other channels like blogger’s sites, for example. Content marketing also relates to video, images, and other kinds of content that can be shared and seen online. Using things that are relevant, as well as alternative image tags, it can help your content be seen by the people looking for it.

Social Media Marketing: social media is a great tool to have in your digital marketing arsenal, as it can be free to use, but can be a real benefit. You can talk to customers in real time, share content, improve brand awareness, and so on. When you build up a loyal following through the content that you share, then it can be a big benefit to your business and help sales.

Email marketing: your customer email list is something that can be really vital. You get to land your business information right into someone’s inbox with offers and deals tailored to them. You can also see who opens what, what offers appeal to them to make them click through, and so on. It is a vital part of digital marketing that can be neglected, but it is important.

5 Ways to Promote Your Small Business to Reach New Customers

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As a small business owner, you must set both long and short-term goals to help you develop a thriving business. One of your most important goals is to reach for more customers. Why? This is because a growing network of clientele means more business opportunities and higher returns thus giving your brand the chance to grow. Here are five ways you can expand your customer base:

1. Create a Free Google My Business Account

Many businesses – large and small – usually set up Google My Business accounts because it’s free and when used properly, can be a very powerful marketing tool. Another advantage is that by setting up an account, your business will be easily discoverable even if you operate in a physical store/business location. This is because prospective customers are more likely to search for information related to your business online. Plus, you will see a boost in your business’s credibility. A study found that businesses with accurate information such as its opening hours, website links and reviews on Google are twice as likely to be seen as trustworthy to potential customers. 

2. Direct Mail Marketing

When you hear direct mail marketing, you are more likely to think along the lines of ‘outdated’ and ‘junk mail’. But direct mail is more than just a form of unsolicited advertising, it’s still an effective way to reach out to new clients and statistics support this claim. Direct mailing accounts for the largest portion of advertising spending ($38.5 billion) in the United States. Including your potential customer’s name can increase opening rates by 135% and 39% of consumers try out a business for the first time because of direct mail. Successful advertising agencies design various direct advertising packages and advertising costs for businesses looking to reach out to new shoppers and direct mail advertising is an example of this. Perhaps it’s time to re-think your stance of direct mail marketing.

3. Have a Business Website

Having a regularly updated website will help you stay one step ahead of your competitors. You will have easier access to new customers through the widening of your business’s radius thereby expanding your market, response rates and feedback between you and your clients will be more effective as having a website allows two-way communication to take place. 

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing involves using social networking sites to connect with your audience to build your brand, drive sales and increase your business’s website traffic. Many social media platforms come with analytical tools that provide you with insights such as audience demographics, peak periods, number of post views and clicks to guide you on how to plan a strategic, correctly targeted advertising campaign. 

5. Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing is still relevant because people are more likely to make purchases based on the recommendations of their close friends and family. If you are dedicated to building relationships with your clients, you will more likely see boosts in your WOM marketing tactic. Plus, WOM works for small businesses with tight advertising budgets.

These are some of the ways through which you can promote and grow your small business into a successful and profitable venture. No matter what service you provide, ensure that all your goals should have your customers – old, new or potential – are at the forefront.

Make the most of promotional products. 

Another effective way in which you can bring in new customers or raise your brand’s profile is by designing some promotional products – i.e., products that are customized with your brand’s name, logo, or contact details. This can help spread the word about your company and the kind of services you offer – though it is important you chose your promotional products carefully. You should ensure that they reflect your brand and the type of services you offer. For example, if you run a company that sells stationery – promotional products such as branded pens and notebooks would be a far better choice than a stress ball. 

Above all, you should try to use promotional products that are highly functional – something that your potential customers would actually like to use. Otherwise, they will likely end up in the bin. Another great idea for a promotional product could be a t-shirt or similar item of clothing. You can easily knock up a design that promotes your brand and then work alongside a screen printing company to turn your ideas into a reality. Again, the clothing design must be simple and stylish – as this is a far more productive way of promoting your company than designing something that makes your customers feel like a walking billboard.

3 Things To Look For In An Excellent Business Website

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No matter how big or small your business is, you will need a website to place yourself online. The majority of shoppers begin their journey with a Google search, meaning they find companies through websites. If you don’t have one, you won’t be seen. 

Additionally, it’s not enough to just create a bog-standard business website. No, it needs to have specific features and traits that make it effective. Bearing that in mind, here are some things to look for in an excellent business website:

SEO-Friendly

If a website is SEO-friendly, it means it ranks well in search engines. In essence, it’s easy for the search engine to find the site and categorize the pages into different searches. Therefore, your website will appear more frequently and higher up the search engine rankings. From here, you can bring in more traffic, meaning your website is basically a magnet for leads. An SEO-friendly website will typically have great content that incorporates keywords, an excellent structure, lots of links, fast loading speeds, and so on. As a general rule, the more user-friendly a site is, the more SEO-friendly it becomes. 

Valuable Content

A good website has some content that gives a bit of information to consumers. An excellent one provides valuable content that users can take advantage of. Your small business needs a website that gives as much information to users as possible. Provide all your contact details, business info, service details, and more. Include frequently asked questions to offer instant customer service, and write blog posts to further extend the information you provide. When a website has valuable content, it makes it easier to draw people to it. Not only that, but this helps to enhance your reputation and gain a sense of authority. In doing so, this will build trust with consumers and can make your website convert. 

A Good ROI

Lastly, you have to look for a good ROI from your business website. Essentially, this means that your website generates more money than it takes to build and run it. One way to almost guarantee this is to opt for a proper web design service. As it mentions on https://rsmconnect.com/website-design/, when a website is designed by professionals, it shows! A professional-looking website can attract more attention and bring a whole host of new customers to the party. In turn, this helps you generate a better ROI by gaining new customers and making more money. Also, the advantage of professional services is that you trust experts to build and maintain your website. As a result, they can use techniques and methods that are more cost-effective than if you did it all by yourself. Thus, the cost of running your site decreases as the profits you earn go up. 

The big question to answer is whether or not your website has all three of these things. If you can tick them all off, it means you have an excellent and effective business website. If you can’t, you have to focus on getting all three lined up to enjoy online success.

Starting a Small Business the Millennial Way

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By now, you’ve probably heard the trope that millennials can’t afford anything valuable on their own, be it a car or a house. While there is some truth to this, there’s no denying the massive business potential millennials have. This passionate, collaborative generation has come of age in a most exciting time, mainly one where the formerly-reigning baby boomers are beginning to close up shop–literally.

As the baby boomers begin to enter their golden years, a question of the small business owners among this group is going to transition out of ownership. A 2016 survey shows that 54% of small business owners in the United States plan to close their business in the next ten years. This number comes on top of the 72% who have no real exit plan for closing, which leaves a big question as to who will take their places.

However, what looks like an impending economic crisis is a surprisingly serendipitous business opportunity. One of today’s rising entrepreneurial trends is millennials buying baby boomer-owned businesses. The exciting thing is there are a few massive advantages to this.

First, let’s set the record straight about this fascinating generation of youngsters. Financially, they’re a bit hit and miss. Among all the living generations, millennials are most likely to default on a credit card, with 3.6% of millennial credit card accounts are delinquent 90 days or more. However, millennials also have the most commercial and consumer credit reports available out of all the generations. These comprehensive credit reports can work to millennials’ advantage when looking to buy a small business.

Furthermore, millennials are much more diverse than their predecessors. For example, 87% of baby boomers who acquired small businesses identified as White, compared to a much lower 48% among millennials. This increasing diversity means millennial business owners will be able to appeal to a broader demographic, especially among typically-underrepresented ethnicities like Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and African-Americans. A more diverse and inclusive market is likely to produce substantial economic results.

But it’s hard to deny that the prospect of starting a business from the ground up is overwhelming for someone of any age. If you’re a millennial who wants to step into the business world with relative security, consider buying a baby boomer-owned small business. For a generation as saddled with debt as millennials, buying an already-established business usually means you won’t have to worry about any more outstanding debts. Moreover, an established company likely has the reputation, credibility, and proven business models that most startups can’t match in their early days. A bonus is that the old owner will usually advise you and teach you how to run a small business, specifically theirs so that you can make fewer missteps and keep boosting your revenue.

If this business venture sounds promising to you, you’re in good company. Many websites now exist to show companies available for purchase, so you’ll never be in short supply of an opportunity. Just make sure to research all companies extensively, meet face to face with the owners to get a better idea of how you two will gel, and of course, don’t sign that dotted line until you’re sure you have the resources and motivation to give it your best shot.

4 Things For Small Businesses To Remember in Times of Crisis

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As businesses of all shapes and sizes dust themselves down and take stock of how they’ve been affected by the pandemic, it’s fair to say that for most the struggle is not yet over. The notion of putting their entire operation on hold, or making drastic changes to the way they operate probably didn’t strike them as even possible, much less likely. Indeed, for those who were thinking about going into themselves prior to the crisis, the whole thing probably looks like a huge cautionary tale. Why would any right-minded person choose the path of entrepreneurship when it seems beset on all sides with hurdles, pitfalls and the occasional bear trap.

Still, while this will (hopefully) be the last pandemic of its kind in living memory, crises go with the territory when running a business. A crisis certainly shouldn’t put anyone off starting a business, but it should certainly remind them of the importance of preparation.

Here are 4 things that all small businesses would do well to remember in times of crisis…

It’s okay to ask for help

When starting out in business, it’s common to be very particular when it comes to doing everything your way. After all, one thing that business mentors preach consistently is the importance of having a USP and filling a gap in the market that your competitors have left open. As such, you may not consider the value in Small Business IT Support Services or outsourcing your marketing to a Digital Agency. However, these measures can not only save you money in air weather but provide help, guidance and support when things go awry within your business, your industry or the global economy at large. 

Look after your team and they’ll look after you

Navigating your way through a crisis alone can feel damn near impossible. But when you run a small business, you’re never alone. You have intelligent, talented, passionate and dedicated people all around you. Look after them, and they’ll look after you.

Make sure that their working environment is safe, clean and conducive to restfulness, mindfulness and productivity. Invest in their training and development. Invest in employee recognition platforms that make them feel valued and give them confidence and motivation. 

Never underestimate the power of customer relationships

In times of economic crisis, consumers are undoubtedly wary. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t retain their loyalty. Invest time and effort into your relationship with them, respond to them promptly and professionally on social media. Show them that you value their custom and that you’re committed to delivering excellence. They’ll stick with you through thick and thin. 

Keep an eye on your metrics, but don’t lose sight of the one metric to rule them all!

Finally, in the age of big data, it’s easy to struggle to see the woods for the trees, especially when in panic mode. While there are lots of important metrics which should be tracked through the good times and bad, don’t neglect the one metric to rule them all… your margin. If you aren’t profitable, your business simply can’t function. Use this online tool to calculate your profit margin and adapt your strategy accordingly.

3 Keys Spends For Your Small Business

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When you run your own small business you will no doubt be facing daily challenges around your costs and profits. Every business owner would like to reduce their outgoings, but today we want to flag a few areas that are worth investing in, these are 3 key spends for your small business.

Invest in your team

Investing in your team is one of the most powerful investments that your business can make. 

The first thing you will need to invest in is in hiring the best possible people to work with you. Finding the right person to fit in with your existing operation can be challenging and it can take a fair bit of time and money. You will need to feel confident that the applicant has the right skills and personality for your team and you will then need to ensure that you have put adequate training in place for them.

Training is key for all of your team, and you can choose to do this yourself or you might like to bring in outside trainers or send your staff out on appropriate courses. When all of your team members are well trained they are likely to be more effective, more productive and more confident in their roles. This should in turn free up your time, reduce any customer complaints and increase your business turnover. 

It is also worth spending the time and money training, coaching and rewarding your team to improve your staff retention and motivation. Take the time to recognize good work and behaviors to boost morale. 

Work closely with providers and suppliers

Few businesses can operate effectively in isolation. Most of us need to work closely with other providers and suppliers and spend wisely with them.

For example, your business might want to look into working with a good range of food suppliers such as umami foods along with local distribution centers and fleet management companies. You will be looking to strike that balance between getting the best deal at a price that you are happy with and forging a reliable and professional relationship with all providers so that you can trust that they will not let your business down.

It can be tempting to look for the lowest costs at every turn, and this can be an easy but costly mistake that startup businesses make. On occasion the cheapest might also be the best in the market, but do ensure that you are checking their dependability and service levels too.

Spread the word about all that you do

When you start your business, you are going to need to let people know about it and you must spread the word about all that you do. 

Your business marketing costs could vary hugely as there are so many ways that you could choose to promote your business. It is worth trying a few of the more cost effective options first and then finding out what works best for you. 

As a minimum, you are going to want to invest in a professional and user friendly website, utilize social media effectively and if you have premises, order some suitable signage.