How To Regain Your Credibility In The Workplace In 3 Simple Steps

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It’s all too easy to become lazy at work, and before you know it, you can find yourself part of the untrustworthy employees of the company. It doesn’t need to be said, but being unreliable can lead to dismissal, demotions, and even falling out with colleagues at work. Luckily, there are ways that you can regain your credibility in the workplace, and here’s how.

Punctuality

This is a bit of an obvious one, but many people tend to think that being a few minutes late to work won’t make any difference. Even though you may be able to catch up easily on the few minutes of lost work, your credibility with your boss, superiors and fellow colleagues will go down. Make sure you’re at work at least five minutes before you’re due to start. This will give you time to put your belongings away and be ready to start you working day on time. If you really want to show enthusiasm, why not turn up a little earlier than that and begin work early. This will show your boss and colleagues that you’ve turned over a new leaf and you can now begin to rebuild your trust with them.

Punctuality within your work is key too. Sometimes, missing your deadlines is unavoidable. If you realise this is going to happen, let your superior know so that they don’t think that you’re avoiding doing the task at hand. Of course, whenever possible try to get your work in before the deadline approaches.

Behavior

Just like when you were at school, your behavior in the workplace is important to keep an eye on too. Insubordination in the workplace is never taken lightly, so make sure that you’re adhering to the rules your employer has laid out at all times. For example, swearing in the workplace should never happen, even if you’re comfortable with the people that you work with, or they do it too. If a customer, or a member of management hears bad language, or even discussion that shouldn’t be taking place at work, it could lead to disciplinary action against you.

If you’ve been doing this in the past, then make a conscious effort to stop any bad behavior within your workplace, and make sure that you’re concentrating on the job at hand. It won’t go unnoticed.

Improve

Improving your standards of work is another great way to regain your credibility at work. You could make sure that the work you’re doing isn’t rushed and to the best of your abilities, or you could take on extra work. Training further in your job will also show your employer that you’re enthusiastic about your job and that you’d like to take your career further within the company.

If you don’t wear a uniform to work, change up your dress sense to something smarter to show yourself as a true working professional.

Following these three simple steps will help you regain your credibility at work, and may even help you get onto the right track for an eventual promotion. Try them today!

Why Developing the Infrastructure of Your Start Up is Essential

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To attract high quality staff members and even higher quality clients, it is vital that your business has a good infrastructure. A lot of this revolves around your premises and the selection and design of your space. In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can develop the infrastructure of your start-up and what kind of difference this can make to your business.

Assuring Safety

When it comes to space design, safety should be your number one concern. After all, your employees and customers can only be productive or at ease in a safe environment.

This means that when you’re planning and developing your office space, you should prioritize safety above all else. This may mean compromising slightly on design or price, but you have to use safe form of insulation, cladding and ensure you meet the necessary fire safety standards.

Doing so could be simpler than you think. Before you’re tied into a quote from a builder, ensure you check out online retailers such as Insulation Giant. This way you won’t compromise on safety, but won’t pay over the odds, either.

The Importance of Professionalism

Once you’ve emphasized safety in your design, you need to begin to think about aesthetics and the overall “feel” of your premises. Many start-ups fail to match up to more established brands because they still feel small and inexperienced.

However, with the correct plans and design, you can safeguard against this feeling, creating an impression of professionalism no matter how small your business may be. Some of the world’s greatest companies have a much smaller physical presence than you’d expect, the key is to maximize your image to leverage against this.

For example, when Facebook purchased Instagram for $1bn, Instagram only had 13 employees. If you can create the correct mage and brand, you can be highly successful even as a small outfit.

Ensuring the Office is Well Lit

As well as being a professional space, your space should be inspiring. Part of this involves ensuring that your office is correctly lit. Bright, light spaces can be inspiring for your employees, can be inviting for your potential customers and can showcase your products at their very best.

So, when designing your office space, pay close attention to lighting plans. Consider not only where you need lighting, but what type of lighting you require. Softer lighting, natural lighting and harsh lighting are all good options for various applications. So, research and consider which suits your requirements.

Focusing on Sustainability

Finally, when you’re planning your infrastructure, consider the impact that sustainability can have on your company. This is something that many companies are now looking to consider; particularly how they can conserve water and energy as well as lowering their carbon footprint.

Customers are now more eco-conscious than they ever have been previously, and many are looking for sustainable companies that match their own preferences. Make sure you fulfil these criteria and then publicise it widely to ensure that customers know.

To conclude, infrastructure is vital for the success to your start up, so place a focus on safety, professionalism, lighting and sustainability to ensure a top quality environment.

Little Things That Lead to Big Stress: How Entrepreneurs Can Stay Cool When Opening a Small Business

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Stress and entrepreneurship often go hand in hand. The pressures that come along with starting a business can push even the most prepared and level-headed person to the brink.

For some, those pressures are motivating. After all, stress is a physical reaction to a threat, and feeling stressed can help an entrepreneur stay focused and do what needs to be done. However, stress can also be detrimental to not only your health, but also your relationships, your ability to make smart decisions, and the overall productivity and morale of your business. That’s why it’s so important to keep stress in check, and take steps to prevent it from taking over your life. For many people, that means taking control of the little things that add up to big stress.

 

The Most Common “Little” Stresses

When most people think about business stress, they focus on the big things: Maintaining the bottom line, keeping clients happy, staying ahead of the curve in the face of major economic and industry challenges. As important as all those situations are, they aren’t generally the things that cause day-to-day stress.

More often, entrepreneurs are more stressed by things like:

  1. Information overload. As a busy entrepreneur, it may feel like the alerts never stop coming. Emails, texts, voice messages, instant messages – everyone wants something, and they want it now.
  2. Hunger and thirst. You’d be surprised at how many business owners say that they “forget” to eat and drink throughout the day. Being hungry or thirsty can have a major effect on your mood though – and cause you to overreact or lose patience.
  3. Overwork. Being an entrepreneur takes time, and there is always more work to be done. But staying in the office until midnight, missing time with friends and family, or sacrificing sleep and time for hobbies or other activities can cause resentment, not to mention exhaustion, guilt, and yes, stress.
  4. Negative thought patterns. Getting caught in a cycle of “what if’s” and irrational fears can cause undue stress.
  5. A need for control. Your business might be your baby, but that doesn’t mean you need to control every single detail. Trying to control everything and make it go your way is nothing more than a fast train to Stress City.
  6. Lack of perspective. In the early days of your business, even small things – an unhappy customer, a late payment – can send you into a spiral of thinking your business is doomed.

Any one of these stressors can contribute to a bad day. When you have several at once? That can lead to major stress, and a feeling of being out of control.

Taking Control of Your Stress

Identifying the factors that are contributing to your stress is only the beginning. You need to actually do something about them to conquer the stress monster to stay on track.

Some stressors are easy to manage. Make breaks a priority, for example. Try working on a 90-20 schedule: Spend 90 minutes on focused work, followed by a 20-minute break. Stretch, grab a snack and a drink, and spend some time refocusing. You’ll not only be less stressed, but more productive.

Your productivity will only increase if you can curb the interruptions that pepper your day. Schedule time to read and respond to emails in the morning and the afternoon, and turn off the alarms notifying you of new messages. If texts and other messages are constant, turn off those notifications as well. Consider setting up a dedicated email account for newsletters and other non-urgent correspondence. If your inbox isn’t getting cluttered with mail, you won’t feel so overwhelmed.  

To help curb the tendency to overwork, outsource those tasks that take up time that you can spend doing more important things – or that a professional can do faster. A part-time virtual assistant, for example, won’t bust the budget, but can take a lot of stress off your plate. Schedule appointments with yourself the same way that you would a client, and set clear boundaries that ensure you leave the office at a reasonable hour each day.

Finally, learn to control your thinking. Try telling a different story when you feel stressed: Instead of looking at your to-do list as an insurmountable challenge, try looking at it as an opportunity to move forward and make strides toward a successful business. Frame your work and challenges as positively as possible, understanding that you can’t control everything. Focus instead on what you can control and what you can do to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

Starting a business can be exciting, but it’s not without challenges. How you handle the challenges and the stress they bring can have a big impact on your health and success, so try not to sweat the small stuff and stay cool under pressure.

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.