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

Technology That Might Worth The Investment For Your Small Business

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on March 22, 2018 at 8:17 am

As a small business it is understandable that at times you may feel a little overwhelmed by the task you have in front of you. A small business tends to start with one person dn one strong ideas that gets nurtured into a business that grows. Many small businesses are thriving today because of the implementation of new technologies that make date and goals more achievable. Social media, for example, enables you to speak directly to your customer or client in real time. But what is worth the investment from your business? After all, money and budgets will be tight during those few years of trading. I thought I would share with you some of the possibilities to consider.

Customer relationship management systems

One of the first things that can work well for small businesses is a customer relationship management system. As any business owner will agree, sales into your business is an important factor. But even more so it can all be about building relationships between you and your clients, especially if your business all about the repeat clients. So a CRM, or customer relationship management system, can work really well to ensure that leads are followed up and that you are in regular contact. It also means that anyone picking up that client knows details about the relationship such as order frequency, type of orders and what may have been said or agreed upon.

Data mapping and analytical tools

Maybe you want to make more informed choices about your next business steps. Such as areas in which your products might be in demand or output in certain locations, and this is when technology like data mapping can really help. Inputting the date you already have and looking at the map to determine different areas and information could help you make wiser decisions about business expansion and growth.

Knowing your customer demographics

As a small business, it is important that you spend any investment and money you have for the business wisely. Which means that knowing your customer demographics in terms of area, age, gender even, can help you to spend the right amount of money on the right sort of areas such as advertising and product development. Knowing the demographics could help you to improve the products and services that you offer, catering more towards interested parties. Software can be used on things like your website or customer database to retain and collate this type of information.

Virtual reality

Finally, other technology to take advantage of would be things like virtual reality and headsets and video conferencing. This is because as a small business, you may not have a full team of people working for you in the same office or building, you may outsource to other businesses or to freelancers working from home, so this is when virtual reality, headsets and video calls can come in handy in terms of communication.

I hope that these tips help you when it comes to the technology to invest in for your small business.

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Creating An Emotional Shopping Experience Online

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on March 22, 2018 at 8:12 am

Online shopping is growing. More people shop online every year. It’s easier, it’s more convenient, it’s often cheaper, and at busy times of the year like Christmas, it’s much less stressful. But, many retailers still have a brick and mortar storefront, and even online retailers like Amazon are looking to open more physical shops and collection points. The number one benefit of having a real-life store is always customer experience. With a tangible property, a company can make shopping an experience, an event that’s worth coming out of the house for. This is what gives brick and mortar stores and edge, and what sets them apart. People like people, they trust people, they enjoy the experience of shopping, and they like to use all of their senses to judge a product before making a purchase. Offering the same kind of experience online is tough. But, not impossible. Here’s how to do it.

Learn More About Your Customers

Finding out more about your customers is the best way to find out what they want from you. Knowing what kind of people they are, will help you to give them what they want from a shopping experience. Utilize social listening to find out what they are saying about you on social media, read this post about building an RFM model to assess customer value, and thoroughly look into your site’s analytics to find out as much as you can about them.

Create Personal Messages

Personal advertising is huge. Just look down the side of your own Facebook feed, the adverts you see are all related to your online search history and the Facebook pages that you like. It’s tailored to you. Use this to your advantage. Now you’ve learnt more about your customers; you can craft personal messages and adverts that appeal to them on an emotional level. If you know that they’re from the UK, and they got to you searching for summer clothes, tailor a message about holiday shopping. You could even send out specific, personalized offers, instead of blanket bombing your audience with deals that they don’t want.

Engage with them

The average Joe on social media loves nothing more than getting a reply, retweet or like from their favorite brand or celebrity. It makes them feel valued and appreciated. As a smaller brand, you’ve got a fantastic opportunity to really engage with and get to know your followers and viewers. Connect with them on social media, share their posts and offer them tips and advice when they need it. Try to remember details about them that will help you to grow this personal connection.

Remember, engaging and creating an experience online isn’t just about your website. Think about every touch point you have. They’re on your website, they’re following you on social media, and they are reading your emails. The key to creating a shopping experience online is linking all of these things together and personalizing your approach while giving your readers an insight into your life and showing them behind the scenes.

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How Managers Should Manage Time Off Slips

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on March 22, 2018 at 8:09 am

When you get an employee time-off request slide into your inbox you can pretty much guarantee a stiff headache is going to follow suit. We’re not saying that handling these requests is the most challenging part of your role, not by any means of the imagination, but they definitely threaten the top end of that list. It’s just annoying. You know you need to keep your staff happy in order to be a successful place of work, but trying to run your business smoothly when these sorts of hiccups happen is a truly Herculean task.

That said, as a manager or leader, you need to deal with this kind of request properly and that means approaching the situation with your “time to be fair” cap on. Think of it like this: your employees time is just as valuable as your own. It’s that simple. You may be at the top of the pyramid, but that doesn’t mean your time is any more valuable than theirs. So, if you want our advice, we say give your employees time off work whenever they need it because, if there is one thing you need to value more than anything, it’s promoting employee happiness in your business.

It’s been proven that people perform better when they are encouraged to take vacations and use their allotted holiday days – that includes you, by the way. That said, there is nothing worse than having loads of staff taking time off when you’re going through a super-busy patch. Nonetheless, this will happen at some point or another. It just will. That’s when being fair about things is going to be your best friend.

To help you with this, we’ve pulled together a list of top tips to make sure your managers and leaders are being as fair as possible when granting time off.

  1. Policies Are A Perfect Start

The most important thing you can do is set up some company policies regarding time off so that everyone knows the rules and what you expect. The best way to do this is to define them as clearly as humanly possible. Let your employees know when they can take time off, how much-advanced warning they need to give and the correct procedures for requesting time off too. The more detail you give in the policies, the less acrimony there will be should you have to decline a request. As such, detail the entire process in full. This will nurture trust, respect and good relations for the simple fact you have been transparent and, as we all know, transparency is the best. It shows respect.

  1. Let Trades Take Place

Like we said, employee time-off can be a real headache. However, one of the best ways to manage this is to allow employees to trade shifts with other members of your staff. This will give them that little bit more independence and respect because you will be saying to them, “you can take any time off you need so long as you can arrange someone else to cover your shift.” Not only will this make your life easier, it will mean your employees won’t have to use their allocated days when they don’t have to, which will please them no end. Trust us on that. Of course, to make this work effectively and efficiently, make sure your employees know all shift-trades need to be approved by management and that they can only swap with employees that do the same job. That’s the only way this will work smoothly.

  1. Respect Employees Will Have Emergencies

We live in an imperfect world, one where things happen without us having any control over them, which is why you need to accept and respect employees will have emergency situations. They will hand in sudden time off requests. Of course, each emergency will differ in terms of severity but, nonetheless, you should do everything you can to grant them the time they need. The reason for this: what may not seem massive to you, may mean the world to them. What’s more, if you do deny their request, you’ll probably find they take a sick day in any case, meaning the same outcome occurs just with more acrimony. Anyway, to make your place of work extra human and caring and special, don’t just grant time off for emergencies, try and help too. If they need time off for the loss of a loved one, let them take as much time as they need, help them work from home and agree to pay for any bereavement counselling they might need. If they got injured in an accident, put them in touch with a lawyer that has no fee unless you win, or a contingency fee clause instead. If they need to take time off because their boyfriend just broke up with them, offer to be a friend and not just a boss. Little things like this will go a huge way. It will make your place of work a truly amazing place to be.

  1. Always Have A Plan B

With some requests, like the emergency request, there isn’t much that can be done. We know that. However, there are times in the year when you can expect a lot of requests come in. People love a summer vacation, others always go away for the holiday season and maybe winter escapes too. What’s more, denying requests at these times is pretty much a no-go, which means you’ll be left shorthanded as the manager or leader. That’s when a Plan B becomes your lifeline. Our advice: have a pool of trusted freelancers or, better yet, part-time staff; people that you can reach out to and call in as super-subs when the exodus starts and times get heavy. To make this work smoothly, make sure you are using people that you know and trust, people that have worked for you before and know your processes and practices. As we all know, there is nothing more tedious than having to train someone when the workload is piling higher than K2.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Top Tips For Successful Cloud Accounting

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on March 21, 2018 at 8:15 am

According to a study highlighted by Business 2 Community, 96% of companies are shifting applications to the cloud. This is despite cloud migration projects often taking surprisingly long; almost 75% of companies admitted that their projects were lasting at least a year.

That such lengthy migration has not deterred businesses from using cloud accounting speaks volumes for its beneficial effects. Follow these tips to help prevent a convoluted cloud experience.

Play down worries about cloud security

As using the cloud entails storing data on remote servers, many of your staff members might assume it to be less secure than the more traditional method of storing data on-premises.

However, contrary to popular belief, many businesses can significantly boost security by using cloud storage, Inc. explains. You must put people at ease regarding the security of cloud solutions which your firm utilizes; however, also understand that many people’s misgivings could take time to fade.

Test a cloud platform while migrating to it

This can help prevent your business locking itself into a cloud platform which it later finds to be too faulty for its own needs. Your company’s accounting needs might require very particular resources and capacity – and testing a migration can assist you in discerning exactly what.

Testing can also help you in both capturing appropriate configurations, such as settings and security controls, and developing a cost-baseline for your deployment’s future expense in the cloud.

Take advantage of cloud accounting’s flexibility

Cloud accounting has various benefits which shouldn’t be overlooked. You could educate your staff about these plus points to encourage their take-up of the new system.

Through using online cloud accounting software to streamline and automate financial processes of a complexity that could otherwise bewilder your employees, you can cut out human errors. Furthermore, your staff can access the software at any time and from any place.

Be patient and persistent to boost utilization

Once your company has a new cloud system in place, don’t be too disheartened if the rate of take-up among users remains sluggish.

In a survey mentioned by Inc., over 43% of 200 decision makers who drive cloud purchase and utilization reported that at least four touches are necessary for starting the transition of major seats on a cloud solution and engaging users.

In helping users overcome their reticence about the cloud, you need to be patient and persistent – and proactively reach out to people requiring the most assistance.

Don’t just focus on cost-cutting

Joe Spagnoletti, a former Chief Information Officer of the Campbell Soup Company, cautions against becoming too preoccupied with the financial advantages of cloud migration.

In words quoted by CIO, he calls cloud migration “an option to deliver capability”, adding that you need to get a solution “at the cost commensurate with the capability.”

Cloud accounting can help you shorten lead times and more confidently grow the company – as Accounts Lab, a group of cloud accountants in Leeds, can vouch. The company allows its clients to harness innovative cloud accounting software for a fixed fee.

This post may contain affiliate links.

How To Raise Awareness To Your Brand

In What You Need To Know About Small Business on March 21, 2018 at 8:09 am

Reaching out and expanding your brand may seem like a very challenging task, but there are some things that can help you out. Every business owner dreams that their brand will one day be familiar to everyone around the world. Raising awareness for your brand is something that can help your business flourish and evolve. Perhaps you won’t become the new Coca-Cola or Nike, but you can seriously expand your reach with a few brand awareness tips and tricks.

There is no quick solution to raising brand awareness and achieving greatness overnight, however, there are some reliable strategies that you can use to your advantage when it comes to expanding your business’ reach. We did a bit of researching and we’ve come up with this short guide which aims to help you understand some of the common brand-building techniques. So, without further ado, let’s get straight to it.

Referral Programs and Guest Content

One of the best ways to engage your users and your audience is to offer perks and specials if they spread the word about you, your products or services. This way you’re not only generating traffic and expanding your fan base, but you also get to build relationships with your audience and clients. With special and limited offers you get their trust, and loyalty is known to follow that trust. With a strong loyal and dedicated audience, you master the first step towards success. When it comes to what you have to offer to your clients and customers, sometimes you need a bit of help. One way to get that help is to have a blogger or an influencer do a guest post on your website. Guest posting can help familiarize your business with similar ones in your specific industry, and this can lead to forming new partnerships and future deals.

Freebies and Freemium Options

There’s not much you can say about free gifts, except that everyone loves to receive them. Promotional materials like pens, pencils, lighters, basically any type of promotional material can do quite a lot in a long run. Making sure your brand name is out there makes a significant psychological effect on people, and it makes it more likely that once people run into your brand, they’ll get positive emotions. Another great thing many businesses do is offer a free version of certain elements, with certain limitations. Users get to see what your business is all about and if you manage to get them interested with your free content, they will most likely upgrade to the paid version, with no limitations like watermarks or credit lines. With freemium content, you can seriously expand your reach, while also making sure that your products and services are seen by as many people as possible. This will give you a certain advantage, because you will be able to analyze the way your audience reacted to your freemium/premium content, and you will get to adapt so you can use it to its maximum potential.

Organize Events and Focus on Social Media

As a business owner, you’re always trying to represent your company in the best possible way. Whether it’s through your website, your employees, your approach, or any other business element, you are trying to make an impression on your audiences and potential clients and customers. One of the best ways to do this is to focus on social media marketing. It’s almost unbelievable how successful you can get with some social media campaign planning. Use social media to connect and engage with your audience and your focus groups. Organize events and invite some of the more prominent members of your social media circles. Make office parties and be original as it can really boost the overall image your business sends out. Look for fun and original activities like photobooth hire services, and ask your employees to post their pictures online. With proper hashtags and original ideas, you will be amazed by how much your brand can gain.

Final thoughts

It’s not a child’s play to build your brand, and it’s not something you can do overnight, but if you really want to make your business successful and known, you must implement some branding strategies. Your audience must learn to trust your brand and it’s up to you to help them learn just that. Engage with your audience, test everything and don’t be afraid of the change. You will have to adapt and find various ways to deal with potential problems, but once you establish your brand, all of it will pay off.

This post may contain affiliate links.