Is Starting Online Really Best For Your Business Budget?

Every budding business owner has to make decisions for the sake of their business. It’s down to you which product you’re going to pile money into. It’s then your choice how you brand, package, and price the product in question. Heck; it’s even down to you whether you start online or in a physical store. It’s this latter decision we’re going to look at here. Even in this age of ecommerce, many entrepreneurs dream of jumping into physical business. You may not feel like you’ve arrived until you have an office around you. As such, your leaning may, even now, be towards building something physical. But, that choice could unravel your company. Business owners who choose online usually do so for the sake of their budgets. You could well benefit from doing the same. That’s not to say that your company needs to stay online forever but, spreading your wings here could help your initial budget in the following ways. Cheaper start-up costs It’d be madness to ignore a benefit like cheaper start-up costs. Physical business is never cheap. Hence why so many entrepreneurs end up taking out loans and getting into debt. In no time, this debt can be their undoing. Admittedly, you will still need to fork out for things like product materials but those are a drop in the ocean, and the only expense you’ll face online. Then, all you’d need is an online shop and a knowledge of free marketing methods like social media. Before you...

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 –...

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. To see growth and success in your business, you do need to understand the benefits of what is 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 become a thing of the past if you implement just a few of the tools that are available to you. Benefit #2: Technology can secure your business For starters, you will probably...

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...

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...

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...

Success Belongs to the Tech Savvy Broker

Technology has made a massive impact on business and the insurance industry is no exception. The majority of tech news will point to mobile technology, virtual reality, augmented reality, cloud, the internet of things and chatbots. There is a very real opportunity in driving social media relationships as a broker. There is good news for brokers in today’s connection economy. Your relationship building skills are the competitive edge you need to succeed in a digital economy. As the digital world facilitates more and more human connections it’s your ability to leverage these connections that will lead you towards success. Add to this the prevalence of fake news and we find ourselves in an environment that we need relationships of trust to help us decipher the good content from the fake content. In a world of information overload, the world needs trusted advisors, curators, and editors to help them make decisions. Your product knowledge, people skills, persistent high energy and honest personality are the things that bought you success to date and they will serve you well in the digital economy. In taking yourself online we would advise the following steps to getting the most out of your digital presence. Choose a Platform We get caught up in thinking we need to be everywhere, we don’t. We need to choose a platform where our customers are, where we feel comfortable expressing our opinion and where the type of content we produce matches the technology of the platform. It’s obvious to choose...

Personal Branding: 16 Apps to make your life easier

Design and Editing Tools Canva Canva makes design simple for everyone. Create designs for Web or print: blog graphics, presentations, Facebook covers, flyers, posters, invitations and so much more. Lightroom Access, edit, organize, and share photos on your iPad, iPhone, or Android device. Changes sync seamlessly so they are available in your Lightroom CC desktop app and your Lightroom CC account on the web. Snapseed Make every photo extraordinary with Snapseed. Snapseed provides the precision and control of professional photo editing software, in the palm of your hand. Unsplash Beautiful, free photos. Gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers Productivity and Management Tools Evernote Organize your work and declutter your life. With Evernote on your desktop and mobile devices, your notes are always with you and always in sync. Facebook Page Stay informed and respond to customers immediately with the Pages Manager app, available for iOS and Android. With the Pages Manager app, you can: Post updates, photos and videos, and respond to comments on your Page. View and reply to messages. Get push notifications for Page activity, tips and reminders. View your Page Insights and manage your settings and Page admins. Mailchimp Staying on top of your marketing is even easier when you can do it from anywhere. MailChimp gives you the power to create and send campaigns, manage subscribers, keep tabs on your account activity, and more—all from your mobile device. WordPress Publish blog updates from any corner of the globe, like travel writer Chérie King,...

Personal Branding: The Value of a Platform

Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage” and his words ring more true today than ever. If you have something to say or something to sell, whether you are speaking to one person or many people, essentially, you’re on a stage. (Hyatt. M, 2012) The Internet has created a stage like no other before it. People can find groups of people to speak to easier and faster. They can research information and form opinions more efficiently. Ultimately the Internet gives people an opportunity to scale their platform easily, giving people the opportunity to influence more and sell more. Needless to say that as more people have taken advantage of this platform the more cluttered the Internet has become. Leading to people struggling to be seen amongst a sea of content created and shared by millions of people around the world. Social networks sued to be a great place to share your messages and while they are still effective, they lack the credibility that a personal brand needs to establish itself. People who take personal branding seriously are looking to build their own platform, instead of simply using other platforms to share their message. Building you own platform can be as simple as a blog or as elaborate as developing a website and a host of services that develop content. Whether you prefer a simple or elaborate approach it’s increasingly important to understand that there is more credibility in developing your own platform, than leveraging someone else’s platform. In our course...

Article Topics

Check Mike’s Availability for Your Event

  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • When is your event?
    Date Format: DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • Any additional information?

Where People and Technology Meet