The Long Game And Short-Term Concerns: The Ways To Help Minimize Business Weakness

It is an ongoing process, understanding your weaknesses. It can be quite eye-opening to discover what you once thought was a strength, but is actually a weakness in the grand scheme of things. Because running a business requires you, in essence, to clear new paths, to push new boundaries, and to continually explore the horizons, it’s these processes that leave you open for attack. This is why so many young companies refuse to take the risk, either because of financial implications, or they believe that playing it safe will translate to a better version of the long game. But, it is vital, during the infancy of your business, to have a spring clean of sorts, to find out what the best ways are to go about this, and how can you fix yourself up and move on?

The SWOT Analysis

It’s a very simple way to start out. A SWOT analysis (short for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) is a structure that can easily help you to break down the problems. Put simply, you are able to find out what you do really well first, and what you don’t do well second. The overriding idea of taking this structure is to gain an overall appreciation of your business, not just internally, but how you fit under the larger business industry magnifying glass. This is quite a task, but as soon as you start to break down issues such as business mergers, supplier problems, as well as the pesky technology developments, then you can begin to come up with an action plan to ensure your business does better. It certainly sounds like a big task, because it is. But by putting yourself and your business through the wringer, and going through every detail with a fine tooth comb, there are going to be some harsh realities to face up to.

Analyze The Data

After a SWOT analysis has been completed, it’s time to look at the results you gathered. It all depends on how you go about completing this analysis; you may want to open it up to your employees, so they can give you their true opinions from the ground floor. Beware with this, depending on the ship you run, people may not feel inclined to come forward. If you are encouraging honesty, you had best be prepared for a wakeup call. It’s one of those issues that can be incredibly thorny because it can result in a lot of repressed emotions bubbling up to the surface. In going about this approach, what one person views as a strength, the other might view as a weakness, and this is absolutely fine, because it really lays bare what your employees think about the business and how it operates. Pleasing your employees can be a difficult task, but sometimes, these issues can boil down to something that is easily fixable. Technology issues or poor organization are two things that can be fixed with an action plan, as well as a proper information technology security policy. Luckily, there are various resources available now that covers both issues, if you were to visit www.bswllc.com you can see one example of an organization that implements various plans of attack to save a business, from the productivity aspect, to the technological issues. Analyzing the data is one of the difficult approaches to undertake, because to do it properly requires time, effort, and money. And if you are concerned that it is going to be a major investment, it is far better for you to implement it one bit at a time. Doing it this way will help keep up your employees’ morale, because nobody likes major change, but it’s important to keep your eye on the bigger picture. Sometimes, analyzing your weaknesses can bring up results that are a little too close to home…

Look In The Mirror…

Sometimes, fault can lie with us and us alone. And this is a very devastating thing to admit to ourselves. There are many entrepreneurs that feel that, in order for the business to fly, that they have to exercise total control over every single aspect. But this does one of two things, firstly it doesn’t help you in times of emergency, because you are the fundamental card in the proverbial house of cards, and so the business will fall apart, but secondly, it communicates to your employees and your deputies, that you don’t trust them. So how can you get past this? If you look on www.tonyrobbins.com there is the story of Usha Patel who took the opportunity to identify her own individual strengths and use these to benefit the business. Essentially, it’s taking the SWOT analysis structure and turning it on yourself. But if this feels like an incredibly psychoanalytical approach, you are heading in the right direction. In any business, whether you are running a store, a factory, or a trendy startup, the problem can sometimes live with you and your own attitudes, not just to motivation, but to the business as a whole. We are all guilty of feeling overprotective over our babies, and this is something we all need to learn how to relinquish. It can take some time, but if you are the weak cog in the business, it’s far better for you to fess up and make positive steps in the right direction. It’s not pretty, but it’s essential.

We can view our business in terms of a month to month progress, or we can look at it as the long game. The long game is a far more productive mindset to embed, not just in your employees, but in yourself. And so, when it comes to addressing potential weaknesses, as well as the very tangible ones, it creates an attitude within the company to do well. Emotional investment is something that can yield positive and negative results, and whether you are doing a SWOT analysis, or you are ready to hear from your employees what they really think of the business and how it is run, consider it to be a stepping stone to a much better environment and a far more positive business.

 

 

 

 

 

Business Growth: 5 Tips to Meet Demand When Interest Is High

Consumers in today’s fast-paced world want their products as quickly as you can supply them. As a business owner, you need to be agile and ready to make changes that allow you to meet a spike in the demand for your products or services. We’ll provide you with some tips below that may help you satisfy the needs of your customers when everyone is interested in what you have to offer.

Focus on the Basics

Focusing on the core aspects of what you do is one of the easiest ways to keep up with the high demand for your services. It may seem like trying to do more in less time is a way to increase efficiency. However, trying to do things in which you don’t specialize can cause a lot of errors and waste quite a bit of time or money. Offer the basic services you know your company can provide to its customers and use all available employees efficiently.

Use Slow Periods to Get Ahead

Interest in your products or services might be high right now, but it will fluctuate with time. When a customer’s interest starts to wane, you can plan for the next high-interest period at your leisure. You should use this time to stock your inventory or get secondary services ready to provide what your customers need.

Find New Technologies

All industries find big advantages in using technology to meet the high demands of customers everywhere. Technology can help you keep up with demand and even flourish or expand your business. Robotics can help you create better products, statistical data can help you follow trends, and industrial boilers manufacturers can bring meet your energy needs.

Try Scalable Resources

Scalable resources may be able to help your business meet demand when interest is high and help you cut back on costs when that interest shrinks. You may benefit from using an agency that can connect you with extra employees during the busy season or from finding a transportation company that offers flexible shipping options. We recommend looking into affordable ways to store your extra inventory as well.

Try to Gauge Demand

It may seem impossible to gauge just how many resources you’ll need to meet the demands of your customer base. However, you can use your experience, statistical data, and response systems that might be able to give you a good idea of the trends you’ll be looking at during your next busy period.

It is always great to have periods of intense demand for your products and services, but these moments come with their own sets of challenges. You may be able to use some of our tips to prepare for your next busy season and minimize costly errors.

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.

Turning Your Home Furniture Hobby Into a Winning Business

If you’re looking for a new business to get underway, then you could much worse than taking your existing hobby and finding ways to make money from it! One of the best – and increasingly popular – hobby-cum-businesses is home furniture. Because this is an area where limited produced pieces are often more popular than mass-produced items, you’ll be on a more level playing field with other furniture companies than you would be in other industries. But that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy: it isn’t! If you’re thinking of starting your own furniture company, then take a look at our tips below, and you’ll be increasing your chances of success.

Perfect Your Craft

There’s a big difference between someone who does something as a hobby and someone who does something professionally. Before you look at making a viable business from your home furnishings, make sure that you’re taking the time to perfect your craft. You’ll receive plenty of compliments from friends and family when you’re just getting going, but it’s a different matter when you start charging people for your creations. As such, you’ll want your furniture to be as perfect as possible! If that means delaying your launch date by a few months while you hit the appropriate standards, then so be it.

What’s Your Niche?

As you might have gathered, the furniture world is pretty big! And you’ll perform much better if you select a niche to work in. For example, you could focus on kitchen tables and chairs, or bedside cabinets, or coffee tables for the living room. You’re likely able to do everything, but as you’re getting started, it might be better to build your company around a specific set of furniture. You’ll also want to work on a particular style, too: are you rustic, modern, traditional, or something else?

What Do People Want?

But of course, what you’re good at making and what you like to make might not coincide with what people generally want. As such, before you sink too much money into your new venture, try to find out if there’s an audience for your creations. This is where your market research will come in handy. It’ll help to determine what people are looking for, how what you create meets that end, what to charge, and so on.

Getting Creative

Having said that, it’s important that you’re putting your own spin on your creations too. You shouldn’t just give people what they want; if you do, you’ll end up playing it too safe, and if you’re going to succeed, then you need to have something different about your products! So develop your own style, and don’t be afraid to take chances. It’s not always about meeting everyone’s wishes; when it comes to artistic pursuits like furniture, there’s also an element of showing people where they might like to go, too.

Working From Home Or Renting

You’re going to need space to work, and that’s going to force you to make a tough decision: do you work from home, or rent a space? There are benefits to both. If you work from home, then you won’t be spending money that could be better spent elsewhere on rent. If you’re working from a rented space, you’ll have more space to work and store more of your creations. All weighed up, it’s probably a good idea to rent a space. This will allow you to make extra income by hosting workshops, and will also give you a more professional look, especially if you’re “store” is located in one of those hip industrial zones that are becoming increasingly popular in urban areas.

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Source: Pexels.com

Antique Markets

When you’re in the furniture game, your best friends are going to be antique markets. These are places to not only sell your creations, but to also buy pieces that you think you can improve upon. Take a long your best creations, and you’ll soon gain a reputation for offering top-quality goods.

Getting the Word Out

You probably looked at setting up a furniture company because word of mouth was helping to get the word out about your creations, and thus you decided to make a go of it full-time. However, when it comes to making a full-time business out of was once a hobby, you’ll need more than word of mouth. You’ll want to have a website and social media channels, and also work with a furniture marketing agency to draw more people to your online presence. Of course, referrals will also be a big part of your business, so try to come up with some sort of incentive package for your clients who direct future work your way.

Use The Best Materials

You might be able to make your furniture look good, but your reputation will quickly fall to pieces if, well, your furniture falls to pieces. As such, make sure you’re using the best materials for your creations. People have no shortage of options if they want cheap but poorly made furniture; they’ll come to you because they know it’s the best, and they’ll expect you to use good materials!

The Art of Presentation

If you’re going to sell your furniture online, then you’ll need to learn the art of taking a good photograph. Look at taking an introduction to photography course, or hiring other people to take professional photos of your products.

Building Relationships

Also, don’t forget the power of building relationships! It’s much cheaper and easier to keep an existing customer on the hook rather than fish for a new one. Work with your clients, and make yourself available for custom pieces.

Final Thoughts

So far as businesses go, there are few as enjoyable, creative, and as easily accessible as selling furniture. If you have the passion to create things for their own sake (i.e. when it was a hobby), then you’ll have the necessary drive to turn it into a successful business..and especially if you incorporate our words of wisdom above.

The Expert Seamstress: How to Run a Successful Fashion Business

If you are an expert seamstress, then it may be very easy to turn your abilities into a money-earning career. There are some steps, however, that you will need to take along the way. Here are some points you may want to consider to turn your fashion ideas into a money-making proposition.

Create a Business Plan

You will want to consider the type of sewing that you want to do for the public. Making a list can be a great place to start. Then, think about the supplies that you will need to carry out each one of those activities like an embroidery machine, a regular sewing machine, thread, fabric, tape measures and manikins. Make a list of the cost of each of your expenses and figure out what you need to charge your customers to make money from your sewing passion.

Choose a Location

Many seamstresses work from their home while others choose to open a storefront. Others choose to meet with their clients at a location of the client’s choosing. Decide on which choice is right for you, but remember that you will need a place to work on projects for clients. Often times, businesses find tax advantages or grants that make one location more favorable over others.

Decide on Marketing

You may be a great seamstress, but unless others know about your skills, then you cannot make money using those skills. Therefore, you will need to advertise. Consider creating a website showcasing projects that you have completed. Spread the word using social media. See if you can write guests blogs on other people’s sites to introduce them to your services. Make sure to claim your Google My Business account and your spot on Google Maps.

Network

Make sure that others in related businesses know about your services. Consider letting bridal boutiques who do not have their own seamstresses know about your services. Join community groups so that you get to know others in the community who might need your services such as putting logos on company shirts. Attend area trade shows where you can interact with local people to tell them about you and your business. Take advantage of these opportunities by practicing your elevator speech beforehand.

If you have the skills of a seamstress, then you can make money using those skills. Use these ideas and your own ingenuity to go into business for yourself.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Even The Smallest Side Hustle Has A Chance To Be Great!

There was a time when the idea of starting a business was reserved pretty much exclusively for those who were already well established or, at the very least, had a great deal of money to throw around. This was because a business usually needed premises, employees, infrastructure networks, and a whole host of other things. And sure, that’s all still very important to a lot of businesses, but the reality is that thanks to the rise of the internet, there’s been a pretty radical shift in the possibilities for smaller businesses. Now, all you really need to start your own business is a computer, a great idea, and the drive to make it happen.

Get online

If you want to start your own business and you don’t have huge amounts of money or power to throw around, then there’s only one place for you to go: the internet. The internet really has revolutionised the process of starting and running businesses in a way that no one could have predicted. Whether you want to become a freelance copywriter, you want to set up a retail store, or you simply want to promote a crafts business that you run out of your home, all of these things can be done online. With little more than some cheap online hosting a decent knowledge of web design, an understanding of social media marketing for franchises, and a few simple resources, you can create your own business in a matter of days. Sure, it’s going to take much longer than that to actually get it off the ground, but the barrier to entry really is that much lower now.

Crowdfunding

For a long time, if you wanted to get some capital for your business then you had to either sink a great deal of your own money into it or go courting investors. Both of these were perfectly viable strategies but they did come with their fair share of drawbacks. The first being that, if you didn’t have money to put into the business in the first place, you were kind of stuck. The other being that, if you wanted an investor’s money, you often had to give up a certain degree of control in your business up in exchange. Now, thanks to things sites like Kickstarter, you can fund your business with the help of your customers. Customers can donate to you in exchange for treats and bonuses which can help you finally get your business the funding that it needs.

Free marketing

Of course, however important funding is to any business, there are plenty of ways in which the internet has made things far cheaper. One of the best examples of this is marketing. Thanks to social media, it’s never been easier or cheaper to reach a huge potential audience. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are totally free and give you access to the kind of potential customer base that businesses in the past could only have dreamt of.

Sure, there are always going to be roadblocks in the way of creating a successful business, but in the modern era, it’s now more possible than ever before for people to start businesses that can become incredibly successful with only limited resources.

 

How to Make Your Growing Business More Competitive

Your business needs to be able to compete in its industry like never before. Today’s companies are competing with businesses who have truly milked every advantage imaginable to stay at the head of the pack. Your business cannot be behind in this process. Once a business starts to pull out in front of other competitors in their industry, they cannot afford to lose ground. They must keep up this momentum to remain a strong industry leader. The following are a few ideas to help your company compete on a whole new level.

Employee Upgrades

As the needs of your business change, you will need talent that can keep up with the pace. Sometimes you have to let employees go who are not cutting it to make room for new staff upgrades who can competently stay on top of the learning curve necessary to help improve company performance. As you weed out weaker employees who cannot keep up and replace them with stronger employees who can, you will find each department providing your company with the edge it needs to compete at a whole new level.

Offer New Benefits for Employees

More than ever before, companies are trying to keep employees by making work a fun place to be and offering benefits they and their families can enjoy. Beyond just the job’s salary, many employees stay loyal to companies who can provide dental, vision, and health benefits, as well as 401(k) programs. Take a look at the benefits you currently offer and see if implementing something like paid lunches, paternity leave, or life insurance might sweeten the deal for those you hire.

Expanding the Business

One way to make a huge competitive move is to expand your business to new locations. The more locations you are able to expand into and keep running with solid quarterly revenue, the more competitive you will prove to be in your industry. With every new location that you establish, this is a whole new revenue stream to help your business obtain the funds to react to the strategies other competing companies are using.

Conclusion

Competition is at the heart of modern business. If your company is not in it to win it, then it will start to lag behind other competing companies. Your company should always be poised to swoop in on any opportunity in the market that will ensure a competitive advantage. These opportunities are what will help your company to pull out in front of the other companies you are competing with in your industry or marketplace.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Expect The Unexpected With Your Business Expenses

When you look at your small business, you probably do so with pride. It’s something that you’ve worked hard for, paid for, grafted for and are caring for as gently as you would a baby. Your business IS your baby, in fact, and when it comes to having children, you learn very quickly how expensive they can be. You don’t have to be financially minded to know how much it costs to keep your small business running smoothly. Increasing your profits isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when costs are always shifting, decreasing and increasing without much warning.

Typical expenses for your business are a long list. Inventory, supplies, utilities, rent if you’ve got office space; all of these are for you to keep up with every month and this can be fairly stressful! You don’t have to be in charge of the finances to know about the expenses that your business has, but you should be able to keep up with the unexpected ones as they crop up. There are some less obvious business expenses, and here some of them are below:

  • Building a business takes some time and protecting it as it grows is important. Insurance provides a shield for your business against legal issues and financial scares. As a business, you need to have liability insurance at the very least because you need to safeguard your business as much as possible. If you have drivers on your team, then you will need to insure their business vehicles, too.
  • Most businesses need to think about their permits with the state that their business resides. There are many different permits that a business could need, and you can read about those here.
  • Okay, this shouldn’t be a hidden expense; taxes are a given with a business. However, it is possible that if you’re not on top of your expenses you will need to be visiting alexanderlawfirmllc.com to discuss paying an IRS debt. No one wants their business to owe money, least of all to the IRS.
  • When you’re gathering in supplies for your products to make them, you need to consider the costs of every element and account for the additional business equipment that you’ll be buying. Equipment can also add maintenance costs to your business as you ensure that they are kept up with.
  • Sending out invoices in a timely manner doesn’t always mean that they will be paid in the same way. Within your business, you have to ensure that you plan for invoices to remain unpaid for some time. Your cash flow will depend on customers paying invoices on time and if you don’t consider that they may not pay for service on time, then you could be missing out.

Your business is going to take more than a financial advisor on board to tell you all about the expenses that you will incur. It’s about doing your own research; don’t forget to do so.