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.

Build Your Bottom Line with These 4 Surprising Business Strategies

When it comes to tracking your company’s growth, very few numbers are as important as the bottom line. As a business owner, you should constantly be on the lookout for new ways to increase your bottom line without sacrificing your core ideals. Here is a quick look at four proven tactics that will boost your bottom line no matter which industry you are in.

Hire a Good HR Team

According to one recent study, companies are now spending more money than ever on litigation costs. There is no surefire way to completely protect your company from all legal troubles, but hiring a good HR team could help you avoid a wide variety of issues. Your human resources team can help you come up with a comprehensive plan to avoid expensive problems such as workplace injuries and unlawful termination lawsuits. They can also gauge employee satisfaction and reduce your turnover rates.

Focus on Cheap or Affordable Marketing

Traditional advertising mediums such as television and radio spots are still effective, but smaller companies don’t always have the resources for those types of campaigns. A strong online presence will allow you to reach millions of people from around the world at a fraction of the price. At the very least, your company must have an eye-catching website and active social media accounts. Those spaces will give current and future clients multiple ways to easily contact you if necessary.

Create a Knowledge Base

If you are losing clients because of inefficient support, then you need to work on a solid knowledge base. Depending on which industry you are in, your clients might benefit from any mixture of white papers, how-to guides, and online video tutorials. Creating that content and then offering it to clients for free will also reduce the amount of time that your employees spend on customer support. Those guides and videos are especially important if you are providing a product or service that has never been seen on the market.

Build Camaraderie with Team Meals

Many business owners are surprised to hear that corporate catering can be an extremely powerful tool when used properly. Instead of sending your employees off on their own to have lunch, you might want to consider scheduling at least a few communal meals a year. In addition to potentially receiving tax deductions for those meals, you are also going to boost your staff’s efficiency and improve company culture. Offering healthy meals can reduce sick days and increase productiveness as well.

No single growth strategy is going to work for every business, and that is why you need to test out at least a few different options. As you try out these various tactics, you should carefully track their success to see which are working and which can be left behind.

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

 

5 Ideas For Running Effective Team Meetings

Sadly, a lot of leaders today hold meetings that are essentially dull, make time pass by ever so slowly, and leave people exhausted and frustrated. If you want to run effective team meetings, you need to make it an interesting event that is filled with energy, so that it drives all the team members to collaborate in order to come up with decisions and solve issues. It makes all the difference how you plan and run the meeting. In this article, we are going to discuss 5 ideas on how you can run effective team meetings.

Have a Positive Attitude for the Meeting

A positive attitude is an essential aspect of every team meeting. Your task is to get people involved and actually work with them in order to come up with results, solve issues, make decisions, inform, inspire, and motivate them. This means that you simply have to occasionally get everyone together in a room and hold a meeting that is going to keep the spirits high. It’s a fact that you can’t simply manage people from the office via email. So make sure that you hold meetings that inspire everyone to take part in them actively.

Have a Purpose for the Meeting

The meeting needs to have a particular purpose. Having a meeting just because you always have one isn’t really a purpose. When you set up a meeting, you actually have an opportunity to do a variety of things. It’s the time when you get to find out how everything related to your business is panning out. It’s a chance to learn how each and every team member is handling their own end, and try to help them out with issues. It’s the perfect time to emphasize your mission statement and remind everyone what their goals are. Team goals should be the focus of every meeting.

Come up With an Agenda for the Meeting

Every purpose must have its own agenda. It’s basically a list of things that need to be covered during the meeting. By looking at it, you will know how much time you can devote to each item. The fact is that time is important when it comes to meetings. Every meeting should start on time and last for a given time. If not every item of the agenda is covered, they should be moved to the next meeting. If it’s urgent, a separate meeting needs to be held. There also needs to be a regularity when it comes to meetings. Decide how many times a week a meeting should be held, and make sure everyone arrives on time.

Encourage Team Members to Participate

You want each member of your team to participate in the discussion and take part in making decisions, if the purpose of the meeting is relevant to them. You can go around the table and get everyone’s ideas. Use glass white boards to put everything down and brainstorm. Furthermore, you don’t always have to be in the focus. Let another team member lead the discussion if they have something valuable to contribute. People will feel inspired about meetings if they are encouraged to take part in them and see that results are achieved. They will feel like their contribution is valued.

Keep Focus on your Strategic Goals

Continuity is an important aspect of business meetings. Every meeting should stay focused on your general strategic goals. After all, they are what connects all of your business efforts. Generally, the best way to do this is to start every meeting with a point in the agenda that consists of quickly going through all of these goals. That way, your team will discuss all the issues while still having the big picture in mind.

Be Positive

It is essential that you hold a meeting that encourages all the team members to participate. There has to be a purpose and an agenda, and you need to keep your focus on your strategic goals. And, of course, a positive attitude is important.

How to Improve Your Business’ Customer Service

Businesses of all sizes are constantly searching for ways to expand and retain their customer base by boosting their performance in customer service. The success of these departments is no longer only about etiquette and stellar communication skills; it is also important to develop a company wide forward-thinking culture to support your beneficial practices. As customer expectations are growing with the advancement of technology, it is time to take your customer feedback into account when thinking of an efficient customer service plan. Here are some suggestions on how to improve your company’s customer service.

Be Accessible and Responsive as Much as You can

Customer support availability is a primary customer demand, as they want quick and efficient answers to their questions at all times, and this is especially important for international and online businesses worldwide. For a desirable customer experience, you need to respond in a timely manner. Instant response to your customers’ concerns will build rapport from the beginning of your relationship and positive experience can be rewarded by recommendations to their family, friends, and colleagues.

Provide Customer Service Through Many Different Channels

The rise of technology has opened many communication channels between companies and customers. Whether it is questions or complaints, you have use as many options available to you in order to create quality customer experience. A customer should have a variety of choices when trying to reach a company. Direct phone contact, email, and social media are the basic options every business should provide. Contact forms, live chats, and other strategies such as traditional and emerging messaging services (SMS, Viber, WhatsApp, etc.) can be an added bonus to your offer. Dissatisfied customers are often just looking for an explanation, product exchange or a refund. Providing a prompt and an adequate response over a customer’s preferred channel can help settle disputes in an efficient and a personalized way, convincing the customer that their concerns are valuable to you.

Use the Benefits of Self-service Support Options

Many customers prefer to find answers to their problems without having to interact with customer representatives. Developing self-service options will help your business optimize each customer representative’s time and potential by relieving them of duties while creating a convenient solution for your customers to get the right information quickly and independently. Having reliable and efficient self-service options is crucial, but keep in mind that leaving customers on their own cannot always substitute appropriate support from an agent. Customers will still prefer addressing human support if their issues are urgent or complicated.

Maintain a Trained and Well-organized Team of Employees

Constant training in new customer service techniques is bound to ensure the efficiency of your team. Your service team must be up to date with company protocol and product details, as well as ways to respond to different situations that may arise when providing customer support. Team managers will need to be able to assess individual employee skills and strengths, as well as areas in which they could improve. While good teamwork is vital to your customer service performance, clear communication between team members will be essential to the successful implementation of good practices. To provide a smooth flow of information, easy communication, and optimal work organization, businesses should consider using some type of a work organization software. A reliable project management software comparison could help you choose an option that works best for your particular needs.

Recognize Customer Feedback

Many customers search for other customer reviews before buying an item or committing to a business. Upon seeing positive reviews, they will be compelled to visit your website or look for more information. It is important to acknowledge both positive and negative customer feedback. Word-of-mouth reaches an incomparably larger number of people with the rise of online review websites and social media. Responding publicly to either compliments or complaints will help your company look engaged and invested when it comes to customers. On the contrary, a poor response or no response at all can hinder your company’s reputation.

Do not Neglect the Power of Support

Successful implementation of new and different strategies into your customer service operation plan can significantly improve the performance of your service teams while generating more genuine customer satisfaction and engagement.

 

Oscar is a writer from Sydney and one of the editors at Bizzmarkblog. He enjoys conducting research in the vast fields of business and marketing and writing about the useful insights he gathers on a daily basis. Follow Oscar on Twitter.to stay updated with his latest posts.

Staffing Secrets: Efficiency Is All In The Team Atmosphere

As a business owner, you should already appreciate the importance of your staff. Whether you’ve hired three people or 3,000 doesn’t matter – their productivity is the lifeline of your entire company.

You’ve probably invested heavily in perfecting your recruitment drive. However, this is only a small part of getting the most from your staff. Embracing positivity in the workplace is arguably even more important than hiring the right people. In truth, it could be the difference between a good company and a great one.

Here’s how you can promote it in four easy steps.

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Create A Great Place To Work

For an employee to work effectively, you must first ensure that their surroundings are suitable. After all, an environment that actively discourages work will immediately put a limit on your success.

Knowing when it’s time to move office is hugely important, as not doing so could be holding you back. Meanwhile, it’s imperative that all working environments are kept safe and clean. After all, absences through injuries and illnesses could be extremely damaging to both morale and workflow.

A few staff perks, such as upgrades to the staff room could have a telling difference. Underestimate their influence at your peril.

Prevent Divisions

Inequality in the workplace is easily the worst problem that you could ever encounter. From your perspective, it’s important to pay every individual worker fairly. However, it’s equally crucial that you promote a positive vibe throughout the workplace.

If you detect bullying or unfair treatments within the company, you must stamp it out immediately. Ultimately, you’re looking to build a team atmosphere, and even the smallest of gestures can help. Polos from Dynamic Gift can promote a unity while also providing consistency for employees and customers alike.

Nobody wants their business to be negatively influenced by segregations among the team. Take the necessary precautions, and you will be just fine.

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Encourage Communication

Every strong team should be built on a foundation of great communication. If yours isn’t, this should be one element that you look to overhaul immediately. Team building exercises are the perfect starting place.

Technology has changed the way we conduct business forever, and it can be used to embrace better communication. Whether it’s team messaging phone Apps or video conferencing services doesn’t matter. Any investment that bolsters the team cohesion and general atmosphere is a bonus.

If nothing else, better communication will reduce the risk of wasted time and basic errors.

Be A Leader

Promoting positivity within the group is one thing. But as well as their colleagues, employees must display respect for you. Without it, you’ll never get anywhere.

Encouraging a better employer-employee relationship will work wonders for staff motivation. Meanwhile, you should also capitalise on their individual ambitions. Invest in their development while showing them the pathway to bigger and better things. With that extra incentive, there’s no reason that they won’t reward you with the level of work you desire.

Above all else, it will make your management tasks far easier to control. If that isn’t an additional reason to make those upgrades, I don’t know what is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take Control of Your #Business #Communications

Communication is one of the cornerstones of a successful business.

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But communication can swiftly get out of control, leading to lost time, lost messages, and a lot of frustration. If you want your business to be at its best, it’s vital that you reclaim control of your business communications.

So how can you go about doing just that?

 

Why Reclaiming Control Matters

A lack of clear communications in your business can lead to a lot of stress for team members. It can also lead to lost information, messages that go astray, or issues that don’t get resolved.

For example, you may find your email box filling up with messages, and before you know it you’ve lost a valuable hour of your time dealing with them. Some messages could be overlooked, or read when it’s too late to act upon them, causing stress all round.

The problem goes beyond email.

From playing telephone tag to a team member finding they can’t both log in to a software suite when they need to collaborate, unclear communication is a great time waster that stops your business running smoothly.

Reclaiming control of your business communications will free up a lot of time and help to ensure that important information reaches the right person and is acted on in a timely fashion.

Be Clear on Communication

The best way to start taking back control of your business communications is to get clear on the best communication channels for each kind of message, and make sure that everyone involved is familiar with best practice and what is expected of them.

As the article “Reclaim Control of Your Business Communications” points out, channels such as email have their uses, but also have their limitations.

When using email as a medium, it’s a good idea to keep communications short and to the point, and to include an actionable point in each email so the recipient knows exactly what is being asked of them.

Teach your team best practice, such as setting aside regular time for emails rather than getting interrupted each time a new message comes in.

These principles don’t just apply to email: For each type of communication that is commonly used by your business, such as memos or social media, make sure employees know what kind of messages are appropriate for that medium, and when and how it should be used.

Start with Streamlining

The key to taking back control of your business communications is to streamline the way communication is handled within your organization.

One way of doing this is to make use of task management systems that make it clear which actions should be taken, by whom and in what order. Then, instead of merely reading a message, the recipient can check off what they have or have not done.

You might also consider using consolidated software suites, where messaging, document storage and tasks are centrally managed, to save fragmentation and confusion.

It’s also a good idea to help your team get clear on which message medium to use for different messages, who the contact person should be, and when functions such as “cc” or “reply all” are a hindrance rather than a help.

The aim of regaining control of your business communications should be to tidy up your lines of communication.

Only necessary messages should be sent, and when received should be acted on in a timely fashion.

Streamline your communications as far as possible and encourage your team to manage their communication tasks so they don’t eat into their day.

That way, communications will work to enhance your business instead of causing stress.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including branding, inbound marketing, business communications and social media.

Choose Your Management Team Wisely

Choosing the right management team is one of the most important parts of building a successful company.

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From the CEO to the COO and every management team in between, the selection process is oftentimes rigorous.

In order to help you build the best company possible, here are a few tips for putting together the ideal management team:

First Things First: Choosing the CEO

If your company’s management team is a machine, then your CEO is the oil that makes the machine run smoothly. Because of this, it’s important to put plenty of effort into finding the right chief executive officer.

You can start by selecting candidates who have management experience, either as a CEO, COO, or working directly under company leaders.

Next to experience, you’ll want to find a candidate who is a natural leader and takes initiative in tasks and projects.

Focusing on where the company is headed as opposed to getting distracted by small details is a must. Someone who strategically thinks about the company’s future is also an ideal quality in the right CEO candidate.

Because these qualities are hard to discover during an interview, many companies hire their CEOs from within.

COO is Next on the Management List

The chief operating officer is your CEO’s right hand person, so you’ll want to spend time finding someone who gets along with your CEO.

As the following article looks at, one reason COO Bob Bratt has successfully managed multimillion-dollar legal programs is because he has great working relationships with CEOs.

Because the COO needs to expertly handle the daily operations of your business, you need to also choose someone task-oriented.

The COO will work closely with other management positions as well as manage teams, so finding someone with leadership and people skills is important.

Management Teams

Other managerial positions common to companies large and small are president, chief financial officer, chief marketing officer, and various department heads. These team members should be chosen as diligently as the CEO and COO.

However, you’ll want to have your CEO and COO decisions made before you begin recruiting the rest of the team.

If possible, involve your CEO and COO in the hiring of the rest of your management teams. This will ensure they build the team that works best for the company and themselves.

Additionally, this process will give your CEO and COO a good chance to build their relationship.

Team Building

Although companies put a ton of effort into making sure they build a management team that works like a well-oiled machine, sometimes personalities clash. If this becomes an issue for your company, you can choose to restructure or implement team-building exercises.

Restructuring your company’s management team costs time and money, which is why team building is always the better route.

You can choose to do in-office team-building exercises that improve relationships through trust activities. Likewise, you can choose a more immersive route by taking managers on a company team-building outing.

Whichever path you take, just know that team building is sometimes necessary when creating a strong company.

When it comes to choosing the best management team for your company, keep in mind the pointers above.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including recruitment and business management.