Are You Ready For The Next Step?


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If there’s one thing that you can guarantee about your business, it’s this: if it’s not moving forward, it’s falling behind. There is no such thing as being able to settle down and stay still in the world of modern business. As soon as you decide that you’re comfortable where you are, your business is going to stagnate, and your competition is going to leave you in the dust. Every business owner should be looking forward to the next stage in their business’s evolution, ready to face whatever it is that’s going to come along. Of course, the doesn’t mean that you should throw your business into the future without thinking about things carefully. If you try to push it forward without thinking carefully, then you could well end up in a pretty precarious position. With that in mind, here are a few things to think about when trying to make sure that your business is ready for the next step.

How can you reach new customers?

If you want to grow your business, then you need to expand your customer base. Otherwise, your business simply won’t be able to sustain its growth and will end up collapsing under its own weight. There are plenty of ways to reach new customers, and each come with their own unique challenges. You might want to expand to new demographics, in which case you’re going to need to put a lot more time and effort into creating effective marketing strategies. Perhaps you’re looking at expanding into more international territories. If that’s the case, then you’ll need help from one of the UK’s leading translation companies so that you can be sure that you’re communicating effectively with customers no matter where they are in the world. Being able to understand the challenges involved in reaching new customers is the only way to avoid making obvious mistakes or losing out on potentially profitable markets.

What new additions does your business need?

As a business grows, so do its needs. This could be in terms of your employees, technology, or financial support. Figuring out how any form of expansion impacts on the structure of your business isn’t always easy but it’s definitely worth doing if you really want to get the most out of any given situation. Do you need new employees? Then you need to figure out how many and where they’d be best utilised. Is your company’s tech not up to scratch? Then you’re going to want to figure out what technology will benefit your business most and whether or not you can afford it.

Do any existing elements need adjusting?

If there’s one mistake that many businesses make more than any other, it’s assuming that their existing business is strong enough to build on top of. If the foundations that you’re building on are crumbling, then everything’s going to come crashing down. Look at the infrastructure, workforce, and working methods of your business and figure out what works and what doesn’t. The things that work can act as the basis for all future developments to your business. The things that don’t need to either be adjusted and fixed or left behind entirely. Refinement is one of the most important things in your business.

Make Your Business Loud and Clear to Consumers

Feel like your brand isn’t getting enough love from consumers? If that is your mindset, what do you intend to do about it moving forward?

Unfortunately, too many business owners do not do enough to get their brand’s name out and about. As a result, they pay the consequences in terms of sales numbers slipping. When that happens, the writing could be on the wall that one’s business is headed for a slippery slope.

So that you can make your business loud and clear to consumers, you have to make sure you are promoting it anywhere and everywhere.

This also means that your employees (unless you are a one-person show) are doing all they can to get the word out there.

With this in mind, is it time for you to make your business more loud and clear to consumers?

Working In-House and Outside the Office to Promote Your Brand

For you to get the most attention in and out of the office for your brand, remember a couple of important tips:

  1. Message and Your Employees

Without a clear and concise marketing message, how do you expect most consumers to find you?

Make sure each and every marketing message you send out has had some thought put into it. Secondly, it is also important to know your audience each time you reach out to them. Lastly, the vehicle or vehicles you use to transport your message (email, social media, texts, press releases etc.) also need to be thought out before you hit send.

As for the messengers, your employees and current customers (see more below) are two of your best resources.

When it comes to the former, be sure your workers are up to speed on a whole host of ways to make your brand as relevant as possible. Two such means are video conferencing and webinars for your business.

With video conferencing, you can greatly reduce one of the issues that many growing businesses run into.

That would be when offices are spread out both nationally and globally. When this happens, getting all the employees together as one can prove challenging.

By turning to video conferencing, you can bring your group together, allowing for both information and thoughts to flow freely. Best of all; the company feels like one big family.

As for webinars, this is another valuable tool that too many businesses fail to capitalize on. Webinars allow your company to spread your brand’s name online, with the added advantage that they are available in essence 24/7/365.

If you are not using webinars now, think about doing them sooner rather than later. In doing so, be sure to promote them anywhere and everywhere.

This is especially true on your social media channels, channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube etc.) that should be getting plenty of action.

  1. Message and Your Customers

As great as your employees can be at delivering your company’s message, never forget your customers.

By giving them some incentives to promote your brand, you can get more marketing bang for your dollar.

For instance, don’t take your long-term customers and/or those who spend a fair amount of money with you for granted.

You can offer them items such as rewards programs, first shot at sale items before they go on sale to the general public etc. In doing so, many of your customers will be more than happy to help spread your company’s message to friends, family, even strangers in some cases.

As you can see, your message and the messengers both play key roles in your company’s ability to be successful.

Take a step back and see where your brand might be coming up short at the moment. In moving forward, make sure your business is heard loud and clear by consumers. 

 About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business and marketing topics on the web.





Lead United: Leadership Skills For A Top-Scoring Team


The very best sales teams can feel the pressure on occasion. The world is littered with targets and performance tools, and these can contribute to a lack of productivity, rather than aid it. People will feel the tension in different ways, and with some people, it can help them by giving that adrenaline and kick that they need, others can crumble. The one thing that can make a difference to a team is its leader. The manager of a group of people can dictate, or they can guide. The leader of a team is the barometer, people will look to that person for praise and encouragement, and there are many line-managers that don’t have the right touch, and will inadvertently cause low morale. Where do you, as a leader, begin to give your team the right type of push?

Communicate Consistently

Communicating the vision of the team is one way to reinforce the purpose. By doing this, it keeps people clear in the knowledge of what their end-product is. By making sure that each person in the team knows their own individual role and what their own goal is in relation to the bigger picture. This will instill not only purpose but focus in each part of the machine. Each team member should be able to see the vision set out reflected in the decisions you make as a team leader, and the vision should be connected to their own goals. Transparency in an organization is the valuable trait to inspiring employees and helping them to understand their part in the whole company.

Work On Developing Talent

Mentoring and feedback are something that can be lost in the midst of targets and goals. While it is an important aspect of a business to monitor the productivity of a member of staff, using their “numbers” as a reason to make them work harder is not enough. This is where the power of “why” comes into play. By asking opinions and perspectives of a situation, this will get you to the core of a person. Their attitudes and behavior is key to understanding how they work as an individual. Speak to them and see what the underlying issue is. As leaders, we are so focused on the short-term tasks that we neglect the long-term ones, and our employees are a long-term investment. We need to see if there is a fundamental skill they may need to brush up on. There is sales team performance enablement software that can be used to develop employees, from providing training to using systems to help make peoples’ jobs easier, and by using the right tools in conjunction with the development of talent; it is working to make a better workforce all round.

Express Your Gratitude

On a personal level, expressing your gratitude for a person’s work will really help to bolster performance. You are making them feel valued, and this will translate into a better working attitude. It is easy to give a pizza to your team as thanks, but personal and heartfelt appreciation will last much longer.




5 Highly Coveted Skills Sought By Employers



If 2017 is the year you go for your dream job, make sure you brush up on the following skills.

  1. Business Acumen

This is quite a general term, but it covers a lot of ground. Having a solid business acumen suggests you are not only familiar with the industry but with business practices in general. Much of this comes from experience, but having a good educational background also helps. If you feel a lack of confidence in some areas, now is the time to brush up on your training.

  1. Communication And Interpersonal Skills

Good communication skills are necessary for the majority, if not all, jobs. This covers a wide area and includes written and verbal skills. Being a good communicator means that you can communicate with different people at different levels, whether face-to-face, on the phone, by email, social media, or letter, etc. It also covers working with colleagues, management, clients, and other key stakeholders.

If you have found this difficult in the past or if you have difficult relationships, it might be time to brush up on your communication skills.

  1. Analytics

We live in a world where data is created, curated and analyzed constantly. Many job descriptions include the ability to collect and analyze data and report on key findings. This varies widely from analyzing website traffic to spotting patterns and trends. It becomes even more complex where big data is concerned. One thing we can be certain about is that data will continue to grow at an accelerated rate. Having the skills to work with this will, therefore, be an asset. Training from Simplilearn and other providers will equip you with the skills you need to make an impact.

  1. Social Media

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. It’s also likely to evolve in ways we never imagined. Ignoring this prominent trend is no longer an option. Nor is ‘doing a bit of Twitter’ here and there. It is no longer confined to the younger generation. To grow and achieve their full potential, businesses need to embrace the power of social media. Having a knowledge of the various networks and how to create and share quality content is vital. And it doesn’t stop there. Platforms, trends, and people change quickly. As well as being informed about the current social media landscape, it’s also necessary to be aware of emerging trends.

  1. Content Creation

Content has always been important. We’ve had TV ads, magazine articles, etc. for many years. What has changed is the type of content we create and consume and how it is shared. Good quality content helps achieve the following:.

  • Builds loyal communities
  • Creates trust and brand authority
  • Opens up communication channels
  • Improves SEO
  • Adds value to your offering

Content is not just about words. It’s important to have the ability to create and curate a variety of content including photographs, vector images, banners, infographics, video content, email newsletters, social media posts, web pages, etc.

In addition to the specific skills required for the industry you’re about to enter it, it is also important to possess these universal skills. If you ignore the trends, chances are your competitors won’t, decreasing your employability and the roles available to you.

The Future Is Now: Fantastic Ways The Internet Has Revolutionized Business


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Can you remember back to 2000 when the Internet was starting to really take off, and many households were installing it into their homes? Back in the day, it was just a way to retrieve information. However, right now in 2016, it has completely revolutionized our lives. It makes everyday life a whole lot easier, thanks to the various apps and devices we can now use around the home. But there is one area in which is has completely turned everything upside down for the better. And that is in business. Gone are the days of pushing papers and having to navigate various time zones to call clients. The Internet has made things super easy for business owners now. Here’s how.

Communicating Has Never Been Easier

You can now easily send a message to your colleagues across the globe using email. At the click of a mouse, your message can be instantly in their inbox. Thanks to this, you don’t have to pay to carry out an expensive international phone call or wait a few days for your letter to arrive on their desk. This has now made business a lot more efficient than what it once was. This also helps customers as well, as they can content customer service advisors in a matter of seconds thanks to more and more companies welcoming emails and offering live online chats.

Improved Marketing Techniques

Gone are the days of having to walk around your town or city sticking up posters and handing out flyers to get people’s attention. Now all you need to do is sign up for social media to get your name out into the public’s attention. That’s not all, though. As SEO continues to be super important for businesses, it is now also a major marketing player. Get your search engine marketing spot on and you will be reaching an audience of potentially thousands!

Outsourcing Has Never Been Easier

As we are now no more than a mouse click away from each other, outsourcing certain tasks and jobs has never been easier. In fact, the Internet has helped boost the number of contractors and freelancers available, so you don’t have to worry about most of the major talent only looking for full-time positions. You can now easily outsource your accounts, HR, and legal as well as so many other areas of your company. This can help you cut costs as well because you won’t need to employ full-time staff and provide office space for them.

Simple Market Research

Need to know some facts or figures? Easy! Just Google for them! The Internet puts a whole world of information and statistics right at the tips of our fingers. After a few clicks, you could potentially have all of the market research that you need. You will also be able to keep a keen eye on your competitors. Just watch their Internet presence to try and judge their next move. By doing this, you can always try to be one step ahead of them!

Staffing Secrets: Efficiency Is All In The Team Atmosphere

As a business owner, you should already appreciate the importance of your staff. Whether you’ve hired three people or 3,000 doesn’t matter – their productivity is the lifeline of your entire company.

You’ve probably invested heavily in perfecting your recruitment drive. However, this is only a small part of getting the most from your staff. Embracing positivity in the workplace is arguably even more important than hiring the right people. In truth, it could be the difference between a good company and a great one.

Here’s how you can promote it in four easy steps.



Create A Great Place To Work

For an employee to work effectively, you must first ensure that their surroundings are suitable. After all, an environment that actively discourages work will immediately put a limit on your success.

Knowing when it’s time to move office is hugely important, as not doing so could be holding you back. Meanwhile, it’s imperative that all working environments are kept safe and clean. After all, absences through injuries and illnesses could be extremely damaging to both morale and workflow.

A few staff perks, such as upgrades to the staff room could have a telling difference. Underestimate their influence at your peril.

Prevent Divisions

Inequality in the workplace is easily the worst problem that you could ever encounter. From your perspective, it’s important to pay every individual worker fairly. However, it’s equally crucial that you promote a positive vibe throughout the workplace.

If you detect bullying or unfair treatments within the company, you must stamp it out immediately. Ultimately, you’re looking to build a team atmosphere, and even the smallest of gestures can help. Polos from Dynamic Gift can promote a unity while also providing consistency for employees and customers alike.

Nobody wants their business to be negatively influenced by segregations among the team. Take the necessary precautions, and you will be just fine.



Encourage Communication

Every strong team should be built on a foundation of great communication. If yours isn’t, this should be one element that you look to overhaul immediately. Team building exercises are the perfect starting place.

Technology has changed the way we conduct business forever, and it can be used to embrace better communication. Whether it’s team messaging phone Apps or video conferencing services doesn’t matter. Any investment that bolsters the team cohesion and general atmosphere is a bonus.

If nothing else, better communication will reduce the risk of wasted time and basic errors.

Be A Leader

Promoting positivity within the group is one thing. But as well as their colleagues, employees must display respect for you. Without it, you’ll never get anywhere.

Encouraging a better employer-employee relationship will work wonders for staff motivation. Meanwhile, you should also capitalise on their individual ambitions. Invest in their development while showing them the pathway to bigger and better things. With that extra incentive, there’s no reason that they won’t reward you with the level of work you desire.

Above all else, it will make your management tasks far easier to control. If that isn’t an additional reason to make those upgrades, I don’t know what is.







Did You Miss Some Home Business Deductions?

travel_blogDo you enjoy all the perks that come with running your own home business?

If so, then you’re one of the millions of people nationwide that call home their workplace.

With all the positives that come from working out of one’s home, there are some perceived negatives too.

Worse yet, missing out on a number of home business deductions when it is time to do your taxes can be frustrating on several levels, most notably your pocketbook.

Know What You Can Deduct

So that you can be sure you have hit all your home business deductions for this tax season, did you include the following?

  • Home office – The notable deduction should be the space set aside in your home for work. While you can’t deduct the entire residence, you can declare the space where your office is (note the approximate square footage). Most people working out of their homes have a small office area set aside for work only, though others will incorporate their work into a portion of a living room, kitchen, bedroom etc.
  • Office supplies – There is little doubt that you will need supplies to run your home business, so always take stock of them when doing your tax prep. From paper for the printer to pens and notepads, those trips to the supply store add up over time. In order to save some money during the year on some purchases, look to buy in bulk. Some dealers will give you a discount when doing just that.
  • Communications – Given you likely talk to clients on a daily or weekly basis, be sure to include charges for your phone and Internet service dedicated to work. If you spend time and money (mileage, gas etc.) traveling to meet with clients, be sure to note such trips. No, you can’t deduct the ice cream cone you may have purchased on the way home from a client meeting, but you can write-off a business lunch etc. In the event you are traveling to conferences and/or networking events to meet with prospective clients, that can also be noted on your tax preparations.

While there are some other tax deductions you can look into, those mentioned above are the main ones to not drop the ball on.

Speaking of taxes, while no one ever wants to get that letter from the IRS, there is always the chance of an audit.

In the event that happens, having a New York tax attorney or one closer to where you reside on your side is a good idea.

With an experienced tax attorney in your corner, you can feel more confident in stating and winning your case.

If by chance you do get audited, be sure that you have all your records in place (you should do this anyhow) so that you can back up what you originally stated on your tax forms.

Another area of importance added to your tax situation over the last few years is health insurance.

Given you are running your own home business; you in all likelihood do not have an employer-sponsored health insurance plan covering you (unless you have an outside FT job and do the home business on the side).

The government now requires that individuals be able to prove they have some form of health insurance covering them. For those individuals who are not covered, they are subject to a fine. That fine has increased rather substantially in the last year, so being covered certainly makes sense in more ways than one.

Running a home business opens myriad of doors for men and women all across America.

Yes, there are issues like not having co-workers around to mingle with, not having an employer paying for your health insurance, and not having someone to handle other H.R. related tasks.

On the flip side, you don’t have someone standing watch over you eight hours a day, your commute is literally from the bedroom to your home office, and you don’t have to deal with the office politics that encompass so many offices on a daily basis.

If you’re running a home business, make sure you get each and every one of those deductions coming to you.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.