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Archive for the ‘What You Need To Know About Small Business’ Category

Intelligence Tools Work For All Sizes Of Businesses

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on January 6, 2020 at 3:16 pm

Only big businesses can afford fancy data analytics, right? Business intelligence tools are much too powerful for small businesses, or are they? Not only are these tools not exclusively for large corporations, but they can also be the key to survival for a small business or entrepreneur.  The ability to handle large amounts of data efficiently can help small businesses be more competitive, save money, save time, tailor the product to their particular needs and do it all quickly and easily.

Staying Ahead of the Competition

The business world is even more competitive for smaller players than the large ones. Using the best business intelligence tools available can help a business get that extra edge. The ability to react quickly to new information can make the difference between a business that succeeds and one that becomes a statistic.

Tight Margins

Small businesses don’t have much room to make mistakes and often try to cut corners to save money. Businesses with fewer employees often try to get along by manually entering data to save costs without realizing that the right software product can actually save them money in the long run. The one-time cost of the tools is much less than the long-term cost of extra employees.

Real-Time Analysis

Unlike the old manual methods of data collection and analysis, today’s tools can handle huge amounts of data in almost no time. This gives you the information you need to make changes quickly and respond to market trends or sudden news events that might affect your business. Is a hurricane approaching the Gulf? Send shipments to another port to avoid losses.

Flexibility

Today’s powerful tools can be easily customized for an individual business’s needs. You decide what information you need and set your own priorities. Have sales figures, market trends and predictions at your fingertips.

Simple to Use

Gone are the days of needing large servers to crunch numbers and employees dedicated solely to the process. Small businesses can use today’s business intelligence in all kinds of environments on all kinds of devices. Maybe you sell your products on a laptop from a local cafe where you set up your mobile office. You can even find tools to run your business on a smartphone.

Not only can your small business afford to use business intelligence tools, but you can’t afford not to. Use these tools to analyze large amounts of data to be more competitive, maximize precious resources of time and money and set things up just the way you want them.

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4 Soft Skills That You Need To Be A Successful New Business Leader

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on December 23, 2019 at 2:18 pm

Starting your own small business can be very exciting and rewarding. There will be some obvious challenges that you will face, and when it comes to building a successful company there will be a few elements that you will need as a great leader. 

So if you have a startup idea, make sure you that the following four areas are ones that you can comfortably deliver on. 

Have Belief In Your Concept

When you are first starting your business, there is nobody else who is going to sell your ideas for you. You have to be the biggest supporter of what you do. That means that you not only need to have a strong belief in everything that you do, you should also be able to talk about it with confidence and ease. 

When you’re talking about your products or services, you need to get across the key message flawlessly. You cannot afford for there to be any confusion. Find simple and effective ways of talking about your concepts so that you can sell it to investors, employees, and customers. 

Have A Passion For What You Do

When you are starting out with nothing, times will be hard. Building a business and a reputation for excellence takes a lot of time and effort. During that time you will need to remain focused and motivated. That means that you will need to have a considerable amount of passion, enthusiasm, and energy in order to continually drive yourself and your business forward. 

Know Your Limits

Nobody is skilled and experienced in every aspect of running a business. We all have our strengths and we all have our weaknesses. And that is okay. You don’t have to be the best at everything. Understanding where your limits lay will mean that you can succeed. 

There is no point in putting time and effort into areas of your business that you are not skilled in, such as IT support when there are companies such as Hudson Valley IT Services, LLC who you can hire to manage these for you. Outsourcing may seem like a cost that you don’t want, however, by getting a better IT service than you can manage yourself, you’ll be freeing up your own time and resources meaning that you can get on and do what you do best.

Delegate Effectively 

Being efficient is business means being able to delegate well. So often managers hoard tasks for many different reasons. Sometimes this is born out of mistrust, believing that your team would let you down if you delegated it, other times this may be because there is a perceived glory in being the person that gets that job done. 

Your business is more likely to be a success if you empower your team. You can do this by delegating more and handing over responsibility for key tasks. This will help you to develop a much stronger team that have a real interest in making your company thrive. 

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5 Common Social Media Mistakes Businesses Make

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on December 18, 2019 at 2:15 pm

With over 3.2 billion people on social media, it’s no question that a good social media strategy has a major impact on the success of a business. Social media can be a huge opportunity for new businesses to be discovered and for established businesses to reach new markets.

However, when utilized incorrectly, social media can have a negative impact on your business. In this article, we outline some of the most common mistakes that new and well-established businesses make, so you can avoid them when implementing your social media strategies.

1. Failing to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy

The first big mistake businesses make is failing to have a plan for how they want to utilize social media. Just like every other part of your business, you need to have a clear set of objectives before diving in. Here are some things to consider when developing your social media marketing strategy:

  1. Set actionable goals that you can track
  2. Research and know your audience ahead of time
  3. Decide on which metrics matter most to you (engagement, likes, CTR, etc.)
  4. Research your competition
  5. Create content that engages your audience

2. Not Being Committed to Social Media

Social media is a commitment. Failing to follow through on your social media strategy can be a major inhibitor when trying to establish your business on the various networks.

After you develop your social media strategy, stick to it! Track your goals and analyze your results. Not every attempt will be a success, but every result will bring you more data and more opportunities to fine-tune and develop your strategy. Information is power, and the more information you can collect about your audience, the more success you will have.

3. Using Too Many Networks

When you’re just starting out on social media, your first instinct may be to create accounts for every social media platform you can think of. This is just setting your business up for failure. Spreading yourself too thin can result in not sticking to your strategy and failing to connect with your audience on any of the social networks.

Instead, find 2-3 networks to start with (if you are a “solo-preneur” maybe start with 1-2). In developing your social media strategy, you should be doing a considerable amount of research about your audience. Find out where your audience hangs out the most and start there. As you start to see more success, then think about branching off into the other networks. Using tools like Trello can be a great way to keep your social media efforts organized, especially when working in teams.

4. Posting Too Often

The main purpose of using social media for your business is to get in front of more people. So, to get in front of more people you should be non-stop posting your content all over social media, right?

Wrong! Posting too often can be a great way to annoy your followers and ultimately push them away. On the other hand, posting too little can also have a negative impact on your social media strategies.

According to Volusion, here’s how often you should be posting to some of the major platforms:

  1. Facebook:1-2 times per day
  2. Twitter:5-10 times per day
  3. Pinterest:5-30 times per day
  4. LinkedIn:20 times per month
  5. Instagram:1-2 times per day

5. Failing to Engage with Your Followers

Social media is all about the interaction. People come to social platforms to connect and communicate with other people and brands.

This is your chance to share your company’s voice and really connect with your audience. Engaging with your followers not only shows that you care but also creates a sense of trust between you and your potential customers. When your followers ask questions or leave comments on your posts, reply and give them a great experience. This can be a great opportunity to not only earn yourself a customer but to also create an advocate for your brand.

Final Thoughts

Although these mistakes are common, they are easily fixed. Having a good social media marketing strategy in place with clear objectives can help to eliminate many of these mistakes before they become a problem.

Which of these mistakes have you caught in your own business?

 

About the Author

Nick Nalbach is a project manager and entrepreneur. As the founder and operator of Nine-Five to Freedom, Nick seeks to help fellow aspiring entrepreneurs and bloggers with his actionable advice, strategies, and real-life case studies. Follow him on Twitter at @ninefivefree

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4 Ways To Make Your Business More Efficient

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on December 18, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Although it may sound like a cliche, in business, time means money. Efficiency is therefore key to the productivity and profit margins of any business. So what can you do to make sure your day to day office activities are as efficient as possible?

Talk to your staff

Although taking time out of your day to simply talk to your staff may seem counter-intuitive, getting to know what motivates them will pay off in the long run.

Find out what they want, what makes them tick and what’s important to them. For example, many staff these days value a work life balance so you might find that you get more productivity out of them if they are in control of their own hours or are able to work from home. Remember that what works for some people may not work with others. Some people benefit from a tighter management strategy and respond well to strict KPIs and accountability whereas others prefer to be trusted to complete their work without supervision.

Taking the time to understand the management strategies that work for each staff member will significantly increase productivity. And at the end of the day, happy staff are far more productive than unhappy ones.

Embrace the cloud

Cloud computing is fast becoming the norm for many organisations. By storing your data, programs and applications on the internet, you could help to streamline operations and boost productivity.

Amongst other things, cloud computing offers faster systems which allow staff to work more efficiently. With cloud computing, you will always be working with the latest software available which means that you can work faster. You will also be supported by state of the art data back-up and recovery systems, which means that if there is some kind of system malfunction, you can pick up where you left off without much disruption.

Another huge benefit of cloud computing is access to information and programs from any location. This allows your staff to work from various offices, access information whilst off site or even work from home. Amongst other things, this could cut down on sick days as well as allow staff to work more efficiently with no distractions from the comfort of their own home.

Audit management software

Whatever manual audit management system you use, it can be a time consuming process. Whether it’s dealing with external vendors, internal staff or client requests, having the right audit management system solutions is key. Digital audit management solutions allow you to efficiently plan and manage your audits, create your own workflows to suit your requirements and drive accountability across your organisation at the click of a button. With the right audit management software, you can automate the entire process and free up your time to focus on other things.

Go paperless

Going paperless isn’t just a great way to reduce your impact on the planet. It’s also a way to save time and money. Imagine how much time is wasted on waiting for the printer to deliver your documents when you could instead just e-mail it or upload it to a shared drive instantly.

Digital copies can also be accessed anywhere which allows more flexible working and efficient sharing or information. Digital copies are also less likely to get lost and can be backed up in several digital locations. They also require no physical space to store which will open up office space that can be used for other things. Or, you could find that ultimately you could move to a smaller office and save thousands of dollars on rent!

Conclusion

Increasing workplace efficiency doesn’t have to be rocket science. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a step back and evaluating your current procedures to identify areas for improvement. Of course, there are many digital solutions available today which can drastically increase efficiency, so don’t be afraid to invest in software and systems which can streamline operations and drive productivity.

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4 Winter Essentials To Prepare Your Office For Harsh Weather

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on December 10, 2019 at 12:46 pm

Just like with your home, you’ll want to get your office ready to withstand the bitter impacts of winter. Not taking care of important maintenance and repair tasks before the cold weather sets in could result in major damages, bodily injuries and other problems. Here are four winter essentials that you’ll need to prepare your office for the harsh winter.

Weatherstripping

Weatherstripping materials can be placed around windows and doors to prevent cold drafts from blowing into your building. Using the best weatherstripping materials can also prevent heat from escaping and being wasted, which may save you a lot on your energy costs. If you already have weatherstripping materials in place, it’s recommended that you check each piece to ensure that no cracks or other damage exists and replace them if necessary.

Roof Inspection

Getting a roof inspection before the winter is a great way to find out if your office building’s roof needs any repairs or maintenance. Experienced contractors who provide commercial roof services can check for missing shingles. Mold growth that has caused damage that you’re unaware of can also be checked for and addressed. Contractors will additionally be able to let you know if your roof is capable of handling shrinkage from the cold that’s sometimes known to cause extra damage and what can be done to get everything addressed before other problems occur.

Traction Mats

Traction mats can be placed around the entrance of your office to help prevent people from slipping when entering. You might also choose to place mats around certain walkways in your office to make conditions even safer. Moisture from snow, ice and rain that gets on the bottom of people’s shoes can make them more prone to slip-and-fall accidents, and having durable traction mats in place can limit your liability. Rubber mats that won’t break down or curl easily will be your best choice.

Backup Generator

A power outage is likelier to occur when high winds or heavy snowfall happens during the winter, and having a backup generator in place can keep your power running even when your main power source fails. A backup generator will be especially useful if everyone on your staff is trying to complete tasks on computers and other electronic office equipment and can’t afford a power failure. When using a backup generator, it’s important to follow all safety instructions closely to avoid electrical mishaps or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Preparing your office the right way for winter can save you a lot of extra trouble and expense. Doing everything that’s necessary to reinforce your work-space can be beneficial for you, your staff and your commercial building.

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