20 articles Articles posted in Business

Five Ways to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level

Five Ways to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

With the pandemic still having an effect on people’s incomes it’s no surprise to learn that many small businesses have popped up in the last couple of years. In fact having a side hustle is now pretty commonplace even for those who are working full time. From baking cakes to doing hair to nail art and much more besides women are starting small businesses in their droves and the results are looking fantastic. But what can you do to increase the likelihood that your small business will flourish?

Improve Your Sales Skills

Even if you are the absolute best at your craft or the services you offer that doesn’t necessarily mean they automatically know how to sell yourself signing up to a short course with Smart Sales Training Consultants can give you the skills that you need to not only create the services or product for your business but to help you to sell them more effectively.

Get Some Marketing Help

just like with sales marketing is an always second nature to every person who runs their own small business. Especially now that social media is such a huge aspect of marketing, it takes some serious expertise to keep costs down while getting your returns to a maximum. Many local small marketing businesses will offer consultations to teach you how to maximise your marketing and you may also find that their services are affordable enough that you can outsource it to an expert altogether.

Set Some Goals

With so many small businesses being born from a small idea of creative spark it’s easy to just go with the flow and see how things turn out. However once your business is established setting yourself some goals can help you to take your small business to the next level. The goals don’t have to be lofty, we’re not talking about £1 million worth of sales, but setting yourself some milestones such as 100 sales in a month or a level of turnover which means you’re making a decent enough profit that you can give up your day job can really help you to focus your efforts to where they will be more profitable.

Team Up With Other Business Owners

Take a look at the niche in which your business falls. If it’s the type of business whereThere are lots of other complimentary businesses within the same name it may be worth reaching out to some of your fellow business owners (as long as they’re not competitors) to see if there is a way that you can team up or collaborate. The advantage here is that you will get access to the other businesses existing customer base as they will with yours and a collaboration could lead to some very profitable business for you both.

Create A Loyalty Program

According to surveys it costs three times more to get a new customer than to sell something to an existing customer. Investing a small amount in a loyalty program can help you to retain existing customers and make them feel more valued in the long run which means they’ll keep coming back to you rather than turning to your competitors.

Ways to Promote a New Business

Five Ways to Promote a New BusinessStarting a new business can seem really daunting, and while the pandemic was a very difficult time for millions of existing businesses, it was actually a period of huge growth for new businesses, with over 400,000 new companies launching during lockdown. Now that things are starting to get back to normal, there are more options for promoting a new business and here are a few of them:

Trade Shows

If your business falls into certain niches, there are often trade shows where you can go to exhibit your wares or services. If you’ve got the budget for it, using professional exhibition stand designers will give you the edge as you” stand out amongst your competitors and your business will look professional and well-established.

Leaflet Drops

If you run a service which covers a particular area, leaflet drops are still one of the most effective ways to get the word out. According to industry studies, 48% of consumers respond to leaflet ads while 79% of recipients either keep, pass on to someone, glance over the contents of the flyer. It’s relatively cheap too – using an app like Canva to design your own flyer and paying a youngster to deliver them means your return on investment will likely be high.

Open Days

If you have a physical shop that people can visit, holding an open day is a cheap and fun way to showcase your wares. Offer drinks and a few nibbles to people who pop in and you could even offer discounts or loyalty cards to customers who sign up to your email marketing. Another great thing to do is asking any other shops nearby if they want to collaborate and making a much larger event that you would all benefit from.

Get a Mascot

This one might seem a little bit bonkers, but hear me out! Last week, I took Sausage for an eye test and we saw two women walking along the broadway wearing dinosaur costumes. They were promoting a new shop and handing out leaflets, but seeing something so bonkers and out of place made it really stick in our heads. Using a mascot in a busy area will definitely garner valuable attention for your business and make it all the more memorable.

Speaking at Local Events

Volunteer organisations, libraries and local business groups often need speakers for meetings. You’ll benefit from the name recognition, new contacts, and publicity you gain from being a speaker at these events. While it can seem intimidating for you to speak in front of an audience, it is also one of the fastest ways to grow your network and build authority. As a new business owner, being seen in your local community is key to business promotion.

How To Balance Business and Parenthood

Working parents understand how difficult it is to juggle a career with child care. Parents who own their own businesses, on the other hand, face an additional layer of difficulty. To an extent, business-owning parents are trying to juggle two kinds of infants: the children they are trying to raise and the business they are trying to build. To be successful, both require nurturing and attention, especially in their early phases, and business-owning parents must learn to meticulously plan and prioritise their time to make sure that each receives the care they necessitate and expect.

Here we look at some tips to help you to balance parenthood and business.

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Delegate, outsource and learn to say no

As a business-owning parent, balancing your venture and family time can be tricky, as both require a significant lot of time and resources. The sooner you realise you can’t be in two places at the same time, the better. Prioritize the moments with your children that require your full attention, and make sure you have someone to stand in for you during those times. Outsourcing is a popular strategy for many small business owners, for example, paying a digital marketing agency to handle your online marketing or an SEO specialist to get your ranking up. This frees up valuable time for you to spend with your family.

Prioritize your health and wellbeing

Use mindfulness or relaxation techniques. Set your well-being as a top priority. When life becomes an unending demand on your time, the first thing to go is your self-care. However, with 40% of firms not having a succession plan in place, taking care of yourself is critical to the future of your business – as well as ensuring you are the best parent that you can be.

Create clear boundaries between home and work – and stick to them

Establish firm time limits. Define when you are and are not available, and stick to those boundaries. This is a good lesson for your kids to learn. When you are not available, you are not available – unless it is an emergency, of course. However, when it is time to be with your family, you leave work behind and be entirely present with them. Create home/work boundaries and stick to them.

Don’t expect perfect balance every day

If we believe that we can remain balanced every day, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing we are pushing extra hard or disregarding our business. Reassure yourself that your children benefit from seeing you work hard at times and that spending quality time with your children benefits your governance

Be in charge of your own calendar

One of the benefits of being your own boss is that you can control your own calendar and be in charge of your schedule. Arrange meetings with clients when the children are at school, switch off completely when they come home from school, and do your admin work when they are in bed, for example. Find a routine that works for you and your family.

Is Your Business Doing Enough To Make A Splash Online?

Online shopping was growing in popularity long before the pandemic hit, but lockdowns have triggered a surge in online sales and a shift towards ordering via websites and apps. If your business is struggling to attract attention, or sales have stalled during the Covid-19 crisis, here are some effective ploys you can utilise to make a splash online

Social media

Social media was once just a platform for keeping in touch with friends and relatives, but it has developed and evolved into a powerful marketing tool for businesses across many sectors. Social media apps not only enable companies and brands to promote and sell products and services, but they also provide incredible opportunities to connect with followers, to build a client base and to benefit from customer engagement and feedback. If you’re not already using social media, conduct research to establish how your target customer spends their time online and choose channels that are popular among relevant demographics. Create profiles, start building your following and use the content you share to forge relationships, to get to know your customers better and to tell them more about your brand. You can use photos, blogs, video clips, live stories and customer reviews to showcase your products, get your followers involved and enhance your brand image. It’s also a great idea to use social posts to spread the word about new products or promotions. Posts can go viral in an instant and users like to get involved in competitions and giveaways. 

Image by https://www.pexels.com/photo/selective-focus-photography-of-person-using-iphone-x-1542252/

Search engine optimisation

Search engines are increasingly popular, with Google alone now processing more than 3 million searches per minute. As a business owner, you can capitalise on the power of search engines by optimising content to improve your search ranking. Over 75% of people won’t move past page 1 when they use a search engine, and this is why it’s so important to try and elevate your links to the top. You want your content to be visible if a web user types phrases or keywords that are linked to the products or services you offer. SEO is complex and if you don’t have expertise or experience in digital marketing, it’s beneficial to enlist professional help. Link building services are designed to enhance content and improve search ranking, driving traffic to your website. It’s also essential to understand the impact of using different types of content, for example, infographics, images and video clips, and to prioritise quality and originality. Content should be useful, informative and engaging. By outsourcing digital marketing or hiring agencies that have specific areas of expertise, you can improve results and create more high-quality leads.

Picture credit: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/seo-google-search-engine-browser-411385/

Reviews

Did you know that over 90% of web users read reviews before buying products? Reviews have never carried more weight, and this is why it’s critical for businesses to go all-out to impress customers and attract rave reviews. If your score is lower than you’d like, or you don’t currently have many reviews, there are ways to improve ratings. Encourage customers to leave feedback online after ordering, share reviews you have received via social media or your website and make it easy for previous clients to give you a rating. As well as offering incentives, for example, 10% off your next order or the chance to enter a competition if you leave a review, you could also provide links in delivery confirmation emails or send personalised emails after a customer has received the product. 

One of the most beneficial steps business owners can take to enhance their online presence and generate more sales is to utilise feedback. If you’re asking people to leave reviews or write comments, take the time to read and digest them and respond to followers and customers. Feedback can be incredibly useful, even if it’s negative. You can use comments to identify potential weaknesses and make changes that could prevent negative feedback in the future and increase your score. You might find that people are complaining about delivery charges, for example, or saying that they would like more information or images on product description pages. Consumers often add ideas and suggestions to their reviews, which can be helpful for business owners hoping to provide a better customer experience. You might consider adding a live chat feature, an FAQ section or an annual delivery pass for a set fee after reading comments, for example. 

Image source: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/feedback-group-communication-2044700/

There has never been a better time for businesses to be proactive in attracting attention online. Screen time is increasing, people are more inclined to look for services and products and shop online and social media provides amazing opportunities to build connections and relationships. Take these tips on board to drive traffic, create and convert more leads and showcase your brand.

Growing Your Online Business Overseas

One of the easiest ways to take your business to the next level is to find a brand new market that you can start to grow it in. You might be able to find that market domestically by appealing to new demographics, for instance, but the most common way of doing it is to expand your business overseas. However, if you want to make sure you acclimate as best as possible, you want to try and grow it naturally, rather than simply exporting what you’re already doing.

Growing Your Online Business Overseas

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Set it up separately

There are undeniably organizational benefits to running an existing business overseas. However, ensuring that your business follows two sets of regulations, handles tax duties appropriately, and otherwise operates smoothly in two different countries can be difficult. It might instead be easier to start your business abroad from scratch, adapting what you need to without needing to change how you run your existing business. It might take a little more time to raise the capital but it allows you to be more flexible on both fronts.

Separate your finances

Just as you should make sure you have separate business and personal bank accounts, you should separate your finances between the countries that you do business in, as well. There are plenty of services that can help you set up an international bank account and make it easier for you to transfer money from one to the other. Just be sure to keep records of every transaction between your different accounts as, when it comes to overseas transfers, the taxman can be particularly skeptical and you want to make sure you have all the evidence of good behavior you need.

Get to know the country

Simply put, there may be barriers that you have yet to consider when it comes to running a business in one country compared to the other. They could be two different markets, with different competitors and norms for how the industry works. You also need to be wary of differences in business etiquette, marketing message, and even political climate and property rights. Some countries could be risky to start a business in depending on what party gets in charge, as has happened many times.

Are you ready to handle it all?

If it’s a relatively small business, then running two at the same time, or at least running one in two countries, might not be all that difficult compared to what you usually do. However, if you have your hands full with just one, then you might need to consider how hands-on you can actually be. It might benefit you to develop good working relationships with a managerial team that is native to the country that you’re expanding to. Not only can it help you delegate, but it can also give you an advantage in avoiding some international relations snafus.

Taking your business overseas isn’t always easy. For that reason, finding the organic approach to grow it in a new market can help you find your feet and, more importantly, avoid some red tape.

Make More Money Online as in 2020 with These Stunning Hacks

There are a lot of things that play a massive part in helping you to make more money online these days. It is so important to make sure you come up with some excellent ideas that will help you to make more money online. There are a lot of things you can do these days, and you are going to need to focus on helping you to make as much money as you can these days.

You have to think about some of the best ways of allowing you to bring in additional revenue, which is essential in this coronavirus era when people are losing jobs and not being able to work. Focus on some of the most effective ways of being able to make more money, and these are some of the best ways of being able to do this right now.

Pixabay.com

Sell Antiques

One of the great ways of being able to make money online is by selling antiques. Now, of course, you need to buy them first so that you can sell them on for a profit. You have a lot of things you need to work on when it comes to making a profit this way. Now there are plenty of tips to buying antiques online, but this is something that you need to be careful with so you are not losing a lot of money buying fake antiques.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is one of the most effective ways of making additional money, and this is something that you don’t need any qualifications to be able to achieve. Try to make sure you work on the best and most effective ways of dropshipping – this is similar to ecommerce, except that you don’t take delivery of the items, instead having them shipped directly to the customer. You can make good money from dropshipping, but it is certainly time-consuming, and this is something you need to keep in mind.

Blogging

Blogging is a great way of being able to earn additional money and revenue, and this is a great way of generating additional money. Now, there are a lot of things that you can do when it comes to creating and managing a blog and monetizing the blog is one of the best ways of being able to do this. Make sure you look for some of the best ways of being able to make money as a blogger, and this is an effective way of being able to make the most of this.

Ebooks

If you are looking for some excellent side hustles that you can use to make money from home, and one of the key ways of being able to achieve this is writing ebooks. Amazon Kindle has made the ebook world explode, and you can enjoy self-publishing your own ebooks very easily. Trying to get a few ebooks published at the same time is a good way of being able to generate a bit of additional income.

These are some of the best ways of being able to make more money and raise additional funds online right now. You have to make sure you do as much as possible to work on bringing in more money, and this is one of the key things that you are going to need to work on right now. These are going to help you make more money, and this is essential for you to work on as much as you possibly can.

3 Principles to Keep in Mind When Starting a Business with a Friend

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Thanks to the resources and possibilities available to us all today via the web, entrepreneurship is skyrocketing, with more and more people feeling driven to start their own businesses, and to take their professional and financial lives into their own hands.

An entrepreneur’s life can certainly be very fulfilling and rewarding, but it’s also inevitably going to be challenging. Even the most accomplished entrepreneurs in the world tend to have a good number of failures under their belts by the time they end up “making it big.”

While the life of an individual entrepreneur can be challenging, though, what about if you happen to be starting a business with a friend.

On the one hand, this can be a very powerful and positive experience, but on the other hand, there are all sorts of new pitfalls that await.

Here are a few principles to keep in mind when starting a business with a friend.

  • Look out for one another

This point should be self-evident, but if you’re starting a business with a friend it’s essential that you don’t both let your competitive natures, and the stress of the job, turn you into rivals rather than partners.

A business is unlikely to thrive if the two driving forces behind it are at loggerheads, and your friendship certainly isn’t likely to remain in good condition either, if you and your friend are practically coming to blows on a regular basis.

So, look out for one another, and be sure to always treat the business as a collaborative experience. Take steps to protect each other in the event of catastrophe, by, for example, looking into things like mortgage payment protection insurance.

And, by no means must you ever throw your business partner under the bus if a client is unhappy.

  • Choose your business partner very carefully

As mentioned at the beginning of the article; entrepreneurship is filled with challenges and obstacles, and the challenges and obstacles are, in some ways, magnified when you’re running a business alongside another person.

One consequence of this is that your partnership will be placed under stress, and you will be in a vulnerable situation, with regards to what the other person choose to do.

What that means is that you must choose your business partner very carefully, to minimise the chances that you will be exploited, or that the partnership will crumble under the strain.

  • Good communication is essential

A business partnership absolutely requires good communication if it’s going to succeed – because without good communication, you and your business partner will almost certainly end up working at cross purposes to one another, stepping on each other’s toes, and unintentionally undermining each other’s efforts.

Be sure to schedule in regular meetings and catch-up sessions, and have systems in place whereby you both know to consult with one another if you are presented with a particular opportunity, or have to make a particular decision.

For those circumstances where you can’t both be actively involved to the same extent, you should have agreements in place beforehand that determine how you should each conduct yourselves.

5 Entrepreneurs Every Millennial Should Follow

More millennials are now choosing to be entrepreneurs. Once viewed as an unconventional path for success has now become a method that makes many young ones are able to make thousands a month if they apply themselves and work hard.

There are many success stories of regular people doing extraordinary things. These entrepreneurs started out with nothing, and they’ve built an empire. These are the successes millennials today should emulate.

These are the 5 entrepreneurs every Millennial should follow.

1) Gary Vaynerchuk

When we think of digital marketing Gary Vee definitely comes to mind! He’s a special individual from how he talks, the content he puts out and his utter assertiveness. As the chairman of VaynerX and CEO of VaynerMedia, it’s fitting that he’s known as a serial entrepreneur.

As a young boy in Belarus, he worked with his father selling wine. The marketing genius that he is, he transitioned his fathers business online and went from selling 3-60 million in a period of 5 years. If that’s not inspiring in itself; I don’t know what is?!

Gary Vee puts out remarkable content on his social media accounts. If you’re looking for the truth, for inspiration or to learn digital marketing. Closely following Gary Vee because he’s truly fearless.

2) Grant Cardone

At 60 years young he’s an absolute sales savage!!! He provides training for Fortune 500 companies, businesses and entrepreneurs with his highly successful sales platform.

Additionally, Cordone is a real estate guru in his own right! He has built a real estate throne with a $900 million evaluation on his real estate portfolio. With over $800 million in real estate transactions covering close to 4700 units across America. He built with this with help from his close family only.

Millennials should be closely watching what Cordone does because he’s humble beginnings can be relatable to anyone wanting to create an empire of their own just ask Tai Lopez.

3) Tony Robbins

Yes, Mr motivational himself has become a household name in the entrepreneur world. He’s also a best-selling author, philanthropist and a highly successful business and life strategist. People love to hear him talk, he’s very motivating; no wonder he’s had 50 million people at his events over the last 40 years.

People are very enamoured with his spirit and his way of making you feel as if you can do anything. This is why over the years he too has inspired many people to follow their dreams be successful.

American Express has named him one of the ”Top six Business Leaders in the world.” he’s worked with US Presidents, to entertainers, sports teams, billionaires and so many more. How much more authority do you need??

4) Robert Kiyosaki

When most entrepreneurs are starting out they read ”Rich Dad Poor Dad.” courtesy of Robert Kiyosaki the immortal. He’s an American businessman and best-selling author. His ”Rich Dad Poor Dad” book series has sold over 27 million copies worldwide and translated into 51 languages. 

If only for the books alone, entrepreneurs should take an interest in what this man says. 

5) Mark Zuckerberg 

We can call him Mr. Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Zuckerberg is one of the ultimate goals for entrepreneurs. Yet, he too started with nothing; in fact, he was a college dropout. Not much needs to be said about him, just check his net worth. Just remember if he could it, you can do it too.

Work and Home – Five Ways to Keep Them Separate

How to Separate Home and Work LifePhoto by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

As someone who works from home, I’d be the first to say that there are a lot of pros to the arrangement. I get to work in a familiar environment, Maureen the Pup doesn’t have to be left by herself and I get to dictate my own hours (and eat lunch whenever I want!). However, there are also downsides, and it can be difficult to create separation between home and work life – I say this as I sit here typing on a Sunday afternoon, between cooking dinner and doing loads of laundry!

There are, however, ways to ensure that work and home don’t bleed together – here are a few of them:

Invest in Office Space

This might seem counterproductive if you want the freedom of self-employment, but there are lots of small office spaces where you can work, distraction free, which don’t cost a fortune. Click Offices London guide can help you to find serviced office space in the City, which will fit your budget and help you to look more professional to your clients.

Set Work Hours

I’m very guilty of taking work at a moments notice, which means working at times when I should be with family. Set yourself hours in which you’ll accept work and don’t do anything outside of this. You could even set yourself an out of hours notification for your emails so that clients won’t expect to hear back from you until the next day. It can be daunting, thinking about losing work, but setting parameters like this is good for everyone.

Ditch the Work Phone

For those of us with work phones, consider implementing a ‘no phone’ policy at home. There’s nothing worse than a fun time with the family being spoilt by a call from work about something that could wait till Monday. Of course, there are some exceptions to this but in most cases, the job can wait till you’re on the clock.

Delegate as Much Work as Possible.

If you have others that work with or for you, make sure to assign a reasonable amount of tasks to them, instead of trying to do everything yourself. Give your assistant or team members tasks that are lower on your priority list, but that you can trust them to accomplish. You may also think about assigning tasks or activities that will build and enhance their skills.

Keep Your Social Media Separate

If you’d like to separate your work relationships from your personal ones, it’s a good idea to keep them separate online as well. The easiest way to avoid overlap is to use different social networking sites for different purposes. For example, Twitter and LinkedIn are excellent tools for developing your professional network, whereas Facebook is often better suited to sharing photos and news with your family and close friends. If your business page is linked to your profile, there’s temptation to answer questions doing downtime, but you should try to keep notifications off at weekends, at the very least.

How to Make Your Home Office Feel Secure

Feel Safe in a Secure HomeWorking from home has many advantages, but it can be difficult to separate home from business. If you have an office in your home, you might worry about security, especially if you keep documents containing sensitive information, cash or payment details. With new GDPR rules in place, it’s even more important to protect your client’s information, or you could land yourself a hefty fine. With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about some ways to make your home office feel more secure:

Barriers

Having barriers from Barriers Direct across your driveway might not stop people from coming onto your property, but they’ll give a clear sign that security is on your mind and that you want to keep a line between yourself and the outside world. They also stop people using your driveway as a turning circle, which can be very annoying if you live on a busy main road.

Lights

Exterior lights are proven to be a deterrent to people coming onto your property for nefarious reasons late at night, but they also give you an extra feeling of safety if you come and go when it’s dark. Use a selection of carefully placed lights to give you illumination in all of the areas you’re likely to use, once the sun goes down, for the ultimate feeling of safety, but be mindful of lights which might shine into your bedroom if a cat wanders past!

Get a Dog

While I’m not suggesting you have a team of German Shepherds patrolling your perimeter, dogs can really help to make you feel secure in your home office. When Sausage was a baby, Husband worked nights and having Chuck there made me feel so much safer as he’d let me know if someone so much as breathed in the direction of our home!

Camera ACTION

You’ve probably seen headlines about burglars being foiled by security camera footage. This is one home office security solution that works as both a deterrent and a means to get justice. You can get security cameras that are part of a complete home office security system, or you can use cameras that work on their own. Whichever way you go, we recommend using a security camera with a mobile app, so you can see footage in real time and store it if you ever need to go to the police.

Get a Safe

If you’ve got things in your house which are of serious worth, installing a safe might be a good way to feel more secure about your belongings. Safes can be good for keeping company records and payment information safe, too. If anyone does manage to break into your home office, it will be a lot more difficult for them to steal anything of value, and in a lot of cases, having a safe can make your contents insurance premiums go down. Make sure they’re installed by a reputable company and think about going for a safe which has two separate locking mechanisms for an added layer of security.

What do you do to ensure you feel safe and secure in your home office? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.