Want to Save Time and Reduce Stress? Automate or Outsource These Tasks

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When you’re running a startup, you typically only have limited funds available and want to handle most tasks yourself. However, an entrepreneur’s time is limited, no matter how many late nights or weekends you work, so it’s very important to constantly find ways to be more productive. This not only ensures more tasks actually get done, but helps you to stay healthy, passionate about your venture, and connected to your life outside the business.

While you might struggle to let some things go or to pay for services when you think you should save as much money as possible, these days it is easier and more affordable than ever to outsource and automate business functions in a systemized way.

Whether you are completely new to delegating or are already making use of some technological tools, there are sure to be a number of things on your to-do list you can go about handing over in order to claw back time and to concentrate on working on your business rather than in it. This is particularly the case when it comes to regular, simple, yet time-consuming tasks.

If you’re looking to up the productivity in your venture and enjoy some work-life balance, read on for a few jobs you should consider automating or outsourcing today.

Payroll

One common task most people don’t enjoy doing, that can also be easily outsourced, is payroll. There are many great tech programs on the market these days, especially accounting ones, which can automate and simplify this process for you. For example, once you have inputted an employee into a system, you can program the tech to automatically create and email pay slips each pay period, plus the annual documents required for tax and accounting purposes.

If your firm’s payroll is more complicated, or you want to take advantage of a service which can also handle other tasks like the setup of employee benefits and development of training programs, it pays to consider outsourcing the work to a payroll service company.

Apart from the time savings involved in doing this, and the fact that you can be sure important payroll functions are taken care of, you can also often enjoy cost savings. Due to the fact that payroll firms work for numerous clients and are specialists in the area, they can typically provide very affordable rates, and leave you and your team free to concentrate on other business activities.

Social Media

In this day and age, when social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn are bigger than ever, all businesses need to have a digital presence. Social media posts should be a key component of any marketing campaigns, and need to be done well. If you struggle to find the time to really commit to social media marketing, or simply don’t know how to effectively use the sites so that you get results, it may be time to outsource all or part of the work.

For starters, consider using some of the many great apps and websites which have been developed to help automate social media posting, relationship building, and analytics. There are programs, for example, which will post your updates for you automatically at pre-scheduled times and dates, so that you don’t have to be live on the sites each time; plus those which will make sure your content is shared to multiple networking sites at once. This can be a huge time saver.

You should also take a look at software which helps you work out the most shareable content for you to upload for your particular target market, and which will analyze the results of each of your posts so that you can see which keywords, images, videos, promotions, or other types of content work best. Keep an eye out, too, for programs which will help you to locate and connect with industry leaders and influencers in your field, or assist you with making your photographs and other graphics more memorable, beautiful and shareable.

Recruitment

Lastly, when it comes to hiring new staff members, don’t be afraid to get a little help so that you save yourself a whole heap of time. For example, one of the benefits of technological advances with regards to recruitment is that there are now affordable tech programs which can automate the sorting of job applications. You can use specialized software which will use criteria you input (think keywords, locations, and qualifications) to find a recommended shortlist of candidates.

These types of programs can also help with the creation of specific careers website pages, the set up and scheduling of interviews, applicant tracking, and communication. You will also find software which will streamline and automate tasks such as shift scheduling and the tracking of staff attendance, sales results, and holiday accumulation.

A Business Plan To Do The Best You Can

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In business, a lot of the advice you receive is very good in theory but doesn’t help that much when you put the work into practice. A lot of leadership methods are like this, often having nearly no impact on the work you do. But, in some areas, the advice you get could be very sound. A great example of this is a business plan. This element of your company is vital for success, but a lot of start-ups still ignore it, resorting to going with the flow, instead. To help you out with this, this post will be going through some of the areas you should be planning.

Of course, it will be hard to start building a plan if you don’t know what it’s important. Having a plan in place will make each stage of your business much easier. At the start, when you’re first learning, knowing what to do will be very helpful. As you grow, your plan will help you to improve your company, setting out objectives along the way. Like any goal you’d like to reach, knowing what you have to do at each point is very important. Along with this, though, your plan could also be an invaluable resource if you ever find yourself looking for investment.

Below, you’ll find some of the areas you should include in your business plan. Most of these areas are vital to your company, and will impact the work that you do for many years. So, it’s worth making sure that you consider them as best you can. Doing some research at this point can be extremely helpful.

Finances

Finances will always be very important to your company, and you will have to know what to expect along the way. To begin, you should plan how your money will be managed in your company. In most cases, small companies will use a CPA service to handle this side of their company for them. Of course, though, this isn’t the only side of money you have to worry about, though.

The future of your business will largely depend on the future of your money, and this is something you have to be able to plan for. As your company becomes more popular, you will slowly be able to start making more and more money. With this sort of resource behind you, it will be possible to start putting new work into action. But, you need to know what you’re aiming for if you want to achieve it. To do this, it’s wise to plan for at least five years, plotting how much you expect to grow and make with each one. With this in place, it will be easy to see if your business is successful with each year that passes.

Growth

As you start to generate more income, your business will get the chance to grow. In most cases, missing the chance or going for it too early can spell doom for a start-up, so it’s important to know how you’re going to expand. Some companies will want to start hiring new employees to increase their workload. Others, though, will prefer the idea of stocking a greater range of products to sell. This sort of time is critical to your company, though. So, you have to make sure that the growth options you choose make sense for the future of it.

Along with being able to expand at this stage, a lot of companies also like to have a look at their branding and marketing efforts. As your company grows, you will have to adapt the way that you speak and interact with customers. Of course, though, it will be hard to know what needs to be done until the time comes. To make this a little easier, your planning should include times for meetings and discussions with other members of your company to make sure that these areas don’t get forgotten. While trying to grow, it could be very hard to deal with things like this. So, it’s best to have them all sorted before you start.

Emergencies

During the life of your company, it’s likely that you’ll run into some unexpected things along the way, even with a good plan in place. The way that you deal with these issues will shape the impact they have on your company. So, it’s worth making sure you have the right tools in place in case you ever have any issues.

The law is very strict in most places and will be harder on businesses than anyone else. If you ever find yourself in legal trouble, it could be hard to know what to do, and you might have to spend crucial time doing research and learning. To avoid this, you should have a good legal company to help you with this sort of work long before you ever start doing business. The options in your area will probably be enough. But, to make sure you choose the very best protection, it’s worth including reassessments of this area in your plan.

Of course, the law isn’t the only thing a new business has to look out for. Along with this, you could have issues with public relations, employees, and even with other companies stealing from you. Knowing what to do in each of these situations will take a lot of learning. But, once you have all of the information you need, your company will be very well-protected against problems in the future. If you have to spend any money on this side of your company, it can always be seen as an investment.

Hopefully, this post will give you a good idea of what can be done when you’re trying to set out a good plan for your company. Along with this, though, it should also help you to understand the importance of this sort of work. In cases where companies ignore their plan or don’t put the right time into it, problems are usually found. Of course, though, along with this, you also have a lot of other work to do.

Give Your Website A Fighting Chance With These Unique Ideas

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Does your startup have a website? If the answer is no, you might want to ask yourself why. It might not seem as though a website should be essential for a business to succeed, but it is. In today’s marketplace, if you are not at least spending some time focusing on your web presence, you can’t really be sure that your business will stay alive for very long. If you have a website, but you are not confident about it, you’re not alone. Many entrepreneurs feel this way at first about their website, and the reason for that is that it takes a lot of hard work to get a website to be professional. If you follow these ideas, however, you will be off to a good start.

Treat It Like A Front Page

Think of it this way: your website is the front page of your business. It doesn’t matter if you hardly ever take any sales online, or your website is just there because you think you should have one. When you are actually designing it, you need to think of it as ultimately being an advertisement for your business. Pretend that every visitor has never heard of your startup (and perhaps they haven’t, yet…). What impression are they getting from your website, straight off the bat? If it is anything short of amazing, you will want to think again about the design of your website. The best way to approach this is to ask yourself to describe your business in one sentence. Then turn that one sentence into something bold, visual and intriguing. You will be amazed at what this can do for your business.

Use SEO For Improved Traffic

One of the major elements you will need to think about during setting up your website is traffic. Ultimately, the more traffic you draw into your website, the better. If you have anything set up as ecommerce, even if it is only a few items for sale, then this is especially important. But even if your website is just going to be that front page we spoke of, you will still want to do everything you can to make sure as many people see it as possible.

Fortunately, there are these days a huge number of tools available which you can use for just that purpose. Many of these tools and techniques fall under the heading of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you don’t already know, SEO is the act of improving the likelihood of your website appearing high up on the Search Engine’s Results Page (SERP). There are a lot of things that fall under this umbrella, and one of the main ones has to do with keywords.

Researching what keywords your potential customers are looking for, and then including those in your website, is hugely effective in drawing people in, as is knowing the intent behind those specific searches. How intent works in SEO is a tricky and complex issue, but ultimately the more you understand about your customer’s searches on search engines, the better equipped you are to drive traffic to your website.

The more people who visit your site, the better, so make sure you are doing at least something to drive traffic. If necessary, find professional help with your SEO efforts. You will be glad you did.

Think About Navigation

The simpler your website is, the better, as your customers will want to stay there for longer and might even return more often. One of the best things you can do to make it simpler is to ensure that navigating around the site is as easy as possible. There are many unique solutions to this problem, and a quick search of the web should throw up a fair few templates which you might be able to make use of. However you do it, you want to make sure you are putting some kind of effort into making navigation as easy as possible.

At the very least, you want to make sure that people can easily get from any page back to the home page, as this is the most commonly sought after navigation button. Most often, websites will have these buttons at the top or side, and this is certainly an elegant solution. However, you can do it however you like – as long as users will feel that they can easily get around your website, you are good to go. You will know if there are any troubles, because the relative pageviews and bounce rates of your different layered pages will show the discrepancy. Pay careful attention to this, and if necessary tweak the design so that navigation is given more of a precedent in the web design.

Linking To Social Media

Chances are, your startup will benefit hugely from having an active social media presence as well as its own website. But in order to make the most of both of these, you should endeavor to link them together. There are many ways to do this, some of them quite simple, and they are all effective means of ensuring that your startup’s online presence is more integrated, more brand-loyal and therefore much more effective.

At its simplest, this just means that you have an integrated button or widget on your home page displaying your latest tweets. Even this will ensure that people see much more of your web presence, and is definitely worth installing. If you want to go a little further, you can do so by also linking to your website through your tweets and updates. You would be surprised at just how effective such measures can be in drawing awareness to your brand as a whole – which, after all, is the whole point of the website.

If you allow your website to have a fighting chance of survival, then your startup will begin its life in a much better position than it would otherwise. This alone is reason enough to carry out the steps above as soon as possible.

The Links Between Your Products and Your Customers

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Whether you sell cakes out of a bakery or smartphones that are made overseas, your product has a deep and intimate link with your consumers. The amount of money they pay for your products will ultimately determine the type of company you are, what your morals are and also how you go about developing your product in the future.

Regardless of how much you charge for your product, there’s a couple of things to keep in mind that you should never let slip.

Your Product Should Make Your Customers Happy

One of the biggest issues that most companies have is developing a product that can relate to their customers. Your products should make the consumer happy, not frustrated. The user experience needs to be clean and straightforward and you should always aim to put a smile on your customer’s face. It sounds like a simple task, but you’d be surprised at how many companies lose sight of this simple requirement and end up frustrating their customers.

Do Customers Know What Your Agenda Is?

Let your customers know in both words and actions about your agenda. Do you plan to provide them with cheap products? Then let them know. Do you want to give your customers the best user experience? Then, again, let them know this so that they can believe you and follow your words. The work you do has to resonate with the customer, and it can only happen if you tell them about your plans both current and future.

Your Customers Pay for What You Make

It sounds obvious, but your customers are going to be paying for what they deem is a good price for your products. If you advertise yourself as the cheap option, then don’t use it as an excuse to make terrible products that barely work after a few weeks. Similarly, if you’re going to charge large sums of money for your products, then make sure it’s worth the actual cost and that you’re not ripping them off. Take a look at Heartrepreneur.com for some more in-depth articles about cost leadership and how it can be used effectively in your business through examples. If you manage to build a niche around your business model and the worth of your products, then you’re off to a good start.

Do Your Customers Know How to Use Your Product?

One of the most underestimated things in business is the ability of your customer. Some customers will know how to use your product better than you, but others will have trouble with the smallest things that you wouldn’t even be able to notice. Take a look at this article from Talentzoo.com for a rough idea of how you can use simple language to explain complicated products. Although something might make sense to you, you need to keep in mind that customers will have zero experience with your products and they need to be taught in simple terms. If you ignore this, then your customers will only get frustrated at using your product and ultimately stop using it.

3 Startup Survival Tips

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Startup businesses; the fledgling full business, it needs time, money and skill to grow up into a big money maker, and if you’re running a startup then we’re going to bring you some bad news; this is the most risky part of your journey as a business owner! The startup phase is where most businesses fail, but they fail because they don’t prepare correctly, so read on to discover the best 3 things to do to make sure your startup survives.

Don’t Get An Office Yet

Getting office space can be very tempting as a business owner, in fact when you imagine a business you often will imagine a big office block, so you’re going to need one in order to be a successful business, right? Wrong! Offices are only for when you really need them, they’re housing for you and your employees and during the startup phase, you’re not going to need it. If you do get some, you’re going to find you aren’t working with anywhere near the amount of people that you need to justify an office space, everyone you work with should either be freelance or from home, so don’t get an office space until you need it because you’ll be paying loads for nothing!

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

All major businesses use these, do you know why? Because they offer a unique insight into the mind of the customer, and it’s something you need to be able to understand in order to get your company off the ground and propel into success. By making use of a customer satisfaction survey, you’re able to see what a customer likes, and dislikes about your company; when you know this, you can fix the areas that are bad and keep the areas that are good, so that your customers then have a better experience with you and are much more likely to return!

Social Media Advertising

Just like with offices, most startups make the mistake that advertising has to be done on the radio or on the tv, which leads to one of two things. The first thing is that the company cannot afford it and so they go without any advertising, and they fail because no one knows about them. The second thing that can happen is that the company spends all it’s money on a few seconds of airtime, and then goes bust because they have no money left. Avoiding both of these is advertising on social medias like facebook. You’re able to pay for how many people you want to see an advert that you’ve made, meaning that you can perfectly budget how much money you’re going to spend on an advert because it’s down to you. This gives you the ability to get exposure without spending too much money, which is something all businesses need.

As long as you do all of these things, you aren’t going to overspend on advertising, you’ll know what you need to improve in your company and you’ll not be spending huge amounts of money on an office space that you just don’t need. Another thing that startups have trouble with is turning website visits into sales, but if you read this you’ll not struggle with it any longer!

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.