July 13, 2020

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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How to Get Better Conversions with Your Website

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For most consumers, your website will be their first interaction with your business. It will also be where they make most of their purchases. It is crucial that you be able to convert as many visitors as possible into clients. That much is obvious, but how do you do it? Try the following.

Abandon Clunky Designs

The fastest way to lose a customer is with a bad website design. A bad design will make your website feel unprofessional. This will make customers uneasy about doing business with you. A bad design can include multiple things. Color scheme can affect where a visitor’s eyes go. It can evoke positive or negative feelings. Website organization can determine whether things are easy to find, or hard. Even how you format text on a page is important. You need to use easy to read fonts. They should also follow the F format.

Source: https://uxplanet.org/f-shaped-pattern-for-reading-content-80af79cd3394?gi=3edb65c3d751

Make It More Accessible

Novice web designers don’t think about smartphones. However, mobile makes up 52% of all website visits. If you aren’t designing your website for mobile, you are going to lose over half of your hits on the web.

There are other important factors to accessibility as well. You need to make sure that people can find your website. You need to have all your apps and social media accounts connected to your website. You should also do what you can to move up on search engine rankings. You can do that by paying for the top spot, or you can employ search engine optimization. Search engine optimization involves regularly adding new content to your website and including special keywords that are commonly searched.

Source: https://www.podium.com/local-marketing/auto-repair-marketing/

Track Data

One of the best ways to achieve a conversion through your website is by offering custom content. You can do this with data tracking and AI. AI or artificial intelligence allows you to modify a program based on data updates. By tracking a user’s activity on your website, you can learn a lot about their likes and dislikes. You can then customize your website to match their preferences. You can use this to affect search results, special offers, and even the color scheme of your page. It all comes down to knowing who your customer is and providing them with the experience that best suits their personality and needs.

Source: https://zapier.com/learn/forms-surveys/best-data-collection-apps/

If you aren’t seeing a good conversion rate through your website, you need to improve it. Your website should be your greatest tool for obtaining new clients. Taking the time to get it right is going to pay dividends in the future.

Need more advice on how to improve your business? Schedule some business consultation sessions with us today!

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How Your Business Can Tackle Struggles with Productivity

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Productivity can be hard to manage at times. You want your business to always be productive, but sometimes it can be challenging. Your employees aren’t motivated, and you aren’t bringing in customers like you want to. In short, your productivity is struggling. However, your business can tackle these struggles and be back up to where you want to be.

Find Where You Are Lacking

One of the first things you need to do is find out where you’re lacking. Measuring workplace productivity is crucial to your business’s success. Because productivity is measured as what your business is putting out, or what it accomplishes in a day, which relies heavily on your employees, you’ll need to talk to them. Find out what makes them happy in your business and find out if there are problems. Why are they struggling? In order to involve them in their own success (which is also the success of your company), you need to first establish what your business is lacking.

Hold a Strategy Meeting

Once you’ve established what your business is lacking, you can then hold a strategy meeting with your employees where you brainstorm how to improve workplace productivity. Seriously consider their suggestions and then decide what you can do to improve your business’s productivity. Strategy meetings are important because it lets you zone in on the specific problems of your company and how you can tackle those problems. Armed with this information, you can then go about and change your business’s productivity.

Motivate Your Employees

To change your business’s productivity, one of the most important things you can do is to motivate your employees. One way you can do that is to offer perks. It can be as simple as subsidized gym membership payment or allowing them to have time on social media to take a mental break if they need it. You can also motivate them by setting smaller weekly goals. For example, if it feels too intimidating to sell 200 boxes of your new product in a month, set a smaller goal of 40 boxes a week. Achieving goals helps your employees feel like they’ve accomplished something, and if your employees can accomplish something small, they can work up to accomplish something bigger. If they feel invested in the business, then they will perform better and your business’s productivity will increase. As a business owner, it is important for you to help your employees feel motivated and valued in your company.

Improve Company Culture

Another thing you can do to improve your business’s productivity is improve the company culture. The culture of the company is incredibly critical because it is the environment in which you and your employees work. If the culture isn’t satisfactory, chances are that your productivity isn’t very high either. In order to improve the company’s culture, focus on the goals and values of your company. Talk to your employees and create an environment where they feel happy to come to work. Create an atmosphere of trust, where they can come and talk to you without fear of repercussions. Allow time for bonding activities where your employees can get to know one another better. Improving company culture is important because it allows your employees to feel like work is a safe place and they are valued there, so they will continue to come and continue to work their best.

Outsource What You Don’t Know

Another thing that you can do for your business is outsource what you don’t know. As a business start-up, you’re not expected to know everything, and it can be overwhelming to try and figure everything out. Thankfully, you don’t have to know everything. You can outsource HR, or IT services, or other services that you can’t do yourself. Outsourcing IT services provides benefits for companies that want to spend more time on what they know. Being able to prioritize is a large part of being able to keep your company productive.

Time Management

Another thing that you can do is to manage your time effectively and help your team manage their time effectively. Extra time spent on projects costs money, and so time and money are the lifeblood of any business. Prioritize what is most important and clearly communicate those priorities to your team. Procrastination is the enemy of productivity, which is why it is crucial to prioritize the most important things your team needs to get accomplished. Due to the limited hours there are in a day, it is utterly important for your business’s productivity to manage your time effectively.

Delegate

Another important thing for you to do is to delegate. As a business owner, you may think that you are expected to do everything, but your to-do list is the biggest out of anyone’s in the company. Delegating also allows your team to be more invested in the activities of your business because they get to help with priority things that need doing. When people are invested, their performance will increase. Delegation will not only help you out, it will help improve your business’s productivity.

Clear Communication

Another critically important thing for your business is to establish clear communication. Communication between you and your employees is important for your business to improve its productivity. If your employees don’t know what to expect, then they won’t accomplish the things you need them to for your business. As part of improving the company culture, make sure to be honest with your communication to your employees.

Measure Productivity

And finally, to increase your business’s productivity, it is important to measure your business’s productivity. In order to continue to improve, it is important to measure where productivity is at now. This could be done by calculating the output of your employees over a given amount of time. Keeping track of your business’s productivity allows you to be able to know what you can do or continue to do to keep moving forward.

Your business may seem like it’s struggling in the moment, but you can overcome those struggles and be better for them. As you and your team work together, your business will succeed.

For more personalized help with your business, sign up for a consultation!

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How a Consultant Can Help You Expand Your Business

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Trying to run a business in this current age is difficult. There are so many things that are required of you. Many will be tasks that are outside of your area of expertise. In these cases, it may not be worth it to hire a new employee, but it’s essential that you get someone with the right experience. These are the situations where you should turn to a consultant.

Navigate Challenges

Whenever you hit something new, there are millions of people who can give you advice on what to do. Most of these people have never faced your same challenge and have no idea what they are talking about. Consultants, on the other hand, have experienced what you’ve been through. They make a living off helping you and others get through these problems.

For example, a consultant can help you navigate the challenges that come with expanding, like financing. According to Franchise Gator, most traditional lenders will ask you to put down 20 percent for a business loan. A consultant could help you find other ways to raise the money that you need.

Create Concrete Plans

You can find a lot of great advice on how to deal with things on the internet. However, that advice is going to be very general. It’s worthwhile to read and use as guidelines, but, according to Globalization Partners, it’s going to be difficult to develop a clear plan based off of your internet education. You need a consultant that can say “been there, done that.” They will be able to help you refine your plans so that you have specific action items with deadlines. They can put you in touch with all of the different resources that you need so that you can be successful.

Apply Lean Principles

You shouldn’t just ask a consultant to help you with growth and new challenges. According to The Lean Way, you should also ask them to help take a look at your application of lean principles. Lean business is the idea of getting rid of wasteful activity. By getting an expert lean consultant to give you an outsider’s perspective on what you can do to improve your work, you could save yourself a lot of time and money. A lean consultant will identify practices in your business that are causing you to slow down and waste money. The changes they suggest won’t make life more difficult, it should make it easier.

The keys to a successful interaction with a consultant are simple. First, find one with great reviews showing their competence. Second, be humble enough to accept the advice of someone that you don’t know well. If you follow these guidelines, you can reap all the benefits that a consultant has to offer.

I can help you to get your business where you want it to be. Take a look at what services I have to offer and contact me today!

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How to Create the Ideal Workplace Environment as You Reopen Your Office

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Even as you open your office, you should continue to implement health and safety guidelines to protect you and your employees. The reality of the situation is that COVID is still out there—and everyone must be just as vigilant, even during the transitional process, so that there isn’t a second peak break out. Here are three ways you can protect your employees while reopening your office.

Follow Health Guidelines

You should follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting your workplace. Make sure that each employee has hand sanitizer on their desk and uses it frequently. Furthermore, make sure bathrooms and desks are cleaned more regularly than normal. Continue to practice social distancing, even within the workplace. You may want to even take all your employees’ temperatures at the door with a medical, non-touch thermometer to ensure that no one enters who shows symptoms. In fewer words, make sure that you don’t take reopening to mean that everything is back to normal—because it isn’t.

Continue Using Remote Employees

Where possible, you should continue using remote employees to reduce crowding in the workplace. In fact, most companies are realizing that many employees don’t have to come to work at the physical location and that they can work just as well (if not better) from the comforts of their own home office space. This is not only considered an environmentally friendly option, but it could also save your company money in the long run since using remote employees decreases travel costs and need for more rented office space. But for now, continuing to keep employees at home will help prevent the spread of COVID.  

Update Sick Leave Policies

Even if you are taking temperatures at the door, your employees may be showing up to work with other types of symptoms. Given the economic downturn of late, many employees worry about making enough to take care of themselves or their families. If there isn’t a good sick leave policy in place, there is greater risk that your employees will show up to the office sick—and get everyone else sick in return. If this is a risk for your employees, you may want to take another look at your sick leave policies and make things a bit more lenient so to better protect everyone coming into the office.

As a business leader, you have a duty and responsibility (both legal and moral) to protect your employees during these unprecedented times. Even though the economy is reopening, that does not mean you shouldn’t be taking extra precautions to keep everyone safe and mitigate exposure to COVID. Follow these three principles so you can lead your company to a safe reopening.

If you are struggling to figure out a good marketing strategy as you start to open back up, don’t worry! We can help. Contact us to schedule an appointment for coaching!

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Business As Usual: How Your Business Can Continue Moving Forward During Difficult Times

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There is no question about it, the world has entered a deeply turbulent economic moment, as the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated commerce and the world’s economy. There is no question that this has created a massive disruption of many businesses and has even been forcing some to close. However, though this moment has been incredibly challenging, there are still ways your business can move forward. Here are three specific tips on how you can make that happen as a business owner.

Create Live Videos for Your Social Media

Social media use has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people rely more and more on technology to stay connected with the rest of the world. This has created an amazing opportunity for small businesses to connect with their customers and potential new ones. Indeed, many social networks have algorithms that favor live posts. To that end, create a live video. Use it to discuss your challenges, services and how you are serving your customers during this pandemic. If you are becoming active in a charitable cause or tying your business to charitable activities make sure to discuss that in your live videos, as it can help give you a leg up.

Offer Special Deals

There are many benefits of offering free trials to your customers and potential customers during difficult times. Many people are stuck in their homes and looking for new things to do, and if you can shift your service model to allow for business to operate, take advantage of this lull in service. Examine what sorts of promotions can work for your business and still allow you to serve your customers during this pandemic.

Shift Your Service Delivery Model

Stay at home or business shutdowns have hit virtually every place in the United States. However, many businesses have found ways to continue to legally operate during this time. They have done so by shifting their service models. For example, many businesses are becoming take-out only, delivering products digitally, delivering to someone’s home, and more. To that end, ask yourself, how can you shift your service model. Are there different products or services that you can offer that will provide you a chance to continue to connect with your already existing customers, and maybe even expand to new markets?

Remember, every crisis presents an opportunity. Use this difficult moment in world history to examine how you can continue to provide value to your customers and potentially cut costs at the same time. This can be an opportunity for you and your business if you are able to pivot accordingly.

Are you in need of a great business and marketing consultant? Contact me so we can discuss how I can help you and your business!

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How to Take Advantage of a Holiday Sales Spike

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For some companies and business owners, the holiday season is the best time of year in terms of sales and generating revenue. Whether you are an entrepreneur or a seasoned business owner, knowing how to take advantage of a holiday sales spike can significantly impact the overall success you achieve each year. Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing your business for a sale.

Keep Walkways Clear

If you are the owner of a storefront or a brick-and-mortar store, it is imperative to keep walkways outside of your property clear and free from ice and debris at all times. Ensure that you salt and protect each walkway surrounding your business during the cold and wet months to prevent injuries and encourage more foot traffic into your store.

It is also imperative to keep all walkways to your store or place of business clear from ice, damage, cracks and other risks as this may leave you legally accountable for any accidents or injuries that occur. Always verify that you have proper liability insurance for your business and storefront, especially if you live in an area where ice and snowstorms are common or expected each year.

Hire Seasonal Employees

Statistics show that holiday sales account for 20 to 30 percent of profits in most industries, which is why so many employers and companies hire seasonal and part-time workers throughout the busiest times of the year. Consider hiring temporary employees during your busiest holiday months to minimize full-time payroll taxes while also ensuring that your current employees do not become overwhelmed and too stressed out to continue working for you. Additional help on the sales floor and throughout your store can dramatically improve the overall environment and atmosphere in your workplace, especially during busy, hectic and stressful times of the year.

Get Creative Using Social Media

Social media is a great tool for promoting holiday sales and generating interest in your brand and business. Using social media is an effective way to generate brand awareness while also garnering support from new followers who may become loyal customers. Getting creative with the use of social media is possible by hosting contests and giving back, especially during the holiday sale season. Social media is also a great way to share special sale codes that can only be used if they follow your page or subscribe to your newsletter. This is a great way to bring in more attention for your business.

Big holiday sales can seem daunting. As a business owner, knowing how to take advantage of a holiday sales spike can make or break your company each year. With the right plan of action, you can expand your reach while maximizing the revenue you are capable of generating.

Looking for a great business and marketing consultant? Look no further!

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What Does It Mean to Build Your Tribe?

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An important part of any long-term business strategy is to build a loyal base, or tribe, that feels invested in the success of your brand enough to come back again and again. The pool of one-time customers available for your business is not enough to sustain it, so it’s essential to come up with ways to attract people who want to be a part of your business. This task of creating a tribe is not just about buying and selling—there’s a deeper connection that people have with brands and companies when they really allow those entities to become part of their lives. Here are a few of the best ways to establish your business within a community and construct a tribe out of it.

Establishing a Voice

What does your company stand for? Why should a customer come to you for their goods or services instead of another company? What is special or unique about your company? When you answer these questions, you can begin to establish a voice that speaks to what about your business stands above the competition. When there is a shared sense of purpose between the voice of the company and the customer, the reasons for being in business become self-evident, and you’ve begun to build a significant and sustainable tribe.

Making a Loyal Base

Remember that appreciation leads to loyalty, which is necessary for business success. The customer always has more choices than the business, meaning that if they become unsatisfied with the company, then they can simply leave the tribe and go elsewhere for their needs. Therefore, it is critical to never take your customers’ loyalty for granted. A good strategy to maintain a loyal base is to act as if you just established your business yesterday, even if it has been many years. This will keep you hungry to impress customers with your dedication to providing a great product or service and maintaining their loyalty.

Offer Incentives for Loyal Members of Your Tribe

Many businesses take the often-traveled path of focusing their marketing efforts on increasing their customer base while ignoring their pool of long-term customers. While attracting new customers is important for growth, it is equally important to retain the customers you have already in your tribe because they are its lifeblood. Offering discounts and special programs available just for long-term customers from time to time is a good idea.

Building your tribe is an important part of being successful in any business. If you take these tips to heart, you can achieve success in building a tribe around your business that means more than just dollars and cents in the long run.

For more tips on building your business, check out this article: How to Use Local Festivals to Market Your Business

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What to Look for in a Cleaning Service for Your Business

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Keeping your workplace clean and free from hazardous obstacles is an essential part of maintaining a successful business. However, hiring staff to clean each and every day can become rather expensive, especially for start-ups. This is why so many companies choose to go the route of simply hiring a cleaning service to come from time to time. However, before you sign on the dotted line, here are a few things to look out for.

Affordability

Although it’s much cheaper to hire a cleaning service than bringing in your own staff, it can still get expensive. It is important to consider the affordability of the service as well as what you get. Note that you should not choose a company because it is the cheapest option. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. So, in order to make an educated decision, always look at the level of service you get with each company. You will notice that some companies may charge a lot but will have certain restrictions, while others will go above and beyond for less.

Thoroughness

One of the most common reasons a company gets sued is because of an accident at work. This is why it is so important that you choose a company that is thorough with its cleaning. Slippery unmarked floors are no laughing matter, so make sure they don’t just clean but mark areas that might be dangerous. It is highly recommended to ask for references and talk with prior clients about their history with the company. A few calls can potentially save your company thousands.

Insurance

Simply said, accidents are going to happen. A computer will be dropped by accident or that expensive painting in your lobby might be damaged. Thus, one of the first things you should ask a cleaning service is what kind of insurance it has. You are going to want a cleaning company that can not only cover damages on objects within your office but also personal accidents. This is especially important because that worker can potentially file a lawsuit against not only the cleaning company but your business as well.

Business leaders have a plethora of things to do. However, hiring the right cleaning service is not a detail that should be thrown to the wayside. So, take the tips listed above into consideration and conduct your own personal research to determine which cleaning company is the right choice for you.

You might also be interested in this article: How Creating a Positive Work Environment Can Make Your Employees Happier

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Qualities and Actions That Help You Become a Successful Business Leader

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As a business leader, you’re responsible for correctly guiding those under you and delivering positive business results for the company. Being a business leader is rewarding when you approach it in the right way that is built on a set of solid guiding principles. Here are some of the most essential qualities to have and actions to take to become a successful business leader.

Treat Employees Right

It’s important to avoid different types of discrimination that can often take place in a work environment and focus on treating employees equally. You should create clearly defined rules and enforce them the same for all employees. This helps prevent the problem of appearing like you’re playing favorites.

When employees feel like you’re showing favoritism, they will become less motivated and begin to feel more resentment the longer the perceived unequal treatment of employees continues. If you ever chat with an employee about topics unrelated to work, then you’ll need to remember to talk to all employees that week. When you only talk to some employees about non-work related topics, it gives the impression that you favor them.

Show Integrity

Be honest with people in all facets of your business, including employees, customers, suppliers, business partners, regulators and investors. If you get caught lying just once, it can ruin your reputation and break trust not only with the person you lied to but others who must interact with you. Integrity goes beyond honesty. It also involves having morals and operating based on those morals.

Consumers increasingly care about where products are sourced, how employees are treated, and the ways that business leaders conduct themselves morally. Integrity is equally important to your clients as it is for your own employees, so always strive to stay focused and not deviate from your set of morals.

Master Self-Discipline

Discipline is what keeps you doing the things you need to do, regardless of how you feel. Thus, it’s one of the most important qualities you must have to become a successful business leader. Master self-discipline by committing yourself to lifelong personal development, schedule time for monthly reflection, monitor your progress toward your goals, and practice it every day.

Over time, practicing self-discipline every day and learning new ways to stay in control of yourself will help you master this key quality. You will also become a good example to others when you’re the kind of person who always keeps your word, shows up on time, stays calm in stressful situations and successfully executes plans.

When you focus on the above qualities and actions, you can shape yourself into a successful business leader. Remember that treating employees equally might require additional planning and awareness on your part. You may be genuine in your attempt to treat everyone the same, but certain actions, like only making small talk with some employees, gives the wrong impression. Also, act with integrity, and stay in control of yourself.

Check out our other business-related resources.

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