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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4 Simple Tactics to Motivate Your Employees Effectively

Being a business owner or someone in charge of a team of people is work which requires a great deal of responsibility, patience and fast thinking. Your job, among other things, is to make sure that your employees are motivated to perform their duties properly. Motivation is a tricky thing as it affects people’s productivity levels, the effectiveness and efficiency of their work, but also their overall work performance. So how to keep your employees motivated at all times? Surely, most people believe that the most effective way is to give them more money. While it seems quite logical, contrary to this popular opinion, there are a lot of other, more effective solutions for increasing the motivation in the workplace. These four simple, but smart tactics will surely help keep the employees’ spirits up and motivate them to do their jobs more productively.

Learn To Appreciate Their Work

While there’s a steady opinion that a successful and good leader should be strict, unforgiving and somewhat cruel, it has been proven that this tactic can actually undermine employees’ motivation and productivity levels, rather than increase them. A dictator-like behaviour might work in some cultures, but it’s much more effective to be loved rather than feared as a leader. After all, you’ll want to establish a sincere, friendly relationship with your workers where you’ll support their work, appreciate their performance but also give clear guidance. The key is to have integrity, but with style and to know when and how to draw the line between friendship and business.

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Taking a Break to Improve Your Productivity

Do you do anything ‘fun’ during your typical work day to help keep you focused? It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of business and often we just need to give our brains a break for the sake of our work, colleagues and customers. Oddly, this intentional act of removing ourselves from our work environment can in fact vastly improve our productivity levels. But taking these brain breaks consistently is no picnic. Whilst there are many ways to take a break from the demands of your business, as with most attempts at behavioral change, incorporating these into your daily routine is the only way to increase your chances of following through and seeing results.

Here are some tips to help you find ways to give yourself a true business break:

Get out for lunch

It may sound far too obvious but eating lunch at your desk five or six days a week is not a lunch break. Continuing work whilst eating not only reduces your effectiveness at the tasks you are completing but it also has a tendency to foster poor nutritional choices when it comes to what you actually eat. A couple of times a week you should actually go out for lunch for a full hour. Even better take a colleague, client or friend with you and make it a point to not talk business. You’ll be surprised about the serendipitous discoveries you may achieve whilst out and what you’ll learn about the people you already know. If you can get away with not having a device with you during lunch, you’ll be giving yourself some space to unwind without projects still floating around in your mind. By the time you get back to the office, the second half of your day should see you refreshed, full of energy and crushing it.

Get some fresh air

There is nothing better than to completely leave the confines of your office and take a walk around the block. Not only will it take your mind temporarily away from what you’re working on, the physical activity will help energise you and shrug off any sluggishness. Whilst walking you may want to just focus on your breathing so that you that you can find another level of calm. Another favourite is to take a picnic rug with you to a local park and sit with your headphones on and your favourite tunes. The goal here is to get you into the real environment that includes fresh air and natural sunlight. These elements can have a huge impact on the rest of your day and will positively impact your productivity more than if you just stayed in front of your computer.

Get in the break routine

Even if all you can manage in your particular work environment is short little breaks from time to time, take them. Even use them to reward yourself throughout the day as something to look forward to. As soon as you finish the next segment of the big project you are working on, celebrate hitting that milestone with a short break. Some people like to work with countdown timers that alert them when a certain period of time is over. This practice helps you stick to the routine of breaks but it will also help you fit more into your day as you give task’s deadlines to these chunks of time. These repeated breaks will help enormously, even if all you do is get out of your chair and in the hallway for a few moments. The idea is to get away from your computer or desk just long enough to feel you’ve been gone from them. Bathroom breaks don’t count.

Get the first break early

One great way to boost your productivity is to have your first break of the day early in your work day. That can be something as simple as a coffee break at 10:00 AM. If you started work at 9:00 AM, you have an hour to accomplish something more than weeding through e-mails and Boom! Time for a break. It will give you great motivation each morning, especially on those Mondays that never seem to end. An early break will make that day seem shorter and if you add another short break at 3:00 PM, you can really bust up a day and still be fresh and productive.

There is nothing wrong with working hard at your business but in the long run if you overdo it you won’t be much fun to be around and your brain will turn to mush. To avoid this try giving your mind and body frequent breaks during the day. In the competitive world of business, you need the edge to stay competitive and your productivity will do that and if you do it right.

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Carl is the co-founder of www.baskpicnicrugs.com.au Bask, an Australian store that specialises in premium picnic rugs designed especially for the lifestyles of active, healthy Australians. Bask’s unique range of picnic blankets compliment their philosophy about the importance of getting outside and among nature more often.