Being The Best For Your Business: The Harsh Decisions To Make

Often as a business owner you will find that every important decision falls at your feet. It isn’t an easy thing to have to navigate at times. But a necessary part of entrepreneur life. There will be some harsh realities that you face, some will have a real impact on your business day to day, and some will impact how you work and feel. It is good to be aware of the situations that you might find yourself in as a business owner yourself, so here are some of the harsh decisions you may need to make in the future in order for your business to be successful and thrive. Valuing your time One of the biggest things an entrepreneur and business owner can face is placing a value on their time. The truth is, you may want to be part of every aspect of your business, but there will not be enough hours in the day once your business starts to progress. Outsourcing certain aspects of your business could be the answer, and things like using  expert contractor accountants for your accounts or having an IT team in place to deal with website issues and your online presence might be worth the investment. Freeing up your time for the things where you can make the most difference. In addition you should be making sure that you delegate the work you need to. Too many entrepreneurs are doing too much work themselves that can be delegated and free them up to...

Out of Sight Should Never Mean out of Mind When it Comes to Colleague Care

You already know that caring for your employees is an essential part of running a business, don’t you? A manager who cares can expect to see better results, as well as attracting better candidates when word gets around. They can hold onto their staff for longer than they might otherwise, and even see people putting in the extra mile. That’s because, when you care, your team members will, too. And, that’s what you need if you want to see success of any kind. In the past, caring for staff was a relatively simple process. That’s because they were in the office right along with their managers. That made it easy to spot what they needed and how to provide it. And, this is a method even the modern entrepreneur needs to put in place to keep the team around them happy. But, your responsibility of care no longer ends there. That’s because the majority of workplaces, including our #workfamily, now also operate with staff members further afield. Whether you have delivery teams or remote workers, you should do what you can to care for them. If you’re unsure how just keep on reading to find out. Are you considering care on the road? Delivery drivers are tricky to manage. They’re on your books like any other employee, yet they’re out on the road every day. If you aren’t careful, you could forget all about them. If you do that, you certainly aren’t caring for them the way you should. Make...

Common Mistakes That Reputation Managers Often Make

Brand management is everything if you run your own business. If you do not manage your brand effectively then everything that you have worked so hard to build really will be for nothing, not to mention that you will lose out on profit and time as a result. Paying Someone to Post some Positive Reviews Sure, it can be tempting to work with someone who can get you fake, positive reviews. They will work to create several social media accounts and they will post fake reviews from them. Some companies may promise to do this all over the internet, for a very small fee. Regardless of how they do this, or even how much they charge, this will almost certainly hurt your company’s reputation. This is especially the case when it comes to the Google search page. Google will punish sites that do this, and they will also hinder your ranking. If you want to get around this, then ask the clients you have had in the past to post a review for you. Offer them something in return, and always try and conduct business honestly over the internet. If you are struggling to manage your brand online, then consider hiring a high-quality branding service. That way, you can concentrate on the more important aspects of your business while they work with your company image. Encouraging Trolls Online Trolls are constantly looking for ways to post defaming comments because they want to try and get a reaction. So many reputations...

Social Media Strategies: Embrace The Mosh Pit

Social Media is not a marketing channel, rather it’s a mosh pit of conversations that surround our marketing channels. If it were a channel, we would be able to control its distribution and conversation better. We need to understand that social media is the mesh (or mess) between our channels; it affects and feels the effect of everything the brand does. In order to adapt to the mosh pit, there are a few things that we can do in our social media teams. Break Down Silos Bring your social teams into the conversation about brand positioning and campaigns much earlier. Push them to get involved in the bigger strategic picture not simply the execution of ideas. Encourage them to see the big picture and how their work in the ‘mosh pit’ is bringing everything together. Leverage data Leverage social data to better understand the customer online. Demographic and psychographic information can speak into your key insights that drive brand decisions. In addition, allow the social media management team to leverage data in real time. Use data to get a feel of how the mosh pit is moving, and then allowing them some autonomy to ‘move with the pit’ and build better relationships and brand love with customers. Make Sure Social is Everywhere Social is the mesh holding all the channels together, so make sure that you have social support around all these channels. Whether it’s TV, Radio, Events, Print or Billboards, social media presents an opportunity to further leverage your media and...

The Problems Caused By Legacy IT Systems In Business

IT changes in the blink of an eye, which can be hugely problematic for modern businesses. It can often feel like the moment a business fully adapts to a new IT system or way of operating, the technology shifts again, leaving the company with a difficult choice: Update their systems again in order to embrace the possibilities offered by technology, or… Stick to their existing systems While the first option is undeniably the best – the more modern IT infrastructure is, the more secure and capable it is – many businesses choose or are forced to choose, the second option. Time passes. More updates arrive. Once again, business owners look at the same options and decide that it would simply be far too much hassle to try to upgrade their system at this point. More time passes. More opportunities to improve and update the business’ IT system arise. Again, the business owner decides that now isn’t the right time. So the cycle continues: the possibility for updates and upgrades arise, businesses defer the decision, and continue with their ever-more outdated legacy IT system. Eventually, the issue mushrooms into a new problem; years have passed, the opportunities for upgrades have been declined, and a business is now running a legacy system that is so tired and out-of-date that the prospect of upgrading seems nigh-on impossible. The above scenario may sound far fetched, but it is a genuine issue that impacts millions of businesses – not to mention the US government –...

5 Important Rules For Hiring Your First Employee

When you start a new business, managing your finances is so important. You need to keep spending as low as possible until you can get things off the ground. For a lot of people, that means handling the day to day running of the business on their own. But once you start making a few sales and the business starts to grow, you’re going to need to start hiring some employees. Hiring your first employee is a big step and if you haven’t run a business before, you probably don’t know where to start. The success of your business is so dependent on your employees so you’ve got to make sure that you get it right. These are some of the most important things to remember when you’re hiring your first employee. Know Your Responsibilities As An Employer When you become an employer, you’ve got a lot of responsibilities to fulfil. You need to make sure that you’re creating a safe working environment, you’re paying everybody fairly, and you’re following all of the regulations around sick pay etc. You could land yourself in a lot of trouble if you’re not fulfilling all of your responsibilities and that usually happens because employers don’t know exactly what is expected of them. Research is key here, read a HR blog for more information about what it means to be an employer, what rules you need to follow, and the issues that you might face once you hire your first employees. I found that...

How to Have Your New Business Taken Seriously

It seems like the chips are ever stacked against new businesses. They’re trying to carve out their space in a tough market place, they have to do it on a shoestring budget, and, to cap things off, they can have a hard time being taken seriously by customers and other businesses. While you can’t always do anything about the market or how much money you have, you can do something about how you’re perceived by others. Below, we take a look at some useful tips that’ll have your new business taken more seriously. Look the Part If you have a corner office on Madison Avenue, you’ll be taken seriously. Alas, that’ll have to be a far-flung dream for your business, which is likely being run out of your own home. It makes more sense to spend money on important things rather than where you’re working, so accept that you’re not going to impress anyone with your location, and move on. You can, however, make a solid impression by wearing the right clothes. Make sure you’re always dressing smartly, even when you’re not expecting to be in front of anyone else that day. Zuckerberg and Elon Musk can wear what they want — they’ve made it. You need to show the world that you mean business. Online Presence Whether you’re a digital business or not, you need to have a solid online presence. Virtually everyone who encounters your store will find you via the internet, which will mean your website is...

Perks Of The Job: Attracting Better Candidates To Your Business

Recruitment can be a very frustrating field, especially in this digital world. Regardless of how much effort you put into making your advert, getting it out into the world, and going through the applications you receive, it will always feel as though the perfect employee is a resume or two away. While this is partly thanks to a stagnant job market, it could also be down to the perks which you offer alongside your roles. To give you an idea of what you can use to attract better professionals to your roles, this post will be exploring some of the most popular perks which come with modern jobs. Transport The concept of a company car has been around for a long time, with employers providing their team members with their own sets of wheels to ensure that they can get around. While this can cost a lot of money, it gives you the chance to offer a lower salary, while also ensuring that the people working for you will always look incredibly professional. Car dealerships will often offer lease agreements to handle this. This will make it possible to pay for the cars as if they were just another salary, helping to avoid any cash flow issues as the result of this investment. Being able to offer a company car will make your job look more desirable than other options on the market. Health & Fitness Keeping fit and healthy is a challenge, especially when people are stuck working in...

Can Technology Bring Old-Fashioned Industries Into The 21st Century?

When a long-established industry is ailing, entrepreneurs can sometimes be a little too quick in figuring out that it’s time to jump ship. Ultimately, even a dying industry can be revived as long as it remains relevant to the market. Indeed, a professional sector that is meaningful to contemporary society can, and should, evolve to meet modern trends. The real question you want to ask yourself is how can contemporary processes and innovative technologies bring yesterday’s business into today’s world, and save your company from closing down. The real answer to this strategic repositioning is that people’s basic needs at a customer level have remained the same. They want products they can rely on, a brand that takes them seriously, and businesses that has the right solution to their problems. Here’s how you can inject a little bit of tech know-how to revive your dying business: You thought farming was antiquated? Think again Farming is by far one of the oldest industries in the world. But, contrary to the common belief, it’s not going away any time soon. After all, people still need to eat every day! However, the abundance of remote and digital roles can push aside the value of old-fashion businesses such as running a farm. With a growing population and increasing weather chaos – unfortunately, as a direct result from the global warming situation – you can’t harvest vegetables the way your ancestors have always done. You need to produce crops out of extreme weather conditions, using...

7 Ways Technology can Benefit Your Business

It can be difficult to keep up with the latest technologies, especially if you’re not a natural tech-head. This is why I suggest that you keep your eyes on context. relationship and intelligence, instead of chasing down every single new technology hype. To see growth and success in your business, you do need to understand the people who will use your tech and the benefits that technology makes available to you. Technology can aid your business in many ways, and we have listed some of the benefits in this article. If you haven’t caught up yet, then it might be time for a rethink. Consider the following, and make the relevant changes in your business. Benefit #1: Technology can aid productivity Think about your working day and the many tasks you have before you. We are betting you have a lot on your plate, and like many of us, you probably wish you had more time in the day to get everything done. While there isn’t technology in place (yet) to slow down time, there is technology available to aid your productivity in the day, increasing business efficiency so you are able to get through most of your to-do list at a faster rate than you would if you were still reliant on manual processes. As discussed in the linked article, technology can streamline many of your usual tasks, from managing your accounts to improving your sales processes. For both you and your employees, the need for overtime should soon...

Social Media Strategies: Improve The Trust Equation

Social Media is the first Internet-based platform that has facilitated a people-to-people connection. It provided a structure to build a personal presence online that could be used to build personal relationships, broadcast to our entire network and, importantly, it helped us build that network. Over time social media and the Internet has begun to replicate many of the human interactions that we do offline. All of these advances in social media have made it easier to build relationships online. Brands are able to go beyond content distribution and towards relationship building. In building a brand persona on social platforms we are able to leverage these platforms and their technology to build relationship with our customers. At the very least, we can build the impression of a good relationship by leveraging social media. At the heart of building relationship lies the currency of relationships – trust. Relationships are built on trust and destroyed when trust is broken. So, our role as a brand on social media is to build trust with our audience, which in turn leads to relationship building, brand love and advocacy. There is a simple formula for trust, developed by Charles H. Green, which I have tested and applied to a number of consumer brand and B2B environments. Each time it helps highlight the gaps in a social media strategy and what we need to focus on to build more trust. Credibility has to do with the words we speak. In a sentence, we might say, “I can...

Are You A Natural Born Leader?

When it comes to your career, it pays to know your strengths. No matter what field you’re in or what job role you have, understanding your personality will always help you to succeed. This isn’t because you can sing your own praises, but it’s because you can play to your strengths, and work on your weaker areas. Because that’s the thing about life. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, there will always be things that you’re naturally good at. And on the flip side, there are also those things that you’re going to struggle with. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll never be good at them, it just means that you need to work a little harder. This is very much the case with leadership. Sure, some people are born to dictate. But others can learn the skills so that they can become great leaders too. Let’s consider how. 1. Understanding People So first of all, you need to make sure that you understand people. And that you like working with people. And, that you care about how you communicate with them. The more that you can understand how people think and act and work, the better you’re going to be at leading them. 2. Proactively Aiming To Improve Next, you’re going to want to choose to improve. And you HAVE to be proactive about this because you are not just going to improve by accident. You are not just going to ‘end up’ a good leader. You need...

Developing Your Inner Guru

Stick or twist? Stop or go? Making business decisions can feel like a step into the dark sometimes and leave you wondering if you’re going to plunge headlong into a financial abyss or into something altogether more enticing. Unless you have the gift of seeing into the future, there can be no way of telling for sure what’s going to happen but is there such a thing as business sense? If you’re setting up on your own for the first time, it’s a leap of faith and you might make one or two questionable decisions during those early days. The stakes only start to get much higher the further along you go, so how do you avoid the snakes and climb the ladders? We’ll show you how to develop your inner business guru and make decisions that boost your business rather than harm it. Network For so many of us, the idea of making small talk in a room filled with strangers is torture but making contacts, particularly with people in the same boat as you, can help you to develop some sharp instincts. Don’t be afraid to quiz them on their decision-making processes, what’s worked and what hasn’t. If you can gain any insight into their practice, then use it to your advantage. If you build a strong enough network, you might even be able to call on them for advice when it comes to crunch time and decisions need to be made, just be willing to extend that...

Finding More Exposure For Your Brand

You can steward the most important business in your industry. You can innovate the best products. You can have the best working satisfaction, perhaps not measured but obviously apparent in the day to day culture of your office. But if your business isn’t exposed, marketed and advertised, it will struggle to find any standing in the modern market. This kind of difficulty is not warranted for many businesses, because they deserve to be seen. But it happens. Sometimes a bad marketing campaign is just as damaging as a campaign that was hardly seen. For this reason, you need to ensure that every shot you fire hits the bullseye. You want to ensure that people see your brand, but more importantly recognize it and understand it. You want to ensure that this happens repeatedly, even in the eyes of your regular customers. With the following advice, you might best be able to do this. Consider: Marketing Variance It’s important to find many places to market your presence. Simply choosing one option will be the same as only playing one chord on a guitar in order to contribute to a full song. You need to be present, and have confidence in your marketing strategy. This doesn’t mean you need content on television, on the radio, in magazines and targeting social media marketing in order to ensure everything plays out correctly, but choosing one or two to excel at can be a great idea, especially if encompassed in a three-sixty degree fashion. For...

Social Media Strategies: Nurture Advocacy

Building advocacy has always been a priority for brands in the past and today is no different. Brands engage social media influencers to become brand ambassadors or to help distribute content to a wider audience. However, social media provides a more valuable opportunity for brands. As Meghan Whalen Turner says, “Sometimes if you want to change a person’s mind, you have to change the mind of the person next to them first.” Social media presents the opportunity to build and nurture relationships at various levels of advocacy for the brand. The common plan is to look towards recognised social media influencers, which is akin to celebrity marketing albeit, more cost-effective. We can and should look further though. When looking to building and nurturing brand advocacy online we should look towards: Mega and minor celebrities Social media influencers Journalists Our customers Our employees All these people and more can provide and nurture brand advocacy. Outlined below is a framework developed at DigitLab that looks at how you can start nurturing your social media influence, instead of always having to buy it through campaigns, influencer fees and giveaways. Step 1: Identify To identify the influencers with whom you wish to build a relationship with, you first need to identify your ideal target audience: Who do you want to be speaking to? How old are they? What are their interests? What are their online behaviours like – which social platforms are they on? Which part of the consumer journey would you like to influence them...

3 Basic Tips for Gaining Customer Trust as a New Entrepreneur

No business will be successful for more than a heartbeat, unless they are capable of obtaining and maintaining client trust. You could be the most savvy businessmen in the world, you could have the most impressive product, and could have marketing graphics and videos that would make the finest artists of your day and age weep tears of joy. But if your customers or clients think that you are manipulative, untrustworthy, or otherwise exploitative, it is only a matter of time before your entire business venture sinks. On the other hand, even if your product or service isn’t the most advanced, streamlined, or pioneering in your field, customers and clients will give you a lot of slack if you are known to be trustworthy, supportive, and to have a high degree of professional integrity. So, since gaining customer trust is a fundamental part of your job as an entrepreneur, here are some effective but basic tips for gaining that trust. Be mindful of “qualifiers of professionalism” “Qualifiers of professionalism,” are those things that let your prospective clients or customers know, or at least cause them to believe, that you are highly professional, sophisticated, and know what you are doing. It certainly doesn’t hurt if they also think that you are well established in your particular niche, even if you aren’t yet. Of course, it should go without saying that you should never deceive your customers, or claim to have certain accolades which you do not. Nonetheless, you should be extremely...

Essential Trends That Future-Forward Business Need to be Aware of in 2019

It tends to be businesses with their finger on the pulse that do the best. Therefore, if you want your company to be considered among these, and reap the rewards, you will need to educate yourself on the most important trends of 2019. So let’s explore a few of the big topics impacting business today. Automation It does not quite mean rise of the robots yet, but automation will be playing a big part in business in 2019. In fact, if any repetitive and mundane tasks are still being done by humans in your business, the likelihood is that you are not working as efficiently as possible. Of course, a lack of efficiency has a direct affect on your bottom line and limits your capacity for growth. Therefore it’s crucial to examine the application of automation to areas such as marketing and sales, accounting, and even document production in your business. Outsourcing Another business trend that will continue to dominate in 2019 is outsourcing. This is where instead of doing things in-house you send particular projects to specialists that work independently of your company instead. There is massive trend in freelancing and this is set to impact many industries as many top line thinkers move out of organisations and begin freelancing their services. Of course, the value of outsourcing is tremendous because not only does it ensure you get the best people for the job that needs to be completed, but it also frees up your staff to focus on...

Are you Getting in the way of Your Product’s Personal Brand?

If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll already know a little something about the power of personal brand. This is the thing which can boost your sales and see you to success. It’s the story you tell customers to get them onboard. And, it’s the thing which ensures they never walk away empty-handed. Though it might sound easy enough, many entrepreneurs stumble over getting their personal brands just so. When this happens, failure is often inevitable. As such, it’s something you want to avoid at all costs. And, to do that, it’s worth considering why entrepreneurs before have fallen here. A lot of the issue here is in the semantics. The phrase ‘personal brand’ suggests that your efforts here should be personal. AKA, they should be about you. Many entrepreneurs think they can secure sales by putting themselves out there. But, that’s rarely the case. Think about it; posting personal updates is unlikely to lead to increased sales. That doesn’t mean that your personality doesn’t come into this. A decent business narrative often has an intensely personal struggle behind it. Look at Apple and their humble beginning in a garage. Rather, the trick here is to strike a fine balance between how much you and your product each dictate that personal brand. Rags to riches story aside, you’ll often find that your product should take the limelight. That’s because it’s the main event. It’s the thing you want customers to notice the most. As much as you need to...

Why we Banned Whatsapp at Work

I absolutely love my work. I have spent the last few years pouring all my spare time into doing work, thinking about work and talking about work. While many people applauded my “work ethic” I have since learnt that all work and no play leads to a pretty crummy life and a tired soul that has no energy to put into work anymore. The old adage “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” forgets to remind you that pushing the limits on your personal resources today may mean you have nothing to give in the future. Energy is finite and so is time. It’s how we use these resources that will dictate how successful we are in life. I personally no longer believe it’s about packing as much as possible into the time you have. Instead I believe that there should be a rhythm in life that both energizes you and allows you to spend that energy.   It was through these learnings that I started to appreciate the times of life when my phone didn’t ring, when Whatsapp didn’t ping and when my email was far away. I found that distance from work and the barrage of communication made me a better problem solver when I was at work. I found that I handled the pressure better with simple routines that put my health first and created space away from work. In general I found that to be the best leader, strategist and entrepreneur I could be, meant that I need...

Social Media Strategies: Apply the 80/20 Rule

Brands are chasing every single platform. Wanting to be everywhere, making sure that each platform has their voice, their content and their flavour. Organisations are chasing down the next app, the next network and the next digital trend. I’m all about being innovative and cutting-edge but being everywhere doesn’t make you innovative. It just makes you everywhere and being everywhere can be a very expensive and resource-intensive challenge. Twenty percent of your marketing is, most likely, contributing to eighty percent of your return. Tracking and measuring all your initiatives will help you find the twenty percent that counts. Then, you invest heavily into what matters – building an incredibly strong brand that is valued by its customers. In essence, we are talking about finding the touch points that are valuable to customers and choosing to invest there. Finding these touch points is a two-fold process that in practice becomes more an art than a science. First, ask yourself how your social media presence contributes to the customer: Does it make their life more convenient? Does it add to their personal brand or projected persona? Is it entertaining? Then cross match that with your social media objective: Are you driving leads? Are you building Share of Voice? Are you trying to educate people about the problem you’re solving? When you find the intersection where a customer values your social presence and you achieve the objective you’re aiming for – you will now have a true win/win scenario that you can invest...

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