January 26, 2021

How to Put your Business in a Better Position to Weather Hard Times

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Even the very best businesses and business models are susceptible to hard times. They can come about due to pandemics, market crashes, bad publicity, political climates, and many other factors. How your business may come to face a hard time may not be clear. However, you will face hard times. Here is how you can prepare yourself.

Build Cash Reserves

The novice business owner will take all their profits as payment. Unfortunately, this leaves their business entirely unable to handle any unexpected expenses. A much wiser approach is to build up reserves of cash. That way, if the business goes through a period of low profits or faces other troubles, they will be more prepared to deal with them. One way that this may happen unexpectedly is through pivots. A business pivot is when a company changes direction in response to the changing industry. Pivots cost money. If a business has cash reserves, it can successfully pivot in a hard time to stay afloat. If a business has no cash reserves, it may be unable to make a pivot and go bankrupt when major industry changes occur.

Creative Customer Incentives

When the general economy is facing a hard time, most consumers will stop spending on their wants and only focus on their needs. This tends to further increase the economic difficulty. Offering creative incentives is a great way to entice your customers back to your stores. For example, rewarding loyalty can improve sales and keep your customers happy. Another option is to offer bulk discounts like, “Buy 1, get 1 half-off”. These bulk discounts will appeal to your customers’ frugal mindset as they try to weather the economic downturn.

Business Insurance

Insuring your business can help compensate your business when things get tough. You can insure your business against potential lawsuits, natural disasters, and in some cases loss of profits. While you can’t insure your business against your poor business management, some insurance companies offer policies that will compensate you if your business loses its ability to make a profit due to circumstances that are deemed outside of your control. You may find yourself thinking that you don’t want to pay insurance costs, but you’ll be glad you paid insurance costs if you ever find yourself needing help from your insurance company.

As mentioned earlier, it’s pretty much guaranteed that your business is going to face challenges and hard times. Now is the time to prepare for these things. Don’t just put it off for another day. Being caught unprepared could cause countless hours of your hard work to be destroyed. On the other hand, by being prepared, you can be in the prime position to turn tough times to your advantage.

For more tips on how to better run your business, sign up for some coaching!

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How to Convince Clients to Get on Board With Your Services

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To stay out of the red, a business needs to have a steady stream of clients and customers that bring in enough income to cover costs, and hopefully generate a profit. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. Getting clients on board with your services can sometimes take a little convincing, but it is possible.

Show You Care

Clients are looking for businesses that are interested in and capable of solving their problems. If you’re going to get them on board with what you have to offer, you need to prove to them that you care about what their needs are and how their problems get solved. Showing you’re passionate about their goals makes your business more attractive than another who might be more inclined to see their clients as a number on their accounts receivable list. It’s one way to build value in your services and set yourself apart.

Get the Messaging Right

If you’re going to effectively show your clients that you care and can meet their needs, you need to get your message right. The content needs to be clear, concise, and compelling. Explain what you have to offer and how it solves your clients’ problems. It’s also important to note that just sending it out once isn’t likely to be adequate. Messages are most effective when you repeat them 7 to 20 times. For this reason, running multiple marketing campaigns and being repetitive (without being annoying) is an important component to successfully getting your message across.

Be Transparent

Transparency matters in business dealings. You need to be upfront and clear about what your service can do for your clients. As tempting as it can be, don’t over-promise just to land a client. If you aren’t able to deliver, they’ll leave and not come back. In a similar vein, let your clients and prospective clients know exactly how much they can expect to pay for your services. No one likes to get hit with hidden fees. Have answers to all the “why” questions. The more information you can provide your clients when they ask, the easier it will be for them to make informed decisions.

It takes time and effort, but convincing clients to get on board with your services is possible. There are a lot of things that impact a customer’s willingness to do business with you, but if you show you care, take the time to get the message right, and are transparent, you’ll likely see your efforts pay off. Your work will help put your business in a position to not only make ends meet but to generate profits.

Read this next: How You Can Help Your Employees Feel More Valued in Your Organization

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How You Can Help Your Employees Feel More Valued in Your Organization

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Getting your employees to feel more valued in your organization isn’t very difficult or complicated. If your employees are feeling underappreciated, you should listen to their input, employ inspirational leaders, and communicate clearly. Each of these things will help your employees understand how much you appreciate their contribution to your company.     

Listen to Their Input

Listening to your employees’ input is a great way for you to show them how much you value their opinions and ideas. You should solicit their opinion and utilize it as often as possible. Ask them not only about the work but also about the job itself—what’s good and bad about it and how it can be improved. Most likely, your employees have a lot of things they can offer the company and you must listen to their input. They will feel appreciated and valued in your company if you are listening to what they have to say.

Employ Inspirational Leaders

All employees need leaders they can look to for inspiration. These leaders will give them an example they can look up to and someone that can provide feedback and constructive criticism. Employees want to know both what they’re doing well and where they can improve. Getting praise from an inspirational leader that your employees admire will help them to continue to do well within the company so they can get that praise again.

Communicate Clearly

Communication is an important part of an employee/employer relationship. Your employees will feel more valued in your organization if you keep them in the loop. Communicating with employees will help them feel like an important part of the company. They’ll feel trusted because you’ve kept a high level of transparency when it comes to what’s happening within the organization. Proper transparency demands a degree of emotional intelligence on the manager’s part. They must neither be blunt nor shield their employee from the truth. It might cause a few uncomfortable conversations at first, but it’ll demonstrate that you value and trust them enough to tell them the truth. 

It can be hard to know where to start helping your employees feel more valued in your organization, but several things are important to do. You should listen to their input, employ inspirational leaders, and communicate clearly. This will help your employees understand how important they are to your company.

For more help running your business, sign up for some coaching with us!

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How to Forge Better Client Relationships in 2021

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As a new year begins, there are many goals your business may have. One of those goals should be forging better client relationships. No business can function without a solid client base, so make sure you put in the time and effort when it comes to your clients.

Learn to Communicate Better

According to Smarp, communication is essential in all areas of business. It is important to communicate well with your clients. When you speak with clients, use language that demonstrates collaboration. Make sure you’re speaking to them in ways they’ll understand and avoid jargon. When listening to your clients, make sure you ask questions. Doing so can help them feel listened to and it can help you be sure you are understanding them correctly. Finally, try to use a variety of communication methods. Instead of just sending emails, set up video chats or phone calls, and do in-person meetings when possible.

Get to Know Them

Knowing your client well is important for many reasons. First of all, it shows them that you are invested in them and that they are a valued client. They will be more likely to return to your business if you show interest in them. According to Agility, you should spend time on small talk with important clients to build a better relationship with them. This is a great way to grow more comfortable communicating with them and it helps to form more of a connection. Getting to know your clients also helps you to be more aware of their needs. If you know someone, then you can better serve and help them. This will also improve your relationship with them.

Be Honest About Opinions

It may seem like a good idea to always agree with your client, but this type of approach can be damaging to relationships. If you want to build trust with your clients, be honest about your opinions. Of course, you should still be polite when doing this. By sharing your opinions, you demonstrate your expertise in the field and you display your initiative. Consistently sharing your opinions will show your clients that you will do more than just tell them what they want to hear. It shows that you will make any effort for them and guide them towards good decisions. According to Unbabel, you should be honest with clients so you can build a stronger relationship.

Building client relationships is important to any business. It helps you ensure future business and it increases customer satisfaction. Seize the opportunity of a new year, and employ new strategies to improve client relationships.

Need more help running your business and keeping good client relationships? Schedule some coaching sessions with us!

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How Your Business Can Stay on Top of the Latest Payment Technologies

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Technology is constantly advancing, offering businesses seemingly endless opportunities to equip themselves with the latest and greatest equipment. While most areas of a business can benefit from technology, payment technologies offer benefits to your customers as well as your business. If you want to offer your customers the latest in payment technologies, there are some options you need to be aware of.

Mobile Payments

If you’d told businesses 30 years ago that in the future people would be paying with what amounted to a pocket-sized computer, you’d probably have been laughed out of the building. That’s where we’re at now though. People can connect their debit and credit cards to various apps and scan QR codes to pay for their purchases. Many businesses have incorporated such features into their apps, making easy payments one of the many benefits of having an app for your business.

Source: https://www.alacriti.com/mobile-payment-benefits 

Contactless Payments

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, people are more conscious now than ever about what they touch and who touched it last. Considering how literally dirty money is, that makes contactless payments one of the most desirable payment technologies, from a customer’s point of view. In fact, more than 70% of customers want contactless payments to continue when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Between Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and others, there are a variety of platforms out there that will allow customers to pay in such a way. Between the variety of platforms making this payment method accessible to most customers and the demand for it, it’s definitely worth investing in POS equipment that supports it.

Source: https://www.podium.com/article/customer-advocacy/ 

Payment Security

As technology advances, it becomes increasingly vulnerable to security threats. Your business needs to take payment security seriously. There have been advancements in this area of payment technology as well. Biometric security is being introduced, and specialized codes offer customers greater security when paying via phone or online. The importance of payment security was what prompted the development of card chips that get inserted into POS systems instead of just swiping like you used to. These chips generate a dynamic code that is used to verify its authenticity. This prevents the chip from being duplicated by someone who’s stolen your card information.

Source: https://www.cardfellow.com/blog/biometrics-payment-security/ 

Payment technologies have advanced recently, thanks in no small part to the pandemic. Mobile payment and contactless payment options are increasingly popular. With those advancements comes the need to protect the security of various payment methods. Make sure you’re properly prepared when offering your customers the latest and best payment methods to give them the best checkout experience possible.

To make sure you stay on top of the best business practices, sign up for some coaching with us!

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How Your Business Can Improve Products Efficiencies

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There is a lot that goes into making sure a business succeeds. Carefully designed marketing strategies, branding efforts, and offering quality customer service all have a role to play. Of course, none of that really matters if your products aren’t good enough. It’s important to make sure your products are as good as possible so you have something to offer your customers.

Understand Customer Needs

Consumers make purchases largely based on their needs and emotions. If you want to make a product that sells, you need to take those needs into account. You don’t want to make a product they won’t respond to. Analyze your target market and gain a deeper understanding of what they need, want, and look for in the products they purchase. Once you have that information, you can design your products to cater to your target market and increase your chances of developing a product that will be a real success.

Collaborate With Manufacturers

Of course, it doesn’t really matter that much if you have an amazing product but can’t get it produced in a timely manner and in the right quantity. As a part of creating the best experience for your customers, you need to collaborate with the product manufacturers. Work with them to establish efficient methods of product production using lean manufacturing techniques. Lean manufacturing techniques are all about continuously improving your company. When used effectively, they can help you produce the right quantities of product while minimizing various forms of waste and positively impacting your bottom line.

Make Sure They Do What They’re Supposed to Do

False advertising can really do a number on a business’s reputation. It’s imperative that you make sure your products do what they’re supposed to do. Don’t advertise things about your products that aren’t true. You’ll end up with bad press and your reputation will suffer. If anything, it’s best to underpromise and overdeliver. That said, don’t underpromise too much or you run the risk of your product not appealing to consumers.

Making sure your products are produced efficiently and are of high quality is important to your business’s success. When designing your products, make sure you understand what your customers need. Collaborate with manufacturers to ensure that processes are operating at peak efficiency. Perhaps most importantly, make sure your products do what they are supposed to do. This will help you get quality products into the hands of your customers and improve their level of satisfaction with your company.

Are you looking for that last push to get you to where you want to be? Check out our coaching services!

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How to Find a Space to Work as an Entrepreneur

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When you are creating a business, you’ll need to find a space to work. You have a lot of options to choose from. You can use coworking arrangements, lease office space, or look at shared office space. Each of these things are good options if you are trying to build your business without losing a lot of money on office space.

Use Coworking Arrangements

There are many benefits of coworking spaces. Coworking offices are extremely convenient for early stage businesses. They can come with everything you’ll need including amenities, lounging areas, private offices, and a professional business address. However, using a coworking space can be expensive. It has become popular and this means that the prices have gotten higher. The other thing to remember is that it can’t accommodate large businesses. It is a better fit for a small company that consists of 10-20 people.

Lease Office Space

Leasing office space is another option for your business. You’ll be able to do what you want with the space without worrying about sharing it with others or using a coworking arrangement. According to Franchise Gator, with many businesses closing, you may have great ability to negotiate leasing rates with landlords. Landlords might help pay for certain utilities, like water or housekeeping. Leasing an office space is still more cost effective than buying an office space. You also will be able to lease in a nicer area than if you buy a space. However, keep in mind that rent may be higher than other options and you will have to work with a landlord.

Shared Office Space

This is a type of office space that you share with another company in order to split the costs. Startups with small budgets can benefit from sharing an office with another small business. Especially if they can work well together. For example, a marketing company might work well with an advertising agency. According to RocketSpace, using a shared office space can help you save money, improve networking, increase flexibility, and can give you some educational opportunities.

As you work to build your business, you shouldn’t have to worry about losing too much money on your office space. You can look into using coworking arrangements, lease office space, and use shared office space. Each of these things are good options if you want to save money on your office space to use elsewhere.

If you are looking for that extra help you need for your business, check out our coaching services!

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3 Obstacles Your Business Faces to Controlling More of the Market

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Making your business as successful as possible can present many challenges. However, by understanding the obstacles you may face, you can come up with a business plan and defeat your competition by appealing to and expanding your customer base.

Skeptical Customers

One barrier that often faces businesses is skepticism from current and potential customers. If your customers don’t feel confident that you can meet the expectations you set, they are unlikely to work with you.

Often, customers aren’t sure if they really need the product or service a company is providing. By clearly showing the benefits and use of your company’s products and services, you can minimize their skepticism. Once they begin working with you, they will see that their needs are being met and be more confident in your company. This can help you build a stronger base and get a firmer grasp on the market.

Industry Competitors

In any field, there is bound to be competition, and learning how to overcome that competition is the key to dominating the market. You are more likely to beat the competition with the right intelligence. By collecting data on your competition and customers, you will have the intelligence you need to attract new customers and practice good decision making to beat out your competition. If you don’t have a good understanding of what your competition is doing, you don’t have much of a chance of overcoming them, but armed with intelligence, you are sure to come out on top.

Lack of Communication

One of the major barriers for companies’ success is a lack of communication between employers, their employees, and the customers they work with. Without proper communication it is difficult to maintain connections and encourage continued use of your company.

When working on communication, focus on building solid relationships, listening, and revolving any issues quickly and effectively. This will keep your business in good standing and help you stand out from other companies in your industry.

Breaking out ahead of the pack in the business world is challenging, but it can also be rewarding. Start working on overcoming these common obstacles and you will see the benefits it can have for your business today and in the future. No matter what field you are in, there will be obstacles. Only you can make the choice to overcome them.

For more help with your business, schedule some coaching sessions with us!

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How to Avoid Holiday Sales Issues This Season

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Holiday shopping can bring your business significant sales. But with added customers, you may encounter added issues. Forecasting specific issues that you could encounter during the holiday season will help you best prepare in order to be able to fill all the orders that you get.

Prevent Shipping Roadblocks

Make sure that you have an adequate shipping infrastructure for your products. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be an even greater influx of customers doing their holiday shopping online.

And when customers do their shopping online, one of the most important factors that goes into buying a product or not is whether or not they can get that product in time for a holiday.

One of the best ways to make sure that you will be able to process your orders quickly and get them to your customers as soon as possible is by converting to cloud-based software. Using updated software will help you streamline your process.

Keep Accurate Inventory

One of the main issues that companies encounter during the holidays is having a popular item sell out when there is a high demand. This can have huge repercussions for companies. In fact, inventory issues cause 39% of consumers to leave stores empty-handed due to an item that was out-of-stock.

Take steps early on to predict which products will be popular and plan to have extra inventory to be able to fill high demand.

Use Effective Discounting Strategies

When it comes to holiday sales, you’ll want to consider adjusting your approach from what you normally do throughout the year. When you do normal sales throughout the year, it’s easy to simply discount items that aren’t selling well in order to break even.

But when it comes to holiday sales, only discounting less than popular items will probably leave customers disappointed or at least more willing to shop at other stores with better sales. Think specifically about how to discount items in a way that will maximize profits.

You could consider discounting one or two popular items in order to attract more customers to buy other items that are not discounted to quite the same extent.

Navigating the rush and bustle of holiday shopping is hard enough. Figuring out how your company can be best prepared to address customers’’ needs can be even harder. Thinking about some of the specific issues that you may encounter during the holiday season will help ensure that you’re able to successfully make it through the holiday sales season.

Looking for help to get that little bit more out of your business? Check out our coaching services!

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How to Reduce Your Business Insurance Costs

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Running a business is expensive. Paying for insurance is just one of the necessary costs of doing business. Failing to carry adequate insurance could result in higher costs down the road in the event of a lawsuit, so while it’s expensive it tends to be considered a worthwhile expenditure. That said, there’s no need to pay more than you have to. There are things you can do to reduce your business insurance costs.

Bundle Policies

You’ve probably heard about how you can save money by bundling personal insurance policies. Did you know that you can do that with business insurance policies too? There are multiple benefits of bundling business insurance policies. Among them is the chance that you’ll be able to take advantage of multiline discounts. Of course, it’s important to do your research before jumping into bundling your policies. You should carefully look at what each of the policies you’re paying for cover. You don’t want to be paying for redundant policies or have gaps in your coverage that will leave your business vulnerable.

Implement Safety Protocols

Risk plays a significant role in how insurance companies price their policies. The greater the risk, the higher the price. As such, taking steps to reduce the level of risk in the workplace can help reduce how much you’re paying for insurance. There are multiple ways to do this, some more effective than others. Administrative controls are lower on the scale of effective workplace hazard reduction measures. Security systems, fire sprinkler systems, worker safety training programs, and driver training programs are just a few practical measures that may help lower the cost of insurance.

Shop Around

Bundling isn’t the only way to get competitive pricing on your insurance. In fact, jumping straight to bundling all your policies with one insurance company could mean you miss out on savings you could get by shopping around for insurance. It can take a lot of time to compare insurance quotes, but you could end up with significant savings as a result. Don’t be afraid to ask if the price they’re offering is the best they can do. Ask for discounts. Just make sure that you aren’t exchanging the level of coverage you need for better pricing.

If you want to reduce your business expenses, it might be worth your time to take a closer look at your business insurance. You can save money on the cost of insurance by bundling policies, implementing safety protocols, and shopping around to find the best deals. You owe it to your business and yourself to get the right coverage for your business at the best price.

Read this next: What You Need to Consider Before Moving Ahead With Your Business

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