7 Internet Hacks for Entrepreneurs

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In days past, the term “entrepreneur” might have elicited a roll of the eyes, as many basically thought it was code for unemployed. However, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well these days and, not only that, but an astounding number of people have seemed to make it work. Not everyone has to work for “the man”, as the saying goes. Those with the know-how and the discipline can take their concept from business plan to launch and, ultimately, onto success. But what separates these people from those who don’t make it? Well, it’s gumption, for one, but also knowing to turn to the experts and also knowing what tools are most important and how to use them. Likely the biggest tool to use for success is the Internet, but there are ways to use to maximum its efficiency. Read on for seven Internet hacks for entrepreneurs that truly work.

1. Blogging

You might hear the term “blogging” and think “Been there, done that” but the truth is that blogging is always important in the online world. Once a website is established with the information you’d like to convey, you might let it sit there without updating it for a while. This keeps Google from picking it up. Keeping a blog updated with new content keeps Google crawling your site, which will help with your SEO standings.

2. SEO

Speaking of SEO, do it! SEO, or search engine optimization, is crucial to online success. It is basically strategies for optimizing your content in such a way that your website will come up in the top search engine listings. You can even build your business on SEO, like this drone website did. When it comes down to it, people are lazy and generally refer to the top few websites that come up in their searches. So it’s necessary to do the research on the most-searched key words in your field, how to use them without stuffing them, and then measure and hone your SEO success and strategies. You might even consider outsourcing this if you don’t have a lot of time—it’s that important.

3. Promote Yourself

If you had the initial capital to start your business, good for you. Many have to work hard to find investors and/or even start a crowdfunding campaign. No matter how you got the money to get started, however, you need to promote yourself online. Whether it’s your own efforts on social media or an outside advertising firm, you have to get the word out. And once the word is out, you can begin offering promotions that will grow the business.

4. Social Media

There’s no avoiding social media, and why would you want to as an entrepreneur? It’s basically free advertising! And with Milennials being the biggest consumers these days, it’s also the best way to reach those reaching for their wallets. This is another component that is so crucial to your success that you might consider outsourcing this as well. If you do it on your own, make sure to follow the best practices for each platform, and schedule your updates into a tool such as Hootsuite so that you can ensure no lulls in your posts.

5. Email Marketing

Gone are the days of telemarketing calls—well, if you want to be successful. News Alert: People hate talking on the phone! Email marketing is another fairly easy, inexpensive, and, most importantly, an effective way to get the word out about your business. It’s as simple as investing in a service like MailChimp. Programs like this will walk you through the process and make it as easy as 1, 2, 3.  

6. Time Management

Entrepreneurs rarely have a lot of employees, as they are generally involved in startups, which means they have to work smarter—not harder. If you’re embarking on an entrepreneurial adventure, take some classes in time management. And take advantages of apps like Boomerang, which prioritizes your email for you. We all know emails are the number one time-suck and, hence, a hindrance to time management.

7. Project Management

Effective project management is necessary to keep things running like a well-oiled machine. Considering using some of your money for a team of project managers—this is a solid investment in the long run. If you have to do it on your own for the time being, take advantage of handy project management software like Asana.

Follow these seven Internet hacks as an entrepreneur and watch your business soar.

97 Percent Of Online Startups Fail, Here’s Why

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You might think that this statistic is exaggerated but it isn’t, and it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. After all, there are always going to be more losers than winners. That’s just the way the market operates, and already you should be asking yourself an important question. Why do the majority of these online companies fail? Well, you’ll be happy to hear that we have the answers that you seek.

No Target, No Market

Who is your product or service aimed at? What businesses are interested in working with your company? If you can’t answer these questions immediately, you have no idea who your target market is, and that’s a problem. Essentially, it means that you can’t focus your marketing around a group of people who would be interested in buying your products. Don’t forget that certain groups act differently online. They will come on at certain times during the day, respond better to different types of promotional materials and react to marketing in various ways. You need to know everything about your target market because then you can offer them exactly what you’re looking for.

Cheap Costs, Low Performance

There are a few ways business owners try and cut down their online costs. One of the possibilities is to avoid web hosting. Web hosting does cost small amounts of money each month, that’s certainly true. But these aren’t the bills that are going to break the bank. In fact hosting your site is often priced to be incredibly valuable, particularly when you take the benefits into consideration. You’ll have a higher ranking, and you’ll be able to use your site in a variety of ways, adding plenty of data. But this isn’t the only way business owners save costs.

Rather than bothering to hire a marketer for their company, they instead try DIY marketing. DIY marketing is dangerous because it will usually lead you towards black hat marketing tactics like link stuffing. If your site is filled with links, you will see a slight instant rise in your ranking. But as soon as the Google spiders crawl across your site the ranking will drop. You won’t even be on page 10 of the SERPs. Sometimes it’s better to spend a little more and get a quality service.

Low Socializing, No Customers

Finally, you need to make sure that you are keeping your business social online. Make sure that you are providing customers with the possibility of interacting with your company online through networks such as Facebook and even Instagram. If your product or service is visually impressive, you should definitely be adding images to Instagram. This is an easy way to get shares and generate some interest in your company.

Remember, these days customers want to have access to everything, and they expect to be kept up to date and in the loop. It’s important that they don’t feel as though they are being neglected by your business. Or, that your company isn’t providing the updates that they need. If this happens, you can bet customers will look to other companies who always update users on the latest occurrences in their business.

Get Your Startup’s Website Right In One Shot

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At long last, you are ready to get your startup off the ground. You’ve designed a product/service that you are confident people want, you’ve laid out a marketing plan that is sure to make your business stand out from the crowd, and you are more than excited to start spreading the word about your brand.

But, before you launch your business into the world, you need to ensure that you have the perfect web presence. Simply put: you need to build a professional looking website.

Here’s the thing: you only have one shot to make a good impression. Your website acts as a virtual front door for your startup. If people come in and don’t like what they see or have a difficult time finding their way around, they will bounce, erasing your name from their heads forever.

That’s why you need to make sure that you’re designing and building your website right the first time. Here’s how:

Design with Visual Hierarchy in Mind

Your goal is to lead visitors to take the desired action (buy, subscribe, share, etc.) but in a way that feels natural and voluntary. Here’s where visual hierarchy comes into play.

If you want visitors to notice your call to action buttons, opt-in form or navigation bar, you need to organize elements in a way that makes it obvious that some are more important than others. Use different color schemes and bold contrasts to tell people where to look. Make important elements, such as the CTA button, noticeable bigger and place it so that it draws people’s attention.

If you’re confused about how and where you should place important elements so that your visitors gravitate toward them naturally, don’t fret. Sites like SITE123.com can help you build a professional looking website with ready-made styles and layouts. You don’t need to have any coding or design skills to create a website with SITE123; anyone can do it, but the results are nonetheless amazing.

Keep It Simple

While the way your website looks is important, people aren’t coming to your site to evaluate its aesthetics. What they want is to find a solution to their problems or information related to their needs.

If you want to convert visitors into leads and, thus, increase your web presence, you need to keep things simple. Don’t use too many colors – a maximum of five should be more than enough. Only use high-quality images and graphics – obviously, stock photos and random pictures found on Google are out of the question.

Make Sure the Navigation Is Intuitive

One of the elements that can make or break visitors’ experience on-site is the navigation menu. Here’s the hard truth: people aren’t going to spend too much time on your website if they can’t find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.

Try to keep the navigation menu as intuitive and straightforward as possible. Don’t offer too many options as it might confuse visitors. Use breadcrumb trails to aid users to keep track of their location and get back to the homepage quickly. Don’t forget to include a search bar near the top of your site so that users can look for products using keywords.

Don’t Forget to Include Your Contact Information

Make it easy for people to get in touch with you by creating a “Contact Us” page with detailed information, such as email address, phone number, physical address, and so on. Believe it or not, offering some contact details to your prospects makes your business look trustworthy.

Device Compatibility

We live in a mobile world. People are spending more and more time on their mobile devices as opposed to desktop computers. In fact, as of May 2015, mobile searches have surpassed desktop queries. So, it’s only natural to ensure that your site can deliver a consistent experience across multiple devices, regardless of the screen size.

A lot of moving pieces go into building an exceptional website. Getting it right the first time is hard, but not impossible. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll design a site that people will love to explore.

3 Cyber Threats Posed To Your Startup

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As with everything, there are pros and cons, good things and bad, and that is no different when it comes to technology. You see, the digital age has made it easier and cheaper than ever to launch a business, but with this ease comes an increased level of threat. That is the major downside. As such, it is imperative to protect your business, and that means knowing what threats are out there.

Take a look at the most prominent cyber security risks to your startup business, and learn what you can do to protect yourself from them.

The Rise Of The Internet Of Things

This has been the biggest buzzword over the past year or so, and continues to be because the internet is constantly evolving and at a truly unstoppable pace. Everyday items are now harnessing the power of the internet, from smart fridges to toasters to heating systems; everything is now using the internet. This has opened up new opportunities for hackers, which is mainly because smart devices aren’t very smart when it comes to security. It has all too often been an afterthought, and so they are often an easy way into your business networks.

To protect yourself you need to know what smart devices are used by your business and then do your research on what security flaws they possess. Once this is done, get your IT support team to protect them with firewalls and encryption software like you would any other piece of software using your network.

The Challenge Of Human Error

It is said that almost three-quarters of all data breach incidents occur simply because of human error. There are a lot of risks out there, and a lot of sophisticated techniques are now being used to get entry to a business’ database. In fact, there have been increased reports of spear phishing, file ransom investigation and social engineering.

In order to better protect yourself on this front, you need to educate your staff about the risks and that is best achieved through regular training. By having proper procedures in place and a checklist that employees can work off, you will better protect yourself from any threat. Training will also highlight bad habits and improve them, such as using weak passwords or unprotected WiFi routers.

The Rise In Bring Your Own Device To Work

Employees now bring their own devices to work and connect them to your business network on a daily basis. These could be phones, tablets, laptops, smart watches or just about anything else that uses the internet. In short, this poses a big threat to your security because it drastically increases your chances of allowing unauthorized access to your networks and being attacked by malware.

To protect yourself on this front, it is imperative that you carry out a risk assessment to understand what risks pose a threat to you and from where. From here, it is a matter of communication and setting out an employee policy that prevents sensitive data from being shared, stolen or accessed. This can be done by educating your staff on their responsibilities on this front, and that if the policy isn’t followed then this privilege won’t be continued.

Shh, We’ve Got Local Marketing Secrets

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Trying to market your business locally online? Then you’ve come to the right place because we’ve got the tips that will make sure you get the interest from those local customers. Contrary to popular belief, marketing a business locally online isn’t quite the same as an international campaign. You still use many of the same tactics, but they are approached in different ways. We can give you a quick example of this and then look at some of the other possibilities in more detail.

Local SEO

Local search engine optimization means that you’re hoping to attract traffic to your site from a specific region or location. Customers in Hong Kong aren’t going to be beneficial to a local service company in Perth. But how do you target those customers? Well, you might be using a form of PPC SEO. If that’s the case, you need to think about choosing your keywords carefully. Sometimes, long tail keywords are more beneficial and they might even be cheaper to bid on. For instance, rather than bidding on ‘used cars’ you might instead bid for ‘used cars in Sydney.’ By doing this, your site will rank, but it will also rank with people who are close to your business.

You can approach optimizing your site in the same way. Make sure you are using regional identifiers within your content if you are hoping to attract local customers. Google will match sites with specific regions to customers in that area. If you’re not sure how to approach optimizing your site for a local customer base, a local digital SEO agency could help you out a lot. They’ll make sure that your business is guaranteed to find the interest you need from the specific customers you want online.

Hacking Google Business

There are a few different secrets on how to maximise the potential of Google Business. You might not know what Google business is if you’ve only just opened your company. It’s a digital address book online, and it’s key to marketing your company. You can provide lots of information about your company here and even link it back to your site. Once you have done this, you will start to see more customers for your company. But how many will depend on how well you are using this tool. For instance, you can play around with the opening times for your company. Longer opening times will mean that your ad is seen by more customers than a business that is only open six hours a day. The location settings are important too. This will determine how large your business reach is online.

Going Mobile

Finally, make sure that your site online is optimized for mobile use. This is crucial when marketing local companies because the majority of users are going to be operating a mobile device. You need to make sure they can use it to find out any information they want about your business. Don’t forget that design issues like this also affect your ranking and how many local customers see your company online.

Tucking Into The Restaurant Industry Starts With A Successful Workplace

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The fine dining industry is one that offers some truly wonderful opportunities. After all, it’s one business sector that is guaranteed to last forever. Quite frankly, there’s no greater way to earn a crust. And it all starts with getting the working environment in great health.  

 It could be easily argued that the quality of your workplace is greater in this environment than any other. Let’s face it; your restaurant space serves as the heartbeat of the operation as well as the shop floor. So what are the killer ingredients in the recipe for a successful arena?    

  Here’s all you need to know.  

 

  • Focus on safety and organization at all times. A messy and unsafe environment could lead to accidents that result in injuries. Meanwhile, dropped food will eat into your profits badly too. Utilizing the space with a lift installation from Hin Chong can be a very useful option. If nothing else, it can prevent the need for quite so many people in the commercial kitchen. As they say, too many cooks spoil the broth. Above all else, remember to keep those space clean too. The potential repercussions are far too big to ignore.
  • Build a team of quality by starting with a successful recruitment drive. The right team of chefs will ensure that your dishes generate the type of reaction that brings long-term loyalty. It’s equally important to remember that the experience needs positive interactions with the waiting staff. Be a boss that continually invests in creating a positive atmosphere throughout the workspace, and you will not regret it.
  • Invest in the best point-of-sale terminals. A poor transaction could genuinely ruin an otherwise amazing trip. Using advanced systems opens up more payment types and smoother transactions. Moreover, the faster processes make life easier for the staff too. This enables them to get through more customers in a quicker space. In addition to reduced waiting times, it can actively allow the restaurant to serve more people throughout a shift. Meanwhile, similar tech can be used to digitally handle orders.
  • Encourage food to last longer to reduce waste and maximize profits. Tools from It’s Fresh can work wonders for the business. However, you can also try finding uses for old ingredients. This could range from using them in other recipes to letting them serve another job altogether. Of course, you’ll still encounter some food waste. In those cases, donating to food banks and similar causes is well worth your time and effort. Aside from the direct benefits of helping others, that news could spread to boost your reputation.
  • Design the dining area in an effective manner. Setting the right tone with lighting and wall decorations is vital for the atmosphere. Moreover, you need to think about getting the right balance for the seating plan. You don’t want the restaurant to feel cramped. However, missing out on potential diners by not having enough seats could be extremely damaging. Get this job right, and your hopes of maximized sale and profit can only soar. The taste of sweet success beckons.   

3 Powerful Tools For Business Expansion

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Whatever it is that your business sells or trades in, there is one thing that is almost guaranteed about your hopes for that business: you probably want it to be able to expand, if not now at least at some point in the future. This is something that practically every business owner hopes for for their business, and the good news is that there are a number of ways that you can get the ball rolling in that respect. In this article, we are going to go through some of the most powerful tools which you might consider using for better business expansion. As long as you are using these, or at least one or two of them, there is nothing you can’t achieve.

Investors

Although not often the first thing that people think of when they think of business tools, actually your investors are among the most important tools of all. Thanks to them, you can have a much easier time of expanding your business in a short space of time, as you can rely on their ongoing investment to ensure you can do it. It is worth trying to make the best use of whatever investors you have at all times. This simply means that you do everything you can to involve them as much as possible in whatever you are doing. You might be surprised at what a profoundly positive effect this can have on your business in the long run.

Internet

These days, no business can actually get all that far without using the Internet for at least some purpose or another. But when it comes to business expansion, the Internet is a vital tool which you need to take advantage of as best as you can. One of the best uses of this particular tool is to utilize the various SEO techniques to bring in more and more viewers to your website. If you struggle with this practice, it might help to hire the likes of Get Going Media SEO Agency. They will be able to assist you in ensuring that you make the best possible use of SEO that you can. This, in turn, will undoubtedly lead to an influx of customers which will be essential in building your business up and up.

Word Of Mouth

Sometimes, the old ways really are the best. One of the very oldest marketing methods is word of mouth, and this is very much still one of the most effective ways of growing any business. If you want your business to be ripe for expansion, then at the most basic level you should make sure that you are talking about it as much as possible to as many different people as possible. Word of mouth goes a long way, so be sure to make good use of it as often as you can. With a bit of luck, your business will soon be in a position to expand much faster than it ever has done before.

The Ecommerce Business Guide to Offering Top Customer Service

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Running an ecommerce business is never easy. There are so many things that you have to get right. It’s important not to forget about customer service. Just because you are not interacting with customers in a face to face kind of way, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to think about customer service issues. The guide below will help you to ensure you always offer the very best customer service.

Stay in Contact Post-Order

When someone has placed an order on your website, this is not where your activity ends. It’s when it starts. Yes, when you have their money, and they’ve made an order, it might seem like it’s mission accomplished. But that’s the wrong kind of attitude to take. You need to stay in contact with these customers post-purchase. When you do that, you can be sure that they know what’s happening with their order, when it was dispatched and when they can expect to receive. People want to know these things, and making sure they do is a big part of offering good customer service.

Provide a FAQs Page to Help Out Visitors

You want to offer answers and help to the people who visit your website. But at the same time, you don’t want to have to deal with a million different customer interactions and questions each day. It can all get a bit much, and customers don’t want to have to contact you when they can’t find the answer to a question either. So, it makes sense to produce a FAQs page that offers answers and help to the problems or questions people often have when visiting your company’s website. These are so easy to set up, and they really do make a difference to the customer experience.

Don’t Let Traffic (or Anything Else) Slow Down Your Website

If you have a lot of traffic flowing towards your website, you probably see this as a positive thing, and it is. But there are drawbacks that come with having to deal with a lot of traffic on your website. It can slow down the entire site, and the problem with that is it weakens the customer experience that your visitors and customers get. You can’t let this or anything else slow down your website if you want to offer a good service to your customers. The WhyQ SMS Queue Management System might help you manage traffic better. And consider upgrading your hosting service too.

Give Customers Someone Human to Talk To

When your customers have a problem, they want to be able to talk to someone about it. Rather than offering dead-ends in the form of recorded messages or automated emails, you should give them what they want. Provide a phone number that unhappy customers can call. It should be clearly displayed on your website’s contact page. They should then be quickly connected to someone with whom they can discuss their problem and find a quick solution. When that happens, you should be able to keep hold of those customers rather than lose them unnecessarily.

The Many Mysteries Of Modern Marketing

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Standing out as a small or large company in the modern business world seems to be an increasingly-difficult task. There are more opportunities than ever before to be noticed, thanks to the internet, but that means there are also more competitors than ever before vying for attention on this incredibly popular and important platform. Consumers are all online, which means all businesses are online squabbling and clawing for the top position in order to capture their attention. The problem is that most businesses are all doing the same thing.

Maybe you fall into that category, as your business has a website and social media profiles but the nuances of modern marketing escape you. Maybe your business can’t quite achieve the success you feel it deserves because it isn’t getting the attention it deserves. As mysterious, confusing and ever-changing as the techniques involved with modern and online marketing methods may be, that doesn’t mean the concepts are beyond your understanding. It’s simply time for you to learn about them, and here are some pieces of advice if you want to uncover the many mysteries of modern marketing in order to achieve greater success for your business.

Use more than one marketing method.

In the days of old marketing, you wouldn’t simply put up flyers and call it a day. In much the same way, when you’re delving into the world of digital marketing, there’s far more to it than simply stamping a few adverts for your business on websites. You need to be expanding your marketing strategy and using every potential marketing avenue available on the internet. It’s all about experimenting with different strategies, as certain avenues might not work well for your specific industry or business, and you wouldn’t want those to become a money pit. For example, if an advert on a billboard wasn’t garnering attention, then you’d simply take it down and stop renting that advertising space.

SEO.

This is a term you’ve likely heard mentioned repeatedly across all manner of businesses. Perhaps you’ve even tried to implement some SEO (search engine optimisation) techniques on your company’s website, but this isn’t just a ‘one-time’ fix. The algorithms that search engines such as Google and Bing use to determine which websites are the most popular across the internet and in which order they should rank on results pages are constantly changing. It’s clear that you need to be updating your SEO tactics on a constant basis in line with the latest algorithms used by search engines, especially if you want to have the top spot on result pages.

You could look into web designers to help your business if you’re unsure as to what you could possibly do to improve your current website. The layout of a site is crucial to its success, as not only will your rank above your competitors, but you’ll impress customers who stumble across your business’ website. People use all manner of devices to browse the internet (phones, tablets, laptops, etc), and they expect to come across websites which look ‘right’ on their device. This is why a responsive web design is so important for your website, and it’s why search engines favour websites which take the time to make their layout responsive to all manner of devices.

Know the consumer.

Much as has always been the case, the consumer has to be at the heart of your marketing strategy. This is something which will always drive advertising, no matter what manner of modern strategies emerge in the future. Of course, the way in which your business can know potential consumers and existing clients has changed drastically from the days of traditional marketing.

You need to understand the platforms through which you’ll be connecting with customers both current and potential. For example, night clubs might be able to entice people in the local area to visit them with Facebook events offering great deals on certain nights. Restaurants might be able to entice people in the local area to visit by posting enticing Instagrams pictures of meals they offer. It’s about looking at the platforms on which you’ll find your consumers and targeting them with your most creative, personal brand of marketing. People don’t like corporate jargon; they like simple, straightforward offers communication with real people.

This is why it’s important to have a team dedicated to social media within your company, no matter how big or small it may be, as communication with your customers on these platforms to solve any problems or answer any questions proves that there’s a human element behind the face of your brand.

Mobile advertising.

The platform is also incredibly important when it comes to modern marketing. People are using a wide array of devices to browse for the goods and services they want, as mentioned earlier, but this expands your marketing opportunities beyond merely adapting the company website to fit numerous different screen sizes. Mobiles in particular should be of particular interest to businesses, as we are a world of people glued to our screens.

Given the amount of hours per day that potential customers spend on mobile games and social media whilst they’re out and about, your business might want to consider targeting its advertising to mobile applications, as this is where you’ll find your target market. Their eyes aren’t gazing up at billboards or posters around them in the city; their eyes are fixated on their screens.

Does traditional marketing still have its uses?

Yes. Despite all that has been said about the wonders of online marketing, traditional marketing still has a big stake in the world of business advertising, and there’s no harm in using it as an addition to your online marketing strategy. Of course, as with every other method of marketing mentioned in this list, it all depends on your specific business or industry. If you’re in the real estate game, physical and traditional marketing is still as popular as ever. People like to see houses in person when they’re considering moving to an area, and they’ll see signs with a specific estate agent’s brand beneath the words ‘For Sale’. To put it simply, if your business can benefit from putting its brand name in a real-life place that captures people’s attention, then it should do so.

Forever Friends: Improve Relations with Your Supplier!

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Good business relationships are an essential part of the success of any company. Like great marketing, innovative products, and an impressive online presence, it’s a cornerstone of business success. After all, you don’t exist in a void: your business is going to have to rely on other businesses from time to time. (Although, if your business actually did exist in a void, you technically wouldn’t have any customers, so I guess you wouldn’t have to worry about it that much.)

One of the most common relationships found in the world of business is the one between the core company and their supplier (or suppliers). This shouldn’t be a cold, strictly-business relationship. You should approach this with a different mindset: an open and welcoming one, one that knows that a great relationship with your supplier can bring many benefits.

Want a shot at bagging yourself a mate’s rate with your supplier? Then read this essential guide to this all-important relationship.

Remember: it’s a symbiotic relationship

You need your supplier. Your supplier needs you. This is a symbiotic relationship: two things working together to achieve a goal that is the requirement of both, such as you often find in wild animals. It’s mutually beneficial. Keep this in mind throughout every step of this process.

If you find great success in your products and services, then that means great success for your suppliers: they’ll get more of your business. If your supplier is doing great business – and yes, that means the other businesses that they work with also doing really well – then they’ll be able to upgrade their own service, providing benefit to you. By working closely together and forging a strong relationship, you can improve the successes of everyone involved.

Don’t be a pushover

Here’s the problem with some people who focus too much on wanting to be liked: they end up being a pushover. If someone wrongs them, they grin and bear it. If they need something, they’re not likely to be very demanding about it. Some businesses may take this sort of approach in their aim to strike up a great relationship with a supplier. But here’s the thing about pushovers: people start to take advantage of them.

Learn that it’s okay – even good – to be a demanding customer. Make sure your supplier knows precisely what your needs are. What kind of quality you expect, what timeframes you need to work in and why, that sort of thing. Hold the supplier to the agreements you make together. Of course, if things do go wrong, then “not being a pushover” doesn’t mean you should exact brutal vengeance upon the supplier in order to make sure it Never Happens Again. (More on that a bit later!)

Pay up

I don’t have to spend too much time on this point, right? It’s basically rule number one: pay on time and in full. Here’s a fact: suppliers (distributors, manufacturers, etc.) are often running on pretty thin profit margins. That doesn’t mean their business is doing bad; it’s just the nature of that field of business. They need full and consistent payment.

Remember that, in this relationship, you’re both using some sort of spreadsheet or software to keep track of and gauge each other’s work. Think of it this way: when you’re late with payment, or you don’t pay in full on the due date, then this is going to be noted in that database. Some suppliers actually rate customers by their payment history. They want to work with trusted customers. Even the smallest business around is going to get the respect of their supplier if they pay on time.

Put an expert in charge

Dealing with the actual supply management is one thing, but you’ve also got to deal with the actual relationship between your business and your supplier, too. For some very small businesses, this can possibly be performed by a regular business owner or manager, especially as the operation is bound to be fairly small in scale.

But in most scenarios where a business works with a supplier, you’re probably going to want someone on this job full-time. And you shouldn’t assume that just about anyone who can use Microsoft Office and has a friendly manner can do this job. What you want is a procurement professional, someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. (Someone, in fact, who definitely wouldn’t need to read an article like this!) Agencies like Portfolio procurement can help businesses find the right person for the job.

Encourage transparency

You know what they say about friendships: if there’s no trust, then there’s no real friendship. Trust requires a degree of transparency, and this is something you can achieve through improved communication, as well as the recent advances in the technology of the supply management field.

Your procurement manager, assuming you’ve taken our advice and hired one, is going to need your help. You need to supply them with the software that they need to get this area of the relationship worked on properly. For example, an integrated procure-to-pay system allows access to real-time information without having to try to contact a supplier by email or phone. This allows for more substantial conversations when you do contact your supplier, instead of the sort of rote information-collecting you usually have to engage in.

Don’t get mad: get solutions

Sometimes, things go wrong. They’re going to go wrong with your business, they’re going to wrong with your supplier’s business. Sometimes, your suppliers will disappoint. They won’t deliver something on time, or they’ll overcharge accidentally, or they’ll send you the incorrect inventory… a lot of things can go wrong. Maybe it was a genuine mix-up at their end. Maybe they were just a victim of circumstance.

Whatever the cause, don’t start sending angry emails or giving some stern lecture to a representative over the telephone. Not only is that anger usually unjustified and not really worth it, but it’s not really going to get you anywhere. It’s going to erode your relationship with the supplier. As long as they know they’ve done wrong – and, believe me, they’re probably well aware of it and very apologetic for it – then keep it friendly and work together towards a solution.

The Rocky Road For New Entrepreneurs

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The idea of becoming an entrepreneur is one of the greatest pulls going, but actually becoming an entrepreneur requires you to overcome a serious amount of challenges. Of course, each challenge you overcome grants you a huge reward, but that doesn’t take away from the fact they are tough challenges. Ask any serial entrepreneur and they will tell you every time they launch a new company they are faced with the same challenges over and over again.

But what if you are new to entrepreneurship? Well, you’ll find that there are some very unique challenges that you need to know about and prepare yourself for, challenges that you may well have overlooked.

Leaving Behind Your Security

As an employee, you are granted a certain amount of security, whether that be a fixed salary or employee rights. But you are going to have to be willing to let all of this go if you want to launch your own business and guide it to success. Quite simply, it will be too much to try and manage two different careers without it harming both. You may be excellent with time management and an avid follower of tugofwarwithtime.com, but if you want to grow your business significantly then you are going to have to quit your current job. As such, it is so important you think your decision through very carefully, do your market research and go with your instincts.

Getting The Funds Together

Even the most successful and experienced serial entrepreneurs can struggle with getting funds together for their new venture, so you can imagine how hard it is going to be for you to attract investors. As such, you’ll need to fully understand what funding options are available to you and how you can exhaust them. You’re starting from scratch, so you’ll likely need to have some money saved up, some strategy in place and a real knack for networking.

You’ll Need A Team

So many entrepreneurs fail because they try and go it alone. The reason for this is no one possesses all the skills needed to launch a business. You may be great at some things, but you probably lack in others, which is why it is so important to build a team that compliments one another and your goals. But picking the right team can be a serious hurdle to overcome. It’s not just hard to find great candidates to fill certain roles, you also have to work out how you are going to pay them, where they will work from, what they will bring to the culture and add to the overall team. This is a tough ask, and the pressure is on time wise too.

Being An Ideas Person

The need to come up with new ideas, new visions, new innovations, all of that falls on your shoulders.  As www.fastcompany.com/ explains, it is part of being the founder of a new venture. You’ll be looked up to, you’ll need to steer the ships, come up with new ideas for expansion and know how to solve issues that arise, and they always arise. On the stop, creative thinking is its challenge, but this becomes even harder when there is so much on the line.

Is Your Marketing Strategy Dead

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If you’re a business owner, then there’s every chance that you’re pretty sick of hearing about marketing and advertising strategies, but ignore them at your own risk: marketing really is just as important as everyone keeps telling you it is. In fact, it’s probably even more important than that. If you’re not dedicating a significant portion of your capital into marketing, then it might be about time to redirect it into marketing and breathe new life into your campaigns.

Knowing What’s Hot

The experts know what’s going to happen in the near future because they study the trends, and so should you, because it’ll give you a head start on everybody else. If you know that Facebook advertising is set to boom in 2017, then that’s where you’ll be advertising this year. Similarly, if you had been paying attention to the forecasters who announced that video traffic would account for the vast majority of internet traffic, then you would be investing in high quality videos for your website. It’s not too late to incorporate either of these trends into your campaign, and in the new future do your best to stay abreast of what’s happening.

All on your Mobile

The high levels of smartphone use is not a blip. We repeat: IT IS NOT A BLIP. More and more internet interaction is coming through mobile devices, and it shows no signs of easing up. If your campaign isn’t specifically focused on capturing mobile internet users, then you’re missing out on too many users for your strategy to be effective.  

Adapting Past Ideas

There’s a school of thought that says traditional marketing is dead altogether, but that’s simply not the case. Traditional marketing – specifically offline marketing – can be very effective, but it has to be executed using modern methods. For example, if you were sending fliers to homes, then sending to all homes would be a colossal waste of resources; however, sending to specific homes using data you’ve acquired would be effective.

Exploring New Ideas

The virtue and curse of modern marketing is that it’s always in flux. The remedy to success that is so effective right now might not be as effective in a year’s time from now. Consequently, your marketing strategy will always be dead if you’re not willing to have an agile approach wherein you explore new marketing ideas – and taking a few risks in the process. Be bold: if you’re making the most of the big data that’s all around you, you’ll get it more often than not.

The Modern Customer

We talk about marketing in pretty abstract terms, but never forget at the base level it’s all about person: the customer. The only thing that every customer has in common is that they’re all individuals, and you should be treating them as such. Companies in the good old days could be forgiven for having one approach for all because they didn’t have access to the type of information you have access to. Their interests and desires are different to your company’s, and your marketing should reflect that.

Are You Making The Most Of Your Online Presence?

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It’s amazing to think just how much of a difference the internet has made to modern life in the space of a few decades. What was once purely the preserve of scientists and expert engineers is sitting the in pockets of just about every single person on the planet. What was once a luxury is now pretty much a standard part of everyday life. This means that, where many businesses might once have had a presence on the internet as a bonus, it’s now something that you simply cannot be without if you want to be successful. If people want to find a business, then the first place that they’re going to look is online. If they can’t find you online, they aren’t going to make an effort to go searching through the phone book for you. To make sure that your business doesn’t fade away, here are some ways to make sure that you’re making the most of your online presence.

Website

Your website should be the center of your online presence. Think of it in the same way you would think of your head office or your physical store. It should be the hub where customers can go to find everything they need from products to further information. The first thing that you need to do is find and register a domain, with something like a buyerlinkage.com GoDaddy promo code, you’re able to find one without breaking the bank. Then you need to make your site attractive and easy to navigate. You should also make sure that everywhere that your business exists online is accessible from this one place.

Blog

One of the biggest challenges that many businesses face is trying to get customers to develop and emotional connection to them. That connection is crucial when it comes to developing a bond and a sense of loyalty between your business and your customers. A blog can help you do this by lifting the curtain and showing the humanity behind the business. Rather than just being another faceless company, customers can see that your business is made up of passionate, dedicated people who are interested in creating the best possible product and experience as possible.

Social Media

One of the difficulties that many businesses have had for a very long time is that it can be very difficult to connect with individual customers. When you’re running a brick and mortar store then you can do that but only in a very limited capacity. Thanks to social media you can now interact with customers on an individual level no matter where they are in the world. You can respond to questions or complaints, interact with them in funny or engaging ways, and let them know that they do matter to you. Not only that but it’s a place where other customers can see you doing this which acts as a great marketing opportunity as well.

Don’t assume that your physical and online presence have to be completely different either. They should come together to complement each other as much as possible, cross promoting and improving one another.

Making Money Is About Managing Money-Makers

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If your business relies on the careful cultivation of sales and winning clients more than anything, then that’s the part of it that will make you the most money. It’s not all that matters, but it’s a vital aspect of the business. To make sure it functions as it should, it’s all about the sales and marketing team. How do you get the best out of them?

Give them some power

You want your money-makers to be especially engaged in the business. A bit of creative thinking on their end and autonomy to do things their way can not only motivate them. It can give way to new ideas that you might not consider from a management position. Empowering them, allowing them a bigger say in the decision-making process and asking them for opinions on feedback can be crucial to engagement.

Keep communication concise

Barking orders and expecting your team to get it done isn’t going to achieve you the best results. Internal communications need to be varied to make sure people are getting fully informed but not interrupting their work, especially if they’re working hard on closing a lead or are deep in strategizing or implementing a marketing approach. Make sure you have methods of communication that are simple to use, simple to check, and simple to reply on like a chat app for the day-to-day. For big strategy and results meetings, have a face-to-face and get everyone to mark it on their diaries so they can ensure they don’t schedule anything that would clash with it.

Know your builders and your growers

It’s important to realize there are two distinct phases of every sale and that different members of the team will be better at one or the other. A member of the team might be great at first finding and engaging a lead. These are your builders. However, getting that lead requires a different set of skills, including the ability to tailor the offer to the individual and make use of some great interpersonal skills. These are your growers. Know them and make sure they work as a team to find the right time to hand a lead off from one and to the next.

Keep them at the top of their game

The methods and mindset behind sales and marketing are changing all the time. If you want your business to remain competitive, your team needs to stay competitive. Finding them room for development through things like a social selling training course is crucial. Giving the sales team networking opportunities to polish their skills in a less pressure filled environment is important, too. It also provides some mobility in their career that every employee should appreciate.

Incentivize and engage

You can’t expect the best results from your money-makers unless you are prepared to give them a slice of the pie. This is why most companies that use a sales team have them working on commission. A results-based reward scheme isn’t the only way to ensure workers are motivated. They need to enjoy the work and the company culture, too. But a bit of incentive certainly won’t hurt any and will help plenty.

In a business that is heavily driven by a sales and marketing team, members of said team might require a bit of special treatment. That’s not to say you should ignore the other teams. They’re the support that keeps things running smoothly out in the field, so don’t forget them.