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Ideas On Separating Your Business From The Norm

Ideas On Separating Your Business From The Norm

Anyone in charge of running a business is required to have a constant drive to innovate and improve the business. If you are not a thought leader in your space, you must find ways to surpass the services and products offered by your competitors, while giving customers a reason to remain loyal as you grow.

Typically, your growth will level off at some point. One of the best ways to get back on an upward path is to improve from within. Working on new business development is important, but if you improve your process, it will support new business and help with profitability at the same time.

Vamping Up Security 

Entrepreneurship opportunities are plentiful this day in age with the help of so many money-making niches offered online. You have so many channels that can reach an abundance of potential clients with a single advertisement. However, with this convenience also comes threats, such as cyberattacks. It is easy to assume that online programs you use to conduct business have all the security you need.

However, if you use and store information from clients, like credit card information, you must adhere to strict guidelines to protect it. Companies that specialize in PCI QSA will give you and your customers peace of mind. Don’t make the mistake of finding out how to protect valuable information after it has already been compromised.

Strong Customer Service Skills 

Your customers can make or break you. This is why you must have a strong commitment to providing excellent customer service. Most companies have started taking more time monitoring their online reviews and customer feedback. With the ability to reach so many people, bad reviews and even digital press can really tarnish a brand’s name or website.

The simplest way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to treat every customer like they are your first. Putting in the effort to keep each customer happy will result in a better reputation and ideally personal referrals for more business.

Stellar Marketing 

Speaking of brands, the overall branding of a company is really important. To have staying power customers need to recognize the name of the business and the brand. The practice of branding is applicable to all companies from a plumbing company to an online fashion website.

Once you create something recognizable your marketing can become much more targeted to those looking for you. Often creative thoughts will launch ad campaigns that can define a brand for ages, such as Geico’s Caveman ads which ran for years. A business doesn’t need to have Super Bowl commercial ad money to make an impact through branding and targeted marketing.

Know Your Target Audience 

You can put together the best marketing campaign ever but if it falls on deaf ears your efforts go to waste. Figure out your niche, your target audience, and then reach out to as many of the right people as you can. You will have to research people beyond their age, gender, and location.

Once you have those broad categories defined look closer at details within each group. For example: which social media platform is most popular with your audience? or, at what hours do people this age do most of their shopping? Once you start narrowing down an audience, a marketer can find ways to increase your conversion percentages without spending more money, just by spending smarter.

Happy Employees 

If your employees are happy where they work, they are more apt to produce more. Catering to them through incentives such as monthly bonuses can be well worth the cost for the boost in productivity.

When there’s something extra at stake, especially monetary, your employees will go the extra mile almost every time. HR can be a valuable asset inside of an office when they are given the chance to constantly make improvements to the workplace.

Customer Loyalty 

Similar to pleasing your staff, customers want to know that you recognize their continued loyalty. If you gain their trust, it is more likely they will refer your company to just about anyone they meet in need. Referral business is no new tactic but will always be a valuable one.

The best way to utilize your customer’s network is to offer a little something in return. For instance, each customer they refer that signs on will yield compensation or a discount on their next service or product order.

A Member of the Community 

All of the aforementioned points lead to being part of your community no matter where it is. That may be in your neighborhood where you sell your products or perhaps on a website your customers read all the time.

Having good intentions can help you relate more closely to your network of past and present customers. This helps your brand become more familiar with people on a regular basis and not specifically when they are shopping for a product or service.

Staying ahead of the competition is a must if you want to become successful. Thankfully, there are many ways to make it happen. These are just a few of them. What are your favorite tips and tricks to ensure success?

The post Ideas On Separating Your Business From The Norm appeared first on SmallBizTechnology.

How to Train Your Employees Without Breaking the Bank

How to Train Your Employees Without Breaking the Bank

No company can survive without recruiting, retaining, and training top talent. But building a team of rock stars gets expensive quickly. Instead of blowing your budget on expensive training, take advantage of affordable options to keep your crew on the cutting edge.

Employees today expect employers to invest in their development. According to LinkedIn and Lynda, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if the company invested in their careers. Fortunately, you don’t need to break the bank or sacrifice quality in other areas to meet these expectations.

Here are ways to give your employees the resources they need without going over budget:

1. Take advantage of certification and managed training services.

Some people learn well on their own, but many need guidance. Companies like IBEX offer client-site training to make it possible for employees to train in groups. Group training saves companies more money than individual offsite trainings. IBEX mostly covers IT and project management topics; if your company has different needs, do a little digging to find opportunities in your industry. Richardson, for example, offers in-depth instructor-led courses for sales.  

2. Check out nearby conferences.

Can’t afford to send everyone to the big dance every year? Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, you have plenty of options when it comes to relevant conferences. Many smaller conferences offer more intimate environments. This enables your developers, salespeople, marketers, HR professionals, and managers to rub shoulders and take in valuable lessons. Of course, local gatherings tend to be much cheaper as well.

3. Establish a mentorship program.

Your in-house experts are full of knowledge. Without a formalized mentorship program, though, your new recruits may not get the chance to absorb that information. Create a mentorship program to pair tenured employees with greener ones for hands-on education. Reward mentors who step up to pass on their knowledge and engage the next wave of workers. Don’t, however, force people into the role. Some of your best workers may not be natural-born teachers, and that’s fine. Keep it simple and risk-free to ensure maximum participation.

4. Bring in local experts.

Your company has plenty of experts, but your employees know most of them already. Speeches from bosses often feel more like obligations than privileges. Instead of preaching to the choir, invite other area leaders to speak to your teams. You’ll have to offer the same in exchange, naturally. Exposing teammates to new ideas from people who’ve been successful in other industries broadens their horizons. It also showcases the value of cooperation.

5. Take advantage of free classes and lectures.

Many universities post classes from world-class professors and leaders for free. The edX program, founded by Harvard University and MIT, offer access to lectures and course materials on a variety of topics. Your employees may not want to learn the fundamentals of neuroscience or contract law. But even the most basic courses can contribute to your company’s success. Courses on entrepreneurship, for instance, can help employees think about their work in a different light. 

6. Start an office book club.

The team that reads together leads together. Invite team members to participate in a book club. This will expose the group to new ideas and encourage productive conversations. Try not to steer these gatherings too far toward your own preferences. Instead, let others suggest books, and give the floor to employees who take initiative. You may not want to follow every book’s lessons, but exposure to more philosophies will help your team make better decisions with greater context.

Bonus: Give your teammates the time they need.

Your employees can’t make the most of the resources you provide if you ask them to train off the clock. Work to establish training priorities and schedules, then let them use work time to meet them. This ensures employees don’t have to worry about distractions, making the most of your investment.

Affordable training solutions tend to be more group-focused and intimate than expensive trainers. This often makes them excellent team-building tools, as well as educational opportunities. When your employees work side by side with you and other company leaders as they grow, they’ll see your investment in their future firsthand. 

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