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The Best Ways to Improve Your Business’s Online Presence

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 23, 2019

Owning a business can be tough, and if you don’t start off on the right foot, you might find yourself either not making enough profit to keep your business running or being stuck at a stand-still, unable to progress. When you find yourself in either of these situations, they can be difficult to overcome, but there is a very useful tool at your disposal which can greatly benefit your business if you use it correctly, and that’s the internet. Follow these tips to find out how to create a strong online presence and increase your business’s online and overall popularity.

Have a Good Website

When marketing online, the website that you choose will ultimately represent who you are as a business, as it is the first thing that your customers see about you and will form their first impression. Therefore, if your website looks unprofessional, crowded and messy, it will make your customers believe that the services you offer are sub-par. Your website needs to tell potential customers who you are from the second they click on your link. For example, if you own a law firm, your website should read as professional, smart and clean. You don’t need to be amazing with a computer to achieve these results – you can visit justlegalmarketing.com to find the perfect website to represent you as a law firm.

Build Online Relationships

One of the most important aspects to running a successful business is having successful business relationships, and this is equally important online as it is offline. Find a group of businesses or individuals who share the same niche as you, and begin to build relationships with them. This way, you can cross-promote each other, give each other tips on how to improve and be introduced to even more potential business relationships. As well as this, you should join a group of individuals who fit your target audience, so that you can directly see what the demographic is looking for.

Have a Presence on Social Media

In this day and age, social media has a huge say in whether businesses make it or break it.  Many people believe that social media sites are only frequented by a younger audience and, therefore, that their older clientele won’t be affected by the use of social media, but this is very wrong. In fact, 74% of people aged 65 to 69 in the USA are incredibly present both on social media and online in general. Regardless of your target audience, you should have an account for your business on the big three social networking sites, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as this gives your customers the ability to share their experiences with your company with their friends and even strangers. With Facebook’s new review system, your customers will effectively do your marketing for you, as a company with multiple 5 star ratings is a company to be trusted.

As most people live their lives online, if your online presence is weak, it stands a good chance that your company will not get the recognition it deserves. Make sure that you improve your business’s online presence by following these simple tips that will ensure that you get a boost in profit and recognition.

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3 Key Tips for Strategic Business Growth

Posted By Trevor Borden, Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2019

One of the hardest concepts for many small business owners to internalize is that business growth is a process. It’s not something that happens overnight. Growing a business takes a well thought out strategy and a willingness to make a few mistakes along the way. Even the most successful entrepreneurs admit to stumbling along the way, but realizing that growth was a process, they made a concerted effort to learn from mistakes and mishaps. If you are seeking to grow your business, here are three tips to help you develop a strategic plan for success.

1. Surround Yourself with Talent

If you were to ask any successful businessman or woman what they felt was the biggest contributing factor to their success, you will invariably be told it was a team effort. No one can be expected to know all there is to know within any industry, and so those who reach the pinnacle of success surrounded themselves with the top talent. It could be that they needed someone well-versed in marketing, or it could be they needed someone in prototype and product development. You don’t necessarily need a large team, but the team you create should work as a cohesive whole.

2. Open Yourself to Possibilities

One of the many roadblocks to success is getting stuck in a rut. If progress isn’t being made, perhaps there are alternatives you could explore. Remember, you need capital to invest in a strategic plan for business growth and if the money isn’t coming in, perhaps there are other avenues to explore. For example, consider an online merchant with a storefront. They’ve purchased more storage space than they need and are locked into a plan for a certain length of time. They ‘could’ resell some of that hosting space to share with other companies who find they need to establish a web presence.

Not only will that company make a bit of money to reinvest in their own business, but they will not be wasting space they can’t use. Web hosts like Krystal in the UK offer this kind of hosting plan which has helped many businesses literally pay for the space they are using. If you’ve bought too big a package, why not resell some of it? That’s part of the growth process – learning how to avoid waste and even capitalise on excess!

3. Focus on Customers

So many companies fail to grow because they get so caught up in their own ideas and their own products that they forget the customer in the process. It is imperative to cater to the customer because they are the ones who keep you in business. You might have developed what you think is the best thing since the invention of the wheel, but will you have an audience? The process of business growth takes an in-depth market analysis, so be prepared to listen to what your market is saying.

Your key takeaway in all this is adaptability. Any business seeking to grow must be willing to adapt to the market and their own, limited budget, as was the case with the hosting re-seller above. If you can’t get the financing you need, there are ways you probably hadn’t thought of to raise the money necessary for investing in your growth strategy. With key people at your side and a willingness to adapt as needed, there is no reason why you can’t grow your business successfully over time.

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How Manufacturers Can Better Optimize Costs by Improving Processes

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 29, 2019

For any business, maximizing efficiency and minimizing waste should be an ongoing concern. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in business or what exactly it is that you do – you should never be thinking “that’s enough” when it comes to your optimization. Instead, you should always be on the lookout for ways of improving your existing processes and optimizing your costs.

By focusing on the right processes, manufacturers can transform their approach to even the most mundane day-to-day tasks in a way that dramatically cuts costs and enhances efficiency. There are 3 key areas that manufacturers should be focusing on, and these are where the biggest savings will be.

Audit Your Processes and Workflows

Before you can begin to think about optimizing your existing processes, it is important that you have a firm grasp of precisely what they are and how they work. You can’t do anything useful in terms of optimizing your processes without knowing what these processes consist of.

There are a number of ways that you can go about performing these audits, and they should be simple to do for the most part. It is a good idea to have all your business processes, especially those that are carried out by frontline staff, formally recorded and available to workers. If you already have these to hand, they will make auditing your processes much easier. If you don’t currently have this stuff written down, this is the perfect excuse to do so.

Streamline and Standardize Your Hiring Practices

Many businesses massively underrate the potential benefits that come with a tightly-controlled hiring process. By screening applicants to prioritize specific characteristics and abilities, you can cultivate a workforce of individuals who possess whatever skills you most require.

If you can introduce clear guidelines for hiring new workers and ensure that everyone involved in the hiring process is adhering to them so you can optimize the proficiency of your production line. For example, if you ensure new hires have a certain amount of experience in manufacturing already, they are less likely to run into problems that they cannot solve for themselves.

BOM & Cost Optimization

The bill of materials refers to the cost of the raw materials that you need to make each unit of your product. As a business grows, its financial and production capabilities expand. This added capacity enables you to work with economies at scale that were previously impossible. The cost of producing your products can change dramatically according to how and where they are manufactured.

If you want to keep these costs as low as you can from the very beginning, you need to design your products with the final BOM at the forefront of your mind. Companies like Upverter can help you to optimize your bom cost and identify other opportunities to optimize your production processes.

Businesses are more than just a collection of individual processes, but it can be very helpful to temporarily reduce your business to its processes when you are looking to optimize them. For larger and more complex businesses, you will need to take into account the ways that different processes overlap and impact one another. And, don’t make this a one-off occurrence – put process optimization at the heart of your strategy going forward.

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5 Preliminary Steps Start-ups Can Take to Simplify Process Management and Save Money

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Managing a growing start-up can be very challenging if you're not taking an organised and well-guided approach to business process management. While most of the battle will be fought after you actually open for business, some of the most pivotal steps you can take to enhance your chances of success can be performed in the weeks and months leading up to launch day. More specifically, here are 5 preliminary measures you can take to set yourself up for cost-effective process management from the start:

1. Compare Business Electricity Prices

This is a step that many companies overlook because they simply settle for the first utility company they find or the one that is most well-known in their area. However, there are usually numerous electricity providers that service major cities and well-populated regions, so this is certainly a comparison that's worth conducting. You can click here to compare prices and plans from the top business electricity providers in your area.

2. Consolidate Employee Roles

Overstaffing is one of the primary mistakes that new companies make which drains payroll and makes process management unnecessarily difficult. Try to look for ways to consolidate employee roles into fewer positions, as this will not only save you money, but also simplify the process of creating comprehensive business process maps and schedules.

3. Use Project Management Tools and Platforms

Equipping your company with a powerful set of project management tools is another way to make your job easier as a business owner and planner. With these platforms, you'll be able to manage all of your mission-critical tasks and business objectives within a centralised interface that gives you all of the resources and conveniences needed to facilitate optimal levels of success in all of your company's initial projects.

4. Take Advantage of Free Analytics

Conducting routine analysis is something that every business process manager should be doing in order to base their actions on statistics rather than speculation. Fortunately, there are plenty of free software and online tools that will give you an abundance of analytical capabilities. Check out a list of the top free analytics tools and give each of them a try until you find one that perfectly suits your process management needs.

5. Create a Process Map

Process mapping is a management technique that every skilled entrepreneur should become familiar with. It's also a highly beneficial step that should be performed leading up the launch of any company that anticipates a fair amount of complexity or volume in its daily operations. You can find plenty of free guides and resources that will make you a process mapping expert in no time.

Business Process Management Saves Money by Itself

In closing, it's important to note that the very act of business process management is a money-saving method in and of itself, because it increases overall efficiency and optimises budget usage. As such, this is a topic that all company owners and managers should study to gain fundamental advantages over their competition. 

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Business Process Management Metrics to Measure Success

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Conducting a review of the processes that happen within your business that transform raw materials into products and then into sales is vital to ensuring processes are optimized, sustainable and continually improved. This article looks at three different business functions and discusses how and what to review and the metrics that can be used to measure their success.

Manufacture and Production

Within every business there will be an element of manufacture or production. This could be turning raw materials into products such as turning cotton into t-shirts, or it could be a more digital process creating websites or graphic design. Whatever it is, the aim is to add value to turn a profit.

It may be relatively easy to review the processes for simple product production that only involve one person or a small number of steps. However, for more complex product processes, it’s important to break down each part of the process into the different tasks that make it up. This will help you to identify one or two parts of the process that are causing problems rather than seeing the whole process as the problem. You can then model a new process to see if any changes have led to optimizations before implementing the new process.

Key Metrics for Manufacture and Production

Marketing and Sales

After production, the next step is getting your product in the market place. Most businesses will already have a number of different sales channels which might include sales reps on the road, selling online and selling in retail stores through branded stores or independent retailers.

As part of the business process management review process you should identify which sales channels are the strongest in terms of volume and which are delivering the highest profit. You will then be able to model different scenarios, such as selling into specific online retailers or employing more sales reps. A detailed analysis of the market will need to be undertaken along with process reviews to understand where cost savings and process improvements can be made to maximize sales and profit.

Key Metrics for Marketing and Sales

  • Return on ad spend (ROAS)
  • Customer churn
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • Total sales volume
  • Sales volume per region or channel

Employee Engagement and Retention

Where the two points above focus on departments as a whole and the processes within them, narrowing in on employee engagement and retention will help to understand where improvements can be made to help the workforce stay motivated and sustain high levels of productivity. Inpulse.com suggests that managers are key to changing employee behavior and that facilitating open and honest communication channels is key to driving successful change management.

The outcomes of successful management of employee engagement for organizations include enhanced commitment, loyalty and performance, higher levels of discretionary effort and fresh and innovative ideas and suggestions. The CMI has more details on the benefits of engaged employees.

Key Metrics for Employee Engagement and Retention

  • Employee churn rate
  • Employee net promoter score
  • Employee absenteeism

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