December 2, 2021

How to Avoid Reputational Harm to Your Brand

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When you are running your own business, your reputation is one of the most important things that you have going for you. But your reputation can also be easy to ruin if you aren’t paying attention. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for so you can make sure that your brand reputation stays intact no matter what is going on with your business. 

Fix Issues Promptly 

Every business will face problems from time to time, but it is the way that you react to those issues that can hurt or help your reputation. One of the worst things you can do for the reputation of your brand is to ignore the problems that come up. The longer a problem is occurring with your brand, the more likely it is to lead to a negative impact on your reputation. That’s why you need to focus on resolving issues quickly so that your reputation is unharmed, and your business can move forward in a positive way. 

Secure Your Data 

Perhaps the most horrible thing a modern business can experience is a data breach. Not only will this breach lead to problems for your company, it can also have a severe impact on your reputation as a brand. It is so important that you make sure your data is well protected from a potential breach. If you don’t invest in cybersecurity, your business could be vulnerable to IT threats. That means you may be in serious trouble, so it is important to invest in that protection and make it a part of your regular budget. 

Constantly Work on It 

Your brand can’t avoid a negative reputation if you leave it to its own devices. Instead, your brand and reputation should be something that you are constantly working on. This constant work will help you to catch problems early and build a stronger bond with your customer base. Make it a priority to keep your brand in check and ensure that you are working towards a positive brand image all the time. 

Protecting your reputation is an important part of running a business effectively. You have already worked hard on developing your reputation, so it isn’t worth it to give up on it when something negative happens. Make a continual effort to support your brand so you can continue growing and improving your business.

Read this next: Strategies That Can Save Your Business Time and Money

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How to Build Goodwill with Your Customers

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As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you probably realize that one of the best ways to boost your business is to build a good relationship with your customers. While this can take time, money, and effort, it is very worthwhile and beneficial. Here are a couple ways to improve your relationships and goodwill with your customers. 

Focus on Product Quality

First off, Business News Daily recommends you focus on your product quality in order to increase your customer satisfaction and happiness. Remember that your customers order a product from your business, they are expecting to receive top tier quality products, no matter how small your business is or how short staffed you may be. If your customers aren’t satisfied with your products, they’ll likely go elsewhere, which is a huge loss for your business. If you notice that you are having repeated issues with some of your products, or repeated complaints from customers, do everything you can to resolve those issues. Train your employees on how to improve the quality of your products in order to improve the happiness of your customers.

Improve Customer Service

Next, improving your customer service will greatly increase your customer satisfaction and goodwill. Sometimes, working in customer service can be very difficult when you deal with customers that are never satisfied and always unhappy. However, you need to remember that your interactions with customers directly affect your sales. If your customer service employees get defensive and hurt about problems, your customers may not ever want to buy from your company again. Instead, ROI Solutions recommends you proactively try to uncover and solve customer issues to increase loyalty.

Have Good Communication

Finally, having good communication with your customers is a sure way to increase goodwill with your customers. This doesn’t only refer to the way that you communicate with your customers when they are in your store, but also refers to other methods of communication. According to ProProfs Desk, you should be easily reachable so that customers can get fast answers to their questions as they are considering buying your products or services. One way to do this is to have a phone number on your website and social media accounts. You can also use texting services to send reminders and updates to your customers. 

Customers in the end are the most important people investing in your business. When they feel valued and well accommodated, they will be more likely to buy from your company. If you build goodwill with your customers, you not only secure their loyalty but also are more likely to get referred to their friends!

Read this next: How to Inspire Your Employees to Perform Their Best

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Why Should Your Business Partner with Larger Retailers?

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As an entrepreneur or business owner, you’re probably usually thinking that larger retailers or superstores are your worst nightmare. While this could be true in the fact that they may take some of your customers away from you, larger retailers don’t always have to be your enemy. In fact, there are a number of reasons why your business should partner with larger retailers to find more success. 

You Get Immediate Visibility

One benefit of partnering with a larger business is that it will get your small business immediate visibility for minimal time and effort. Running your business through a small online ecommerce site can be difficult, as your site traffic may be hard to come by. Getting your products exposed to new customers can be very difficult. If you partner with a larger retailer, particularly a retailer with an online marketplace function, you’ll be immediately exposed to thousands of viewers who can easily access your site. 

You Don’t Need to Build a Marketplace

Another advantage of partnering with larger retailers is that it can help you to sell your products without having to build a marketplace site yourself. Selling your products on third-party marketplaces is easy and lets you sell more widely. For example, rather than taking the time to build your own ecommerce website, you can use sites such as Facebook Marketplace or Etsy to sell your products. This saves you the time and money of having to build your own marketplace site. Additionally, you can reach a much wider audience by using these marketplace sites, as your potential customers don’t have to find your individual, obscure website. Instead, they can search with keywords that are related to your products and find your shop and services that way. 

In-Person Shopping

If you’re interested in providing a brick-and-mortar location for your clients to shop at, partnering with a larger retailer could make that dream come true. Some larger retailers, such as department stores, or chain stores like Target like to feature smaller businesses and designers to bring in customers loyal to those brands. A similar setup could provide you with the chance to sell your products online and in-person

As you are considering a partnership with a larger retailer, weigh the pros and cons to figure out if such a partnership would be right for you and your company. Remember, there are lots of benefits that could greatly improve your sales and reach. If you’re seriously contemplating beginning a partnership, make sure you take the time to figure out what retailer would be a good fit for your company, and you’re sure to have success.

Read this next: Strategies That Can Save Your Business Time and Money

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Strategies That Can Save Your Business Time and Money

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All businesses, but especially small ones, are seeking out new methods that will help them be more efficient. Running a small business can be a costly endeavor, particularly as you are starting out. Here are a few strategies that can save your business time and money if they are carefully applied to your mission and production processes.

Organic Marketing

First off, there has been a huge shift in business marketing in the past few years. Gone are the days of newspaper or radio ads as businesses have welcomed the onslaught of organic social media marketing. Billions of people use social media for hours on end each day, which provides you with a large window of time and a huge audience to reach. From Instagram reels to Facebook ads to TikTok videos, Hootsuite says the possibilities are endless when it comes to cultivating social media content. Try out all of the different advantages that social media has to offer until you find the approach that works best for you and your business.

Client Retention

Secondly, it is very important to retain the clients that you have in order to prosper as a business. According to the Utah Valley Chamber, it costs more to gain new clients than to retain your existing ones. Gaining new clients means putting much more time and money into marketing and publicity, which can be difficult. If you retain the clients that you already have through great customer service, good communication, and new product launches, you’ll have a consistent stream of customers. In addition, your loyal clients will probably recommend your business to people that they know, which will bring in new clients without an increase in time or money on your part. For this reason, it is important to do all that you can to guarantee that your clients have a good experience with your business.

Automation Software

Another great way to save time and money is to automate tasks that are tedious and time-consuming for your employees. According to Calendar, this will save you from having to pay employees to do tasks that could be more easily accomplished through automation software. For example, invest in software that will create work orders and invoices so you don’t have employees taking up their work time doing so.

As you’re trying to figure out how to save your business money and time, don’t forget the strategies that have been discussed in this article. Apply each of them to your business routine and processes and adjust them accordingly so that you have more success without blowing a budget!

Read this next: What Do Customers Want from Your Business?

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Third Parties That Can Help Make Your Business Plan a Reality

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Starting a business is something that many people think they need to do entirely on their own. This attitude can prevent people from making an amazing business idea into the reality they hoped it could be. If you work with people willing and able to help, however, you will improve your chances of success and really add something great to the business world.

Lenders 

One area of starting a business where many new entrepreneurs need help from the outside is in securing funding for their business. A simple way to do this is to get a loan through a lender in order to cover some or all of your startup costs. Getting a small business loan can help you take care of early expenses and get your business off to a strong start. It’s important to shop around for lenders, however, as you want to get the best possible interest rate and access to the capital you need.

Lawyers

Some people forget that they may also need the help of lawyers to get their business started on the right foot. There are many legal aspects to starting a business that a lawyer can help you to do properly. A lawyer can help you avoid mistakes that can cripple your business and ruin it before it’s even really started. If you have legal help early on, however, you will be able to make business decisions that are legally sound and have protection in place that can keep your business running no matter what happens.

Contractors 

Sometimes you may need help with the functions of your business before you can afford to hire full time help. This is where using contractors in a limited way will help you to get things going in the early days of your business. You don’t want to rely too heavily on contractors, but they can be a great tool as well, especially in providing skills that you don’t otherwise have access to. If you are smart about hiring contractors, they can be a huge help in improving your business from the start.

Getting your business running takes skill and time, and it’s okay if it also takes outside help. In fact, it’s probably for the best! When you work with experts, you can get your business in a much better place than if you simply do everything yourself. And their help can allow you to focus your energy where you excel.

Read this next: How to Solidify Your Brand as a Customer Favorite

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How to Inspire Your Employees to Perform Their Best

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You always want your employees to put out their best possible work. While that is partially their responsibility, your leadership also has a lot to do with your employees’ productivity. There are many things you can and should be doing as an employer that can help you to be more helpful in promoting good work from your employees. When you master the work required to inspire your employees, your business will be in even better shape.

Make Sure Their Needs Are Taken Care Of 

Your employees simply cannot do their best work if they are distracted thinking about additional things they need to do to meet their needs. But if their needs are met at work, they will be in a much better position to focus. This means ensuring that you offer the benefits they need to ensure that their health and financial security is in a good position. Research insurances before making a decision so that you can provide your employees with the best possible option. Provide retirement benefits and their future needs will also feel much more secure to them.

Lead by Example

Your employees definitely notice you. They are generally pretty aware of the work you do and how you do it. So if you are working hard to make your company a better place, they will take note of that and are more likely to do their work to the best of their ability. That’s why leading by example is so essential. It’s also important that you be as optimistic as possible, no matter what difficulties the company faces, so you can create a positive environment. Your optimism can inspire employees to accomplish more at their jobs.

Don’t Overwork Them

While overtime may be occasionally necessary, it’s not a good idea to rely on it to get work done. When your employees are overworked, they can’t perform as well, and they are more likely to leave. Give your employees time off, let them have needed breaks, and work to ensure that overtime is a rare exception rather than the rule. This will help them from experiencing a burnout with their job and producing low quality work.

As your employees learn to trust you, they will be more willing to put all of their effort into the work you give them. Creating a positive work environment and taking care of their needs are essential ways to increase employee performance. It may not always be easy, but the inspiration you give your team pays off!

Read this next: How to Solidify Your Brand as a Customer Favorite

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How to Improve the Shipping Process at Your Business

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The shipping process has become more important to more businesses, especially as the business world has become increasingly digital. Online shopping is more common than ever before, which means shipping has a greater role to play than ever before. If your shipping process has problems, you’re going to have some issues with customer satisfaction. So what can you do to improve it?

Work Out Supply Chain Issues

Shipping has been something of a nightmare for businesses around the world for over a year now. Part of that is because of supply chain issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Having supply chain issues doesn’t stop you from needing supplies though. If you’re having such problems, you’ll need to find ways to work through them so you can stay in business and keep your side of the shipping process running smoothly. You may need to consider finding a new supplier in the meantime.

Cut Down Lead Time

How long does it take you to get your customers’ orders to them? Two weeks? Two months? Amazon’s two-day Prime shipping has changed customer expectations, which means that businesses have a lot more pressure to get orders out the door in quick time. That means you need to take steps to cut down your lead time. So what can you do? You can use kitting to prepare packages before an order even comes in. You can make projections for future orders based on order history to make sure you have enough inventory on hand to fulfill them too.

Simplify Procedures

Have you ever asked your employees what they think about your shipping processes and procedures? There’s a good chance that there are things that could be done to simplify them and your employees probably have some decent ideas about what improvements could be made. If procedures are too complex, you’ll be wasting time going through unnecessary steps to get the job done. The simpler you make your shipping process, the easier and quicker it’s likely to go.

Taking steps to improve the shipping process at your business can only do good things for both you and your customers. Making sure your supply chain is free of issues, reducing your lead time, and keeping your procedures as simple and streamlined as possible are important steps to making sure your shipping goes smoothly. Remember, if you want to keep your customers happy, you need to get the things they’ve ordered to them as quickly as possible.

Read this next: How Small Startups Can Benefit from More Software Automation

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What Do Customers Want from Your Business?

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The key to making any business successful is finding ways to connect with your customer base, but that isn’t as easy as it may sound. Building relationships with your customers takes time and effort but it is an important element of running your business that will help you to be much more successful. One of the best things you can do for customer relationships is to figure out what your customers want from you and make it your priority to deliver. If you can make that happen, it will benefit your business in the long run.

Quality

First and foremost, your customers are looking for quality. No one wants to have to continue replacing products or getting services redone because they weren’t done well in the first place. This makes creating quality products and providing quality services your top priority as you work to connect with your customers. Listen to customer feedback and if there is anything, they found to be less than high quality, talk to them about how to make it better. As you work to ensure that you always provide the highest quality products and services to your customers, it will help your business to be more secure.

Personalization

People also want to feel recognized and seen in their interactions with the businesses they frequent. This is where personalization can come in handy and make customer experiences more positive. If you run a brick-and-mortar storefront and you have regulars, make it a point to learn their names and try to remember what they prefer to buy. When you communicate with customers online, make it a point to personalize your interactions and learn about your customers. Rather than sending the exact same content to every customer, make up customer groups and send a few different emails that are personalized based on customer preferences.

Convenience

The more convenient you can make the purchasing and shopping process at your store, the better it will be. Everyone has busy lives, and they are generally looking for ways to save time and make things easier. One great option is creating a subscription service, you can even incorporate this through making buying your products repeatedly more convenient for customers. With a service like this you can make certain purchases automatic and have them delivered to your customer on a regular basis. You can also offer curbside pickup options so customers can order products online and pick them up in your store without ever having to leave their car.

Simplicity

Simplicity is important to customers and it can work hand in hand with convenience if you do it right. When you are designing your website, make it a point to create something that is easy to use and very simple to navigate. If your website is bogged down or poorly organized, it can make it more difficult for customers to find what they need and get on their way. You want to incorporate this simplicity in every element of your business. For example, seeking customer feedback is important, but if your survey is long and complicated, you may not get responses. With a simplified approach it will be easier for customers to help you find out what they need.

A Good Value

In addition to the quality customers are looking for, they also want to make sure that they are getting a fair price for the things they buy. That means that they are looking for high value items that feel like they are worth the expense. One way to help them achieve this is by offering discounts and sales when appropriate so customers know they are getting a deal. You can also add in discounts if people purchase multiple products at once or set up a subscription. This kind of value can help your customers to feel more comfortable with the things you are offering.

Trustworthiness

Finally, customers want to know that they can trust the businesses they work with to do the things they say they will do. A big part of this is making sure that you resolve issues when they occur and do your best to make the customer experience as good as possible. If you make any promises or provide warranties, make sure that you actually follow through on them and fix any problems that may occur. As you prove yourself and your business as trustworthy it will help your relationships with your customers to become much stronger.

It is always a challenge to work with customers, but when you know what they want you can make things much easier on yourself. Take time to get to know your customers and strive to give them what they need in every interaction. This effort will pay off in stronger customer relationships and higher levels of customer retention

Read this next: How Small Startups Can Benefit from More Software Automation

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How to Run a Social Media Feed for Your Business

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There are many online tools you can use to help run, promote, and grow your business. Social media is one tool that can be very beneficial to you. As you build your online presence through social media, it’s important to understand the best ways to run your social media feed.

Use Analytics Tools

One of the many benefits of using online tools is the ability to track them. With social media, you can use analytics to see exactly what is working and how well it is working. You can look at overall engagement and what social media marketing strategies are doing the best. Most analytics tools will help you see the number of clicks, likes, shares, etc. that you receive. By utilizing analytics tools, you can better understand how effective your social media feed is. You can make changes to strategies that aren’t working and continue to strengthen and use the ones that are. There are many social media analytics tools you can explore.

Create a Content Calendar

As with anything else, planning is an essential part of running your social media feed. The best way to plan is with a content calendar. You can use a content calendar to help you stay on top of deadlines and to have a clear idea of what’s coming up. Your content calendar can also be used for brainstorming. If you plan out your content in advance, it can actually help you come up with more creative content than if you made it immediately before posting. Your calendar will also help you to be mindful of your consumers and the context of when you post. Relevant content provides consumers with value and makes it more likely that they will turn to you later for products or services.

Listen to Your Audience

No social media feed can thrive if you ignore what your audience is saying. People look out for businesses that engage with their audience. You should be reading the comments, DMs, and other communications. This can give you an idea of what people think about your feed. If people are making criticisms, make adjustments. If people praise what you’ve done, acknowledge them. Social media is intended to be interactive and fluid. Your audience’s thoughts and opinions should be clear to you and you need to show them you’re listening.

Social media can be a valuable tool for your business. It’s an excellent way to market your business and engage with your audience. You simply need to learn how to best manage your social media feed.

Read this next: How Do I Improve My Networking?

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How to Solidify Your Brand as a Customer Favorite

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Just because you get one sale doesn’t mean you’ve gained a loyal customer. How does a business make itself noticed, and even more importantly favored, in a world full of competition? Whether you’re still developing your brand or looking to do a makeover, the following tips can help solidify your brand as the one every customer recommends to a friend!

Become a One-Stop Shop

Oftentimes businesses seek to become specialized in one area in order to ensure quality. While this remains an important tactic, it shouldn’t diminish the other side of things, meaning that you provide a wide range of services or products relating to each other. If you’re trying to start up a donut shop, for instance, it would be remiss to not also sell milk! The truth is that customers care a lot about convenience—so making your business a one-stop shop for anything they might require further cements your brand as one they can trust to take care of their needs.

Loyalty Programs

A tried and true method of gaining customer loyalty is a loyalty program—essentially, giving them opportunities to rack up rewards points and receive discounts and free items because of their loyalty. This system encourages what could be a one-time customer to come back to you instead of a competitor, and to come back more often in order to get their rewards sooner. If you decide to look into this tactic, POS systems can track rewards points across stores and online marketplaces, so it’s pretty easy to implement.

Learn from Competitors

Every industry has competition, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. The last big way to increase customer favoritism towards your brand is by studying the other brands related to it, and then doing what they do, but better. When a competitor has a sales rewards system in place already, for example, you can go above and beyond by creating a referral rewards system! Also, by looking into what people like and dislike about other brands’ qualities, you can better finetune your products, services, and values to provide everything the competition does and more!

If you want your brand to stand out, there are lots of quick marketing tactics to increase visibility. But making your brand something customers favor over any other, however, requires more in-depth planning and skill. Don’t just stop at being a good place to go for a product or service—make your brand something customers talk to their friends about!

Read this next: How to Increase Leads That Become Customers

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