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Category: Small Business Tips, Social Media & Marketing

  1. Actionable tips to help you grow your small business

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    Starting your own business takes a lot of effort and hard work.  There’s a great saying that goes along the lines of ‘entrepreneurs are the only people who work 80 hours to give up working 40’.  In the beginning, when you start your own business, you might very well be able to cope with everything by yourself, just about.  But as time goes on and your business grows, the amount of work­ involved can become overwhelming for a single individual.  This is when it’s time to reflect on your practices and think about adapting your processes to best allow your business to grow.

    Consider the below tips to help grow your small business:

    Actionable tips to help you grow your small business

    Seek professional advice

    For valuable business and financial advice enlist the help of a professional consultant such as Trevor McClintock.  Learn from those who have built successful businesses before and already know what works and what doesn’t.  Receiving coaching or a mentor to guide you through the next steps could be all you need to achieve your business goals.

    Automate tasks

    There are several mundane tasks that can be automated every day to save you precious time and allow you to focus on growing your business.  Email marketing, social media updates, website logins and website reporting are all examples where you can save time each day through automating.  If you sell goods use a customer management system to track orders and manage stock control.  Small businesses and the self-employed can even automate their accounting with thanks to online software such as Quickbooks.

    See also: How I save hours every week scheduling tweets with Social Oomph

    Hire a virtual assistant

    When growing a business, particularly if you are a solopreneur, you may not want to commit to hiring a permanent member of staff.  It may be too expensive at this stage and you may not have a consistent workload to give.  This is where a virtual assistant is a great idea.  As they are self-employed you can hire them on an ad-hoc basis as the workload demands.  Let them take over non-essential tasks that are wasting your precious time each day; phone calls, email filtering, bookkeeping and social media management, for example.

    As well as reducing your own personal workload and growing your business, there are several things you should focus on to maintain the business you have successfully created:

    Create an email list

    Depending on your type of business you’re going to want to be capturing emails.  Whether it’s customer emails for you to increase sales or a personal list of business contacts.  Both are beneficial to your business.  Let your website capture these emails for you with inviting sign up forms.  Growing an email list is often cited as one of the best things you can do for your business.

    Be consistent

    Have clear branding and ensure your brands message is consistent, particularly if you hire staff.  Make sure they understand the brand and represent it just as you would.  Ensure your branding is consistent across all online platforms and marketing materials.  Not only does this look professional, but it means your brand will be recognised and remembered.

    Ask for referrals & testimonials

    Ask your existing customers if they know anyone else who needs your services.  If they are happy with the service received, encourage them to spread the good word or alternatively provide you with a testimonial you can use in your marketing materials or on your website.

    Provide great customer service

    Your customers are only going to return if the service they receive is above and beyond.  Make it impossible for them not to recommend you to others or return for more.  Nurture existing customers with loyalty rewards, email newsletters and discounts to keep them interested and show appreciation for their custom.

    Related blog posts:
    The Ultimate Marketing Strategy to Give Your Business a Boost
    6 ways being online can improve your small business
    7 tips for a successful small business
    Five Ways You Can Get Ahead In Your Business
    How to get your business seen in a crowded online marketplace

    Actionable tips to help you grow your small business

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  2. New Year, New Business? Top Tips To Help You Be Your Own Boss This Year

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    January is a time of year filled with motivation and opportunity. So many of us feel a real buzz out of setting new year goals and resolutions, and it can be a great way to draw a line on past events and focus on the future. Some people like to focus on personal self-care, such as a new diet or fitness regime. Others like to place their focus on their lifestyle, which could mean you are questioning your career right now. Have you toyed with the idea of starting your own business? If so, then here are some of the top tips to help you become your own boss this year.

    New Year, New Business? Top Tips To Help You Be Your Own Boss This Year

    Think about the idea you have

    One of the first steps is to consider the idea you have for a business and nurture it wholeheartedly. It may have been a lightbulb moment, but once you know what the idea is, you need to consider how you can turn it into a business. Can is be something you do? Is it something that needs to be made or manufactured? How easy will it be to get it from production to customer? Being confident in your idea will help you progress.

    How will you fund your business idea

    You also need to consider how you will fund your business idea. Have you got the savings there to do it? Will you need an investor? Could you do it by means of a investment loan? This is when speaking to a finance broker could be beneficial. There are many success stories out there who have built business empires simply with the money they had in their bank account or a small credit card or loan. The next story could be yours.

    Make sure you have a killer website

    So much is done online these days that you can’t get away from the fact people shop online or seek ideas and information through google searches. So you new business needs to have a website that performs. Especially if you find yourself in a market where there is competition for business. A quick tip might be to let a professional do this for you.

    Promote your business and brand in every way you can

    The only way your business is going to start working is by promotion. Promotion can be done in any which way you want, but I suggest taking advantage of some of the popular options you have. Social media is a great tool for any business. It gives you the chance to share information there and then and respond to people in real time. You could also think about being more present locally, as so many more people are wanting to support smaller and local businesses. Perhaps sponsoring a local event or getting involved in charities could help you and help others.

    It will take a lot of work

    Finally, there is no hiding from the fact that this is going to take a lot of work. You need to ensure that you can put your time and heart into it, in order for it to be the success you want and deserve it to be. Good luck!

    Related:

    The Importance of Learning in Your Life and Career

    3 Ideas For Pushing Your Blogging Business In 2018

    New Year, New Business_ Top Tips To Help You Be Your Own Boss This Year
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  3. The Importance of Learning in Your Life and Career

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    Learning is not something that should end when you leave school. There are so many great reasons to carry on learning throughout your life. In fact, you should never stop learning because your life and career will benefit massively. It’s one of those important matters that a lot of people simply ignore, so you should make sure you don’t go down that path too. Here are some of the reasons why learning is so important.

    You Should Never Stop Developing as a Person

    Learning helps you to change and develop as a person as you get older and soak up more knowledge and information. That’s not something to shy away from; it should be embraced. We all need to grow and develop as people in the hope of becoming better individuals because let’s face it, none of us are perfect. If you make a concerted effort to learn more, you’ll definitely grow as a person.

    It Creates Career Progression Opportunities

    It’s not just your personal development that will progress either. Your career could also head in a more positive kind of direction if you’re willing to go that extra mile and learn more. You can take an accredited online mba without any hassle at all these days, and that learning will serve you well. Your earning potential will increase your job prospects will become brighter, so why not get learning?

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    You’ll be Exposed to New Ideas and New People

    When you learn, it can be done in a variety of different ways. You might learn from other people who you happen to meet. Or you might go to a part of the world you’ve never been to before and learn about other ways of life. It’s up to you to expose yourself to new things and it can be very rewarding when you do so. It’s something that you should definitely be open to in life.

    You Won’t Get Left Behind in a Changing World

    If you are the kind of person who’s always learning new things, you will be able to make sure that you never really get left behind. That’s important right about now because things in the world are changing at a faster pace than ever before. If you’re able to learn new skills and pick up new things, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re always employable and you won’t become disposable.

    It Impacts Your Self-Esteem Too

    Finally, you should be aware of the impact learning can have on your self-esteem. When you’re open to learning and you feel like you’re continually picking up new things and going further than ever before, it makes you feel better about yourself. It’s something that most people don’t consider but it’s a positive thing that demands your attention.

    Now you know why learning is so important to your life and career, you need to take steps to ensure you carry on learning for as long as you live. It’s something you’ll really benefit from in a wide range of ways.

  4. 3 Ideas For Pushing Your Blogging Business In 2018

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    When your blog is your business, you’re always going to want to feel like your growing. As much as it’s definitely okay to spend time finding your feet and figuring out what works best for you, when your main source of income comes from your blog, you’re probably going to want to push things as much as you can. But when you’re relatively new to blogging, or your income isn’t quite where you want it to be, you may now know exactly how to go about that.

    Well, with the turn of the new year, it’s definitely time to change all of that. Because if you want to be able to push your blog this year, now is the time to get started. And if you need ideas, you’ve now got them. Let’s take a look at three ways that you can look to push your blogging business this year.

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    Get Creative With Your Content Ideas

    If you’re not really sure where to start, then always look to your content. This is always going to be one of the best things that you can do for your blog. Because every now and then, your content may start to get a bit stale. But, by coming up with fresh and interesting ideas for your content, you’ll overcome that.

    You should also be looking at ways to shake up your SEO, drive traffic, and get a lot of clicks too. Here, you may find that testing out different content ideas is exactly what you need to do to drive your blog forward.

    Host An Event

    As a blogger, there’s definitely going to be lots of ideas that you’re used to implementing and working on. But then, there are always going to be ideas that are really new to you. And hosting an event could be one of them. Yet, it’s still an exciting new way to shake up your blog for the year ahead.

    With an event, you’re gaining a hold host of networking opportunities. You can invite other bloggers and really create something special. By putting on a proper show with stands and supplies, from the right places such as Imagin Products, it will look the part too. You could also charge a fee or invite brands to partake as a way of seeing this as a business opportunity too.

    Increase Your Revenue Streams

    Finally, you’re also going to want to work on different ways to bring in income. By now, you’re likely to know that affiliate income is a strong option. But if you’re not working with affiliates already, now’s the time to start. As well as matched betting and cashback, you also have more options to make money from home whilst you grow your blog income.

    For one, you could start a shop on your blog. And if you wanted to take this idea further, you could also create different products and services for sale too. The idea here is to be able to come up with lots of different ways to generate income, so that you’re not just reliant on one area, and so that you’re able to grow in line with your goals too.

    Related:
    Make money from your blog without Google ads 
    4 places to find paid blog opportunities
    How to improve your domain authority (DA)

    3 Ideas For Pushing Your Blogging Business In 2018 (1)

     

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  5. What does great customer service mean to you?

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    Customer service is something we all experience on pretty much a daily basis.  Whether it’s in person, by mail, email or a voice call, we have to communicate with businesses most days.  Being a small business owner myself, it’s crucial I provide excellent customer service to ensure my good reputation.  It still amazes me how many large corporations seem to get away with such terrible customer service regularly and still be in business.  Perhaps we sometimes don’t complain effectively or at all to make a difference.  There are some companies that are notorious for giving bad service, yet years later they are still around.

    what does great customer service mean to you

    I once refused to buy anything for a whole year from a store after receiving bad customer service!  I can’t remember the exact nature of my enquiry now as it was a few years back, but I remember the man being very rude on the phone and ending the call.  Needless to say I did not want to shop there again.  Unfortunately it is quite a popular High Street store with affordable clothes that I love, so my stand lasted one year and I didn’t purchase anything in this time.  I felt I had made my point, to myself at least, and lost them some profit in the process, however minute and unnoticeable to them!

    There have also been instances where I have enquired about the ingredients of certain beauty products or food products and never had a response from a company, meaning I’ve not gone ahead and purchased the item.  A quick response to my tweet and they could have a customer for life.

    It’s not all bad

    Luckily it’s not all negative.  But unfortunately it does seem that the bad experiences stick in our minds for years to come, yet the good ones fade away much quicker.  I personally find I receive the most excellent customer service from small independent brands.  They have a reputation to build and their income is their livelihood, plus they have a passion, like I do, for their business. Often you are dealing with the owner themselves when you shop with a small indie business, not a disgruntled member of staff who is disconnected from the business itself.

    Just recently I purchased a water distiller from a family run business.  I ordered it over Christmas so I wasn’t expecting delivery until after the break.  The first day after New Year they emailed to apologise for the delay in dispatch due to the Christmas holiday.  They let me know the colour I ordered was delayed for one week and gave me the option to choose another colour for immediate dispatch.  I did this as I wasn’t bothered about the colour and they dispatched immediately, emailing me again to give a tracking number.  It felt like such a personalised service and I highly doubt I would have received the same level of attention if I had purchased it from a major retailer.  In fact I doubt I would have had any communication at all.

    What does great customer service mean to you - lylia rose blog

    But then sometimes it is

    Before Christmas I had purchased some ingredients from a well-known online health food company.  It was being dispatched in two boxes and when they arrived there was one item missing.  I emailed the company to which I had no response after a few days.  I tweeted the company (a great trick if you want a faster response) and they replied within a day to say the item was out of stock, but being dispatched that day.  I had no note in my parcel or email notification to let me know.  As a customer I just had to assume they had forgotten to pack the item.  It’s a shame the larger companies aren’t more efficient at letting customers know.  I find the larger companies are always making mistakes and have a long wait time for replying to emails or rectifying them.

    It’s why I prefer to shop with small businesses as much as possible to receive the best customer service possible as well as support someone who actually cares about their customers.

    What makes customer service great?

    So what makes customer service great for me?  Good communication, prompt service, honesty, integrity and politeness.

    For me it’s that simple.  Getting what I expect, when I expect it and with a smile or at least a please and thank you.  If there is a problem, then I expect it to be solved swiftly.  If a company promises something, then I expect it to be delivered.  If not, then I want it resolved effectively.  I don’t want to feel like I’m being fobbed off, ignored or lied to.  I want to feel valued for my custom.

    I honestly believe that’s how all people wish to be treated as a customer and that’s how all businesses should want to treat their customers.

    CCSN are a company that provide customer service numbers for lots of websites and companies.  Pretty useful if you need to contact a company regarding an issue, or hopefully to praise them on their outstanding service!  They have provided the below infographic which shares some interesting statistics on what 600 people think about customer service.

     What does great customer service mean to you - business tips, customer experience

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