Why Your Small Business Needs a Lawyer

When you start a business, hiring a lawyer probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. You might think that you can handle everything yourself, and there won’t be a need to get a lawyer involved in anything until your business has reached a certain size. But there’s no business too small for hiring a lawyer. You don’t necessarily need one on your staff, but it can be useful to have someone in your contacts or even pay a retainer to someone you might need regularly. Before you dismiss the idea completely, consider these key reasons for having an attorney on your side.

Protect Your Business

You might not like the sound of it, but your business could be sued at any time and for any reason. If you do get sued, you can, of course, begin the search for an attorney. But by then, the damage could already be done. It could affect your reputation and your finances. While you can’t completely prevent people suing you, you can take steps to lower the chances of it happening. A lawyer can give you the advice you need to keep your business safe and avoid any serious problems.

Make Contracts Watertight

Getting contracts right is essential in business. You need contracts that protect you, but your clients, suppliers or anyone else you work with also wants to make sure that the contract benefits them. A contract lawyer specializes in making sure all of the contracts that you deal with are up to scratch. They will learn to understand your business and how it operates. Your attorney can prepare standard contracts for you to use with clients and suppliers, as well as help you to check over contracts that other people send to you. It’s worth having someone to deal with your paperwork for you.

Image from Pixabay

Have Access to Important Connections

Working with a business lawyer can be a great way to make sure useful connections. Firstly, you have your lawyer on hand if you need advice or help. You can also ask them to refer you to other legal professionals if there’s something that they’re not best placed to do. You could even make some useful connections in the business or political worlds. Any legal professionals like Mike Crapo move into politics. Your attorney could have valuable connections like these that can help you out if you need a favor or for various other reasons.

Safely Grow Your Business

As you grow your business, you can find yourself dealing with a lot of legal issues, from intellectual property to buying real estate. Every new issue that you need to deal with might require help from a legal professional, especially if you want to avoid any serious problems. It’s important to remember, however, that you might need a different attorney for different matters. Some might specialize in contracts, but others are more familiar with real estate or patents.

Keep your business on the straight and narrow by having an attorney in your contacts. You should be able to protect your business, no matter how big it is.

How To Stand Out in a Saturated Gig Economy

In 2017, more than 57 million people worked freelance in the US as short-term talent continues to be in high demand. As we weave ourselves deeper into the digital world and Internet of Things, the necessity to stick to one job for a lifetime simply doesn’t hold much relevance. The gig economy is booming and it is here to stay. However, with many people shifting to the remote-working freelance lifestyle, you will want to ensure you know exactly how to market yourself and stand out as a professional “gigger” in order to receive top-notch jobs that provides you with consistent work.

Market Yourself to Local Stores & Small Businesses

In the past, small businesses didn’t have access to a pool of freelancers who could do a variety of small, short-term jobs  for them. If they wanted a new marketing campaign they had to be prepared to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to a major agency or learn to do it themselves. However, even in a gig economy, many small businesses and local stores still don’t understand how to harness the power of the talent they have access to. Help them unlock this power by being the go-to freelancer in your area for all small businesses and local shops. Whether you are great at programming, interior design, copywriting, or even SEO, they likely need your skills and expertise and are willing to pay you for it. Begin cultivating this network by attending local small business meetings and chamber of commerce events in order to build your reputation as the go-to person in your local area for your particular skill. The benefit here is that word-of-mouth is so powerful that once you establish yourself in-person with these people, you will likely find that your outstanding service and work will speak for itself and they will do your marketing for you.

Develop a Personal Brand

Why do you think so many people around the world know what McDonald’s is? They have worked hard in establishing a very unique and consistent brand. If you want to be successful and stand out in the gig economy, you should do the same. You can begin doing this by always putting customer service and communication at the forefront of everything you do regarding freelance work. Communicating in real time increases engagement and builds community. Try to make the central focus of each gig to be on solving a problem for your client rather than simply performing a task and always focus on increasing your online visibility to ensure future clients have access to your work as well as customer reviews.

Building a Thriving Business

In the gig economy, you are your own boss and you should think of the work you do as running a business. Ensure that you ask yourself each day how you can improve your business operations, brand and overall efforts in ensuring customer satisfaction. By focusing on quality over quantity and making an effort to be personable and even in-person, you will be able to find lasting success in the saturated gig economy without having to worry about finding clients for years to come.

Guest Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

A Brief Guide on Evolving From Startup to SME

Startups are constantly under pressure to keep their head above water and ensure that they can stay relevant. It doesn’t take much for a larger company to bully a startup out of existence, and there’s nothing worse than a slow and painful company death that not only wastes money but also time.

So to keep your business successful, we’re going to help you by offering a brief guide on how to evolve your startup into an SME with minimal stress and maximum efficiency.

Fail Faster?

Failing faster is a mantra that entrepreneurs swear by, but as with any controversial statement that is misunderstood, it’s often over exaggerated. Failing faster doesn’t mean to quite literally fail faster, and it also doesn’t mean that you should give up your business and run it into the ground just for the sake of failing. Some people assume it means pushing boundaries to see how far you can go with an idea, but the reality is that you can’t exactly use that as a method of failing faster.

Failing faster is another way of saying “learn faster”. You learn through failures because you figure out what you did wrong and how to fix it. The idea of failing faster is so that you can understand what mistakes you made so you can correct them the next time around, and this is a key of evolving from a startup to an SME. You need to realize what you’ve done poorly and how you can improve your next project.

In short, you need to fail in order to grow your business, but it takes a lot of time until you’ve built up the necessary knowledge to learn efficiently from your mistakes. Many people consider failing faster to be a ridiculous way to learn and progress, but in reality, it’s one of the fastest ways to improve your company and your practices as long as you’re consistent and mindful.

Recognizing When You Need Help

Another common issue with startups is that they’re typically very stubborn. Many companies refuse to rely on outside help, believing it to be too expensive, or saying that their employees won’t learn much if they rely too much on outside help. However, outsourced IT support, outsourcing repairs and other services can be incredibly important to the productivity and efficiency of any business.

It’s important to realize that you can’t go alone, even as an entrepreneur with a small startup. Services need to be relied on if you want the best from your business and to actually make a profit while also growing your business. Be it community management, social media assistance, computer repairs or technological advice, make sure you outsource any services that you’re unfamiliar with or don’t have much experience with.

Final Words

Growing a business from a mere startup is a challenging task, but with the right mindset, it’s possible to make great strides and surge into the industry. Evolving into an SME is no easy task, and it comes with many unique challenges that are bound to trip you up. However, by recognizing when you need help, it’s entirely possible to overcome those problems.

Customer Loyalty: Does Your Small Business Have What It Takes To Keep It?

Customer retention is a difficult topic for a small business. It’s not that they can’t keep the customers, it’s getting them in the first place that’s often the problem. Small businesses often flounder before they have a chance to grow and a lot of that is to do with their placement as a small fish in an ocean of sharks. Whether you are running a small business store on Etsy, or you’re marketing yourself as a solopreneur who is offering a solution to a problem, you need to know how to retain your customers so that they trust your mini brand – even before it becomes a mega one.

Returning customers are crucial to the success of a small business and the way to get them coming back for more is in your retention strategy. You need to be so good, that customers see what you’re doing and fall in love with it. It’s ensuring that you work closely with IT experts to roll out your carefully crafted software to other companies, working with agile testing teams and pushing yourself to do more for your customers. Online customers spend three times more money than customers do in store, and if the service that you offer – or the solution you provide – is one that is effective and reeks of perfection, you’re going to see loyalty from your customers. You are the only one who can decide whether you have what it takes to retain your customers, though, and if you can’t, you’re going to sink. Here are four short ways to create that customer loyalty that’s going to secure your bottom line.

Experience Peaks. Customers will buy whatever they’re interested in, but you need to keep them hooked for more. If they’ve enjoyed the product that you sold in the first place, they’ll buy again. However, you need to keep the deal sweet. Maybe once customers have bought from you once, you then send a discount code to them to be able to buy again. The promise of the same product that they love being cheaper is a bonus and keeps the experience peaked for them.

VI-Party. Most people don’t like getting unsolicited emails, but customers who sign up with your product will expect to be notified of changes, upgrades and extras. Give them loyalty points and an early access pass to new releases. They’ll love the exclusivity and it keeps them coming back to you for more of the things that you offer.

Get Online. Whichever way that you do it, you need to be where your customers can connect with you. Get onto social media and be a part of the community. Having access directly to the people in charge of the product that has been sold is a bonus for customers and they can feel like they are heard.

Stay Passionate. You’ve made something successful enough for people to want to keep coming back for more. All you need to do now is ensure that you keep up the momentum that you’ve set for yourself.

Customers will always go with the popular brands; make yourself one of them and keep your loyal base coming back for more.

Start Spreading The News: How To Get People Talking About Your New Business

Are you preparing to launch a new business, or you are trying to find your footing in the market? Whether your business plans are still in the pipeline, or you’re already up and running, it’s crucial to have plans in place to get your name out there. If you’re keen to get people talking and start enjoying the sound of the cash register ringing, here are some tips to bear in mind.

Drawing up your marketing strategy

If you plan to take control of marketing your business, the first thing to do is formulate a strategy. Marketing isn’t as simple as designing a website or printing out some branded business cards. To succeed, you have to be able to communicate with, and appeal to, your target audience and find a gap in the market. There are myriad marketing methods out there, and often, it’s best to focus on a few platforms that are likely to attract attention from the right people. You want to ensure that you’re reaching out to customers who are going to have a genuine interest in your products and services and your brand. Covering every method may seem like a good idea, but you’ll probably find that you’re wasting money on avenues that won’t deliver rewards. Think about your ideal customer, the demographic you’re aiming at, and the kinds of products or services you’re selling. If you’re selling clothing online and you’re hoping to attract females aged between 18 and 35, you’ll find that social media, email marketing, and SEO are a lot more effective than flyers or press adverts, for example. Use market research to determine which methods would be most beneficial for your brand. Once you have a strategy, the next step is to implement it.

Picture sourced from https://pixabay.com/en/arrows-marketing-strategy-startup-2029169/

Considering outsourcing

If you run a business, no matter how large or small, you may find that there are certain tasks that match your skill set, and others that cause you concern. If you don’t have experience in marketing and you don’t have in-house marketing executives, it makes sense to think about outsourcing this element of the business. Marketing can have such a significant impact on the success of a new venture, and it’s crucial to get it right. If you’re not keen on recruiting members of staff with marketing expertise, working with an external company may provide the ideal solution. Look for digital agency value add services or think about hiring freelancers if you need help in designing and implementing an introductory campaign. Outsourcing enables you to access to skills you need, but it can also save you money, as you won’t be adding to the payroll over a prolonged period of time. When looking for agencies or individuals, take your time to look at portfolios, previous clients, and reviews.

Image via https://pixabay.com/en/businessmen-communication-community-786071/

Getting your name out there

Once your plans are laid out, the next stage is to get your name out there. Use the findings of your research to attract the attention of those who are most likely to be interested in your brand. Send out emails, set up social media accounts, and make sure you have a great business website, which has mobile capabilities. Consumers spend more and more time online, and if you can direct traffic to your website, you’ll have a better chance of converting leads. Share posts about your new business, encourage followers to share your links, and optimize the content on your website to drive traffic from search engines. If you’re launching a new product, or you’re opening a business like a salon, a store, or a restaurant, it’s a fabulous idea to plan an event, and you can share the details and send out invitations through your website and social media platforms. When your website is up and running, and you’ve got active social media accounts and an SEO campaign in force, make use of analytics to track your progress. If you’re covering all bases in terms of social media, for example, analytic tools can help you determine which channels are most effective, and which are falling flat. Be prepared to tweak your strategy to keep it relevant, to iron out teething problems, and to make sure you’re giving customers what they want.

Image credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/findyoursearch/5202301465

Are you about to launch a new business, or are you in the process of trying to build your client base and inform people about the services or products you offer? Marketing plays a key role in establishing a brand and attracting attention from consumers. Hopefully, this guide will help you make the right calls and get people talking about your brilliant new business.

World-Class Customer Service Tips You Should Never Forget

Customer service is something that all businesses today need to master. After all, it does not cost a lot to smile and provide a few friendly words. Of course, effective customer service goes a lot further than this. It is viewed as an opportunity to secure new customers and to strengthen relationships with existing ones. It is important to recognize that the way you act has a massive impact on your brand, and with the Internet how it is today, one bad move could be stuck with your company forever. With that being said, continue reading to discover some world-class customer service tips you should never forget.

You need to give credence to customer complaints – There is only one place to begin, and this is with handling customer complaints. No one likes to receive a complaint from anyone but it is part of being in business. How you deal with complaints makes a huge difference. View this as an opportunity to improve your company. You also need to make sure that you remain consistent in tone and process. The CARP method is a good one to use. This means you should control the situation, and then acknowledge the dilemma. Once you have done this, refocus the conversation and then problem-solve so that the consumer leaves content.

You need to communicate clearly – Another important tip to follow when it comes to achieving world-class customer service levels is to make sure that you practice clear communication. There are so many different factors that impact communication, for example, tone and styling, and your employees need to be aware of this. They also need to make sure that they do not confuse your customers with technical jargon, colloquialisms, or slang. You also need to make sure that you use positive language, avoiding negative words at all costs.

You need to recognize when it is right to outsource – The best businesses today are those that outsource and do so effectively. You should not just outsource any old element of your company. You need to make sure that it is something that is going to benefit your business. For example, a medical answering service could benefit a healthcare practice because it means employees have more time to focus on patient care.

You need to give your customer service team the right tools – Last but not least, you need to make sure that your customer service team has the right tools so that they can provide the right support to people that call. If you do not have any software in place that enables your customer service representatives to pull up accurate client records, for example, they are never going to be able to provide them with an efficient and effective support service.

So there you have it: some of the world-class customer service tips you should follow to help your business achieve more. Don’t overlook the importance of your customers and what they mean for your business. Without them, you would not have a business.

Key 21st Century Tech For Your Business

It doesn’t matter whether your small business is focused on importing the latest aerodynamic ball bearing, providing accountancy services to SMEs or building an eBay empire, you will need to move with the times if you are to succeed. One of the main reasons companies fail to expand and instead see their business vision begin to crumble is because they are resistant to change. To thrive, you need to welcome new initiatives, working methodologies, and software. Take a look at these vital pieces of technology that every startup, new or established, should be chomping at the bit to obtain.

The Cloud

Rather than looking up and admiring the cumulus that you see above your head, the cloud that you need to consider is one that will revolutionize your business. Your office should be a digital workplace, where people can upload and download necessary documents, images, and files from the virtual environment; namely, the cloud. This online storage function means that you no longer have to worry about USB sticks or your hard drive. Instead, your staff team can all have access to these documents at the same time from virtually anywhere on the planet. This increases productivity, leads to fewer hardware issues affecting work streams and increases collaboration.

Workplaces are no longer rows of desktop cubicles. They are open plan, foster teamwork and water-cooler moments, and are designed to encourage collaborative ways of working. It makes sense that technology would echo this ethos.

CRM Software

While you are keen to utilize the millennial’s platform of choice and have a well maintained Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Instagram grid, how well do you know the customers that you drive to your site? CRM software or Customer Relationship Management, analyzes the traffic to your website. It will focus on their buying habits, the products they look at most on your site and the referral that led them to your company. This can aid you in constructing a nuanced and targeted marketing campaign when launching a new product. CRM software is the perfect technological solution to try and maintain customer loyalty and expose your brand.

Payroll Automation

While it may seem a little random to include a piece of software that completes a business function that you can do yourself, the automation of payroll can free up a ridiculous amount of your time. At least half a day can be spent on this mundane administrative task. Working out 401(k) considerations and tax allowances can be mind numbing. Instead, you could invest in a software package that periodically sorts out payroll for you. This leads to fewer chances of human error, looks more professional and allows you to work on more pressing areas of your strategic vision.

Being your own boss is thrilling, and you want to become a market leader in your field. The effort you have put into launching your company cannot go to waste. Don’t be one of the eighty percent of startups that fails within the first eighteen months of trading. Welcome change and embrace new technologies and your business will thrive.