It’s All about Who You Know: 3 Networking Tips for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, knowing how to effectively network with prospective clients, investors, and partners is essential, regardless of the market and industry you represent. Knowing how to network with professionals within your industry is imperative to connect with those who have the power to help and support the growth and expansion of your business as you begin to generate sales and leads among your target consumers. Here are some tips to help small businesses with networking.

Create Branded Business Cards

Branding is one of the most important elements to keep in mind when building a business of your own from the ground up. Develop branded business cards and marketing material to travel with anytime you are actively representing your company or planning to attend a networking or business event.

Always carry your branded business cards and marketing material to ensure you are fully prepared for new encounters and potential connections you make with other professionals in your industry—they can happen anywhere. Be sure your cards and materials represent your business well and include all of your website, contact, and social media information.

Attend Local Business Networking Events and Gatherings

Research and attend local business networking events and gatherings to boost your brand’s awareness while making your presence as a new entrepreneur known. Attending relevant business networking events and gatherings provides ample opportunity to get to know other entrepreneurs and business owners in your local area.

Attend networking events as a traditional attendee or consider the opportunity to rent your very own booth or trade show space to showcase your products, services, and the purpose of your business and brand. Downtime will give you just enough time to check out and chat up other professionals at the show. These strategies can help you gain insight into good universal business practices, commercial vendors, equipment suppliers, and more. Talking about business with fellow professionals is a unique experience that should not be neglected.

Build Your Online Presence

With the advent of the internet, social media, and smartphone technology, networking online with the use of social media has become more prevalent than ever. Building your online presence is extremely important, whether you are selling generic unisex t-shirts or if you are currently selling niche handmade one-of-a-kind home decor items.

Use social media to streamline your brand’s online presence using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Create pages for your brand using the same username, logo, and color scheme to prevent confusion among users and new prospective followers. Connect with followers and create a sense of community among those who have a genuine interest in supporting your business and the products or services you provide.

Understanding the significance of networking among professionals and peers in your market is a must whether you are launching a startup for the first time or in the midst of expanding an existing business and brand. With the right networking abilities, set and achieve goals to expand your business in no time.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Becoming the Best Boss in the World: 4 Skills to Develop Now

Every successful business also has a great boss at its helm. No one becomes a great boss or business owner overnight. Skills have to be forged and honed. Sometimes, too, experience plays a part. However, you can control skills more than experience. To help yourself become the best boss that you can, these are four skills that you should work on developing right this instant.

Listening

Part of that training for settling disputes and a great skill to hone in general is listening. You may be a less skilled listener than you realize. Listening is important because it helps you break down what your employees and customers are telling you into manageable bits that you can make solutions for. By understanding what the exact problem is, you can solve the problem rather than just painting over it.

Creativity

Perhaps you never would have thought that being creative would be a skill that you need to develop in the business world. It is. Creativity allows you to approach problems in new ways. It can also help you steer your company into new and innovative ways that can make you stand apart from the competition. The more creative you are, the more successful you’re likely going to become.

Empathy

Some might not consider empathy a skill, but it is. It can take practice to develop empathy over just sympathy. While sympathy is useful, it’s often not actionable. By honing empathy, you can learn about problems that stem from your employees and customers that then become your own problems. How would you want them to be fixed? Empathy can offer you new perspectives.

Settling Disputes

In a place where people exist together, you can be sure that there are going to be tensions and problems that arise. These things could involve anything from an argument outside of work to something silly like difference of opinion on a task. Whatever the reason for the dispute is, you’re going to be the one that needs to handle it. This isn’t always the easiest thing to do since as the boss you should be fair and impartial. Trusting your gut, being empathetic, and active listening will help you with these situations. Being comfortable with your dispute resolution skills will take time. Don’t be afraid to use outside resources like leadership coaches, HCP dispute resolution databases, and books about keeping the peace.

It can be difficult trying to become the best boss that you can be. Developing these four skills will help you on that path. Move forward with kindness and compassion and your employees will recognize your effort.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Simple Tricks to Boost Business Productivity

As a small business owner, you know very well how hard it can be when you go through a slower period. If this is one of your first dips, it may even be difficult to determine whether or not this is a permanent thing or just another bump in the road – and you’d probably be looking for all the help you can get.

Luckily, there are tried-and-tested ways to boost your business performance even when your startup is going through a bit of a slump. Here is a handful of ways to make it happen so that you can get back on track and grow even bigger and stronger.

First: Reward productivity

Let’s start with the easiest one first. As you know, a company is nothing without its employees; and, as their manager, it’s important that you know how to reward hard work. There are a lot of ways to do this, though, and one of the best ways is to reward the entire team together in order to strengthen their bond and make sure that each employee is noticed.

Treat them to a dinner or lunch as a team after you’ve delivered a big project, for example, or take them out for a team-building experience. While you may not notice the benefits of this straight away, it will definitely have a lot to say for how the team works together in the future.

Another point to this that goes beyond rewards is to ensure that your business has access to the kind of tools that will make it more productive. Consider talking to a CRM consultant, first of all, and you’ll be a bit closer to running the kind of business you’ve had in mind.

Next: Give your team a pep talk

The problem with a business slump isn’t just that the sales are declining and that the office is slow and boring; your employees may be starting to feel a bit dull as well. You definitely need them to have your back, though, and especially now when you’re about to make things kick off again.

Give them a proper pep talk and let them know how much you appreciate their hard work. Remember to acknowledge the downtime, though, rather than just ignoring the fact that everything has been slow for a while. Your employees will surely help you out as long as you take some time to have a chat with them and keep them up to date.

Improve your communication tools

Finally, it’s time to have a look at the kind of tech tools you’re using. By improving the tools your employees are using for communication and collaboration, you might be able to inject some much-needed productivity into the office.

So many small and medium-sized businesses suffer from a lack of communication between the different professionals and it will, undoubtedly, make your business suffer. Take care of these simple tricks, and your business will be so much easier to manage.

Marketing Funnel: 3 Ways to Narrow Your Target Audience and Yield Results

You follow all of the best practices, create killer content and have a clear call-to- action button. You know that you’re doing everything possible to improve your conversion rates, but people just aren’t buying your product.

Pinpointing your target audience throughout the marketing funnel is what makes the cash register ring. Sure, you want to market to the masses, but to be truly successful, you need to hone in on your target audience.

Buyer Personas

Throughout the marketing funnel, you have only once chance to capture attention and build brand awareness. But how can you do that when you’re marketing to the masses. Unfortunately, you can’t. Before anything else, you need to create your ideal customer with buyer personas. Where do they hang out? How old are they? Where do they do most of their shopping?

Creating buyer personas allows you to segment your audience, creating leads that are not only most likely to convert, but also become return customers. Simply put, high-quality leads are the gold standard for any type of business.

Consideration Stage

Targeting people who are most likely to buy is an awesome way to begin your marketing funnel strategy; however, you’ll probably never maximize conversions with this approach. Although high-intent leads are considerable the most valuable, the competition to win their affections is brutal.

User actions vary throughout the marketing funnel, so you need to know what your target audience wants. And how do you do that? Research their behavior!

Below is a few consumer-based action you need to analyze during the consideration phase:

  • Did they join your email list?
  • How long did they stay on your website?
  • Did they download anything from your site?
  • How many pages did they visit?

Create Brand Loyalty

Your sales funnel goes far beyond the first purchase. You want to convert first-time sales into repeat customers. You want them to become your brand’s advocate both online and offline. This is where loyalty goes into play.

Quality of your product or service is key. From stellar customer service to easy checkout, the entire customer experience needs to memorable. Positive interactions with your brand is what keeps consumers coming back for more.

Create loyalty programs that are the icing on the cake. Not only do they build a strong foundation for repeat business, they also create a buzz in your chosen niche.

The buyer’s journey starts long before the first sale. Getting to your ideal customer now will lead to long, fruitful business relationships that last a lifetime. If you’re unsure about how to target your ideal customers with your marketing, be sure to get in contact with a digital marketing service with plenty of experience reaching audiences for your industry.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Maintaining an Office Building? 4 Ways to Keep it Updated

Office buildings remain stuck in the day and age in which they were built. As companies grow, diversify and develop, the building stays the same. Many businesses will simply move their operations instead of investing more money in their building. However, some owners are stuck with their current building despite having a growing business. Here are four ways to keep an office building updated.

Hire a Professional Remodeler or Interior Designer

Many office buildings suffer from a lack of intentional design. Gray, tan, white, black and other boring colors typically dominate outdated office spaces. These colors have been shown to create a depressed atmosphere in the workplace. Hiring an interior designer is a great way to improve the aesthetics of the office space.

Increase the Amount of Light

Office buildings used to be built a lot like prisons. The construction was only designed to be efficient and productive. Not much thought was given to the effect that the building’s design would have on the workers inside. This carelessness left many office buildings today without ample lighting. Adding some extra sources of light can help boost morale and put employees in a better mood. There are special fluorescent bulbs that help to mimic light from the sun.

Have an Inspector Check for Structural Issues

Older office buildings aren’t only lacking in aesthetic and design features. There are certain structural improvements that should be updated as well. Business managers or property owners should hire a professional to inspect the inside of their office building. Inspectors can offer a thorough rundown of changes that should be made to keep a building updated. Whether installing waterproof lay-in ceiling tile or reinforcing some structural components, these changes can help make update the safety of the office building

Ask the Staff for Suggestions

Employees are the ones who have to enter the office building every day and work for hours. While there are some obvious components that need updating, other factors may be more subtle and subjective. It is helpful to ask staff members about their opinions regarding changes and updates in the workplace. After all, happier staff will lead to more productivity and profits for the company overall. Furthermore, no group of people will be able to deliver the same level of insight and expertise as the staff that works in the office each day.

Many businesses are suffering from outdated office buildings. Productivity, employee satisfaction and overall efficiency can suffer under these conditions. These four tips can help business owners update their buildings in an effective manner.

Emma is a business strategist-turned blogger. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand. Emma is a  passionate traveler and yoga aficionado. She is in love with coffee, interior design, books, and good vibes. 🙂 

Always Search For Better Technology-Based Solutions

You might be a small business but you are not limited in scope. You have the power to reach out to everybody in the world and that’s exactly the mentality you should have. With modern technology there’s nothing that’s out of your control. Perhaps the biggest concern small enterprises have is the fact that you could be technologically behind the larger corporations. This is true in a sense because multinational companies often build their own internal software or hire the absolute best in their field. Then they often design software that is only relevant for their business and with this clear advantage they are able to keep their noses in front of smaller businesses. In this sense, you are potentially in a race to overcome them in the field of technology-based solutions for your business.

Project organization

Project management is where productivity can either die or thrive. For a small business productivity is not something that can be taken for granted as you need each employee to be worth their weight in gold. Where the confusion of who is doing what and what is needed to be done for each task occurs, is at the online level of task allocation and the chain of completion. You should always be on the lookout for the latest project or task management software both in the free to use category and the subscription based style. Look for the general task management software but also the specialized interfaces that have been designed for your industry alone. The features are always more important that the usability as the latter can oftentimes be subjective but lacking features can hinder your productivity rate.

Fault in the line

Software is prone to errors and thus technology can never be relied upon. Don’t expect all your employees to understand the inner workings of each software their use to fulfil their roles either. That would simply take too much time of learning and experimenting rather than completing projects. So hire a company with professional Computer IT Services that offers proactive monitoring of your technologies. Whenever there is a fault in the line, such as a corrupt file that is refusing to open, an update that potentially has malware, this team can detect it for you. Catching a problem early, you can help employees continue on their roles by fixing a coding error much quicker.

Supply chain management

Working with so many different suppliers can get confusing. Quality control can leap out of the window when you don’t have full control of the supply chain. You should always be searching for industry specific supply chain management software. Even more so, search for sector specific software which can narrow down exactly what your supply chain needs are. Include your managers in this discussion as they will be the people who will be using it in their daily tasks.

Never stand still and be content with your software selections. Small businesses have the pick of the lot as free and paid software solutions are available for supply chain management and project organization. Employing a team to check up on the status and health of your software greases the wheels and keeps the ship moving through the waves.