The Art Of Selling Your Business

There is only one thing as satisfying and complicated as starting your very own business and that is selling your very own business and that’s because more to it than just dotting I’s and crossing T’s. Girl, we’re talking about the financial and emotional considerations that crop up during a sale.

The reason for this is simple: no one starts a company with the intention of selling it. You start a company to solve a problem you came across, to make a difference, improve your lot and do something cool. The idea to sell is one that comes out of nowhere, possibly because the market makes for that environment or because an outside offer landed on your door.

Whatever it is, though, there is a lot of planning that needs to take place, and that’s what we’re here to help with.

  1. Patience Is Key During A Sale

While most companies are sold to key employees because these people a) have a passion for the industry and b) know exactly how the business works, there is still a need for patience on your part. The reason we say this is because the length of time a sale takes hinges on who the buyer is. That said, whether it’s an internal buyer, a competitor in your area of a massive corporation wanting to take you on, the process always takes longer than people expect.

  1. Preparation Is The Secret Of Perfection

If you want to get the perfect deal, you need to be prepared and that means knowing the real value of your business. The best way to do this is to arm yourself with a legal expert, someone like Dickson Frohlich Law Firm, and multiple valuations depending on who the buyer is, the nature of the business, and the deal being proposed. The other thing that you will want to do os have all your financials at the ready, dating as far back as four years if needs be.

  1. Haggle With Your Responsibilities

One of the things the new owners will ask for is you be there to help shepherd your old employees into the new system. This is not uncommon, but it is worth negotiating what this request entails. That means the length of the commitment, what expectations they have for you and how this might affect your future plans. It’s also worth knowing what the ramifications of any refusal to do so are, of which the big hit will be the money offered as part of the deal.

  1. Know What Happens Next

Life after you sell is another huge area you need to look at. You will want to have some idea of what you do with your time, how you will spend your money and how you want your life to look. The reason for this is as much for your own sanity, as well as understanding whether a non-compete clause is something you are happy to sign. After all, this is a change of careers in a way.. The point is: do some analysis into life after the sale. It will help you out both personally and professionally.

Improving Digital Performance With No SEO Strategy

One way SEO strategy has affected how people write for the web is by created the term ‘keywords’ with the launch of one of the first worldwide online indexing tools, Google in 1998. Keywords were first perceived as words you could use to attract visitors to your website, which during the first years of Google consisted too often in maximizing high search volume terms that may not be related to the page content. The first personal blogs used to attract visitors by adding popular terms at the bottom of the page or directly into the metadata. Needless to say, the volume of visitors increased significantly. Since then, Google has punished this black hat SEO strategy with the introduction of Google Panda in 2011.

However, low-quality sites continue to find loopholes to drive visitor traffic. When it became obvious that link building could improve the ranking ability of a site, unscrupulous digital entrepreneurs offered to sell backlinks, causing several websites to suffer a drop in ranking when Google introduced the quality link penalty. However, the new approach to create quality and natural-looking links is to build a link wheel. While it is not a Black Hat style, it’s fair to say that it can be difficult for businesses to maintain informative content generation across each site of the wheel.

For now, Google hasn’t yet picked on it. However, as the general quality of content is sinking across the web, it’s fair to say that the AI within the ranking algorithm might start to penalize link wheels in future.

So what is the best approach to improve your online performance durably and without risking future penalties and algorithm updates? The answer is surprisingly simple. Don’t do SEO.

Web-Strategy

The web strategy pyramid ignores people

 

There’s only so much SEO you can do

The dangers of homepage SEO

Although no marketer in their right mind would intentionally ditch their SEO strategy, there’s an important lesson to learn. Namely, SEO doesn’t always work for you. In fact, when it comes to your main web page, your homepage SEO, the answer to the question ‘should you even worry about it?’ is more likely to be NO. It’s not a matter of ignoring your homepage completely. But it’s important to understand that your homepage should not be the main linking page for your SEO strategy.

Make sure you limit your keyword choice

One of the most common mistakes made by small companies is to reproduce the same SEO strategy that works for big brands. Big brands naturally receive more links because they are more customers, more advocates, and more press. Consequently, a variety of anchor texts link to the homepage, and such a link constellation is sustainable because there is sufficient content out there to justify the diverse keywords. For small brands, the external content spreads too thin to make it work.

Manage your reputation

Additionally, it’s the constant generation of content from commentators, social media users, bloggers, and journalists that create a rich brand reputation for big brands. Because big brands are likely to have a lot of advocates, they can enjoy a positive reputation even if they sometimes get things wrong. What happens to small businesses who have a handful of dissatisfied customers? They immediately suffer from a negative reputation, which affects your ranking scores too. Ultimately, if Google notices that your brand is unpopular, it’ll push you deeper in the search results. As it is difficult for small brands to find advocates, fixing a damaged reputation is a slow and painful strategy.

You can’t win the keywords war

GDPR will affect data accuracy

If you hone your SEO skills developing keyword-ranking strategies, it is time to change your ways before the GDPR comes into force at the end of May. Indeed, the General Data Protection Regulation is an EU data privacy regulation that affects the way data collecting, monitoring and analyzing tools handle EU data. With penalties of €20 million, it’s not something you want to ignore. Unfortunately,  the GDPR will reduce the information you can get from your data processors, whether it’s Google Analytics or specialist keywords tools. Geographic reporting accuracy will be reduced in Analytics. It is currently unclear how further tools will deploy data privacy recommendations, but you can expect fewer data to improve your rankings.

The keyword search has changed

Additionally, since the apparition of voice-controlled assistants, such as Amazon Echo, the way people search online has changed. Amazon Echo, being shared by the family, can affect the way the search engine provides the most relevant results for a user. Additionally voice search transforms the way people think about keywords, as it tends to be performed in a conversational tone.

Alt text is overstated

There’s another essential voicing tool that is too often ignored, and it’s the screen reader. For the sake of accessibility, marketers insist that all alt text content should be completed, both for visually impaired users and for crawlers. The main issue with using screen readers as a cover for search engine writing is that it can generate confusing and unclear web pages. Imagine, for instance, a ‘send’ button at the end of a form. The alt text normally labels the button ‘send’ + [keywords]. The screen reader naturally reads the text ‘send’ that’s written on the button, causing duplicate and unnatural content for the user. A similar argument can be made for images used as placeholders. They disturb the screen reader experience and might ultimately be picked up by the AI learning function in Google’s algorithm.

eyes

Create useful alt text

How long do people spend on a page?

55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on any page and read only about 20% of the content. Users skip most of the content to find the answer they need, so that 70% of your SEO content is not seen. It’s a fast-paced environment, and people want immediate answers. In other words, the SEO rule of a minimum of 250 words per page is useless.

The key learning is that everything you know about SEO is changing. How long until the algorithm is updated, we don’t know. But one thing is for sure: Write for real people, not for search engines if you want to make the most of your online presence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always Wanted to Open a Brewery? 4 Steps for a Successful Start

Have you always wanted to open a brewery of your own? Well, before you do, there are a few things you need to accomplish beforehand. Here are the four most important steps to take to open a successful brewery.

Make a Solid Business Plan

The very first thing you should do to open a successful brewery is to make a solid business plan. This will ensure your finances and foals are in place to run your business as efficiently and successfully as possible. Your business plan will also include market research to make sure your business will do well in the area it’s operating in. Additionally, it will also contain a contingency plan in case things go awry when running your brewery. After making your brewery’s business plan, it’s time to follow the rules.

Understand the Rules

Before opening your brewery, it’s important you understand all the local and national regulations your business will have to follow. For example, every community has different wastewater regulations that you’ll have to follow. After all, not everything can be simply poured down the drain. As the business owner of a new brewery, you should contact local officials and agencies about regulations that you’ll need to follow closely. Also, keep in mind, you’ll need to obtain a federal and state license to legally operate your brewery. So, before starting anything, it’s important you fully understand the rules of the trade and keep yourself in check with every single one.

Obtain the Right Equipment

Next, you will need to ensure you have all the right equipment to begin brewing your beer. There is a lot of gear you will need to buy for each step of the process including mashing, fermentation, cooling, cleaning, and packaging. Some pieces of equipment you will likely need include kettles, kegs, boilers, fermentation tanks, storage tanks, refrigeration equipment, cleaning gear, bottling equipment, and more.

Keep It Clean

You will also need a plan to keep your equipment and your facility clean. This is a vital and often overlooked part of getting your brewery ready for business. Otherwise, you may be in violation of some rules. Be sure to have stainless steel overscreens on hand so you can keep unwanted contaminant out of your beer. Purchase the necessary cleaning equipment for the facility as well. Check out Saniclean Strainers for high-quality strainers as well.

There are a number of things you should keep in mind when opening a brewery. From making a solid business plan to obtaining the right equipment, there’s a list full of things you’ll need to do before running operations. Hopefully, with the help of the tips above, you can get a head start on your brewery and run a successful business.

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

It’s Your Business Event, But You Can’t Cry If You Want To

We’ve spoken before about why live events are so good for your business. Whether you’re hosting a stall at an event or going solo with a festival of your own, it doesn’t get better for flying your business flag. A well-planned and executed live event will get everyone talking. And, you should never underestimate how far word-of-mouth can take you. In fact, many businesses hail this as the most important marketing method you’ve got.

Given those high stakes, it’s no wonder events like these can get stressful. Many business owners go without sleep for a week in the lead up to something like this. The trouble is, sleepless nights and stressful days aren’t going to leave you at your best. And, your best is less than you need to be if you’re going to make the right impression. It’s fair to say, then, that you need to do what you can to reduce the stress of the experience. And, we’re going to look at how.

Plenty of time to set up

Admittedly, setting up early isn’t always possible. But, if this is a private event, there’s no reason you can’t set up a week or two before. That way, you can kiss goodbye to last-minute disasters which leave you flustered and out of whack. Instead, set up bit by bit and deal with issues as they arise. Even if you aren’t able to set up until a day or two before, invest in utility truck beds and extra bodies which can help speed things up. That way, you still stand to be ready with plenty of time to spare. And, that’s essential if you want to be in the best headspace for the day.

Get enough staff on board

Often, these events will happen at the weekend. And, you may usually survive on skeleton staff if any when Saturday rolls around. But, you NEED to make sure you have a large enough team to deal with your event. That means calling in your whole workforce and getting temporary workers on board. The last things you want on the day are long queues and leaving customers because your team can’t deal with the demand. Instead, give everyone plenty of notice to work, and get onto an agency about as many temp workers as you can afford.

evetns2

Picture Credit

Schedule time to enjoy yourself

Enjoy yourself at a business event? Are you joking? No, not at all. There’s nothing funny about the idea of enjoying your efforts. What’s more, customers will warm to your company even more if you’re out there having fun with them. That doesn’t mean slacking off, of course. But, as well as ensuring your day runs smooth, scheduling your time means you and your team will have time to grab a hot dog and soak up the sun. This will make your team happier to work, and will wash away any stress you may feel. And, that can go a long way towards sending the right message to your customers.

4 Social Media Metrics Your Business Needs to Track

Simply having a social media account is not enough to grow your business. Just like everyone else, you probably want to get more followers, more likes, more retweets, more click-through, etc. But are all of these things going to help you boost your business?

In this jungle of social media metrics, it could be confusing for you to choose which metrics are actually important for your company. But don’t look at this in a bad way. You have a lot of data in your hands, so use this data in order to understand your audience.

Luckily there is a solution. Take a look at these four metrics that will help you achieve growth.

Engagement: Do people actually like your content?

How many times did someone take action on your posts? Sharing, clicks, comments, reactions – all of these things matter.

These actions validate your content and they will show you if your posts are important to your target audience. If you keep tracking these metrics, they will help you plan your content strategy and see what kind of post you should create, but also which post you should avoid.

The simple step is to use average engagement rate that will take your metrics a step further. It will show you a true value of your content and how it impacts your followers. You can also identify optimal time for engagement. Knowing when your audience is most active will raise your engagement, so keep tracking and post when they are online.

Never underestimate your competitors because you can learn from them. See what kind of content works for them by tracking their engagement rates.

Mentions: Does anybody talk about your brand?

some_metrics2

All mentions are important, whether they are written in a positive or negative manner. Your goal is to promote actual online conversations and discussions, but try to give your best to induce positive reactions.

For starter, you should become a part of that conversation and show people you care about their opinion. But when it comes to monitoring mentions, you should use these metrics in order to find out how many people are talking about your brand and more importantly – who is talking. A simple step that can inspire you to boost your mentions is to take a glance at your competitors’ mentions. Don’t steal their idea, just let yourself be creative. People will value your uniqueness.

Nevertheless, if you are having a trouble with social mention monitoring, you can always hire a professional to do the job for you.

Conversion: Do you have enough traffic to your website?

some_metrics3

How many people took an extra step and visited your site via your social media page?

Tracking a total number of conversions will show you if your social media strategy achieves its purpose. To convert, you need to engage people by giving them a strong call-to-action. You can use analytic tools such as Google’s URL builder and collect all important data about the specific link. This will help you realize what kind of social media content is attracting the greatest amount of traffic to your page.

So, track the number of conversions that happened within a month or a week and match the data with particular content. These valuable metrics will tell you how fast your business is growing. So, if your conversion numbers aren’t where you want them to be, you can do something about that immediately. Start looking for new trends and change something in order to improve your strategy.

Sentiments: Do people like your products?

You can actually get into the mind of your customers while you are online. With a little help of sentiment and emotional analysis, you can track online conversation from all social networks and see how people feel about your products.

You would probably love to see just positive comments, but tracking negative ones will help you improve your business. A sudden spike in negative sentiment will show you what you should change. Moreover, you will be able to resolve this problem and calm people down. Maybe your brand is well-liked, but there is always a room for improvement.

These metrics bring as to a whole new level of marketing. Sentiments and emotional analysis will help you create a positive social media presence your business needs.

Track What Matters

Everyone obsesses over how many followers they have. Yes, it’s nice to have a large number of followers, but that doesn’t matter as much as you may think. What you want is for people to become familiar with your brand and your message. You want them to go to your website and buy your products. So, use these metrics in order to get to know your audience and grow your business.

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.

 

 

Why Live Events Are So Good For Your Business

A smart business owner looks for every opportunity to help grow, legitimize, and lionize their brand. But the truth is that many small business owners overlook one of the biggest stages they could hope to stand on. We’re talking about live events like conferences, trade shows, and speaking opportunities. They should start becoming a key feature of your annual marketing plans and here is why.

Get the team spirit on the rise

If you have a team alongside you, then getting them out there representing their brand has all kinds of benefits. For one, you are having it represented by the people who it best and choosing the right charismatic characters can help you make even more of an impact on event attendees, with a little training. What’s more, it can actually improve the team’s motivation and engagement with their work. Having the opportunity to meet others and to prove that they are on the side of the brand can make them actually feel like members of a team, rather than just employees.

Find new ways to convert new people

When you’re looking for new people to convert, the quality of your leads matters as much, if not more, than the quantity of your leads. You could be wasting huge amounts of time and resources trying to convert people who simply aren’t interested. At trade shows and other live events relevant to your business, you are getting in touch directly with those most likely to be interested. It’s a whole new way to begin the conversion process. Just make sure that you establish a way to keep in touch with those you meet so that you can continue the process further down the line, whether by arranging a meeting, getting new signups to your email newsletter, or simply by sending a follow-up email.

Expose the brand in a new dimension

Besides getting the opportunity to connect personally with members of your target market, you can do a lot more the broader strategy of your brand. Showcasing your brand at an event, whether it’s a launch or a booth at a trade show is a way of saying “we have arrived.” It gives a level of exposure that can make the brand much more recognizable. Just ensure that you’re taking steps to actually expose it. You need the right items for your conference, including booth design materials that make your corner fit your aesthetic and custom lanyards or wristbands that help individual members of the team wear and show off their affiliation. Don’t be afraid of saturating your people and your space with brand imagery. You may need it to stand out amongst your competitors.

evetns2

Link to Image

Stand amongst your peers

Exposure isn’t the only thing that a conference or trade show can offer your brand. It can also lend it a sense of trustworthiness. Consumers are becoming a lot savvier and less willing to part with their money to do business with companies that they don’t know. By establishing a physical presence and showing that you don’t only exist in the online world, you can help establish and legitimize your place within the industry. Keep building trust by ensuring that you’re talking one-on-one to potential clients in plenty of detail. Be honest, don’t be afraid to let them down by giving a sub-optimal answer if it’s the truthful one. This might be a marketing opportunity, but it’s also a conversation and if you want to be effective, you have to be able to sustain that sense of trust all the way through it.

Use it as a focus group study

Don’t be afraid to have some questions of your own for the event attendees, either. As mentioned, trade shows and conferences attract only those members of the market most interested in what you have to offer. This includes not just consumers and businesses, but also journalists and bloggers. Take the opportunity to get the scoop and gain some insight that can help you craft future strategies for the business. The event survey is far from uncommon, however. If you don’t make yours a little more creative, it might be hard to collect as much data as you would like.

Find partnerships

Besides standing out from your competitors, you can also use this opportunity to stand alongside them. You can start building bridges with others in the industry or in related fields of work. Business partnerships can have all kinds of benefits. You can score referrals from one another. You can use each other’s platforms to help give a boost to any marketing or branding efforts. You may even have a joint project down the line. Use trade shows and conferences as an opportunity to network and build the foundation of friends that can help your business reach new goals in the future.

events3

Link to Image

Bring the online and offline worlds together

As mentioned, live events help give an online business a sense of trustworthiness by showing the market that you do, indeed, exist and a real-world presence. However, they can also serve as great material for you to build your online marketing on, too. For instance, you can livestream your conference content or tweet out photos and stories from the event as it’s happening. You can also take some of the conversations you have had and turn them into a case study or a point of future discussion. Above all else, it shows that your business is willing to learn and stay on the top of its game by incorporating recent events and information into its branding and marketing materials which only improves your image.

Even if you don’t believe your business is yet big enough to stand on that tallest of platforms, there is too much to gain to not make use of them. They can help you both share and gain insights. They can help you reach customers, clients, and partners you might never have met otherwise. They cement your brand’s place in the industry. Start attending events and you will see the benefits immediately.

5 Key Points of Successful Marketing Strategy

There is no other way to navigate the tumultuous world of marketing than to plan ahead of time and put everything down in writing. Things like promotion and branding are not something you can do sporadically, haphazardly, or in isolation from other core business aspects.

That is why a sound marketing strategy is integral to achieving success. It lays out objectives, means of executing them, and channels of message delivery. What is more, it fleshes out your ideas and visions and offers them to the scrutiny of market realities. So, it is time to assemble a skeleton of your strategy and set the foundation for long-term success. Here are the crucial moving parts you must have in place.

Goals as guiding lights

On the broadest level, marketing strategy is aligned with long-term business aims and aspirations. It supports strategic planning and takes an overarching view of the business organization as the whole. For this to really work, there must be a high-level of coordination across strategic documents and different departments and teams (especially those like sales).

Furthermore, a marketing strategy is supposed to define clear, specific, realistic, and measurable goals. Some of the most common objectives that companies pursue are increasing word of mouth, generating leads, retaining profitable customers, tapping into new markets, successfully introducing new product/service, etc.

Market research

Research is the cornerstone of any solid strategy. A thorough market analysis requires you to grasp multifarious factors such as the size of the market and its growth potential. Moreover, it is used to uncover target customers and gain deeper insight into their habits, behavior, spending patterns, lifestyle preferences, etc.

So, dive into demographics and historic online data. Another staple of market research comes in the form of competitive analysis. You should scope out what others are doing and try to draw lessons from their experience. Finally, focus on your own strengths and weaknesses, trying to emphasize the former and offset the latter.

Segmentation and targeting

The next stage involves making the leap from theory into practice. Namely, once you have identified your target customers, you have to segment them into different groups according to their varying needs and characteristics. This approach, which is the opposite of a scattergun tactic, will allow you to target with precision and come up with personalized and tailored solutions.

Ideally, you should get a clear idea of how your products and services match expectations and how you can offer something that others cannot.  Use your unique value proposition (UVP) and unique selling point (USP) to highlight the benefits that you have going for you.

Tools of the trade

Good communication is the key to really getting your messages across. This is to say that your strategy has to determine the key ingredients of your marketing mix, which is the combination of all the tools and channels you are going to use. The two mainstays are digital and traditional advertising and it is a good idea to employ them both in synergy, to your maximum advantage.

Thus, it would be wise to delight customers with tangible items like free catalogs, but also communicate via social media and other online channels. Use word of mouth PR, advertising, print media, shop displays, promotion, and whatever works in the context of your target audience. Investing in marketing is not the cheapest activity for companies,  but even if you are a freelancer you can consider applying for personal loans and start promoting your business ideas.

Keeping it in check

What is left is a system of checks and balances that hold your marketing strategy together. They typically fall into the marketing plan segment, a longer and more detailed document. So, set up a budget as well as a timetable for reaching objectives. Allocate resources optimally, where they matter the most and bring the maximum ROI.

Finally, designate tools for keeping track of performance indicators and evaluating the impact of your campaigns. You might want to take into account various telltale signs like the number of clicks on the page, time spent there, conversion rates, social signals, etc. There is an ocean of data out there and cutting-edge tools for gathering and processing it lie at your disposal.

On top of the game

If you want to piece through the marketing noise out there, work out a clear path of action and master the art of planning, designing, and implementation. Lay the groundwork for detailed market research and analysis. Use facts and figures as building blocks of your campaigns. Sketch the logistics of distribution channels and set the tone for how the products and services will be presented to people.

Monitor the results of marketing activity and achieve victories on both fronts, both the digital and ‘real world’. Bear in mind that your strategy is not set in stone. Things change fast, which means that you might need to make regular updates and tweaks to your plans and strategies. Using five vital elements, you should be able to spread the word, produce healthy recurring revenue, and get ahead of the pack in 2018 and beyond.

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