October 29, 2020

How Your Business Can Develop a Stronger Connection With Customers

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Every smart business knows that it is reliant on its customers to stay in business and be successful. Customer loyalty is a huge factor in this. If you want to build customer loyalty to your business, you need to develop strong connections with your customers. How should a business go about doing this?

Dedicate Time to the Customer

Customers want to feel like businesses care about them. One of the best ways to do this is to dedicate time to them. There are multiple ways you can dedicate time to your customers. You can take steps to improve your response time. During the initial interaction, take the time to ensure that they are satisfied with the service they’ve received. Add personal touches to the interactions where appropriate. Avoid doing things to make customers feel rushed. Customers can tell if you’re rushing them through a process, and it doesn’t leave them feeling positive about the experience.

Give Your Business a Human Face

Businesses have a tendency to feel faceless to consumers. This can make them difficult to connect to. If you want to build a stronger connection with your customers, you need to give them something to want to connect to. Give a human touch to your business with quality photos of your employees on your website. Of course, you want to present the best image of your business. You want to remain professional and avoid certain distractions that detract from the purpose of the shoot. That’s why these photos are best left to professionals. They know how to make the most of a setting and the lighting.

Reward Them for Their Loyalty

Virtually all businesses want to expand their customer base. It’s an essential part of growth. That said, repeat customers provide more profits to businesses than new ones. They are more cost effective to retain than new ones are to attract as well. As such, it pays to reward them for their loyalty. Develop a quality customer rewards program to encourage repeat business. Consider what perks your customers will value the most and incorporate them into your program. Your customers will better feel your appreciation for their loyalty when you take steps to reward them for it.

Building strong customer connections is essential for businesses who want to thrive. You can do this by dedicating time to your customers, giving your business a human face, and rewarding your customers for their loyalty. This will help them feel positively towards you and want to continue to give you their business.

For more great business tips, sign up for some coaching!

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How to Design Your Checkout Process for Maximize User-Friendliness

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Maximizing user-friendliness in your checkout process can be difficult, but here are three things to get you started. Providing a customer service chat, minimizing steps, and providing easy modification will ensure a smooth checkout process for all your customers.

Provide a Customer Service Chat

Creating a good relationship with your customers is important. One of the ways you can reach out to them and make sure they are getting answers to their questions is to provide a customer service chat that can be accessed in real time. This gives them an opportunity to talk with people in your business and get immediate answers to all their questions. This can lead to greater customer retention. This great customer service experience will make them want to tell all their friends about your business and then they’ll want to come back.

Minimize Steps

As technology is growing, customers are growing less patient with things that are slow. They want things to be fast, easy, and accessible. Minimizing steps required to checkout an item on your site is a great way to minimize the difficulty of online shopping. Making a one-page checkout ensures that people won’t have to spend a ton of time checking out and will be able to get back to their lives quicker. Also, allowing shoppers to checkout as a guest helps capture more sales. Many first-time customers don’t want to have to create an account if they don’t know much about your company. Letting them check-out as a guest will let them get to know your company and then they’ll want their own account.

Easy Modification

Once again, there are many customers that want their online shopping experience to be super easy. Otherwise, they won’t do it. It’s common for customers to put the wrong thing in their shopping cart. Many put the wrong quantity or color and want to easily remove it from their cart. Providing a delete button or a quantity modifier will help them to change things in their cart quickly and easily without having to go back to a different page. Customers are happier if they can make quick changes to their order.

Online shopping is rapidly growing and creating a page that is user-friendly is something that every business needs to consider. Providing a customer service chat, minimizing steps, and easy modification will help make your site easy to manage and make customers want to return.

For more business tips, sign up for some coaching sessions!

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Corporate Trends That Are Making a Comeback

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Workplace trends come and go. What is trending in the workplace has a tendency to reflect a blend of employee and employer values. Some trends make repeat appearances throughout the years. Here are some corporate trends that you could see making a comeback soon.

The Cubicle

Open office floor plans have been popular recently. They have the ability to improve morale, among other benefits. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the cubicle may be in a position to make a comeback. Many offices are putting up such barriers to try and reduce the spread of illness. This could become more common as more people come back to work.

Quality Circles

Quality circles could also be making a comeback. These groups consist of anywhere from three to twelve employees within a company. Ideally, those in the group have the same jobs, or at least ones that are similar or related. They meet regularly to discuss work-related problems and identify solutions to them. Those solutions are then presented to leadership within the business. There are many examples of quality circles from the 1970s among corporate giants. These businesses found that quality circles benefited their business. An effective quality circle can reduce costs. It can also improve productivity, efficiency, and morale.

The Traditional Office Setting

One recent trend is the desire for an improved work-life balance. Employees don’t want to live to work; they want to work to live. The current pandemic climate may be changing this perspective. 4.7 million people are currently working remotely. While the overall perspective on it is positive, not everyone is having an easy time of it. Some employees will embrace a return to an office setting. When they do, they’ll be trying to create a clear separation between their home life and their office life. This means there will likely be a return to the more traditional office setting. The home-like couches and communal spaces will give way to a more office-like setting .

There’s no denying that the workplace is undergoing a period of transition. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way many people do business. Businesses may soon see a return to cubicle workspaces. Quality circles may become more prevalent as companies recognize their value. There may even be a return to a more traditional office setting. These trends are coming back, so it’s time we embrace them.

For more tips on how to run your business, schedule some coaching sessions with us!

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3 Strategies for Setting Better Business Goals

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Creating a successful business takes a lot of work. However, if you don’t make a plan for how to succeed then your business won’t go anywhere. It’s important to make goals for your business so you have something to work towards. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Focus on Continuous Improvement

Developing a successful business isn’t really about having an end goal. In a constantly changing world, it’s important for you to keep up and constantly be improving your business. Take stock of your business and see what does and doesn’t work. Address the areas of concern and reinforce what’s already working. Look at the market and see what strategies others are using. Adapt to new technology. Continuous improvement can help you stay up to date with the business world and help you streamline your business.

One great way to start is by making a continuous improvement strategy. Establish a schedule for when and how often you’re going to evaluate your business. Make sure it’s regular enough for it to be effective. Decide ahead of time what you intend to evaluate.

Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals

In general, making goals is always a good start. However, many people don’t follow through with their goals because they don’t make a solid plan. Making S.M.A.R.T. goals, on the other hand, helps you to clearly think through your goal and make a plan. S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. There are many different ways you can apply this process. For example, you might want to get more clients or increase profits. On their own, those aren’t smart goals. You need to be more specific. Determine how you will increase profits or clients. Quantify your goal and set a time limit. Using the S.M.A.R.T. method helps you to make a plan while establishing what your goal is. As you use them, you can stay on track and actually see progress when you stick to your goals.

Hold Yourself Accountable

When making and keeping goals, it can be easy to fall off the wagon. Reinforce your commitment by holding yourself accountable to others. You can tell your employees about your goals or even just a business partner. Depending on your goal, you could even advertise it to your clientele. Ask whoever you tell to check in on your progress regularly. By letting other people know about your goals, you’re more likely to stick to them.

As you move forward with your business, make some detailed goals. Establish a solid plan for your goals and get other people involved as work towards them. Having a good plan is the first step to improving your business.

Need help setting goals for your business? Schedule some coaching sessions with us to get started!

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Why You Should Hire a Business Consultant to Save Money

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If you’re feeling stuck in your business, it may be time to hire a business consultant. A business consultant is a trained professional who can help you analyze your business and see how to best succeed and save money. They can offer new perspectives and insights while also keeping you on track to succeed.

Eliminate Waste

One major benefit of hiring a business consultant is that they offer an outside perspective. Oftentimes it becomes difficult to find where money is being lost because you are too close to the situation. A consultant can help point out areas of waste that may not have been obvious. They can help you see what is unnecessary and how to eliminate the waste. Your consultant can go over your budget with you to make sure you are not allocating more money to operations than you can afford. They will also make sure you aren’t wasting money on services you don’t need. Your consultant can make you more aware of good financial practices so you aren’t wasting your money.

Manage Risk

A business consultant can help you identify and manage risk. In any business, there are risks. An advisor can help you keep track of economic trends so you can have a plan in place in case there is an economic downturn. You can also be made aware of any laws that may impact your business. Your consultant can help to make sure you are following all the necessary regulations. They can also help you avoid lawsuits. You can reduce your risk by hiring an employee with a certification.

New Insights

A business consultant is typically well versed in current trends and practices. They are well aware of the market environment. Their expertise can help you give your business a boost with some new ideas. Perhaps there are some new practices that other businesses have tried and found success with. Your consultant can inform you of these practices and teach you how to best utilize them. It could also be possible that your business isn’t aware of the technology or practices that most businesses are already following and your consultant can help keep you up to date. No matter what’s going on in the market around you, your consultant has the necessary skills to keep you up to date and even ahead of the curve. Their insights can help you to reinvigorate your business.

If you’re trying to save money, it might seem counterintuitive to spend money on a consultant. However, it is well worth it! A consultant can help you spot problems, manage your risk, and even discover new ways to improve your business.

Looking for a business consultant to help you with your business? Contact us to schedule some coaching sessions!

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How to Start a Business Without Going It Alone

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Starting a business can be a very exhaustive process. You may have to learn skills you’ve never learned before—you may make mistakes, sometimes even big ones. And it can be very lonely, eating at your time for family and friends. Going alone is possible—and many have done it, but there are many benefits to working with someone else. Here’s how you can start a business without going it alone.

Find a Partner

According to Grasshopper, finding a business partner is a great way to have someone else help you in creating your own business. With the two of you, you can feed off of each other’s enthusiasm and you can divide the tasks. If one of you likes marketing better while the other likes sales, you can divide and conquer. A partner will have your back, and he/she will help you focus on your goals. Finding a partner to help you with your business has many benefits, but one of the biggest is that you won’t be on this adventure alone.

Start a Franchise

You can also start a franchise. By being part of a franchise, you are given the materials directly from the company. While you do have to worry about the hiring details and other local details, you know that you’re part of a brand name and that they are already established. Being a part of a franchise eases the burden of marketing your business by yourself. You have to follow corporate decisions, but you’re not left on your own to flounder. Now may be the perfect time to start a franchise, because according to Franchise Gator, many franchises are offering financial incentives to investors during COVID-19.

Find a Mentor

According to EU-Startups, you can also find a mentor to help you start your business. You can learn under someone who’s already established their own business, and work with them to gain the skills and knowhow, so that when you do branch off on your own, you feel more confident. You can always ask your mentor questions about what they did in their business if you get stuck. A mentor is a wonderful resource to help you when you’re starting your own business.

Starting a business can be a lonely road, but it doesn’t have to be. By finding a partner, starting a franchise or working with a mentor, you can find your own footing as you start your journey to your own business.

Need help figuring out how to best run your business? Schedule some coaching sessions with us today!

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Why Leaders Need to Lead by Example When Returning to Work

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As businesses reopen storefronts under what’s being termed a “new normal” and employees return to the workplace, it’s becoming increasingly evident that there have been changes. Many are requiring social distancing, masks, and taking employee temperatures daily. What hasn’t changed is the need for leaders to lead by example as everyone returns to work.

Stabilizing Morale

During times of high stress and uncertainty, it’s easy for employee morale to take a pretty serious hit. This can cause more problems for businesses who may already be struggling due to the economic impact the pandemic has had on a global scale. Fortunately, one of the things that can be done to help stabilize, or even improve, company morale is for leaders to lead by example. Employees will see leading by example as a step that brings you closer to them and their level. This builds greater feelings of connection and loyalty within a company, which can only serve to strengthen it at a time when low morale may have a crippling impact.

Employees Look to You

Employees look to their leaders for cues on how to behave. This means that as you lead by example you will help them understand what behaviors are acceptable and encouraged, and, by omission, what behaviors are unacceptable and should be avoided. For example, if you’re using floor markings to help with social distancing they should be six feet apart at a minimum. And you should be respecting those markings so that your employees know that they should be doing the same. It’s a lot of responsibility, but that’s why you’re the leader. Hopefully you’ve been prepared to take that responsibility for a while, because while the context may have altered, the responsibility has always been there.

Creating Consistency

Because employees look to you as their leader for guidance, you can create consistency in your business by leading by example as everyone returns to work. The new rules, policies, and procedures need to apply to business leaders just as much as they do to entry level employees. If your company has decided that everyone needs to wear masks to work, take their temperature daily, and stay home when ill, so do you. This consistency is what makes policies effective, as they will only really work as long as everyone abides by them.

Leaders are chosen for a reason, and hopefully part of the reasoning is because they are good at leading employees. One of the best ways to do this is by leading by example. Leading by example can help stabilize employee morale, making employees feel better about being led by you, and creating consistency within the company.

For more tips, schedule some coaching sessions with me so I can help your business succeed!

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How to Avoid Letting Leads Fall Through the Cracks

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Leads are the lifeline for many businesses. In a competitive business environment, you can bet that several companies are vying for the same leads. Because of this fact, it’s important to do everything in your power to avoid letting those precious leads fall through the cracks. Here are three tips that can help.

Respond in a Timely Manner

Slow response times are one of the biggest causes of lost leads. Every hour a lead sits without response decreases the chances that the lead will be converted into revenue. In this case, time is money. Cultivate a sense of urgency and accountability within your workplace. Consider putting a service-level agreement, or SLA, in place in order to keep your employees accountable.

While you prioritize fast response times, you should also remember that it will take patience to convert your leads into revenue. Marketing Donut shows that 80% of sales require at least 5 follow-up calls after the initial meeting.  They recommend that you maintain contact with your leads until they have said “no,” or “not yet,” at least 5 times.

Capture Leads After Hours

Since time is money, you should take advantage of every moment by capturing leads even when you have no employees working. One of the best ways to do this is by utilizing technologies such as webchat. Webchat lets customers share information with your company even after hours.

If you don’t have a way for potential leads to leave their questions and information with your company 24/7, you could be losing valuable customers. Try using webchat or another website technology so you don’t lose track of any of your leads that find your business outside normal working hours.

Personalize Your Communication

One of the fastest ways to lose a lead is by generalizing your interactions with potential customers through sending generic communications. It’s essential to remember that every customer is an individual with unique needs who is seeking a specific benefit from a product. Show your customers that you recognize their unique needs by personalizing all your outgoing communications with them. CRM and marketing automation are cost and time-effective ways to segment your email lists so that you’re sending the right emails to the right people.

Retaining and converting leads will cost a significant amount of your time and energy, especially early on. However, your efforts will be worth it as you maximize every lead and grow your business. Remember to respond to leads in a timely manner, capture leads after hours, and personalize your communication; these three tips will be invaluable tools in your lead-gathering efforts.

Want more business advice? Schedule some coaching sessions with me so I can help you to achieve your goals.

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How Running a Business Remotely Impacts Your Success

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COVID-19 has resulted in many businesses going remote. It can be quite a process to adjust to a predominantly online workspace, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. These ideas can help you improve your remote experience and the remote experience of your team-members.

Goal Setting

Running a business remotely can present unique challenges so it is essential to set specific goals for yourself and with your team-members. Even though it may seem like a dream to be able to work from home on the regular, working remotely can mean that you have more distractions than you would have had on-site. By setting daily goals for yourself, you can help yourself stay on track even when you have to run your child to a piano lesson in-between Zoom calls. Setting clear goals with team-members can also help your team-members be on the same page, understand their specific assignments, and be more efficient in the long-run.

Team Collaboration

Without the ability to meet in person, it can initially be frustrating trying to optimize your team’s efforts while remote. Effective team collaboration requires seamless communication. In order to facilitate effective communication, you need to first find a good system that works for everyone. Group chats, scheduled virtual meetings, and frequent reassessing and updating can be ways of doing this. Identifying a streamlined system helps team-members quickly voice questions, concerns, and confusion they may have. Being able to quickly respond and readjust in moments like these will help your team by successful even when they are physically distanced.

Focus on Results not Methods

Going remote affects team-members’ lives in unexpected ways. With families and other responsibilities, it may be difficult to continue to maintain previous schedules and meeting times. Choosing to emphasize the importance of project completion over the process of completing that project will help your team-members feel better equipped for success. One team-member may finish their work in the morning before their kids even wake up, another may start their tasks right after dinner. This level of flexibility will enable your team to perform at their best ability without experiencing unnecessary stress.

Going remote physically distances you from the rest of your team. Initially, this adjustment can be difficult—finding a balance that works for everyone can involve a process of successes and failure. But with simple goal setting, streamlined team communication, and added flexibility for team-members, your business can continue to grow even amidst interesting circumstances.

For more great tips, sign up for some coaching!

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How to Ensure the Survival of Your Business Startup

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Starting up a business is exciting, but also incredibly stressful. You have many decisions to make on a day-to-day basis. You may also be constantly worried about how to keep your business surviving and thriving. The good news is that you can ensure that your business startup will survive. Here are three ways you can make sure your startup business will survive.

Create a Solid Business Plan

Creating a business plan is one way that you can ensure the survival of your business startup. When you create a business plan, you account for risks, contingencies, and emergencies. You know where you’re going to allocate your money and what your business focus will be. Creating a solid business plan will give you confidence and credibility when you go and ask for a loan for your business. A solid business plan can save your business in times of crisis.

Insulate it From Personal Finances

Your business should be separate and distinct from your personal finances, which is something that actually doesn’t take very long. Figuring out the fees to register your business is the most time-consuming part. Insulating your business from personal finances includes creating a business structure, such as an LLC or an S corp that allows you to distance yourself from the business. This can also provide protection because the LLC or the S corp will help your business be held accountable for things the business has done while not holding you personally liable.

Avoid Debt

Another thing that you can do to ensure the survival of your business startup is to avoid going into debt as much as possible. Debt adds unnecessary pressure on your business because your energies are focused on paying off the loan. Instead of going into debt to buy a building for your business, see if you can rent it until you can buy it. If that’s not an option, see if you can move your business all online, limiting the expenses you’ll need to worry about for your business. Avoiding debt will take some hard work and perseverance, but it will be worth it when your business is successful and completely debt-free.

Your startup can survive and thrive for decades, but only if you take the prior proper planning required to do so. Having a plan, reducing risk and liability, and avoiding debt are all ways that you can secure the future of your business.

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

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