Packaging Considerations For All Businesses

Developing an effective and beneficial product is only part of the process. You then need to market it and sell it in the best possible way. This involves packaging the product in an attractive and informative manner. With that being said, continue reading to find out more about important packaging considerations for all businesses.

Practicality comes first -We often tend to get wrapped up in the process of looking for vibrant and striking designs. While it is important to create packaging that looks amazing,this should never come at a sacrifice of practicality. After all, at heart, the primary job of your packaging is to make sure the product is protected physically. It can also act as a security aid, protecting against theft,depending on the nature of the product. You should never lose sight of this. Don’t ditch resealable plastic bags for bags without a seal simply because they look better.

Find a way to add some pizzazz – Once you have dealt with the practicalities, you need to make sure that your bag has the wow factor. After all, packaging needs to stand out from all of the other packages used. So, you need to choose something that makes your product seem better. Not only this, but the packaging you select can have a massive impact on the perceived retail value. This is something you shouldn’t overlook. You could easily add a dollar or two to the price with good packaging. All businesses need to consider the value when it comes to the packaging they select.

Make sure your packaging is informative – Aside from the points that have already been mentioned, you need to remember that your packaging is essentially an information-delivery system. It needs to tell the prospective buyer exactly what the product does and what it is for. While you need to keep things concise and ensure you don’t write anything unnecessary, living out imperative details is even more criminal. Moreover, think about where the eyes divert to first.

Telling a story– Last but not least, the final consideration you have when it comes to packaging is the story it tells. We don’t merely value products. We value the stories that go with them. This is something you really need to keep in mind when you are assessing different packaging options for your products. This is something that Apple do really well with their items, so it’s worth looking at their efforts for some inspiration.

As you can see, there are a number of different considerations when it comes to product packaging for your business. If you contemplate all of the pointers that have been discussed above, you should be able to come up with something that is right for your brand and your products.

Losing Focus? How to Identify Your Marketing Audience

Effective marketing is essential to getting your business the exposure it needs to bring in new customers, and to retain old ones. Without careful planning and execution, not only will you fail to increase your business’s exposure, you will also be wasting money on ineffective solutions. One of the greatest pitfalls of marketing is catering to the wrong audience. A skateboarding equipment brand may find sales dropping if their marketing solutions are geared toward the elderly, whereas an in-home care service may find a disinterested audience in younger generations. Your target audience will determine if you should be marketing through newspapers, television ads, YouTube and social media, billboards, and so forth. The following are some tips to help you better identify your audience so that you can focus your solutions into only the most effective campaigns.

Surveys

Putting out a survey can help you gather important demographic information about the types of consumers visiting your website and the kind of products they are interested in buying. Knowing who is already following your product and service will help you better cater to them as well as reach out to more within their demographics. Surveys like these can also help you measure how satisfied your current customers are with your products, and if you need to make changes to better suite their needs and interests. Many television producers, for example, are often surprised to find that the demographic they are marketing toward is very different from the one that is actually watching their content, often resulting in changing the content to better satisfy their majority fan demographics.

Read Visitor Reviews and Comments

Your website should contain areas for product reviews and user comments. While surveys give valuable feedback to you, potential customers are also interested in knowing what works for what demographics. Reviews and comments work both to give your customers an open-ended medium to convey their experience with your company, and to give you insight into what your customers think that interested parties should know before purchasing your products and services. Once you understand the typical customer experience with your company, you can better convey that in your marketing campaigns to paint a satisfyingly accurate preview to future customers.

Customer Profiling

One way to gain significant insight into the audience you are reaching is to do background research on the customers you have. What else are they interested in? What other companies are they looking at within your industry? How is your product or service being used? What other companies are taking an interest in your products and services? This can be difficult to determine when companies and consumers are answering surveys and leaving comments with ambiguous internet personas. Name matching services are available online to help you identify the individuals behind acronyms, usernames, and even foreign characters. It is much easier to build a clear picture of your current demographics when you know who is interacting with your company, and a little research can help you find everything you need to crack the mystery caused by online pseudonyms.

Run a Market Analysis

While marketing to your current customer demographics is very important, it’s also important to seek to expand your audience if you want to bring in greater sales opportunities. Finding new audiences to reach can be difficult, however, because some audiences will be receptive to the sort of thing you provide, while others will be entirely disinterested. Once again, a skateboarding equipment brand won’t find much luck trying to market towards an elderly demographic, but they might be able to reach a greater audience by targeting teens, children, and based on current YouTube trends, even pets. While common sense plays a large part in deciding on a new target demographic, you can also gain great insight by doing a market analysis. Look around and see what audiences are being targeted by other companies in your industry, and see how effective or ineffective their methods of reaching them are. Following current market trends will help you keep your marketing campaigns relevant and on top of the industry, and allows for greater opportunities to expand your customer base.

You cannot have an effective marketing campaign if you don’t know your intended audience. Knowing what demographics you are already reaching, as well as what audiences you could be reaching based on current market trends, will allow you to make educated decisions for your marketing solutions. Don’t let your promotional content fall on deaf ears. Find your audience, find out how to reach them, and maintain awareness to continue to meet the needs of your customers.

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.

5 Ways to Run a Successful Food Truck Business

Running a successful food truck business is a lot of hard work. Yet, many make the mistake of treating it like a hobby. If you are serious about making your food truck business successful, then follow these five tips.

Offer the Best Food

You need good recipes to make your food truck successful. Think about foods that not everyone in town is already serving. Then, find a great source of high-quality ingredients for those recipes. Prepare them to the best of your ability. Finally, test them out with people and incorporate their feedback until you have perfected them.

Get Quality Equipment

You will need to get quality equipment like stainless steel test sieves from a reliable supplier like newarkwire.com to run your business. Think about making a list of all the equipment that you will need to fix your recipes, and then get the equipment needed to prepare them. Buying quality helps to keep costs down in most cases as you will not have to replace them as often. Finally, consider buying more than one of each piece because equipment always seems to break at the most inopportune moment .

Employ Social Media

Part of the secret to running a successful food truck business is to connect with people on social media. It is a great way to let your customers know your location each day. Show them how great your food looks, so they are tempted to come to your location. Social media is also a great way to show customers the personality behind your company, so do not be afraid to post something funny or something that will tug at your customer’s emotions.

Be Dedicated to Customer Service

You need to be sure that your customers know how thankful you are for the opportunity to serve them. Start by offering them quality containers for their food and drink as flimsy containers can be hard to handle in an outside setting. Once they make the decision to order, then make sure to thank them for their order. If there is a problem, then correct it as quickly as possible. Remember that a satisfied customer will brag about your business to a few friends, but an angry one will tell everyone they know including posting it to social media.

Keep the Area Clean

While cleanliness is hard to maintain in any food environment, it can be especially difficult when running a food truck. Concentrate on keeping everything spotless. This includes the outside of your trailer as it will be the first thing that the customer sees. You and your employees also need to be sure that your personal grooming is above reproach.

Keeping these five tips in mind will help you run a successful food truck business. Now, go show them what you have to offer. Stay in a positive mindset and soon your customers will be hunting your food truck down to get your wonderful creations.

5 ways to combat skilled labor shortage

Let’s face it, today, more than ever, every business owner struggles with the issue of skilled labor shortage sooner or later. There are just not enough people interested or qualified enough for certain jobs, and that can take a real toll on any business. When you’re missing skilled labor, you’refacing a decrease in productivity and quality. Soon, that can have disastrous consequences for your firm. That’s why it’s important to address this issue on time, and ensure your business prospers. Thankfully, there are a few ways to do this that won’t backfire and are guaranteed to work.

1. Educate students

Pairing up with universities or schools is a great way of investing in your future. The interest for your firm should be developed early, meaning you should inform those who are still in school. This way, they’ll keep your firm in mind as soon as they finish school and are likely to apply for a job. You’ll have to worry less about not having enough staff because you’ve made sure the future experts know to look for you.

Many schools are looking for firms to partner up with, so as to ensure their students have a bright future. That’s your chance to reach out to one and devise a program which benefits you both. By doing so, you’ll also be seen as a company which cares about its community and the people in it, which is a very appealing trait to potential employees. Show that you are there for your community, and it will help you in your time of need.

2. Only keep the tasks you absolutely need

The process of creating a certain product or delivering a certain service is a delicate one. It’s a coherent system with many steps, all ensuring you’ve got a quality service or product as the end result. When you’re missing skilled workers though, you need to cut the process short a little.

Make a priority list and only do the steps that are absolutely necessary. Everything that’s done just for appearances should be left out. This way, you’ll be saving time, and more importantly, the energy of the workers you do have. It’ll promote efficiency and productivity. What’s more, it’s a great way of still providing good services until you get the extra help you need.

3. Put your employees first

Even though you are suffering from a skilled labor shortage and your employees have to work double to make up for that, remember that they’re people too. That means you shouldn’t overwork them and expect them to be able to cover all the positions. After all, you wouldn’t need more workers if your employees could do it all.

Instead of trying to make them pick up the slack and just filling slots, make sure they know you appreciate their efforts. If you’re not kind to them and don’t pay attention to their needs and well-being, it can lead to more people quitting and then you’ll be in an even bigger mess.Showing your workforce you appreciate them even in these troublesome times will help them stay motivated and pull-through. Together, you’ll be able to face this problem head on and come up with the best solution.

4. Opt for foreign workers

Importing your workforce can also be one of the options. Sometimes there just aren’t enough skilled workers in your country. In fact, more and more first world countries are choosing this option as a way to combat the shortage, Australia being one of them. Though, you need to be careful, because immigration laws are complex and often difficult to understand.

You can be sure the most informed immigration lawyer in Sydney will testify to that. That’s why it’s always advisable to talk to one before you decide to take any actual steps in bringing foreign people into the country. Every informed decision is a good decision.

5. Up your marketing strategy to a new level

Sometimes the problem with short staff is that people don’t even know you’re hiring, or what your firm is about. This is a question of a poor marketing strategy, but luckily, it can be easily solved. In this age of technology, you should make your company present on social media.

That way you’ll be up to date and will be able to connect with potential employees more easily. People will also know more about your company and are likely to be interested in working there. Even though it seems that social media is just for fun, it can actually be quite useful for things like this, too. In fact, there are a lot of professional social networks you can check out.

Conclusion

As you can see, not having enough skilled workforce doesn’t have to take a toll on your business. The important thing is to stay determined and motivated, and soon, your business will flourish. Hiring those who are good at their job promotes positive energy all around and, in turn, makes for very productive and confident workers. Never settle for less than your company deserves, so always hire the best of the best.

Daniel Brown is a law graduate and a passionate blogger from Sydney. His areas of interest are alternative dispute resolution and its applicability in different fields of law, IP law and resolution of disputes arising from intellectual property infringement and commerce law

5 Ways To Encourage Customer Loyalty

Many companies focus all their energy on gaining new customers, but often it can be loyal customers that give businesses a steady income. If you want to get more customers coming back, here are just a few tricks that could help to encourage return visits.

Get to know your customers

Getting to know your customers can make them feel more appreciated and can build trust in your company. You don’t have to become friends with your customers, but being able to engage in a bit of small talk and understanding their needs can make them feel more comfortable using your company than any other company.

Keep ahead of your competitors

Loyal customers are likely to jump ship if another company is offering better value services or perhaps doing something fresh and innovative.You don’t want to get too obsessed with chasing competition – instead of trying to copy or outdo them, focus on creating your own unique selling point. This will help you stand out from competition and will give you your own pull factor that no other company has.

Reward customer loyalty with discounts

You can also encourage return customers by introducing loyalty discounts. A loyalty card or a points card could be one way of doing this – after a certain amount of purchases, they can get rewarded with a freebie. You may even be able to give away vouchers with a purchase that encourage people to come back.

Sell gift cards

Another way to encourage loyalty could be to sell gift cards. People will buy these gift cards for friends and family members,encouraging these people to make return visits to your company until all the money on the gift card is spent. Even if these gift cards never get used,you’ll still be making money out of them. You can design your own custom gift cards with your own branding on. These could be sold in your store.

Keep loyal customers in the loop with notifications

By keeping customers aware of deals and events you can encourage them to return. Mailing lists are one of the most popular ways to keep customers updated. This could involve emailing them information or texting them updates. In order to do this, you’ll need their email address/phone number and their consent – you use surveys and pop-ups on your website to ask customers if they’d like to join your mailing list. Social media can also be a great tool for keeping customers in the loop. Here you can post news on events and promotions. You can then encourage your customers to follow you on these social media channel in order to see these notifications.

4 Procurement Strategies for Small Business

Procurement in relation to small business takes on a much different meaning than it’s big biz counterpart. Sure, they both involve similar practices, but in small business, it’s generally approached by a single person or small group — the most pertinent being the business owner. Small businesses don’t have access to a team of interns or professionals to handle research, vetting and communication. Instead, they have to do it all themselves.

Already, a small business owner has many demands and challenges on their plate from staffing and inventory management to customer service. Procurement, then, tends to be a much lower priority. But it shouldn’t be this way. In fact, most small businesses spend between 45 and 65 percent of their sales revenue on the procurement of inputs. It’s a massive undertaking for any company, big or small, so it should be afforded the appropriate attention.

In light of all this, let’s explore some tips and strategies that small to mid-sized businesses can leverage during procurement.

1. Form a Business Consortium

As a small business, you just don’t have the same buying power and influence as a major organization, at least not by yourself. In some cases, this issue can mean that many potential suppliers and vendors are off-limits simply because they work only with larger outfits. It also means that when you do find a potential partner, you may not save as much because you can’t meet optimal quantity limits. Vendors and suppliers will often offer exclusive discounts and deals for ordering in bulk.

Much of this inconvenience can be remedied by forming a consortium between local or similar small businesses. By partnering with others who need the same supplies, you can instantly meet volume requirements for additional savings and hold much more potency when it comes to buying power. Even when volume discounts aren’t offered, you can still benefit from cost savings, because the total investment is split between multiple parties as opposed to remaining solely on your shoulders.

2. Maintain Supplier and Vendor Relationships

Long-lasting relationships, especially with suppliers and vendors, tend to come with many benefits. It can save a lot of time and resources, for one, that you would otherwise waste looking for additional support. There’s also something to be said for the buildup of trust between loyal partners, as you can generally speak more freely and openly with a strategic partner you’ve dealt with over an extended period.

Perhaps even more relevant is the point that you’ll likely be evolving and scaling your operations as time goes on. This process will come naturally as your business grows, of course, but eventually, you’ll make an effort to improve efficiencies or output or just look for potential improvements to make. Having a strong bond or relationship with your vendors and suppliers means that you can include them in this process as well. You might even be able to stretch more enhancements out of helping them achieve optimizations too.

Indirect spending can also be reduced or mitigated by working with a single or small selection of vendors. The money you would spend on research, placing bids or seeking partners — and even varying prices from working with separate parties — can be outright eliminated. In fact, improving your procurement process can result in cost savings of 25 percent or more from indirect spending.

3. Consider Outsourcing

Outsourcing — in its many forms — may not be for everyone. However, if there’s one area of the business world where it can offer incredible benefits, it’s for small to mid-sized businesses. Generally, these operations don’t have access to extended resources, staff or equipment, so it’s difficult to keep up with the current state of the market and scale accordingly for more demanding customers.

Outsourcing involves balancing the work and operations so that a more qualified, capable party handles the tasks that your small business could not. There are many opportunities, service possibilities and providers out there, including outsourcing companies for finances, strategic analysis, IT, security and cloud computing solutions. Even supply and vendor management companies are available and will handle all duties related to logistics and inventory management.

Taking advantage of outsourcing also frees up the time of your limited staff so that you can handle more important or pressing matters. Taking into account the sheer number of responsibilities you have on your plate, that benefit in and of itself might be worth the investment.

4. Employ the Right Technologies

When researching potential suppliers, having access to the right software and systems can be instrumental. Even beyond that initial phase, software solutions can help create job postings and handle bidding processes, reference qualifications, submit and process payments and cover general vendor management duties. Not only will this assistance significantly cut costs associated with time and resource investments, but it will also simplify the entire process, eliminating most of the manual activities you’d otherwise have to follow.

Out of 200 businesses surveyed, 50.72 percent said their biggest tech adoption challenge was cost, being that the solutions they might be interested in are too expensive. A further 40.58 percent said that they didn’t have enough time to invest into finding or testing proper solutions, while 26.09 percent said the tech is too complicated.

If those businesses actually invested time into finding proper tech-based solutions, they’d also find cost savings, more free time — which could be used in better ways — and much easier process management. The reality is almost exactly the opposite of what many claimed in the survey.

When considering all these tips and potential procurement strategies, it becomes much easier to see how a business owner or small team could handle their duties. More importantly, it’s not just about getting the work done, but doing so efficiently and accurately. You need the proper time to research, trial and build a relationship with potential vendors, if only to improve the quality of your own products and services.

Procurement should never be an afterthought, even for small business.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

4 Ways Businesses Benefit From Outsourcing Services

In the past, small to medium-sized businesses had a much harder time competing with the ‘big boys’ industries  due to a lack of adequate infrastructure within their organizations. However, thanks to the most recent technological breakthroughs, this is no longer the case, as small businesses all around the world are given a more level playing field by outsourcing their non-core processes elsewhere. As such, these non-core processes can include anything ranging from marketing and design to IT support. Moreover, with the use of new cloud and project-management software, outsourcing these processes has never been simpler. Yet, how exactly do small businesses benefit from this lucrative arrangement? Keep on reading to find out.

Lower operating costs

Hiring new staff to take care of your in-house marketing and IT sectors is a huge investment for small business owners. According to the Training magazine, on average, companies spend around 1,000 US dollars per learner, and this does not account for the time and effort it takes to post job ads, review CVs, and interview potential employees. Also, the more workers you employ, the more money you have to spend on equipment, office space, workers compensation, and taxes. Hence, the most logical solution for small businesses is to go lean, in order to maximize efficiency and lower the cost of operating.

Outsourcing services helps small businesses do just that, as the cost of hiring another company to, for example, manage your company’s marketing efforts is much lower than doing it yourself. With larger corporations, it’s a totally different story, as they can handle their own in-house marketing sectors due to having a lot more resources at their disposal. This is why, by outsourcing, smaller companies can be at an equal footing with the big corporate giants, as it allows them to enlist the help of professional marketers at a much lower cost. 

Access to the latest technology

Another reason why outsourcing is so beneficial for small businesses is the fact that outsourcing companies bring their own equipment and technology into the fold. A good example of this phenomenon can be seen in the legal industry, where Artificial Intelligence is seeing an increase in use. Especially so in the process of legal transcription, where sophisticated AI plays a crucial role in transferring raw video and audio data into a more accurate, readable format. Without this, legal firms would struggle to process vital materials in time for the next proceeding. By using this kind of human-aided AI services and technology, businesses save precious time and increase efficiency.

Increased focus on core business processes

The thing with some small businesses, and startups in general, is that they usually operate on a much tighter deadline and do so with a skeleton crew. By outsourcing all of their repetitive and time-consuming back office tasks, such as sales, marketing, and IT support, small businesses get to focus all of their attention on core-business functions, which greatly improves their overall efficiency and productivity. Thus, the key staff gets to work on improving critical business areas instead of wasting their time dilly-dallying with computer updates and composing new marketing strategies. Furthermore, apart from lowering the cost of re-training the existing employees to accept new roles, focusing on key business elements helps small businesses cultivate talent, which is crucial for staying ahead of the curve and gaining a real advantage over your competitors.

Acquire the assistance of business experts

Training your own staff members to perform non-core functions won’t yield immediate results. In fact, this approach will lead to many trials and errors before they finally get the hang of it. Moreover, some of these tasks take weeks, if not months, to learn, which is time better spent elsewhere.

Hence, it’s a good idea to employ the services of a company which is an expert in that field. This will not only bring in more results, but do so at a much faster pace. Plus, you get some real, concrete, advice from people who know exactly what they’re doing. Also, by outsourcing you’re actually opening the door of your business to global talent and not just settling for second-best in your immediate vicinity. At the end of the day, you get to pay for quality services which would otherwise be too costly on your own.

All in all, outsourcing services is a great way for small businesses to stay ahead of the competition by funneling priceless manpower and resources into development and growth instead of wasting it on irrelevant back office tasks.

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.