5 Questions to Consider Before Starting Your Business

When considering the option of becoming self-employed, we are often focused upon the financial elements needed for successful trading. Forecasting your earning potential is an important exercise before taking the plunge into self-employment and having a contingency plan in case of failure is always recommended. However, the emotional and psychological implications of self-employment are often overlooked by potential entrepreneurs, and herein lie many of the challenges faced by new business owners.

Why do you want to do this?

The first and most important step to preparing for potential self-employment is to be completely honest with yourself. Identifying your real motivations for wanting to leave the 9-5 grind will help clarify if starting a business is right for you. If your motivations centre solely around an annoying boss or co-worker, then you need to consider if finding another job might be the best solution for you. The idea of being your own boss can be alluring, but not everybody is cut out for entrepreneurship. Self-employment often poses far more difficulties than working for an employer, and it is advisable for one to ascertain whether they are willing to make sacrifices in terms of financial security, as well as job stability, to develop a business. Taking the time to consider this question deeply will either save you a lot of trouble or help steel you for the challenges ahead.

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First Steps In Launching A Successful Marketing Campaign

The success of an up-and-coming startup depends heavily on the marketing approach. Before you focus all your effort into a marketing campaign, first you need to devise a proper marketing plan, complete with a system which encompasses all the marketing initiatives you need to take in order to ensure the success of said plan. Whether you’re using content marketing, e-mail marketing or a lead generation campaign, each initiative needs to have a specific plan driving its execution and guaranteeing the return of your marketing investments.

Difference between a marketing plan and marketing campaign

People who aren’t directly related to the marketing industry often confuse these two terms. A marketing plan describes the complete picture when it comes to marking your business. This includes identifying specific marketing strategies which will be used to engage the target audience and interest them in the products and services you’re offering. A marketing campaign is just a small part of the overall marketing plan and describes a particular marketing action used for achieving a particular goal or objective.

Identifying and reaching target audience

Before you define the trajectory or your campaign, first you need to think about who your target audience really is. You might be thinking “but I already know what my target audience is”, but in reality, it’s not that simple. The target audience of a marketing campaign doesn’t necessarily have to be the one purchasing your products and services. Marketing campaigns differ depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. Increasing the engagement, getting more visitors, leads or conversion all require a different approach and focus on different audiences.

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8 Tips for Finding the Best Outsourcing Solution for your Business

During these times of great uncertainty and the persistence of unstable global economic conditions, outsourcing remains the best solution for your business. As a process, it will help you streamline costs and maintain a degree of profitability even if business activity is slow.

But not all outsourcing partners can get the job done. It’s not just because there are unqualified service providers out there. You must also do your part to ensure the success of the outsourcing arrangement.

Here are 8 tips for finding the best outsourcing solution for your business:

  1. Research on Outsourcing

Some businesses make the mistake of jumping on the outsourcing bandwagon without doing research. They believe its benefits are automatic and immediate.

Unfortunately, they realize that like all processes, outsourcing takes time. It faces challenges and not all service providers are effective. Research opens your mind to all the possibilities. It helps you anticipate the challenges that lie ahead and develop an understanding of what to expect during the process.

In addition to online research, interview businesses that have outsourced and learn from their experiences. The more you know, the better you will be prepared to move forward with outsourcing.

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5 SEO Tasks Your Secretary or Assistant Can Do in Their Spare Time

When you’re out of the office or during downtime, your secretary could be completing SEO tactics that won’t take up too much time. He or she could be maximizing your website in the search engines in between answering your phones or scheduling your appointments.

1. Research and Target Relevant Keywords

Before adding more content or following any of the other suggestions, it’s vital that your secretary is able to find relevant keywords for your industry. The keywords should be more specific than a general one like HVAC, home builder or lawyer. When you choose keywords, they have to be more specific to ensure that you’re moving up in the search engine rankings. It’s not enough to publish a website. If you want to find organic traffic through SEO, you have to find the right keywords. If you’re a personal injury attorney, use keywords like car accident lawyer or slip and fall attorney to gain relevant traffic. You can use Google’s own keyword planner to find the right SEO keywords.

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Social Media Tips for Small Business Owners

Growing the awareness of a small business on social media is not easy, particularly if you are providing a relatively niche service such as window furnishings. However, that’s not to say it is impossible. When I took over my company’s social media channels, we had just 167 followers on Twitter… just over a year later, we are now on over 2,300 – a number which continues to rise. Similarly, the Facebook likes have gone from 1,200 to over 3,300, completely organically.

Offer Incentive

Buying followers is never a good idea, and it is easy to spot if a company has done this thanks to the many dead accounts on their Follower page. Nonetheless, if your social media accounts are in need of more followers, one organic way to grow your numbers swiftly is to run a competition. Sponsor a post on Facebook and Twitter, ensuring you hashtag the word “competition” within the post, and offer a prize that is related to what your company does.

For example, we recently ran a competition to coincide with Roald Dahl Day, which gave five people the opportunity to win a cushion in a Roald Dahl fabric of their choice. All they had to do was follow and retweet the post, and with a £20 budget behind the Tweet, we got over 400 new Twitter followers, and the post was retweeted more than 800 times.

Naturally, you will lose a few followers once the competition is over, but thousands of people across social media will have been made aware of your company and what you do.

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5 Ways to Leverage Social Media for Small Business

There’s no doubt social media is one of the most cost effective marketing channels. With almost 2 billion social media users worldwide, it comes as no surprise that millions of businesses are using social networks to build their audience, grow brand awareness, generate website traffic, generate leads and get ahead of competition. For small businesses, there is no end to the growth opportunities effective social media marketing campaigns can bring.

There are 5 main ways small businesses can leverage the power of social media to grow.

Method 1: Putting together a social media strategy

A social media strategic plan is simply the summary of everything you plan to do and achieve for your business using social networks. Your plan should first include the social network or social networks you plan to use. There is no need to join every social network if their audience doesn’t match the one you wish to target. For example, Pinterest attracts mainly women who are into arts and crafts, so if your business targets men from the corporate world, Linkedin might be a better fit. You plan should also include the content you plan to publish, making sure it’s not too one-dimensional. In other words, your content should be a balance between posts about your business and products, posts about your customers and staff to humanize your brand, educational information for your audience, etc…

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Why Facebook Marketplace Is Not Just Another Sales Channel

The recent launch of Facebook’s new Marketplace service has been met with more than a little acclaim in Australia and elsewhere. It’s now possible after all, for individuals to buy and sell items among people in their immediate local communities.

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Will Facebook Marketplace eventually kill off the suburban garage sale? Probably. The service, after all, is available directly through Facebook Messenger, an app used by over 450 million people each and every day.

Why Local Businesses need to Start Looking at Marketplace

However, while Facebook Marketplace is being marketed as an easier, more localized alternative to platforms such as Ebay for everyday users, Marketplace has phenomenal potential for local business owners also.

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Tips for Small and Medium Businesses to Get The Most Out of Social Media

Social media presents great opportunities to small and medium-sized businesses – you can be nimble, fun and have plenty of character without having to worry about the layers of approval that larger businesses face when they use social media. I’ve worked on some tips to help you on your way to running great social media channels and thinking about the role it can play in your organization.

  1. Define your objectives – before you start posting with a scattergun approach, sit down and map out what is important to you.  Knowing what results you want will define how you go about using social media. Social media moves swiftly, but that doesn’t mean you should rush into it without a plan!  Do you want to:

– get clicks to your website?
– showcase your work?
– talk to your customers?
– take orders/bookings?
– invite people to your events?

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Audience Segmentation 101: Your Guide To Gain More Targeted Customers

In the business world, it’s important to gain the right customer base the first time in order to see positive results in your profits and from your marketing efforts. The problem is with such a broad spectrum of customers, it can be hard to work out exactly how to target the right customer so you can see more conversions and sales overall. If you’re in this predicament, here’s an expert guide on audience segmentation and how you can use it to gain more targeted customers for better ROI.

Audience Segmentation Can Improve Your ROI and Customer Base

Audience segmentation can help you improve your profits because it can drive in more customers that are directly related to your business and what you’re offering. Segmenting your audience is the process of narrowing down your audience until you have the most relevant customer. Why does it improve your customer base and ROI?

  1. Because it allows your business to market to the right and relevant audience.
  2. Because you place more money into the right marketing areas instead of the wrong ones, lowering your spending. This in turn gains you more profits.

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