How NOT to Make Life Difficult For Your Customers. Make Them Fall in Love with You!

Making the customer experience a pleasant one is something that many businesses take for granted. But this shouldn’t be.

You’ll agree that there are so many options open to the customer these days than we have had at any time in the history of mankind. Any business therefore that makes life more difficult for the customer instead of making it easier for them, do not realize what harm they are doing to themselves.

This might surprise you but it’s the truth all the same. According to a study some time past by Bain & Company, 60-80% of customers who reported being satisfied do not go back to do more business with the company that initially satisfied them!

This means beyond making a customer like you, you should aim at turning the customer into a promoter. And this can only happen when you make life easier for them.

Before now doing this has always been a problem because, like we have said already, customers have so many different choices. However, with the technological advances of our time businesses can now have a relationship that is “inter personal” with every single customer they serve.

So, do you desire a powerful customer experience? Then simply seek out ways to know how the life of a customer proceeds so you can make it easier for them instead of adding more to their complicated life situations.

Think about it. You are likely a customer yourself, at least in some small capacity. This means that you have at least a slight understanding about how consumer attitudes work, and how to improve them. As someone in the process of running a business, it pays to know how these things come together.

Making life difficult for your customers is easier than you think. Doing this can impede your potential revenue, and overall success as a firm.

How to Make Life easier for Your Customers

How to Make Life EASIER for Your Customers

1. Respect Your Customers

It’s so easy for businesses to fall into the ‘common denominator’ perspective of marketing. This might mean using overly catchy jingles within the scope of strange advertisement campaigns. It might mean the general dumbed-down branding your corporation uses. It might even mean how you expect your staff to interact with the customers they encounter. Customers in the modern-day expect a form of respect. This means respecting their intelligence.

Acting as a cool corporate mouthpiece is much more important than hammering your brand home as hard and wide as possible. If you manage to subtly market through allowing your customers to partake in ‘inside humor,’ a feeling of loyalty and crafting a narrative around your firm customers can feel included with, you have a much more refined strategy to forming and retaining customers.

2. Allow Them to Pay

It’s ridiculous to consider how many businesses might neglect overall maintenance over the acquisition and retention of funding.

Allow your consumers to pay. This means scheduling website maintenance and downtime for the lowest expected period of website traffic. It also means allowing for promotional deals and materials to be available around the heightened frequency of these times. It means making sure your credit card machines are in order and well functional at the very least.

Additionally, you could also develop incentives for customers to continually stick with your firm. There are so many choices online that the lack of care here might make you lose thousands in revenue.

Foster brand loyalty through excellent customer service, repeat and personalized promotional material, as well as hidden free extras. This way, purchasing power feels worth it, and it will certainly be directed towards you in the future.

Foster brand loyalty through excellent customer service

3. Support

You need to be active and aware regarding all support requests leveled towards you. This means sometimes investigating the difficulty a client is facing first and foremost.

Identifying issues might take time, and it might lead to nasty truths about your systematized business practices. Always looking for a solution and learning from the smallest issues could afford you potential BIG breaks in the future potential of your firm. It will also help you develop a corporate attitude in which the customer is key, and this is the cardinal rule of most successful firms.

Invest in your support as much as possible. It will grant you the keys to not only sustain your audience, but to develop a positive relationship there.

Conclusion

While creating a customer experience that is exceptional may be a huge challenge is however something that every business that desires good results must commit to. This is most important at a time like this when the customer wield enormous powers.

Using the above tips you can be sure that the interactions between you and your customer base will produce the results you crave for.

Want to Motivate Your Employees? Try These 3 Simple Tricks

Employees are an important part of any business. It doesn’t matter what industry your business is serving. When your employees are motivated enough they will always put in their best and your company will be the best for it.

Unfortunately, this is one area that many have find to be really hard when it comes to running a business. Keeping their staff motivated enough to keep things interesting is challenging. But one thing is sure even if your workforce is passionate about your industry it doesn’t take long before the repetitiveness of the 9 to 5 schedule starts to wear away at the passion and determination of the employees. This is especially so if they’ve been working on the same project for a long time and repeating the same tasks day in and out.

Once your employees feel disengaged with the organization productivity is bound to drop. When this happens, sales will definitely drop also and you can be sure that from that point onward it will be a slippery slope downwards. It doesn’t matter whether you have a workforce full of intelligent and experienced individuals.

Quotes on Motivating Employees

Motivate Employes to increase productivity

Here are some selected “motivating employees quotes” that will help you understand the important role this can play in any organization.

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” – Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” – Simon Sinek

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy

“The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.” – Sybil F. Stershic

You can say every one of them is right in every way right? So, how can you put a smile on the face of your staff so they can be motivated again? How can you relight that fire and passion in their eyes once more? In short, how do you keep your employees motivated in order to increase productivity?

Satisfied employess

Fact is, as a small business there are simple ways to motivate employees and increase productivity without spending a lot of money. Below are some practical ways that have been proven to work wonders.

3 Simple Ways to Motivate Employees to Increase Productivity

1. Offer Incentives

The best way to keep your employees engaged at work is to switch things up. You need to incentivize your workers to try harder and a new objective is a great way to achieve this. Simply stating that the business has a new plan or a new project on offer isn’t enough; you need to let your employees know how the company is making changes to benefit them.

Money is a huge incentive, obviously, and offering rewards in the form of bonuses for those who make the most sales or perhaps even offering a promotion for the top seller of the month are both ways in which you could offer a chance for progression and change within the company. It’ll certainly motivate your staff again.

Incentivize performance

2. Create A Nicer Workplace

Whether at work or at home, we are affected by our surroundings. You likely didn’t need anyone to tell you that, but it might be time to take another look at the workplace in which your business is situated. Does it look appealing? An uninspired working environment will lead to uninspired workers, so it might be time to create a nicer workplace if you want to lift the mood amongst your workforce.

You could browse through office cubicle options online if you’re stumped as to where to begin with your office redesign. Much like interior design at home, you don’t have to spend a fortune when it comes to improving the workplace; simply put some thought into warmer lighting, brighter colors, and perhaps a more exciting break room with a TV or table football for employees to enjoy.

Create A Nicer Workplace

3. Provide Training Opportunities

Your workers want to feel as if you’re invested in them, and taking the time to train your employees so that they can achieve more shows that you value their contribution to your business and you want them to stick around. It might also show that you see the potential for workers to progress up through the ranks of the company and you want to prepare their knowledge and skill set for that opportunity.

Conclusion

Ultimately, motivating your employees to get the best out of them is simply by treating them as humans and not some machines or piece of software. Make them feel wanted and appreciated and you would have given them enough motivation that will result in more productivity for your business. Simon Sinek, quoted above, definitely was right when he said, “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

So, what do you say? What are your top tips for motivating employees in the workplace for increased productivity? How about watching this short video for some ideas?

Share your thoughts in your comments below.

How to Ensure Success with Your Small Business Accounting Records

Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been running your small business for some time now, you should know by now that owning a business comes with a lot of tasks you need to handle. One of such is your accounting records.

As a small business owner you can never boast of success if you allow your accounts to get out of your control. It’s simply one of the most basic things that business owners need to get right.

That’s true for new, young entrepreneurs and experienced business leaders alike. The moment you take your eye off the ball, things are bound to slip away from you.

But there is really no need to be too daunted by the prospect of looking after your business’ accounts properly, though. It’s something that certainly can be done if you’re willing to learn and put in some hard work.

To get started and regain control of your small business accounts, you need to first know the basic rules. These rules apply to all kinds of businesses. They are the basic principles upon which good business accounting practices are based.

When you know and understand these rules, your task will become so much easier, which can only be a good thing for you and your business.

You will also need to know about some of the common pitfalls and mistakes that are experienced when managing a business’s accounts.

Below is what you need to know about small business accounting so your business run smoothly and profitably.

Small Business Accounting Rules to Follow

1. Track Each and Every Expense

Every little thing your business spends money on should be tracked and recorded. This is something that many people don’t realize is necessary. But all those small expenditures will mount up over time, so it’s always best to be clear about where the business stands.

To do this properly, you will need to have a system for organizing the business’ receipts. Remember that some of these small expenses might be tax deductible, meaning you could get a chunk of money knocked off your taxes later on. This makes tracking every expense and keeping every receipt even more worthwhile.

2. Develop a System for Bookkeeping

Do you have a good bookkeeping system in place for your business?

If you don’t, your business needs to fix this fast. You need to be using the best software available in order to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes. There are so many accounting software options out there, and they make your job of keeping control of the accounts so much easier than it would otherwise be.

You can also use things like intuit checks to add some extra security and oversight to your business’ finances. The system you eventually develop will be unique to your business; just make sure you have one.

Design a system for your accounting operations

3. Separate Business and Personal Finances

For many people who run small businesses, there is some crossover between their personal finances and the business’ finances. It’s important to make these separate from one another if you want to succeed and keep the finances in order.

You should aim to set up the business in a way that allows you to have limited responsibility. This will mean that if the business has debts, they won’t have to be paid by taking away your personal possessions. This is important for anyone who is setting up a business by themselves. If you fail to, your home and other assets could be at risk if things go badly wrong.

4. Follow Up on Invoices

Invoices are important because everyone wants to get paid when they’re owed money. But when you run a small business, it’s often a case of sending out the invoice and then forgetting about it. This is not the kind of practice that will be good for your business’s finances, though.

You should make sure that the invoices you send out are tracked. That way, you can follow them up and make sure you receive payment. For many companies, unpaid invoices are a real problem. And if you let them pass by without ever getting paid, the business will be deprived of its money.

5. Set Up a Strong Payroll System

If you hire anyone to work for you, even if it’s not on a full-time basis, you will need to have a payroll system in place. It’s not as simple as it might sound because you will have to make sure that the company is withholding the right amount of money to be paid in taxes.

If you don’t have a proper and professional payroll system in place to deal with these tasks, you will never manage your workforce properly. Things will become messy and, inevitably, mistakes will get made.

Setting up the payroll system isn’t a huge task, but it will certainly save you time and stress later on, so don’t put it off for long.

6. Determine Your Tax Obligations

Finally, you need to fully determine your business’ tax obligations. There are big consequences for businesses that fail to pay their taxes. It’s not a situation you want to get your business in, whether it was intentional or not.

If your business is run as a corporate entity, its tax obligations will be separate from your own personal tax obligations. And that means that it will have to pay corporation tax.

If you are confused by the situation in any way, don’t hesitate in hiring a professional tax advisor who will be able to clear things up for you. It’s better to do that than to make a big mistake.

Know your tax obligations

Major Small Accounting Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Simple Mathematical Errors

It’s sometimes the case that simple mathematical errors, even if they seem small at the time, can have a big impact on the overall accounts. It’s these simple errors that could lead to you getting a view of the business’ accounts and financial situation that is less than accurate.

When you have inaccurate records to use, you will make decisions that are wrong because they won’t be based on the real situation that the business is in. So, always check and double check the records before pressing ahead. This is an important thing to do, even if it might seem trivial now.

Little account mistakes could harm your business

2. Taking a Short-Term Approach

Taking a short-term approach to your business finances is not an option that is even worth considering if you want to sort things out properly. When you only focus on where the business’ finances are heading in the immediate sense, you won’t be prepared for what could be heading your way further down the line. That would be a big mistake and leave the business unprepared for future challenges.

So, to ensure that your business is sustainable in the long-term, you should take an approach that takes into account the future of the business. How is it going to adapt? Is there going to be money for future investment? These things are important.

3.  Getting Too Far Ahead and Forgetting the Basics

When you try to get too far ahead of yourself, you start becoming concerned with things that might not be so important. Yes, it’s a good thing to want to learn more about accounting. But only do this if you think that you have a firm grip on the basics. The basic things are the ones that matter most. And if you can’t get those right, then you’ll have a problem.

So, don’t try to complicate matters if they really don’t need to be complicated. It’s a classic mistake, but one that doesn’t have to be made. When you run a small business, you only need to get the basic things right to keep your business in strong financial shape.

4.    Not Getting Help When It’s Needed

Many business owners just assume that they are capable of going it alone when they start out managing their accounts. For small business owners with relatively simple financial situations, this might be the case. But you should be aware that if you are focusing on the financial side of things, then you will probably have to make sacrifices in other areas. You can’t ignore that fact.

You only have so many hours in the day, and it’s up to you to split your time between different tasks. If you think that you’re not going to be able to dedicate the necessary amount of time to the accounts, you might want to hire some help.

Get help when neccessary

5. Falling Behind

Falling behind with the accounting tasks that you need to take care of is one of the biggest mistakes of all. And the dangerous thing is that it’s so easy to do.

If you step back and stop paying attention to what you’re doing and what needs to be done for even a couple of weeks, you can fall really far behind. Making up that ground and fixing issues and problems that have arisen while you were distracted can be a huge challenge.

In truth, many business owners never manage to regain control of their finances once they stop paying attention to them. So, make sure that this is something that you are focused on all year round.

Conclusion

Now that you know more about what it takes to manage your small business’ accounts properly and professionally, it’s time to get down to work. Let the information and warnings above aid you as you try to make your business’ accounts balanced and healthy in the future.

6 Must-Have Tech Tools for Your Small Business

Today, running a business means having to get to grips with technology like never before. Technology has become a very big part of our lives that hoping to succeed in any business in the 21st century using outdated and archaic tools will only frustrate you.

The good thing is that there are a good number of technological innovations designed to boost your productivity and to have fun while running your business. But you definitely need to get the company’s approach to technology right if you are going to get the best from these tools.

The following a few ways to practically integrate tech solutions in running and making your business successful.

Practical application of tech in business

1. Make the Most of Teleconferencing

As the economy becomes more international than ever before, it’s becoming even more important for businesses to make links with foreign companies. The only way these international business links can be maintained is by using teleconferencing software. This allows you to speak to people on the other side of the world at a click of a button. And because it’s an internet service, there are no huge international phone bills.

2. Embrace Mobile Devices

A lot of business owners don’t like the idea of letting their employees using mobile devices in the office. The thought conjures up images of slacking employees playing Angry Birds instead of doing work. But that’s not necessarily how it is. For companies that operate on a large scale and depend on good communication between different departments, mobile devices can be essential. It can make internal communication faster and more effective than ever before.

3. Don’t be Afraid to Outsource

Outsourcing still has a bad reputation for some people. But, as long as you outsource to reputable and trusted companies, it can actually be a savior for many busy business owners. Outsourcing allows companies to shed some of the costs associated with hiring people. And you don’t have to sacrifice quality either. Small tasks like data entry are sensible to outsource. And human resources is another department that it’s sensible to outsource, especially for large businesses.

4. Cloud Storage

The cloud allows businesses to store data and documents remotely, minimizing the risk of damage and loss of that data. Because it doesn’t need to be stored in any kind of physical hard drive in the office, there’s no way that it could be damaged if a fire took hold. If you want to find out more about how to get started with cloud computing, you can contact one of the many cloud computing providers out there.

5. Have a Policy for Customer Data

Nowadays, data is something that every business has to think about. When you store the data of your customers, you have to do so responsibly. If you don’t, you could breach the data protection act. And you might also risk losing the data if the company computer system gets hacked. If this happens, your business could be sued by every person whose data is breached, and that means taking a huge financial hit.

6. Make Your Website Relevant & Functional

One of the key ways that businesses use technology nowadays is to build and maintain their websites. A business without a good website in the 21st century probably won’t get very far. This is the way in which most people will now interact with your business, so it needs to be functional and relevant. If it’s not suitable for the needs of your potential customers, those people will never become actual customers!

The above are simply my own thoughts on applying tech into running your business. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments below.

Struggling to Get Your Startup Seen in a Crowded Marketplace? Try These Ideas

If you find yourself doing business in a crowded marketplace, what should you do to stay atop the crowd? How about if you are just a startup and your competitors have more resources and experience than you?

Overwhelming, right?

Frankly, it can be really challenging as you will definitely see yourself swimming against the tide!

But even in such daunting situations, there are things you can do as a startup to change the tide of things. In this article I want to share with you some great ideas that will help you turn things around for your good!

Try these tips today and you will see miraculous results:

1.    Personalize

Nowadays, consumers expect a little more from businesses. One of the big developments of the last few years is the move towards a more personalized service. It’s no coincidence that some of the most successful customer-facing businesses are those that offer a personalized services.

This change is partly down to the rise of the internet in the role of commerce. But the best businesses don’t confine their personalized services to the internet. It’s very easy to offer a personalized service online, but it takes a bit more effort to personalize your service in the real world. But it’s something people really appreciate.

2.    Give People a Reason to Switch

When you’re starting out in business, there are probably plenty of other businesses competing for the same customers that you are. And if these businesses are already more established and experienced than your own, you’re going to have to come up with a good reason why they should switch to yours.

This is key to success for a startup.

You can’t expect customers to simply switch to your business just because you exist. There has to be a reason for them to do so, otherwise what’s in it for them? It might be that you offer them something unique and different or give them a great introductory price.

3.    Focus on Customer Satisfaction

Keeping your customers happy is one of the hardest things about running a business, and that’s something that not enough young entrepreneurs realize. If your customers are happy, your business will be all the better for it. But if you don’t make sure they’re satisfied, you can start to see your profits fall.

To find out what your business is doing right and wrong in the eyes of your customers, you should ask your customers for feedback. You’ll be surprised at how many people are keen to give feedback after they’ve bought from your business. You should also make sure your customers services department is fit for purpose.

Top notch customer relations
4.    Find Your Niche

It’s much easier to operate a business if you have your own niche. It allows you the room to build up your own base of customers, meaning you don’t have to rely on persuading customers to switch from another business. It’s not easy to find a niche for your business, but it’s the easiest way to stand out from the crowd.

If you work hard and have a creative team of innovators behind you, it’s perfectly possible to carve out a niche for yourself. It could be a niche within an existing sector or it could be something entirely new. Just use your imagination and work hard at it.

5.    Make Media Contacts

Being in the good books of influential people in the media can only be a good thing. They could give your business a lift by mentioning you on social media or mentioning you in an article. Don’t just ask for a namecheck though. They won’t respond to a request for free advertising, but if you prove to them that your business is doing something worthwhile, they might take a liking to it!

The kind of media contacts you aim for will depend on the size of your business. If you operate in the local community, making a contact at the local newspaper can give your business a big lift. Talking to influential bloggers can be a big help too.

6.    Exhibit at Trade Shows

Getting involved with trade shows can be great for your business, but you need to make sure you get your approach right. They allow you to reach exactly the kind of people that you need to reach as they all work in or are interested in your industry. This can provide a massive boost to your sales figures.

It’s even more important for new and small businesses that are struggling to get their name out there in a busy marketplace filled with bigger names. To prepare for the trade show, you should visit www.finessegroup.com, they can help create a great looking exhibit for you. Then all you have to do is deliver on the day.

Exhibit at trade shows

7.    Sponsor and Donate to Relevant Causes

Image is important for businesses. You need to manage your public profile and keep control of how your business appears to the outside world. One great way to do something good and improve your public image at the same time is to sponsor and donate to local charities and community causes.

You should look for charities that are relevant to what you do. So, if you work in sports equipment, for example, you could support charities that help people with disabilities to take part in sports. This creates a relevant link between your business and the charity, and will be sure to improve your business’s reputation.

8.    Create a Killer Logo

To get your business noticed, you need to be instantly recognizable to the kinds of people who are your target customers. The only way to do this is to create a great logo and use it whenever and wherever you can. It should be stylish and simple, yet it should also be relevant to your business and tell people a bit about what your business does.

Don’t be tempted to create a logo that’s too abstract. Otherwise, people will not get what your business does or has to offer them. This is not good for business. You should at least give people an idea of what you do via your logo. You should also be consistent with the colors and fonts that you use for your advertising and marketing materials.

Conclusion

There’s no doubt that for a startup, trying to etch out a name in a crowded marketplace, it’s going to be a big challenge. But if you will try out some of these ideas, your startup should start to get noticed a bit more easily and not very long from now, you will have your own place.

How to Treat Your Blog like A Business: A Guide for Newbies

Building a business from your blog

Do you run a blog? If so, there’s a high chance you want to make money from it. Unfortunately, many have problems when it comes to monetizing their .

Over the past few years I have come across many bloggers who have problems when it comes to monetizing their blog. In fact these bloggers consider it unethical to monetize your blog.

Now, if you are a newbie blogger you don’t want to listen to these . You must understand that blogging has gone beyond some personal journal where you simple want to share your thoughts with your friends and family. Blogging is big business these days.

I invite you to read post I did some time ago in reply to some fellow bloggers who had this wrong. It is titled:

“Are You A Blogger or an Entrepreneur Who Blogs?”

The unfortunate thing is that many of these people, though they labor every every day to run their blogs they are still struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table.

You don’t want to go that route, do you?

That is why you MUST not  treat your blog as a hobby but as a business. When you treat something as a hobby, you’ll seldom make any money from it!

to help you do this with ease I offering you 2 useful tips that will help you monetize your blog starting now. The information contained in this article will show you how to treat your blog as a business rather than a hobby!

How to Build a Business and Not Just a Blog!

Make Sure You Have the Right Tools for the Job

The first step in encouraging growth in your blogging empire is to ensure you’ve got the right tools for your “trade.” I know that translates as spending some money. But, as you’re thinking of your blog as a business, you should think of doing this as an investment both in yourself and what you do!
For example, is your computer archaic, slow and unreliable? If so, it’s time to upgrade to a newer model. When I blog, my weapon of choice is an Apple MacBook Pro. But, yours might be a Windows 8 desktop; whatever works best for you.

You should also have a decent Internet connection. When you go online, the last thing you want to do is end up with errors on your blog posts because they fail to load. Fiber Internet connections are fast, affordable and reliable.

And what about your printers? You do have some printers, right? Believe it or not, professional bloggers rely on their printers for many reasons. First, they use them to print out ideas for new featured blog posts. Those ideas get assembled into a “mood board.”

Second, they need them for business purposes. For instance, they’ll need to print out invoices. And because many bloggers use multifunction printers, they’ll use them to scan receipts too.

Konica printing services are an example of a vendor that can find out what devices you need to support your business. Yes, that’s right; you’re . It just happens to be your blog!

Stick To a Routine

Regular blog readers expect to find content delivered to them through your site or RSS feed on a particular schedule. If you break that schedule, you’ll end up forcing those loyal readers to go elsewhere.

Just as you would in a business environment, make sure you have a set routine. For instance, be ready to start working from your desk at 9am. Take your lunch break between 12pm and 1pm. Publish new content on your blog before 5pm.

It doesn’t matter what your particular routine and schedule is; what matters is that you stick to it. By following the tips in this article, you’ll soon reap the benefits of running a busy blog site!

There you have it. Do this today and you will be able to take your blog to the level of a business starting now. And who knows, you might just be the next success story of probloggers making millions from their blogs!

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How to Revitalize Your Small Business Growth & Take It to the Next Level!

Are you confused and asking yourself why your online business appears to be stuck in one place?

Are you presently struggling, doing everything you know, but your online business has refused to move any further step?

Then this is your lucky day!

Don’t worry I’m not here to sell you anything. But, if you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you must pay careful attention to this post because you are about discovering some very strategic tips that will help you move your business to another level.

Business strategies to grow your small business!

Getting Stuck Can Be Devastating!

If you have been, then you will understand what I’m saying…

A few weeks ago, I and a friend on our way to a neighboring village experienced it first hand and I must say it was something we never bargained for!

A section of the road we had to pass through to get to the village is an untarred bush path. During the dry season it is dusty with pot-holes all over the place. And during the rainy seasons it is a hell of a place as you will have to struggle through a slimy, muddy, water-logged path!

We decided on this journey because we reasoned that at this time of the year the place would be okay since the rains are just beginning. And this is where we miscalculated!

Unknown to us, a couple of days before we set out on this journey, it had rained cats and dogs in that part of the country and though we are quite aware of how bad the road could be, what we actually experienced was beyond our expectations!

When we got to the muddy portion of the road we cautiously eased in. At first it was not much of a struggle. But then we soon got to a portion that was so bad. As my friend tried to maneuver the car through the muddy pocket of water we suddenly ran into a hole that was created a day earlier by a truck that went through that area.

My friend, realizing the futility of going forward, tried reverse gear but then the car wouldn’t move an inch! To make things worst it was difficult coming down from the car since we were right in the middle of the muddy pool of waters!

In desperation, my friend revved up the gears but that made things worst as the tires dug into the mud the more. It was then we realized…

…we were stuck!

Many Online Businesses Are in this Same Situation – STUCK!

Yes, a lot of online entrepreneurs are right in this same situation. Try as much as they can, there seems to be no forward movement.

The most painful part of it all it is that they are actually doing so many things which in reality should have helped in moving their businesses forward but unfortunately, these very things are actually what have kept them in the same place!

The truth is that they are given over to running around doing so many things that they rarely have time to build their business. They are actually focusing on the short term, day-to-day activities of running their businesses instead of the long term demands of growing a business!

For example, many spend a whole lot of time every day reading and replying emails, updating their online profiles, keeping up with what is happening on the ever-bustling social media, updating their business blogs and replying to blog comments, etc.

As much as these things are necessary the hard fact is that if these things are taking up your time every day and as a result you do not have time to really WORK ON your business, then you are only being busy with activities!

Unfortunately, building a sustainable business is not about ACTIVITIES but PRODUCTIVITY!

Business growth is not about randomly and reactively WORKING IN your business but strategically and proactively WORKING ON your business!

How to Strategically Grow Your Online Business

1. Improve Your Productivity

You must indeed start from here.

You must re-evaluate your online activities and check to know if they are of any help to your business. A really concerned check will help you uncover those areas that are simply making you to run on a treadmill.

For example, if you discover that despite the fact that you’re working hard every day creating content for your blogs, reading and replying to every comment, updating your social media profile for hours every day and interacting with your online connection but despite these your blog or site traffic has plateau-ed and try as much as you can, it wouldn’t move beyond what it has been since the past year, then you definitely need another strategy!

What you need is not more activities but a strategy to improve your productivity!

And, here are some suggestions to help:

(a). Re-evaluate the different activities to know which have helped you to be more productive in the past and focus more attention on those.

(b). Research and brainstorm at least 2 things you can do differently that will help your productivity.

(c). Have a to-do list every day to guide you on your daily activities.

2. Improve Your Business Processes

If you have not designed processes for your business then you must start from here. But if you already have, then brainstorm a few more ways to improve on it or build a a few others.

You must understand that without a clearly defined business process, you don’t have a business but a job. It is your carefully laid-out business process that will guide you to WORK ON your business instead of just WORKING IN it.

A good business process will help you BUILD your business instead of just DOING business!

Another word for processes here is systems. Design a workable system for your business that will help you strategically run and grow the business without much ado.

3. Improve Your Business Promotion Strategy

It is becoming glaringly clear every day that promoting a business online is a big task. New ways are springing up nearly every day. The market is becoming more and more competitive.  Tactics are becoming obsolete by the day.

This means you don’t just need to keep up with the times but also know what to leave behind and, if possible, what will become the vogue in the near future!

If you want to take your business to the next level you will need to step out of your comfort zone and do something new to promote your business. Don’t just concentrate on what you have always done. Of course, you don’t have to abandon those that are working for you but get into something new.

Have you tried video marketing?

How about podcasting?

Can you do webinars?

Or, what other new thing can you try this year 2014 to promote your business?

The good thing is that you can actually turn some of your old textual content into any of these new forms of business promotion. All you need is a determination to step out your comfort zone!

4. Upgrade Your Business Skills

Develop Your Business Skills!You must understand that the greatest asset you have to succeed in business is YOU. Every other thing you do to work on your business will amount to nothing if you are not improving yourself.

This year you must therefore set aside time and resources to help you upgrade your business skills. If it means going for more business seminars, do so. If it is taking up a new course of study, do it.

Of course, you mustn’t leave out reading books and business journals. These should always be a constant part of your business life! Look around and see what other successful entrepreneurs are reading right now and invest in them.

5. Find and Join a Community That Can Help

Going it alone can be really frustrating most times. Yes, you may be an online solopreneur but that does not mean you have to go it alone. There are various online communities that can be of help. Look for these on Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.

Form brainstorming sections with friends. You can set aside time to meet weekly, monthly or even quarterly. During these sections you may decide on your areas of strength and weakness and then know how to help one another.

Many of the communities on Facebook and Google+ are committed to helping their members with blog promotion, product launch, JVs etc. You simply need to first know what you want from the community and then join the one that suits your needs.

Conclusion

You cannot afford to have your business be a place where it defers every attempt to move it forward. That is a frustrating position to be in business. But applying the above suggestions could just be the elixir to move your business forward. These are tested business growth strategies and putting to use in your business will greatly help you.

Over to you: What business growth strategies are you right now using in running your online business? Share with us in your comments below.

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