Own a Small Business? 4 Advantages of Exhibiting at a Trade Show

Every small business owner should invest time and energy in exhibiting at trade shows. The cost setting up a booth is minuscule compared to the payoff. Attending and participating in trade shows is an intimate and effective way to boost almost any business. The following are four advantages of exhibiting at trade shows.

Face-to-Face Interactions with Customers

Exhibiting at trade shows gives small business owners an excellent opportunity to interact with potential customers in person, building rapport and establishing a connection between the business and its customer base. People are far more likely to invest money in a business that they believe cares about them and their communication. Never underestimate the value and importance of connecting with customers in person. This will help customers feel as if they are an actual part of a small business’s operations. The goal of any small business owner should be to build a community around their business. This can be achieved by showing up and personally meeting the very people who comprise your collective of customers and target audience. But if you don’t have time to do this yourself, consider investing in promotional modeling, or assign one of your assistants or employees to be there.

Gauge Customers’ Needs and Interests

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, getting to know the people you are trying to sell products or services to will help you to better gauge their interests, desires, and individual needs. Your customers are far more likely to give you feedback in person rather than take the time to respond to survey questions. When you’re visiting with them, be sure to actively listen to their responses. Take note of the things they tell you, and implement their ideas where possible.

Effective Platform to Launch New Products and Services

Trade shows are perfect places to try out new products and services. As a small business owner, you will be able to see, in real time, all reactions to your new products and services when you test them out at a trade show, rather than jumping straight into marketing and selling them. This method of previewing what a business has to offer is time-tested and will allow you helpful analytic data before investing time and money into innovations that won’t work so well.

Networking

Trade shows are attended by people from all facets of business, marketing, and various other industries. Making friends at these events opens opportunities for your small business to reach more people than ever, and the friendships made at trade shows will, undoubtedly, supply you with fresh resources and means to market and sell your business more effectively and on a larger scale. No small business can succeed alone. It takes an entire team to reach any real level of success.

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

Customer Connections Are Key

The business world is constantly in flux, adapting and evolving to match the demand. For your company to remain a success on the market, you need to make sure it feels fresh to new customers. It has to always be the business offering more to customers and going the extra mile. To do this, keep two ideas in mind, relatability and relevance. It’s important you make sure that your business and marketing campaign is running on a connected model. Everything should be tied to everything else otherwise you are losing potential in your business. What we mean by this is that you might get customers to your Twitter. But, if there’s no link to your site, then they can’t buy so it’s a rather pointless follow. Or, you might get one buy from them. But, if they don’t feel a connection with your company, they won’t buy again. As such, it is a missed opportunity. Here’s how to keep customers connected in your business model.

Support Through Live Messaging

Gone are the days when you needed a full room of employees for customer phone support. Instead, you can now give them all the support and services they need online with a live messenger. Live messengers provide customers with instant access to your business. It’s easy to setup, cheap to run and customers will appreciate knowing that support is only ever a quick tap away on the keyboard.

Marketing Through Social Networks

Social networks are an easy, natural ways to make customers and clients feel as though your company is more than a business. It’s something they can relate to and connect with on multiple levels. For instance, with snapchat, fun images and viral videos can gain the attention of the press and the consumer. You should certainly be looking into this possibility, and you can find out more in the following infographic.


Infographic By Interesting Facts About Snapchat

In Search of the Elite Few – Finding and Hiring the Best Software Developers in the Industry

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The Challenge

Hiring software development talent – real talent – is a multi-faceted skill that lies at the crossroads of social networking, technical acumen, process management, and intuition. Anyone who has ever had hiring responsibility understands all-too-well the extent and depth of the hiring challenge.

Hiring talent is a multi-faceted skill that lies at the crossroads of social networking, technical acumen, process management, and intuition.

Particularly challenging is the fact that the hallmark qualities of exceptional software engineering candidates are extremely difficult to evaluate. How do you explore a candidate’s ability to innovate and think creatively? How do you determine if he’s a team player? How do you diagnose her ability to take constructive feedback? How do you investigate someone’s moral fiber?

While evaluating these “soft” criteria is no easy task, doing so is essential in one’s quest to hire the very best. Yet all too often, attempts at evaluating these crucial, yet elusive, attributes consist of questions or challenges that are sufficiently transparent for the “correct” answers to be obvious to most candidates. Thus, nothing of substance is achieved by asking them.

A common resulting pitfall is to instead focus too heavily on technical minutia, rather than evaluating the candidate’s ability to problem solve, to think creatively, and to work compatibly with the rest of the team.

A common pitfall is to focus too heavily on technical minutia.

Admittedly, effective interviewing and hiring of advanced software developers is as much of an art as it is a science. Nonetheless, approaches and methodologies do exist for evaluating the more subtle dimensions of a software engineer’s skills and abilities.

When used collectively, these recruiting techniques yield a highly effective screening process with a proven track record of success for hiring salaried or freelance programming talent. That process is what this post is all about.

Getting Started: Filling the Pipeline with the Best

The process of finding and hiring the elite few begins long before the interview itself. In fact, a systematic approach to properly identifying potentially qualified candidates can streamline and increase the efficiency of your entire recruiting process significantly.

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Without a doubt, the single best source of qualified candidates is personal networking, as quality people tend to associate with quality people. Personal referrals dominate as the most productive source for successful new hires (source).

Other valuable sources of top-notch technical talent include:

The beauty of these resources is that they supply candidates who you have vetted, in one way or another, before even interviewing them.

  • Blogs and online technical postings.Developer blogs can be a great source of strong candidates. Technical posts often provide valuable insights into a developer’s technical acumen, approach to problem solving, and writing skills, all of which are important criteria for identifying cream-of-the-crop candidates.
  • Open source code contributors.Perusing open source projects on sites such as GitHub and SourceForge can yield highly qualified candidates. An added benefit of this approach is that it allows you to see and evaluate a candidate’s code samples before even deciding to make contact.
  • Conference speakers and co-attendees at relevant technical conferences often provide a valuable resource for qualified candidates. If you are unable to attend, review the online program and consider contacting the presenters. You may just happen to contact them “at the right time”, or they may be able to refer you to someone else who is highly qualified.

The beauty of these resources is that they supply engineering candidates who you have vetted, in one way or another, before even interviewing them. Either someone in your company, or someone you know, knows them and recommends them highly. Or you have reviewed their open source code and are duly impressed by it. Or their blog posts suggest a mature level of technical expertise and understanding (and ideally even a sense of humor 🙂 ). The key here is that, by the time you make contact, the candidate is already significantly more than “just another resume”.

Additionally, consider using job description templates (like these for SEOfront-end web development, and back-end web development) that set a high expectation for the types of candidates you desire.

Evaluating Software Developers’ Technical Acumen

An effective determination of technical proficiency goes far beyond the nuances of a specific programming language or technology. While these technical details should certainly not be ignored, they typically are not the most important element of the evaluation process.

An effective determination of technical proficiency goes far beyond the nuances of a specific programming language or technology…
It is the candidate’s fundamental technical strength and understanding, creative thinking, and problem solving that are critical to evaluate.

The best developers don’t waste time committing to memory that which can easily be found in a language specification or API document. Moreover, learning a new language, technology, or design pattern is a relatively trivial exercise for a strong developer (and is actually an essential skill given the accelerated rate at which new technologies are being introduced and gaining market share). It is therefore the candidate’s fundamental technical strength and understanding, creative thinking, and problem solving that are critical to evaluate.

A proven method for accomplishing this is to pose a programming challenge unconstrained by language. Present the candidate with a problem and ask him or her to code a solution in the language of their choosing. The only requirements should be that the solution be thorough and correct, including addressing any edge conditions or potential errors. Remember, the goal here is to evaluate the candidate’s (a) ability to problem solve, (b) knowledge of computer science, and (c) coding style. You’re not at this point evaluating aptitude in a specific programming language. (An added benefit of this approach, incidentally, is that it avoids requiring the interviewer to be an expert in the language the candidate is coding in.)

Numerous online resources exist from which you can select such programming challenges to incorporate into your interview process. Those that focus on algorithms (rather than knowledge of a specific programming language) facilitate evaluation of a candidate’s computer science foundation and problem solving capabilities. Some noteworthy examples include hackerrank.comprojecteuler.net, and beatmycode.com. Bear in mind, though, that you don’t need to use these sites to administer the tests; rather, you can simply use them as resources from which to select challenges and then have the candidate code a solution during the in person interview (on a white board, etc.).

That said, online testing can be a valuable additional component of your interview process. When using online testing services, though, it is important to avoid the risk of focusing too heavily on a candidate’s site-generated scores rather than the specifics of their solutions. For one thing, you may not agree with the evaluation metrics employed by the testing service. Moreover, there may be aspects of a solution that you consider particularly clever or elegant, to which the automated evaluation process may be entirely oblivious.

When using online testing services, it is important to avoid the risk of focusing too heavily on a candidate’s site-generated scores rather than the specifics of their solutions.

There is also the potential for “false positives” or “false negatives” with ratings provided by online testing services. On the one hand, false positives can result in wasted time and resources interviewing unqualified candidates, while false negatives can disqualify candidates who were highly worthy of consideration. In the long-term, the latter has more serious ramifications and is therefore something that one must carefully monitor for.

In general, tests administered in person are inherently more reliable than those administered online, since they reduce the potential for deception. Moreover, in-person testing provides the opportunity to observe how a software engineer candidate operates under pressure. Nonetheless, use of online testing services can be an effective component of the more comprehensive type of screening process advocated herein, which incorporates other techniques to help weed out either fraudulent or under-qualified candidates.

Online development tests can also serve as a valuable preliminary filter to eliminate the staggeringly high percentage of candidates whose technical skills are far below par. Interestingly, many such candidates abandon the process without even trying to take the tests, due to a lack of confidence. That said, confidence is not always the best barometer of attitude, as attested to by the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Another extremely valuable technique for evaluating technical acumen is to ask the candidate to provide a list of open source projects that they have authored, or at least contributed to, on sites such as GitHub and SourceForge (if they were only a contributor, ask them to indicate to you which portions of the code they personally authored). You can then come to the interview having reviewed their code, prepared to ask them about specific design decisions, coding styles, patterns employed, and so on. Such a discussion can be substantially more valuable than simply quizzing the candidate on the technical minutia of a language.

Speaking of language…

Members of the elite few are not just technologically savvy, they are consummate software development professionals who communicate clearly, effectively, and succinctly, both verbally and in writing.

Verbal communication skills are easy to evaluate in the course of an interview, whether in-person or over the phone. While verbal skills are admittedly less critical in certain “back room” technical roles that don’t involve user contact, they are nonetheless still important for maximizing effective team interactions and interchange of ideas.

Members of the elite few are consummate professionals who communicate clearly, effectively, and succinctly, both verbally and in writing.

Written communication skills can best be evaluated by asking the candidate to provide writing samples. Technical writing samples are strongly preferred, since they demonstrate not only writing skills, but also technical clarity. Requesting these samples in advance of the interview can be particularly useful. For one thing, this provides the opportunity to review and analyze their writing ahead of time so that you can come to the interview prepared to discuss and critique their writing with them. In addition, some technical candidates will be “put off” by the request for writing samples which in itself can serve as a valuable filter.

The Moral Dilemma

There is an old joke about a father who wants to teach his son about ethics. The father tells his son that he and his partner have a dry cleaning business. “One day,” says the father, “a customer comes into our store to pick up her dry cleaning. As the customer turns around to leave, I realize that she’s overpaid by 10 dollars. OK, so here comes the ethics… do I or don’t I tell my partner?!”

In contrast, real ethical dilemmas – moral dilemmas – can often be murky and complex and they most certainly present themselves in business. The strongest software developer can wreak untold havoc on a project if he or she lacks a properly calibrated moral compass. This dimension of a candidate is therefore critical to evaluate.

The strongest software developer can wreak untold havoc on a project if he or she lacks a properly calibrated moral compass.

A highly effective technique for accomplishing this is to present the candidate with a hypothetical moral dilemma and ask what they would do in the situation. For this to be effective, it is essential that the dilemma not have an obvious answer. Ideally, any possible answer should be imperfect and somewhat problematic. The answer the candidate provides to such a question can provide enormous insight into how they think, their ethical standards, and their priorities.

Here’s an example:

The company you work for has been hired to work on a project by another company. The project requires use of a particular subcontractor. You previously worked for that subcontractor and you therefore know first-hand that they often “pad” their hours and overcharge their customers for their time. If they do this on this project, though, it won’t hurt your company, since those costs will be passed on to your company’s customer. You’ve mentioned this to your boss and he has advised you not to say anything to the customer, especially since the subcontractor’s portion of the project only represents a small fraction of the overall budget. You have a very close friend who works for the customer though. One day over lunch, your friend asks you what you know about this subcontractor, since he knows you used to work there. How do you respond and what do you tell him?

The beauty here is that there’s no clearly “right” answer and the situation mirrors the moral complexity of real life and the business world. If asked properly, the answer to such a “moral dilemma” question can be one of the most telling and valuable parts of the interview process for hiring software developers.

Getting to Know You (Who are you really?)

One of the inherent flaws of the interview process is that there is really no way to get to know what it will be like to work with a person until you actually work with them. Getting a realistic feel for a candidate’s personality and temperament is nonetheless crucial to a successful hire.

The technical elite are not just technically superior, they are also highly professional. The search for them is therefore not limited to a strictly technical evaluation.

The technical elite are not just technically superior, they are also highly professional.

With that in mind, here are some interview techniques that can be beneficial for evaluating a candidate’s personality and professionalism…

For one, consider intentionally beginning the interview process with a prescreen by a non-technical staff member (such as an administrative assistant). You can then ask this staff member how the candidate treated them once they realized that they were not technical. Were they demeaning, impatient, and condescending, or were they pleasant, patient, and respectful? What the staff member relays to you can be very telling indeed. You want to know if the candidate treats others with respect, regardless of who they are.

Throughout the interview, look for opportunities to provide the candidate with constructive feedback.Observe carefully the reaction that this elicits. Is the feedback appreciated or does the candidate appear to become at all defensive?

Engage in non-technical “chit chat” for the first 5 or 10 minutes of an interview as a means of obtaining insight into the candidate’s personality. The candidate may think this is simply a prelude to the actual interview and will therefore be more likely to “let their hair down”. You may thereby be able to discern a surprising amount about their personality during this time. And of course, if they exhibit a sense of humor, that’s always a good sign. 🙂

In addition to these general techniques for hiring engineers, here are some sample questions to help assess a candidate’s personality, confidence, honesty, and professionalism:

  • As you look back on your career, what it is a specific difficult situation you’ve been faced with that stands out in your mind? Describe the challenge and how you dealt with it in detail. What do you feel you handled particularly well? What might you do differently if you had the opportunity to do it over again?
  • What is the biggest mistake you think you ever made in your career?
  • What do you enjoy the most about software development? What do you enjoy the least?
  • If you could paint the ideal position for yourself, what would it be? What would it look like in terms of your role and responsibilities, size and type of company, the work environment and so on?
  • What are your greatest strengths? What would we gain by hiring you?
  • None of us are perfect. What are some aspects of your personality that you’re working on improving?
  • If I called your current boss and asked him about you, what would he or she tell me?
  • What should we be concerned about in hiring you?

Collectively, these questions and techniques have been proven to foster a much stronger and deeper understanding of who the candidate really is, which is a vital to making a successful hiring decision.

Is the Feeling Mutual?

So, you’ve found an A+ candidate. Highly skilled. Positive, upbeat personality. Excellent cultural fit. That’s great! But…

There’s still one pivotal question that remains to be answered: To what extent is the candidate specifically interested in your available position and in working for your company? The answer to this is of paramount importance in ensuring a successful hire. One-sided relationships work no better in business than they do in any other aspect of our lives.

Once again, simply asking the question directly is of minimal value since, in the context of the interview process, one must be suspicious of a candidate’s candor in answering such a question. Rather, this is something that one must attempt to ascertain through other, less direct, means.

One-sided relationships work no better in business than they do in any other aspect of our lives.

For starters, the way the candidate approaches you from the onset is a fairly reliable gauge of interest. Does the candidate offer a cogent, compelling explanation of why he or she is particularly interested in your company and the available opportunity? If so, this not only displays real interest, but also a level of professional maturity and sophistication. Such a candidate has clearly done at least some level of prior research into your company, and the opportunity, before contacting you (rather than simply “shotgunning their resume around town”).

Candidates who enter the developer hiring process having done their homework on the company, and its products or services, provide a useful indicator of both their interest and their savvy. Candidates who have gone as far as doing advance research on the interviewer (e.g., reading his or her bio, LinkedIn profile, blog posts, and so on) are particularly noteworthy. More sophisticated candidates will make a point of revealing this information in the course of the interview. For others, simple open-ended questions such as “What do you know about our company?” and “What in particular interests you about our company and this position?” can elicit very telling responses indeed.

Finally, a candidate who is genuinely interested will likely be asking questions throughout the interview process. That notwithstanding, it’s always a good idea to close the interview by asking if the candidate has any questions. A lack of any questions at all can be a red flag, even with someone who would otherwise have been considered an A+ candidate.

Wrap Up

The techniques described herein can serve as a valuable core process for finding and hiring software developers that are the best in the industry. Yet it is important to remember that effective hiring is not a destination, it’s a journey. One must continually re-evaluate and tweak their process, as a static process is destined to become a dead process.

Effective hiring is not a destination, it’s a journey.

Every company’s journey will be different, based on its own culture and priorities. Find the path that’s right for your organization and execute on it. You will have successes and you will have failures, but as long as you learn from the latter, you can be assured that you’re on the right path.

This article originally appeared on Toptal.

 

 

Making the Most Out of #Business #Networking Events

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The Internet has made it easier than ever to build up networks and connections with new people and audiences. But the truth is, it only gives you so much. The nature of the web platform makes it too easy to be fickle, and that means a lot of work involved just to keep attracting your core support. There is, however, a better way of building solid relationships that last – and that’s by getting out there and meeting people face to face.

Today, we’re going to discuss how you can make the most out of attending business networking events. If you want to create a solid foundation for your business, you have to get out there and meet people. I appreciate it can be tough – particularly if you are a quiet type who prefers dealing with people online. But the simple fact is that human interaction will create far stronger bonds than any blog post, social media update, or cute picture of a kitten.

With this in mind, here are some ideas on making the most out of your business networking. Take a look and see what you think.

Attend everything

The idea behind networking of any kind is to forge new or stronger relationships. So, if there are industry events – such as awards ceremonies or trade shows – attend them. You never know who you might meet. If you supplier invites you to a new product launch, go – even if you are unlikely to use the product. Every time you interact with another person, you have a chance of striking a deal or being introduced to an interested party.

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Hold your own events

Nothing is stopping you from staging an event yourself. It could be for a product launch, or you might decide that industry events in your location are underserved. Not only is it a great way to get a name for yourself, but it’s also a chance to meet other industry faces. And, as the organizer of the show, you will enjoy a lot of respect – assuming the event goes well, of course.

Always be ready to sell

Make sure you stock up on business cards, flyers with product information, and anything else you can lay your hands on. Networking events can be busy occasions, and no one will remember everyone they meet. Sticking a card in someone’s pocket might trigger their memory later on, and gives you a better chance of reconnecting. It’s also worth being ready to make a sale. Something like a PayPal credit card reader is easy to set up, and you take orders wherever you are. However, there is one thing to bear in mind. While you should always be ready to sell, networking isn’t only about selling. Get to know people, and build relationships. Sales will come if people are interested – but you will make a bad name for yourself if you are pushy.

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Seek out partnerships

Finally, use your networking events to find complementary businesses to your own. If you can create a relationship with another local business, you will be able to offer your customers a far stronger offer. If you are a web copywriter, for example, then finding a web developer to work with could provide great dividends.

 

 

 

 

This is What You Need to do to Make Your Business Amazing

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Image Via Pixabay.com

When you run and support your own business, you need to look at how you can improve it. It’s important that you do whatever you can to enhance and advance your company. The idea is to get to a stage where the business can blossom naturally and achieve success as easily as possible. Now, there are a lot of things you need to do to achieve this. It’s just a case of coming up with as many different ideas and techniques as possible. Take a look at the following points that you can use to make your business amazing. These are all important and essential steps for entrepreneur ears to take. So use them as much as you can, and help get the brand to the place you want it to be.

Make Sure You Can Support It

You’ve got to make sure you can support your business as much as possible. There are a lot of things you’ll have to account for when you think about this. Running a company is very expensive, and you’re going to have to take care of all of this yourself. So, you need to come up with ways of helping you bankroll the company. Hopefully, you’ve been sensible and saved some money for such an event. However, you may well need financial support anyway. Applying for a business loan is one of the best ways of getting the financial injection you need. Make sure you are meticulous in your application and that your business can afford to be borrowing money.

Spend Time Making the Office Great

If you think about all the things an entrepreneur needs to start a business, you’ll find that an office is up there. It’s so important to make sure you have a great office environment. This can be essential for productivity, comfort, and improving your working life. So, you need to spend as much time as you can making the office great. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a home office or your place of business, it needs to look awesome and be functional. There are a lot of things you have to look at and address when it comes to making the office better. Consider the benefits of layout, lighting, equipment, and size. Making the office great may seem like a bit of a luxury, but it’s actually more important than you might think.

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Team Building

It’s crucial that you develop the best team of workers you possibly can. And that’s why team building is so important for modern companies. You have to do as much as you possibly can help build a strong staff base. There are a lot of reasons why you need to build a strong and successful team. The better your team of workers is the more they will produce for you. Positive morale is one of the best things to enhance productivity. So, you have got to come up with ways of focusing on team building. This could be through corporate events, weekends away, or staff nights out. Whatever you choose, it’s important to make sure you are working toward building a strong team of workers.

Network

You must never forget how important it is to network as much as possible. No matter how established your business might be, you still need to make sure you network. It’s always important to build contacts and increase your client base. And this is something that you will work toward through networking. The good news is that this is much easier nowadays because of the internet, and social media. So, the best thing you can do is come up with different ways of networking. You never know what opportunities may arise to help you build connections. So, you always need to be looking for ways of networking the business in the strongest possible way.

Rebrand

There will be points when it becomes necessary to rebrand areas of the business. You need to be aware of the fact that sometimes your company and products will need a rebrand. This might just be to give everything a facelift after a long period of time. But, it might be because you are trying to dip your toes in the waters of the foreign market. There’s always a risk that the business branding may not translate well in another language or culture. So, rebranding the company is always something you need to consider. It’s an excellent way of making the business better and improving your chances of success.

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Go International

Eventually, you will want to see your business grow into a well-known and respected brand. And the best way of doing this is to take the company international. You’ve made a success of yourself in your own country, and now it’s time for the next step. It’s time for the business to achieve global recognition. So, you have got to come up with the best possible way of doing this. It might be a case of rebranding even more. You may need to travel out there for business meetings to develop client relationships. Also, hiring foreign employees is a good way of helping to facilitate this change too.

Use all Sorts of Marketing

You should always be looking for ways of driving the brand forward as much as possible. It’s crucial that you do whatever you can to promote and advertise yourself in the best possible way. And, you need to make sure you use lots of different marketing strategies to help you achieve that. You should visit SEO ClickMedia to find a great digital marketing company. It’s also important to make sure you use an array of different marketing methods. Things like radio, television, and word of mouth are just as important as social media. Try to have as many great marketing methods as you possibly can.

Reputation

You’ve got to understand how important it is to have a great reputation in the business world. It’s crucial that you build, maintain and preserve the best possible reputation for your company. That’s because you have to understand that people judge you on reputation. A reputation can take years to build but seconds to tear down and destroy. So you have to make the right decisions and do sensible things with your reputation in mind. It’s important that you build a positive rep so that clients respond to your business in the right way. Always keep in mind how important it is to have the best possible reputation.

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Be Reliable

It’s essential that you make sure you are reliable and dependable as a company. People hold this in very high regard these days. You have to make sure you are the business that can be relied upon. Customers want the best service and quality possible. They are spending their hard-earned money, and they want to be sure they are getting the best possible deal. You already know the importance of having a strong reputation. And you need to develop a reputation as someone who is reliable and can provide customers with exactly what they want. This is the best way of ensuring you get the best possible attention and success you can.

Luxury

If you’re serious about making your company better, you should try to embrace the luxury market. This means making changes to try to make the business a bit more high-end. You could target a different class of customers and try to make sure your products are as awesome as possible. There are a lot of benefits of getting into the luxury market. For one thing, it’s good to increase your profit margins, and become more diverse. But, you also need to remember that you will be judged more intensively in the luxury market. So you really have to go out of your way to make sure your products and services are the best quality they can possibly be.

Focus on Customer Service

You need to remember how important customers are when it comes to business. They need to be your principal focus because they are what help your business grow. And that’s why customer service is so important for companies. This is something you really need to focus on and make sure you get right. It’s important that you realize that your clients are going to judge you on the level of service you provide them with. So, you have to make sure you are focused on making the customer experience a good one. Make sure you train all your staff to prioritize customer service as much as possible.

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Making your business amazing should be the principal focus of any entrepreneur. You need to try to make changes that will improve the company as much as possible. And, there are a lot of things you can do that will help you achieve this. It’s important that you take steps to try and make your business as awesome as you can. Use the ideas and suggestions on this post to help you do that. You’ll set the company up well for a successful and fruitful future.

What’s Next After Being Fired From Your Job?

greatnessAre you struggling to find a new job after being fired? Or maybe you’ve been fired recently and your next move is still unclear.

Recovering and getting back into work after a firing isn’t easy, but it can be done.

Here are seven top tips to help you get your career back on track….

Be Honest with Yourself and Employers

No one likes an employee who plays the blame game. Be honest with yourself and potential new employers about what happened.

If you caused the firing, don’t shift the blame, and definitely don’t badmouth your former employer.

If you were fired through no fault of your own, such a restructuring, be honest about that too, but still avoid the blame game. Try to keep it as positive as is reasonable.

Take Stock of Your Career

Now is a good time to take stock of your career and decide where you really want to go next.

Ask yourself:

  • Were you happy in your job prior to being let go?
  • Why or why not?
  • Is there a direction that would be a better fit for you?

If you want to retrain, now is a good time to look into doing that.

Stay in the Loop with Networking

The article “You Were Fired: Now What?” suggests keeping up with your network even after a firing. Former colleagues and clients can be a rich source of leads for new roles.

Networking can help you feel less out of the loop and keep you up to date on what is happening in your industry.

Keep things friendly and professional and there won’t be any awkwardness.

Keep on Good Terms If You Can

It’s easy to get angry at your boss after a firing, but trying to stay on good terms will serve you much better in the long run. If you can’t do that, at least be civil and avoid pointing fingers.

Depending on the circumstances of your firing, your boss may even be willing to act as a reference for you, or let you know about any opportunities that are a good fit.

Look to People Who Know You

Gaining a new employers’ trust after a firing can be challenging.

After all, they’re looking for people they can rely on, and if the choice is between someone who has been fired and someone who has a spotless record, it’s easy to see which direction they’re going to take.

That’s where people who know and already trust you can be helpful.

Look to friends, colleagues or others in your network for leads and recommendations.

You might also approach former employers who you parted from on good terms.

Stay Busy

It’s important to stay busy after a firing. If you don’t, you run the risk of getting yourself into a slump and subsequently finding it harder to get out and get back in the game.

Consider taking a training course, doing some further education, or even doing some volunteer work. You’ll be brushing up your skills and keeping your mind active at the same time.

Secure Good References

Good references can be a challenge after a firing.

You don’t have to approach your immediate boss, however – are there any colleagues who would be willing to vouch for you?

Staying involved with your local business network, or doing some volunteer work, can help you build up current references.

Getting back on your feet after a firing can be a challenge.

Use these tips to get proactive and with some honesty and determination, you’ll soon be back in the game.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a variety of topics including social media, how to build customer relationships, content marketing and how to get back on your feet after being fired.

5 Ways to Give Your Brand Some Loving

When it comes to your company’s brand, getting it out in front of countless eyes should always be a top priority. For you and your business to succeed, the more eyes the better.

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But what happens when your brand is not being seen by as many consumers as it should be?

For too many businesses, this is a problem they deal with on a regular basis. In some cases, they find the solution to the problem, while others struggle with satisfactorily getting the necessary attention their brand deserves and needs.

In the event you find your brand in the latter group, here are some things to mull over in the days, weeks and months ahead.

You Can Never Get Enough Networking

To start things off, make sure you have these five bases covered when it comes to giving your brand some loving:

  1. Marketing – Are you truly taking advantage of any and all marketing opportunities you have? Marketing is much more than just sending out a few emails, handing out a couple of promotional items, and attending one or two networking events. Your marketing plan should encompass a wide array of options, many of which do not have to cost you an arm and a leg. For starters, did you put together a marketing media kit for 2015? If the answer is no, there is still time to do that even though nearly one-fourth of the year has passed. The main goal with your marketing plan is just that, have a plan in place and execute it;
  2. Advertising – There is a good chance in today’s economy that you might have pulled back on some advertising opportunities going into 2015. If that is the case, make sure the opportunities you do have are good ones. Your advertising efforts should be going out to the demographics that are most likely to buy your product or service. Make sure you take the time to review those you are advertising to; are they truly high-buying prospects or just a shot in the dark you are taking;
  3. Social media – If your social game has been ho-hum or lacking altogether, change that in a hurry. Social media is one of those spectrums that you can get major benefits from at a low-cost investment. If you have a Facebook page, make sure you are using it to share interesting information and images pertaining not only to your company, but your industry in general. You can and should also run consumer poll questions, offer special giveaways and more. If you’re on Instagram, images of your product/s and/or services are a must. Whatever your social site or sites of choice are, make sure you are tending to them regularly;
  4. Networking – Use as many opportunities as available to network with others in your industry. From conferences/trade shows to webinars, you can never meet up with enough industry pros/potential customers or authoritative experts in your line of work. While it can get expensive to go to a number of trade shows, seek out the best ones for your dollars. The long-term gains can be well worth the price you pay now;
  5. Website – Last but certainly not least, your company website should always be a high priority when it comes to promoting your brand. Make sure you have a site that is easy to maneuver around (consumers hate having to wander through a maze), the links work effortlessly, your search engine optimization (SEO) game is second to none, you have important contact information that is easy to locate (this includes emails for department heads etc.), and you respond in a timely manner to consumer feedback (good and bad). Since your website is oftentimes the first image consumers have of your company, you can’t take it for granted no matter how much time and effort goes into making it look first-rate.

As a business owner, how do you give your brand some loving?

About the Author: Miguel Salcido has been a professional search marketing consultant for over 11 years. He is the founder and CEO of Organic Media Group, a content driven SEO agency. He also likes to blog at OrganicSEOConsultant.com and share insights into advanced SEO.