How to Turn Customer Pet Peeves into Your Advantage

As a business person you are aware that your business exist to create customers and, that involves doing a whole lot of things to keep the customer happy.

Unfortunately, there’s no way you’re going to please all of your customers all the time. In fact, if you try doing so, you’ll definitely go crazy!

While its easy to say that the customer is always right you’ll however agree that this can be taken too far by some. For example, like when a customer is always complaining all of the time.

It’s annoying right?

Indeed. it’s not a problem for customers to have issues with your business because there is none that doesn’t have complaining customers. But then there are some complaints that are an annoyance. What we have come to refer to as customer pet peeves! But what does that really means?

What Is A Customer Pet Peeve?

Annoying pet peeves

According to Vocabulary.com,

“A pet peeve is an annoyance that’s nurtured like a pet — it’s something someone can never resist complaining about.”

This means a customer pet peeve is something that the customer has nurtured like a pet and has turned into a frequent subject of complaint. No matter what you do as a business this customer has a way of finding faults and complaining about it!

Now, while this could be annoying you can actually turn such complaints into your business’ good. For example, you can use such complaints to provide you with insight that will help you improve your business, products and/or overall customer experience.

So, when your customers do complain, don’t take it that your company is bad or that it has some serious issues. Rather take it that your company is like any other – it has its own faults. And, instead of focusing on how you can eliminate these faults you should rather focus on how you can move forward and adjust.

To do this, you need to understand the issues customers might have with your business and find ways to avoid them. In this post I want to share with you some of the common customer pet peeves that you need to watch out for in your business.

How is your customer service?

4 Common Customer Pet Peeves to Watch Out For

1. Excuse Me, I’m Talking To You

If your Twitter feed is filled with customers complaining that they have no way to talk to your business or engage with you, you have a big problem. This suggests that there is no relationship between business and consumer.

If that’s the case, there’s a good chance that customers are going to feel undervalued and unimportant. They hate this, and they will have no issue spending their time spreading their thoughts and feelings to other people who may have otherwise taken a chance on your business.

Correcting this is easy. Make sure that you always have an open dialogue with your customers. If there are any issues even on social media feeds, respond to them promptly, and you will dazzle customers with your speedy responses to their issues.

2. Hey, What’s Taking So Long?

That probably means that you have a problem with your turnaround time and more broadly your supply chain. Perhaps you never took your supply chain management masters, and as such you don’t know how to keep things rapid and efficient.

If that’s the case, then you could correct this by taking an online course, but the main thing to focus on here is making sure you deliver the goods promptly and keep a high level of quality in your service.

Handling supply issues, companies often jump towards the possibility of an outsourcing business. It’s not the worst idea in the world, but you do need to make sure that you can trust the company you choose to handle things the right way. Otherwise, you’re just creating something else for customers to get irritated at.

Shocked And Appalled!

3. I Am Shocked And Appalled!

This isn’t so much as a pet peeve as it is something that will cause customers to scream ‘boycott’ at the top of their lungs.

Scandals in businesses are more uncommon than you think, but they do happen. If they hit the public spotlight or your consumer base gets word of them, it can have a crippling impact on sales.

To handle this issue, there’s a simple solution. Just make sure that you are doing what you can legally to stay on the right side of the line. Do this, and you shouldn’t have any issues with scandals taking town your company.

4. What A Rip Off

And finally, there’s the issue with prices. It’s not so much about how much you’re selling your products for but rather how much other people are selling theirs at. If your price isn’t competitive, you will struggle to keep customers on board and buying from your business.

So, do your research and make sure that a key competitor isn’t undercutting you.

Conclusion

Eliminating customer frustrations is a sure way to making your business more successful in the marketplace. If you note the above customer pet peeves and find ways of taking care of them then you can be sure of having more and more happy customers and of course, more success.

The Essential Elements Your Coaching Business Needs To Be Successful

In my previous post on turning your talents and skills into a profitable online coaching business you discovered why you shouldn’t focus on just building a blog to sell ads or affiliate products but instead use your skills and experience to start an online coaching business.

In that post I also shared with you some possible coaching business ideas you can start right now with your blogging skills. This post is a continuation of that post.

Having established the fact that a coaching business is ideal for anyone who wants to make money online with their skills I want to share with you some proven strategies that will help you succeed with your coaching business.

Now, it will interest you to know that a research finding a few years ago showed that about 68% of adult Americans dream of starting their own business someday.

This is not just because entrepreneurship is the surest path to becoming a millionaire but because owning your business frees you from the 9-5 drudgery – it gives you control of your life!

Your own business means you’re pursuing your own passions and not someone else’s, enriching yourself and your family instead of your boss.

But here’s the amazing thing about that research finding: less than 10% of those who have this dream take the steps to actualize their dreams!

Wondering why?

For most, it’s fear.

Fact is starting a business seems downright complicated, whether online or offline. If you’re abreast of the stats then you should aware already that about 90% of all new internet businesses fail within the first 120 days! That’s really off-putting, but yours don’t have to be among that 90%.

The good news is that businesses started by experienced business people have more chances of succeeding. What this means is, if you take the time to learn the skills necessary to run a profitable business, you have an excellent chance of making a fortune.

In this post I want to share with you some of these skills and strategies.

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Thinking of starting your own coaching business? Then download the Online Coaching Business Blueprint to learn all the necessary skills and insider secrets today.

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Make more money online with your business

Setting Up and Implementing Your Coaching Business

Before we delve into the strategies for making your coaching business a success let’s briefly talk about setting it up. Of course, once you’ve decided on what type of coaching business you want to start, your next move is to set it up.

Whatever coaching business you want to build can be started the same way. First, you’ll need to put in place a good plan and follow that plan exactly how it is because consistency is important.

With your plan you should include a mind map of each component of your business. You can search Google® for some sample mind maps. What this does for you is that you will be able to see all the different components in one place. You can add more or take away some as necessary. Having an illustration like this right before you will help you gather all the ideas possible to set your business up and run it effectively.

All you need to do is to take each section of the mind map at a time and figure out an order to put them in. There is no wrong or right order here, but your instinct may tell you to do certain things before others. Follow that instinct and refer to your resources. This may require more research to see if there is any logical order to implement your business in.

After this, take one piece at a time and execute it. Then observe what happens. The parts which work best will require less attention. Take those pieces which did not deliver an ideal outcome, focus on them and try to work out a way to improve it. Once it improves, keep executing it. Repeat this now and for the life of the business.

Note that things will change as your business grows. What worked one time may not work in the future. So always be open to creating new plans for your business. Remember to also be consistent.

How to Get Coaching Clients

Make mobile buying easier on your site

One of the things you’ll be doing throughout the life of your business is creating a consistent flow of clients for your business. You do this through effective marketing.

Now, no two businesses are alike, so there is no right way to market that will work every time. It doesn’t matter who tells you so. There’s no marketing method that works with certainty.

It is best to do some research and test your own methods out. Remember that you can research the internet, but test and prove things out yourself. A lot of blogs and websites are out there pushing out whatever they like. What you should rather do is get a good number of sites, compare the sites and blogs with the credible information you found and take the marketing ideas that make the most sense and use them to guide you.

Marketing should also be treated just like selling. As there are different selling styles, there are different sub-categories for marketing your coaching business. For someone who wants to build a successful online business it’s important that you pay attention to these sub-categories which are relationship marketing, social marketing, and content marketing.

Why I chose these three marketing sub-categories is because they are extremely important in a coaching business. There are other styles out there in the world but the main focus here is to help you with some basic ideas so you have a foundation to base things on.

Let’s now talk about these sub-categories of marketing.

1. Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is a fairly new concept as it stands, but in reality, it is something that you’ve already learned while in working a job. Remember you were told to treat the customer so they feel as if they were welcomed in the store or company? Yes, that something about the customer being the king!

This builds a relationship with the very people you want to do business with because you make them to feel at home.

Another way to build relationships with your customers or clients is to remember things about them. When you see them face to face, try and remember their name. When they give you their information send out a birthday, holiday, or anniversary card which can help build a stronger relationship.

This is one marketing category you want to be focused on more than others. The more personable you can be, the better your business will run. Those who are experts in relationship marketing and can relay the importance of this concept can expect to have an easier time growing their coaching business.

2. Social Marketing

This category has been around, but there are some important ground rules to adhere to. Do a bit of research on the different ways you should market through social media. It is more than just putting an affiliate like on your Facebook wall or on you Twitter feed. You have to engage the audience every way you can and NOT seem like you are just trying to get them to click a link and buy an affiliate offer.

Once you understand the ground rules, the sky is the limit with social marketing. You can join groups and go on message boards, but be warned, you want to build rapport with the members first. There are some places like the “Warrior Forum” that are designed for internet marketers. You still need to build relationships with the members before you dive right in and post your ads.

3. Content Marketing

Content marketing has been around since the written word. People have been finding ways to communicate with other people since language began. It is something that will not soon die out, so this should be another of your focuses when it comes to marketing your coaching business.

There are many other marketing strategies but focus on these ones for a start and you can be sure of success.

Conclusion

As I have mentioned earlier setting up and growing your coaching business requires a lot of patience and consistency on your part. Besides this you need the right knowledge. I recommend that you get the Online Coaching Business BLUEPRINT for all the insider tips and strategies you need to build your own online coaching business.

Get it now and save 80% on the cost.

 

How Your Small Business Can Collaborate With Others for Better Results

Ever heard the saying, a tree cannot make a forest? How about no man is an island?

There’s no doubt that you’ve heard that a hundred times. Now, the truth is that doesn’t just apply to humans only. Businesses too stand to gain a lot when they collaborate.

Considering the challenges of the business environment these days the idea of small businesses working together shouldn’t be toyed with. As a small business entrepreneur working with other similar businesses can help you overcome most of the challenges in the marketplace.

Some of the benefits from this include gaining fresh ideas on running your business, leveraging the power of togetherness to compete more favorably in the marketplace, tap into the knowledge and experience of partnering businesses, etc.

Fact it, collaborating with other businesses is better for you than flexing your muscles and competing with everyone else out there. Of course, I understand that you’re proud of your business’s ability to fend for itself. But you need to be careful because that kind of lone wolf attitude will only take you so far.

As I have said before just as no man is an island so also no small business is an island. Your small business functions as a part of a much large ecosystem, and it can really benefit from working with and collaborating with others.

If the idea of small business collaboration fills you with trepidation, then here are a few suggestions on how you can do it properly…

Tips for small business collaboration

How to Collaborate With Other Businesses

1. Find Companies That Can Do Things and Provide Things You Can’t

Your business might be great, but it can’t do everything for itself. That would simply be unrealistic.

You don’t have to fall into the trap of operating your business like a one-man band. There are companies that can assist you with logistics or technical issues that are hard to get your head round. Then there are financial service providers, such as smallbusinessloans.co, that can help you out too. Those are just a few examples among many others.

There is always going to be people out there who can solve problems you can’t by yourself.

2. Embrace Mutual Benefits

Any and every relationship your business has with another should be mutually beneficial. If it’s not, then it’s simply not worth pursuing any longer.

Go to socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-use-social-partnerships to find out how marketing relationships can be fostered to everyone’s benefit. This is something that you should embrace, as long as you’re not trying to set up partnerships with direct rivals. That’s something that should always be avoided, but there are still many companies out there to work alongside.

Explore the options and don’t ignore the opportunities out there.

Mutual benefits of small business collaboration

3. Be Open to Learning When You Collaborate

As an entrepreneur, it might be easy to think you know it all, especially if you’ve had some success already. However, you should always be open to learning new things and embracing new experiences. When you do that, you will change your own conceptions and make your business better placed to increase its appeal.

Never go into this kind of project with a closed mind because you will only ruin the experience for yourself and your business. And that makes no sense at all. Go into this with a completely open mind.

4. Build Trust and Work Through Issues Constructively

Trust is going to have a big part to play in all of this. If you don’t feel like you can trust the people you’re working with, or they don’t trust you, that’s going to cause very real problems for your business.

However, trust can be built, and it always takes a bit of time to reach that point. It’s about proving to each other that this relationship is worth it. And when issues and differences do arise, critique and make your case in a constructive way.

Basic decency can go a long way when managing business is relationships.

Ways for small businesses to work together

Conclusion

While the idea of two separate companies working together may appear not practicable, in the post I have just shared with you briefly what this can do for your small business and how you can go about it. I’m sure you can now understand what it means to work with others and how you can manage problems, when they arise from your collaboration. It’s now your turn to get out there and start collaborating. It could be exactly what your business needs.

User-Friendly Websites: A Basic Guide for Non-Techy Entrepreneurs

When you’re in the process of putting together your business website, you’re going to receive a lot of advice on what to do and not to do. One such advice that has become very common these days is the idea that your site needs to be user-friendly for it to effectively achieve its purpose.

While this may seem to be like some basic advice which you can pretty much ignore the fact is that you definitely want your site to be user-friendly. Or, what’s the point of having a website if it’s not going to be able to be used by those your business is looking to target?

But,

What Really Is Website User-Friendliness?

User-Friendly Websites

When website designers talk about user friendliness or user experience (UX) they are basically referring to the art of making your website simple and easy to use. The idea is to make the presentation of information in a clear and concise way. The arrangement of content and important items on the site should be free from any form of ambiguity. To achieve this you need to understand your customer’s online behavior. Without this insight building user-friendly websites can be daunting.

In these days when more and more people are using the internet for their shopping and other activities having a user-friendly website is not just something to be desired but a necessity. Applying the concepts of usability into your website design will significantly improve how easily visitors move through your website. This will in turn increase the amount of visitors who stay on your site, improve your conversions, and ultimately grow your business profits.

It’s tempting to think this is something that good website design will largely take care of for itself – and that might well be the case. However, you’d be surprised how many poorly designed sites there are that miss this vital component. It’s important therefore that you perform a check on your website to make sure you’ve got your grips on all of the following factors necessary for a user-friendly website.

What Makes a Website User Friendly?

1. Text Should Be Easy To Read

The easiest way of ticking this box is by choosing a dark text on a light background. It doesn’t have to be jet black on pure white; in fact, a cream background is thought to be easier to read off than perfect lily white. However, something within this general area will suffice.

Don’t use a dark background and light text anywhere on your site. It’s difficult to read for anyone, never mind those who might have vision impairments. It can also make a site look out of date, as this was a design “feature” many of the early websites used.

You don’t need to spend a lot of time worrying about the size of the text. Make sure it’s readable to your eyes, but aside from that, this is something most users will do for themselves by adjusting the screen size.

Power of Social Media

2. The Process Should Be Intuitive

If you’re guiding people towards a purchase of goods or services, then you don’t want to have them guessing at any step along the way. Keep contact details at the top of the site, along with a brief flowchart of what they should do to place an order or make a purchase online.

If this is a particular concern for you, then use sites like Fiverr and ask someone to complete a task on your site. They can then tell you what the experience was like with new eyes, rather than you trying to judge based off how you know the process works.

Website User-Friendliness

3. Keep the Basics Front and Center

It’s great if you want to talk about a new innovation on your business site – you should be doing that. Nevertheless, there are some sites where the “news” and other marginally irrelevant pieces of information dominate the landing page.

The most important thing for you to do is direct someone to using your site to make a purchase. That means the essentials for this should be easy to access from anywhere on the site. Place links to the about, contact, and ordering pages on every single page – this is easy to do using permanent headers, footers, or sidebars.

You don’t ever want to have someone lost in your site, wanting to make an order, and not sure where to click next!

What Makes a Website User Friendly?

Conclusion

All in all website usability or user-friendliness is about simplicity and ease of use. The above are just some suggestions on what you can do right now to improve the user experience on your business website. While there are many other things to consider start with these and you will see improvements.

Top 4 Most Common Small Business Website Mistakes To Avoid

In our today’s digitally connected world any business that desires successful must, by all means, have some form of digital footprint – a website, a good social media profile perhaps, and of course, some form of presence when it comes to web searches.

However, there are often many mistakes that a lot of small business persons make when it comes to building their websites. As someone who wants to leverage the power of the internet to promote and grow your business and brand, it is important that you don’t make any of these mistakes yourself.

I have specially put this post together to help you avoid making these common mistakes. I invite you therefore to carefully read it.

Common Small Business Website Mistakes

Website Mistakes to Avoid

Mistake #1: Ignoring Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is key to ensuring that your web page is seen, especially when people use specific search terms directly for your business in popular search engines like Google. SEO is where you focus on keywords in your copy and on your web pages. It also involves getting your website linked back to from other websites and sites with a high domain authority.

When other sites link to your website it shows the search engines that you are deemed “important” and subsequently will direct their clients to your site if it deems fit with the wording used in the original search.

Search engine optimization can be a great way to ensure that your website gets seen when someone is searching within your industry. Ignoring it in your website design is a big mistake you must strive to avoid.

Ignoring Search Engine Optimization

Mistake #2: Underestimating the Power of Social Media

So many people turn to social media these days for personal and business uses. Research shows that almost 70% of people from nations that have active Facebook profiles alone check their feeds at least once a day.

Despite this, many small businesses do not use social media to their advantage. Having a clear and consistent social media strategy can often be an industry leading best kept secret to ensuring that your business is seen by the masses and not by the few.

A professional tone with consistent content will be key to ensuring that your business is seen by a wider audience. Not to mention the various advertising options within sites like Twitter, Instagram.com, and Facebook which can enable you to showcase your business to a massive audience within specific demographics.

Power of Social Media

Mistake #3: Not Analyzing Data and Website Efficiency

A good looking website is one thing and even making sure people can see it and visit it often. But if your website isn’t running smoothly, has low page loading times or is inefficient, then you will lose potential customers and clients.

The good thing is that with websites like Stackify.com you can ensure that the internet information service systems you have, will be providing you data to analyses efficiency.

Not Analyzing Data and Website Efficiency

Mistake #4: Failing To Create a Memorable Brand

Your brand is very important to how your website looks. It’s the one chance to make a decent first impression.

If your website doesn’t look good or particularly inviting, if your brand doesn’t speak volumes about what you stand for, If your website isn’t easy to use or have the content in which it needs, then it just won’t work for you.

It’s important to ensure that your website ticks all the boxes in order to stand out.

Dealing with downturns in businesses

If you do everything you can to avoid these website mistakes you can be sure of carving out a place for your small business in the online marketplace.

4 Effective Strategies for Managing Your Small Business Accounting Books

That more and more are taking up the entrepreneurial challenge by starting their own businesses is no more news. In fact, with the economic recession pushing more people into the labor market this is indeed a good thing.

However, starting your own comes with its own . There is so much to be managed and except you manage things well, that dream success can become illusive.

Managing your business books as a small business

Now, one of the areas you need to manage very well if you want to succeed with your is the financials. You need to manage your business books properly if you desire to see the good results.

While you don’t have to be some financial expert to do this correctly, fact is, if you plan to be your own accountant, there are many tax pitfalls you can fall into during the upcoming year if you are not aware of them.

While balancing your own books can be a viable way to save money, tax and bookkeeping errors may cost you a great deal in fines and lost time. The way out is to have a workable system that will help you manage your business books effectively.

No matter the size of your business, you can avoid a lot of mistakes by practicing a few simple accounting strategies. In this post I want to share with you a few proven accounting strategies that will help you manage your business books and succeed doing so as a small business.

Recommended: 3 Simple Tips to Starting a Business Online From Scratch

Strategies for Managing Your Business Books Successfully

1. Plan Ahead

Panning ahead is essential to manage your business books well

One of the most effective strategies for keeping an efficient bookkeeping system for business can be to plan carefully from the start. Read and review different types of accounting software and be aware of new rules that might affect you as an .

As MVU Online reports, technology is changing accounting practices and you must be quick to adapt. Once you find a system that works for you, create an accounting schedule so you can plan to do certain tasks on certain days to remain consistent.

2. Track Business Expenses Carefully

Knowledge about taxes is important for succeeding with your business

When you balance your own books and handle your own tax information, you must remember to record business expenses carefully and truthfully.

Some business expenses may include office furniture and supplies, gas for a vehicle you use for business, and shipping supplies. If you , you may even be able to claim certain utility bills, such as heating, lighting, and wireless internet.

Record usage each day and keep all business receipts in one place so you can access them easily.

3. Seek Training

Get training to succeed with your business

You do not have to be a financial expert to do your businesses’ books, but it may help you to take a few accounting classes or a seminar to gain a bit of additional know-how. If you are planning to be your own accountant in the long term, you may want to consider getting a master’s degree in accounting, especially if you plan to grow your business quickly.

If you are considering the pursuit of a master’s degree, New England College offers a variety of graduate degrees in accounting. Having additional education from this institution may help you keep up with different types of accounting practices. NEC also offers online forensic accounting degrees, which may help you find a job if you decide to switch careers later on.

4. Include Taxes in Your Business Budget

Never default in tax payments

While it is always exciting to make a profit with your new business, you should remember that not every dollar you make will remain in your wallet. Taxes must be paid, and when the time comes to pay them, they might take you by surprise. However, you can avoid this by budgeting for your taxes all year long.

One way to save for your taxes is to open a separate account for the money and save about twenty percent of your monthly income for taxes. By tax time, you will not have to scramble to find the money elsewhere.

Recommended: 5 Simple Ways You Can Build A Cult-Like Following Around Your Brand!

Conclusion

As a small business owner being your own accountant will definitely save your business money, especially if you are running on a shoestring budget during that difficult first year. But it’s important that you brace up for the challenges this throws your way. You will need to carefully plan and ensure that you keep up with new tax rules and regulations as this is essential to your continued success.

As long as you stick to these strategies, managing your business books yourself will be enjoyable and less tasking.

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Stop Being Anti-Social; Social Media Is a Huge Business Investment Today!

has in recent times become equated with advertising online. There’s no disputing that it is a valuable tool when it comes to bringing owners and consumers together. However, if as a you’re still wondering if social media is really worth the investment, then I could only shake my head in pity because you do not know what you are missing.

Now, at the time when was the new thing everyone was talking about, there was no shortage of cynicism. As with any “next big thing,” there were plenty of who said, “It’s a fad, it will never last.” But today? Of course, it’s a different story.

The growth of Twitter as a social media site
But that is understandable because back then, most people had just about accepted that Facebook was here for the long haul. They never imagined there was space for another one. However, we can all agree that social networking is now a part of our lives. In fact, today many more social media sites have joined the fold along with a slew of micro- sites and friend-finding apps!

So, right now it’s not just the “big two” as they’ve been joined by Instagram!

Classifying the Social Networking Field

After a careful look at what is happening in the social media arena, you can, in all honesty, divide the social networking field into three groups:

a. Those who joined Facebook and said, “That’s fine, I’ll stop here.”

b. Those who added Twitter, and get everything they need from 140 characters at a time; and

c. Those who document their everyday life through pictures and wry or heartfelt captions.

While the above may look great but it shouldn’t be for you as a business owner. Fact is, using social media for your business is really not a matter of choice any more.

You Need To Spread Your Online Presence Far And Wide

Spread your online reach using social media

Believe it or not, the way we do business has changed utterly in less than two decades. In the 1990s, running a business from home was just about possible if you had a big enough house or a small enough business. You needed premises, and you needed prime location.

But now?

Having premises isn’t going to hurt if you’re the kind of business that benefits from them. If you’re a food store or a hair salon, they’re almost essential. However, “prime location” now is online.

You’ll get absolutely nowhere if you don’t have a website. That’s for a start. But it’s now more and more accepted that you need other things too. The bottom line is that you need to be active on social networks to have a competitive edge in business these days. And if you’re in either of the first two of those social media adopter groups above, you’re going to need to learn the rules of the networks you’re not yet on.

So, what’s The Route to Take?

1. Business Is More Visual Than Ever; Get on Instagram!
Instagram marketing strategies

Sharing pictures of your lunch may not be for you, but if that’s what’s stopped you from getting on Instagram so far, then stop it from stopping you.

The worst thing you can do as a modern business is to laugh at social media. It will laugh right back and drive your customers elsewhere. The one thing you can be entirely sure of is that if you’re not on Instagram, your competitors will be. That’s a whole section of your audience you’re turning away from.

“But, but…” you may be thinking, “It’s not like my business is a visual one anyway!”

And by and large you may be right. Maybe you sell insurance, or are a courier. Your product may be abstract or hard to photograph. But you’re not. Your vehicles aren’t, nor your delivery route. Your customers aren’t. There will always be something connected to your business to photograph. Make use of the filters, in an appropriate way – like showing off an epic sunset you saw on a delivery route, for example.

2. Take Advantage of Events As They Happen

You’ve probably seen a few businesses’ social media accounts and generally, you’re not impressed by them. For the most part, they are used as RSS feeds by companies who know they should have social media. But they don’t know what it does or how to use it. All the best business social media accounts are the ones with a modicum of humanity.

If the whole world is tweeting about a significant event, you should be in there too. What you need to be careful about is how you do it. If it is a tragic event, register your business’s thoughts and condolences for those affected. Do not editorialize or offer opinions – save that for your personal account, it is not for a business to comment. Never refer to a tragedy and promote your business in the same post. Oh, yes, it happens.

If it is a more joyful or unexpected event, by all means live-tweet your office’s reaction to what’s happening. If it is political, play it by ear. Nailing your political colors to the mast could bring in new followers. It could also turn a lot of people off, depending on what your views and market are.

3. Reach the Widest Possible Audience

Reach your audience on social media

Once upon a time, the hashtag was the domain of Twitter. Now, you can find all Instagram or Facebook posts on a certain topic by clicking on the hashtag too. So you should feel free to use them – in the right way. You want to draw anyone who might be interested in your business to your posts. Do everything you can to get more Instagram followers – this is a ready audience for your promotions.

So much business today is international, which makes social media even more valuable. A huge department store in New York City has high catchment in that area. Its international custom cannot be as impressive, because someone in Zurich doesn’t just get on a bus and head to New York for the weekend. But if you’re visible on social media – and do it well enough – you can attract overseas followers.

4. If You’re Not Sure, Hire Someone Who Is

The big three social media sites are different enough that you can be a Twitter junkie but left cold by Facebook. And, verse versa. If you’ve had trouble getting to grips with Instagram or another social network, fine. It’s probable you know someone who isn’t so unfamiliar.

It may be a friend, or a friend of a friend, or a son or daughter of a friend. Ask them to take control of the business social media accounts. Pay them for their time – and if business booms, bring them on full time as social media manager. It’s well worth the commitment.

Conclusion

It’s fine to be agnostic about social networking on a personal level. A lot of us are, and some people are better at filtering events and opinions into a digital space than others. However, you need to remember that social media is not huge part of business – and unless something unforeseen happens, will stay that way. So for the sake of your business success, stop being anti-social!

The 4 Common Small Business Mistakes That Could Destroy Your Business

The statistics are alarming, and most times, they could be demoralizing. But they are true all the same. Fact is, not every business idea will see the light of day and for those that get started, 25% will fail within the first year, 55% within 5 years and 71% within 10 years! (Source)

Now, if you’ve had enough of working as a “wage slave” and you are thinking of stepping out on your own by starting your own business, this really is not to scare you but to help you to be better prepared. Of course, it is a good thing that you’ve got a great idea you that want to share with the world by starting a business. Far too many ambitious and intelligent people have such great business ideas, but never pursue them out of fear. For this can-do attitude, I salute you!

However, while launching a company is easier today than it has been in the past, there are still potential pitfalls which could destroy your great idea. It is better therefore that you learn the potential risks that could sink you business boat even before you start so you can do well in avoiding them instead of regretting later on. Here are some of the major ones which you need to avoid.

Common busines startup mistakes to avoid

Small Business Startup Mistakes to Avoid

1. Hiring the Wrong Staff

The first big mistake you need to be aware of is hiring the wrong staff. If you’ve just got out of education and you’re raring to get your business up and running, then this is one of the big ones you have to look out for. Choosing the wrong people to work at your company may be one of the most expensive mistakes new entrepreneurs are capable of. With a bad enough team, you’ll not only throw a lot of money down the drain, but also grind down your overall business morale.

Recently, you may have met someone you share all kinds of opinions and ideas with, and be just about ready to launch a business with that person. Bringing your friends into the venture will make for a pretty pleasant opening period, true. However, in the long run, those very people may end up killing your business.

It’s better to hire someone who’s annoying but professional than your best friend who knows nothing about business. Hire people with varied skill-sets and a common vision, rather than people you get a good vibe off.

2. Picking the Wrong Price

If you’re running a manufacturing business, then one of the biggest mistakes you can make is bad pricing. This is one thing that will destroy a B2B firm faster than you can imagine, so it’s important not to slip into it.

There are a lot of causes for bad pricing, but one of the most common is a poor grip on your business’s costs. From the payments on your merchant cash advance to the materials you need to logistics, the costs never end! You may hate number-crunching, but don’t be tempted to round up figures, or leave anything out. You can’t afford any laziness here!

You need to be taking everything into account and getting an accurate cost-to-markup figure. While you might be able to recover from bad pricing through good luck and perseverance, it’s not the kind of thing you want to risk.

Before you sign off a single invoice, make sure you understand pricing and all the factors in your industry that influence it.

3. Lack of Flexibility

Another common mistake is going into business with a lack of flexibility. If you land on an absolutely brilliant idea, then you may build it up into this perfect image of everything you want your business to be. After some time overcoming financial and personal obstacles, it’s easy to become attached to this idea. Lean too much towards it, and you could end up putting the big launch off for far too long. Remember that the longer you’re not trading, the longer it will take to actually start turning a profit.

If your business idea hinges on a new program or an app, then this is a particularly big danger you have to look out for. A huge amount of techy entrepreneurs start to develop a program, and won’t consider pitching it until it’s absolutely perfect. This leads to a lot of spending, wasted time, and disgruntled investors. In fact, the only people who benefit here will be your suppliers!

This applies even when your product is matched exactly to your vision. You’ll still need to put money into advertising and distribution to make sure your business doesn’t fizzle out. Grind down too much resources too quickly, and you’ll end up with no product and a pretty substantial debt over your head.

4. Failing to Outsource

Failing to outsource when you definitely should is another common mistake. Again, this is tied in heavily with the software and technology niche. You don’t have to know too much of the technical details to be a successful businessperson. Richard Branson, CEO of this little company called Virgin, didn’t even go to university, and yet managed to expand into too many areas for me to list!

However, you certainly need some kind of expertise in your camp, whether it’s from you or from outside sources. Let’s say you have a great idea for a new program. You know exactly what it’s going to do and how you’d like it to look, but you know absolutely nothing about coding or software development.

Some entrepreneurs are fixed on the idea of independence (or at least reduced costs) and will put off outsourcing for as long as possible. This is something you probably can’t afford to do. Either hire some permanent, in-house experts in your industry, or outsource the work to a trusted professional.

While you probably won’t have all that much to worry about after this, it’s also a good idea to become savvy about your industry. I’m not talking about re-starting your whole formal education here. However, if you hire in some specialists who put across a professional image this isn’t necessarily a reflection of their worth. If you’re spending money on a service that isn’t doing anything for your business, you’d want to know sooner rather than later, right?

Conclusion

When you’re trying to take your business from an idea to a reality, make sure you avoid these big mistakes. I don’t mean to alarm you, but this post is only the tip of the iceberg! Starting a business is a very risky move, which can be undone with all kinds of other factors. However, if you keep yourself informed and on top of all your possible risks, you’ll stand a much better chance of success!

Over to you: Of these common mistakes which do you think is actually the BIGGEST? Share with us in your comments below.

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4 Easy Ways of Improving the Responsiveness of Your Website

In these days and time when a lot of access the internet on their mobile phones making your business website mobile friendly is a must. It doesn’t matter if you’re a or a full-time blogger, having a responsive website is of the utmost importance.

In most cases, your business site is the first contact point with your potential customers. It’s also where your consumers and fans engage with you. Making a good impression is therefore something you should take very serious. And what better ways to do this than an appealing look in their mobile devices!

That being said it is important to know that these days you can get a stellar internet connection almost anywhere – from the middle of a forest to a sandy beach. Therefore, you don’t have any excuse if your website is slow and clumpy on mobile devices. In fact, around 40 percent of people will abandon a web page if it takes too long to load. It’s an astonishing figure and is one that should be spurring you into action.

How to make your website more responsive

The question you will want to ask at this point is,

How do you improve a website’s responsiveness and ensure it is lightning fast?

Here are my top 4 suggestions:

1. Condense Your Content, and Cut Any Fat

Almost anyone can build a website, and that’s awesome. It can actually be quite simple to make a profitable site, too. That being said, the most popular ones are popular for a reason. They’re streamlined to perfection.

Take a look at your homepage and navigation pages. Do they concisely display all the information you need them to?

Are there any unnecessary features you could cut, like images?

Do you really need that extra ‘archive’ page when a simple search bar would do?

Every single feature of your website takes time to load, so the less you have, the more responsive it’ll be.

2. Switch Your Hosting Provider

The slow nature of your website may simply come down to a case of the wrong provider. Just as mobile phone providers offer you different perks and experiences, web hosts do the same. You can get fast hosting from Siteground to make your site lightning quick and responsive, which cuts unnecessary load times. Above all, shop around. You never know what is right for you until you’ve tried something new!

3. Check Your Site’s Performance from a Variety of Places

This one is especially important given the dominance of smartphones and tablets in recent years. Web giant Google recently stated that there are now more mobile search queries than desktop ones. As such, you need to optimize your site for these different .

Ensure it loads quickly across both mobile and desktop. Adding a ‘mobile view’ to your site is a good way to optimize for mobile without sacrificing the desktop experience. You have to cater to everybody after all, and this is one way to do so.

4. Optimize All Your Images

Images are that one giant feature that can suck the power right out of a page. If possible, use lower resolution images to improve load times – search Google Images and type in a desired resolution to find some. Alternatively, use adaptive images so pictures will detect screen size and adjust themselves accordingly. This is useful if you want to use a high resolution image across a variety of platforms.

Conclusion

Websites are fickle operations. There are a lot of different areas to handle, and it can be hard to make them all cohesive. That being said, it’s worth the time investment. Your site visitors will stick around, and you may gain a customer as a result. As previously mentioned, there’s always room for improvement. So start improving on the responsiveness of your website today!

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How to Foster Better Workplace Collaboration in Your Business For Greater Results!

Everywhere you turn these days, there is increased awareness of businesses putting more focus than ever before on communication and collaboration in the workplace. As a business person who wants to get more from your business in these competitive times, it’s important that you should consider this also.

The good thing is, collaboration in the workplace doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need is to put in place the right environment for this to happen. In this article I want to share with you some top ideas that will help you improve the way in which your business works together.

Bur first,

What Really Is Workplace Collaboration?

While different people may define the term in several ways, the term “Workplace Collaboration” is basically when two or more people (often groups) work together within an organization through idea sharing and thinking to accomplish a common goal. Workplace Collaboration is actually taking teamwork to a higher level. This form of collaboration has become the buzz word these days because of the changes and advancements in technology, such as high speed Internet, web-based programs, file sharing, email and video-conferencing.

How to improve workplace collaboration for more results

Top Ideas for Your Business to Collaborate Better

1. Let Everyone Have Their Say

The first step towards better workplace collaboration is letting everyone have their say. You should create a workplace in which people are encouraged to speak their minds and give their opinions. Opening the floor to new voices and opinions can be a really good way to improve the business generally too. It gives everyone a little more confidence, and that’s what you want when you’re trying to boost teamwork and collaboration. So, make it clear that everyone can have their say.

2. Making Sharing Information Simple

Working together means sharing information, documents and data. Nowadays, this is something that is done using computers and gadgets. So, to speed up the whole process and make collaboration easy for everyone, you need to change your approach to technology. A secure email provider is a great way to make these kinds of communication easier than ever before. You should also start using the cloud to your advantage. It makes sharing and downloading documents so simple.

3. Change the Office Layout

The way that the office is physically laid out can have a big impact on how well your employees collaborate. If they are all stick in small office spaces that are confined and cordoned off from everyone else, collaboration will be impossible. So, you need to make sure that the layout is open. You should also dedicate specific spaces that can be used for team projects. A large table that everyone can get around and share new ideas is a must. And the difference it makes might surprise you.

4. Launch Team Projects

As the head of the business, increasing collaboration is something that will have to start with you. If your employees are not used to working in teams, you will have prompt them and get them used to it. It’s an entirely new way of working, and many employees might not have experience of it. So, you should launch some new projects in the workplace that need to be completed in a team. This will launch people straight into it. They will learn to share ideas and delegate tasks between them on the job.

5. Deal with Conflict Immediately

When you increase the amount of teamwork that is completed in the office, you have to accept that there might be conflict. People often disagree on how to do things. This is not necessarily a bad thing though. Debate and disagreement can be very healthy, and it can lead to better decisions being made. But you obviously don’t want people to start to resent one another. So, you should have a plan in place for how to deal with conflict so that it doesn’t remain and fester in the office.

Conclusion

There are various benefits that will accrue to any business when workplace collaboration is effectively handled. The above ideas can help you in this wise. Put them into use today and you will be sure of getting more from your business.

What other ideas and ways do you suggest for more effective collaboration in the workplace? Share with us in your comments below.