The Expert Seamstress: How to Run a Successful Fashion Business

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

Create a Business Plan

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

Choose a Location

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

Decide on Marketing

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

Network

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

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

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

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

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

Get online

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

Crowdfunding

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

Free marketing

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

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

 

How to Make Your Growing Business More Competitive

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

Employee Upgrades

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

Offer New Benefits for Employees

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

Expanding the Business

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

Conclusion

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

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

Five of the Best Marketing Automation Tools for Small Businesses

The day in the life of a small business owner is likely full of endless emails, conference calls, meetings, strategy sessions, and the occasional lunch break if they are lucky. Before they know it, the day gets away. This is why business owners depend on marketing automation. A robust marketing software prevents marketers from having to spend their time taking care of repetitive tasks such as creating email campaigns, audience segmentation, gathering web analytics reports, CRM management, and social media management.

While the initial set-up of these features is essential and involves careful strategy, once they are ready to go, automation can make all the difference. According to a study conducted by Venture Beat, 80 percent of marketing automation users saw their numbers of leads increase, and 77 percent saw a lift in the number of conversions. So, what are the best tools to get started? Read on for the best-rated marketing automation tools according to the leading business technology review site, TrustRadius.

HubSpot

HubSpot, one of the largest and most popular inbound marketing automation tools, is said to be used by over 18,000 customers in more than 90 countries. Marketers can set up email marketing campaigns, create landing pages, handle SEO and social media management as well as a host of other tasks. Reviewers of HubSpot on TrustRadius praise the product’s easy-to-use interface, practical training sessions, and ease of uploading content and creating landing pages. However, the integrations are still lacking, and users did find it difficult to get the level of reporting and analytics they truly needed for social media campaigns.

Marketo

Mid-sized companies enjoy the multiple uses of Marketo. In addition to the typical marketing automation tools, Marketo also allows marketers to personalize websites and optimize mobile engagement. Where Hubspot is still working on expanding their integrations, TrustRadius reviewers are impressed with the number of software tools Marketo can connect to for automation functions. Creating and scheduling email automation is also quick and convenient to handle according to TrustRadius reviewers. On the negative side, many cited that the complicated user interface and overall slowness in data reporting can bring a bit of frustration to marketers who are always on the go.

Hatchbuck

If you are looking for some help in managing workflows, automated sales alerts, and numerous helpful integrations with a smaller but just as strong system, Hatchbuck may be the best option. Small businesses are known to favor this system in comparison to mid-sized and larger enterprises. Reviews by TrustRadius users conveyed enjoyment with the drag and drop email creator, fast customer service, and quick email automation services. TrustRadius reviewers are not too fond of the challenge in creating custom reports and feel the campaign creation process could be a bit less clunky and more straightforward.

LeadSquared

For those who do not have the resources or time to invest in a system like Hubspot or Marketo heavily but still want solid automation results, LeadSquared may be the answer. In addition to the general inbound marketing features, LeadSquared can also help with event and webinar marketing as well as social profile integration. TrustRadius reviewers liked the system’s value when compared to other products, the number of APIs available, and very knowledgeable support staff. On the other hand, users need to watch out for a less than satisfactory user interface, and the difficulty in setting up drip marketing actions.

The Wrap Up

Regardless of a marketer’s comfort with automation, the budget they are working with, and the level of help their team needs to implement marketing strategy; there is a viable option out there for everyone. Marketers just need to be sure they know the most important features they need to take care of repetitive marketing tasks and increase the overall marketing ROI.

Chanell Alexander currently resides in Atlanta, GA. When she’s not traveling and trying new restaurants in the Metro Atlanta area, she writes about the latest technology and tools for TrustRadius,

 

 

 

Dream of the Fortune 500? Process-Improving Tips for Small Healthcare Companies

Ever since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a few American healthcare companies have emerged as major Fortune 500 players. From pharmaceutical giants to insurance companies and from drugstore chains to medical equipment suppliers, healthcare companies are adapting to change and improving their processes. As the owner or executive of a small healthcare business, you should be following the examples set by these successful companies. Here are four recommendations to improve your processes:

Understand the Cycle of Improvement

You cannot expect to improve business processes with a single action. Quality improvement consists of making adjustments and changes that may result in new issues to worry about. When you set out to improve your processes, you should follow a cycle of planning, taking action, evaluating, and taking new actions. You should keep in mind that a single adjustment can have repercussions across your company.

Communicate with Your Staff

When you set out to improve your processes, it is important that your staff is aware of your intentions. At some point, you will want to implement certain measures that your employees and associates may not be in agreement with. If you simply push measures without consulting with staff, your efforts will become complicated.

Learn to Monitor Your Expenses

Let’s say part of your business consists of assigning medical professionals to visit patients who receive home care therapy. If you need to evaluate the costs involved in sending your associates to the field, you can use a solution such as MedPro Systems. Once you figure out real costs, you can adjust your insurance billing and reimbursements accordingly. In this case, MedPro Systems will provide you with real-time access to healthcare provider travel and expense data. Check to see if whatever service you use is able to provide that as well.

Approach Improvement as a Project

Depending on the scope of your company and on your business goals, improving certain processes can turn out to be a very complex task. By treating process improvement as a project, you will be able to determine how much effort and resources will be needed. With project management apps such as Asana, you can assign certain improvement tasks to your staff and associates.

In the end, your dreams of growing your small healthcare practice into a Fortune 500 company will largely depend on your ability to improve certain processes. The compliance aspect is bound to get more challenging, but there will always be opportunities for business expansion.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

The Advantages of the Process Orchestration and Automation for Small Businesses

In today’s hyperconnected era, we’ve already moved most of our businesses to the digital landscape. AI-powered tools and cloud technology have become extremely sophisticated, helping you improve your team’s productivity and reduce operational costs.

This is exactly why the processes of automation and orchestration have become a must in the small business ecosystem. The idea behind them is logical- software will do your repetitive tasks, while you will focus on more creative aspects of your job.

Still, even though they’re similar, these processes are not the same. As its mere name says, automation means the using different tools that will make your everyday tasks faster and minimize the human error. But, to get the most of your business automation, you need to leverage orchestration, too. It helps you coordinate the tools you use and build a centralized management system to improve the overall workplace productivity.

It Improves Collaboration within Teams

Effective communication is the backbone of every successful business, irrespective of its size. And, precisely because of that, these processes need to be highly automated. With a proper automation or orchestration tool, both project managers and employees can share information, download files, and collaborate in real-time. The process of orchestration is all about centralized data location, these tools allow an uninterrupted flow of information, enabling everyone in your team to solve problems instantly and launch promotions from a single dashboard. This way, you will be able to establish a standardized working environment, eliminate the complexity of using cross-platform projects, save money on IT support, and most importantly, increase the overall workplace productivity.

It Minimizes Human Errors

In almost any industry out there, one of the most common problems employees face is a bunch of repetitive tasks they need to handle every day. This is where the process of business automation and orchestration comes to shine. Automation tools will do these tasks for you, allowing employees to focus on some more complex aspects of their jobs. Aside from taking your task management to the next level, these tools also help you avoid some of the most common mistakes humans make, making your business more efficient.

Let’s take an example of customer support. Even though this is still a pretty new concept, chatbots are expected to dominate the digital industry in the years to come. AI-powered, these tools are highly flexible and they’re constantly gathering information and learning in order to provide exceptional customer services.

It Reduces Operational Costs

Business orchestration gives you the opportunity to minimize your expenses. According to the recent report done by Cisco, those businesses that invested in their workflow automation have reduced their operational costs significantly. Namely, they assessed numerous organizations that have automated the lifecycle of their services. Obviously, by these processes allowed them to coordinate all their tools, leave repetitive tasks to them, and build a standardized networkwide interface, which helps them deliver their services much faster. And, better performance results in a higher ROI.

It Helps You Boost Customer Satisfaction

Today, there are tens of thousands of small businesses just like yours. So, to attract new customers and inspire them to choose you over your competitors, you need to bring value. And, one of the first steps you need to take is to invest in highly personalized user experience.

Let’s take digital marketing as an example. To make your customers happy and deliver the right products and targeted content to them, you first need to know who they are. And, there are numerous tools that will help you automate your customer segmentation process and gather all the data you need to create better relationships with your customers.

The same goes for customer support. It needs to be impeccable. The functionality and intelligence of business orchestration tools help you gather your customers’ data, find out what the most common problems are when using your products, and try to fix these problems immediately to boost their satisfaction.

Those agencies working with numerous clients find it difficult to analyze their clients’ data and create extensive client reports. These processes sometimes take 5 hours per client, which is too much. On the other hand, there are numerous automated reporting tools that will create extensive and highly personalized client reports in just a few seconds. This is definitely something you shouldn’t ignore.

It Makes your Workflow Centralized

According to the Cisco’s report mentioned above, 69% of respondents said, when orchestrating their businesses, they focus on establishing a strong IT plan that helps them merge together all deployed technologies. In other words, they want to create a centralized and a highly coordinated management system that will enable their teams to complete tasks more effectively. This means unifying and coordinating different tools and platforms to attain better efficiency and control. s

It Boosts Transparency within an Organization

By implementing the process of automation, you’re actually investing in building a single knowledge base that is constantly expanding. This way, both project managers and employees will be able to track their performance in real-time. They have an immediate access to any project or task and are able to make changes immediately. At the same time, your every input, rejection, or change is recorded and can be seen by anyone in your team. This is just one of numerous aspects of transparency and, it not only helps people get their work done, but also builds trust among them.

Back to You

Business automation and orchestration are two immensely important aspects of your business and they are constantly intertwining. So, instead of separating them, you should merge them together. By implementing the techniques mentioned above, you will be able to boost your ROI, as well as improve your team’s productivity.

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

 

Always Wanted to Open a Brewery? 4 Steps for a Successful Start

Have you always wanted to open a brewery of your own? Well, before you do, there are a few things you need to accomplish beforehand. Here are the four most important steps to take to open a successful brewery.

Make a Solid Business Plan

The very first thing you should do to open a successful brewery is to make a solid business plan. This will ensure your finances and foals are in place to run your business as efficiently and successfully as possible. Your business plan will also include market research to make sure your business will do well in the area it’s operating in. Additionally, it will also contain a contingency plan in case things go awry when running your brewery. After making your brewery’s business plan, it’s time to follow the rules.

Understand the Rules

Before opening your brewery, it’s important you understand all the local and national regulations your business will have to follow. For example, every community has different wastewater regulations that you’ll have to follow. After all, not everything can be simply poured down the drain. As the business owner of a new brewery, you should contact local officials and agencies about regulations that you’ll need to follow closely. Also, keep in mind, you’ll need to obtain a federal and state license to legally operate your brewery. So, before starting anything, it’s important you fully understand the rules of the trade and keep yourself in check with every single one.

Obtain the Right Equipment

Next, you will need to ensure you have all the right equipment to begin brewing your beer. There is a lot of gear you will need to buy for each step of the process including mashing, fermentation, cooling, cleaning, and packaging. Some pieces of equipment you will likely need include kettles, kegs, boilers, fermentation tanks, storage tanks, refrigeration equipment, cleaning gear, bottling equipment, and more.

Keep It Clean

You will also need a plan to keep your equipment and your facility clean. This is a vital and often overlooked part of getting your brewery ready for business. Otherwise, you may be in violation of some rules. Be sure to have stainless steel overscreens on hand so you can keep unwanted contaminant out of your beer. Purchase the necessary cleaning equipment for the facility as well. Check out Saniclean Strainers for high-quality strainers as well.

There are a number of things you should keep in mind when opening a brewery. From making a solid business plan to obtaining the right equipment, there’s a list full of things you’ll need to do before running operations. Hopefully, with the help of the tips above, you can get a head start on your brewery and run a successful business.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.