Chief Challenges Business of Today Must Face

Getting operations off the ground is a daunting challenge. Yet, it is just the beginning of a series of trials and tribulations: the process of navigating the market and outmaneuvering the competition. The pace of economic and technological change has never been greater. Great uncertainty and volatility loom over entrepreneurs. It is never easy to discover what customers want and do a better job at delivering that to them than the next company.  This can only come through long-term strategic planning and the ability to solve dynamic challenges on the fly.

Cash flow management

Cash is the king of the business realm and maintaining a steady flow of itis the lifeline of any business. Running dry is always a risk in a less-than-ideal lending climate we operate in, which is to say that businesses need to come up with a rock-solid financial plan. What is more, money management and bookkeeping may require them to hire professionals versed in dealing with financial tasks and obligations, including accounting, taxes and invoices. This can help businesses acquire enough capital, pile up reserves,and anticipate downturns and emergencies ahead of time.

Finding your audience 

Barriers to entering the market are as low as ever. That may be a good thing, but staying in the business long-term is a different ball game entirely.Companies are facing immense competition and consumers are enjoying a wide selection of products and services across different industries. Hence, it is extremely difficult for a new business to find and carve out a profitable niche. What gives you a real fighting chance is extensive market research. It paves the way to a highly-focused approach to catering to people’s wants and needs (your target market).

Marketing on a budget

Marketing wilderness out there is getting rather complex and incredibly crowded. A new channel or tool comes to life almost every day. The bulk of modern brands have an online presence and they are trying to make waves in social media and other booming hubs. Well, the key challenge is to pull it off without breaking the bank or spreading oneself too thin. In other words, you need to figure out which channels hold the biggest potential to arrest and retain the attention of consumers. Then, you craft optimal brand messages to build trust and cultivate loyalty.

Building the right team

People are the glue that holds companies together. To harness the full workforce potential and assemble the best possible team, you have to create a sound recruitment policy, your road map. Look into, but also beyond just skills and experience. Make sure candidates fit your business culture and relate to your vision. Find out what drives them and foster a positive and healthy work environment. Offer enough perks and benefits to attract and retain talent. Keep the engagement, productivity and motivation going.

Reducing the overheads

Expenditures tend to quickly add up and they can melt the budget in no time. The best way to prevent this disaster from shattering your entrepreneurial dreams is to keep the spending in check. So, calculate exactly how much money is coming in and out of your business. Next, identify major problem areas, where you can make savings. There is no shortage of tactics here: working from home, outsourcing instead of hiring full-time, improving power quality to trim electricity bills, buying supplies in bulk, increasing water conservation, etc.

Sow the seeds of success

If you really mean business, you have to compete on more than just price or product quality. Never succumb to the temptation to cut corners or fight on all fronts at once. Take your time planning and fleshing out strategies. Assess risks and tackle problems before they spiral out of control. Get to know your audience and adapt to rapidly-changing preferences. Keep up the pace technological advancements and market trends. You should be able to tap into a steady stream of cash and propel your whole organization forward. 

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to marketing and latest business trends. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

Losing Focus? How to Identify Your Marketing Audience

Effective marketing is essential to getting your business the exposure it needs to bring in new customers, and to retain old ones. Without careful planning and execution, not only will you fail to increase your business’s exposure, you will also be wasting money on ineffective solutions. One of the greatest pitfalls of marketing is catering to the wrong audience. A skateboarding equipment brand may find sales dropping if their marketing solutions are geared toward the elderly, whereas an in-home care service may find a disinterested audience in younger generations. Your target audience will determine if you should be marketing through newspapers, television ads, YouTube and social media, billboards, and so forth. The following are some tips to help you better identify your audience so that you can focus your solutions into only the most effective campaigns.

Surveys

Putting out a survey can help you gather important demographic information about the types of consumers visiting your website and the kind of products they are interested in buying. Knowing who is already following your product and service will help you better cater to them as well as reach out to more within their demographics. Surveys like these can also help you measure how satisfied your current customers are with your products, and if you need to make changes to better suite their needs and interests. Many television producers, for example, are often surprised to find that the demographic they are marketing toward is very different from the one that is actually watching their content, often resulting in changing the content to better satisfy their majority fan demographics.

Read Visitor Reviews and Comments

Your website should contain areas for product reviews and user comments. While surveys give valuable feedback to you, potential customers are also interested in knowing what works for what demographics. Reviews and comments work both to give your customers an open-ended medium to convey their experience with your company, and to give you insight into what your customers think that interested parties should know before purchasing your products and services. Once you understand the typical customer experience with your company, you can better convey that in your marketing campaigns to paint a satisfyingly accurate preview to future customers.

Customer Profiling

One way to gain significant insight into the audience you are reaching is to do background research on the customers you have. What else are they interested in? What other companies are they looking at within your industry? How is your product or service being used? What other companies are taking an interest in your products and services? This can be difficult to determine when companies and consumers are answering surveys and leaving comments with ambiguous internet personas. Name matching services are available online to help you identify the individuals behind acronyms, usernames, and even foreign characters. It is much easier to build a clear picture of your current demographics when you know who is interacting with your company, and a little research can help you find everything you need to crack the mystery caused by online pseudonyms.

Run a Market Analysis

While marketing to your current customer demographics is very important, it’s also important to seek to expand your audience if you want to bring in greater sales opportunities. Finding new audiences to reach can be difficult, however, because some audiences will be receptive to the sort of thing you provide, while others will be entirely disinterested. Once again, a skateboarding equipment brand won’t find much luck trying to market towards an elderly demographic, but they might be able to reach a greater audience by targeting teens, children, and based on current YouTube trends, even pets. While common sense plays a large part in deciding on a new target demographic, you can also gain great insight by doing a market analysis. Look around and see what audiences are being targeted by other companies in your industry, and see how effective or ineffective their methods of reaching them are. Following current market trends will help you keep your marketing campaigns relevant and on top of the industry, and allows for greater opportunities to expand your customer base.

You cannot have an effective marketing campaign if you don’t know your intended audience. Knowing what demographics you are already reaching, as well as what audiences you could be reaching based on current market trends, will allow you to make educated decisions for your marketing solutions. Don’t let your promotional content fall on deaf ears. Find your audience, find out how to reach them, and maintain awareness to continue to meet the needs of your customers.

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.

Unique Marketing: 5 Ways to Increase Sale for Your Business

Gone are the days when you could drum up business just by putting an ad in the paper. Today’s consumers expect a lot more flash and bang than the kind offered by old-school advertising. Here are just five ways to give it to them. 

Host a Challenge

Let your customers choose your new mascot by submitting pictures, videos and drawings. Ask them to snap selfies of themselves using your products or employing your services. See who can create the best hashtag for an annual event. Challenges are a fun way to engage your customers with your brand, and in addition to boosting your sales, they can also bring positive media attention to your company if they go viral. 

Participate in Social Media Trends 

Speaking of viral, you never know when that #ThrowbackThursday photo will get thousands of retweets. Don’t be afraid to hop on the bandwagon of whatever is currently trending. Businesses have gotten a lot of press from things like Gangnam Style parody videos, and the more that you put yourself out there, the more likely it is that you’ll strike a chord with the public someday. 

Hire Promotional Models 

You don’t have to run a clothing line to employ models for your brand. Promotional modeling can be a benefit in many different industries, and it’s something found at expos, conferences, trade shows and launch parties around the world. These men and women can do everything from promoting a specific product to bringing general attention to your brand. 

Offer Freebies 

Everyone loves a freebie, especially when it’s something valuable and not just a pen or key chain with your company’s logo on it. Think about offering doorbusters at your next big sale, or hand out high-quality gifts with the purchase of certain products. You might also choose to distribute prizes and rewards to completely random customers. Intermittent reinforcement is a powerful psychological tool. 

Consider Local Collaborations 

Sponsor a youth soccer league. Pair up with a non-competitor to offer mutual discounts on your services. You’ll find more customers by expanding your reach, and you’ll also establish yourself as a local, trusted brand by becoming a regular part of the community. People will think favorably of your business because they see your name every time that Junior hits a home run. 

Say goodbye to traditional marketing campaigns. Today’s businesses need to have innovative, forward-thinking ads that can capture hearts and minds despite the increasingly short attention span of society. Think outside of the box with your marketing efforts to ensure that people still notice you within the noise.

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

5 ways to combat skilled labor shortage

Let’s face it, today, more than ever, every business owner struggles with the issue of skilled labor shortage sooner or later. There are just not enough people interested or qualified enough for certain jobs, and that can take a real toll on any business. When you’re missing skilled labor, you’refacing a decrease in productivity and quality. Soon, that can have disastrous consequences for your firm. That’s why it’s important to address this issue on time, and ensure your business prospers. Thankfully, there are a few ways to do this that won’t backfire and are guaranteed to work.

1. Educate students

Pairing up with universities or schools is a great way of investing in your future. The interest for your firm should be developed early, meaning you should inform those who are still in school. This way, they’ll keep your firm in mind as soon as they finish school and are likely to apply for a job. You’ll have to worry less about not having enough staff because you’ve made sure the future experts know to look for you.

Many schools are looking for firms to partner up with, so as to ensure their students have a bright future. That’s your chance to reach out to one and devise a program which benefits you both. By doing so, you’ll also be seen as a company which cares about its community and the people in it, which is a very appealing trait to potential employees. Show that you are there for your community, and it will help you in your time of need.

2. Only keep the tasks you absolutely need

The process of creating a certain product or delivering a certain service is a delicate one. It’s a coherent system with many steps, all ensuring you’ve got a quality service or product as the end result. When you’re missing skilled workers though, you need to cut the process short a little.

Make a priority list and only do the steps that are absolutely necessary. Everything that’s done just for appearances should be left out. This way, you’ll be saving time, and more importantly, the energy of the workers you do have. It’ll promote efficiency and productivity. What’s more, it’s a great way of still providing good services until you get the extra help you need.

3. Put your employees first

Even though you are suffering from a skilled labor shortage and your employees have to work double to make up for that, remember that they’re people too. That means you shouldn’t overwork them and expect them to be able to cover all the positions. After all, you wouldn’t need more workers if your employees could do it all.

Instead of trying to make them pick up the slack and just filling slots, make sure they know you appreciate their efforts. If you’re not kind to them and don’t pay attention to their needs and well-being, it can lead to more people quitting and then you’ll be in an even bigger mess.Showing your workforce you appreciate them even in these troublesome times will help them stay motivated and pull-through. Together, you’ll be able to face this problem head on and come up with the best solution.

4. Opt for foreign workers

Importing your workforce can also be one of the options. Sometimes there just aren’t enough skilled workers in your country. In fact, more and more first world countries are choosing this option as a way to combat the shortage, Australia being one of them. Though, you need to be careful, because immigration laws are complex and often difficult to understand.

You can be sure the most informed immigration lawyer in Sydney will testify to that. That’s why it’s always advisable to talk to one before you decide to take any actual steps in bringing foreign people into the country. Every informed decision is a good decision.

5. Up your marketing strategy to a new level

Sometimes the problem with short staff is that people don’t even know you’re hiring, or what your firm is about. This is a question of a poor marketing strategy, but luckily, it can be easily solved. In this age of technology, you should make your company present on social media.

That way you’ll be up to date and will be able to connect with potential employees more easily. People will also know more about your company and are likely to be interested in working there. Even though it seems that social media is just for fun, it can actually be quite useful for things like this, too. In fact, there are a lot of professional social networks you can check out.

Conclusion

As you can see, not having enough skilled workforce doesn’t have to take a toll on your business. The important thing is to stay determined and motivated, and soon, your business will flourish. Hiring those who are good at their job promotes positive energy all around and, in turn, makes for very productive and confident workers. Never settle for less than your company deserves, so always hire the best of the best.

Daniel Brown is a law graduate and a passionate blogger from Sydney. His areas of interest are alternative dispute resolution and its applicability in different fields of law, IP law and resolution of disputes arising from intellectual property infringement and commerce law

Starting a Business: How Bring A-Game in Your Marketing Campaigns

If you are a new startup, then it is essential that you bring your A-game to your marketing game before you even have enough experience to really know what you are doing. That is why it is essential to consider the different components of a campaign. Here are some tips on different marketing components along with basic tips you need to consider.

Television Ads

Almost 90 percent of adults see at least one television commercial every day. Therefore, it can be an important way to let customers know about your product. Using experienced TV and film actors can help deliver a powerful message. Consider which stations are most likely to connect with your target demographic.

Social Media

Social media can be very useful in building company trust as people often use it to find out more about your entity. People often check their favorite social media platforms multiple times a day, so make sure that they see you interacting with your customers when they do. Hiring a brand ambassador or influencer who already has a following can be key to building your audience quickly.

Website

Your company needs a well-organized website. With about 50 percent of all traffic coming from mobile devices make sure that it is optimized for all types of devices. Customers are unwilling to wait for your website to load, so make sure that your landing page loads in under a second. Make sure that your content is informative and well written.

Radio

Depending on who is in your targeted audience, radio can be a powerful way to reach them. Work with an experienced advertising director to create advertising that will capture the essence of your company in under 30 seconds. Then, play your ads on stations where your targeted audience is found.

Newspaper

While some insist that newspapers are dead, they can be an important factor with some targeted audiences. If you are trying to build a local business in a community that still has a newspaper, then advertising there may bring people in your business’ front door. Additionally, if your niche market has a popular newspaper, then appearing there can be a great way to build your brand’s authority.

The right mixture of each of these components depends on your targeted audience. Get to know them and you will learn where your marketing dollars will be most effective. Then, hire the best experts that you can to deliver marketing that will connect instantly with your target audience.

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

Which One Is Better – Digital or Old Fashion Marketing

One of the questions that concern the majority of modern marketers the most is the one regarding the ROI of traditional marketing in the digital world. Most importantly, what they want to know is whether it’s worth it to invest in the old fashion marketing in 2018, in the first place. Unfortunately, this is not a question that has a straightforward answer. Why? Well, because it all depends on your industry, the nature of your business and the specific situation/effect you need to deal with.

For instance, there is a speculation that about 50 percent of all small businesses don’t even have a website. Now, characterizing all of these business owners as non-tech-savvy or stating that all of these businesses are non-profitable and non-efficient would be outright wrong. In fact, about 41 percent of them claim that this decision doesn’t come from the fact that they can’t conduct a proper digital marketing campaign (or couldn’t at least outsource this function) but due to the fact that they don’t really need it. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to dispute the effectiveness of digital marketing in 2018.

1. Digital marketing has better analytics

The first thing you need to understand is that digital marketing has much better analytics than its traditional counterpart. John Wanamaker, one of the titans of the industry back in the day claimed that half the money he invested in marketing was wasted, yet, that he could never reliably know which half. Nowadays, this is no longer the truth. You see, through various platforms and tools, you can reliably know just how many visitors your website received, how long were they there, as well as where they came from. Aside from this, you can also study separate demographics and, in this way, figure out which methods give the best results on which demographics.

On the other hand, with the introduction of concepts such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and the increasing influence of biometrics in the digital world, this might soon change. What we mean by this is that we could soon have a similar insight into the effectiveness and properties of the old-fashion marketing tricks and methods. Needless to say, exciting as this may sound, this is still quite far down the line.

2. Traditional marketing is mostly non-intrusive

The next thing you should understand is the fact that the traditional marketing tends to be quite non-intrusive, especially when compared to a digital marketing. Think about it, every time you receive an email from an unreliable source, you feel like your privacy has been violated. After all, how did they get your email? This happens even if you did give them your email and then forgot about it soon after. With traditional marketing, such a thing doesn’t really happen. A person walks by a billboard or receives a leaflet, which is something they consider normal, even mundane. This means that their defense mechanisms are still down, which, directly influences your potential success rate.

3. Specific scenarios may mandate specific needs

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that there are some scenarios in which you can’t apply to a certain group of marketing methods. For instance, imagine hosting a stand at a show and being forced to decorate your stand. Without promotional materials like flyers, brochures, signs or a durable mesh banner, you wouldn’t be able to do much in terms of on-spot branding and customization. You don’t even have to have banners and signs specifically made for the occasion. You’re bound to have some extras in the storage room or, if the need arises, you can remove them from one location in order to display them in another. It really is that simple.

4. Reach is in favor of the digital

One thing everyone has to recognize is the fact that digital dominates when it comes to the reach. Even when it comes to retail and offline sales, it’s inevitable to mention the power of digital marketing. According to one statistic, about 78 percent of all offline sales come as a direct result of local mobile searches. Even when it comes to regular stores, you have no way of knowing how many people checked prices online before deciding which store they should visit. Therefore, even the smallest and the most localized of businesses can benefit from an online presence. Not only that but they might even find local SEO to be incredibly cost-effective.

5. Digital provides a customized user experience

Probably the most significant advantage of the digital marketing lies in the fact that it offers every user a customized experience. Just compare TV to services like Netflix (or even YouTube). The reason why the first is on the decline while the latter two are on a rapid growth is due to the fact that they give their audience full control over the content they browse.

Sure, some would argue that online ads may act in a more “traditional” sense (with a strong negative connotation), yet this is easily solved with a plugin such as AdBlock which is something that about 30 percent of all internet users resort to. When it comes to content marketing, on the other hand, the only reason why someone would click on the link is if they’re genuinely interested in the topic discussed. Once again, one could argue that this is not the case with click-bait and black-hat, in general, yet, with the current state of Google algorithm and anti-black-hat measures, this is no longer as big of a problem as it was in the past.

In conclusion

As you can see, the question of whether you should go for digital or traditional marketing is an absurd one, to begin with. The successfulness of your digital marketing campaign can be enhanced by promoting it through traditional means, while a giveaway of promotional materials can be multiplied by doing so online. In other words, each of these methods gives by far the best results when multiplied, meaning that it’s by far the best to go with both. The best thing is that there’s literally no reason for you to choose. Just make sure that your marketing budget can take it.

Start Spreading The News: How To Get People Talking About Your New Business

Are you preparing to launch a new business, or you are trying to find your footing in the market? Whether your business plans are still in the pipeline, or you’re already up and running, it’s crucial to have plans in place to get your name out there. If you’re keen to get people talking and start enjoying the sound of the cash register ringing, here are some tips to bear in mind.

Drawing up your marketing strategy

If you plan to take control of marketing your business, the first thing to do is formulate a strategy. Marketing isn’t as simple as designing a website or printing out some branded business cards. To succeed, you have to be able to communicate with, and appeal to, your target audience and find a gap in the market. There are myriad marketing methods out there, and often, it’s best to focus on a few platforms that are likely to attract attention from the right people. You want to ensure that you’re reaching out to customers who are going to have a genuine interest in your products and services and your brand. Covering every method may seem like a good idea, but you’ll probably find that you’re wasting money on avenues that won’t deliver rewards. Think about your ideal customer, the demographic you’re aiming at, and the kinds of products or services you’re selling. If you’re selling clothing online and you’re hoping to attract females aged between 18 and 35, you’ll find that social media, email marketing, and SEO are a lot more effective than flyers or press adverts, for example. Use market research to determine which methods would be most beneficial for your brand. Once you have a strategy, the next step is to implement it.

Picture sourced from https://pixabay.com/en/arrows-marketing-strategy-startup-2029169/

Considering outsourcing

If you run a business, no matter how large or small, you may find that there are certain tasks that match your skill set, and others that cause you concern. If you don’t have experience in marketing and you don’t have in-house marketing executives, it makes sense to think about outsourcing this element of the business. Marketing can have such a significant impact on the success of a new venture, and it’s crucial to get it right. If you’re not keen on recruiting members of staff with marketing expertise, working with an external company may provide the ideal solution. Look for digital agency value add services or think about hiring freelancers if you need help in designing and implementing an introductory campaign. Outsourcing enables you to access to skills you need, but it can also save you money, as you won’t be adding to the payroll over a prolonged period of time. When looking for agencies or individuals, take your time to look at portfolios, previous clients, and reviews.

Image via https://pixabay.com/en/businessmen-communication-community-786071/

Getting your name out there

Once your plans are laid out, the next stage is to get your name out there. Use the findings of your research to attract the attention of those who are most likely to be interested in your brand. Send out emails, set up social media accounts, and make sure you have a great business website, which has mobile capabilities. Consumers spend more and more time online, and if you can direct traffic to your website, you’ll have a better chance of converting leads. Share posts about your new business, encourage followers to share your links, and optimize the content on your website to drive traffic from search engines. If you’re launching a new product, or you’re opening a business like a salon, a store, or a restaurant, it’s a fabulous idea to plan an event, and you can share the details and send out invitations through your website and social media platforms. When your website is up and running, and you’ve got active social media accounts and an SEO campaign in force, make use of analytics to track your progress. If you’re covering all bases in terms of social media, for example, analytic tools can help you determine which channels are most effective, and which are falling flat. Be prepared to tweak your strategy to keep it relevant, to iron out teething problems, and to make sure you’re giving customers what they want.

Image credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/findyoursearch/5202301465

Are you about to launch a new business, or are you in the process of trying to build your client base and inform people about the services or products you offer? Marketing plays a key role in establishing a brand and attracting attention from consumers. Hopefully, this guide will help you make the right calls and get people talking about your brilliant new business.