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.

5 Actionable Tips for Scaling Your Small Business

Do you know how to scale your business? Starting your business took a lot of hard work. Now that you’re ready for expansion, you will likely face an entirely new set of challenges.

Already, as part of your routine, you must serve customers, supervise your staff, keep the books and fill other administrative roles. With so much to do, scaling your business might seem impossible. Where do you start? How do you find the time?

Use the following actionable tips for scaling your small business to do the job without becoming overwhelmed or busting your budget.

Embrace Success

Already, you’ve overcome the odds by building a successful small business. You know what failure looks like and you probably don’t like it. So, as you scale your business, think big and approach everything you do with a “success” mentality.

You can probably find thousands of fantastic ideas that can help you scale. Prepare yourself right now to say “no” to most of them. You have limited amounts of time and money, so stay focused on the things that matter the most.

Always keep the big picture in mind. Make every decision with an eye for the future. If you don’t, you could incur unnecessary expenses. For example, if you skimp on your data network or software applications, you may have to replace them if they can’t grow with you.

So, when you invest in systems, make sure they can scale with your business. Take a similar approach while assembling your team.

Get Help

Find someone who can serve as your mentor and advisor. Such a person could be anyone with experience either in your industry or your type of business. An investor, business owner, or someone with similar experience can fill this role.

In addition to getting advice from peers, you should learn to depend on your team. Rather than trying to do everything yourself, try delegating responsibilities. By letting other people share the load, you can have more time to plan and execute your growth strategy.

Of course, as your business grows, you will need to expand your team. Avoid the temptation to take shortcuts with your team. You need well-qualified people who can deliver a high level of performance. To do this, you’ll need to offer competitive wages, perks, educational opportunities, and other benefits.

Use Technology

As you scale, look for ways to work smarter rather than harder. Here, technology can play a vital role. For instance, you can use a cloud-based collaboration app to unify remote workers with your traditional employees.

When done right, your entire team can work together on documents, share files, and hold group brainstorming sessions. Tools that support instant messaging, live chat, video conferencing, and virtual whiteboards can also help your staff become more productive.

Automation offers you additional ways to scale your business. Thanks to technology, you can eliminate redundant data entry and automate many routine tasks. In the end, you can substantially improve productivity while eliminating opportunities for making errors.

Other opportunities for improving your business’ performance include analytics tools. These can collect and analyze multiple data points from your organization and provide insights into its performance.

Get Online

Your website and social networks are assets that you shouldn’t ignore. Spend time assessing their current state and then develop a plan for moving forward. Remember that a fresh and active online presence can grow your sales.

Now is a fantastic time to refresh your market research. First, identify the type of customers that need what you offer. Next, learn about the problems and challenges they face. You should also learn about their desires and aspirations.

Based on your research, create a persona that represents your ideal customer. As you create content, keep this person in mind. Create value by addressing the real-world issues that your persona faces.

Most of all, be consistent. On social media, share your brand’s personality. Socialize with your followers and share content. Do more than pitch sales. Become part of the community.

Encourage Feedback

In your quest for growth, never forget about your current customers. For starters, you can dramatically reduce your selling costs by closing repeat sales. In other words, by expanding your base, you can boost your profitability.

Your customers can also provide you with feedback that can support your ongoing success. They can provide you with answers to important questions:

● What new products and features should you sell?
● How can you create a better customer experience?
● What factors limit their frequency and volume of sales?
● How can you deliver more value to the marketplace?

Consider sending customers a survey after every sale. This gives them a chance to express their level of satisfaction and share their opinions. To encourage participation, keep your surveys short and simple. Additionally, offer an incentive such as a discount on a future purchase.

In conclusion, rest assured that you can successfully scale your business. However, to avoid the mistakes that have doomed other business, you should apply the above tips. Start by thinking big. your winning attitude will help you overcome failures and mistakes.

As you make progress, avoid distractions, get the help you need, leverage technology, and build your online presence. In the end, scaling your business requires a lot of work and some risk. What do you think about this topic? Share your comments or experiences that may help small business owners rise to the next level.

Joe Peters

Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about the latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters

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.

 

Entrepreneurial Success – Learn as You Grow Approach

Have you ever noticed how much business people and entrepreneurs love to talk about their success?

entrepreneur_screenshot

Screenshot from – Entrepreneur Post

The majority of these successful businesses and people barely talk about their failure journeys and struggle phases; for most of them, mistakes are swept under the rug and forgotten as quickly as possible. But do you know something? Mistakes can actually give us a chance to learn the basics for those courageous enough to embrace them.

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Screenshot from – medium.com/@brett1211

I love to interview minded people and when they tell me about their wild success journey and all the profits they’ve made, I often ask them to tell me what and when they did wrong. If they can’t name any of their past mistakes or start to sputter, I know immediately that I can discount most of what they’ve just said.

The Problem Persists in Following Someone Else’s Success

No doubt, success stories actually provide inspiration to me, to you, and to all of the entrepreneurs (locally or globally). The wrong side of the story is; continuously listening to others tell you how innovative or great they are can be a problem. How? You may start to believe that they must know the best way of doing something and whatever they did during the journey, was the optimal success path. When you internalize their way as the “right” way, you begin mimicking them instead of striking out on your own and finding a way to improve things.

In a recent conversation, I came through this question, “What is something you wish someone would have told you before starting your first venture?”

For me, the answer is “nothing”!

It doesn’t matter what anyone asked me; I’m the kind of person who believes in performing A/B split testing at every phase and I love experimenting things. I strongly believe what works for one person or organization might not be as productive for others, and on top of that, I would rather learn from my past mistakes instead of following tired advice from someone who has experienced success with their own ways. This is something I like to call a “learn as you grow approach”.

There is No Exact Formula; Don’t Rely on Others’ Suggestions

Having a “learn as you grow” approach means you never assume that someone has figured it all out. But that doesn’t mean that you know all the answers, either. Once you get started, anything can be improved upon, no matter how organized or widely accepted it might be.

After spending excellent 80 years of trade in natural fibers and wool, the 3rd generation of the Wood family actually wanted to expand into the online clothing segment. Everyone seemed to have their opinions about how they should embark it, but they didn’t care how it was supposed to be implemented. They just wanted to do it the most impactful way.

They combined their online branding expertise, their knowledge of logistics and operational efficiencies to develop their own methods while maintaining the ethics of the company.

It worked. A new extensive shape of business is being established for the next generation of Wood family to expand further in the modern era of British culture. Genie Recycling pays you the best price for recycling your unwanted accessories and clothing quickly and simply!

Bottom Line – Can’t we make mistakes? Yes, we may but we should view every mistake and potential defeat as an opportunity; opportunity to improve. This can give us the requisite flexibility and adaptability, to build an organization’s framework that can be easy to adapt changes and grow quickly.

A Learn-as-You-Grow Mentality Helps You Adapt

The fear of failure (also known as – “atychiphobia”) is the primary reason most of the entrepreneurs stipulate the “safer” way of running and organizing their businesses. They tend to follow so called best practices and tested methods to minimize the chances of failure. The question is – Is this approach make them invincible? NO.

Mistakes are inescapable, no matter which avenue you choose. You know the difference; entrepreneurs who love themselves to be guided throughout the process are less likely to adapt.

Imagine an antelope born and raised in a zoo. He learns from an early age when he will be fed and where he can roam. But what happens when he’s turned loose in the wild? He’s eaten!

People who can’t learn as they grow, who can’t challenge the status quo, show resistance to find creative solutions to the problems they face put themselves at an evolutionary disadvantage. The worst part is – they end up becoming part of the digestive process. Thus, they never reach their full potential and their start-ups are never as strong as they could be.

Conclusion

So, what does this mean? Don’t rely on others to guide you, to tell you how to run your business. Instead, adopt the learn as you grow mentality, and embrace every misstep as an awesome way to improve. This way, you’ll become more productive, more efficient, would be able to adapt anything, and creating solutions that are better than the conventional ones. And do you know something? When people ask you about your mistakes/success journey, you’ll proudly talk about the events that helped shape your start-up into something great.

BIO text – Shyam Bhardwaj is a professional SEO consultant and has worked with A-listed agencies including 4Point Digital, White Rabbit Marketing, and The Website Group. You can follow him on Twitter – @shyam_bhardwaj

Top 5 Benefits of Outsourcing for Your Business

Outsourcing can be a powerful tactic for companies around the world, providing main branches time to focus on more important issues or just put extra horsepower for that final push before a deadline. With the right idea behind it, outsourcing can help a company expand and save a little bit of money on the side while doing it. The tricky part is finding the right outsource option for your specific needs, after that, the benefits just keep coming. Among these, five reason tend to stand out for companies both large and small.

Keeping Focus

One of the primary reasons of even considering outsourcing is and always will be time. As a company grows and workloads start to pile up, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s really important. To avoid getting overwhelmed, companies tend to invest in outsourcing in order to maintain focus and stay on the path they set for themselves. The best example of this is the use of outsourcing in IT, foreign outsourcers or even entire companies are taken on to work on a specific task like providing assets. This leaves the main company’s labor force free to focus on the bigger picture.

Time Zone Advantage

This has got to be one of the best parts of hiring outsourcers in a different time zone. If lucky, business owners can employ outsource companies whose working hours start when a business day ends locally. This effectively lets companies assign a task at the end of their day and have it ready first thing in the morning. With business being conducted continuously across the board, efficiency skyrockets with minimal cost and provides good afterhours opportunity should you opt for it.

Reduced Costs Across the Board

Let’s face it, outsourcers are cheaper. Simply put, living standards vary. Because of this, the minimum wage of i.e. America would be two to four or five times the amount a worker in some parts of Europe would make. This makes foreigners jump at the opportunity to work for wages that would essentially be unacceptable locally. This saves a huge chunk of the company’s budget that can be put to better use elsewhere to it grow and expand into new areas.

Skilled Workers

Make no mistake, these people are highly-trained. With degrees and a staggering amount of work experience, they will compete with, if not surpass, your current staff. A quick search through b2b (business-to-business) engines like Yak Portal shows that there are numerous options out there. With services ranging from IT support to the production of medical supplies, these workers and companies can be an invaluable asset to any firm looking to get ahead in the biz.

Keep up With Competitors

The great equalizer of the business world. This is especially useful for smaller companies looking to compete with the big fish in the proverbial pond. By investing into outsourcing, with highly skilled workers at a reduced cost, smaller businesses can achieve the oomph they need to keep up and appear much larger than they actually are. In effect, a smaller firm gets access to the tech and expertise than only much bigger companies enjoy. With these resources, underdogs get an opportunity to show their rivals what they’ve got and ascend the competitive ladder.

To Sum up

Outsourcing is great, it provides an immensely skilled workforce at outrageously low costs. Whether hiring individuals or entire teams, do not underestimate their value. Like previously said, in most cases these people will be working for a very good salary by their standards, making them put maximum effort into providing a satisfactory service. Utilize this, help these people help you and grow together hand in hand. With clear goals and reasonable deadlines, outsourcers can and will carry your business to the next level, leaving you free to chart a course and plan your next move.

Guest Author, Tony, is a writer and the senior editor at MediaGurus with several years of experience in writing content for the web. Tony does research and writes articles across various industries, such as business, technology, marketing, lifestyle, etc.

How To Start A Successful Business Abroad

In general, becoming a successful entrepreneur takes so much hard work and can be very difficult. But, it seems as though the odds are stacked against you if you’re an entrepreneur in a foreign country.

Local investors and businesses may not be inclined to take you seriously as you’re not a resident yourself. This isn’t just talking about foreign people owning businesses in this country, it applies to anyone from here going overseas and trying to start a company too.

What I want to talk about today is how you can start a business abroad, and get taken seriously. Take a look at my advice below for more info:

Research The Foreign Market

Before starting a business in a foreign market, you need to do your research. Spend hour upon hour getting to know the market, figuring out how things are usually done, and just becoming an all-around expert. You will get taken more seriously if you know everything about the place you’re setting up a business in. If you can tell local businesses and investors information, they don’t know, that’s when you get respect. If they constantly have to fill you in and you’re always asking questions about how things are done, that’s when they don’t take you seriously.

Learn The Language

You will gain so much more respect if you can learn the language of the country you’re aiming to start a business in. This removes the need for interpreters and means you can speak with local people in their native tongue. If you’re from overseas coming here, you should try and not only learn English but also speak English with an American accent. This will get you taken seriously as you’ll speak coherently and everyone will understand you, and there’s no need to keep repeating yourself. The same goes the other way too, make sure you learn a foreign language and understand how to speak in their accent and blend in as a local. It will help dramatically, not least because it shows you respect the country and are serious about starting a company there.

Bring A Unique Idea To The Table

This final tip kind of blends in with the first one about researching the foreign market. During your research, you should be able to pinpoint gaps in the market and possible unique ideas. Often, this idea could be something that’s common in your home country but really hasn’t taken off abroad. So, you get in there and fill that gap with an idea that’s unique to this foreign country. The great thing is, you will be taken seriously as your idea has proof that it’ll be successful because it works back home. Regardless, you just need to have a unique idea at your disposal that’s never been done in that country before. It makes you seem really serious about business, and the locals will be impressed.

Whether you’re from overseas looking to start a business here, or you’re an American going abroad, use this advice to help you get started. It should help you gain more traction and get off to a winning start.

The Characteristics Many Successful Businesspeople Share

Successful entrepreneurs like to plan. They don’t like to go into a meeting blind or launch a product without making absolutely certain that they have done everything they can to make it great and to launch it at the perfect time. If you want to be successful, you can’t just go with the flow; you need to set out and follow a roadmap for success.

They’re Natural Leaders

If you want to create a business that does well, you’re going to need to have direction, and you must be able to lead others in that direction with you. All of the best-known business people, who’ve experienced great success have done so because they’ve been able to get the best out of their employees. That’s why so many entrepreneurs are now enrolling on leadership masters programs or taking leadership and communication classes locally. No matter how determined you are or how good your business idea is, if you can’t lead your team, you’re unlikely to reach the top of your game.

They Know How to Manage Money

Money is the lifeblood of business. You need to know how to invest money wisely, when to cut it off and how to streamline your cash flow for the best results. So, it shouldn’t be surprising to know that successful business-people are almost always great with figures. If you aren’t exactly up to speed with all things financial, it might, therefore, be worth taking a class or two to get you up to speed.

They’re Confident

When you run a business, you have to be confident in your abilities, and you need to be able to get up and sell your products and services to others. If you’re a shrinking violet, you won’t impress investors, customers or, well anyone really and that won’t help you gain success.