What Businessmen Can Do Indoors While the World Waits for Markets to Resume

What Businessmen Can Do Indoors While the World Waits for Markets to Resume

As the COVID-19 pandemic keeps extending and causing a ruckus, most of the self-employed people are finding themselves deep-diving into introspection and making plans for the future. “What to do once the pandemic is over,” is a major concern for every businessman affected by the calamity that has befallen upon us. As we make plans to get back on track once the business begins to resume, there is a major factor that can help in making a difference, not just when the business opens again, but something that also will be beneficial in the long run.

A wise TV character once said, “Knowledge is Power.” Indeed, in this fast-paced world with cut-throat competition with someone ready to knock you over, being skilled is a powerful weapon to maintain your speed and stay ahead of the competition. As we sit in the home, learning a thing or two, maybe even ten will surely help you get more out of your preneur.

Now that the mind to learn something new or brush up/update your knowledge has been made, the natural question that arises is, “What do I learn to improve my business”. As we introspect and try to tickle for things to learn it would be surely helpful to take a look at what your business needs right now to leap into the next league. Diving into your performance aspects of the past few months should give you valuable insights as to what can be done to improve the condition or how to take it one step further.

Start Learning Something New Today

As your business begins picking up pace again after the lockdown is over, you might want to maintain the spree of high demand, keeping you occupied. This is when some know-how comes to the rescue. As you grapple more customers, new and larger problems would begin popping up, taking up a lot of energy. These would be those times when knowing a soft-skill or a tool would go a long way toward making your life easier while you’re busy making it big.

Al-Tijaarat Al-Raabehah has, in these times, compiled a holistic list of free courses and tutorials for businessmen and their families to learn from and add a feather or few to their hats. Gathering nitpicked courses to ensure learners understand the concepts and are able to apply them practically, the courses are a must-try while businessmen stay in their homes. 

Financial upgrades made easy

If your business felt like it could use an updated financial system, like tracking and invoicing, learning Excel or even Tally may be in store. Crafted specially to learn better data management, and inventory tracking, Udemy is offering free courses to learn simple tricks and easy to learn techniques which are sure to help you keep a better track of your dealings.

Digital Marketing gains more and more customers

In case your business has had fairly good traction, you may want to look for more. Digital marketing is a hot topic right now. With more and more people joining the world of the internet every day, something as simple as making a Facebook page can make a huge difference. Learning to market your business and reaching out to people without having to leave your seat sure is a lucrative idea. Khan Academy offers courses to learn the basics of digital marketing and deriving insights which can go a long way to getting more and more customers. As the world is grappled by the lockdown, people are hooked to their phones and computers most of the time. This may be an excellent time to build up a fan base and get potential customers once the lockdown opens up.

Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies on the table

The world economy is sure to be facing some grim conditions in the coming times as lockdown affects the flow of money by a huge factor. As countries with emerging economies face the brunt, they may be willing to make business easier to get the money flowing in and out of the country to improve the conditions. Harvard University is offering a free course on entrepreneurship in emerging economies and insights.

This is just a small list of examples from what is a huge ocean of opportunities and possibilities.  Moreover, these courses are being offered for free during the lockdown period. Grabbing this opportunity, which is like a silver lining on the dark clouds of COVID-19, is imperative for the smart businessman. Moreover, what better way to spend your time learning something new, which would not only be interesting to read but would also help you improve your status and ability as a self-employed person.

The Expert in Anything Was Once a Beginner

Upgrading your skills and keeping your mental sword sharp is an important aspect of becoming an achiever in today’s world. This extra time that we currently have is perfect to prepare your axe to cut down that large tree of next-level business capabilities. Once a person begins learning, there is only one way forward. These courses are just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more to learn and a lot more to explore for your business to flourish, expand, and keep running smoothly. Visit this link to access the free courses.

5 Tips for Managing Communication Overload

5 Tips for Managing Communication Overload

Remember when an overstuffed inbox or a full voice mailbox was the biggest source of your communications frustrations?

Today’s technological age has brought a wide range of platforms, programs, and apps aimed at making the exchange of information simple and intuitive. From a purely functional standpoint, that’s exactly what online calendars, file sharing programs, content management systems, online project management software, and team messaging platforms have all done.

Here’s the truth about communication overload: it doesn’t happen because of technology, but in spite of it.

Without setting some human parameters and boundaries around your communications systems, you may quickly find yourself drowning in a sea of excessive, unnecessary information that complicates, rather than simplifies, your work and life in general.

Just as technology breaks down barriers to accessibility and opens doors for collaboration, it also allows you plenty of room to create customized online environments that support your productivity instead of sapping it.

Here are five ways to put an end to communication overload:

Use notifications sparingly.

Configure your notifications so you only get alerts that you truly want and need. For example, set team messaging notifications to alert you only when someone is speaking to you specifically (normally with an “@” mention), and then let your coworkers know that if they need your immediate attention, that’s the best way to do it. And keep in mind that if you get notifications on your computer and phone, you probably don’t need a copy sent to your email, too.

Don’t be afraid to leave conversations or groups that don’t really apply to you.

From email distribution lists that don’t affect you directly to chat threads that linger on even after the central issue is resolved, you can choose to remove yourself from the conversation. If you’re concerned a group leader or owner of the email chain or chat will be offended, or that you might miss something important, reach out privately and ask to be included only in what specifically needs your attention.

Streamline your communication system.

When you have many programs running or too many windows open, it can slow or even crash your computer. Similarly, having to fetch data and information in several different places makes you less effective and more likely to lose focus. Choose a central platform for your team to use that integrates the core collaborative applications you use (i.e. text/video chat, file sharing, project management, calendar, etc.) for a more productive, streamlined work experience.

Make sure meetings are meaningful.

Regardless of whether you’re meeting in person or virtually, it’s key to make sure your meetings are well organized and include only those who need to be there. That means having an agenda, keeping to a set time, and being sure that each person who attends gets specific information that he or she needs to get his or her job done.

Block-out time to work from priorities.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re hit with a deluge of messages asking for your attention and response. Before you dive into your day, ignore your inbox, stay off social media, and keep your chat apps closed; take the first couple of hours each day to take care of the most pressing items on your to-do list. Productivity expert Rob Hatch calls this your “Success Block,” as this practice allows you to honor your priorities and your agenda before you start accommodating everyone else’s. Knowing that you’ve taken care of your most important business helps set the tone for a more relaxed, more productive rest of your day.

Suffering information overwhelm is not a given, but a choice. Diffuse the overload by organizing your online environment so it replaces your sense of panic with real opportunities for greater productivity – and peace.

Top lessons business must learn from covid-19 to grow post pandemic

Strategies to follow for businesses during COVID-19 to remain productive

It is not a hidden fact around the world anymore that the COVID-19 crisis has hit hard every country’s economy. This brought challenges for every kind of business operating in that particular country who are the backbone of the economy. For developing nations like us (India), the phase of challenges is bigger without a doubt.

But, even if it is hard yet not impossible to overcome the situation if businesses make and follow a few strategies for the COVID-19 period. Here in this blog, we will discuss those few strategies a business can follow during the COVID-19 period to prevent facing complete loss.

Few business strategies to follow during COVID-19

Build up and Amalgamate every relationship

Due to the sudden pause in the regular business dealing procedures, many businesses are facing a loss of productivity and challenges in liquidity. One of the greatest fears that have become a reality for many businesses today is maintaining a proper flow of cash.

But, there is one thing that everyone has right now, i.e. time. Utilize this time to build stronger relationships with clients, stakeholders, partners, employees, and other members associated with your organization. Focus your everything on strengthening these qualities with structured engagement programs.

Remember, the relationship building that you will work on today will help you grow tomorrow.

Always stay true to your promises

This is the phase where your words will be valued more than money. In the time of crisis, everyone expects some empathy and understanding from one another. If you are able to stay apt to your promises and remain honest to your clients, employees, and others at this time, they will return this to you in time with double interest.

So, it is highly important to remember one phrase at this time. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Always remain honest and transparent to your clients and employees.

Redefine the existing strategies

The strategies you may have with you already made is completely useless in today’s situation. No matter how bitter that sounds but it is the reality of today’s world. So, you need to redefine all your existing strategies. It doesn’t matter if they are made for employees, your business growth, sales purposes, etc you have to reshape them according to the current scenario.

Understanding current market demand and shaping the sales accordingly

It is important to know what the market is demanding before going for sale or it will only give you a devastating outcome. Recognize the true sales leader and the buyer instead of approaching everyone hastily. Train your team to go accordingly to bring out proper outcomes. But, don’t put excessive pressure on your team or the result will be negative.

At last, there is only one thing to say. Everyone, whether they are entrepreneurs, industrialists, businessmen or whatever role they play in the economy, have to understand that lots of challenges have come and lots are yet to come. We have to remain prepared while pushing ourselves slowly to not get out of the race. It may be slow, but your company will remain productive.

Remember the saying in today’s scenario,

Slow and steady wins the race

How to Hire a Marketing Freelancer

How to Hire a Marketing Freelancer

Trying to run a business?  Have other tasks that you need to do? Need a break from marketing?

Well you’re in luck. Today, it’s easy to outsource all or part of your marketing efforts to freelancers. Furthermore, freelancers won’t just save you time, they also usually have the skills and connections to take your marketing to the next level. But that raises the question; How do you hire a freelancer?

Let’s find out.

Defining What You Need

If you’re considering outsourcing your marketing efforts, the very first thing you should do is define exactly what you need done. For example, if you need a new blog post for your company’s blog, you’ll need guidelines on length, subject, tone, other articles to link to, your promotion strategy, and more.

Once you’ve defined what you need, make sure to communicate it to the freelancer in detail.  Because freelancers are not full-time employees, they often don’t have full information about your company and your marketing goals.  If you don’t provide clear guidance, you risk wasting time and resources.

In addition to defining the task, you should give some thought to what kind of skill set you need in a freelancer.  Do you need someone who can write a few simple tweets? Or do you need someone with a PHD to optimize your ad spend program or to make sense of your marketing data?

Either are fine but if you hire the wrong person you’ll either spend way too much or get a poor quality of work which ends up costing you money. Once you’ve roughly defined the person you need to hire and the task you need accomplished, the next step is to actually find a freelancer.

Finding a Freelancer

Although there are many ways to find a freelancer nowadays, the two easiest ones are through referral or through a job board.

Referral

The easiest and best way to find a good freelancer is to ask your friends and colleagues if they know someone. Once you’ve defined exactly what you need, email or call your friends and explain what kind of person you’re looking to hire.

They will often know someone who is willing to make a few extra bucks or will even do the task themselves.  As a result, referrals are free or close to free. Furthermore, referrals are also great because you already know the freelancers will perform good work.

Job Board

The other avenue for freelancers is through job boards, especially boards that specialize in freelance work. Two of the best ones are Upwork.com and Freelancers.com.

On both sites, you can simply log on and enter the project you need done like “Content Writing” or “SEO” and you’ll be presented with a list of freelancers who specialize in that topic. Aim to select freelancers who have a high success rate (meaning they were able to complete the project) on previous projects, have positive reviews from past projects, have the specific skills you need (i.e. don’t hire someone who writes medical articles to write a piece on education) and are offering a fair rate for your project.

Hiring a Freelancer

Once you’ve found a freelancer who seems like a good fit from either referrals or job boards, you’ll want to do some due diligence before hiring them. With a freelancer, you want to focus more on ensuring the candidate has the skills and the time to complete the project.

You don’t need to spend as much time as you normally would with a candidate for a full-time position because things like cultural fit are less important.

Communication

Once you’ve hired a freelancer, focus on communicating well. Because a freelancer doesn’t fully understand the goals of your organization, if you don’t communicate well, they may make some incorrect assumptions which leads to a poor outcome.

Here are some guidelines for communicating with freelancers:

  • Establish guidelines for when you will be available for questions and how long of a delay you expect before you receive a reply.
  • Communicate in writing, even if you initially say something in person or over the phone.  Writing helps ensure that a freelancer can check what you said later and specifics aren’t lost over time.
  • Establish milestones and progress report timelines so that you can keep track of how the project is progressing.
  • If there seems to be any confusion, don’t be afraid to reiterate what you’ve said in the past.

Conclusion

In conclusion, you can find freelancers nowadays for almost any task your business needs to accomplish. However, hiring a freelancer is a bit different than hiring a full time employee.  You’ll need to be clear about what skill set you need in a freelancer and the project you need done.

Then you’ll need to communicate it effectively. If all goes well, you’ll be able to take your business to the next level. And remember, if you find an awesome freelancer, keep them around and refer them to friends to build the relationship.

Are You Prepared for the New Era After the Lockdown

Are You Prepared for the New Era After the Lockdown?

Are You Prepared for the New Era After the Lockdown?

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the world to unprecedented levels. With the infection and death curve beginning to flatten, governments around the world are now beginning to plan their actions in the aftermath of this global illness-causing virus’s impact. As we steadily head towards defeating this virus and containing its advance for the good, we must also take a look at how this pandemic will impact the world as its leaves.

The black death had brought about radical changes in European society and so did smallpox. Similarly, we can expect some very important changes in the social structure and the economy. Not that the current economic system will become completely obsolete; it will go through some strong changes to help accommodate in future cases. 

At this point, all the countries in the world are focusing on how to mitigate the crisis and open the locked world step-by-step.

What will be the Exit Strategy

As new cases start becoming rarer, governments may consider reopening schools, colleges, educational institutions, semi-essential businesses at a distance of one or two days each. Doing this would ensure important social activities such as schooling resume in order to ensure children don’t miss anything further.

As a second step, as the recovery numbers begin surpassing new cases, we can expect a full reopening of all the places, including non-essentials businesses and sectors such as restaurants, travel lounges, hotels, spas, gaming zones and more. Somewhere in between the essentials & non-essentials and services, semi-essential products and services such as hardware, furniture, electronics etc. should reopen just a little while after the full-lockdown is lifted.

Effect on The Businesses Sector

The lockdown has severely impacted the business and retail structure of every country in the world. Barring food, grocery and medical, every other business is currently experiencing deep losses with the smaller players potentially never recovering from it.

From the looks of it, the worst-hit are the tourism and hospitality industries. Even after the lockdown, it appears difficult for businesses in these sectors to be able to recover for a long time as people would still be reluctant to go out.

As for semi-essential products and services are concerned, they are expected to suddenly face explosive demand before returning to normal in a few months. Prices are expected to rise due to a possible shortage of supply. Stocking up or making a detailed inventory chart of your business may be of importance right now. Ensuring that your inventory has a steady flow will go a long way to ensure your business doesn’t face glitches in the aftermath of the pandemic.

What to Expect and Do?

If you are a shop owner, expect more visitors and shoppers your way. Find and implement ways to manage crowds while urging them to maintain social distance. As you get more customers, ensure your suppliers are working smoothly and a steady flow of deliveries and your order placements are in place.

For businessmen whose business does not involve direct interaction with customers and clients, you can ensure your logistics and/or delivery methods are going on glitch-free. Craft your ERP software to keep a track of supply, demand, sales, and deliveries perfectly.

As money begins flowing back in the market, you may also begin making plans to clearing up dues and following up on pending payments which may have gotten stuck due to the lockdown. Checking your books for held-up credits and money-to-be-recovered may be in line with getting your horse back on its feet and running as soon as the lockdown is gone.

Let Your Customers Know

The world is currently in turmoil now. As governments open everything up, we can expect a frenzy-like atmosphere and your customers may not know what to do and in what order. Send out an email, SMS, broadcast or even a simple personal WhatsApp update could go a long way to get people back to doing business with you as soon as your reopen.

Make Some Changes

Cash is expected to be hard to come by, according to many financial experts. As the world stays indoors for a long time, most of the people have begun using cashless methods of payments as the primary mode over hard cash. As markets reopen for business, people may have gotten used to the hassle-free mode of payments. The days are already here when people don’t carry cash anymore while going out for shopping. Getting multiple cashless payment modes on-board would be the choice a smart businessman makes in the aftermath of the crisis.

Deliver Your Products Remotely

Another effect of the lockdown is that people would now prefer delivery services instead of going out themselves. Multiple delivery partners would also like to push their customer base and try to cater to a bigger audience. As more and more people become habituated to getting their stuff delivered home, they wouldn’t mind paying a fraction of their expenditure as a delivery fee, if they can get what they want without having to venture outside. 

Choosing to partner with these delivery companies or even starting your own delivery service would help you reach customers who do not visit you personally.

In a Nutshell

With this pandemic, the global economy is in the house for a drastic transformation, if not for a makeover. Businesses and institutions will now be able to work remotely on a greater frequency. Most people would prefer to still work from home for a long time after the lockdown is finished. While non-essential businesses will have to see a constant decline for some time, semi-essential businesses and shops are expected to find a surge in demand. Any business that can handle this is sure to rake in improved profits. Taking the help of technology in this upcoming era is also crucial as a cashless mode of payment is on its way to becoming the primary transaction tool for every economy.

Strategies to be implemented to reduce financial stress in businesses

Strategies to be Implemented to Reduce Financial Stress in Businesses

Strategies to be Implemented to Reduce Financial Stress in Businesses

Running a business a tedious and demanding way of earning one’s livelihood. The sheer amount of meticulous planning and mental preparation to fail can get the heart pounding heavily. Businesses, despite the tremendous pressure, not only thrive, but also flourish, expand and become the reason so many people in the world find employment. Keeping your boat afloat requires a solid base and a strong captain at the helm who takes all the decisions with an equally strong mind. This strong base for business is finance. A businessman who knows how to handle his money seldom finds himself in trouble.

Let’s go through some key strategies experienced businessmen implement to make sure they keep financial stress either at bay or at minimum at least

  • Getting Cash Flow Regulated

Billings, records, invoicing and payments(both inflow and outflow) work best when there is a systematic flow chart ready and implemented in place. Your associates as well as employees this way can expect when to receive their salaries. Your clients/credit customers can also make arrangements accordingly when they know the date to clear all the dues. One of the most common reasons for people running into financial trouble is unregulated and erratic money flow cycles. Get out of business with people who are neither providing any good business nor making payments systematically.

  • Get an Accounting System/Accountant in Place

Accountants are trained and qualified to handle the matters of money properly. If your business scope is large, and you find it too tedious to handle it alone, hiring an accountant will help a lot. The accountant will find out all the loopholes which are sucking a business dry and once the holes are plugged, the coffers begging filling up again. An accounting system/ERP system does the job of an accountant while requiring lesser manual intervention.

  • Start Making Forecasts

Knowing the direction in which the wind is blowing is a very important attribute of a smart entrepreneur. Keeping a close eye on the economic conditions, changing supply/demand equations, billing gaps etc. are important parameters to be able to make an informed forecast of the upcoming situation.

Let us take the example of a desert cooler. Supply and demand is very different in the summer as compared to winter. Traders invest more money into buying high-quality stock for the same right from January to make good sales around April-May when the summer is at its highest intensity. The same kind of attention goes away come October and when the mercury begins to drop.
Similarly, predicting when the demand for your product/service may drop in the upcoming time will go a long way into making life easier during stressful times.

  • Start Focussing on Retaining/Gaining Customers

Customers are the backbone of every business. A business cannot run without customers. Your customer can be an individual, end-user, or even another business. In any case, losing a customer almost certainly means bad publicity. It is very easy to get bad reviews, difficult to get good ones, and extremely rare to get excellent ones. One retained customer is half-the-win over the financial stress. Regular customers also mean regular payments, which can help you tread through dangerous waters with lesser problems.

  • Liquidate Assets

This one is very tricky and must always be adopted only as a last resort. There are times when business slows down despite you doing everything you can to keep it running. This is the time when your appreciating asset investment would come to the rescue. When the times are good and you have surplus finances, use them to either reinvest in your business to make it better and bigger, or try to get an asset in the name of your business.

E.g. Surplus money from a well-doing shop can be used to purchase another shop/land in another area. You may open another shop there or simply use it for rental income.

This shop that you, or rather your business now owns will come in handy should everything still go haywire. Assets can be in multiple forms, not just land.

In a Nutshell

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a huge catastrophe upon the world. Shops were closed, service-based businesses took a huge hit, manufacturers had to shut down their facilities for a long time. And as a result, all this resulted in a huge dip in the economic condition of the world. Millions and millions of businessmen found their livelihood in grave danger of being, wiped out courtesy of an infectious disease. Entrepreneurs with acumen and planning were able to get through it with relative ease. Businesses are now getting back on track and picking up pace once again. This is the perfect time to start planning and making your forecasts about the next few months.

Remember, a businessman who handles money systematically keeps a track of all income/expenditure and gives thought to keep emergency funds rarely finds himself facing financial stress even in the worst of times.

If you are looking for the right solutions for your small or medium business, or even substantial and appropriate advice or mentorship, click here.

Also Read: Best Ways to Identify Market Opportunities for Business Growth

A complete guide to opening Facebook Shops

8 highly effective habits for young entrepreneurs

 

Why partnerships are your secret weapon to building referrals

Why Partnerships Are Your Secret Weapon to Building Referrals

Generating referrals is the key to securing your business’s long-term success, and it can feel like a pretty massive undertaking. One way to lighten the load and help you to create a more sustainable stream of referrals is to build partnerships.

Why go it alone when you could instead join forces with other business owners and make the referral process easier for both of you?

Types of Partnerships

When you’re thinking about establishing partnerships for your business, there are a few different types of relationships to consider.

Strategic partners. These are businesses or individuals who provide a good or service that is directly tied to your business’s product offering. If you’re a graphic designer, you want to have a trustworthy copywriter who you can suggest to your clients.

Content partners. A network of publishers, bloggers, and those in need of content for their own sites can help you to spread your business’s name, mission, and unique point of view to a whole new audience of people.

Co-marketing partners. These are business owners whose business models have some sort of synergy with your own company. If you’re a plumber, this person might be an electrician or contractor.

As a fellow business owner who’s not in direct competition with you, but does business with a subset of the population who might also have an interest in and need for your business’s offerings, these relationships offer easy cross-promotion opportunities. Bonus points if you can create partnerships that are unexpected like the ones we’ve outlined here; unique partnerships can generate even more marketing buzz!

There are a variety of reasons to consider each type of partnership, and there’s a different value-add that comes from each one. That’s why it’s important to focus on building up a comprehensive network of partners, with different partners from each type of group.

Become a Trustworthy Guide for Your Customers

No matter what business you’re in, there are a lot of other businesses out there that do what you do. While a key part of standing out from the crowd is making sure you have a clearly defined value proposition, another thing that will keep customers coming back again and again is that they see you as more than just a provider of a good or service—they see you as a trustworthy partner and advisor.

One way to become a trusted partner is to tap into your network of fellow business owners who you yourself know and trust. When you’re able to suggest other service providers to your customers, it makes you seem like someone who’s in the know and who truly has your customers’ best interests at heart.

Let’s say, for example, that you own a rare used bookstore. A customer comes in and buys a first edition of a work by their favorite author, but then they want to be sure they’re going to be able to care for their new, beloved purchase. You should be able to provide them with a list of trusted partners—a bookbinder who can help restore the original leather cover, a vendor of special boxes for book storage, or an appraiser who can help set the sale price for another rare book in their collection.

These partners need to be people that you know and trust; you’ll do more harm than good if you suggest another business who does not do right by your customer. But if you do have a strong network of other worthy businesses who can provide a service that’s of real value to your existing customers, then you establish yourself as a trusted source of knowledge in your industry, and the next time your customer is looking for advice or to do business, they’ll be coming back to you.

Move Up the Hourglass

There is a lot of work that goes into winning over new business, particularly if you’re starting from scratch. For someone to decide to go with your company, there are four steps in the marketing hourglass before a new customer even makes their first purchase. And there is a tremendous amount of effort and money that can go into those first four steps.

For someone to come to know and like your business, there are marketing and advertising dollars to be spent. To establish trust, you need testimonials. For the trial phase, you need to create products or services that you’re willing to give away for free in hopes that it converts your prospect into an actual customer.

Establishing partnerships, however, allows you to leap over the heavy lifting associated with these steps. You don’t need to spend excessive amounts of money on advertising and marketing to prospects when you have a solid partnership network who will refer their customers to your business.

A prospect who has been referred to you by a business owner they already know, like, and trust, will have an inherent level of trust in your business. This allows you to jump ahead and move right to the try and buy portion of the hourglass.

Double Your Network Overnight

As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one, and that’s particularly true when building up referrals. You’ve worked hard to create repeat customers, and new customer acquisition is a costly endeavor. You know that other small business owners have put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into creating their own roster of return clients. Why not come together with a fellow entrepreneur to double your network overnight?

When you establish a strategic or co-marketing partnership, suddenly you have access to another business owner’s entire rolodex. There’s no competitiveness there, because you offer products that are related but different, and so you’re willing and able to share your existing network with this other business owner.

Additionally, you can consider creating new marketing campaigns that are a joint effort. While you double your reach, you can also halve your costs by splitting advertising fees with your new partner. Running joint promotions for your business can allow you to catch the eye of your established customer base, their established customer base, plus those who are new prospects for both of you.

Referrals are the lifeblood of any business. Why go it alone on this important road to generating referrals when you could join forces with another like-minded business owner? Together, you can help each other to create a sustainable referral engine that will continue to benefit you both in the long term.

 

7 Google Search Optimizations to Maximize Business Online Visibility

7 Google Search Optimizations to Maximize Business Online Visibility

Optimization is essential today, because there is so much competition online between businesses. Google is the most used search engine among all, and if your business website is not optimized to the fullest, you are losing customers and conversions to your competitors. The good news is that optimizing your business site is not all that hard. In fact, even the smallest changes can add up down the road to better Google rankings.

You can take Google’s word for it, “Search engine optimization still a great technique to increase your website traffic, brand awareness, leads, sales and revenue. It’s an important element that should mix in your marketing strategy and helps to boost your business.”

Let’s take a deeper look at how you can employ a few Google search hacks to maximize your business’ online visibility for better ranking, conversion rates, and sales.

1. Begin with an audit of your business website to identify issues

This is probably one of the most time consuming Google search optimization hacks you will do. But the rewards from doing an audit of your website are plentiful. For example, you can identify 404 page errors, duplicate content, poorly developed URLs, meta descriptions, and SEO titles.

You can also take a hard look at internal and external links too. This allows you to find issues and make a list to fix them. You can utilize SEO audit tools from Moz to do a crawl of your website and get key insights into issues.

2. Ensure your business website is optimized for mobile

Mobile optimization has become a must for any business looking to improve their online visibility on Google. Last year, Google rolled out their Mobile-First Index, giving ranking priority to websites that provided a stellar mobile user experience.

“Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for,” Google Webmasters explained in a press release. If you want to know if your business site is mobile ready, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

3. Increase the number of positive ratings and reviews via Google reviews

Reviews and ratings online have returned the power back to consumers. In fact, 84 percent of people trust reviews and ratings as much as personal recommendations from friends, family, and coworkers. Google also trusts reviews and rankings, potentially increasing ranking power for websites and businesses that have four to five star Google review ratings. And Google is not the only place to boost your reviews and ratings to optimize your business. For example, the Welcome Wagon review page via Trustpilot gives them more power when it comes to increasing CTR and conversions.

4. Bake in better long-tail keywords to maximize online visibility

The use of keywords to increase business search engine rankings is certainly nothing new. However, the type of keywords and amount used has changed a lot. Instead of keyword stuffing singular words throughout your business website, you can capitalize on greater search engine rankings by using long-tail keywords. These are a string of three to five words, or even phrases that can help boost your websites online presence.

5. Boost engagement from visitors by using more visual content

Engagement has also become a big optimization hack when it comes to Google search. Engagement is simply the time a visitor stays on your website engaging with your content. It is also tied to the Google Analytics metric of “time on page,” a strong ranking factor. You can increase time on page by adding more visual content to your business website via videos, detailed infographics, and high quality images.

6. Increase your business’ social media presence

Links that point to your business’ website was once the only social ranking factor Google search used to rate the worthiness of your site. However, search engines are now taking social mentions into account as well. For example, the more your business is mentioned via social media channels can now boost your online visibility. This means that the more active you are on social media the better. This has traditionally been a pain point for businesses, but with a bit of due diligence, your social presence can increase your overall online presence.

7. Links are still very important to outrank competitors online

Building a strong link portfolio for your business website is still a very strong ranking factor for Google search results. Links can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but getting high quality sites to link to your website is a must-do to maximize optimization and online visibility. You can use HARO, have executives get bylines in Forbes or Entrepreneur.com, guest post, and more. The bottom line — do link building.

In Conclusion . . .

There are certainly more than the above seven Google search hacks to implement into your optimization strategy. They are, however, among the most important. Don’t let your competition run away with Google rankings. You can easily tweak and optimize for better results and more conversions.

Best Ways to Identify Market Opportunities for Business Growth

Best Ways to Identify Market Opportunities for Business Growth

Best Ways to Identify Market Opportunities for Business Growth

 

Growing your business is the aim of most and the hope of a few. Making sure our business not just thrives, but also flourishes is what everyone wishes for. While trying to set up the business for good, young entrepreneurs sometimes seem to miss some golden opportunities which could get them much ahead of the competition. Here are some tips to help you identify the opportunities for business growth.

  1. Talk to the Missed Leads

Many times you get leads and prospects who show interest in your product or service, but then end up not working with you. Talking to such people would give you valuable feedback. Maybe you quoted price not to their liking, or maybe your pitch didn’t strike the way you expected. There can be a lot of reasons why things did not work in your favor. Asking customers-that-were-not what they were expecting helps you tweak your handling to suit the needs of your customer. This also gives a positive impression and they’re much more likely to say yes the next time around.

2. Society’s Thought Process is Important

We live in a society and its norms keep changing every now and then. What was taboo 30 years ago can be a very much accepted, circulated and loved idea today. E.g. Wallpapers were a common sight a few decades ago but have become very rare today. We see plain painted walls with stickers more often.
Keeping your commerce at pace with the current trends is the way to go.

3. Competitor Analysis

Take a look at what your well-doing competitors are doing. A good business attracts good customers. See and observe what they are doing differently than you are; maybe their showcases are arranged differently. Maybe they pitch in a different manner. Knowing what a competitor is up to and finding out where they lack can be a very good opportunity to pick up for you. As they say, “One man’s loss can be another man’s gain.”

4. Keep Your Existing Customers Happy

When you gain a customer, try not to limit your relation to just transactions. As you build an intimate relationship with your clients/customers and treat them nicely, they would be more than happy to refer you and your business for more potential customers. You don’t even have to go out of your way to keep regular customers happy. This behaviour opens doors for many more opportunities going forward.

5. Can you do more with the same model?

Handing out additional services with your current ones is usually a good idea. Delve into what is it that you can provide with your current service or product. For example, if you have a smartphone shop where you sell phones and accessories, maybe you can try opening a repair/servicing counter as well where customers with damaged, broken phones can get their devices functional as well. When you offer add-ons and not just one particular model, you get more opportunities coming your way. Again, you don’t have to go ahead and start a new business altogether, just look for what you can do additional while still remaining relevant.

6. Social Media is an Ocean of Opportunities

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are hotspots for businesses that cater to end customers. For Business to Business models, LinkedIn is your best course of action. At times, just a simple search will yield a large number of requirements. E.g. If you have a hardware store, you just have to look for “hardware service required” or “Tiles Needed”. The results will present opportunities as a list in your town or city. This applies to other businesses as well and is not restricted to just shop owners.

Also Read: A complete guide to opening Facebook Shops

7. Find Ways to Improve Lead Conversion Rate

Some clever shop owners offer complimentary tea or sherbet to customers, irrespective of whether they make a purchase or not. This seemingly small gesture makes the customer who just walked in feel good about themselves. With a better mood, a customer is more likely to spend money. See if doing a similar thing is suitable in your own setup. This is an indirect opportunity a lot of shopkeepers tend to overlook or even miss. You can choose what add-on complimentary feel-good gesture you want to incorporate. Another example is that of a few jewelry shops; the attendants of such shops greet customers with a genial smile. Even that smile is often enough to improve the chances of a conversion drastically.
Of course, despite that, sometimes a customer will walk away. But then one can always go back to the customer to ask for feedback and what can be done to improve (see pt.1)

Starting a business and running it successfully is a test of patience, perseverance, passion, and potential. Keeping an open mind and a keen eye is vital to pulling ahead of the competition and even expanding one’s business to a large scale. Identifying hidden opportunities is a key aspect to do better and bigger.

If you are looking for the right solutions for your small or medium business, or even substantial and appropriate advice or mentorship, click here.

Also read: 6 ways which can make small business more data-driven

8 highly effective habits for young entrepreneurs

10 survey tools to aid your business

Top 5 Tips for Startup Marketing

Top 5 Tips for Startup Marketing

Attracting customers is one of the top challenges for startup businesses, especially if you do not have any marketing background yourself. However, the principles of marketing are common sense and can get you a long way without excessive expenditure.

1. Know Yourself

Time spent on working out what makes your product or service special (its unique selling proposition) is time well spent because it helps you differentiate yourself from the competition. Clarifying your mission and values will provide you with a framework for positioning your business.

2. Know your Customers

Who is supposed to buy your product or service? Be clear about who you want to sell to. Even if your service or product theoretically could be of interest to almost everybody, pick a customer segment and start marketing to it. Once you have decided on a market segment, it will be easier to decide how to reach potential customers and which channels to focus on.

3. Set a Budget

Making a marketing plan and allocating a fixed budget can help you keep an eye on costs. It is easy to overspend; having a budget will help you focus your mind and your marketing activities. Beware of advertising scams: Unscrupulous fraudsters systematically target new businesses. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t any good at all. Don’t commit to anything over the telephone, and don’t be shy to say “no thank you”.

4. Care for Contacts

Referrals and word-of-mouth are a fantastic way to get new customers. Think about who you know who could help endorse your business. Ask for testimonials, referrals and recommendations.

5. Be Visible

A website is a must for any new business, but it can be simple and inexpensive. The three most important elements are: Your contact details, a compelling offer and an attractive design. The same applies to any other promotional material such as leaflets, flyers and posters.