June 24, 2021

How Entrepreneurs Should Approach Investing in Private Businesses

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Investing is made up of a variety of avenues to suit pretty much any investor’s needs. One way to get into the world of investing, especially as an entrepreneur is to invest in private businesses. Here are a few techniques you can use to make investing in private businesses a little bit easier on yourself.

Buy Undervalued Companies

The best time to get into any investment is when something with great earning potential is undervalued. Investing in undervalued companies can give you the best possible chance of making a profit. The challenge is finding those businesses so you can take advantage of their undervalued status and make a profit before another investor beats you to the chase. Finding undervalued businesses requires time and research, but it can be a great way to invest without that you are excited about with plenty of room for growth and profit.

Source: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/101316/how-tell-if-stock-overvalued-or-undervalued.asp 

 Invest with Your Values

Making investments in private businesses allows you to invest in a way that matches your values and keeps you feeling good about yourself and your investments. Around 4 million businesses in the U.S. are now minority-owned. Investments like ESG investing and Impact investing allow you to make investments that have a positive impact on your community and the world at large. When you invest with your values, you have a unique opportunity to make money while doing something that you believe in.

Source: https://www.podium.com/article/small-business-statistics/ 

Build Relationships

Investing in private businesses gives you a chance to build a name for yourself and create lasting relationships with the people around you. When you make an investment in a small business, you have an opportunity to forge strong bonds and make your community better. By focusing on building relationships with businesses and other investors you will open up more opportunities for yourself to continue investing. Reaching out to other entrepreneurs can also help you to grow your network and make smarter investments over time.

Source: https://www.freshbooks.com/hub/leadership/find-investors-small-business 

Investing in private businesses is a great way to expand your portfolio and develop yourself as an entrepreneur. While there isn’t necessarily a right way to do it, taking your time to choose investments that you believe in and establish relationships will help you to increase your success. No matter what business investments you end up making, having a good understanding of your values will help you to make choices you are proud of.

Read this next: What Every Customer Service Representative Needs to Know How to Do

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Important Business Relationships You Shouldn’t Neglect

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Your company’s success is closely dependent on the people who provide the management, marketing, and means of your business—otherwise known as the employees you lead, the organizations you partner with, and the suppliers you utilize to create products or services. Fostering strong, positive relationships with these people is of the utmost importance if you want to create a thriving, developing business!

Employee Relationships

More than ever before, people look for occupations that are rewarding and pleasant for the employees working there. Make work a place that your employees enjoy being! They are the reason you can be up and running at all. If you can create an environment in which your employees feel welcome and appreciated, they will feel more inclined to work effectively for the benefit of the company. They will make the effort necessary of all employees to reach the vision that you all have committed yourselves to. According to Randstad Risesmart, you should let your employees know how much they are needed while doing everything you can to keep them from feeling overwhelmed and overworked.

Professional Organizations

According to the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, professional organizations provide opportunities for networking, learning new skills, and developing local policies. Connect with organizations that support your vision and help you access a broader audience of consumers. This will mean offering your support of these businesses as well, so be prepared to dedicate some time and resources to help them! The benefits will pay for themselves in the long run.

Suppliers

Your suppliers are the means of creating any product or offering any service. If you want fair deals on quality products—especially ones that you can endorse on their own—work to develop a strong relationship with your suppliers. Like with employees and partnering professional organizations, according to The Meeting Magazines, you should let them know how appreciative you are of their hand in your (important) work. Demonstrate that appreciation by offering your support and endorsement of those products they provide you. Show them that they can also depend on you to help them grow their business because it is such a helpful element of yours! Communicate with them the needs of your company, and their role in your success, while highlighting the benefit that success will be to them as well.

Good connections and positive, reliable relationships are a large part of what can make or break a business. Devote some extra energy to your employees, fellow businesses, and the suppliers that make your business possible.

Read this next: How to Make Your Business Accessible to More Customers

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What Every Customer Service Representative Needs to Know How to Do

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Your customer service representatives can single handedly make or break your business. That sounds like an extreme statement, but if you think about it, it makes sense. As the people responsible for solving customer problems, they have a huge impact on the experience your customers have with your business. As such, there are some things that they absolutely need to know how to do.

How to Represent Your Brand

Consistency is essential in branding, which includes how your employees represent your business. If you want to have a reputation for being positive, your employees need to know that they are expected to behave in ways that reflect that value. Branding for customer service often refers to how they approach working with customers, but can also include things like word choice or even dress and grooming. Make sure you clearly communicate your expectations regarding brand representation with your customer service representatives so you can achieve consistency.

Dealing With Unhappy Customers

Part of the point of customer service is to solve customer problems. No customer is going to be happy about having to contact you because they have a problem with you, which means knowing how to deal with unhappy customers is an absolute must. Whether it’s over the phone, through a web chat, or via email, your representatives need to know how to handle them. The negative reviews you have are an opportunity as well. You can maintain some goodwill with unsatisfied customers by responding to their negative reviews. Regardless of the method of communication, how things are said is going to be more important than what is said.

How to Listen

In order for your representatives to respond to customers in an appropriate, productive manner, they first must know how to listen. Active listening is often talked about as a good technique for customer service representatives, and for good reason. It allows them to more completely understand the customer, which in turn allows them to address the problem correctly. For many, this is a learned skill that they may need to practice doing before becoming proficient. The end result should be worth the effort it takes though.

If your customer service team is to have a shot at being effective, they need to know how to do their job well. Part of that means knowing how to represent your brand, how to deal with unhappy customers, and how to listen properly. While far from exhaustive, these crucial skills can really help your customer service representatives perform their job in a way that leaves your customers feeling more positively towards your business.

Want to take your business to the next level? We can help!

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How Automation Can Improve Workplace Efficiency

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Technology has become more and more helpful with changing the way we run the business world. Automation has made it possible to make otherwise tedious job processes quick and simple. Consider a mailing service that delivers hundreds of packages every day. The volume would not be so great if it were not for automation. Automation in the workplace can increase productivity, make HR easier, and improve your company’s job accuracy.

Increase Productivity

According to BetterHumans, one of the biggest benefits of workplace automation is the increased productivity. Work teams can get more done in less time which will decrease labor costs and increase efficiency. Some of the automated ways you can increase productivity are by automatic note-taking and database sharing. With these two practices, you communicate a uniform message which cuts down on the chance of misinterpretation and it gives your employees an organized database to pull from.  Doing this will allow time for your employees to be creative and come up with new innovative ways to run the business.

Make HR Easier

The human resource department in your company is busy with onboarding new employees, keeping track of current ones, and updating paperwork like financials and benefits. Their job is to keep track of a variety of moving pieces. Software can significantly improve the organization and productivity within the HR department. For example, according to Gideon Taylor, PeopleSoft-based software can help you with onboarding, time off, and benefits. This will lead to a more organized HR department that will then have more time to focus on the happiness of your employees.

Improve Accuracy

Human error is inevitable. According to Wave Business, automation in the workplace can help mitigate the human errors that occur. When working with a data stream, it is much easier for a computer to keep track of everything than one or multiple individuals. Using a system that can be accessed at the same time from a variety of individuals, without compromising the stored data, will improve the accuracy of your business. With improved accuracy, you become a better company and your overall value will increase.

There are a variety of ways you can implement automation in the workplace to achieve greater efficiency. Evaluate the needs of your company and see if there is anything that can be made easier with an automated process. You can increase work productivity, make HR easier, and improve your company’s accuracy by implementing automation in your work environment.

Read this next: How to Effectively Outsource Your Vital Business Functions

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How to Make Your Business Accessible to More Customers

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Because of increased competition, it is getting harder for a business to bring in new customers, it is even harder to retain the customers they already have. Businesses that make themselves readily available to their customers have the most success in building a loyal relationship with them. You can make your business more accessible by providing pickup and delivery options, building an e-commerce presence, and adapting to different platforms.

Provide Pickup and Delivery Options

Over the last ten years, the popularity of pickup and delivery options has skyrocketed. Many people do not have the time or the attention to physically shop inside a store anymore. To keep up with the way business is moving, you should implement a pickup and delivery system for your business. Let your customer order and receive items without the extra effort. When you make the shopping experience easier for your customers, you are more likely to retain your audience.

Build an E-Commerce Presence

Part of being able to provide pickup and delivery options includes an e-commerce presence. You need a platform where your customers can order and shop online. Your e-commerce website should integrate seamlessly with your in-store experience. Consider how you organize your website and how easy it is to follow. You want your customer to feel like they are still shopping in your store.

Additionally, keep track of your website’s performance. Each time your website crashes, you lose customers that try to access it while it is down. Building a reliable and efficient e-commerce presence will help you keep up with the demands in how the world does business.

Adapt to Different Platforms

Social media is a valuable tool that can help you connect with your customers and bring in new ones. Your social media campaign should focus on the type of customer you attract. Analyze your incoming customers and their habits. If your client base prefers using Facebook, focus on how you advertise on that platform. The same concept applies to all other social media platforms. Your ability to adjust your platform to your type of customer will greatly impact the quality of connections you make. 

The business world is constantly changing as it tries to match customer demand. Focus on the customer by providing pickup and delivery options, building an e-commerce presence, and establishing yourself on social media. This will help you make your business more accessible and maintain a loyal customer base.

For even more help making your business successful, sign up for some coaching!

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What You Need to Build Resilience as an Entrepreneur

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Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the most taxing jobs out there. Not only do you have to go through the trouble of creating an excellent product, but you need to pitch it to other experienced and qualified people. While it can be exhausting, you can build resilience in this field and become extraordinarily successful.

Learn to Take Criticism

It hurts when a professional rejects your product idea. You want it to be valuable to other people—especially if it is something you are passionate about. In these moments you can’t let a disappointing comment get you down. You must learn to embrace these corrections in a healthy way.

Going door-to-door provides plenty of opportunities to practice resilience. People might wave you away, be annoyed with your presence, or might flat out ignore you. This work will prepare you for rejection in the professional sphere. Potential investors will often critique your product, but these can be meaningful development tools. Ask questions and see what they suggest. This is how to handle criticism with poise.

Fail Successfully

Sometimes you fail so immensely that your business can’t get off the ground. If this is you, don’t feel discouraged—this happens to more people than you might expect. Starting a new business comes with a high risk of failure, with 45 percent failing within the first five years.

When this occurs, you might be tempted to swear off the idea of working as an entrepreneur altogether. But it can also teach you essential life lessons that you can implement into future products. Ask other people who have gone bankrupt because of faulty businesses what they have done to pick themselves up. You will no doubt find something useful.

When in Doubt, Work it Out

The worst thing you can do as an entrepreneur is nothing. People occasionally feel so nervous about failing that they become paralyzed by the decisions they need to make to become successful. In these scenarios, one slogan should be on your mind: “When in doubt, work it out!”

Just getting yourself out there is a great way to make some progress in the business world. Once you start, you’ll find that it gets easier with time. Discouragement keeps you down mentally and physically. Don’t let it!

Resilience will go from something you lack to being one of your best qualities. Rejection just opens up new opportunities in the future and allows you to handle problems with ease. It will build confidence and your product’s user base at the same time!

Read this next: How Your Business Can Capture a More Diverse Set of Customers

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How Your Business Can Capture a More Diverse Set of Customers

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Figuring out your niche is important, but when you are trying to grow your business, you sometimes need to expand into a more diverse customer set. Learning how to expand your reach while simultaneously maintaining your current customers is a huge challenge, but it’s not impossible. Doing it right will pay off and give you the tools you need to improve your business and get more out of your everyday business interactions

Offer Broader Products

Your current products and services have gotten you to where you are today, but if you are looking to grow, it is worth the investment to expand what you offer. When you think about expanding, remember that you don’t want to stray too far from your current offerings. Choose new products and services that are related to what you currently have while still being different. This will give you the easiest transition and make marketing your new products and services a little bit easier. Talk to your current customers about what they would like to see added to your company to start getting ideas.

Improve Your Social Media Game

Social media is awesome because it allows you to reach a broad audience without having to spend a lot of money. The more effective your social media presence is, the better you will be at building a diverse audience of potential customers. More than 70 percent of Americans have social media accounts. That means that you can use your social media presence to reach tons of people from your community, in the US, and across the globe. You have this great tool at your disposal, so you may as well learn how to use it appropriately and grow your audience.

Listen to Your Customers

You can’t expand into more customers and more diverse customers if you don’t have a good understanding of where your customers are right now. Take time to gather customer feedback and to listen to what they have to say so you can figure out your next steps. When your customers leave reviews, take the time to respond (whether their reviews are positive or negative), this can help you to learn more about those customers and to set the stage for your future growth. The more you know about your current customers, the easier it will be for your brand to continue growing and diversifying.

When you run a business, it’s important to expand your customer base and add diversity. Doing so can help you to be more successful and work towards a successful future.

For more help marketing your business, make an appointment for some marketing consulting!

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How to Effectively Outsource Your Vital Business Functions

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In a small business, you usually don’t have the manpower to do everything yourself. Outsourcing is a useful method for small businesses to get more done. By paying another company to take care of certain services or production needs, you can focus on the things that matter.

Marketing

An outside marketing firm can be a useful asset in helping your business grow. All you need to do is give them your marketing budget and tell them about your products and services. They can take care of everything. You can set it up so that everything is left up to them, or you can require them to obtain your approval before moving forward with your customized marketing campaign. Although it will cost you, outsourcing your marketing will put the task in the hands of experts with the time to get the job done right.

Customer Service

While the customer may not actually always be right, they think they are. Not being able to answer their complaints could cause serious public relations problems if they decide to make a stink about their issues. However, fielding customer complaints can be difficult for a small business. Fortunately, this is a task that you can outsource. Inbound call centers handle calls coming in from customers. You just need to provide the call center with training on the proper procedures and protocols that you wish them to take depending on the type of complaint that the customer has.

Human Resources

Human resources are all about finding, onboarding, and managing the talent in your business. This can be an extremely difficult job. Not everyone has an aptitude for running quality interviews and picking the good candidates from the bad ones. Fortunately, you can easily outsource this task to an HR firm. But that’s not the only task you can outsource. You can outsource job and safety training as well as more delicate issues like workplace bullying and harassment management. You can also outsource payroll, attendance, and benefits plans. Outsourcing human resources can help alleviate the burden of organizing and implementing these tasks.

When you stop and think about it, you can outsource just about every task related to running your business. Outsourcing allows you to keep costs under control, increase efficiency and focus on the parts of your business that you enjoy and are good at. Just make sure that you don’t compromise on quality when you outsource.

Read this next: How to Get Customers to Keep Coming Back to Your Store

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How to Get Customers to Keep Coming Back to Your Store

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Building up your client base and getting established regulars is the key to any successful business. It can be hard to translate your first sale to a customer into a pattern of returning, but with the right business strategies and attitude, you can make it happen.

Create a Points Program

Loyalty programs are a great way to build up your customer base and keep getting customers coming back. A points program is one great way to make that happen that will help your customers develop a positive habit of returning to your location. You must have a good understanding of your goals for your points program and your customer’s needs so that you can create a system that benefits you both and brings your customers back to your store regularly. Your points program can also help discourage customers from frequenting other stores instead because they know they will get rewards they love from your business.

Offer Store Cards

Though many rewards programs focus on offering discounts, offering rewards that feel more concrete can be a great way to generate return traffic. Offering gift cards is also a great way to increase sales. A gift card feels like money to customers, so they don’t want to waste it. This desire to come and spend their gift card will help get them back through your doors sooner rather than later.

Provide Excellent Customer Service

If you make your store the kind of place where people want to spend their time, they will want to come back again and again. Having good customer service is the key to providing the kind of environment that customers want to be in and return to. When customers know that your employees will treat them with kindness and respect, they will want to frequent your store and return with their friends. Establishing the kind of customer service that is remembered positively takes time, but it will save your business in the long run. 

Getting the first sale from a customer is a big step, but when you can get customers to come back again and again, that’s when you’ve made it. With the help of these tips for developing relationships with your customers, you should be in great shape to get your customer to return to your store and even become regulars.

Read this next: How to Get Customers to Trust in Your Brand

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How to Become a More Trusted Business

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The trust between a consumer and a brand is just as important as any other relationship. When a brand is able to make a genuine, truthful connection with a consumer, it’s able to create brand loyalty. This connection provides the basis for a solid, mutually beneficial consumer-brand relationship.

Follow Through on Promises

Following through is the act of carrying out customer requests. This is an important part of quality customer service. Words without action are simply words. Customers want to see action, results, and proof that their requests have been heard and handled appropriately. Following through is essential to keeping customers loyal. If you are constantly promising your customers something, then they’re going to expect you to actually do what you’re promising. They won’t return to your business if you don’t follow through with your actions.

Protect Customer Data

Customer data is like currency in today’s information-based economy. Regardless of your industry, you probably collect, store, and share information about your customers. Keeping this data protected will ultimately help protect your business. Even if you don’t face legal action, your good reputation could be significantly compromised by data security breaches. Security breaches can erode consumer trust and ultimately hurt your bottom line. Popular wisdom may hold that large businesses are most at risk for identity theft and fraud – but that’s not the case. Cyber liability insurance can protect your business in the event of a data breach.

Offer Excellent Customer Service

Your customer service is key to your business’s success. It has a major impact on customer loyalty and retention. This means it’s absolutely essential to have dedicated support staff and to set high standards for the speed and quality of your service. It’s hard to earn trust and loyalty when your customers feel like they’re being treated like numbers.  Instead, your goal should be to offer efficient, consistent service with a personal touch. Satisfied customers become devoted buyers when a business is trustworthy and provides good customer service. Loyal customers will also provide positive endorsements and good online reviews that can help businesses strengthen their brand.

Trust is not just something you hope for and expect to receive without any effort on your part. It takes work, time, and a few tricks up your sleeve to get the consumer trust you want. Following through on your promises, taking steps to protect customer data, and offering excellent customer service will help you to create a business your customers will trust.

Improving your business on your own isn’t easy. Contact me to see how I can help you develop it so you can find greater success.

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