Project Managing: The Changing Flow Of Customer Desires

When you begin a project in business, you quite clearly have an aim in mind. That aim might be to increase your customer base, reach out further on social media, create a new product that will flesh out your line or even just to gauge what consumers want these days. Whatever the case may be, you have to admit that you are at first going to be perplexed at the worldview you run into. It’s not unusual, to imagine how your project will go but it ends up being completely different due to the new information you collate. For this reason, leading a project itself is quite daunting. Not only do you have to try very hard to stick to initial plans but if and or when you do see the market shifting you have to accommodate that too. Customer trends always change, but the reason for why they change isn’t that difficult to understand if you are keeping your fingers on the pulse. When managing a project you will also need to make sure that you are absorbing any new information to then discuss and implement in the project itself.

Note the unexpected

One of the things that any new project will have to do is to contact the public and see what their opinion is on your initial approach or idea. Quite simply, this means sending out email survey campaigns to all your customers, to people who have shopped with you and of course to your business clients. Usually in these email surveys you will have some kind of questionnaire or a survey in which you could ask questions about how customers might feel toward the project. You’ll have to make it short and sweet as this way you will gain the most engagement. However you should also supply a further comment section which allows customers and recipients to give you their full and honest view.

When you see something out of the ordinary or perhaps a viewpoint that you did not expect, note this down. This could be the start of a similar viewpoint that is shared by many but you just didn’t know it. It could be the very beginnings of a changing flow in your customers’ desires. Of course treat this with a pinch of salt as some people sharing a similar view doesn’t mean the majority hold this view. It’s important to discuss any unexpected views that do seem to be gathering steam because it may warrant you changing a part of the project to accommodate it.

How we use technology

Customers are the ones who usually set trends in the marketing world, at least nowadays. Social media is a place for anyone to be creative which means businesses need to continually make sure they are aware of what’s going on. Sometimes a moment in culture might have a big impact on business. A certain name might be given to a piece of clothing, a software, a product etc. it’s this reason why Adwords are so important because as these new trends transpire, they will become available to bid for. You need to be at the forefront of this so you’re not the last one to the party and not able to take full advantage of the trend while it is at it’s peak. A business which wants to make sure they are serving the changing desires of their customers might need to consider using Automating Adwords optimization tasks. In a free-flowing marketing world, being able to harness the power of Adwords and automatically optimize your project to adhere to them will keep you from falling behind.

For example if a clothing item that is normally called a quilted jacket is worn by somebody famous and they make a social media post calling it a ‘country coat’, this term will obviously begin to be widely searched for by their fans. If you are such a business that makes quilted jackets, you want the Adwords for this so anytime anyone searches for a country coat, your website is further up the top of the results page.

Customers’ desires are changing more rapidly than ever before. Thankfully there are always new ways in which you can keep up and even bring them closer to your business. During a project, make sure you’re noting any signs of change from your own customers and clients from the information you get from your email survey campaign. Make sure that you’re in the loop regarding any kind of social media or cultural trend which might affect your project and adapt to it to secure new customers.

What Are You Doing to Improve Your Business?

Being a business owner can wear on some individuals over time. Given all the responsibilities in running a company, it can seem overwhelming. That said you want to do all you can to improve things before it becomes too late to act.

So, what are you doing to improve your business?

Finances Are Something to Focus in on

If you need to take steps to improve your footing, start by looking at how you are doing with finances. With that in mind, you might want to go online and apply here for a business line of credit.

In taking this action, you can move closer to receiving the help you need to straighten things out. Yes, some owners run into financial difficulties over time for one reason or another. That said you can’t afford to get into a funk where there is no end in sight to your financial challenges.

Even when you gain approval for a line of credit, the work does not end there.

With this being the case, also look at how you are doing when it comes to buying goods and services for your business.

Do you get the best deals possible when working with your vendors? If you rent office space, are you paying too much each month? Could you be using a better credit card to make purchases for your business? Remember, the interest fees with some cards can be quite hefty.

No matter what you do to improve your company’s financial outlook, do not wait until it is too late to take action.

Improving Your Brand’s Reach

As important as your company finances are, do not go to sleep on the importance of brand promotions.

As an example, do you promote your brand on social networking sites?

It is important to remember that social media is essentially free. As such, you do not have to spend tons of money to be relevant on social media. With some time and effort on your part, you can have an impact on social networking sites and not break the bank.

You also want to look at how your customer service efforts are being received by the public.

If your customer service is lacking, it can come back to haunt you. Remember, most of your customers have other options besides doing business with you. As a result, you could end up losing out on future business if some customers deem you did not go the extra mile for them.

Finally, you want to make sure you have productive and happy workers on your team.

Unless you have a one-person show running things, you will need the help of others. Given this fact, you want the best employees possible by your side. When you have them, you can improve your business approach.

Be sure to engage your employees and get their two cents on how you might improve your business.

Having meetings with your staff to discuss your company and how to make it even better are a good idea. You never know what someone might suggest for improvement that you did not think about.

In looking at where your small business will be soon, will you like what you see?

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

4 Things That Change When Your House Becomes Your Workplace

With 70% of people working remotely at least once a week, the odds are high that you won’t be stuck in the office. And, since the internet has made launching a startup a piece of cake, you might find your new office is your home.

Aside from a welcome mat at the door and inspirational quotes on the walls, your workplace might look similar to before. Usually, this isn’t helpful because it encourages freelancers to slip into bad habits, they kind they would never do in a traditional office.

With that in mind, there are some things you should change and you can find them underneath.

The Lighting

It’s the back end of autumn and winter is almost here, so your home will reflect that fact. Lots of homeowners take lighting seriously because they want to create a dark, cozy mood to go with the new season. With lots of lamps and lanterns around the living room, you’ve pulled it off to a T. Sadly, they need to go as it isn’t a productive atmosphere. Natural and artificial lights boost serotonin levels as well as a person’s mood, making them happy and more likely to be productive. Therefore, the curtains and table lamps are out and the blinds and focal light fixture are in.

The Mess

There is never enough time to clean up, plus you spend most of the day out of the house. It makes sense to leave it until you come home to tidy up. Now that you’re in the house from morning until the evening, this is an unproductive routine. The brain sees clutter and takes it on board, causing the mind to feel littered and unorganized too. From a work standpoint, this isn’t healthy for productivity. A commercial cleaning service will sanitize the area and make it simpler to perform basic tasks. Stop calling it “organized chaos” because it’s a cop out!

The Main Room

Typically, people spend the majority of their time in the kitchen or living room as they have focal points. Plus, it’s practical to watch TV where there is a set and to cook where there are utensils. For work purposes, it’s better to switch up which room you spend your days in. Otherwise, you’ll get easily distracted and do nothing. The obvious example is sitting watching television rather than sending emails or writing content. A bedroom, especially a spare room, should become your office as it has zero diversions. After a while, you’ll get into a healthy work routine.

The Name

Correspondence to and from a residential address is a sign you’re not a big fish. As soon as clients and customers recognize this, they might bounce due to a lack of trust. All it takes to change this is to come up with a new name for your home, something corporate-like. As long as the zip code is the same, all of your mail should forward to the same address.

Another option is to hire a P.O Box and use their location for customer and client services.

How Agile Changed Project Management for Good

Depending on who you ask and how liberal with your definition of Agile you are willing to be, agile project management has been around for centuries, perhaps even millennia. Simply put, the common sense tenets behind agile project management are just too common sense to be limited to just one industry, country or era.

However, when we talk about agile project management today, we mostly see it in terms of agile software development with a bit of lean manufacturing that directly preceded and influenced agile.

In that sense, we really can talk about a more direct and obvious way that agile changed project management in the last 20-odd years, with far-fetching consequences, both good and bad.

Agile branching out

Agile project management, as discussed today,was born in the software development industry as a way to address certain inherent problems observed when trying to deliver better, more valuable software. A number of methodologies, frameworks and approaches developed over the years, with many of them already having large numbers of proponents when the term Agile was actually chosen to denote this new approach to handling software projects.

Due to the positive effects of agile project management on the quality of software being delivered by the teams and companies that adopted it, agile slowly but steadily started to creep into other industries and it is currently present in industries and fields such as healthcare, manufacturing (where its roots lie), marketing, HR and even sales.

But, what is it exactly that makes agile project management so interesting and beneficial when done the right way?

Improved adaptability

One of the biggest benefits of agile project management over more traditional PM approaches is the improved adaptability, a true cornerstone of agile. Namely, agile accepts uncertainty and change as an inseparable part of any project and actually welcomes it. Planning done in agile is kept to a realistic minimum and the project is allowed to inform itself, so to say. The team estimates, inspects and re-estimates every aspect of the project as it is going on, making them more adaptable and reducing waste.

Emphasis on communication

The value of constant communication is one of the main themes in agile, extending beyond just communication within the team.Communication in agile entails communication with customers, other organizational groups and individuals, partners, suppliers, end-users and anyone else that could be considered a stakeholder. While all agile approaches preach this, some of them, such as Scrum (the most widely adopted agile framework)even prescribes events that are aimed at boosting communication.

Empowered teams

Another way in which agile changed project management is that it re-introduced the world to a very common sense concept – grown-up people do not require round the clock babysitting to do their work. In fact, they will be much more efficient and innovative if they are treated like adults and given autonomy. Agile project management therefore promotes self-organized teams that make decisions on their own, pull in work as they feel comfortable, but also adopt a shared and more pronounced feeling of responsibility for their work.

Better customer outcomes

At the very core of agile is delivering a superior product (originally a piece of software). In other words, we are talking about a product of high quality and high business value to the customer. The points we covered above all lead to this – adaptability which ensures the end product/service makes sense in the marketplace; communication with the customer and other stakeholders which also informs a valuable product and empowered teams that see this product as their own and do not just ‘put in 8 hours at the office’.

A few considerations

Agile project management has become an ecosystem of its own, with its own theory and the inevitable debates, its various approaches, certifications, roles and specifically developed Agile tools.If you are interested in adopting agile for your company, you would do well to learn more.

Also, you should remember that it takes some time and a lot of effort and dedication for agile to work. Just saying you are agile does not mean that you are – it is a huge shift in the way your business does things.

Finally, sometimes agile simply isn’t the best approach due to the nature of the work your company may be doing, your customers or the makeup of your organization. However, even in those cases, agile principles can be a welcome addition, if only in the company culture sense of the word.

AUTHOR: Jug Babic is a marketer at VivifyScrum, a company behind the eponymous agile project management software. You can find him on Twitter – @BabicJug.

4 Genuine Examples of Good Customer Service

Selling is one thing: You can probably convince nearly anyone that they have a need or a want that’s related to your product or service. That’s what makes you good at your job in either sales or marketing. But it’s often what comes after the sale—when things go sideways or when your customer or your company trips up a bit—that determines how well your company does going forward, how many new customers it gains, and how many customers come back for a second, third, fourth, or more time. That’s what’s called customer service, and that’s what many companies don’t do very well.

 They might not do it well because they haven’t thought about it enough. They don’t have a culture that’s dedicated to getting it right, every time, for the customer. So what do companies that do have a culture of excellent customer service look like, and how do they get it right every time? This graphic offers some worthwhile examples.

Click To Enlarge


4 Genuine Examples of Good Customer Service

Via Salesforce

 

6 Common Reasons Your Marketing Plan Isn’t Generating Leads

Marketing has never been easier according to the experts. Today, an entrepreneur with zero experience and an internet connection can learn the tricks of the trade. All of the info is available online at the click of a button. As a result, businesses and blog and the platform of your choice can compete. Forget about the size as it doesn’t matter. Whether big, small or medium, there is nothing you can’t achieve concerning marketing.

So, if this is the case, why are you struggling to generate leads? It isn’t as if you don’t use modern techniques such as search engine optimization. And, you also invest in paid marketing such as pay-per-click. Still, the amount of leads coming back to you is poor, and you can’t figure out the problem. It’s a head-scratcher.

Without a steady flow of leads, it’s challenging to make conversions and increase sales. Sadly, failure is always an option in business so it’s essential to fix the issue as soon as possible. Without knowing the details, it can be very tricky. The good news is that there are six common reasons for lack of leads underneath. Hopefully, these will be able to help you reverse your fortunes.

Your Aim Is Off

Regardless of the plan, it isn’t going to work if it is aiming at the wrong people. There is no point throwing darts in the dark because it’s a waste of time and energy. Oh, and don’t forget the money either. The key is to optimize every feature to give it the best chance of succeeding. The first step then is to find a base of people who are going to be interested. That way, there is more of a chance that it will grab their attention and make them curious.

You may have an idea of the base, but there’s also a chance that you don’t fully understand the demographic. Are women or men more likely to buy the product or land on the site? What age range? Why do your services seem to resonate with this group? Delving into the specifics should help you find your perfect customer/visitor. Once that person is in your sights, aiming at him or her, and millions more like them is straightforward.

A buying persona should keep you on the right track. For those that don’t have one, visit Lead Forensics now and check out the post for more info.

And So Are Your Methods

The people aren’t the only thing to consider; there’s the method too. Every individual has a preferred contact setting depending on their tastes. For example, the older generations are advocates of speaking on the phone. Some hate cold-calling because it’s annoying, yet they like the directness of talking to a human advisor. Your job is to figure out which people like which platform and then use the info to target them.

Although it sounds like mind-numbingly long work, it’s not too tricky. Use age as a factor to break the base down into groups. The baby boomers have already gotten a mention, so now focus on the other subsections. Young customers are easy because they love to interact via social media. To optimize their experience, try and figure out which account is their favorite: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. The trickiest people are the inbetweeners. Middle-aged men and women are retro and modern at the same time, which makes them awkward. An excellent tip is to use their personal info. For instance, entrepreneurs and business-oriented people will respond to email blasts. A housewife or husband may prefer an app because it suits their lifestyle.

Whichever one you choose, be sure to engage and interact when possible. Adding value often sticks in a person’s mind and encourages them to follow up.

The Tone Is Wrong

It’s essential to speak to people politely and respectfully. Still, there is no need to be boring. Boredom turns people off and makes them want to run a mile. So, finding a balance is a must to ensure there is value in the interaction. There is nothing worse than picking up the phone to listen to a sales rep babble on without pausing. When the other party can’t speak or ask questions, there is bound to be frustration which will result in them bouncing. This is one sales error to watch out for, but you can visit ej4 today for lots more.

Tailor the experience to the platform. Calls should have a consistent tone and shouldn’t be out of the blue. Cold calling is a sure-fire way to get them to hang up without a word. Emails are less formal and can use a chatty, colloquial voice. Also, there’s lots of room for multimedia such as photos, videos and gifs, so don’t be scared to get creative.

Social media is where the most informal interactions take place. When people log-in to their accounts, they don’t want to see forced, pointed, corporate tweets and posts. The most successful marketing plans center on organic conversations full of witty banter.

You’re Jumping The Gun

From the beginning, the end goal is in your sights. If the strategy can get them to convert or make a purchase, then everything will be hunky-dory. It’s important to keep the result in mind but it shouldn’t be at the forefront of the plan. Otherwise, you run the risk of jumping the gun and peaking too soon. Users hate this because it feels as if they are being forced into doing something rather than making the decision naturally.

Focus on providing the right info at the right time. To do this, analyze the process and where everyone stands on the spectrum. Are they at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end? The answer is essential because what you offer should be totally different for all three. At the start, an interested party wants as much info as possible so that they can compare and contrast. The middlemen and women love to hear about solutions to their problems. And, the guys and girls at the end want a sweetener to seal the deal.

By all means, get in front of them early to catch their eye but don’t be pushy. Everyone knows being clingy is a huge turn-off.

Patience Isn’t Your Strong Point

There is lots of activities available and not enough time to get through every single one. As a result, it’s tempting to discard the ones which don’t seem to work. After all, what’s the point in wasting time and money? Although changes can be positive, they can also be a hindrance. In this scenario, a lack of patience may cause you to throw away a feature which will work in the future. There is no way to tell if it is a failure until enough time has passed.

With that in mind, don’t get anxious when something appears not to work. Instead, let it grow and prosper until you are sure. Otherwise, there may be a lot of money left on the table. Take content marketing as an example. It takes a while to build up a reputable portfolio. Some of the market leaders have been doing it for decades and are still learning.

So, the aim isn’t to throw out as much content as possible and hope for the best. Instead, you need to focus on quality over quantity and build a core brand to get results. However, don’t assume they’ll appear out of thin air overnight because it takes hard work and endurance.

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You’re Not Number-Driven

Some people don’t believe in stats and they have a good reason. If you are unable to speak the language, then a lot of info can get lost in translation. Lots of businesses have developed strategies they thought would work yet they tanked. Why? It’s because they read the numbers wrong and didn’t understand the nuances. Still, marketing is a numbers game.

The reason is analytic software. Today, it’s easy to see who is doing what and why without basic math skills. The program does it all for you and prints the info in easy-to-understand chunks. More importantly, it shows you where there are flaws and what needs fixing. It’s incredible the number of strategies that have glaring flaws yet continue regardless. To put it into simple terms, it’s because the people in charge don’t use the analytic software.

Reverse engineer the data to locate the solutions. For example, go back and see where the leads came from in the first place. Then, compare the different sources to the success rate. Are there some which provide better conversions than others? Use this to figure out what gets you the best quality results, which in turn should reveal the best quality leads. Although it’s easy for analytic software to take a backseat, you need to keep on top of it on a regular basis.

Do any of the above seem like mistakes you are making currently? Could they be the reason lead generation is suffering?

4 Ways Surveys Can Help Build Your Startup Company Strategy

Running a startup business is, in fact, quite difficult. Aside from trying to find a way to make it on the market, there are also a lot of challenges and obstacles startup owners face. It’s also quite complicated to fully understand whether or not your business idea will succeed on the market and if there’ll be any demand for your products or services. What’s more, startup businesses usually lack the sufficient funds to conduct extensive and thorough market research.

Luckily, where there’s a will there’s a way – and that’s conducting surveys. That way, startup owners can obtain the necessary information that will help them create a good strategy, without investing too many resources into it. In addition, you can rely on relevant data you’ve obtained directly from your target audience and potential customers. Simply put, you’ll be able to make more strategic and smart decisions. Here are a few ways surveys can help you build a startup company strategy.

Identifying your target audience

As mentioned before, startup businesses are generally not funded enough to conduct in-depth market research. You can assume who is most likely to be interested in your products and services, but you can’t know for sure nor do you know anything important about those potential customers. However, the key to success is knowing all there is to know about your target audience. Fortunately, surveying people doesn’t involve a hefty investment at all.

When creating a survey for your research purposes, make sure you include questions that will shed light on your audience’s demographics, overall interests, preferences and expectations. This will help you familiarize yourself with your target audience and understand their needs as consumers. That information will help you improve your products or services, so that you’ll have a better product/market fit for your startup. You can conduct the surveys both online and in person. Just make sure you analyze the data properly in order to extract vital information from it.

Tracking customer satisfaction

If you’ve started to build an online presence for your startup and also started making sales, it’s important to know how your audience perceives you so far. Customer satisfaction is essential for business success. The main reason is that if your customers aren’t happy, your reputation, bottom line and chances of success may drastically decline. That’s why it’s important to follow-up with your customers after interactions, sales and other activities.

Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask your customers for feedback. You can offer a simple incentive to your customers and ask them to participate in paid surveys online. That way, in exchange for their feedback, your customers will gain something of value in return. This will help you gain information that will assist you in improving your customer service and support. Not only that, but it will show your customers that you’re making an effort and that their opinions matter to you.

Testing products and features

Every business looks to grow and develop further by introducing innovation. Adding features to your products or services may be a good way to boost engagement with your customers, but it may also backfire if not done properly. If you want to add something new, it’s safer not to surprise your customers, but instead, ask them for their opinions. You can conduct a survey where you’ll describe new features to customers in detail and ask them what they think about it.

If your audience is generally pleased with the improvements, you can move on to the implementation stage. If not, you should avoid it altogether. That way, you not only show your customer that you care and that their best interest comes first when designing new features, but it also saves you time and resources on developing features that might fail from the start.

Assessing your marketing performance

When launching a marketing campaign that has a purpose of promoting your startup business and inspiring your audience to engage, it’s always a good idea to track important metrics and key performance indicators (KPI). However, without a general input from the customers themselves, you can’t be absolutely sure how well-received your marketing campaign actually is. It’s very risky to keep an ineffective marketing campaign running.

That’s why you should turn to surveying your audience once again. Ask for feedback on your marketing efforts and encourage customers to speak up. Make sure you ask the right questions, so that you can gather the most valuable information from the answers. Their feedback will provide you with information on how to improve your content, promotions and offers. In short, it will help you improve your marketing campaigns, so that they become more efficient in delivering value to both your customers and your startup.

It’s no secret that many startup businesses have difficulties maintaining their growth while trying to figure out the best approach to stand out on the market. That being said, surveys can be quite beneficial to startup owners, especially when they lack the means and the funds to conduct proper research. If you ask the right question from the right people, you’ll gain valuable information that will help you develop an exceptional startup company strategy.

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