Don’t Burn Your Business in Hot Water

Being in hot water with the authorities can leave lasting burn marks on a business even when it manages to pull itself out of the pool. It can taint it in regards to the law, in regards to its customers and in regards to its brand. Because of this it is best to avoid being in hot water altogether. Below you can find a few ways how you, as a business owner, can keep your business out of hot water.

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First and foremost you should never make yourself an enemy — to anyone. You shouldn’t depict yourself as tough and mean person to do business with to your potential clients and customers. You shouldn’t paint yourself as horrible boss to our employees. In doing so you could very quickly find yourself in the midst of a lawsuit. If you are ever accused of misconduct in the workplace by an employee, for example, you are then in hot water. Even if you manage to come out of the embroilment without charge, being in the hot water in the first place is not going to do you any favours for your brand image. And misconduct is just one reason why an employee may take to suing you. Because of this you have to constantly be in control of your actions and should never let emotions drive you to make decisions or act in a certain way.

You also need to be in control of all the legal boundaries that are in place on you and your business. It is very important that you never overstep these boundaries and that you work towards remaining in them at all times. One such legal boundary that can sometimes be passed by without knowing is the Know Your Customer (KYC) requirement. This is a regulation put in place by the authorities to prevent identity theft and other fraudulent activities. As a business owner you simply must comply to it. If you don’t know where to start in doing so, however, then rest assured that there is assistance out there. Identify verification solution for businesses is on offer for you to implement in yours so you can always be sure exactly who it is that you’re doing business with. Knowing who it is on the other end of a transaction is hugely important. If a customer of yours has their identity stolen on your watch you are never going to come out of the situation smelling of roses, regardless of if you were legally punished for it or not.

And you can also find yourself in hot water online if you aren’t careful. When using SEO to grow your business it is possible for you to end up in hot water with Google, and other search engines, if you start ‘keyword stuffing’. By this it is meant that you stuff in too many keywords in the hope of getting higher in the search engine’s rankings. However, by doing so you will just find yourself being pushed to the back of the queue by the search engine.

So, if you don’t want your business to be burned by hot water then don’t get it in hot water in the first place.

 

 

5 Ways to Market Your Business Online

With technology only improving, businesses and consumers are becoming closer than ever before. Social media is more prevalent in society than in the past, and small businesses everywhere are embracing the new ways to market their services using online tools to help promote further customer reach. Here is a list of 5 ways to help market your business online:

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  • Facebook

Facebook is a great way of advertising and raising awareness of your product. By creating a page for a business and adding its location you are opening up the possibility of having customers digitally check themselves into your venue. Customers are then able to engage and review a businesses services and share this with their social network. It is important to remember to reply to comments to continue to build the rapport between business and consumer. Facebook also offers paid advertising and marketing campaigns through their business portal

  • Twitter

Twitter is another way of attracting customers, although it does take longer to build a large network on Twitter. The key to a successful Twitter is to always engage in relevant posts, follow any relevant profiles and be smart while still being funny. Engagements are what build your followers on Twitter. If you’re worried about having the time of running your social networks, organisations out there to provide social media help to develop a content marketing strategy that will help build your online growth.

  • Website

Having a website allows you a stronger online presence, and gives businesses the opportunity to display a list of the services available to customers. A website is also a great way of sharing the products, events, sales and opening times. Services such as WordPress are simple website builders. For a low cost it is possible to buy your own domain from these sites, with the option of an email address attached.

  • Emails

In the modern world email is the best form of contact for most customers. Whether you sign up for a free email service or get one through a website, email is a great way of responding to customers enquiries in a professional manner. Customers respond positively to speedy responses from businesses. Through having a registered email address assigned to your business, you can provide subscription services directly to customers, providing them with the option of being notified of sales or further events.

  • Coupons Vouchers

Everyone loves to think they’re getting a good deal. Sharing coupon vouchers through your social platforms will drive business and grow the customer base. New companies that have provided new customer discounts or free delivery have been successful in entering the market in major cities across the globe. Through having a campaign offering free services or VIP sales to clients, for things such as signing up to your email subscription service, discounts on their birthdays, free delivery or new customer discounts, consumers are urged to try a product for the first time.

It is important to not to put all your eggs within one basket, and be able to see the broader picture. One method of marketing may work better for you than another, however the important thing to remember is that all this does not have to be done alone. Consulting with services that provide provide social media help can alleviate some of the stress that can be added when struggling between traditional face to face services and online services allowing the balance to be achieved within the business.

 

 

 

 

Get Closer To Your Customers

Optimising your customers’ experience is one of the best ways to foster greater loyalty, and attract new customers in the process. Despite the massive importance of this, countless marketers and business owners are managing to neglect their customers both before and after a sale. You need to be leveraging customer engagement data to inform your marketing strategy. Here are some great techniques for gaining a better understanding of your customers…

Apply Smart Customer Engagement

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From Pixabay

A great customer experience is extremely valuable for customer retention and your overall revenue. These days, engaging with the customer in real-time has become easier than ever, thanks to a variety of modern tools. Chat window platforms are becoming more and more popular, with various programs allowing you to talk to customers in real-time as they browse your site. These channels can be a great means for collecting customer insight. The data you reap from simple interaction, regardless of the channel, can allow you to understand your buyers better. Whenever you’re using these kinds of channels to gain insight, try to remove your own bias as much as possible, ask questions that will get a clear answer, and keep your interactions focussed on one element of the customer experience.

Get Data from Customer Analytics

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From clicking a link to spending more or less time on a web page, every little action your customer performs is going to offer some invaluable insight into their behaviour. To get a clear picture of how your customers are interacting with your business, you’ll need to apply the right tools. Things like Google Analytics, used in combination with SQL server modernisation and similar services, are excellent for organising insights such as the time customers spend on your landing pages, their bounce rate and how much each conversion is worth to your business. The behavioural trends you pick up on will show you what your audience does and doesn’t understand, what they do and don’t respond to, and the best ways for you to create a more enjoyable website experience. If people spend more time on a certain page, try and pin down what it is about that content that’s keeping them there. If there’s a high bounce rate, find out why people are leaving.

Fine-Tune Buyer Personas

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A lot of small business owners make the big mistake of developing their buyer personas with generic factors such as age, geographic location and gender. These things are certainly important, but aren’t enough to support messaging that resonates with your audience on an intimate, emotional level. One great way of fine-tuning your buyer personas is using analytics tools to see the kind of social media outlets and industry news channels your site is getting the most traffic from. This information can be applied to your current personas, allowing you to figure you how, where and when you should be reaching out to customers. Acquiring keyword data can also be very helpful to this. The more intimate you are with your customers, the easier it will be to hit your marketing on the head.

 

How the Internet is Boosting the Storage Industry

Numbers don’t lie and every savvy marketer knows this.

In the modern business environment, every business is scrambling for a piece of the internet market because this is where the customers are.

For instance, in self-storage, the industry is experiencing major growth; a fact that has been attributed partly due to increased use of internet technology.

Storage in Brooklyn has changed rapidly since the adoption of the new marketing techniques available online.

Below are some other pertinent factors that explain the relationship between storage facilities and the advent of online marketing.

Why the Surge in Self Storage Demand?

Today, there are more than 55,000 public storage facilities across the country and the industry is projected to keep growing.

Greater than 9.5% of the households in the U.S have rented self-storage and more businesses are also taking up these spaces to meet growing business needs.

With more storage facilities coming up in cities, smaller businesses are finding it cheaper to rent such units to cater for temporary storage as they seek rentals and leases.

What’s more, public storage facilities offer tailor-made solutions to suit different types of customers, a reason that makes them more popular with homeowners and businesses alike.

Impact of Internet on Self Storage 

According to the Pew Research Center, more than 87% of Americans are using the internet today and these numbers are incredible for any business seeking to extend its reach beyond the traditional catchment areas.

To the self-storage industry in Brooklyn, the internet is not a threat as most brick and mortar perceive this technology. Instead, established facilities have integrated this technology to remain relevant and add value to the customer experience.

Here are some techniques self-storage companies are using on the Internet:

  • Customer engagement: There is always a need for businesses to interact with their customers. In the modern business environment, social media has become the most important tool to provide feedback with their customers. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ are just some of the platforms self-storage facilities are relying on to interact actively with their customers. Real-time feedback is now more important than ever.
  • Internet marketing: There are different online tools that are being implemented to capture more customers. These range from social media, link building, video, email marketing, PPC among others. Most of these tools allow targeted marketing thus increasing conversion rates for self-storage facilities.
  • Online booking and scheduling: It is now easier for customers to book storage without even leaving their homes. This is a perfect solution for customers moving into Brooklyn from out of state or other cities. The best self-storage companies provide comprehensive description, virtual tours of the facility and easy online booking.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) says online retail sales are pushing beyond $427 billion and self-storage facilities are very much part of  this revolution.

If you are a customer looking for self-storage in Brooklyn, it is time to go online where you will find it easier to book and learn more about different storage facilities.

You will also find invaluable resources to help you make an informed decision.

For the storage business owner, make sure you are boosting your marketing efforts both on and offline, storing up more business along the way.

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

 

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.

Four Tips For Foresight In Business

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Succeeding in business is all about foresight. Your company can’t ever hope to succeed without a plan, and a plan can’t succeed without some degree of consideration about potential likelihoods in your business’ future. Any industry comes with its challenges, but no matter how professional or determined you and your team may be, failing to prepare for any possible eventuality is no better than preparing to fail. If you want to create a successful company which makes decisions on a smart, educated basis, then here are four tips for achieving foresight in any business environment.

Be the shepherd.

It’s tempting to “play it safe” in the business world, but sometimes playing things safely can be the riskiest decision a company makes. If you don’t take a chance and plunge into the dark, your business can never get ahead. You’ll always be behind your competitors, and fewer customers will mean less profit, along with the death of your organisation.

You don’t have to make irrational decisions and strive for big projects which your company can ill-afford to fund in its early days, but having the initiative and guts to do things differently to every other business within your industry might just turn heads in your target market and put you well ahead of the game. To gain customers, your brand has to stand out, and that means being brave enough to take a risk in that you market yourself differently to other companies.

See problems before they happen.

The mark of a business with foresight is one which foresees every potential problem a business might face. Trying to predict the most viable routes to success is one element of intelligent foresight in business, but you also need to be predicting potential obstacles which might block that very path to success. For example, seeing that a marketing campaign isn’t engaging your audience might be a sign that a certain product or service isn’t going to work.

Most importantly, safety hazards in the workplace are something you need to prevent. This goes without saying, but noticing that aspects of your office or warehouse environment are potentially unsafe after one of your employees has been injured is leaving things too late. Once lawsuits have been filed and your reputation has been tarnished, the damage has already been done; to the company as well as the employee. In terms of safety issues out of your control, you could look into a system for providing a mass emergency notification in the event of natural disasters and other such threats; this is especially important if the company employs remote workers or operates through numerous branches, as it’s vital that you don’t wait for emergencies to reach your door before you put preemptive measures in place to protect employees and resources.

Outline clear financial projections.

This is a self-explanatory point, but your business needs to have clear financial projections in order to stand any chance of success. If you don’t consider the future balance between costs and income, bankruptcy will follow. The mistake of poor planning or simply a failure to update a financial plan as elements and operations change within a business over time is often the main cause of failure for so many organisations. Don’t fall into that trap.

The customers.

You need to realise what customers want before they tell you. That’s the key. The market is changing constantly, and you need to be analysing your potential audience continuously if you want to use foresight to market goods that you believe they’ll want. For example, fashion businesses might plan upcoming trends before they’re even trends. It’s about that element of staying ahead of the industry, as mentioned earlier on in the article. You need to surprise your target market by offering them something before they even realised they wanted it.

4 Keys to a More Productive Small Business

Feel at times as if your small business is stuck in neutral? If that’s the case, there are some things you can deploy to try and get things moving once again in the right direction.

In running that small business of yours, you likely know all too well that budgets are usually tight, leaving you with little wiggle room unlike larger companies.

That said even a tight budget does not mean you are destined for long days now and in the future.

By getting the most out of your employees, resources, advertising and marketing etc. you can build quite a productive small business over time.

So, are you ready to see a more productive small business come your way?

It All Starts with a Plan

So that your small company doesn’t have to put a closed for business sign out sooner rather than later, remember the following four keys to more production:

  1. Employee production

Unless you’re running the show by yourself, you rely heavily on your workers to deliver results. As such, make sure you’re not only hiring the best people available, but also making sure they live up to your expectations.

Sure, you will make some bad hires along the way, but those hires should be minimal at best. By taking the time to thoroughly review each and every prospective employee, you stand a much better chance of getting the talent you require to run a first-rate small business.

Lastly, make sure you provide a working atmosphere that not only motivates employees to do well, but fosters teamwork.

Unfortunately, too many small business owners end up with offices that are fraught with disagreements, people looking out only for themselves and their paychecks etc. By creating a positive workplace, you’re much more likely to see positive results in the end.

  1. Your resources

What type of resources are you deploying in your quest to have a winning small business For example, have you decided to move forward with a mobile app for your small business?

As many other business owners can attest to, having an app in play has changed how they do business in a positive way.

One of the advantages of having that app is getting your brand out in front of current and potential customers 24/7. Another is being able to offer specials and loyalty rewards programs to the best of your clients. Still another benefit is the ability to display blog content and much more, information that consumers can access at their convenience.

Whether you decide to use an app builder to make your small business app or end up reselling and constructing apps for others, you really need an app in today’s digital age to be as successful as possible.

Never Sleep on Customer Needs

  1. Customer service

What type of score would you give your company when it comes to providing stellar customer service?

Much to their chagrin, too many small business owners have to admit that they’re not doing as good a job as possible in the customer service arena. As a result, they lose potential long-time customers in the process.

To make sure you and your team don’t drop the ball in this important aspect of being in business, make sure you do the following:

  • Treat your customers with respect and dignity
  • Give them incentives to keep coming back to you (specials and discounts, announcements of sales before they go out to the general public etc.)
  • Respond to their feedback, including feedback that ultimately is not always positive about your brand
  1. Monitor the competition

Although you undoubtedly are busy with your own small business, it never hurts to see what direct competitors are up to.

As an example, keep your eye on how those companies you compete with go about hiring talent, responding to customer issues, using social media to reach consumers, and utilizing technology to stay a step ahead.

While some things you observe won’t be all that informative, others could very well turn a light on in your head, a light that leads you to do what others are doing even better.

So that your small business can be even more productive this year and down the road, are you ready to do whatever it takes to bring in more customers?

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