Source for small biz & franchise owners. Our goal is to help small business owners build successful business and grow profitably by providing information on topics that are most important to them. The topics in the blog cover all aspects of starting and operating small business and range from marketing, customer service, sales, finance, operations, technology, management and employees.
If you are to make sure that your business succeeds, one of the most important things you need to focus on is the branding. Without proper branding, you can’t expect your marketing to have the kind of effect that you would hope, and you will just generally find that people are not as excited about your business as you would like them to be. But the issue of branding can be a tough one if you have not got much experience in it, and for that reason you should think about what you might need to do to make it as good as possible. In this article, we are going to look at a few of the more unmissable elements that any brand needs to have if it is to succeed. Get these right, and you should find that your branding is much more effective on the whole.
In truth, it is the consistency of a brand that makes it a brand at all. If your brand is one thing here and quite another over there, then it’s not a brand at all. Your brand is only powerful by virtue of how consistent it is, so make sure that you are working on this as best as you can from the start. To make a brand appear consistently wherever it does appear, you can think about using a style guidance across your business. Having this available to whoever needs it will ensure that you are going to be able to keep your brand consistent no matter what. Then of course you have letterheads and email signatures and so on to ensure that any outgoing communication looks as it should. That will really make a profound difference.
Although the logo is the first thing that people think about when they hear the word branding, it is not all you need to worry about. But it is probably one of the most important, and you should probably spend a lot of time on this if you hope for your brand to be as successful as you would like it to be. There are a lot of ways in which you can hope to improve your logo and make it as reliable to the brand as possible, and it’s all about ensuring that you are careful with how you design it in the first place. When you create your own logo, make sure to make it unique, bold and simple. As long as you have these three elements in place, you will find that the logo is much more likely to work out well, and to serve your brand as it should.
Lastly, remember that you need to make sure your brand stands out from the crowd. The amount that it does so is directly correlated to how much you can expect your branding to do for your business. If it is truly unique and bold, you will find that people know your business, recognise it, and flock to it as you would hope.
Today’s successful food businesses use every edge they can think of to stay relevant and in business. If you own a restaurant, food truck, or any type of food business, you want to have the right technology for your business. The right tech will keep your customers from waiting too long. The right technology will allow you to serve the greatest number of customers. Cash is slowly going out of style. You want to be prepared for the tech of tomorrow by having the tech of today for your food business.
Do you take cash or credit?
Most restaurants have POS systems in place. A Point of sale system allows your food servers or cashiers to place an order, track inventory and so much more, it is the central hub of must restaurants. With so many tech advancements some restaurants have now switched over to portable devices like tablets, older places have computers where the servers places orders away from the tables. The POS systems can help keep track employee time and analyze data for future decisions on food, what your customer like or even tracking performance. There are many different POS systems to choose from. A POS restaurant guide will help you get the best system for your restaurant. You need only buy what will work for your food business. The whole point of POS is efficiency in as many areas of your food business as possible.
How does your cook or chef get the orders?
How do your cooks and chefs get their orders? No more yelling is needed. A chef or cook knows what is on the menu. A digital transmission to the kitchen should be more than enough to get the point across. What about the other staff? Having a headphone system for everyone to get in touch with whoever they need to get in touch with is great. Communication is key when it comes to having everything done right in a restaurant. A good hi-tech communication system is key for a successful dinner, lunch, or breakfast service. It is a way for the small things not to get lost like, hold the mayo on that sandwich after the order was put in.
How good is your staff communication?
There is always drama in the restaurant business, but the beauty of the business is when everyone pulls together and gets the work done. When everyone works together, a restaurant can thrive. A modern tech communication system for your food servers and kitchen as well as the hostess and management are perfect for success. When the hostess can queue the server that there are people in his/her section ready to order, this helps timing. POS restaurant guide helps alongside the communication tech. When the server can communicate with the chef to find out where the orders are, the server can communicate with the table for better or for worse. Good communication all through a food business makes for a good problem-solving business that gets things done.
Having the latest tech in a food business is key to success. Tech actually will save money in the long run. There is no time to waste on the old way of doing things. Go through your food business and see where tach can help you become more efficient.
Buying a home is a great time in anyone’s life. It takes a lot of hard work and saving to afford any home. However, saving to buy your dream home is not where money matters end. There are several additional expenses that you need to take into account so you can enjoy your home to its full potential.
A house payment calculator can be used when you’re purchasing your home to figure out how much your mortgage payment will be each month, but to really know how much it costs to keep your home functioning, you will need to add all of your other monthly expenses. If you were previously renting, some utility services might have been included in your rent, but as a homeowner, those expenses fall on you. Standard utilities are your electricity, water, and natural gas, to name a few. You can also add on other items like cable and internet to get a full picture of your monthly housing costs as a new homeowner.
Another expense of homeownership is paying property taxes on your home. Every area has its own timeline for property tax payments, so you might pay it all once a year or receive two bills a year. Ask your mortgage company if there is an option to include your property tax payment along with your mortgage payment each month. This will help you pay the full amount over 12 months instead of all at once, and oftentimes the mortgage company will make the payment on your behalf with the money you’ve already given them.
Furniture and Appliances
Depending on the size of your previous house, you might need to purchase some more furniture to fill your new home. The same may be true for some appliances. It’s not uncommon to need to buy a refrigerator, washer/dryer set, and other appliances if they aren’t included with your home. For furniture, you may have an extra bedroom or bathroom you didn’t have before, and that will need to be furnished. The expense might not be an immediate one, but it’s something to start saving toward if you see a need for new items.
There will be some other maintenance items that fall on you to finance to keep your home in tip-top shape. You may choose to do home maintenance yourself, but you’ll incur the cost of supplies. Your other option is to pay professionals to help maintain your home as needed. Essential home maintenance typically includes any pest control recommended in your area, landscaping around the exterior of your home, and tune-ups on your heating/cooling systems. If you have a pool or solar panels, you can probably add some maintenance for those items too.
HOA Fees and Homeowner’s Insurance
Not every neighborhood has a Homeowners’ Association (HOA), but if yours does, you can bet there is an HOA fee that you’ll pay monthly. HOA fees vary by neighborhood, and it’s not something you can typically opt out of once you move in, so it’s best to ask about it before you buy a home. Also, some mortgages include your homeowner’s insurance payment, but some mortgage companies do not bundle this together. Just like property taxes, ask your mortgage company if you can bundle your mortgage with your homeowner’s insurance, so you’re only making one payment each month.
You always want your office to look smart and presentable so that it is a nice environment to work in and looks the part when clients pay you a visit. That is why an accidental spillage can be so frustrating, but there is often no need to panic as there will be a simple and effective solution to the problem.
Using a professional service like Smart Commercial Cleaning Adelaide is one option, and there are some basic steps you can take immediately to deal with a staining problem.
Here are some suggestions to consider.
You can minimize the damage by moving swiftly to blot up as much of the liquid as possible as soon as possible.
Paper towel from the office kitchen will suffice and the trick is not to start scrubbing the area but just apply the towel and soak up the coffee. Repeat with more towel until you are satisfied that you have got up as much of the spillage as possible using the blotting technique.
Make a simple cleaning solution
There are plenty of cleaning products you can buy that promise to deal with a tough stain like coffee, but you can also make your own solution that is quick and easy to put together and should be just as effective, especially in an emergency situation.
Use one measure of liquid dish soap, one measure of white vinegar, and mix it in with two cups of warm, not hot, water.
Back to blotting
Find a clean white cloth and gently sponge the coffee stain with the cleaning solution you have made. Use a blotting technique rather than attempting to srub furiously in an attempt to get the coffee stain out as quickly as possible.
Slow and steady win the race in this scenario and it is much better to apply a little bit of the solution at a time, followed by blotting the area with a dry cloth to soak up the liquid.
When you see the stain disappearing
If you repeat this process and make sure that you do a small amount of each step each time you will notice that the stain will start to fade away, although the area will still probably be damp, which is fine if the coffee marks have mainly disappeared.
Once you are happy that you have applied enough of the solution to draw up the coffee spillage and blotted the liquid to a point where it is barely noticeable that there was a stain in the first place, it’s time to complete the job.Get another clean cloth and dampen it with some cold water. Blot the affected area until it is dry.
The initial response to spilling something potentially damaging to your carpets such as coffee or red wine is often to panic and scrub away in an attempt to draw out the liquid. Keep calm, make your cleaning solution and have a bit of patience in repeating the same process several times in order to successfully draw out the coffee from your carpet.
In just a few hours after the coffee spillage, you will probably find it hard to pinpoint where it happened on your carpet if you follow these simple steps to keep your office looking smart and presentable.
Students occasionally notice that the hardest part of writing is finding the right words. If an author is repeating themselves or using weak language, a paper is nowhere near as effective as it could be. Here is a resource you can use to find the syntax to impress a reader.
The word “and” repeated over and over throughout a paper will get, well, repetitive. Alternatively, use terms such as “furthermore” to add expansion on a point. Starting a separate sentence with this phrase can also help avoid run-on sentences.
The opposite of the previous point, writers sometimes have to offer contradictory points. However, in formal writing, starting a sentence with “but” is frowned upon. Use “yet” in its place.
When describing something, it is useful to give an example. When transitioning into this, the phrase “for instance” can be useful. A quick tip to keep in mind is that this always must be followed with a comma splice.
Any essay you will write calls for a conclusion to tie everything together. To make it clear that this is what you’re doing, the words “in conclusion” can be helpful. Once again, always follow these two words with a comma.
It’s often a good idea to reinforce order in an essay. An easy way to do this is to add sections with numerology. These interjections are always followed by a comma.
“This Suggests That…”
Once a fact is stated in a paper, you must explain why it’s relevant. A great way to do this is to introduce the data. Then start a new sentence with “this suggests that…” followed by clarification.
“Nonetheless” is a great phrase to use when offering a contradictory statement. It offers a synonymous yet more sophisticated version of phrases like “while this is true….”
“On One Hand/On the Other Hand…”
Alternatively, propose contradictory or compare and contrast statements is to use a maxim like this. As an example, “On the one hand, [X] is true. On the other hand, [Y] is also true.”
“One Can Agree to a Degree…”
It’s often critical to acknowledge the work or opinions of others. Phraseology such as this can allow the author to agree while still voicing dissent.
“From These Facts…”
This is one more way to voice consequence or sum up given data. It can be used as “From these facts, one can conclude that [X].”
“On the Whole…”
Generalizations are often a part of writing but repeating “generally” is rather boring. Try swapping it out with something like “on the whole.”
This is a way to illustrate an exception. For example, “[X] is true unless [Y] conditions are met.”
To draw attention to something specific, it can be useful to use a term like “namely.” A similar, unique option would be “chiefly.”
“Presently…” is a smart way to show time in writing. It can be markedly useful when discussed things such as current studies or conditions.
“Pursuing This Further…”
To delve into further detail on a topic, wordage such as “pursuing this further…” can help guide amplified discussion.
“In Light of…”
This is a useful term to add a proviso to a statement. In addition, you could also utilize “in view of…”.
To focus on a single word for a moment, “compelling” can be an effective description for an argument or fact. It’s a much more driving choice than “convincing.”
“Coupled with…” is useful when considering or connecting a pair of assertions.
This a different way to say “in conclusion…” that offers a little variety. It is also always used in front of a comma.
One more way to show connection would be to use the phrase “correspondingly” to connect ideas.
When using vocabulary like this, you’ll elevate your essay to another level. Be sure to use this reference next time a writing assignment lands on your desk.
Did you know that smaller businesses are at far greater risk of cyber-attack than larger ones? This is because cyber criminals know that smaller businesses often don’t have the budget for sophisticated security measures, unlike their larger counterparts. Consequently, the owners of these smaller businesses believe that security is costly and don’t put any security measures in place at all.
That is not the case, and it is easy to work excellent security measures into your business structure on even the most limited of budgets. Here are some ideas of what you can do to maximise the security of your business.
Use A Firewall
One of the best lines of defence against any kind of cyber-attack is a good firewall from watchguardonline.co.uk. It is recommended that all small businesses use a firewall to act as a barrier between any viruses or problematic software coming into your network and the network itself. The firewall will stop the viruses before they can cause any damage, thus saving your business and your reputation. In most cases, you’ll never know that there was an attack happening, and you can simply go about your business as you normally would.
Don’t forget that it’s not just your office hardware that needs a firewall. If your employees work from home, their equipment will also need to be set up correctly or the problem could stem from there and affect your entire network before you realise it.
Have a Cyber Security Policy
If you employ people, you will have policies regarding all kinds of procedures within your business. You might have one that details how to use certain pieces of equipment, how to file documents, or even how to answer the phone correctly. So why not have one that documents how to deal with your cyber security?
By explaining to your staff how important cyber security is, the problems that a breach could cause, and how to ensure that these breaches don’t happen, you are keeping all areas of your business much safer.
Part of this training can be about how to have a good password, and why it should be changed every three to six months. Make it a date in the company’s calendar so that it is not forgotten and all the passwords are changed at the same time.
Don’t Forget Your Mobile Devices
In the past, business used to be conducted solely through desktop computers, then laptops, and now it is possible to run a business from a smartphone or a tablet. These pieces of equipment as just as vulnerable to attack as anything else, and security measures will need to be used on them as well.
If you supply the devices then you can fit them with the security measures they need before handing them to employees. If employees use their own devices, then you will need to check them over and ensure that everything is safe – leave nothing to chance.
For every business that becomes an international success, there are hundreds, if not thousands, that have failed and fallen by the wayside. Why? Because they couldn’t effectively identify their consumers’ needs. The businesses that succeed almost universally have one thing in common: they clearly identify what their customers want in the early stages of the business.
There is no single “best” way to carry out effective market research. Most businesses use a combination of methods to create a clear picture of the existing market and understand their customers’ needs. These are four ways to conduct effective market research in any given niche.
For marketing firms looking to include market research options in their proposals to clients, plenty of websites offer a digital marketing proposal template to help you craft an eye-catching proposal that will appeal to clients.
Surveys and questionnaires remain one of the most popular tools for conducting market research. They are used by businesses across the globe because they are effective at identifying customers’ needs, they are inexpensive, and the responses are easy to analyze and interpret.
Businesses can employ people to carry out face-to-face surveys and questionnaires with customers in public places, they can hire an agency to carry out telephone surveys on their behalf, or they can use mail or online surveys to gauge public opinion. Each platform comes with its own advantages and drawbacks. The very best marketing firms will be able to recommend which will yield the most informative responses for your industry and objectives.
When people think focus groups, they think of a group of people gathered around a moderator reading off a script. This was once the norm, however, with the advent of social media, many businesses are harnessing their social media following to provide an accessible focus group.
A bakery can post a question on social media to its followers asking, for example, what their favorite type of muffin is, what types of bagels they should bake in the morning, or what their favorite brand of coffee is.
These functional questions can be revealing and help businesses get a bearing on what products are going down well with consumers and what other products they may be looking for.
Interviews are one-on-one conversations with members of your target demographic. A conversation, without the use of set questionnaire questions, allows you to ask follow-up questions, respond to what they are saying, and really dig into what they are looking for in a product.
The purpose is not to promote your company. In fact, the most revealing interviews usually appear more like journalistic interviews than exercises in market research.
Once a company has a prototype of a product or service, they will often carry out field trials in selected stores or locations. These field trials allow the business to test the product under real-life selling conditions.
How the product performs in field trials will determine if the product needs tweaking, the packaging needs improving, or the price needs adjusting.
The most effective market research strategies incorporate elements of all four methods to build an overview of where your product fits in with the market and how effectively it addresses consumers’ needs.
Providing great customer service should be one of your number one priority when it comes to running a business. Whether this is done through your website or face to face – customer service is important to help your business grow. Without it, you’re going to struggle to compete with other businesses online or locally. Many businesses provide different support methods depending on their needs, but it’s becoming obvious that one of the most effective methods is via live chat features. Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why you should implement it.
If you’re spending hours of your day replying to customers on your website then you’re not earning money. You could be providing a local service and getting paid to do it, but you’re not getting paid to sit at home and reply to customers. Granted, it could land you new clients and more work, but how are you going to do that work if you’re not leaving your house? This is why live chat features are cost-effective – they give you time to go out and do what you need while a live chat operative answers the questions for you.
Help Multiple Customers at Once
One of the reasons why such tools are being implemented on most websites you come across today is simply because operators can help multiple customers at once. While an operator is waiting for a reply from a potential customer they can go ahead and reply to another customer. Businesses are seeing the benefits of live chat tools because they can efficiently manage and serve multiple customers at the same time. This keeps customers happy and it makes the whole support process effortless. Businesses like Home Service Back Office have trained operators in multiple industries so you know you have operators standing by whenever a customer seeks help.
It’s Convenient for All Parties
Customers can come along and click on live support and instantly be directed to someone who can help. You don’t get much better customer service than that unless you were in a local store. It’s also very convenient for the operator – they don’t need to sieve their way through hundreds of emails to answer questions, nor do they need to use multiple browser windows to provide a response. One window and one way of communicating – that’s why live chat tools are winning awards today.
It’s quite easy to overlook such tools and services if you’re a small to medium-sized business. However, with all the above benefits that live chat tools/services provide, it’s very easy to see how it’s winning awards and why so many businesses are relying on it to serve their customers quickly and efficiently. If you’re trying your best to improve customer service but you’re not getting anywhere – you should consider live chat tools today to help improve efficiency, but also to ensure your customers are always happy when they’re looking for help or answers to questions in regards to the services you provide.
Happy customers represent tremendous value to businesses. Obviously, satisfied customers are likely to return to a company at a later date to make another purchase. What’s more, though, customers who enjoyed their experience working with a business are likely to share that positive impression with friends, family, coworkers, etc. Under the best of circumstances, some happy customers may even go so far as to write glowing reviews for a business online. Given all that, it’s imperative for companies to make sure they provide a dynamic and memorable customer experience to every consumer they encounter. Here are five proven ways to enhance the customer experience:
Regardless of the industry, customers hate dealing with complex ordering processes or difficult interfaces. Confusing ecommerce pages, cluttered menus, inscrutable facades –– all of these things drive customers away in droves. Remember, the easier it is for a consumer to identify your product and buy it, the better it is for everyone.
Up the Value
There are two ways to present greater value to consumers. Business can either 1) choose to lower the price on selected products or services, or 2) they can increase the quality or quantity of their products or services. Either way, making your product or service more cost-effective will likely turn heads and attract new customers.
Align Marketing & Sales
Successful startups take time to ensure their marketing efforts line up with their sales team’s capabilities. If, for instance, advertising content promotes features that a product does not have, salespeople will find it difficult to engage with leads who may be left disappointed. As such, it’s imperative for businesses to coordinate their marketing and sales strategies. Expectations play a big role in the overall customer experience.
When employees are knowledgeable and prepared to deal with concerns, queries, or complaints, customer interactions invariably go smoother. Small businesses may also want to consider investing in hospitality training videos to educate their staff on how to handle difficult situations.
Let’s face it: managing customer interactions can be extremely frustrating. Professionals may face undue criticism or even abuse when customers feel disgruntled. Yet, the only way to consistently improve customer relations is to persevere through the difficult times. It may be impossible to please everyone, but companies that are intrepid and that encourage their staff members to stick to a plan will find success in the years to come.
The first step toward creating a better customer experience is recognizing the need to improve it. Thankfully, any of the above tips can help your business get started with this vital endeavor.
Managing the workforce of today requires patience, hard work, and the ability to be innovative. Without these kinds of abilities, you’ll never be able to take your career in the direction that you wish for it go in.
To find out what other specific skills you need to learn in order to become a great leader in your workplace, as well as what you can do to hone these abilities, be sure to read on.
In order to be able to get the most out of your team, you need to be able to communicate with them freely and coherently. This means ensuring that messages are never lost in transmission, and that you take it upon yourself to ensure everybody knows what is expected of them.
To hone the skill of being a good communicator, you should attempt to be as open and as honest as you can with your employees. By working in this manner, you will cultivate trust within your workforce and, thus, you will open up the flow of communication around your workplace.
Delegation is a key skill that you need to learn if you’re going to seriously succeed as a manager. Quite simply, you must be able to delegate the right tasks to the right workers at the right times. Should you delegate tasks to employees that aren’t equipped to deal with them, or if you delegate too many tasks to one worker and stretch them too thin as a result, nobody will benefit. Your employees will lose trust in your ability to get the most out of them, deadlines may be missed, and the work that they produce won’t be up to the standard required.
Make an effort to find out why certain employees struggle when it comes to certain tasks
Ability to inspire
If you aren’t inspirational when it comes to the way that you manage your staff members, nobody is ever going to throw themselves behind you and really give their all to your cause. For this reason, you have to cultivate the ability of being able to inspire anybody you come into contact with in your workplace.
In order to hone this all-important skill, you should seriously consider taking a Leadership and Management course, the likes of which are run and offered by corporatecoachgroup.com. By enrolling on this kind of program, you will learn all about what it takes to inspire a far more productive team spirit within your place of work. As a result, both you and your workforce will soon start generating results of the highest possible quality.
If you’re dead set on becoming a manager in your business/industry, then it’s imperative that you learn and hone the three skills laid out above.