Is Your Business up to Speed with National Brands?

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If you’re a small business owner, then you already know how difficult it is to compete with national brands.

From marketing to local advertising, getting out from behind the shadow of major brands is easier than you might think.

 

Here are 5 ways to bring your small business up to speed with national brands:

  1. Get Viral

Viral marketing, as long as it’s done correctly, grabs plenty of attention and it costs next to nothing. No matter how small your business is, it can steal the spotlight from national brands by making a great viral campaign.

For example, when TNT wanted to stake its claim in the Belgian market, the television network knew it had to make a statement. It created a viral campaign by filming exactly what happens when people on the streets of Belgium pushed a giant “Drama” button.

From bicycle accidents to other chaos, the viral video got 40 million views in the European market alone.

Your small business probably doesn’t have marketing capabilities this large, but funny, surprising, and heartwarming viral videos can still do wonders.

  1. Give Your Marketing a Personal Touch

As the following article looks at, giving your marketing a personal touch is just 1 of 5 ways small businesses can compete with national brands.

In fact, because of their size, most national brands simply don’t have the resources to make each campaign personal. But your business does.

By introducing your staff and letting customers know how much their business means to you, you’ll pull at the public’s heartstrings with your marketing. General Electric did something similar by featuring the hard working folks behind their national brand.

Introducing both yourself and your staffers puts a face to your businesses name. This will absolutely set it apart from the massive national brands as well as the local competition.

  1. Make it an Event

There’s no better way to get the word out about your business than by throwing a party.

Although you probably can’t throw a party on a national level, even national brands had to start locally.

By hosting an event, like a cookout or giveaway, at your business, you’ll capture the attention of your local audience.

For example, Snapple threw a family fun-day in parks all across the country to promote the release of its new green tea.

Events and parties that feature your business in some way will get local audiences interested in what you have to offer. Once you conquer local marketing, the sky’s the limit.

  1. Offer the Best Products and Services Possible

When brands get to a national level, they lose a little bit of the quality control they once had when they were smaller. This is a major advantage for your business.

By offering the best products and services possible, your small business will always be ahead of national brands.

  1. Keep at It

National brands didn’t go national overnight.

Major businesses and companies of all kinds worked hard, developed their products and services, created better brands, and found marketing success by keeping at it.

If there’s one surefire way to stay up to speed with national brands, it’s to keep trying and never give up. When something isn’t working, find a better way to do it or start from scratch. Doing so will help you reach your small business goals.

By keeping the pointers above in mind, your small business will be up to speed with big brands in no time.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including customer outreach and viral marketing.


Make Your Claims Management Procedures Healthier

Medical claims are an important part of the hospital record-keeping puzzle.

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Without the proper claims procedures in place, billing and filing can quickly become a nightmare.

In order to help keep your hospital on the right track, here are a few ways to make sure your claims management system is as healthy as possible:

Cost of Claims Errors

The medical claims process is a delicate one. There are a number of elements that come into play when deciding patient billing, which can often result in claims errors.

In fact, according to the latest report by the American Medical Association, almost 20% of commercial health insurance claims result in processing errors.

These claims processing errors cost insurers and hospitals more than $3.5 million in unnecessary charges each year.

Add to that the administrative costs that go along with each claim and processing errors end up costing the health system more than $1 billion every year.

If your hospital wants to avoid statistics like these, then it needs to improve its claims management procedures. Fortunately, there are a number of steps your hospital can take to do exactly that.

As the article “Healthcare Revenue Cycle Management: Streamlining Claims Management” looks at, a growing need among hospitals all across the country is healthcare revenue cycle management (RCM).

With the proper RCM procedures in place, hospitals can reduce Medicare and health insurance denial claims and increase overall reimbursement. RCM management also reduces the amount of paperwork that goes into the medical claims process.

Medical claims management and RCM go hand-in-hand and when both procedures work seamlessly together, it improves workflow.

Billing Accuracy

After a patient is treated, the services your hospital rendered are coded and sent off to the appropriate health insurance agencies to determine coverage. This is when most medical claims errors take place, especially when Medicare and other specific insurance providers come into play.

By using RCM, your hospital can avoid any claims errors by streamlining the claims process. From electronic processing to contract denial management, RCM immediately find claims errors and remedies them before they turn into a costly mistake.

Improved Record-Keeping

Your hospital’s records department handles hundreds of patient billing records every day.

On top of that, they’re also in charge of collecting and storing patient information on a daily basis. Medical claims management is a necessity in this type of file-heavy environment.

The proper claims management procedures in combination with RCM can help your records department keep track of the treatments and expenses that go along with each visit. In addition, RCM can handle complicated health insurance policies, even if the patient visits more than one medical facility for treatment.

Claims Management Options

There are a number of ways you can implement healthier claims management procedures into your hospital. A number of companies offer claims management and RCM software that’s user friendly as well as easy to install.

However, most medical facilities in the country opt for outsourcing their RCM and medical claims management.

Claims management service providers are able to handle large amounts of patient claim information quickly and accurately. In addition, outsourcing claims saves money on training in-house employees.

When your hospital is ready for healthier claims management procedures, the information above will help you get started on the right track.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including healthcare and technology.


How Are Colleges Evaluating Me?

Getting into college has become a grueling, competitive process – especially for exclusive colleges or Ivy League schools.

Knowledge Empowers You Chalk IllustrationEven still, regular universities can be a bit of a challenge. So many things need to be submitted – including transcripts, letters of recommendation, volunteer experience, essays, standardized test scores and more.

Gathering the correct paperwork can take months – sometimes longer – of preparation.

The process itself is long and tiring, and that’s not even accounting for the competition to get into your top school.

Though not all schools are competitive to get in in-general, most are competitive when it comes to getting into a specific program.

I, for example, went to the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

That particular year, a good amount of students applied to the program, making it more competitive since there were a set number of spots available. Depending on your major, you’ll want to find ways to stand out among the crowd.

Colleges Look at Number of Factors

Colleges evaluate potential students in a number of ways.

When your application is received, it’s stored electronically in the school’s database.

Typically, your grades will be standardized so they can be compared to the other applicants average GPAs’ all on the same scale. Students that do not meet the school’s minimum GPA requirement are automatically denied admissions.

For everyone else, let the competition begin.

Viewing the Student as a Whole

Thankfully, most universities look at the student as a whole instead of just their GPA (though you do have to meet the minimum require at the very least).

This means that if you’re GPA is on the lower-end of the scale, you won’t necessarily be denied over the other, higher GPA-ranking candidates.

So say, for example, one student has a “C” average but excelled at the essay portion of the application. This will give the student a more competitive edge than a “B” student with a poorly-written essay.

According to the article “5 Factors Colleges Use to Evaluate Students,” colleges will look at grades first, and then standardized test scores, then student essays, then teacher and counselor recommendations and lastly extracurricular activities.

To stand out and increase your chances of being accepted, try to excel in every single area.

Write clear, well-written, concise essays that differentiate you from the rest of the applicants. Be as involved in extracurricular activities as your schedule allows. Find a program to volunteer at on a monthly basis.

All of these little things add up and will greatly increase your chances for acceptance.

Start the Planning Early

Of course, in order to volunteer and be involved in extracurricular activities, you need to have planned ahead.

Parents should encourage new high school freshmen to join a few different clubs or sports teams so they can get a feel for what they like early on. Some high schools give seniors a half-day schedule.

Use this extra time wisely – perhaps by picking up a part-time job, volunteering, tutoring other students or helping out more with some of the clubs you’re involved in.

With college admissions being so competitive, the better-rounded you are, the more likely you are to stand out.

About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC. She writes on college admissions, careers and personal finance.


These Employers Get Health Insurance

These days, health care is so expensive that it becomes a big bargaining chip in any employment negotiation.

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For workers with families or chronic health conditions, company health benefits can play a large part in whether they want to work at a certain company, or if they want to jump ship and move to a company with better health benefits.

If you’re in the market for a better company with better health insurance, consider these giants of industry; there’s sure to be a branch near you.

 

  1. Google

When it comes to looking out for employees’ health, Google is one of the leaders. Besides appearing at the top of the list of companies with best benefits, they also offer on-site health practitioners at many of their locations. This is just another example of why Google is one of the best companies to work for. They place high importance on the work-life balance, and make efforts to minimize hassles when an employee gets sick.

  1. Costco

Surprisingly, one of the nation’s top big box stores is also tops when it comes to taking care of their workers. Not only do they pay above minimum wage rates for part time and hourly employees, but they also provide generous health benefits to all levels of workers. After an interim period after hire, salaried and hourly employees – including part timers – enjoy their pick of either a Choice Plus insurance plan or a Freedom of Choice insurance plan. As the following article looks at, if caring for your child’s teeth is a priority for you, Costco’s comprehensive dental plan for all levels of employees may prove too enticing to pass on.

  1. Adobe

Adobe Systems not only offers health insurance benefits on par with top grade tech firms, but they put their own twist on what it means to care about employees’ families. Their unique spin? They offer pet insurance. Not a bad idea, considering that pet veterinarian bills can easily spiral up into the thousands of dollars overnight. This interesting benefit is also a great way to put a pet friendly face on a company you wouldn’t necessarily expect to care one way or another. Though a person might not choose to work for Adobe solely because of the pet insurance, it’s surely a great reason to stay there.

  1. Monsanto

The biggest shocker of all is Monsanto, which holds one of the top ten spots for best employee compensation and benefits. For a company that deals in food chemicals to turn around and show an eagerness to take care of employees’ health, that’s either one leap of creative imagination or publicity genius. Whether it would be worth it to work for such a company in order to reap what they’re sowing is up to the individual.

The question of why companies would choose to offer exceptional insurance benefits to employees when they aren’t forced to is easily answered.

Better benefits attract more candidates, retain more existing employees and are overall, better for the company as a whole.

When smart companies make the wise decision to take care of their employees’ health, they pay for fewer sick days, experience less downtime and enjoy a more efficient working environment.

As time goes on, hopefully more companies will take notice and follow suit.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.


The Darker Side of Online Reviews

What should you do if your company gets a complaint or complaints on social media?

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Many companies have had to deal with this issue over time. While many have handled it professionally and successfully for that matter, others have dropped the ball.

When you run a business (small, medium or large), you’re bound to get some online complaints. While many of them will prove nothing more than a short distraction, others have the potential to be a ticking time-bomb.

 

With that in mind, how should you handle such matters?

  1. Take a Deep Breath

Naturally, you don’t like it when someone insults your brand. It is human nature to feel offended, and by all means go and squeeze a stress ball or take your frustration out by shredding a few documents (only ones that were scheduled to be shredded anyway!). Just don’t do it where all of social media can see you. From the moment a complaint appears publicly on social media, followers are waiting for your response – if it’s anything less than professional, you could damage your reputation.

  1. Don’t Be an Ostrich

A report by the BBC showed that social media is the way to go for customers who want a quick response to their complaints, with businesses responding faster than they do to email or phone calls. If your company receives a complaint, follow this trend and react quickly. Ignoring criticism – or even trying to ban it as some do- won’t make it go away. Instead, it will make your brand look unhelpful and uncaring.

  1. Fix the Problem

It’s simple – if a customer has complained on social media, it’s because they have a problem they want you to fix. Your job is to assess the complaint, and make amends. A canned response won’t win you any admiration. A warm, friendly one taking responsibility for your mistakes will. Sometimes, a little humor can go a long way. Humor isn’t always the right approach – don’t make light of your customer’s worries – but a human touch always is, and a unique response demonstrates that.

  1. Pay Attention

The key to dealing with social media complaints is to keep an eye out for them. With social media becoming the go-to for customers to connect with your business, you might find it’s worth employing someone to monitor your social media channels and craft timely, helpful responses. As the following article looks at, this is great news for up and coming professionals who are wondering how mastering social media can turn into a career. A dedicated social media team stops complaints getting out of hand and garners you some good reviews along the way as happy customers let their followers know how quickly you dealt with their worries.

The thought of social media complaints can be hair-raising, a real case of airing your dirty laundry in public.

But if you get a social media plan in place that allows for tactful, friendly, genuinely helpful responses, your business will be on the way to handling social media complaints with grace and ease.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as online reviews, marketing, business, and SEO.


Infographic: How to Find Talent on LinkedIn

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Infographic: How to Find Talent on LinkedIn

Via AkkenCloud


PR Metrics That Matter [Infographic]

Great infographic explaining what PR is from Onboardly!

PR Metrics That Matter


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