The Long Game And Short-Term Concerns: The Ways To Help Minimize Business Weakness

It is an ongoing process, understanding your weaknesses. It can be quite eye-opening to discover what you once thought was a strength, but is actually a weakness in the grand scheme of things. Because running a business requires you, in essence, to clear new paths, to push new boundaries, and to continually explore the horizons, it’s these processes that leave you open for attack. This is why so many young companies refuse to take the risk, either because of financial implications, or they believe that playing it safe will translate to a better version of the long game. But, it is vital, during the infancy of your business, to have a spring clean of sorts, to find out what the best ways are to go about this, and how can you fix yourself up and move on?

The SWOT Analysis

It’s a very simple way to start out. A SWOT analysis (short for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) is a structure that can easily help you to break down the problems. Put simply, you are able to find out what you do really well first, and what you don’t do well second. The overriding idea of taking this structure is to gain an overall appreciation of your business, not just internally, but how you fit under the larger business industry magnifying glass. This is quite a task, but as soon as you start to break down issues such as business mergers, supplier problems, as well as the pesky technology developments, then you can begin to come up with an action plan to ensure your business does better. It certainly sounds like a big task, because it is. But by putting yourself and your business through the wringer, and going through every detail with a fine tooth comb, there are going to be some harsh realities to face up to.

Analyze The Data

After a SWOT analysis has been completed, it’s time to look at the results you gathered. It all depends on how you go about completing this analysis; you may want to open it up to your employees, so they can give you their true opinions from the ground floor. Beware with this, depending on the ship you run, people may not feel inclined to come forward. If you are encouraging honesty, you had best be prepared for a wakeup call. It’s one of those issues that can be incredibly thorny because it can result in a lot of repressed emotions bubbling up to the surface. In going about this approach, what one person views as a strength, the other might view as a weakness, and this is absolutely fine, because it really lays bare what your employees think about the business and how it operates. Pleasing your employees can be a difficult task, but sometimes, these issues can boil down to something that is easily fixable. Technology issues or poor organization are two things that can be fixed with an action plan, as well as a proper information technology security policy. Luckily, there are various resources available now that covers both issues, if you were to visit www.bswllc.com you can see one example of an organization that implements various plans of attack to save a business, from the productivity aspect, to the technological issues. Analyzing the data is one of the difficult approaches to undertake, because to do it properly requires time, effort, and money. And if you are concerned that it is going to be a major investment, it is far better for you to implement it one bit at a time. Doing it this way will help keep up your employees’ morale, because nobody likes major change, but it’s important to keep your eye on the bigger picture. Sometimes, analyzing your weaknesses can bring up results that are a little too close to home…

Look In The Mirror…

Sometimes, fault can lie with us and us alone. And this is a very devastating thing to admit to ourselves. There are many entrepreneurs that feel that, in order for the business to fly, that they have to exercise total control over every single aspect. But this does one of two things, firstly it doesn’t help you in times of emergency, because you are the fundamental card in the proverbial house of cards, and so the business will fall apart, but secondly, it communicates to your employees and your deputies, that you don’t trust them. So how can you get past this? If you look on www.tonyrobbins.com there is the story of Usha Patel who took the opportunity to identify her own individual strengths and use these to benefit the business. Essentially, it’s taking the SWOT analysis structure and turning it on yourself. But if this feels like an incredibly psychoanalytical approach, you are heading in the right direction. In any business, whether you are running a store, a factory, or a trendy startup, the problem can sometimes live with you and your own attitudes, not just to motivation, but to the business as a whole. We are all guilty of feeling overprotective over our babies, and this is something we all need to learn how to relinquish. It can take some time, but if you are the weak cog in the business, it’s far better for you to fess up and make positive steps in the right direction. It’s not pretty, but it’s essential.

We can view our business in terms of a month to month progress, or we can look at it as the long game. The long game is a far more productive mindset to embed, not just in your employees, but in yourself. And so, when it comes to addressing potential weaknesses, as well as the very tangible ones, it creates an attitude within the company to do well. Emotional investment is something that can yield positive and negative results, and whether you are doing a SWOT analysis, or you are ready to hear from your employees what they really think of the business and how it is run, consider it to be a stepping stone to a much better environment and a far more positive business.

 

 

 

 

 

What Is Slowing Down Productivity In Your Business?

So, here’s the thing. If you aren’t getting through your working day effectively, with tasks still remaining at the close of your business hours, then there may be an issue around productivity. This isn’t too much of a problem if those tasks aren’t a priority, but if deadlines aren’t being met, if targets aren’t being reached, and if you have a mounting workload piling up on your desk at the start of each day, then you and your business will have problems.

In short, productivity is key, and you need to figure out what may be slowing down your working day. Where do we start?

First of all, let’s consider your office space. If the area is cluttered, if you struggle to find what you need when you need it, and if there are other issues – lack of storage being one – then you won’t work efficiently. You need to make the most of your office space, and the ideas we presented to you here, design-and-storage-tips-to-make-the-most-of-your-small-office/ may be just what you need to improve matters.

Another issue is your workflow management. You may have too much work to do. You may get bogged down with tasks that take you away from the important things you need to focus your time on. And you may be working on areas of your business that you aren’t fully equipped to manage. Therefore, you need to find ways to manage the work you have to do each day, speeding up processes and alleviating your burdens. There are a number of ways you can manage this. You can take on less work for starters, even if you do have to disappoint a client occasionally. You’re only human after all, and you can’t do everything. You might also automate your business processes, using the software tools presented to you here, bpmonline.com/l/bpm/definition/business-process-automation to free up your time to concentrate your efforts elsewhere. And you might consider outsourcing, handing over the jobs that take up too much of your time over to people who may be able to do them better than you.

Then think about your work ethic. Could you be the problem? Is productivity at a minimum because of your behaviour? You may be taking one too many breaks. You may be spending more time in front of your smartphone screen instead of your computer screen. You may spend more time making ‘to do’ lists than actually doing any of the tasks on them. You may be doing any number of things that are slowing down your productivity at work. The productivity tools listed here, iqvis.com/blog/6-productivity-tools-apps may be just what you need to get you back on track.

Finally, perhaps you are just tired. If you have worked long hours, if you do have too much work to do, and if you’re not spending enough time in rest, then you are going to get exhausted. Once your body and mind feel the effects of exhaustion, you are going to work slower. Give yourself a break once in a while, follow our tips to alleviate your workload, and make sure you get plenty of sleep to give you time to fully energise yourself, both physically and mentally.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

eCommerce Metrics You’re not Looking at but Should be

Nowadays, there are various ecommerce stores available to online consumers. What’s more, there are countless new ecommerce businesses being opened each day. With such a strong competition on the market, it’s difficult for businesses to truly stand out and ensure that their target audience will pick their store to do business with. That’s why many ecommerce stores are tracking their business performance, in order to determine if their store is managing to grow and develop further.

After all, the primary goal of every ecommerce business is an increase in sales and for that you need customers. However, when tracking business metrics, a lot of ecommerce stores tend to track metrics that don’t portray business performance the right way. That way, when profits start to decline, business owners are unable to understand the reason behind such a decline. Therefore, here are a few ecommerce metrics you’re not looking at but should be.

Conversion rate

Many ecommerce businesses neglect conversion rate as a primary metric that should be tracked. The goal of this metric is to show you just how many people are actually converting into customers. With that in mind, you should have a clear picture about whether or not your marketing campaigns and other efforts are actually efficient in driving business goals. As you already know, the purpose of marketing is to engage your audience in different ways and eventually encourage them to make a purchase at your store.

If your marketing efforts aren’t able to do that, then you’re simply wasting time and resources on an ineffective marketing campaign. That’s why conversion rate is such a valuable metric to look at. If your conversion rates aren’t as good as you need them to be, then it’s time to re-think your approach and improve your marketing efforts.

Cart abandonment

Cart abandonment rate is a metric that many ecommerce businesses forget to track. Still, this is one of the most important metrics you should be looking at. As a matter of fact, cart abandonment rate has reached 75.6% for ecommerce stores globally. That’s 75% of lost sales. The main reason you must track this metric is that it shows you if there’s an outstanding issue your customers have with your check out process, which makes them abandon the cart altogether.

In most cases, these issues can be high shipment costs, additional fees customers weren’t aware of, lack of security measures on the check out and so on. All of these issues force your customers to abandon their purchases, which can have a significant negative impact on your sales and revenue. Tracking shopping cart abandonment metric allows you to identify the main issues your customers are having and fix those problems. That way, you can remind customers of abandoned shopping carts, as well as inform them that the issues have been resolved.

Website traffic

Another important metric that’s oftentimes neglected is the website traffic. Website traffic shows you how many visitors you have on your ecommerce store. It also shows how good your efforts are at driving leads to your website from various media channels. The more website traffic you have the more chances of you making a sale. However, the number of website visitors itself is not as important as the origin of the website traffic.

For instance, if you’re using services, such as a Shopify agency, to endorse your ecommerce store, you’d want to know how your website visitors are finding your store. Moreover, you want to know which sources the visitors are originating from. This will show you which marketing channels are best suited for your business. Understanding your website traffic will allow you to focus your efforts on strategies and channels that will yield more qualified leads for your ecommerce store.

Customer acquisition and lifetime value

For ecommerce stores, the one of the most important factors in business success is sales. However, there are expenses you must be aware of to ensure that you’re actually making a profit. For example, if a single customer made a purchase totaling of $200 at your store, it means you made a sale and revenue. But, if it cost a $300 on average to acquire a customer, then you haven’t really made any profits yet.

That’s why it’s important to track customer acquisition cost (CAC) and customer lifetime value (CLV) metrics. Customer acquisition cost shows how much it costs your company to acquire a single new customer, while customer lifetime value shows you how much revenue your ecommerce store generates from that customer during their entire lifetime as a customer. If your CAC is higher than CLV metric, you won’t be making many profits. That means you must work on customer retention strategies to ensure that customers are actually bringing in more value than it costs you to convince them to make a purchase.

There are plenty of metrics that businesses can track in order to assess the overall performance of their company. However, it’s difficult to decide which metric will actually show viable results. That being said, metrics that are most commonly overlooked by ecommerce stores often turn out to be the important ones. That’s why it’s important to understand which metric will actually bring value to your ecommerce store and track it regularly, in order to ensure business success.

Guest author, Raul Harman, is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he’s not enjoying football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com

4 Genuine Examples of Good Customer Service

Selling is one thing: You can probably convince nearly anyone that they have a need or a want that’s related to your product or service. That’s what makes you good at your job in either sales or marketing. But it’s often what comes after the sale—when things go sideways or when your customer or your company trips up a bit—that determines how well your company does going forward, how many new customers it gains, and how many customers come back for a second, third, fourth, or more time. That’s what’s called customer service, and that’s what many companies don’t do very well.

 They might not do it well because they haven’t thought about it enough. They don’t have a culture that’s dedicated to getting it right, every time, for the customer. So what do companies that do have a culture of excellent customer service look like, and how do they get it right every time? This graphic offers some worthwhile examples.

Click To Enlarge


4 Genuine Examples of Good Customer Service

Via Salesforce

 

Design and Storage Tips to Make the Most of Your Small Office

Working in a small office doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort and space. If you organize everything according to your needs, you’ll be able to achieve all your tasks easily. The true secret behind being successful in a small office is in using every corner you have – by giving every inch a purpose, you can transform even the smallest office into a proper work area. It will provide you with enough storage space and different zones for every part of the working process. Keep in mind that most startups were created and ran from crowded rooms or basements, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do the same.

The color psychology

Even though you may think that plain white walls are the best solution, there’s more to that than you think. You’d be surprised with the effect that green and blue have when it comes to productivity and efficiency. These two restful colors can really boost the creativity in the office and help you tackle more tasks.

You should avoid white, beige, purple and gray because they can seriously affect your mood and even create some gloomy feelings. During working hours, you don’t want anything less than full productivity, which is why you should stay away from bright colors because they have a tendency of being disruptive.

Choose the furniture wisely

Every piece of furniture needs to be carefully picked because you’ll have no room to spare. For starters, you’ll need some comfortable office chairs and practical desks. Apart from that, if you work with clients, you’ll need an additional seating area for meetings. To avoid crowding up the space, just add two additional chairs to your desk and you’ll be able to work and have a meeting at the same time.

Working with tight space means you need to be creative when it comes to furniture, so foldable desks are all right, while those large L-shaped ones are definitely not. You don’t have room for huge furniture and everything needs to have a real purpose, not just an aesthetical one.

Think about storage

The best way to be sure you’ve utilized all the space you have is by thinking beyond the common storage space options. Many people use vertical spaces for additional storage units, and this can be a solution for small offices. Besides giving you more space to work with, these units can be a great way of keeping items close to your reach. Apart from that, you can always use your desk and add additional drawers around it which will come in handy for all your documents.

You can also use storage units to fill in the empty space beneath the window, behind the door or underneath a coffee table. It goes without saying that decluttering goes hand in hand with creating designated storage spaces. You need to throw away everything you don’t plan on using and make room for the things you’ll actually need.

Get organized

Keeping everything organized starts from your desk, and it needs to be impeccable! Create different zones to be able to keep track of every step of your working process instead of feeling lost. If you’re dealing with lots of papers, use binders to keep them separate and all in one place.

It’s inevitable to always struggle with the lack of space, so try to use the additional seating area to make phone calls, drink coffee or schedule meetings. That way, you won’t be distracted from the actual work and will always know where everything is. Also, use modern technology, start going paperless and stop piling up so many documents – maybe you don’t really need them at all and you just waste time and space on storing them.

Small spaces can be turned into the most functional and inspiring offices if you use a little bit of imagination. You don’t need a large office to be productive and finish all your tasks on time when you can do the same in a much smaller space. Being a successful entrepreneur is more than having a cool office – it’s all about finding the strength and willingness to work in any kind of conditions. Only the people who manage that end up running the most successful businesses.

Emma B. Joyce is a blogger based in Australia. She is a true home decor and DIY fanatic. Emma is interested in music and also is a big reading enthusiast. Finding new designs and patterns is her daily task. She is a regular contributor on https://smoothdecorator.com.

How to Encourage Your Employees to Participate in Charitable Causes

Getting your employees to participate in charitable causes and events is a great way to bring your team together and give back to the community at the same time. Surprisingly, encouraging employee participation in such causes is fairly easy. Here are four creative ways you can get your employees to become active in charitable causes.

Offer Donation Matches

If there’s a cause you feel strongly about, you can get your employees to participate in it by offering to match their charitable donations to it up to a certain amount. This can encourage participation and increase the amount of good your company does in the community. Your donation matches don’t have to be huge to accomplish a great deal, so don’t feel compelled to give away thousands of dollars if your company can’t afford it.

Let Your Employees Pick a Charity

If you want to get employees involved, letting them pick the charitable cause your company will contribute to is a great way to get started. By allowing your employees to choose the charity you’re donating to, you can ensure maximum levels of worker engagement and participation.

Organize Charitable Events in the Office

One of the keys to getting employees to participate in charitable causes is to make it convenient for them to do so. Organizing office events makes it easy and convenient for people to give. Even placing a donation jar in the break room can generate a few extra donations. Office blood drives can be an especially good way to give back to the community, since blood products are often in short supply and encouraging your employees to give blood can literally save lives.

Make Participation Fun and Rewarding

Although contributing to a good cause is a reward in and of itself, it never hurts to incentivize employees. Having an employee dinner or a special event when you meet a certain fundraising goal is an excellent way to get your employees to give a little bit more or contribute some more of their time. Remember to keep office charity fun, as this will make sure your employees are energized and ready to contribute.

These are just a few of the great ways to encourage your employees to participate in worthwhile causes. The next time you run an office charity drive or try to organize a community participation event, use these ideas to ensure you see the maximum level of success with it.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

6 Ways To Create A Safer Workplace

No matter the shape or size of your business, it’s crucial that workplace safety is always one of your top priorities. Every year, more and more employees are being injured at work, due to nothing more than negligence from their employer. If you want to keep your team safe and save yourself time, money, and stress, then you need to work towards creating a much safer working environment. Here are six things you can do to create a safer workplace.

  1. Only Hire The Best

When you start to take on employees, it’s vital that you only hire the best, even if it means paying out a bit extra in salaries and benefits. Competent and hardworking members of staff are much more likely to pay attention to and follow the rules, especially those regarding risks and safety. This should result in many fewer on-the-job accidents and a safer workplace overall.

  1. Do Plenty Of Research

To understand what a safe workplace entails, you need to do some research and find out what health and safety rules may apply to your workplace and state. You should also educate yourself about personal injury cases from the best. With this information, you’ll know the sorts of hazards to look out for, which will be helpful when it comes to conducting risk assessments.

  1. Provide The Proper Tools

Telling your staff how to stay safe is a necessary first step, but, unless you provide them with the proper tools and resources they need, you can’t expect them to take these precautions. With that in mind, it’s crucial that you provide safety training, as well as safety equipment, like helmets, goggles, and steel toes boots. You should also ensure that these are easily accessible.

  1. Stay Clean And Tidy

Whether you operate out of an office, a warehouse, or a building site, a messy workspace can quickly lead to accidents and injuries. Because of this, you need to ensure that your workplace remains relatively clean and tidy at all times. Encourage your employees to keep their individual workspaces tidy and hire a regular office cleaner to help keep everything else in order.

  1. Watch What You’re Rewarding

It’s important that you show your employees you care and that you’re grateful for the work they do. This is why many business owners have benefit and reward schemes in place. That being said, you shouldn’t reward work, if a team member has compromised their safety to get it done. Instead, you should make a point of rewarding staff who ensure they follow your safety rules too.

  1. Plan Regular Safety Meetings

You might be in charge of your business, but it’s impossible to know everything that goes on in it. Because of this, you should make sure that you listen to safety feedback and advice from your employees. With this feedback, you should schedule regular safety meetings, to review and address any reported concerns. You should also ensure you conduct regular risk assessments.

As an employer, it is your responsibility to keep your team safe, so follow the tips above and do what you can to create a safer workplace.