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The internet is full of tips on how to be the best seller possible on Amazon. Sorting through which strategies and tips are most helpful can be quite a huge task. There are thousands of methods people talk about when it comes to having the biggest possible profits from your Amazon listings. The thing to keep in mind is which strategies are fluff and which are actionable.

Sometimes a strategy can sound great, but not be a strategy you can actually execute well when you’re putting it into a real Amazon selling scenario. That’s where you’re about to see a difference between the other strategy tips and the ones you’re about to read now. These strategies are actionable. They’ll make sense and more importantly, make more sales.

From using an FBA fees and profit calculator to working on reaching out to unhappy reviewers, you’ll see a little bit of everything here. Take some time to read about these seven actionable strategies you can use to become a successful Amazon seller.

1. Use An FBA Fees And Profit Calculator Religiously

If you’re using the Fulfillment By Amazon services you’ve already made one great actionable choice. Customers trust Amazon and they trust Amazon’s fulfillment services by default because of this. What you can do as an FBA seller is to start using an FBA fee and profit calculator every time you list something new or change the listings you have now.

FBA fees incorporate so many factors it’s impossible to figure everything out accurately in your head. If you’ve been leaving it to guesswork, the time to stop doing that is now. This is a small actionable strategy with a huge bearing on your profit potential. FBA fee calculators will take every spec that Amazon uses into account when it figures out how much your listing will cost.

Once you have that information in front of you in a concrete manner (no more guessing, right?) the next thing an FBA calculator can do is help you find the sweet spot for pricing. You’ll be able to see what the listing will cost, what you can list it for to remain competitive, and what your profit will be each time you make a sale.

The action you can take with this strategy is to stop guessing and start using real numbers from a calculator built to give you this exact information. Use an FBA calculator and rely on the information it gives you. Every time.

2. Stop Being Disenfranchised By Your Screen

Customer service still matters just as much as it would if you had a customer right in front of you in a brick and mortar store. Stop allowing yourself to be disenfranchised by the fact that you have a screen in front of you instead of a real person. It’s easy to get lulled into a sense of false security and stop providing the top-notch service you otherwise would. Don’t do this.

The action you can take here is to be present for your customers. If you have questions waiting to be answered, give accurate and quick responses. Make sure you’re researching something if you don’t know the exact information. Don’t risk disappointing your customer by giving the wrong information or making them wait days to hear back from you.

Great customer service starts the minute your potential customer clicks on your listing. Give them every reason possible to choose you instead of a competitor with a similar product. If you’ve become even slightly complacent, make a conscious decision to change that line of thought now. It will make an immediate difference in your mindset and your customer’s experience.

3. Place A Higher Value On SEO Than You Have In The Past

Your listings should be SEO friendly. That means they should be listed in a way that makes them more likely to be discovered by customers. Sometimes what you think your item should be listed as isn’t exactly the same as what your customers will search for. To see better results it’s time to place a bigger value on SEO and what your customers will be looking for.

The same is true for your product descriptions. Go for a balance of SEO friendly descriptions and accurate information. It is possible to do both, and the balance is what will bring you more traffic and traffic is what will bring you more sales. If you aren’t sure what keywords are important for your item, use a keyword tool like AMZ Tracker.

Keyword tools can help you fill in the blanks when it comes to what customers search for to find items like yours. This will help you figure out the best words to use when you write your listing’s title. AMZ Tracker has been around the longest so its database is more robust than other databases out there. If you haven’t developed a knack for keywords yet, that’s where to start.

The actionable part of this strategy is to make a decision that you are going to adjust your listing titles and descriptions to make them easier for customers to find. Use a keyword tool, pay attention to your listings changes in traffic as you adjust things, and continue to make changes based on that. Once you find the right mix of keywords, you’ll be able to see huge results.

4. Stop Taking Any Product Images On Your Own

One dead giveaway to a customer that they might be dealing with a seller who isn’t exactly at the same level as what they’ve come to expect from Amazon is a poor quality product image. If you want to be a successful Amazon seller it’s time to up your game and invest in professional level images.

Take the action to hire a photographer, or use highly professional photography equipent yourself. Update any product images that don’t look polished and professional. Going forward make sure all of your product images are at the same level as anything the big guys would post. To a customer, quality images mean a quality product. You’ll see the results in your sales.

5. Be More Active About Getting Reviews On Your Listings

You probably already know you can’t incentivize your reviews. Sometimes the mistake sellers make is thinking this means you just have to hope the reviews roll in while you sit back and wait. This is not the case at all. You can be more active about getting reviews on your listings without paying for them or incentivizing them in any manner.

Customers have busy lives.  Sometimes your product shows up at their door and they start using it, forgetting about everything else. With tools Amazon has built in for their sellers you can reach out to the customers who have recently made purchases to ask them how things are going.

Check in and make sure they are happy, and while you’re doing that you can ask them to leave a review about their experience. You want to avoid directly asking for a five-star review but focus on asking for real feedback that will be valuable for other customers. The action you can take here is a little more clear cut, increase the follow-ups you do to increase the reviews you get.

6. Look At Negative Reviews In A New Light

Negative reviews are going to happen no matter how hard you work to please your customers. The way you handle them will make the difference between a negative review that permanently mars your review score, and the potential to have a customer update their review after having an improved experience.

You can use tools like AMZFinder (not to be confused with AMZ Tracker) to help you make sure you’re matching up the review with the right customer. Keep in mind that the name a review is left under may not be the same as the name you shipped the product to. AMZFinder can help you match up the right review to the right order.

When you see a negative review, match it to the order, then reach out with solutions for the customer. Be ready to offer things that will work for them. Replacements, partial or full refunds, or tips on how to make the product work better. Whatever is going to be the best solution for their particular needs is what you want to help them get.

Amazon customers have up to 60 days to change the review they’ve left on a product, so once you’ve reached out, you can follow up a little later to make sure things are still going ok. If they are, the customer is likely to remember they need to update their review as they are no longer having a negative experience with you or your product.

The action here is to stop looking at negative reviews as a lost cause and start making sure you’re contacting the right customer with the right solutions. It really will make a difference. Not every negative review has to stay that way.

7. Stop Discounting Your Competitor’s Success

Instead of feeling frustrated or rolling your eyes every time they win a sale over you, look at their success as a way you can benefit too. See what differences there are in their listing titles, their descriptions, or even their reviews or pricing. All of this is information you can use to make small adjustments to your own listings.

What’s actionable about this strategy is that you can change your mindset from “they won” to “why did they win” so you can use that information to win the next time. (And the time after that, and so on) Don’t discount their success just because they’re your competition. Learn from what they’re doing and build on their success to make it your own.

Conclusion:

Now that you’ve read through some strategies that are really useful, with descriptions on which actions to take to make them work, you can go back and make changes to see which ones work best for you. Not every strategy will work for every seller.

The bigger point here is that these strategies are actionable and ready to be used right away. The changes are small, but the results you’ll see will be huge. Congrats on being proactive, and be ready to enjoy those newly increased profits.

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If you have heard a lot about Salesforce and how it helps connect you to the customers and to your clientele too and wondered if it is the right solution for you, or if it’s affordable for you, then there are interesting details you must learn. Salesforce is very much customizable. Therefore, in short, you can scale it as per your use. Whether you are a small business or a big one, you can scale the Salesforce CRM according to your needs.

Salesforce is affordable for all

Now it’s evident, that as a small business, you would not have that much of capital and financial strength as a big business would have. Still, if they are assuring you that you can customize it as per needs to suit your working, then it obviously is good news for you. That because, while you can customize the leading CRM software of the world for you, at the same time, you also are assured that it would be made an affordable solution for you.

You can actually integrate Salesforce for the small business

You can integrate Salesforce easily to your small business. They have very affordable plans for their lighter version for the small business. In case you have less than 10 employees in your business, then you may opt for the light pack or starter pack of Salesforce, which charges a minimal fee for small business.

Why integrate Salesforce for your small business

People start a business with a vision to grow. Nobody starts a business with the thought of keeping it small and stagnant. The idea behind any business, however micro or mini it is, is always to grow it. The growth depends on various factors, obviously. Now if you are using infrastructure that doesn’t support growth or bars growth, then our own infrastructure would act against the development. Hence you must be sure from the very beginning to use such business infrastructure that keeps options open for further growth and advancement. Salesforce gives you that exact kind of platform. When you use Salesforce CRM solution for your small business, you actually start paving the path towards advancement that may expand anytime in the future when you wish to or have to.

What to anticipate when you start using Salesforce from the inception of your business

Once you begin with your use of the small business solution of Salesforce, you may then gradually upgrade when you expand. In the meantime, the staffs you get trained to the platform get really easy with the operations and working of Salesforce. Therefore when you upgrade, they really don’t get through any friction to absorb the higher version and advanced function of the software available with advanced packages. That’s why your staff needs no more of extra training when you upgrade when from the very beginning of the business you are habituated with the use of a platform that is globally recognized, used, and preferred.

How to integrate Salesforce for your small business

It is very easy to start with the integration of Salesforce for the small business. You just need the help of the third party service who would install it in your system and then train you initially to start using it. This would reduce your hard work and minimize the time to get operational. Hence with services like Flosum.com, you may instantly get ahead with the installation and further use of Salesforce. And when you plan to upgrade in future, maybe with other advanced versions or advanced tools like Salesforce DX, then also you can get the full support from the same service and get ahead seamlessly.

The benefits of Salesforce for small business

Here are some of the things you can do with the small business Salesforce package:

  • Manage accounts, opportunities, and leads.
  • Tracks meetings and auto track emails.
  • Support your customers with email chat and social media support.
  • Help customers with self-service.
  • Guided setup in onboarding
  • Creation of custom reports and dashboards

With the above benefits, a small business can shine, and you can steer the business with smooth operations when you have such immense custom service and support centric software in hand to operate.

Other options besides the small business solution

Besides going for the small business solution, you have many other choices too. You essentially need not reach for this particular solution only, just because it is tagged for small businesses. There are many other solutions of Salesforce, for the various types of working. While some are oriented towards sales and support, some are just for customer support, and some for app development, and some for marketing. Therefore you have several choices in salesforce software to choose from depending on what kind of business you have, and your employee strength.

Cloud-based operation

A very good thing about Salesforce software is that the entire thing is cloud-based.  All your data stays secure in the cloud of the platform, and you access the data anytime without any threat of data loss or theft. That’s why the platform is not just safe and secure, but also exerts minimum hardware requirements on to your computers. If you have standard computers, then they are good to go with Salesforce. You really need not invest in any extension or upgrades. This makes it all the more compliant with small business solutions as well where you invest and spend money in a calculated way with much cautious planning.

Finally

Investing in a solution like Salesforce for customer support, sales, marketing, and all, actually makes you sorted in every way. While you can resolve all customer problems and address all issues from the single CRM, customers also can get in touch with you through this on the platform. Therefore without dividing departments within the business or office, you can merge things together, and still work in a unified and systematic way with the use of the platform. Salesforce is one of the most organized customer relationship management platforms in the world, which actually gives you the best taste of relationship management and release management and deployment possible.

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So you are on your way to launching your first startup? How exciting it must be and on indeed feels on the top of the world at the thought of creating a company and make it successful. At the same time, one of the most frequent concerns among startup owners is finding money to fund their startup. After all, nobody has free money to hand out, and they need to be convinced before funding a new project or startup.

Still, do not let money stop you from following your dreams and if you know where to look, you are sure to get the money you need. There are easy and fast cash loans available in the market as well as many other creative options available for a startup. You need to start on the right foot as more than half of the new startups die off because of the lack of funds. There are plenty of ways to fund your startup and explore the financing and growth options, provided you look in the right direction.

Well, if you are looking for ways to fund your first startup, you are just on the right page. Read on to get aware of the most popular and successful ways to get funds for your project.

  1. Dig into your personal savings – As they say, self-help is the best help, so, look at what kind of funds you have stashed away for rainy days and take them out. This is perhaps the easiest and the fastest way to get money for your startup. Most entrepreneurs prefer to self-fund their startup and look for other funding opportunities only when needed. As it is your own money, you will tend to spend it frugally and wisely, and this is good for your startup. Also, no one understands your business as well as you do, and you would, of course, spend the money smartly and only when needed.
  2. Support from friends and family – Another great option is to get help from close friends and family. Of course, you need to be close and comfortable enough with them to ask for money. Everybody has a good network of friends, siblings and immediate network, who are well aware of the vision or the business. Still, one must have a well-structured agreement and transparent communications when asking for funds for their startups. Otherwise, any misunderstanding can spoil those years of friendship and relationships. Even if you are borrowing from your closest friends or parents, make sure that there is a well-structured agreement and legal documentation so that everyone involved knows what they are getting into.  Borrowing funds from family and friends is another easy option, depending on the kind of relationships one has with them.
  3. Crowdfunding with infinite possibilities – Most startups rely on crowdfunding top promote their vision and get funds for the startup. The crowdfunding platforms extend ones reach and allow them to penetrate deeper and broader sources to get the funds. One can set a target for the funds with a deadline and promote their vision and startup online to get more people interested and pool in the money. Often it is seen that the money raised can exceed the goal and hence it is an encouraging way to fund the startup. However, one should be prepared as planning and preparing for crowdfunding is time-consuming and it can take months to raise the money one needs. What is positive about the tactic is that a much larger group of people gets involved in your startup and with relatively small amounts of cash each. Thus, the fund givers face a much smaller risk and give more enthusiastically.
  4. Angel Investors for your business – There are plenty of wealthy individuals out there looking for great projects to invest in. Thus, if you are able to convince them about the worth and value of your startup, they would be more than keen to invest and provide capital for the startup. As they would be making chunks of investment, they would like to keep an eye on the project and its management team and would be keen to know how and when they would get back their funds. When raising funds from angels, remember that they will own a piece of your business and you carry a fiduciary responsibility towards them. Finding the right investors for your startup is a significant business decision.
  5. A government loan for aspiring entrepreneurs – Most startup owners tend to ignore government loans or grants. The government is always keen to back up any project that is good for the economy and has certain loans and grants to support the individuals. One has a high chance of getting their project funded by the government if they are younger and their startup relates to science or technology. There are various individual loans available with the governments at various levels and all one needs to do is search the government offers at city, state and federal levels.
  6. Accelerators for free resources – Accelerators are organizations that are often associated with major universities, large companies, and essential community development organizations. They provide free resources such as office facilities and consulting to, and many of them even provide funds. Thus, accelerators are an excellent option for those looking for much-needed money to fuel their startup. You may face some demanding affairs and procedures, but the accelerators can indeed speed up a stage in the business growth. Moreover, they introduce one to other startups and mentors and enhance opportunities to network and expand growth. However, keep in mind that it can be very competitive to apply for accelerators and very few applications are accepted.

Look at a local bank – Last but not the least, visit your local banks to see how they can help you get the money you need for your startup. Get an appointment with a loan officer and explain to him your project, the business plan, and the financial needs. The loan officer would like to understand as to how you would run your business and make money to return the loans. Depending on your startup and the situation, you may or may not qualify for bank loans. There are a large number of banks and financial institutions which are always keen on funding a new startup with a good credit history and promising success.

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Starting a home-based business is not easy. Though the beginning part can be exciting, there’s a lot of things that you need to learn in order to achieve success. Every good business has one thing in common – a business plan. Without this, you will likely experience failure and lose everything you invest; time, money, and efforts. There are many businesses opening every year and almost two-thirds of them fail the following year. How did this happen? The answer relies on your foundation. If you don’t know what road to take, you can simply get lost.

To avoid common mistakes and pitfalls on starting your dream business, we have outlined helpful tips that will guide you to overcome challenges.

Assessing Yourself and Your Ideas
  • Skills and Attitude

What are your strengths and skills? Do some self-assessment and ask yourself if you are knowledgeable and confident enough to jump on a business venture. This requires proper attitude, motivation, initiative, and the ability to adapt in different situations.

Determine if there is a great amount of demand for your skills. This is your primary asset and you need to continually hone it every day. Use your talents and skills to generate profitable business ideas. When putting together with a perfect plan, you have wider opportunities to win.

  • Profit Angle

Every business is aimed to gain profit. If you think that your skills will cost you so much time to get the income stream going, you might consider other skills that you can study and learn. For example, if you are doing handicrafts and it consumes a week to create three of them, you need to consider other business ideas such as pet sitting, virtual assistance, bookkeeping, or babysitting.

Creating a Business Plan

Now that you have ideas in mind, let’s put them into paper. This will serve as the blueprint of your objectives, goals, marketing plans, and how you will put them in work. Basically, a business plan consists of the following:

  • Executive Summary – this shows an overview of your business
  • Company Description – describes what your business offers to do
  • Market Analysis – illustrates the ins and outs of the industry, target market, and competitors
  • SWOT Analysis – explains the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that your business will encounter
  • Service or Product – tells about the products or services you are catering to your prospect customers
  • Organization and management plan – a summary of the people involved in your business and their roles. You should also inform if your business is LLC, sole-proprietorship, partnership, etc.
  • Marketing and Sales – details your marketing and advertising strategies, pricing model, sales plan and sales plan.
  • Funds – one of the most vital parts of a business. In this section, you will tell about your cash flows, breakeven analysis, income statement and request for funding. You may look for financial institutions and moneylender to seek loans and investment to fund your business.
  • Appendix – includes all the supporting documents such as resumes, market research, case studies, permits, and others.

Upon writing all the above details, let’s discuss the primary steps in planning your home-based business.

  1. Conduct Research

Everything is not magic. You cannot make results overnight. Research your industry and spend as much time as possible. A common mistake is jumping onto business without evaluating future circumstances. Ask yourself what can you provide to your audience? Would they be interested in your products and services? If so, how high is the demand, how many are your competitors, and how would you approach your target customers?

Research everything. Once you get a good feeling that there are great opportunities for your business ideas, only then you can make your decision. Don’t take risks blindly but rather know how deep the water is before you decide to jump.

  1. Determine your Objectives

Your business should reflect your goals and aims. What do you want to achieve? Here, you need to provide value to your potential clients. What is the purpose of your business? Allowing people to know the nature of your business builds trust and reputation. Be clear and concise when stating them. It serves as your pitch so make sure that you are able to capture the attention of your target audience.

  1. Identify your Niche

Based on your research, you will see that there are many businesses competing for the same products and services. It will be difficult for you to squeeze through the growing competition.  How can you stand out? You can answer this by examining the data you gathered from your research. A useful tip is to identify people’s problem and proposed solutions with your services.

  1. Create a Marketing Plan

Not because you are great at what you do, people will come to avail what you offer. Without marketing, they will not hear that your business exists. Promote your business locally and start from your neighborhood. Explain why you care and how can you provide solutions to their needs. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth marketing. By showing value to people, you can get referrals and expand the reach of your business.

In these days, most people are using social media and many of your possible clients are there. Establish an online presence and engage with your followers. You can start it by creating a simple website and setting up social media pages for your business.

  1. Set up a good home office

Your personality reflects how you treat your business. You cannot keep your business going if you are not organized. If you have an extra room, try to convert it into a dedicated home office. Through this, you can focus on your work and become more productive.

  1. Establish Self-discipline

Though you can work on your pajamas, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to set working hours. An effective business owner always acts like a professional. Create a schedule and stick to it. You may say that you are your own boss but remember that the customers are the ones who keep your business moving.

  1. Anticipate the future

Be ready to uncertainties. The next month will not be the same as the previous month. You will face different challenges along the way and if you are not ready to meet them, your business can easily sink. Develop your business plan and continue to learn new things related to your industry. The reason why businesses stay afloat is they always prepare for the unknown, adapt to changes, and innovate new ideas and concepts.

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To say small business owners are short on time would be an understatement. Time, like money and just about everything else of significant value, is short in supply. Small business owners are forced to find creative ways to free up time for brainstorming new offerings, reflecting on past successes and failures and ultimately getting some enjoyment out of the whole thing. Follow the tips detailed below to make the most of your limited time.

1) Assign Importance to Work Tasks and Delegate Appropriately

Do not jump right into your work. Take a few minutes to determine which projects are most important. Focus on these high-importance projects before anything else. If necessary, create a list of tasks to do in order of most important to least important. Get the most urgent and important tasks out of the way so you can focus on other projects that are not as urgent.

2) Reduce Distractions

If you are distracted, you will never get your work done. A single distraction has the potential to send you on a digression away from your daily work plan. Do not let any old party speak with you just because you are the boss. Designate specific times for meetings with employees, customers, partners, vendors and others. Maintain your concentration while working and you will prove that much more efficient.

3) Try to Plan Your Workday

Though planning out a workday in advance might seem like a fool’s task, there is the potential for your workday to progress in accordance with a preordained plan. Minimize distractions, reserve specific time slots for meetings and you just might be able to adhere to a plan. Jot down a daily workday plan each morning and you will feel more pressure to make actual progress rather than merely put out fires as they arise.

4) Reserve Time for Yourself

It is awfully easy to lose track of yourself when you own a business. You are pulled in every direction by clients, employees, family, friends and colleagues. Do not forget to carve out some time for yourself to unwind. Even if you spend 10 minutes a day thinking about your progress and reflecting on past experiences, it will help narrow your focus on your goal.

5) Eliminate Time-wasters

You won’t feel as bad about carving out 10 minutes or so each workday for yourself if you eliminate as many time-wasters as possible. The best way to identify time-wasters is to create a time log. Add up the amount of time you spend on each task each day to determine what percentage of your time was spent on various projects. Pinpoint areas where you spend too much time, make the appropriate alterations and you will maximize the value of your time.

Make the Most of Your Time and It Will Reflect in the Bottom Line

Incorporate the advice detailed above and you will find it makes a meaningful difference in your company’s bottom line. Perhaps just as important is the fact that improved time management will free up much-needed time for personal and family matters. Never lose sight of the fact that time is money and you will remain steadfastly focused on making the most of your waking hours.

About the Author:

Marla DiCarlo is an accomplished business consultant with more than 28 years of professional accounting experience. As co-owner and CEO of Raincatcher, she helps business owners sell their business to get paid the maximum value for their business.

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Domain authority is an all-important aspect of launching or expanding a successful web presence for your business. Never heard of it? You’re not alone, but you are behind the curve.

Simply put, domain authority (or DA) is an assessment created by the software company Moz that measures the relative strength of your page’s content when being queried by a search engine. This is represented by a number along a scale from 1 to 100 that scores how authoritative your content is based on links, referring domains, and content.

The bottom line is, improving your DA will lead to more customers finding you online, so it’s worth investing time into.

Basics of DA

This may seem like a lot to take in, but the good news is that with a few simple implementations, you can improve your page’s hit rate on the titan of online search and the rest of the dominoes will simply fall into place. Google commands an impressive stranglehold on the internet search market with 79 percent of worldwide searches originating from Google search bars.

To put this dominance into context, last month Google captured 90 percent of global internet searches, while the Chinese equivalent Baidu netted a mere one percent while acting as the sole internet search hub for the overwhelming majority of China’s 1.4 billion people. As the leader in all things search-related, Google’s competitors tend to follow its lead in search result trends.

This adds up to one simple answer: in order to improve domain authority, you must learn to play Google’s game better than your competition does. But this is made tricky by the fact that Google’s predictive methods are a closely guarded secret, and the rules are amended regularly to level the playing field against web developers who employ workarounds to manufacture fraudulent site relevance.

Boosting your authority

Domain authority can be checked for individual websites, but great strides in this arena are being made and you can now employ a bulk DA checker rather than inputting one location after another into the service, significantly cutting the time it takes to optimize your site.

The first step for improving your search result relevance is understanding how this infrastructure works — if you don’t know the rules of the game, after all, how do you expect to play? As odd as it may sound, link building (and not repetitive phrasing) is one of a select group of golden strategies that are essential to raising your status on the search hierarchy. High quality content and a plethora of links directing traffic from locations other than Google’s search results to that content is what makes for strong domain authority.

Another consideration to make is that your website is not a standalone page within the internet’s vast archives. Your page is connected to a web of other content that you have created and published; do you have a landing page, homepage, contact page, or a dedicated location for selling merchandise? While estimates vary widely, it’s good to have a minimum of thirteen pages to launch with before filling out your online presence.

Implementing a bulk domain authority checker can manage this issue for you relatively easily, without the hassle of individualized metric measurement. And by using bulk checking, you are able to identify any weak spots in your online strategy much more effectively through two significant measures.

The first is your own content. Using a bulk checker allows you to see all of your pages’ score data in one place in order to find any content that may be lacking. Alternatively, you can just as easily use this service to evaluate the domain authority of your competitors in order to see how you stack up.

Regardless, before considering new or further SEO strategies, checking your current domain authority is a must. This will give you a baseline to build from and can be completed in no time at all.

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While it’s usually less expensive to operate an eCommerce business than a brick and mortar one, even eCommerce businesses have expenses they have to watch. Since it’s just as important to monitor expenses as it is to earn an income when you’re running a business, the following tips will help you save money on your eCommerce business operations.

Focus on Customer Retention

Image via Flickr by Rawpixel Ltd

While it’s certainly important to attract new customers, you don’t want to do so by neglecting your existing customers. After all, it can cost five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep a current one. This is why it’s important to offer outstanding customer service and engaging communication to your current customers. Plus, don’t think this won’t attract new customers. As you build loyalty with your existing customers, they’ll share your name with friends and family and drive new business to your eCommerce store.

Use Social Media

The reach of social media just can’t be denied. One advantage of using social media to promote your eCommerce business is that it doesn’t cost a penny to create an account on any of the major platforms. Plus, if you decide to advertise your business on social media, you can often get better results using less money than other forms of advertising. If you want to promote your eCommerce business online, consider running a giveaway on one of your social media accounts.

Understand SEO

When shoppers use a search engine to find a product they want to buy, you want to make sure your eCommerce store comes up as one of the first few options on the search results page. To do so, you need to understand search engine optimization (SEO). Since SEO takes time to build, you should begin learning and implementing proper practices today to help grow your eCommerce business in the future. Some of the best practices include researching the right keywords and optimizing product pages.

Choose the Right Platform Service Provider

One important way you can save money on your eCommerce business operations is making sure you have the right platform service provider. Since every business has different needs when selling online, it’s essential to understand your eCommerce platform options. No matter which service provider you choose, you have a few key requirements you need to consider. You want to make sure your platform is optimized for mobile use and scalable, which means it can easily grow as your business grows.

Evaluate Your Payment Options

Even though it’s tempting to offer every payment option out there to make it easier for your customers to buy your product, payment processing fees can quickly add up. Instead, take a look at which payment methods are most popular with your customers. If you notice a few that are rarely used, go ahead and drop them. Most customers have multiple ways to pay, so eliminating an option likely won’t impact them.

Just like any business, watching your expenses in your eCommerce business is critical. With these helpful tips, you can save money while continuing to grow your eCommerce business.

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If you have a passion for both business and technology, then you may have considered starting your own tech company. Today, it’s never been easier to start a small business without the need for investing thousands of pounds into getting set up. In fact, many popular tech businesses started out in somebody’s home or relatively cheap office space.

There are several different options that you might want to consider when it comes to starting a tech company. You could go down the electronics design route, web or graphic design, or almost anything else in this industry. We’ve put together some top tips to help you get off to the right start.

1) Dream Big, But Start Small:

If you’re dreaming about starting your own company but aren’t sure where or how to start, use the time that you have to study and improve your knowledge so that when the right time comes along, you’re in the best position for success. Starting a tech business that aims for rapid growth can be very challenging and requires a variety of skills. If you have a passion for tech, design, programming or business, try to become skilled in one of these areas. For example, you could enrollon CAD courses to learn as much as possible about AutoCAD software to create blueprints for anything from computer chips to building and bridges.

2) Join the Community:

The best part of starting a tech company today is that there’s a huge community to get involved in. And, with so many different tech businesses in operation today, not all of them will be your competitors as many of them will be working in different kinds of tech. The best way to get both yourself and your business out there is to become an active part of this community. Attend networking events, tech conferences, and more to spend time with like-minded, ambitious people who can provide you with advice.

3) Find Potential Mentors:

In addition to joining the community, it’s also a good idea to try and find potential mentors who can help guide you with starting your new company. A suitable mentor will be somebody who has extensive experience with starting and successfully running their own technology company. Find somebody who you think is doing a phenomenal job and aspire to be like. Seek them out for advice. You will find that it’s often much easier than you think to connect with these people, and you can learn a significant amount from just a short meeting.

4) Work to Learn:

Once you’ve gotten deep into a particular discipline and found a community or mentor to help, it’s time to think about broadening your skill set. Although it’s crucial to become highly skilled in your chosen area, the required skill-set to successfully run a tech business is far more varied. Invest time in learning more about essential business skills that will help you reach your ultimate goals.

Starting a tech company is a dream that many would-be entrepreneurs have today. Fine-tuning your specific skills, learning business skills, and finding those who can offer help and advice is essential for success.

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Having your own ice maker is a smart business move. Instead of relying on an outside source, you can offer clients and customers ready-made ice whenever and wherever they need it while bringing in a lot of passive income.

As you go to buy an ice maker, there are a few considerations to bear in mind to make sure you don’t end up with something unsuitable. Here’s what you need to avoid when you get ice machine.

A machine that won’t match with your plumbing

If your machine doesn’t match up with your plumbing, you could end up with cubes that are not shaped correctly or some serious valve leaks. When you get your ice vending machine, be sure that it will pass health inspection by fitting properly to your existing plumbing.

Always remember that you will need a good drain setup for your ice machine. You may have existing drains you can connect too easily, or you may have to call a plumber to get a drain line put in.

The wrong kind of machine

You need an ice vending machine that provides what your customers want. That may include a good filter system for confidence that the ice and water are clean, a choice between bagged ice or directly dispensed bulk ice, a machine that dispenses water as well as ice, and a machine that accepts either credit cards or cash.

You also want to be able to monitor your machine without having to keep a dedicated attendant on the machine. You should have real-time access to filter status, the amount of ice being sold, and where the ice production cycle is.

The wrong size of machine

Getting the right size machine is always the best use of your money. A machine that is too large will not only cost you more to buy, but it will also needlessly waste your water and energy. You may also experience performance complications if you aren’t vending enough ice out of the machine on a regular basis.

If your machine is too small, it could be even worse. It’s better to have no ice at all than to offer a vending machine but have it constantly out of order or unable to satisfy demand. Ask your vending machine company about the right size of machine for your needs.

A machine too hard to maintain

Every ice machine will need occasional maintenance, and failing to take care of yours can mean compromised quality. You may end up with a lot of down time getting something fixed, or, even worse, a problem with mold buildup in your machine.

Look for a machine with as few moving parts as possible. The fewer the parts, the less there is to go wrong. If you get a machine that allows you to monitor everything remotely, you can keep an eye on when filters need to be changed and whether an ice cycle has gotten stuck.

A machine that isn’t secure

The last thing you want is a machine that is easy to break into. Cheap aluminum shells, outdated locks, external hinges, and no remote monitoring mean you have to keep an eye on your machine constantly and cannot count on it to be durable if you need to put it outside.

Look for a machine with no obvious way in and with up-to-date locking features that provide you with good security. Steel is always preferable to aluminum for keeping out thieves, and you should also look for a machine advertised as corrosion resistant if you need to place your machine outside.

A quality ice vending machine is good for your business and provides the kind of value and convenience that sets your business apart from the rest. Look for a secure, easy-to-use machine that fits your plumbing and style and is the right size for your needs.

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In the world of business, competitors are other companies that may attract your target audience, deterring them from choosing you. This, naturally, makes them seem like the enemy, but, the truth is, competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the most successful entrepreneurs thrive under competitive pressure, viewing it as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle. Here are five ways healthy rivalry can help you to work smarter and improve your small business.

Narrowing Your Niche

As difficult as it may be to admit, there will always be someone better than you at what you’re doing. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t aim for the best. To do this, though, you’re going to need to think a little smaller. Although it may seem like you and your competition have the same target audience, you might have subgroups that they don’t. If this is the case, you should narrow your niche. This will give you a competitive edge that fights off other companies.

Reducing Your Mistakes

Mistakes are an everyday occurrence, in business as much as in life. Although entrepreneurs like to view mistakes as learning experiences, there’s no denying that they can get quite costly and damaging at times. Rather than have yourself and your company take this hit, you should keep an eye on competing businesses and watch for when they do something wrong. By learning from their mistakes, you can reduce the damage of your own trial and error.

Learning From Success

Watching for the mistakes of your competition can be incredibly helpful, but you shouldn’t just ignore their successes. For businesses with similar structures, products, and target markets, it’s likely that what works for them works for you. If you took a look at CRST reviews, for example, you would find that employees like that they have a competitive salary and multiple locations. With knowledge like this, you can make positive changes in your own business.

Avoiding Becoming Complacent

Businesses without any real competition tend to become complacent quite quickly. After all, if you have no reason to grow, innovate, and improve, why would you invest time and money into doing so? When you have other companies to compete with, however, you need to stay on your toes and work to stand out. You can benefit from your competition even further, by learning about their past failures and successes to stay ahead and be the become the best on the market.

Forming Unexpected Alliances

It’s normal to view your biggest competitors as the enemy, but they can actually be your greatest ally. When you have such similar companies and the same target market, it’s easy to share tools, technology, and resources. You can also promote one another’s products or service, or even collaborate to create new ones. By partnering up this way, you increase both companies reach, giving you each access to the entire market, rather than just your subgroups.

Competition in business may seem like a bad thing, but, if you respond to it in the right way, it can actually be incredibly beneficial.

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