These Are the Reasons You Are Struggling With Sales

Sales

Converting sales is a difficult task for any business but for some, it’s much harder. Whether you’re a B2C or B2B company, your sales team works tirelessly to reach their quota and help the business achieve its goals. However, no matter how hard they work, it seems like your sales team can’t lure in enough willing buyers. You know what they say, work smarter, not harder.

It doesn’t matter how much effort you are putting into the sales operation; it won’t make a difference if you’re going in the wrong direction. There are reasons why your company is struggling with making sales, and you need to understand them before coming o a solution.

You Haven’t Adapted To Change

The economic climate changes whenever a new wave of innovation and technology hits. Hence, if your business isn’t making as many sales as before, it might be because you are using obsolete systems. Ever since the proliferation of social media, analytics, and big data has come onto the scene, things have changed.

To get ahead of competitors, it’s crucial that your company adapt to these changes. Take big data and analytics, for instance. Many companies still haven’t embraced the importance of data and trends that you can derive from it. Once you do, you’ll begin to understand many things; why a sales drive failed, why you’re losing customers, and what makes a marketing campaign powerful.

You’re Putting a Cap on Commissions

For your sales team, motivation is knowing that, on a good day, they can take home a huge commission without worrying about capping. Capping commissions can stop your sales team from closing more sales and striving to go higher than a specific quota. Numerous studies prove that putting a cap on commissions can hurt overall revenue and productivity.

The results of such studies conclude that companies should remove caps from commissions. Once respective companies did so, they saw their revenue rise by almost ten percent. So don’t worry about having to pay your sales representatives large commissions, because they probably helped your company make a huge profit.

You’re Not Following Up On Every Lead

Sales representatives seem to lose their enthusiasm to follow up with every lead they come across. Instead, they only work towards ones they feel like they can convert. This guesswork makes things very confusing, especially since your sales team is relying on their gut feeling rather than an objective factor.

Take out records of how much your sales team has followed up with old leads. The reason for poor sales could be that they are ignoring certain leads, which results in your company closing fewer sales. It’s crucial that you remember how every consumer is a potential customer in one way or another, so it’s best never to ignore a lead.

Inadequate Marketing

All parts of a business have to work together to drive sales and boost customer retention. The marketing department of a company plays an integral role in giving sales representatives the leads they need. It often happens that a marketing team is unable to deliver qualified leads to sales representatives.

This step hurts your company’s numbers, and you need to improve by improving marketing efforts. This process can involve launching a well-planned Google AdWords campaign and other solutions that have the potential to boost sales.

You’re Unaware of Competition

Even though you’re looking at your competitor’s numbers, there’s a chance that you aren’t learning what they’re doing right. A large part of your understanding should come from what our competitors are doing. You need to invest in research and data about rival companies who have better sales numbers than you.

This research can provide you with valuable insight that determines what you’re doing wrong. Although you don’t have to imitate your competitors, there’s always something you can learn from them, and that’s not a bad thing.

No Training Programs

The only way for a company to go forward is if it invests significant time and resources into improving its employees. It’s unrealistic to expect your sales representatives to learn new things on a job that’s so demanding. When they’re following up on leads throughout the day, your employees won’t be interested in learning about new findings from sales research papers.

That’s why you need to build their skill set by bringing in the right expert. Sales mentors are one way that large corporations are boosting their numbers. Hiring an expert on sales is a valuable initiative that you can take, to improve your firm’s numbers. A sales mentorship also increases morale and helps your representatives develop stronger relationships with their colleagues.

Your Sales Team Lacks a Process

In every company’s sales department, leaders have to develop a process, which representatives should use to make a sale. When there’s no sales process in place, your representatives could be mindlessly trying to chase after leads without examining any weaknesses. At this point, it’s possible that your team is implementing a random process, so even an informal one will yield better results.

Instead of letting representatives do whatever they want, however, they want to do it, sales leaders should begin by establishing an informal process as to how they should get things done. Once you follow leads in a way that’s systematic and consistent, you can move from an informal process to a formal and dynamic one.

Conclusion

Therefore, now that I’ve listed out what your company’s sales team could be doing wrong, it’s time to recap what you should be doing to solve the problem. For starters, you need to adapt to changing climates of the industry by implementing new technology and software.

Next, you need to rethink the cap on commissions and improve your marketing strategy. After that, you should learn about your competitor’s solutions and try to understand the theories behind them. Assign focused and dedicated sales leaders to your department so they can implement a sales process. In addition, most importantly, there should be sales training and mentorship programs in place to enhances your sales representatives’ productivity.

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How Micro-influencers can Enhance Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Influencers

You do not need a million followers to become influential when it comes to promoting your business or brand. The concept of micro-influencers seems to have grown in popularity in the past few years. Micro-influencer marketing is gradually turning the idea that a marketer has to be well- known in order to have influence or make a lasting impression.

But what does the term micro-influencer refers to and how does it help entrepreneurs in their bending moments or in improving their marketing strategy?

What are Micro-influencers?

It might sound bizarre, but micro-influencers are considered ‘everyday people’. The strategy is incorporated to promote specific brands or products on social media. This product can be anything from cosmetics, cleanser to assortments and clothing.

That is to say, if your brand  has been trying its best to leverage influencer marketing with the help of established influencers who have significant number of followers (100,000  fans) on various social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but still struggling to achieve the desired results,  micro-influencer marketing is worth trying.

However, there is no fixed definition of the term micro-influence, but it is explained as someone who’s small, but has a significantly higher following. For example, they have more than 20,000 followers on Twitter, and a few thousand on Instagram and Facebook. That means a micro-influencer makes up a large portion of digital marketers or influencers. It is possible that a micro-influencer has a modest audience, but his influence is certainly great.

The Transition from Social Media Marketing to Micro-Influencer Marketing

In the past two years, the popularity of micro-influencer marketing has grown exponentially. A survey highlighted that approximately 1.5 million people search for ‘influencer marketing’. This was used to be the case for only social media marketing in the past. That doesn’t only indicate how swiftly influencer marketing is replacing other marketing strategies, but also the rise of micro-influencer marketing in the mainstream.

Another apparent reason for this transition is that customers rely on the recommendations and advice of people they trust. Nielsen 2015 Global Trust found in its study that publicity that comes from other people is one of the credible forms of advertising. 80% of the respondents in the study contended that they rely on the recommendations and opinions of their friends and family.

Not only this, two third of the respondents of the study admitted that they trust the information they found in online opinions. Part of the drive toward adopting such strategies is really turning people’s heads and they are accessing micro influencers, depending on their target audiences. Entrepreneurs have started leveraging micro-influencers to improve digital marketing strategies. It has become a reliable way to reach potential customers.

The rise of Micro-Influencers to Rescue Digital Marketing

You must have an idea of how quickly micro-influencer marketing is moving and replacing traditional marketing strategies. While the components of social media marketing and search engine marketing are still performing well, conventional online displays have suffered an inevitable decline in their effectiveness. The two major reasons for that are:

  • People don’t pay much attention to banner ads due to banner blindness. Even if it’s in front of them, they cannot effectively see them.
  • The rise of Adblocker software usage is another reason that has adversely affected display ads. According to a survey, 30% of devices have Adblockers installed on them that removes ads from the screens.

In addition to that, the survey found another digital marketing problem. According to it, most of the social networks lack the quality of controlling ads positions on the platforms. For instance, a high-profile brand, like Coca- Cola, would not be happy to find its YouTube ad positioned next an undesirable video.

With that in mind, it is important for marketers and businesses to know why and how micro-influencers can leverage their digital marketing strategy. If you are a startup and don’t know that, we have you covered here.

How Micro-Influencers Leverage Digital Marketing Strategy?

Micro-influencers – Your Groundswell Approach

There is no denying that micro-influencers use the perfect groundswell approach to influence market when it’s about reaching a large audience. They provide you multiple avenues while channeling digital marketing strategies for exposure and brand awareness.

Besides this, micro-influencers make businesses able to saturate the current market with their product and brand.

Moreover, micro-influencers are aware of the functional significance of repetition, regardless of what kind of marketing you are engaging in.  That is why their campaigns ensure that your brand is exposed to the target audience through different channels and outlets.

Professionals at Content Creation

If your digital marketing strategy emphasizes content creation then micro- influencers are undeniably the Holy Grail! What we mean here is that even if they don’t have the huge following, they can help you produce great content to help you promote your brand.

Whether it is multi-media content, written content or imagery that you are seeking, micro-influencers get this job done keeping everything within your budget. Most importantly, you don’t have to worry about the quality of content.

 Drive Loyal and Highly Engaged customers to Your Brand

There is no doubt that micro-influencers have a loyal and highly-engaged audience. It is growing and mostly made up of people they’ve met who like the content, and who have been following them for a long time; it also includes their family and friends network. On the flip side, most of the macro-influencers have comparatively lower engagement rate.

Target Audience Related to Your Niche

One of the benefits of working with micro-influencers is that they use the right digital strategy to target the audience in your niche. It typically helps businesses align with the audience whose interests and passions match with the product that is manufactured.

It is because influencer marketing is based on the relevance of an influencer to the product, service or brand.  If there is no match, your campaign will not accomplish its goals.

Final Thoughts

All in all, digital consumers have become tech-savvy and smart and micro- influencers focus on the value and power of engagement that is of paramount importance for businesses to grow. The given reasons, in this regard, emphasize the significance of having micro-influencers to enhance your digital marketing strategies.

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Why is Quality Content Important for Your Business Growth?

Quality

Business strategies have changed in the recent past and so have marketing strategies. Marketers are now more vigilant when it comes to applying quality content and innovative ideas in order to persuade potential customers. Similarly, analytical marketers are more inclined toward tracking metrics.

Many companies in the industry are excelling in product manufacturing; however, when it is comes to subjective elements related to content marketing, they lack the expertise. Creating high-quality content has become crucial in order to keep business flourishing and to avoid the risks that can damage brand image.

If you are an entrepreneur, you probably have experience of dealing with directives given by SEO experts, sometimes from Google itself.  But have you ever wondered what this SEO thing really has to do with the success and failure of content market strategy have you used them for your business growth? How does it affect the reputation of your business if the quality of the content is not good enough? Most importantly, what is the way to know if you have really produced great content?

If these questions seem relatable, we can help you find out the answers. We can help you walk through all the important aspects that Google considers when its assess content quality. Plus, you will find some crucial information about how quality content influences your business growth that eventually helps you improve your digital marketing strategies. The information will also help you generate relevant and quality content to grab the attention of your potential customers.

These are the key reasons that explain why creating high quality content is important for business growth?

Importance of Quality Content for Business Growth

There is no denying that powerful digital marketing can make or break your business.  According to expert marketers, a successful business greatly relies on its digital marketing strategies. From search engines to social media, it is high quality content that promotes your business effectively while maintaining your online presence.

Quality content creation is undeniably one of the most important parts of your digital marketing strategy. It does not only connect you with your target audience, but also builds trust between you and your customers.

To put it simply, high-quality content fuels your various marketing techniques. It acts as a base that promotes and endorses your business online. That is why giving attention to the content that it deserves is of paramount importance.

Let us take a look at some key reasons that make producing high quality content important for not only digital marketing purposes, but also business growth.

1.)  High-quality Content Educates Audience

Educating your audience is the very first step to reaching potential customers, especially when they are deciding whether a service or product is worth buying or not. In other words, before making a decision, having the full understanding of the options available is extremely important. That means as a seller it is your responsibility to provide the content that educates your customers properly.

Typically, educational content refers to well -maintained product pages, blog posts, and company homepage, etc.  Moreover, it may include reviews, tutorials, and any other content that can educate customers about your product or service.  It may also incorporate resources customers require to make informed purchasing decisions.

This content is only considered high quality if it is focused on educating the target audience about your business services and offerings.

In order to create valuable content to educate your customers, you need to take the concerns and questions of your customers into account. Your content needs to address the issues a customer faces.  Plus, it should reflect on how your product or service can resolve or relieve those specific issues and how it can make your customers’ life easier.

2.)  Fuel for SEO

Search engines have become the go to solution for anyone looking for an answer to his or her concern or question.  That makes optimizing the content that you create even more important if you want it to stay relevant for the customers.

It is the only way you can attract multiple new leads to your business portal.  However, it is only high-quality content that can help you fuel your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies.

SEO is all about back links, website visitor and most importantly keyword placement. Your content allows you to build webpages that can fuel all these components. If there is no content, there will be no place for keywords, and for your visitors to get the information.

On the contrary, if you are producing excellent content that your customer is looking for and can relate to, reaching the top of search engines will not be difficult. The more customer flow you have, the more opportunities you will get for your business to grow.

3.)  Content is Important for Social Media Strategies

Social media platforms have completely revolutionized marketing strategies in the past few years.    They have become the easiest way to connect with potential customers. You can use it as a powerful tool to establish genuine relationships with your target audience to make a strong customer base.

Social media is not less than a direct way to approach your customers, maintain conversations, get customer feedback and drive new leads to your site.

However, all of this is fueled by high-quality content that basically enables you to retain your target audience. You can direct customers through your powerful Facebook post or Tweet to your website and encourage them to learn more about your services and products. This helps in establishing a better connection with the target audience. In addition to that, this is one of the ways you can make more visitors to go to your website and collect more information about your products. In other words, it can bring you more profit.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, there is no way an entrepreneur can deny the significance of digital marketing strategies as well as high quality content when it comes to business growth.  Keep in mind that quality content is crucial for developing connections with your target audience and driving them to your website.

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5 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Business Operations

Operations

Making consistent and regular improvements to enhance your business operations is critical toward its sustainability and success, especially in the end. An inevitable truth regarding business operations is that you cannot stand still and stay competitive. You will either get better or lose valuable ground to your competitors, which is something no business wants.

There is always some room for optimization when it comes to business operations whether you are a veteran business owner or a new entrepreneur. It is vital to remember that fine-tuning your business processes will help your business run more smoothly and efficiently while saving money. This is especially relevant in the end.

You have to know various ways to enhance operations that would work well for your organization. You will be glad to know that streamlining your operations is always achievable.  In addition, even taking a few small and simple steps in specific areas, like productivity, increasing the number of markets you serve and limiting losses could bring you huge rewards.

Here are five surefire ways to improve your business operations.

1. Clearly Define Business Goals and Objectives

Setting clear goals and objectives is a vital element of your business success. Productivity outputs surface from existing business operations; therefore, changing these results requires changing and improving your operations as well as processes them.

This usually starts with developing and defining measurable operational objectives and goals that all critical operational personnel is aware of. Remember that a lack of well-defined objectives and goals will often lead to the failure of your new processes or initiatives, no matter how great these processes or initiatives are.

“Improving operations” is too broad and not a clear goal in and of itself. Taking an approach that is not well-define, or does not include definite measures that need to be employed, is usually a recipe for disaster. You should determine exactly what your objectives are if you want to succeed. For example, does your company need to eliminate inefficiencies in the supply chain, or is the lack of quality systems your primary reason for downfall? Alternatively, perhaps human capital is where the biggest issues lie.

Make sure you have created and defined clear and measurable goals and objectives before introducing any new processes for improvement.

2. Motivate and Inspire Employees

Talented, trained and motivated staff members are likely to bring on huge improvements in the business. Remember that your employees are the ears and eyes of your business operations and their feedback is important. Therefore, if there are any weak spots or flaws in your system and processes, it is likely that your employees will know about them.

In addition, they likely need a better process to complete tasks. That being said, when your personnel thinks you are a “my way or the highway” leader who does not value their feedback, they often are not motivated and inspired to come up with valuable solutions and this will hurt your business.

Involve all your staff in improving your business operations. You should ask your employees where improvements and changes could make. It is equally important to take notes of all the flaws that they point out and solutions they offer.

Always make sure that your staff knows their opinions matter and you are open to their suggestions and recommendations. Maintain a good and positive relationship with your employees and you will enjoy a much higher employee retention rate while fewer resources will spent on hiring and training new employees.

3. Improve your Relationship with Customers

You likely have a customer database. You should take some time to tap into it to get in touch with all of your existing customers. Contact your customers by email, phone or letter to greet them. You should also remind them regularly that your business is ready and willing to serve them again.

In addition, get their opinions and feedback regarding what they think of your products and business in general. Getting regular customer feedback should be an integral part of your business processes. You have continuously looked for new and improved ways to encourage repeat business.

While there is no denying that both marketing and advertising are crucial to get more customers, service, quality as well as customer satisfaction are also vital to keep your business successful. Especially in the end.

4. Leverage Business Intelligence

We all know that information is essential for any business organization that wants to enhance its performance. Better and accurate business intelligence can elicit better results (provided you leverage the data properly). Moreover to this end businesses usually find that state of the art data intelligence software can play a crucial role in improving business processes and operations.

Business intelligence software, particularly at the highest level, allows for the timely tracking of trends and changes that can affect organizational performance. This gives managers, executives and other key decision-makers the relevant information to take suitable corrective action whenever necessary. Moreover, such insight also highlights important information that gives executives and managers what they need to figure out what is and is not working and what should be modified, so they may improve business performance.

5. Cost Cutting Initiatives

There is no denying that this is one aspect where all businesses can stand to benefit considerably from a closer look. Costs can creep up, unproductive practices can become common and waste gets taken for granted over time. Eliminating waste and cutting costs is one of the easiest ways to enhance your business operations while give yourself a competitive advantage.

From ordering shipping supplies in bulk to making double-sided paper copies, you could easily cut down wasted material, time and effort in making, promoting, selling, and delivering your product. As a result, you will see a considerable improvement in your organization’s bottom line.

Final Thoughts

In the end, working hard to improve and tweak business operations is the hallmark of a competitive and dynamic business. In addition, even if your company is current productivity is adequate it is an important end to aim for. You do not have to settle for good when you can have great!

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A Successful Online Business – How to Start One

Online Business

When it comes to the topic of starting a new online business, most entrepreneurs think that trial and error is the way to go but this isn’t so.  A number of experienced business people can give you details as to what went right during their venture into the world of startups, and what went horribly wrong. Based on these assessments, there are certain combinations of practices that, if done right, can result in starting a successful business. Here’s what most online business owners swear by.

Analyzing the Market

Nowadays, the market is somewhat similar across the world so it doesn’t take much time for a certain need to go global. That’s why you’ll need to look into your market for shortages before you can think of a product and assess whether it has an unfulfilled demand in the market. Scour the internet to find answers to your questions.

Have a look at common online forums like Quora and Reddit for people’s questions about the availability of a certain service and product to solve a particular problem. Look for keywords that have a high number of queries but much fewer valuable results. This will be an indication of a market that doesn’t have enough solutions.

Of course, you will have a few competitors in the field so it’s best to examine their marketing strategies and products before you start working on your own versions. This will help you create something innovative that adds more value for the consumer.

Post Good Content

Are you worried about how you’ll convince customers through an online sales call? Here’s what you need to explain so they go through with the entire process, up until the final purchase.

  • Give headings that pique consumer interest
  • Address the problem that your brand can solve
  • Ensure your reliability by giving details of your experience and the people on your team
  • Provide testimonials of happy customers
  • Make a good offer
  • Provide them with a guarantee so they feel reassured
  • Make it a matter of urgency so they can’t refuse
  • Make the sale

While walking your customer through the website, make sure that you’re focusing on their need and how you’re helping them.

Deliver a Proper Website

For a business that operates solely online, a website serves as a headquarters and you sure as heck can’t compromise on the quality of yours. Take it from online selling pros, most retail brands keep their websites fairly simple; they know that they have less than 15 seconds to capture consumer attention, which means a smaller business like your has less than 10. So remember:

  • No funky colors or fonts; clear, dark fonts on white works well enough
  • Make it simple to navigate to and from pages
  • Grasp consumer attention on every page with interesting images and videos
  • Collect e-mail addresses from visiting traffic to give updates on sales
  • Shorten the number of clicks it takes to confirm a transaction; one to add card details and one to confirm
  • Optimize it for mobile devices

Search Engine Help

Operating a business online requires that you be on good terms with the search engines, especially reigning power, Google. Using a PPC (pay per click) scheme to advertise your new business is effective at drawing more traffic towards your website. This will work much quicker than waiting for organic traffic to trickle in.

Advertising through Google AdWords’ Network Display strategies gives the benefit of your brand’s banners being up within a matter of hours. Moreover, utilizing such a system offers the benefit of letting you test how effective other keywords are for driving more traffic.

Once you’ve determined which keywords work best, you can then incorporate them into your advertisements, social media posts and most importantly, your website. This will boost your rankings on SERPs.

Be a Leading Authority in Your Niche

Aside from being your source of income, the internet serves as the population’s largest source of authentic information in a hundred different forms. If you appeal to the people looking for information, and not just those who set out to make a purchase, you end up building traction among a larger group of people.

Hence, lure in information-seekers by giving your expertise-based articles on different websites. You can create other forms of content, such as videos, info graphics, and images that are sure to make an impact on readers who might end up making a purchase later on. On every informative piece, add the option for them to share it with their friends.

Be active on the very platforms where your target audience asks questions relating to your field, and answer them. After all, what’s more, appealing than a CEO who actively answers questions on the internet?

Leverage Email Marketing

When you give visiting traffic the option to submit their email addresses, you get a valuable list of potential customers who have opened the doors to their inboxes for you. Essentially, it indicates that they have developed an interest in your brand, are willing to form a long-term relationship with your brand.

Individuals who visit your website and leave their email address are basically giving you permission to contact them. They are potential customers and email marketing is the best way to follow up with leads.

Enhance Customer Loyalty

Customers look for value wherever they go and that’s what you need to offer. It’s quite possible that over a quarter of people who made a purchase from your website would be willing to do it again if you contact them again with a good deal.

The first sale you make is the most crucial but it’s also expensive. Hence, you’ll need to offer them related items that go well with their purchase and send redeemable coupons to ensure that they return. If you reward them with incentives to buy again, your customers are sure to be loyal to your brand.

Even though the online-world is faced paced and dynamic, it isn’t the case for markets and businesses that are operating through the internet. The basic aspects of starting a profitable online business are still the same as before.

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No More Excuses for Small Business Owners for Not Growing Their Businesses

owners

When talking about business owners related issues, solutions, and technologies, you will almost always group businesses as small and large. While the separation is there, it won’t be wrong to say that in a modern where digital technologies prevail, it should not be a problem for small businesses to compete with large ones. The large corporations have the advantage of having more resources without a doubt. However, there was not a time in the past when growing and expanding was as easy for small businesses as it is today.

Digital Marketing for Everyone

Digital marketing starts with a website today. When it comes to website designs, more money does not always mean a better design. If owners are working with the right people and are clear about your requirements, your website can be just as impressive as the website of a large business. In fact, internet users today are more in favor of simplistic websites with a focus on the information they are looking for rather than the glitter and sparkle.

As for social media marketing, there is no difference in the size of the market that small and large businesses have to target. They are both targeting global audiences and how good they are at it is not defined by how much money they put in their marketing efforts. Social media marketing is free marketing, so there is no excuse as to who has more resources.

And if you believe that the large corporations make it to the top of the search engine results, you always have a better and more effective niche to compete within – local. With local search engine optimization, small businesses can compete with the medium and large businesses head to head. In simple words, regardless of the size of the business, everyone has access to the same market and same people today. What matters is who does it better.

Digital Solutions Are Available Specifically for Small Businesses

When it comes to software solutions for businesses, the focus is not on large corporations anymore. Today, all types of software solutions have their versions built specifically for small businesses. These digital solutions allow small businesses to cut down their costs and make use of the same technologies that large companies are using.

Take the example of CRMs. At one point, there was a notion that customer relationship management software are only for large businesses, but the things have changed quite a bit today. Web-based CRM are a revelation for small businesses. First, these CRMs provide great marketing, database, customer service and sales solutions to the businesses. Second, they are unbelievably affordable. If you own a small business, you don’t even have to worry about software integration, hardware compatibility, updates, and upgrades, etc. Keep in mind that with in-house solutions, these are the costs that make it difficult for small businesses to grow financially.

With web-based solutions designed for small businesses, owners can now have access to a world-class CRM at a fractional monthly or yearly cost. Other affordable digital solutions available include invoicing software, bookkeeping software, payroll software, etc.

Customers Have the Power in their Hands

The Internet has empowered customers like never before. Owners can’t say that just because a business is in multiple countries, it will be impressive enough for people to buy its products. The amazing thing about today’s economy is the power that customers have in their hands. Online reviewing websites, YouTube videos, blogs, etc. are among many platforms that allow customers to know more about businesses. In fact, even Google now puts business ratings and customer reviews right within its search results.

What this means is that when customers searches for a business today, They are sometimes able to see the reputation of the product they are going to buy. Furthermore, negative reviews from customers can affect business sales, giving other businesses a chance to make their name.

Furthermore, it’s not just the quality of products that matters today. In the modern world, businesses are competing for better customer experience. If your business can give customers the experience they are looking for, your growth is inevitable despite the small size of your business.

Funding Is No Issue for Startups

It is always the starting days that matter the most for business. When you are a startup, you are looking for ways to fund your business so you can materialize your idea and polish your product/service according to the requirements of the customers. Finding a platform where you could connect with angel investors was a challenge in the past. This is not an issue anymore.

It is now easier than ever for small businesses to get in touch with investors and get the right amount of investment that sets them on the path of growth. These are websites that act as a bridge between investors from all around the world and startups.

With online funding websites, all you have to do is create a convincing pitch that explains the viability of your startup to the investors and its scope. Your business plan along with all the necessary information that you think investors should see can be posted to the website and start getting the right kind of exposure. If you have done your homework and have a team of right professionals on board, getting the right investment can come sooner.

Final Words

Owners can see that a small business and startup business can overcome almost all of their challenges much more efficiently today. Starting a business has become so easy that even students can be entrepreneurs. They can lay the foundation for a business using just their pocket money. From connecting with the right investors to cutting down operational costs, all can be done from the comfort of a person’s home. The only thing that makes the difference today is if you are confident enough to take the first step.

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9 Things to Consider Before Forming a Business Partnership

Budiness partnership

Getting into a business partnership has its benefits. It allows all contributors to share the stakes in the business. Depending on the risk appetites of partners, a business can have a general or limited liability partnership. Limited partners are only there to provide funding to the business. They have no say in business operations, neither do they share the responsibility of any debt or other business obligations. General Partners operate the business and share its liabilities as well. Since limited liability partnerships require a lot of paperwork, people usually tend to form general partnerships in businesses.

Things to Consider Before Setting Up A Business Partnership

Business partnerships are a great way to share your profit and loss with someone you can trust. However, a poorly executed partnerships can turn out to be a disaster for the business. Here are some useful ways to protect your interests while forming a new business partnership:

1. Being Sure Of Why You Need a Partner

Before entering into a business partnership with someone, you need to ask yourself why you need a partner. If you are looking for just an investor, then a limited liability partnership should suffice. However, if you are trying to create a tax shield for your business, the general partnership would be a better choice.

Business partners should complement each other in terms of experience and skills. If you are a technology enthusiast, teaming up with a professional with extensive marketing experience can be quite beneficial.

2. Understanding Your Partner’s Current Financial Situation

Before asking someone to commit to your business, you need to understand their financial situation. When starting up a business, there may be some amount of initial capital required. If business partners have enough financial resources, they will not require funding from other resources. This will lower a firm’s debt and increase the owner’s equity.

3. Background Check

Even if you trust someone to be your business partner, there is no harm in performing a background check. Calling a couple of professional and personal references can give you a fair idea about their work ethics. Background checks help you avoid any future surprises when you start working with your business partner. If your business partner is used to sitting late and you are not, you can divide responsibilities accordingly.

It is a good idea to check if your partner has any prior experience in running a new business venture. This will tell you how they performed in their previous endeavors.

4. Have an Attorney Vet the Partnership Documents

Make sure you take legal opinion before signing any partnership agreements. It is one of the most useful ways to protect your rights and interests in a business partnership. It is important to have a good understanding of each clause, as a poorly written agreement can make you run into liability issues.

You should make sure to add or delete any relevant clause before entering into a partnership. This is because it is cumbersome to make amendments once the agreement has been signed.

5. The Partnership Should Be Solely Based On Business Terms

Business partnerships should not be based on personal relationships or preferences. There should be strong accountability measures put in place from the very first day to track performance. Responsibilities should be clearly defined and performing metrics should indicate every individual’s contribution towards the business.

Having a weak accountability and performance measurement system is one of the reasons why many partnerships fail. Rather than putting in their efforts, owners start blaming each other for the wrong decisions and resulting in company losses.

6. The Commitment Level of Your Business Partner

All partnerships start on friendly terms and with great enthusiasm. However, some people lose excitement along the way due to everyday slog. Therefore, you need to understand the commitment level of your partner before entering into a business partnership with them.

Your business partner(s) should be able to show the same level of commitment at every stage of the business. If they do not remain committed to the business, it will reflect in their work and can be detrimental to the business as well. The best way to maintain the commitment level of each business partner is to set desired expectations from every person from the very first day.

While entering into a partnership agreement, you need to have an idea about your partner’s added responsibilities. Responsibilities such as taking care of an elderly parent should be given due thought to set realistic expectations. This gives room for compassion and flexibility in your work ethics.

7. What Will Happen If a Partner Exits the Business

Just like any other contract, a business venture requires a prenup. This would outline what happens in case a partner wishes to exit the business. Some of the questions to answer in such a scenario include:

  • How will the exiting party receive compensation?
  • How will the division of resources take place among the remaining business partners?
  • Also, how will you divide the responsibilities?

8. Who Will Be In Charge Of Daily Operations

Even when there is a 50-50 partnership, someone needs to be in charge of daily operations. Positions including CEO and Director need to be allocated to appropriate individuals including the business partners from the beginning.

This helps in creating an organizational structure and further defining the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder. When each individual knows what is expected of him or her, they are more likely to perform better in their role.

9. You Share the Same Values and Vision

Entering into a business partnership with someone who shares the same values and vision makes the running of daily operations considerably easy. You can make important business decisions quickly and define long-term strategies. However, sometimes, even the most like-minded individuals can disagree on important decisions. In such cases, it is essential to keep in mind the long-term goals of the business.

Bottom Line

Business partnerships are a great way to share liabilities and increase funding when setting up a new business. To make a business partnership successful, it is important to find a partner that will help you make fruitful decisions for the business. Thus, pay attention to the above-mentioned integral aspects, as a weak partner(s) can prove detrimental for your new venture.

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Overcoming a Bad Business Location – Is It Possible?

Location

In today’s day and age, experienced business owners advise future entrepreneurs to work on their online presence. They should develop an impressive website and practice social media marketing, among other activities. It almost seems as if you can build a great brand based on an influential online existence. However, even though this is true to a certain extent, don’t undermine the importance of a good business location.

This makes it crucial for new business owners to look into the location they will set up. But it’s still possible that issues like financial constraints can lead to them running a business in a bad location. Many startups seem to fail due to this reason. While there isn’t an immediate solution for the predicament, you can take particular measures to alleviate the circumstances. Here are some of the ways that you can overcome a bad business location:

Implement Impactful Branding and Signage

It’ll be hard for people passing by to avoid your store if you manage to lure them in with attractive signs and branding techniques. Captivating signage always manages to pull potential customers out of their way to stop and have a look. A billboard that appears to stand out from the rest works the best. You shouldn’t opt for one that blends in and looks similar to that of competitors. For improved results, take it a step further and provide customers with customized shopping bags that will make others do a double-take.

Brand Your Business

Oftentimes, you can turn the main disadvantage of your business location into something beneficial. Being the only brand selling something of your niche in the area is better than opening shop in a district where your competitors operate.

There are likely people actively looking for your products in the area because they’re far from the district that has most retail outlets. By branding your location online, in local publications and with flyers, you can attract loyal customers to your shop.

Developing a loyal customer base is more effective than having more people walk into your shop. There’s no point if the people walk out with nothing because ‘there’s another shop here’. These customers can boost their reputation among their friends and family. This is far more valuable in today’s world where word of mouth decides what brands people choose.

Make Friends

Since other businesses will surround you, you can use the opportunity to make friends and form collaborations with these brands. Promotions like these can raise hype for both you and your partners, so it’s beneficial for you to approach them with such an idea in mind.

A good example is that you give customers a discount if they show that they purchased from a collaborating store. While it’s best to form agreements with businesses that complement yours, such a tactic would still work when dealing with unrelated fields.

Leverage Online Presence

By becoming ‘that one brand with the –-online, you have the potential to lure in customers who live far from your business location. A charismatic and humorous social media persona will get you far as well because millennials appreciate brands that make the effort of seeming human. You can even leverage social media hashtags that have a certain amount of momentum. However, don’t generalize it, or make it too narrow.

That way, you’ll either be associated with out-of-topic posts or you won’t get any posts at all. If you have the capital for it, hire a micro-influencer to give your business location a shout out by offering samples or inviting them to your store. Additionally, you can put your skills to good use by uploading videos to YouTube. By making them informative and entertaining, you’ll drive consumers to your location.

Make Your Location Accessible

In today’s era when the youth prefers to make memories without spending too much money, you’ll be benefited by accommodating their demand. Therefore, make your business space an open one. Not literally, but ensure that it’s accessible, even by people who don’t intend to buy anything from you.

Most outlets and retail stores are condescending to potential customers who are just looking around because they don’t plan on buying anything. It’s your job to be welcoming to them by offering space for activities. Moreover, make your business location a hotspot for social activities.

You can build upon this idea by holding events yourself, and keep space reserved for events. This way, people that are close by will know that there’s a trendy-looking place in the area that’s all prepared to hold a small event.

Make Use of Windows

Windows offer an intimate look into what’s going on in a particular location. Hence, they’re commonly associated with curiosity. People have a general instinct to look into shop windows, even if they’re not paying attention.

Enhance awareness of your brand among potential customers by placing your best products at the shop window. Or better yet, make it a more personal experience by allowing others to have a look inside at the activities you hold. These are very significant factors because of how they can encourage people to walk into your store.

Talk to Local Media

There are countless ways that you can boost your visibility in the area. Hence, you can make a seemingly bad location work out for you. By talking to local media outlets, such as radio stations and magazines, you can get some flattering press, which adds value to your brand.

People who hear about you through such channels are likely to want to have a look at your products. If you’re up for it, you can write pieces for local publications or give interviews. This step allows the community to know you better. By developing a closer bond with the people around you, the chances of them putting your first before any other brand become higher. These are just a few ways that you can overcome a bad business location. While you needn’t try all of them, it helps to test more methods.

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How to Form The Culture Of Your Business Startup

culture

Right from the very beginning of your business startup’s formation, you have already begun to create its corporate culture. Whether you have taken an active role in shaping it or allowed it to organically develop, your corporate culture becomes a part of your business based on your behaviors, vision, and values of your brand. Creating a positive organizational culture can allow your business startup to thrive both internally with your employees and externally as they interface with your customer base.

Being proactive at the beginning of your business startups foundation can work to develop a culture that employees take pride in being a part of and also help to express your vision into the long term. Waiting until you are a more established business with a team of employees to worry about your corporate culture can have a negative impact on your business as you forget about the very ideals that make your business startup who it is. With a little bit of management and foresight now, you can craft a corporate culture that follows your business startup’s vision, values, mission, and expected behaviors.

Find Your Purpose

Start by thinking about what the vision for your business really is. You need to think about where you where you are headed and where you want to go. Having some direction early on with your business startup will give you, as well as your employees, something to work towards and aim for. The decisions and choices you make should directly support your vision and allow you to drive your company well into the future.

Along with your vision, you need to create the values that your business startup stands for. This is an important step as this will carve out the ideals of your brand and expectations of your employees. Your employees are just as much a reflection of your business as you are and having values that they can live up to can bring a strong reputation and recognition to your company.

Spread the Message

Once you have developed a vision strategy for your business startup, you need to be vocal about it. You can’t expect your team to catch on if they are unaware of its evolution. Spread the message and allow yourself to be transparent about its meaning to you. Allowing yourself to be open and communicative about how your vision and values align with the success of your business startup can create the buzz your company needs to take it to the next level.

Hire According to Your Values

As you add to your team, you need to find the right fit when it comes to your company culture. You want to hire employees that display your brand values as it will be an easier transition into your corporate culture to respect and stand behind what your business stands for.

As you work to select employees to work at your business startup find out what your values mean to them. Look for ways that they already integrate these values into their daily life. A prospective employee that possess experience, as well as your core values, can be a valuable addition to your business startup as they can bring that positivity your corporate culture needs. You can count on them to spread your vision message to others as well as be contagious to other employees that may have not fully onboard with your company purpose.

Reward and Appreciate

It’s always nice to offer your employees perks, but as a businessstartup, the funding may not be there to give a lot. Recognition of your team goes a long way especially for those that display your company values in the work that they do. Develop a reward system to appreciate those that are incorporating the vision of your business startup with customers or in their work responsibilities and choices they make on a day-to-day basis. This small act can boost your corporate culture and make your business startup a company that employee value and cherish.

Think About The Past

With a focus on the future it can be easy to forget about your past, but how your started and where you came from is the very foundation that shaped your business today. Think about your history and the hard work that took to get where your business startup is today. Allow your employees to also understand the story behind your company and what it took to get it to its beginning stages.

Your past is a significant part of the strength of your business and most likely is what you drew your values from. Your employees need to understand the motivation and drive that propelled your business startup forward. Be upfront about your history and embrace it with a furry as it is the sole reason you are in the position you are today. When your employees see your roots, this will impact how they feel about the company and the vision that you have created to take it into the future.

Focus Daily On Your Culture

It is not enough to create your vision and values and be done with your corporate culture. It needs constant cultivation to prevent it from going to the wayside and becoming negative in a blink of an eye. You have an amazing opportunity as a business startup to start your corporate culture from the ground up as it is much easier to manage then change.

Make it a part of your routine to enforce the vision and lead by your company values. With you focus on maintaining a corporate culture that employees enjoy being a part of, you will reap the benefits from their improved productivity and performance.

When you focus on your corporate culture from the beginning stages of your business startup, you can easily create an environment that is positive for all that work there. You will see behaviors that are in line with your core values and strength in your corporate vision. The work starts now but will be well worth your efforts.

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Small Business Should Invest in Big Data and Analytics

Data

Big data refers to huge volumes of structured and unstructured information; however, processing such massive volumes of facts via traditional information management tools is inefficient and impossible. To understand big figures you have to realize the devices that are collecting it today e.g. bar code scanners, mobile cameras, CCTV cameras, motion sensors, smoke alarms, web analytical tools, CRMs, etc. From the examples, you can see that these devices collect a vast array of data types hence the structured and unstructured part in the definition. The sheer velocity at which the data is being produced cannot be controlled and processed using traditional methods and tools.

However, the use of big information and incorporation of big data analytical technology gives businesses the competitive edge over their competitors.

Big Data and Small Businesses

It is only a thing of the past when terms like big information and business intelligence were associated with large enterprises only. Today, small businesses have to leverage the facts they are collecting in order to remain a part of the competition. For years, cost has remained the main reason why small businesses did not adopt big data analytical technologies, but this has changed now. There are budget-friendly tools available for small businesses to take advantage of the data they are collecting today. According to some experts, small businesses can take better advantage of big information since they are able to make the necessary changes far more quickly than large enterprises i.e. real-time response to insights from available data.

According to an IDG study in 2016, 78% of the large enterprises agree that big data strategy has the power to change how businesses have always operated. This shows the acceptance of big data technology and strategies for large enterprises and strengthens the fact that small businesses could become irrelevant if they did not adopt the same strategies.

Benefits of Big Data Analytics

Big Data and Big Companies, a report by IIA Director of Research, Tom Davenport, reveals that businesses are benefitting greatly from big data analytics especially in improving their products, making business decisions faster and reducing costs. Here are some ways small businesses can benefit from big information.

·         Cost Savings

The upfront cost of implementing big information tools and strategies is high undoubtedly, but the long term benefits of doing so are matchless. The healthcare industry is a great example of how the use of big data can help businesses reduce their costs regardless of their size. Using predictive analytics, Medicare and Medicaid Services forestalled more than $210 million fraud in healthcare with just 2 years of utilizing the aforementioned technology.

In addition to preventing frauds, small businesses can also reduce their costs by steering clear of creating more inventory than needed, including better partners in the supply chain, etc.

·         Improved Decision Making

This is the biggest benefit of big data. It allows businesses to expedite decision making by processing the data fast and giving insights in timely manner. In the past, business decisions were reserved for future strategies in the light of available data and the trends that were observed in it. The amount of data that businesses are sitting on today is huge and thus more powerful insights are to be gained from it. This vast amount of information requires the use of modern big data hardware technologies. Once both the things are in place for a business, they can understand customers better, create products that are a closer reflection of what customers want and develop a brand based on most reverenced values.

·         Impenetrable Security

Businesses are more focused today on using big details to improve their core capabilities, but less attended to a more serious concerns i.e. cyber threats and security breaches. Almost every small, medium and large business is connected to the internet today. Moreover, the Internet of Things has broadened the attackable security surface for businesses making it easier for cyber criminals to attack networks and penetrate company databases.

The biggest concern for modern businesses is that they have to “respond” to cyber attacks that have already occurred rather than being able to prevent them from occurring. The use of big information and big data analytical tools can be a game changer in this area allowing businesses to prevent any security attacks way before they are executed.

Key Technologies Helping Businesses Make the Best of Big Data

As a small business, you will have to familiarize with various technologies that help you store, analyze and take action on big data. Here are some important ones:

·         Hadoop

It’s a framework supporting the storing of large amounts of information using an open-source approach. Once information is stored, Hadoop enables the use of a variety of applications using “clustered hardware” at its base. Due to the cluster of commodity hardware, it becomes possible and easy for businesses to process big data despite its increasing volume.

·         Data Mining

This is the technology that enables business owners to capture insights, patterns and trends from big information that otherwise cannot be obtained with a traditional approach. Data mining is what allows you to jump in a large sea of structured and unstructured data, make sense of it all and produce analytical insights that help businesses with real-time and future decisions.

·         Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics walk side by side with data mining. Artificial is at the heart of predictive analytics, enabling business owners to adjust their present strategies by giving predictions about what will transpire for the business based on existing details.

·         Text Analysis and Mining

One huge concern for modern business is to analyze the noise on various web platforms such as forums, blogs, social networks, etc. to understand what customers expect from a particular brand. Finding out about brand mentions and understanding customer’s impression of your brand can help you readjust your marketing approach to gain customer loyalty. Text mining helps small to large sized businesses go through text data from emails, blog posts, social networks, etc. and hear customers “voice”.

With the rise of smartphones, artificial intelligence and IoT (internet of things) it has become clearly visible that businesses will now have to handle mountains and mountains of data, and make use of big data analytical and processing technologies to have the competitive edge.

 

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