Charge Ahead with a Winning Business Plan

In running your business, what do you do that sets your company apart from the competition?

If you’re on top of your game when it comes to making smart financial decisions, then there is a very good chance that your company is doing just fine. On the other hand, sloppy financial decision making can be a major red flag over time when it comes to your company’s health.

With that being the case, your financial decisions oftentimes will involve things such as how much to spend on advertising and marketing needs, whether or not to bring on more staff, and how best to guarantee payments from customers.

Yes, you will make some bad calls over time, but the key is to learn from any such mistakes and not make them again moving forward.

With that in mind, are you charging ahead with a winning business plan or do you find yourself stuck in neutral?

Bringing in More Business as You Deal with Some Headaches

In order to do your best to steer clear of financial headaches, remember the following tips:

  • Customer transactions – For starters, make sure your customer transactions run as smoothly as possible. Yes, you will have some customers who will try and pull a fast one on you, but the majority of your transactions should be legit. In the event you do run into some customers not playing by the rules, have a Plan B in place. Those customers would be individuals who make a purchase, and then decide to dispute the charges for one reason or another. If you end up with countless chargebacks, your business can suffer the financial consequences, something that can really harm a company that is teetering on financial health to begin with. At the end of the day, what do chargebacks really cost your business? Much to your surprise, you may discover that they end up costing the business world countless dollars, not to mention time wasted having to deal with each and every customer dispute over a purchase made. Your best bet is to find and utilize a post billing chargeback notification platform, one that will allow you to sort through an endless amount of charge disputes. Lastly, be aware of the potential for customer fraud especially through Ecommerce transactions and during the busy holiday times of the year. Those busy periods, the Christmas rush and summer sales, are times when you may be so caught up in your work that you have less time to catch such financial issues;
  • Getting Your Money’s Worth – When it comes to marketing and advertising your business, you are going to spend money. That said there are numerous free options on the table for you, options that you should certainly not be overlooking. Along with relying on customer word-of-mouth to help push sales, make sure you are taking advantage of social media. Using social networking platforms is a great way for you to spread the word about your business, yet avoid forking over thousands of dollars each month. Finally, if you have a team of employees under you, encourage them to use social media while on the job (also off the job if they so choose to) to help promote your brand. The more you make customers aware on social media of what you have to offer, the better chances you have of increasing sales numbers.

Is It Time to Bring on More Help?

  • The Right Time to Hire Help – Lastly, when is the best time for your business (or any business for that matter) to bring on more help? The answer to that question of course depends on several factors, notably financial budgets and if one’s current team seems to be overworked. Keep in mind that overworked employees can present several issues, most notably in terms of morale. One way to work around this problem is hiring new help at the part-time level, therefore not having to worry about health benefits. You could also increase salaries for your current staff, letting them know that the extra money comes with more responsibility. Finally, there is always the option of standing pat for now, waiting to see which way the business winds blow over the coming months. No matter what you decide, do it with what is in the best interests financially of your business.

As you look to charge ahead with a winning business plan, a plan that allows you to do even more business, make sure you’re watching your financial heartbeat each and every step of the way.

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

Keeping Your Business On The Right Side Of The Law

Any business that wants to stay in business for as long as possible needs to think about how to legally protect itself. If you are a business owner, this is something that you might want to learn about as early on as possible after you set up the business. Legally protecting your business ensures that no disaster can befall the business, and you would be surprised at just how common they can be for businesses which do not go out of their way to seek protection. There are a number of things that need considering here, and in many ways it is quite a complex issue, so we have put together this post to help you understand what you need to think about. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of protecting your business from legal issues.

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Protect The individual; Protect The Company

It is often all too easy to forget that a business is made up of individuals. In essence, much of what you need to do to protect your business is really more about protecting the individuals within that business. As long as you are doing that, there should be no problem. It is particularly important that you protect those individuals high up in the company, such as yourself and your fellow management staff. This helps to keep the image of the company positive, something which is important for all businesses. So if you or a colleague have trouble with the law, ensure they have a decent lawyer on their side. And don’t forget to look for a lawyer who will deal with their type of case. For example, Scheiner Law Group will defend against wrongful DWI, so they might be your option for that type of accusal.

Know The Regulations – And Stick To Them

There are all manner of legal regulations and red tape which a business needs to adhere to. Making sure that you do is bound to help in the long run, as a business which remains within the law at all times is always more safe in the eyes of the law. If you are unsure about whether or not your business is remaining legal, then it is always best to check. There are many ways to accidentally skirt the law, and it is definitely in your interest not to do that, so make sure you always check with the experts on all matters which might have legal restriction.

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Patenting & Other Methods

The other form of legal protection is in the protection of your business’ ideas and other assets. There are many ways that you can use the law to protect your intangible assets, and it is worth getting to know those methods as well as possible. The most popular and one of the most effective of these methods is patenting, for obvious reasons. Patenting an idea protects your business in that it stops other businesses and individuals from using that same idea for their own profit. Clearly, this is a vital thing for any business to engage in, so make sure that yours does.

Optimize Prime: Optimizing Your Business For Success

There is absolutely no doubt about it at all. Your start-up is going to rely on technology. Not just that, the relationship your business has with tech is never going to end. Whether it is instant-messaging, online sales or social media – you’re going to be using the internet a lot during your time spent running a business.

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That’s why it is very important to know what technology can do for you. It’s important to know how to use it and how to manipulate it.

It’s not just that though. Most businesses spend hours on tasks that could take minutes to complete with the right solution. Your success in business is tied to how efficiently you run it. Are you going to optimize before you look back and realize the mountains of wasted time you’ve spent?

Easy steps to optimizing your business include equipping your staff with business phones. The latest models have huge screens and run at similar levels to modern computers. A work phone is going to help productivity as it not only allows for communication, but it can be used a platform to create work. It is a great option if you haven’t got the capital to purchase everyone under your employment a computer. A good smartphone can solve issues and will allow people to connect with the cloud and will allow you to network.

The cloud can do a lot for you and actually turn your business into a completely mobile operation – from storage to remote servers to simultaneous collaboration, the cloud is a great way to revolutionize the way you work.

Speaking of smartphones – what about watches? Apple’s iWatch and the wide range of Android watches such as the MotoWatch and the Samsung Gear present amazing productivity solutions. These can pair with a phone or work computer to ensure your staff are firing on all cylinders. These small gadgets will keep your employees in touch with work as well. Notifications about new emails and meeting reminders as well as the ability to contact others without the use of a phone mean smart watches are amazing gadgets for those serious about work and connectivity in the workplace.

From real time business intelligence to identifying your target market, there’s a lot that data can do for you. It is very rare that a business is able to capture the hearts and minds of every soul in existence, so knowing who you are aiming your products towards is one amazing way to optimize your business. Analyze your web traffic, break it down into demographic data and see if your actual customers match your preconceived notions. It’ll be interesting, and if there’s a big difference, you’ll be able to push your business to success.

Take a step back occasionally and analyze how tasks are completed in your company. Is there a way things could be done that is different and simpler than the way things are currently being done? If so – change your business and optimize the way you work so you can increase your chances of success!

 

 

Keep The Heart Of Your Online Business Beating

What is the heart of your online business? If you think about this question carefully, the answer should be obvious. It’s your website. Your social profile, any apps you have, stores or blogs all stem back to this. If customers type in the name of your business into a search engine this is what they’ll find first. You might get some customers who discover your business through social media and other sources, but they will all trickle back to your site. It’s also the place where most of the content for your business will be born. You’ll release it on the site and the promote it through the web and this means that the design needs to be on point. You can’t afford to have a site that’s not working effectively. If a heart stops beating, the body dies. So here’s how to make sure that metaphor doesn’t fit the state of your company.

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Keep Content Flowing

Make sure that there is always fresh content being added to your site. The content that you release needs to be kept to exceptionally high levels of quality and be on a schedule. Every day there should be more pieces added to your site, designed to attract the interest of customers. If you find your site is getting overloaded you can always set up a blog. But the more content you have, the better off your business will be. It will lead to a higher search ranking and a wider reach online. You may also want to consider dabbling in UGC. The audience for UGC is essentially built into the idea. They will want to read or share it because it was produced by someone like them.

Clever Design Work

The basis of your business needs to be strong with a solid foundation. You need to make sure that it is easy to adapt and simple to use. There are plenty of design companies offering services such as front-end javaScript development so that you can ensure this is the case. Don’t just rely on the designer to create a product that works though. Make sure that you understand how the website works as well. Remember, you need to be able access it once it’s already up and running. Of course, there are two sides of the coin to take into consideration here.

There’s what you see and what your customer sees. Your customers want a site that is easy for them to use and understand. If you don’t deliver that, you’ll struggle to keep them engaged.

Colour, Bright, Exciting

Lastly, the worst thing that your site can be is dull and dreary. Google are now looking at how long people stay on a site when determining site ranking and this is a smart move. If customers are immediately clicking off even after they’ve made a purchase, it suggests the site isn’t built to survive the long haul. Add pictures, videos, infographics and vary your content so that it doesn’t just look like a constant flow of text for customers to scroll.

The Little Things. Important Areas Of Business That Often Go Forgotten

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When starting a new business, you have so much to think about. Your products need to be made, and your website needs to go up. And, of course, you need to find the time to breath! But, being busy often leads to forgetfulness. And, of course, this can be a big problem for a business owner. To help you out, this post will go through a few of the things that new business people tend to forget.

  • Customer Service

Customer service is the cornerstone of any customer facing business. It’s important to remember that your customers are the ones who drive your business. Without them, your business wouldn’t be anything. So, you have to treat them right. If you’re selling products, your customers need a way to contact you. If something goes wrong, they need to be able to get help. Ideally, you should have a way for customers to contact you by phone. But, email will serve you just as well. When you talk to customers, you should always be as polite as possible. They should leave the interaction feeling better than when it began. Customer service will make or break your relationship with your customers. If they don’t like you, they won’t buy from you.

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  • Social Media

Social media gives businesses a way to reach out to their customers in a way that they never have before. Of course, it means that customers can talk directly to you, and you to them. So, it should be used to it’s full potential. Most social media sites don’t charge businesses to use their services. So, it can be seen as a sort of free advertising. This means that the only thing social media will cost you is time. This makes it extremely valuable to a business on a budget. Content on social media should always be produced with quality in mind. You should never skimp on the posts that you submit. Your customers will be likely to find their way to you through your posts. So, they should look as good as possible. You can get help from a graphic designer to make your posts look as professional as possible.

  • Taxes

Okay, so those are fairly easy parts of business to master. But, there’s something much more complex that few people recognise. Taxes are something that can catch a lot of businesses out. If you don’t record your earnings well, it could be impossible to submit your declaration at the end of the year. This means that it’s especially important to make sure that you have a record of your money. Thankfully, you can professional help in this area. Attorneys such as Mackay, Caswell & Callahan specialize in taxes. These attorneys can do all of the leg work involved with sorting out your taxes. But, it’s best to get them onboard early. This will help to make sure that your business is being built to last.

Hopefully, this will help you with some of the more confusing aspects of business. During this time you may need help. But, that’s not a problem. It’s better to ask for help when you need it than to fail without it.

5 Highly Coveted Skills Sought By Employers

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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!