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How to Find the Right Family Dentist

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Family Dentist
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Maintaining the dental health of your family is an important priority to keep. With the amount of sugar that kids tend to eat and the fact that it can be difficult to keep them on a good tooth brushing routine, cavities are a realistic fear for most parents. Moreover, going to the dentist can be an intimidating and uncomfortable experience for young children. This is why it is so important that you find the right family dental practice for your family.

The right dental practice will have plenty of experience working with both kids and adults alike. They will know how to make children who might have anxiety about going to the dentist feel more at ease about receiving their cleanings and any necessary treatments. Finding the right dentist can be a challenge, however.

If you are currently searching for the right family dental practice for your family, here are a few things to keep in mind as you look.

Find Out What Services Are Offered

When it comes to dental appointments, there are many things that your dentist might discover. For instance, you or one of your children might have an unexpected cavity that needs to be taken care of or some other dental issue. You want to make sure that the dentist you ultimately go with can handle a wide variety of dental problems in house. You can find this out by looking into the services that a particular dental office offers.

You can most likely find this information on the dental practice’s website. A great example of a dental practice that offers a fair amount of information on their website is bafdentistry.com. Bear in mind that any information you cannot find for yourself online can be obtained by simply calling the dental practice itself.

Inquire About Wait Times

When you bring your kids to the dentist, it is unlikely that you will be able to do so on a day that everyone has off from both work and school. For this reason, wait times are an important thing to inquire about when you are searching for the right family dentist. While your employer and your children’s school will understand that you need to take a morning or an afternoon for routine dental work, you don’t want to be in a situation where you are going over the amount of appropriate time for such things.

Moreover, you don’t want to have to entertain your kids in a dental office waiting room for longer than is necessary. Make sure to ask in a direct way about how long, on average, patients spend waiting to receive their dental treatment before choosing a particular dentist.

Make Sure They Accept Your Insurance

Another one of your initial considerations should be whether or not a dental practice accepts your insurance. Dental work, even routine cleanings, can be quite expensive for the whole family. You should ensure that your insurance will be accepted by the practice you choose.

5 Things You Should Be Looking for in a Website Builder

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Website Builder

Website builders are a dime a dozen, and it can be difficult to differentiate them from a distance. However, they can have some major differences that could make them a good or bad choice for your business. Some might be better if you are trying to run an eCommerce shop, for instance. The same tool might be too complex for someone simply trying to build a portfolio. Then there’s your experience and understanding how coding works. Some tools might just be too restrictive or too complex depending on where you are. Therefore, you must know what you are looking for before you even start shopping around. Here are some of the things you should be looking for in a website builder.

Self-Hosted or Managed?

This is very important. The first thing you want to know is how much control you want to have over your website. Some platforms will require that you keep your website on their servers, while others might be self-hosted CMS that you will be able to install on your own server. You might automatically think that self-hosting is the best option but hear us out.

There can be a lot of disadvantages to hosting your own website. For one, how good is the host exactly? Top services also offer top-level hosting, and your site is not as likely to get throttled by others on the server. Another issue is security. Providers like Shopify take security very seriously. Having the same level of security on your own server demands a lot of expertise. By letting the 3rd party handle everything, you also delegate some of the liability. So, this is something you should be thinking about if your goal is to open an online retail business that handles sensitive information.

Flexibility

On the other hand, you have those who want to be able to have more control over their site. You might want to be able to build your site according to your vision and have a simple system to manage it. In this case, a stand-alone CMS like WordPress or Drupal might be a better choice for you. These can be installed directly on your server. Many hosting providers will have a one-button installation option that will allow you to install it easily and fast. 

Know, however, that with more freedom comes more responsibility, so do not expect to get the same level of support. You can expect support to come from other members of the community when it comes to WordPress as the community is very large and welcoming. You should have no issues finding solutions for simple issues, but it will not be as invested as with a well-managed solution.

User Friendliness

If you’re a novice or know nothing about web design, then you want to choose a platform that is as user friendly as possible. You want a program that will allow you to build and have information on your website in an intuitive way that does not require muck knowledge about coding.

You have tools like Zyro that have a very simple drag and drop editor that allow you to add and remove elements easily. If you want to learn more about this tool, you can check out this Zyro website builder review from Website Review Ninja. It outlines all the benefits of the tool for those who are just beginning and delves deeper into some of its features. They also offer their verdict on whether this would be a good deal for the money and whom this tool caters to specifically. 

Service

This is another very important point if you’re getting started. You want a team that will be able to answer your questions 24/7 and be willing to help you. This is again very important if you’re running an eCommerce site. You don’t want your site to go down in the middle of an important and expensive advertising campaign and not have anyone to talk to. Good services will allow you to contact them via phone, email, and chat and always be happy to give you a hand.

Variety

Another thing you should be looking for is the variety of templates. Some will offer a wide variety of templates straight out of the gate, while others will have you pay. Some services like WordPress, for instance, will have a decent default library, but you should expect to pay if you want something premium. This is why you should know exactly how many templates you’ll have access to and what you can expect them to look like before jumping in.

Conclusion

These are some of the most important factors to consider when investing in a web design platform. Make sure that you take a look at all your options and pick the one that fits your needs and skills the most.

How Negative Reviews Can Affect Your E-Commerce Business

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Negative reviews can destroy a brand in different ways. Despite 91% of young consumers turning to them to make an informed decision on a product, many businesses often choose to ignore them, which can be a big mistake.

Ignorance isn’t bliss in business. Find out how negative reviews can affect your e-commerce brand.

Customer Retention

A reported 67% to 90% of consumers will look at customer reviews to make an informed decision on a product. While you might believe a negative review might impact your sales, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Most consumers understand that no brand is perfect and that mistakes can happen. Rather than holding it against you, they will look for signs that they can trust your business. Improve confidence in your brand by replying to a frustrated customer with an apology and attempt to rectify a problem. For example, you should ask them to call or email your team to discuss a problem and resolve the issue, such as sending a gift card or providing a refund.

A few negative reviews along with many positive comments can also indicate that you are not attempting to bury bad reviews. It can lead to greater confidence that the feedback is impartial and honest, which can boost your company’s credibility. However, you might need to review your operations and customer service if you continue to attract bad comments from your customers.

Account Suspension

While the occasional negative reviews can positively affect your brand, too many can lead to serious repercussions for your business. For example, if you are selling products to customers via Amazon, you must adhere to their Order Defect Rate (ODR). This is the order percentage for negative feedback or an A to Z guarantee claim. To sell on Amazon, a company must remain under 1% or they will be suspended. When this happens, they’ll be forced to cease trading on the e-commerce platform, and they may need to recover their account with an Amazon appeal service.

Lower Sales

According to a study by Harvard Business School, a brand will experience a 5-9% increase in annual revenue for every one-star increase. If your brand continues to experience a low number of stars or drops a star rating, this could seriously affect your e-commerce brand’s profitability. For this reason, your business must look closely at every negative review and aim to address its various issues, which can lead to greater customer satisfaction, glowing feedback, and a stronger profit margin.

Conclusion

E-commerce brands cannot afford to ignore customer reviews. In addition to destroying your brand’s reputation, they can also lead to account suspension and a loss of sales. While the odd negative review can improve your company’s trust, you should never ignore disappointed customers. 

It is vital to address your customers’ issues, apologize for your mistakes, and to generate as many glowing comments as possible in an ethical manner. It will improve your company’s trust, reputation, and sales throughout the years.

Driving A Company Car – What Employees & Startup Owners Need To Know

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When you start a new business, there’s always a lot of pressure to handle. Obviously, you will have to delegate work to manage the operations effectively. You will probably have to let one or more employees use the company car to make sales calls, run errands, and do all other tasks related to day-to-day operations. While this makes life easy for a time-strapped entrepreneur, employees take it as a perk. 

However, with benefits come responsibilities and both business owners and employees must realize the responsibility of having the company vehicle on the road. If there is a mishap, it can be a matter of dispute as the car is driven by the employee but owned by the business. So it is important that both of them should be aware of the implications of such mishaps. Let us explain to them in detail. 

Responsibilities of the employee 

Any driver has a duty of care towards others on the road and an accident caused by your negligence can bring legal trouble. When you operate a company-owned vehicle, there are certain facts that you should take care of. It is important to understand your company’s car policy thoroughly. For example, you may not be permitted to use the vehicle outside of business hours or purposes. While you may face the consequences of breaking the contract clause, the liability for the accident caused while using the car illegitimately will fall on you. Also, check the insurance status of the vehicle. Practice responsible for driving and follow the road rules when you are behind the wheel. Ensure that the vehicle is well maintained according to the schedule in the company’s policy. 

Responsibilities of the employer

As an employer, you have a greater responsibility because the vehicle is like a workplace and it needs to follow all the workplace health and safety checks. If an accident happens when the employee is driving the car for business purposes, the liability will be yours. As a part of the employer’s responsibility, you need to have up-to-date insurance for all company cars along with clear policies for their use. All vehicles should be well maintained and drivers should be trained and licensed to ensure safety on the road. If there are multiple vehicles that are rotated between staff members, it is recommended to maintain a vehicle log for tracking who has each vehicle at a specific point in time.

Liability for work-related car accident 

In a majority of cases, the employer is liable for the injuries and damages caused in an accident involving a business vehicle, even if an employee is driving it. If you are a victim, you can have seasoned car accident attorneys at your service to ensure that the company has to compensate you optimally. These cases involve ‘vicarious liability’ and can get a little complex, so it makes sense for the victim to collaborate with an expert. Apart from the victim, the employee driving the company vehicle can also make a workers’ compensation claim if injured in the mishap. Considering that business owners have to pay more often than not, it makes sense for startup owners to have adequate insurance cover for company vehicles for covering the risk.

Exceptions to vicarious liability

Even as the company has to compensate the accident victim in a majority of cases involving business vehicles, there are some exceptions to the vicarious liability rule. The employee may be held liable if the mishap occurred while they were running a personal errand, even during the work hours. Similarly, a business cannot be held liable if a criminal act led to the mishap. Additionally, accidents while commuting to work are not covered under vicarious liability. In these cases, the compensation will be covered by the insurance company of the employee rather than the employer. As a startup, it is worth knowing when you can seek relief under these exceptions because you wouldn’t want to bear the burden of compensation when you shouldn’t. 

Letting employees use business vehicles is imperative for businesses because that’s the only way you can operate smoothly. But you need to make sure that they are careful about handling the vehicle because you wouldn’t want to end up in legal hassles because of their negligence. A proactive approach towards vehicle maintenance and driver training is important. At the same time, you need to be aware of the concept of vicarious liability so that you take responsibility only when it is really yours. Finally, proper insurance coverage for all your business vehicles is something you shouldn’t forget. 

Tips For Optimizing Your Website for Mobile SEO

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Mobile SEO

The world has gone mobile, and how.

In the United States alone, 81% of adult Americans own a smartphone, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2019. The same study says that about half of U.S. adults also own tablets.

With so many people using mobile devices to access the Internet, it’s only right to optimize your website for mobile SEO and up your mobile marketing game at the same time.

Optimizing your site for mobile SEO means doing everything you can to make it look amazing and function properly on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

Once optimized for mobile SEO, your site will provide nothing but the most positive mobile user experience regardless of the device being used to explore it.

If you haven’t optimized your site for mobile just yet, here are a few tips to help you get started.

Make Your Site Responsive

Being mobile-friendly is a must for any website, regardless of the industry or location. With more than half of global web traffic coming from mobile devices, mobile-friendliness is no longer an option if you want access to the ever-growing mobile market. And oh, Google likes serving up mobile-friendly sites to its users, too.

So far, the best way for your website to become as mobile-friendly as it can get is by integrating responsive web design or RWD.

Whatever the size or type of a user’s device, responsive web design will ensure that your web pages will render well. There will be no more need for mobile users accessing your website to do plenty of pinching, zooming, scrolling sideways just to see your content. RWD will make your site adjust to the size of the device being used, providing an optimal browsing experience.

Add Web Design Elements That Improve The User Experience

There are several web design elements you can add to improve further the user experience that responsive design already brings to the table.

There’s creating a “thumb-friendly” design, which works under the assumption that mobile users use their thumbs to scroll through your site and click on its elements.

You will also want to ensure that the fonts you use are readable on any mobile device, including the smallest ones. Avoid using fonts that are too small or too intricate that they’re barely legible.

Adding a clean, organized, and easy-to-use navigation bar will also do wonders for the user experience.

And if you’re serious about users taking the next step toward conversion, make sure all your call-to-action (CTA) buttons are readily visible and big enough to tap.

Boost Your Page Loading Speed

Internet users these days are an impatient lot, as they expect the web pages they access to load in three seconds or less.

When the information they’re looking for doesn’t load fast enough for them, you cannot expect them to stay on your page. They will have no qualms about abandoning your page in favor of a faster-loading website. That goes for both desktop and mobile users.

It’s imperative that you make an effort to increase your page loading speed. You can switch to faster web hosting. You can also optimize images, minimize or eliminate the use of custom fonts, minify code, and reduce redirects to make your pages load faster.

To get much-needed information about your site’s load time, use Google PageSpeed Insights.

Optimize Your Content

Whatever content you put up for your website, you need to make sure that your mobile users will find it easy to skim through, as that’s how they typically consume content, being always on the go.

Some ways to optimize your content for mobile users include:

  • Keeping paragraphs at 2-3 sentences
  • Short and simple headings and titles
  • Using subheadings
  • Using bullet points
  • Optimizing videos to ensure compatibility with smart devices
  • Using high-quality, but not too many images
  • Making buttons easy to use
  • Clickable email address and phone numbers

Don’t Forget About Local SEO

According to Google, the use of the phrase “near me” in mobile searches that contain a variant of phrases like “to buy” or “can I buy” has increased by more than 500% in the last few years.

That means the number of people searching for local businesses continues to grow, and that’s why you also should optimize for locals so you can reach them.

There are several ways to improve your local SEO, such as:

  • Creating a Google My Business account
  • Optimizing for voice search
  • Creating content with local color
  • Targeting local keywords

By optimizing for local, your chances of appearing in more local search results by mobile users will increase.

Go Easy On The Pop-ups

A pop-up has its uses, especially when you’re encouraging more engagement from your visitors. Pop-ups are a great way of enticing people to sign up to get emails or download free content.

However, you run the risk of annoying users—mobile or otherwise—when you use too much of them.

Few things are more irritating to users than opening a website on their mobile device only to have a pop-up box that occupies the entire screen greet them.

If it’s their first time accessing your website, they will likely wonder out loud why they would download the free content you’re offering through the pop-up when they haven’t read anything you’ve written just yet.

They visited your site for a specific type of information, but now, your pop-up box is stopping them from seeing it.

Sometimes, these pop-ups don’t even have a button that users can tap to get rid of them!

You know what will happen next if you keep using too much of these intrusive, inappropriately-timed pop-ups. People will abandon your site and contribute to your rising bounce rates.

If you have to use a pop-up for your mobile site, use them sparingly at least, and give people time to explore your site before springing one on them.

The right time to optimize for mobile is now, with mobile use expected to grow exponentially in the next few years. Hopefully, the tips listed above can help.

5 Common Money Mistakes Most Entrepreneurs Make

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Money Mistakes Most Entrepreneurs Make
Photo by Nikita Vantorin on Unsplash

Entrepreneurs are known to be excellent problem-solvers who push their boundaries and sail towards unchartered waters. They often have a skewed perception that opportunity equates to risk. It is this willingness to take the risk that makes them more prone to making mistakes. 

Having said that, mistakes are a crucial part of an entrepreneur’s journey. But some mistakes can cost dearly. Especially the ones concerning the money. Money mistakes are easily the biggest reason why the majority of the start-ups fails in their first few years of operation. 

Money mistakes can bring even the most promising business to its knees. So, avoid these common money mistakes most business owners make:  

1. Sloppy Cash Flow Management

Most businesses fail because of capital misuse. The amount of cash moving in and out of your business has to be managed extremely well. If you are financially savvy, this skill is an advantage when running your business. But, if you are sloppy with accounting and cash management, you may need to pay extra attention to what’s going on with your finances. 

Track your income and your expenses. Set up a system (an excel sheet) to monitor the inflow and outflow. Make sure you track and report every single invoice and payment as your business grows. 

2. Not Saving for Emergencies

The best financial experts always advice to keep an ample stash of cash for emergency expenses. There will be times in your business journey when you’ll need ready cash to cover an emergency expense. Using a credit card is a short-sighted solution. Keeping a contingency fund or personal line of credit for both personal and business expenses is the best way to be prepared for an emergency situation. 

3. Raising Capital Too Early

Getting investors to fund to business often comes at a cost. Firstly, you are likely to lose control, and secondly, you are under a lot of pressure from your investors. 

Bootstrap your startup as long as you can. Try to find co-founders, get a low-interest personal loan for business, if need be. 

4. Saying Yes to All the Projects 

It’s tempting to take up any projects that come your way because it’s money coming your way. But some projects can lead to burnout and are not worth the money. It’s important in business to be clear of what type of projects and clients you want to work with. That will decide what reputation you’ll be building in the market. Pick up projects and clients that are actually going to help you in the long run. Good relationships with your clients can not only help with your reputation but can lead to referrals and eventually bigger projects. 

5. Hiring the Wrong People

Hiring weak team members can drain your finances and weaken your business. Don’t be tempted to hire low-cost employees. If you fall into this trap, you’ll end up losing more than you had bargained for. It’s not only the salary you’ll be paying your new employees, but you’ll also be investing in training, recruitment and other related expenses. When the investment is so large and critical to your business, hire employees that are aligned with your company’s values and goals.

How is Mobile App Going To Change B2B Lead Generation Landscape?

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B2B Lead Generation
Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

When it comes to B2B marketing, digital platforms and means play a vital role. B2B companies can do better by utilizing all the digital avenues for lead generation and outreaching their audience. Especially, mobile apps for B2B marketers play an important role.  

To understand how mobile apps can positively change the B2B marketing dynamics, it is important to understand a few things about B2B buyers and companies of today.  

Understanding Today’s B2B Buyer

While traditionally, a company is compared by its customers with other brands in the same niche, with today’s audience, it is completely different. Now customers will compare your brand in terms of digital user experience with apps from companies across different niches. So, your business can be compared with a completely different business as users are now more interested in the digital experience. 

Mobile apps in shaping this digital experience are playing a crucial role. Since the vast majority of the B2B queries are made on smartphones, businesses have no option but to turn towards mobile apps as a crucial component to reach out to their business audience. 

Today’s business audience is more tech-savvy than ever before. Today’s business users across organizations are also more habituated with multitasking. As companies are increasingly focusing on digitization to improve productivity and efficiency, business users spend now a large portion of their productive time on smartphone apps. 

Today’s B2B Companies  

Just like the business audience, B2B companies also have gone through great changes. Now, B2B companies are focused on delivering a better buying experience to their B2B audience by utilizing the latest technologies and tools. Faster loading speed, glitch-free performance, and effortless completion of most tasks are some of the key considerations for B2B apps and digital solutions. 

The increasing mobile engagement further opened new avenues to the B2B companies to evaluate search queries, traffic flow, lead generations, and business conversion. Thanks to mobile apps, the B2B companies can now evaluate their audiences deeper and gain actionable insights for steadier business conversion. 

Now that we have explained how B2B audiences and companies are going through rapid transformation, we would like to focus on the key ways mobile apps are helping B2B companies generate more leads and make more business conversion.  

The Mobile Algorithm of Google

In bringing mobile to the center stage of search engine marketing, Google played a crucial role. Since a couple of years ago, Google began considering mobile page speed and the performance of the websites on mobile devices a crucial consideration for search engine ranking. Since mobile user experience and mobile page speed directly impacts the search engine ranking for businesses, marketers are now serious about mobile web user experience. 

Now the high-performance mobile websites are increasingly playing a great role in convincing the audience in marketing the company’s app and engaging the audience. In fact, mobile websites for many companies work as the gateway to mobile app marketing and new user acquisition. 

The Mobility in the B2B Sales Process  

Through mobile web and mobile apps, any company can mitigate location-aware local marketing, SEO, and context. It drove personalized marketing and blended them into a solid branding and customer outreach strategy. Mobile apps taking these benefits of mobile web further allows more context-aware, location-based instant messaging and communication to generate leads and convert business. 

Tracking Customers Across Devices 

Mobile apps without relying much on mobile browsers, help track customers easily when using multiple devices throughout the day. This cross-device tracking capability ultimately helps B2B companies reach out to the same customer across multiple devices. 

Thanks to this cross-device tracking of customers, B2B companies can easily expand the target audience pool across a multitude of places. This also helps deliver insights for improved business conversion. This also helps B2B companies evaluate where in the sales funnel, the customer is positioned, and how they can be encouraged further to make transactions. 

Context-Aware Notifications and Messaging 

B2B companies are increasingly using personalized and highly context-aware messages and notifications to boost engagement and interactions, thereby enhancing lead generation. Streamlined messaging through messaging tools help B2B businesses to garner advantage. 

Incorporating Mobile Apps into the CRM 

Most experts have noted that poor customer service alone makes the loss of billions of dollars of business for companies across the niches. This is why B2B businesses are increasingly integrating mobile apps into their CRM strategy to improve customer service. 

Offering multiple ways to interact anytime anywhere is a crucial criterion for CRM solutions focusing on business audiences. This is where a mobile app can play the most impressive role by allowing customers to interact and engage with the service provider companies anytime, anywhere, just through their handheld devices.

Conclusion

The all-around influence and impact of smartphones and mobile apps on the way businesses operate today, and customers buy products or services from companies, is enough to learn about the importance of mobility in the B2B business landscape. In the years to come, mobile apps, e-friendly design, and mobile-friendly content will continue to shape the mobile lead generation and marketing for B2B companies.  

Top Tips for Online Retailers

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Online Retailers
Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

For many start-up businesses selling products online is a great place to start. It doesn’t require the use of a retail unit, the costs of creating an e-Commerce website are affordable, and all of this allows small, independent businesses to grow in a comfortable setting. In addition to all of these benefits, a lot of consumers choose to shop online instead of heading to physical stores, as they can discover retailers and new brands from around the world. If you have been contemplating selling your products online or have recently started an online retail business, here are some tips you should consider.

Website

Firstly, make sure your website is easy to navigate, professional-looking, and reflects your brand. You will have to make sure that the content on your website is relevant and keep in mind SEO techniques when developing this. There will be a lot of content to produce, particularly with so many product pages, and these descriptions are essential. Make sure they are detailed without being too long-winded and offer a variety of product images that make the items look good but are still a realistic presentation. You don’t want to gain a poor reputation for using photography to embellish your products. 

Consider Dropshipping

Dropshipping is an excellent option for start-ups selling their products online. It saves you time and money when it comes to post and packaging, and more importantly, you don’t have to pay for items before you have made a sale. This way you’re only paying for things you’ve already made a profit on, which is fantastic. When a customer orders a product via your online store, it will be sent out directly from the wholesaler to them, too, giving you more free time to focus on other things rather than organizing shipping. 

Digital Marketing

You should be marketing your business via as many relevant platforms as possible, but considering you’re starting an online store, digital marketing is the right place to start. There are several avenues you can explore here, including Social Media Marketing, email newsletters, SEO, and blogging. SEO is essential and you need to make sure you’re getting this right to boost your website up in the search results pages – the higher, the better. It might be worth hiring a professional content writer with experience in SEO marketing strategies to see the best results. 

Customer Service

It’s always essential that customers feel like they’re listened to and respected. If you were to open a brick and mortar store, you would train your staff on building customer relationships, but when you don’t have face-to-face contact, this can be more challenging. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to make as much effort. Fast response times to customer queries and live-chat options are good starting points, as are personalized email campaigns. Make sure that your brand gets an excellent reputation for customer service as an online retailer, as this is what can let similar businesses down. 

If you’re in the middle of making plans to start an online store for your business, remember these tips to make sure you’re getting it right. 

5 Ways To Reduce Business Costs

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Reduce Business Costs

Are you looking for ways to reduce your business’s operating costs? This can be an excellent way to improve your bottom line as it is an area that you have control over. But you must be careful when you make changes to your company’s operation as you do not want to negatively impact the product/service or productivity. Fortunately, there are many different ways that you can reduce business costs that will not negatively affect your business in any way and could even result in a range of various benefits, so they are certainly worth considering. Read on to find out a few of the best methods.

1. Shop Around For Supplies

When it comes to supplies for the business, it is always worth shopping around especially if you are coming to the end of a contract. You may be able to negotiate a lower cost, but if not then you may well be able to find a cheaper alternative elsewhere with a little bit of online research and by negotiating

2. Use Energy-efficient Appliances

Every business will use a range of equipment and appliances throughout the day and these can consume a large amount of energy. Therefore, switching to energy-efficient equipment and appliances can make a big difference to your utility bill each month and this will help to lower your costs while also helping your business to be greener.

3. Use A Recycling Baler

Another smart step to take is to use a recycling baler that will enable you to quickly and easily recycle large amounts of material. In addition to the obvious environmental benefits of this, it can also help to lower your costs as it will help cut your transport usage as you are able to maximize loads with easy-to-manage cubes while also reducing landfill tax for your company.

4. Outsource Instead Of Hiring New Staff

The workforce is a vital part of any business, but you will find that you can often outsource the work instead of hiring new staff, which will be much more cost-effective in the long run. When you outsource work, you could make big savings because you will pay for a service on a per-project basis so you do not have to worry about salaries and other employee costs. Additionally, outsourcing means that you will not add to your headcount or energy consumption. 

5. Remote Work

Similarly, if you have employees that can work remotely, then this should be encouraged. It will help to lower your energy bill each month and could allow you to downsize your office space at the end of your lease, which can free up a huge amount of money. In many cases, remote work can also improve morale and boost productivity so it can result in many benefits for all concerned. 

Try a few of these methods and you will drastically reduce your business costs and improve your bottom line. A smart business owner will always try to find ways to reduce costs, but you must also be careful that doing so does not negatively affect your business.

Best Ways To Leverage Social Media for Small Businesses

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Productivity At Startups - MyStartupLand

The internet and social media have dramatically changed how everyone communicates and relates to each other. Since so many people love to connect with the community, social media is a great place for businesses to create their own connections as well. 

Social media as a digital marketing tool has been used by businesses for years. Over 90% of marketing professionals and business owners say that social media is critical for growing their business, creating advertising campaigns, improving traffic to their site, and increasing sales.

While you might feel intimidated as a small business competing with huge companies that are already established, there are actually some ways in which people connect better with you than with corporate giants. Use your unique personality and personalized touch to connect with people online, and you’ll see your influence grow far beyond your local sphere. 

To learn more about some other ways to leverage social media to help your small business, read on here for the top tips.

1. Create Accounts

The most popular social media platforms are constantly shifting and changing. First, MySpace used to be the biggest and best one, but then Facebook burst onto the scene. These days, the newest social media platforms are constantly battling for dominance which means you need an account on each platform to reach all your users.

Many countries also have their own social media platforms that aren’t used in the United States, so you’ll have to target your audience there too if you’re a frequent seller overseas. While Japan has Mixi and South Korea has Cyworld, Russia has Vkontakte and Europe has Netlog. Explore your options depending on which countries make up a majority of your sales.

2. Connect with Influencers

Everyone wants to be that rich and famous person they see on TV, and social media has created an opportunity for the unknown to imitate the rich and powerful. Connect with the influencers most relevant to your product and discuss collaborations to grow your own following. Be aware that this is a type of advertising, so you will be expected to pay your influencers in money and sometimes product.

Don’t just look to the obvious social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, for influencers. You can have a lot of success with Youtubers who share your products too!

3. Start Advertising

With over 2 billion people on Facebook and about a billion more on Instagram, the statistics show you have access to a captive audience that is ready to see your products. Use some of your marketing budgets to create targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram to introduce new customers to your products and services, advertise sales and special offers, and connect to people around the world whenever they’re online.

Even if you don’t want to actively create ads, your own account on Instagram especially can drive engagement and traffic just by adding the appropriate hashtags to your post. Did you know that hashtags on your post drives 12% more traffic to your profile? Make your hashtags as relevant as possible and highlight all the unique elements of your small business to ensure you stand out.

4. Focus on Relevance

One aspect of writing relevant, engaging content is mentioning holidays, celebrations, and events that everyone is interested in. Scheduling posts about holiday specials and community days are a go-to for many sales and special offers.

Keeping up with what’s going on in the world is also an important element of your digital persona. You don’t want to create tone deaf advertisements and posts. You also want to make sure that you understand, commiserate and celebrate with your community about what’s important to them.

5. Avoid Clickbait

Clickbait used to be a powerful tool that would draw in social media users with unbelievable headlines they couldn’t help but click. The resulting site or article was often misleading or disappointing. Most people are now familiar with the clickbait tactic and actively avoid any headlines that sound remotely like them. Avoid this type of hype unless you have something that actually delivers on the promise in the title.

6. Link to Your Site

Many small businesses forget that their social media platforms should act as a funnel to their website. They only ever have one link to their site on their profile home page and often don’t put it in their newest posts. While you can place links to new landing pages and thank you pages in your Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter posts, it can be a little more complicated for Instagram. Instead of allowing links on posts, you can create a hub on your profile that links to different service pages and blogs on your site. You can also link them in Stories and encourage people to swipe up to visit a specific page.

7. Reward Followers

Your followers want to see unique content and a personal touch. Reward them by sharing the quirks of your business and giving them exclusive offers whenever you can. Create competitions and giveaways to increase engagement and make sure that prize is really worth it. You’ll gain new followers and prizewinners won’t be able to stop talking about how great your business is!

Ready to get started? Try all these tips today and watch your small business grow.

4 Reasons Your Employees Want Lifelong Learning

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Employees Learning

Chances are your business no longer operates the same way it did two decades ago. You don’t have tons of floppy disks on your desk, you’re not using a fax machine, and you probably keep most of your stuff on the cloud.

But what about your employee training program? Do you stick to outdated age-old training strategies that involve long, “one-off” learning sessions? If so, you are doing a disservice to your business and your employees.

To be able to honestly tick the “learning in the workplace” box, onboarding and compliance training won’t cut it. Your employees want lifelong training.

Why is Lifelong Training Important for Workers?

According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, 68% of employees prefer to learn at work. As the report shows, employees understand the importance of continuous learning in the workplace.

The reason behind this may lie in the fact that the majority of the workforce is made up of millennials and gen Zer’s. Instead of pursuing fancy job titles, younger generations are attracted to opportunities that offer professional growth and development.

They seek development opportunities at work and are thirsty for lifelong learning. To them, these opportunities go hand in hand with the salary and other perks. A business that acknowledges the benefits of training employees has a much better chance of attracting younger talent.

Your Employees Are Used To Having Information At Their Fingertips

Many employees of today belong to the native digital generation. Compared to the generations that came before them, they have a different approach to learning. Younger employees are used to having access to an infinite knowledge base.

They are used to “googling” instead of asking. One could say that the World Wide Web itself is a form of lifelong learning. If an employee asks you a question, chances are they tried to find the answer online before coming to you.

They have access to thousands of online courses that can help them develop their skills, and they know it. One of the reasons your employees want lifelong learning is the fact that they are already used to it.

To establish yourself as a forward-thinking business, you need to put a lot of effort into training employees—continuously. For instance, to show your employees that you value lifelong learning, you can start an employee engagement program. You can use tools such as wikis, video sharing, microblogging, and training management software.

READ ALSO: The Secret to Transformational Leadership

Your Employees Want to Contribute

Many workers want to contribute to their company in a more meaningful way; they are not content with simply executing. They want to solve problems, and they want to find new ways to do it.

Workers have more time to be creative as more tasks become automated. To meet the needs of your employees and help them achieve fulfillment, you can employ staff training that makes the most out of their complex cognitive skills.

Continuous training allows them to acquire more advanced skills. Naturally, they will use those skills to contribute more meaningfully to your business.

Your Employees Want to Evolve

There are fewer vertical hierarchies as businesses become more agile and flexible. The typical timeline in which a candidate gets hired, works hard, and earns a promotion is becoming a thing of the past.

But your employees still want to see themselves evolve. To accommodate them, you need to allow them to move horizontally in your company.

Horizontal career growth doesn’t presume that your employees don’t have the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder. Horizontal career growth revolves around creating value for your business and your employees by increasing your employees’ knowledge.

Horizontal career growth allows for seamless cross-department collaboration and efficient internal communication. Most importantly, it allows your employees to grasp every development opportunity. Employee lifelong training goes hand in hand with horizontal career growth.

Your Employees Want to Make Make an Impact

Millennials and gen Zer’s pay great attention to the ethics and the motivations of the company they work for or want to work for. As seen in Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey, younger employees believe that companies should be making a positive impact on society and the environment.

Younger employees feel strongly about their beliefs and convictions. And they want to work for companies that are not afraid to take a stance.

More and more companies are taking a stance on social and environmental issues. One could argue that their employees are one of the driving factors behind this.

It’s important for them to work for a company that is truly dedicated to improving people’s lives, and lifelong learning does exactly this. Moreover, education is a cause in itself. Lifelong learning helps people, governments, and businesses.

Takeaway

If you want to elevate your company, you need to do more than offer your employees training once in a while. Training shouldn’t be something you only do when you are introducing new tools.

Continuous employee development and training are top priorities in the age of digital disruption. To meet the needs of your employees, you need to start creating direct links between your employees’ learning goals and their performance.

What Is The Role Of CRM In Marketing?

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Role Of CRM In Marketing

Managing your relationships with your most important customers is one of the more delicate aspects of managing a business. However, customer relationship management is also an opportunity to enhance your business reputation and augment your marketing efforts.

Increase Loyalty More Efficiently

Customer loyalty takes time to build but it is a very valuable currency. Once you have earned a customers’ loyalty, you will have a much easier time communicating with them, and they will be more likely to respond to your CTAs. It is often said that there are no shortcuts to earning loyalty and trust from your customers, but this is only partly true. There aren’t any shortcuts but there are certainly some accelerants.

By utilizing a CRM system, you can engage new customers more effectively and earn their loyalty more quickly. In terms of marketing your business, better customer relations management means you are able to capture a higher portion of those that click on your ads or visit your website because of your other marketing. Customers like to stick around when they find a business that treats them well.

You Can Track Your Campaigns

Once a marketing campaign is underway, it can sometimes take a while before the results are known. However, with a CRM system, you can gather valuable data while the campaign is still in progress. This data will inform you how your audience is reacting to your campaign and what impact that is having on their perceptions of your business.

Businesses that are using a CRM system are much more likely to be engaged with their customers. You don’t need a CRM system in order to treat your customers well. However, as any business grows, it becomes harder to micromanage individual customers and clients. A CRM system provides businesses with the perfect tool for capturing snapshots of their customers’ feelings towards the business.

Improve Customer Engagement

The more customers engage with your business, the easier it is to earn their loyalty. You should never take customer loyalty for granted; you will need to work at it. Within the world of CRM software, Salesforce is held in very high regard. If you need to implement Salesforce in your organization, you can find industry-specific salesforce consulting from Alternative Solutions. They provide useful insights and services to help you ramp up your customer engagement, allowing you to stay ahead of your competition. 

Encouraging customer engagement with your business is also the goal of your marketers. Digital marketing is all about getting your users to take specific actions, whether that means signing up for your mailing list or just clicking a link. A CRM can give you a shortcut of sorts, allowing you to improve your customers’ engagement with your business.

A customer relationship management system can augment your marketing in a number of different ways. At the heart of the advantage that it provides lies the simple fact that consumers prefer a business that treats them well. A CRM system makes it much easier to manage individual relationships and to present a positive face for your business that will entice more people to give you a chance.

7 Effective Project Management Tips for Startups

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Project management tips

If you have decided to launch your own startup, thorough preparation and planning are imperative for a successful operation. When working on projects, there are numerous obstacles that can hurt your startup, such as poor communication and budget issues. 

The last thing you want is for your project to run off the rails, so by taking precautionary action and careful planning, you stand a greater chance of a successful project. If you’re new to the business world and aren’t sure where to begin, here are seven effective project management tips that can benefit your startup.

Explain Your Goals

From the offset, you need to establish goals and visions of your project. While it may be tempting to get stuck into the project, unless you are prepared and ready to go, the chances of failure are much higher. There are various goals that you can set for the project, such as costs, business growth, and the types of clients you want to target. Setting measurable goals will mean you can check them at specific points throughout the project. 

Identify Stakeholders 

Anyone who has a stake in your project is a stakeholder. Whether they’re a customer who is putting their cash into a product, a technology partner, or a financier who funds the project, it’s important that you establish and meet up with stakeholders from the beginning to establish how involved they will be throughout the project. You may find that some stakeholders only want to see monthly reports; however, there may be some who want more control and power. 

Create and Develop a Detailed Plan

Before the project begins, you need to have a plan in place which details what can and cannot be shared with stakeholders. This should feature an overall timescale of your project, key deliverables, and costs, resources, and interim deliveries. As the project goes live, your plan will mature as more details are added. You can use tools like a Gantt chart, which will help you calculate where to take your project next. Make sure that your plan clearly identifies what project management methodology you have used as this will provide structure when conducting risk management.

Clearly Communicate 

Whether you’re the leader of your startup, or you have hired a project manager, it’s crucial that everyone is on the same page from start to finish. Regardless of the project you’ve been set, clear and consistent communication throughout is key. If you’re a project manager, it’s likely that your responsibilities will vary, so you need to ensure that everyone on your team knows their duties and stay connected with you. If you’re not available in person, there are video conferencing tools that you can use to engage with your team, such as Skype or Zoom.

Use the Right Methodology

For your startup to flourish, you will need to use the right project management methodology. The one that you pick will reflect on the project requirements you have been set, meaning your mileage may vary. While some project leaders choose the waterfall approach, there are many advantages of agile project management, such as an increased chance of meeting customers’ needs and improving performance transparency and visibility. You can visit websites like Kanbanize that specialize in agile project management, software development, engineering, and IT/dev operations. The company’s mission is to find new management strategies and create powerful tools that can benefit businesses such as yours. 

Encourage Involvement 

Once you have chosen your project management methodology, it’s crucial that all your team are involved in the process from beginning to end. Even if they don’t agree with an aspect of the project, it’s your job as a founder/project manager to encourage your team to share their thoughts and feelings. You can’t expect your team to work at their best if you don’t appreciate their efforts, so developing an effective work culture from the start is important. No matter what project you’re working on, it’s important that you sustain employee enthusiasm throughout, which can help boost productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

Examine and Monitor Project Milestones 

At certain points throughout the project, it’s important that you schedule meetings with your team, clients, and stakeholders. Doing so will give you the opportunity to discuss how the project is going, what hasn’t gone to plan, and how you can improve going forward. Regular meetings will allow you to examine and monitor project milestones and ensure that everyone working on the project is kept in the know.

When managing a project, it’s vital that you’re in control from start to finish. Engaging with stakeholders and clients from the beginning, and keeping communication lines open, is critical when it comes to hitting deadlines and providing an excellent quality of work.

As the owner of a new business, it’s important that you examine and utilize all the tips listed above, which should help you facilitate better project management for your startup.

5 Key Areas in Your Business That Need Protecting

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Business protecting

All businesses, both big and small, have many areas that make up the overall company. A team of employees working in various departments, the financial responsibilities and necessities, public relations, as well as the legal obligations that all businesses are required to follow are just a few of the elements that go into making a company successful. If you’re the head of a business or are in a role that is responsible for the protection of a company, here are five key areas you must keep a close watch over to ensure that the business is protected.

1. Business Documents

Business documents can contain sensitive information about the company, therefore, keeping them secure is vital. There are several ways you can do this, for example, with encryption keys and passwords, or you can upload to a cloud system. Another option is purchasing specialist software that enables you to control your documents as you share them. Virtual deal room software is particularly useful in this way and can help you to manage deals while giving you control over your sensitive information and the company’s intellectual property. 

2. Insurance

Every business is legally required to have insurance, and in order to prevent your company from being shut down or being vulnerable to lawsuits, you must have this in place. There are different types of cover available, which you can discuss with an insurance provider or broker in order to find the best cover for your company. You can add on or take away certain covers as necessary as your business progresses, and you must also make sure your cover is renewed each year.

3. Firewalls

To protect your company networks and data from being hacked or getting viruses, you need to make sure you have top-quality firewalls in place. Protecting both business and customer data is essential, and this topic has been in the spotlight in recent years. To make sure your company and customers are protected, you need to have the best firewalls in place. 

4. Customer Service

Your business’s reputation could also be destroyed if you are not careful. Customer complaints or bad publicity will affect how your business operates, which is why taking care of your customers and how your business is presented to the public is important. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you to identify areas of your customer service that can be improved, and help you to implement a strategy to achieve this. 

5. Accountants

If you run a larger company, then you may already have accountants, but if you’re a smaller business or start-up you might not have this in place yet. Although accountants are an additional expense, it will be worth the cost, especially if you’re not experienced in doing business accounts. They will be able to help you manage your finances and ensure that your tax returns are done properly and on time, which is vital if you want to avoid fines, or worse.

There are many other areas that you also need to manage effectively in order to protect your business, but the five areas above are all good places to start.

5 Tips For Starting A Small Manufacturing Business

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Small Manufacturing Business

Are you thinking about starting a small manufacturing business? The manufacturing industry can be a rewarding one to enter and it is always in demand, so there is every chance that you can find success if you have a good business idea and you are willing to put the work in. While success certainly is possible as a small manufacturing company, it can also be challenging when you first start, as it can be competitive and a good reputation is so important to achieving success in this industry. So, how can you succeed? Here are a few tips that should help you when you first get started.

1. Have Expert Knowledge Of The Market

Basic market research is not enough in a competitive industry, so you need to carry out comprehensive research of your specific market, including into the industry leaders, your close competitors, and your target customers. This will hopefully help you to carve out your own position within the market and define a USP that will help to jumpstart your business.

2. Secure Enough Funding

You need to hit the ground running and impress from day one, which means that you cannot get started until the operation is set up to a high standard. This means that you need to secure enough funding in order to set up the business, as you need to compete from day one, whether this is through savings, loans, crowdfunding, or investments.

3. Buy Conveyor Parts Online

Leading on from this, you might find that it is a smart idea to purchase a used conveyor and then to find belt conveyor parts online, which could be a cost-effective way of getting your hands on a high-quality and reliable conveyor. Conveyors are critical for a smooth, fast, and efficient operation, so this is always an area that you need to research fully and take your time with.

4. Hire The Right People

It will be very difficult to get ahead with your small manufacturing business without the right people powering the operation. This is why you should never rush the recruitment process and take the time to find people that will be hardworking and a good fit; keep in mind that it might be easier to find those that do not have experience and then to provide them with training.

5. Start Promoting The Business Early

As previously mentioned, you will want to hit the ground running with your small manufacturing business and the best way to do this is to start work on promotion as early as possible. This should ensure that people are aware of your brand and what you can provide before launching, which will hopefully help you to attract customers from day one, and start to build a positive reputation for your company.

Starting a small manufacturing company is exciting, but it can also be challenging and quite different from your typical business. These tips will hopefully help you to find some early success and lay the foundation for your business, allowing you to compete with the larger manufacturers in your market.

Raising Capital: 5 Key Tips for How to Raise Money for a Business

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how to raise money for a business

Looking to bring a business idea to fruition? Well, there’s only one way to do it:

Raise enough start-up capital! Having enough cash is key.

Indeed, 29% of start-ups fail because they run out of it. Among other things, it pays for office space, licensing, inventory, software, and marketing your product/service. Want some advice on raising the cash you need?

Keep reading for 5 tips on how to raise money for a business.

1. Self-Fund

The easiest way to raise money for business is often to invest in yourself.

Untie your purse strings, dive into your savings, and withdraw from your retirement account! With any luck, you can access a pool of cash to funnel into your business.

An added benefit? Future investors may be more inclined to hand over their money too. After all, investing your own equity is a good sign that you’re a) confident about the idea and b) serious about making it work.

2. Ask Friends and Family

Loans from loved ones are another popular source of start-up funding.

And for good reason! Your friends and family naturally want you to succeed. If they have the means, then they’re more than likely to help out financially.

Even better, the interest rate on these loans tends to be far lower than you’d get from other lenders. You only have to pay back the cash value of the loan, making it a much cheaper form of funding.

3. Go to Angel Investors

Angel investors are affluent individuals who invest early in promising start-ups.

Assuming that you have a good idea, a solid business plan, and a can-do attitude, they can be another great source of business funding. It isn’t just about the money though.

An added benefit of angel investors is the mentorship they can provide.

Many of them have a business background and a wealth of expertise as a result. Having invested in your business, it’s in their interest for it to succeed! They can provide invaluable ideas, feedback, and suggestions to help.

4. Crowdfund

Countless business ideas have become a reality thanks to the wonders of Crowdfunding.

You present your idea to the world and call upon total strangers to invest small chunks of cash. In return, you offer prizes, products, and additional incentives of that nature. With enough people buying into your idea, you can raise huge sums of cash in relatively short time-periods!

5. Get a Loan

Wondering how to raise capital? Think about applying for a business loan as well.

Depending on the lender, your credit rating may be a factor. Nevertheless, it’s a go-to source of funding for aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere.

Whether you need payroll funding, capital for new technology, or general cash injection, it could be a sensible route to take. Just be wary of the interest rates! Avoid taking out any loan that you can’t afford to pay back.

Exactly How to Raise Money for a Business

Raising capital is essential for any budding entrepreneur trying to start their own business.

Alas, the process involved can be daunting, challenging, and hard-work too. Hopefully, though, this post has highlighted exactly how to raise money for a business. Keep these tips in mind to make it happen!

Want to read more articles like this one? Search ‘funding’ on the website now.

Legal Representation- The Best Option For Settling Personal Injury Claims

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Being involved in a car accident is unfortunate, particularly if you have serious injuries to deal with. Fortunately, you can reach out for legal help and claim compensation under personal injury law. If you take the right approach, you can get coverage for all your medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and any other expense incurred on the injuries. While there is an option to settle the case outside the courtroom, there are certain facts that you need to be aware of so that you get a fair value in compensation. The key aspect in this context is whether you should seek legal representation for settlement or manage it by yourself. Having a lawyer handling it makes sense, even when you don’t want to take the case to trial. Let us explain why it is the best option.

Settlement negotiations can get tricky 

It is a known fact that settlement is the preferred mode for handling personal injury claims because it is simple and quick as compared to court trials. But for a victim, it can be tricky because the insurance company will probably do everything possible to convince you with a lowball settlement. It is certainly easy to give in to their proposition when you are injured or need money direly. There are also risks that you may end up admitting liability for the mishap or giving up certain rights, which can also put you at loss. Obviously, hiring a lawyer to represent you makes sense because they can save you from being taken for a ride during the negotiations.

Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf 

When you have a professional lawyer to represent you, they will handle the entire communications and negotiations on your behalf. This is a wise approach because insurance companies have strong legal teams and only a lawyer can understand their stand and convey yours effectively. Apart from the fact that you have an expert personal injury attorney Nashville representing you, it also leaves you stress-free so that you can focus on your recovery rather than the complexities of the settlement process. All you have to be concerned about is getting the final compensation; rest is the headache of your attorney. 

They will also determine the value of the claim

When you handle the negotiations yourself, there is no way to understand whether the settlement offer by the insurance company is reasonable enough to cover your damages and losses. With their legal knowledge and experience, professional lawyers are capable of calculating the exact value of your claim. The parts like loss due to pain and suffering and cost of mental trauma are particularly hard to calculate. But your lawyer can assess the value of these losses and come up with a fair value of the claim you actually deserve. Obviously, you have the advantage of awareness and will not settle for anything that is less than what you should get.

Without any doubt, hiring an attorney to handle a personal injury settlement is the best decision you can make. And if the settlement does not work out, they can also help you with the next step of recovery. 

The Mistakes You Ought to Avoid as a New Entrepreneur

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New Entrepreneur

Every entrepreneur makes mistakes in their business. These mistakes help you learn a thing or two and teach how to do things differently. They also help you stir your business ahead. That said, some mistakes can be detrimental in that they can affect the operation of your business altogether. 

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of new businesses fail in their first year of operation. Well, half of all the new businesses opened at the same time fail before the fifth year after opening. The primary factor that contributes to the failure of these businesses is the mistakes they make. As an entrepreneur, you must avoid mistakes as much as possible. Let us take a look at some mistakes that you should avoid as a new entrepreneur in business.

Not having a business plan

If you set up a business without a plan, then you are planning to fail. A business plan is a road map that should guide you in the daily operation of your business. It helps you increase your business’s success rate as you can make plans, make important decisions, secure your finances, etc. Further, having a plan ensures that you are on the right path, and this can go a long way in attracting investors as they see your business as a venture worth putting money into. 

Choosing the wrong business structure

Starting up a business requires that you select the business structure you want to operate under. The business structure you choose determines your liability, fundraising ability, hiring ability, and the amount of tax you are subjected to. The best options that you should go for as an entrepreneur are a Limited Liability Company or a Corporation. 

This is to avoid high taxes and liability that could otherwise deter the growth of your business. Your liability being separate from that of your business boosts its growth as investors can invest in your business comfortably. Choose these business structures as you launch your business. Conversion from maybe from a sole proprietorship to Limited Liability Company is such a long process. It will cost you more cash as well in future.

Making costly tax mistakes

As an entrepreneur, you should be wary of taxes. Making tax mistakes attract hefty fines and penalties that can affect the continuity of your business. Some of the tax issues that you need to avoid include things like making errors in reporting income. If the IRS conducts an audit in your business and finds that you have been misreporting your income, you may be charged with fraud that could attract hefty penalties and fines. Therefore, ensure that you balance your invoices and keep records of your income to avoid mistakes in income reporting. Additionally, ensure that you calculate your employees’ payroll correctly to make the necessary tax deduction. Pay all taxes that your business is subjected to. 

Moreover, ensure that you do not make a mistake while deducting the allowable tax deductions as over deduction could lead you into trouble with the taxman. In a nutshell, pay and file your required tax on time to avoid attracting fines and penalties. Some tax issues are complicated. It is recommended that you work with highly qualified tax attorneys if you are struggling with IRS issues. They will particularly help you with legal IRS tax issues to avoid penalties and hefty fines from the IRS. Don’t wait to make the mistakes, though. Engage an attorney right from when you are getting to business.

Ignoring matters Intellectual property

As an entrepreneur, you need intellectual property protection for your product, technology, or service. Have patents for your new product to prevent others from selling or producing them as theirs. Further, ensure that you have a copyright that states the original work is yours, and no one should make copies of it for financial gain. Also, have a trademark for your business that distinguishes you from other traders. Come up with a non-disclosure agreement to assure your customers that their information will remain confidential. Ensure you avoid infringing the intellectual property of other entrepreneurs as this could lead you into trouble.

Having a poor cash flow

Failure to have a financial plan can lead to inappropriate use of money. To avoid this, ensure you have a laid plan on how to spend your money. Only spend your finances of projects that you had earlier planned for. Have a separate business and personal accounts to make it easy to determine cash flow. When it comes to hiring, getting too many employees at a go could strain your business. Hire the right people and consider outsourcing services from the right provider as it could be cheaper than having permanent employees.

Final remarks

Making mistakes as an entrepreneur can lead to financial constraints, legal liabilities, and even worse, business closure! Try to avoid costly mistakes by following some of the tips we have covered. Always learn from every mistake you or any of your competitors make.

Startup Marketing Strategies That Won’t Break The Bank

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Startup Marketing Strategies

Marketing is vital for any business and startups are not an exception to this rule. In fact, it is something that you need to give your brand the initial kick start. Yet, this is one expense that may not be on top of your to-do checklist as a new entrepreneur. Finances are often limited for such companies and you may want to cut expenses in every possible way. Thankfully, there are some out-of-the-box ideas that you can implement to keep your marketing plan on the right track without spending a fortune. And the best part is that you can actually get tangible results in the form of recognition and reach for your new brand by leveraging them properly. Let us list some effective startup marketing strategies that work but surely won’t break the bank.

Leverage customer reviews to build trust

Perhaps the smartest way to propel your new business is by leveraging customer reviews and recommendations. Make sure that you connect with people who buy and use your products and request them to post positive reviews online if they are happy enough. This marketing tactic is ideal because it builds trust and credibility for your brand and products. Needless to say, people trust real people more than they listen to what brands have to say. With a small review, you can actually get much bigger benefits than any ad campaign that is worth thousands of dollars. Surely, there couldn’t be a better way to win your existing and potential customers!

Connect with customers via social media

If extending your reach in the budget is on top of your mind, social media marketing has the potential to get you there. Even as you can create a brand page and promote it for free, there is also the opportunity to connect with the target customers and build real relationships. At the startup stage,  particular, relationships matter the most because they keep your buyers with the brand. Further, people who are connected with you are most likely to spread the good word about your company and get you, new customers, without any hard work. Just be sure to post regularly on the right social media platforms and have content that engages your audience. 

Capitalize on business collaborations 

Strategic business collaborations go a long way in getting you the best results for your promotional plan at the initial stage and later as well. It is as easy as partnering with a brand that has related offerings, which means that they are likely to have the same target audience. The best way to get started is by seeking guidance from the experts in cross promotion who have a thorough understanding of the concept. It is better to collaborate with experts, considering that you may have limited knowledge as a new entrepreneur. These professionals can actually guide you about a solid partnership that can drive the best results for your venture.

Have a referral program in place 

Customer acquisition is the most important challenge for startups and your marketing campaigns need to be tailored to overcome it. Conventional advertising and promotion will work to create awareness but you may not be able to afford them with your budget constraints. However, you can still get new customers by having a referral program in place. Giving a small referral discount or bonus to the existing buyers who bring in new ones would be far more cost-effective but the idea doesn’t fail on the result front. You can expect to drive rapid results without spending a lot of money on promotions.

Use the element of gamification in your campaigns

If you want to engage the customers even as you create awareness for your brand and products, using the element of gamification in your campaigns is a great idea. Consider having offline and online contests to entice customers. Small giveaways like free goodies, deals, and discount coupons take customer engagement levels a notch higher. This marketing tactic not only brings new buyers but also boosts retention and long-term relationships with the existing ones. Surveys, feedback,and personalized emails are some other smart measures you can implement to promote your new business and its offerings.

With so many affordable marketing strategies out there, the options to bring in customers for your new business are endless. Choosing the right ones and implementing them smartly means that you can have access to the most amazing growth opportunities even for your startup venture. And the best part is that they won’t exert pressure on your startup budget. 

The Pandemic & Beyond- How Businesses Can Leverage Virtual Collaboration

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Virtual Collaboration

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is surely going to be a lasting one. There is probably no going back to business as usual for organizations. You can expect work-from-home to be the way of working for the foreseeable future. In fact, some companies may even consider embracing the concept forever, at least for a part of their workforce that can operate remotely and still be productive in their roles. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the pandemic is a catalyst for the widespread adoption of the remote working model. 

Moving on to this working model, businesses and employees have realized the value of connections. And thankfully, virtual collaboration has made it possible for small and large teams to connect just the way they could in a physical office. The only way to survive and thrive in the pandemic and beyond is to leverage virtual collaboration to your advantage. Here are some ways that businesses can do it. 

Have regular check-ins and direct reports 

For teams to give their best in remote settings, weekly one-on-ones are literally essential. One-to-one interactions are also valuable for getting direct reports, diving into the deepest details of projects, and understanding the challenges of your employees. Virtual collaboration tools let you have such sessions as well as scheduled meetings with the team together. Ideally, you should set a date and time for such meetings and have clear agendas too, so that people are prepared when they come in virtually. Having virtual stand-ups is a good idea for team briefing sessions, which let you convey key messages without wasting time.

Keep people productive with high-quality remote experiences

The biggest challenge for remote work is productivity, which becomes hard to achieve when people do not work in office settings. Some people can be super-productive this way, while others may struggle amid the distractions at home. Still, there is much that you can do to keep everyone at their productive best. This is absolutely doable if you focus on providing them high-quality remote experiences. Give them all the tools which they may need to work smoothly. The best laptops, cameras, and headsets make meetings lifelike while software tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack boost productivity as well. Encourage them to use video communication as it fosters closer connections between people and eliminates the feeling of social isolation.

Share the important document and provide access to the right people

Another important way that businesses can employ virtual collaboration is by sharing important documents so that the team members have everything they need to operate seamlessly. Use a reliable file management application that enables the secure file sharing for you and the employees. Ensure that you provide access to the right people so that they don’t hit roadblocks. At the same time, setting permissions for files and apps is equally important if you don’t want critical data and information to get into the wrong hands or even be lost accidentally.

Go the extra mile with employee motivation

Although virtual collaboration has immense benefits from the productivity and performance perspective, you can actually go the extra mile with employee motivation as well. This is something critical during a crisis because people are bound to feel stressed and isolated when cooped up at home. Business leaders need to understand that the employees need a pat on the back right now and the best way to do it is through virtual interactions, rather than just dropping a line via email. There is much you can do- from one-to-one sessions to virtual town halls to take opportunities to motivate and encourage people so that they can keep going. Such interactions enable presence and transparency, which go a long way in instilling confidence and allaying apprehensions.

Lead teams and customers to the new normal 

As businesses navigate through the challenging situation, they have clarity on one thing- this is going to be the new normal. And that’s exactly what they need to make the teams comfortable with, which can be handled with virtual collaboration. Being in touch is as vital to the customers as it is to the teams. Rather than just being in touch with phone calls, emails and newsletters, try to be up close with the customers through video calls. People are craving connections and making that extra effort would surely foster customer and employee loyalty. Businesses that are willing and able to innovate with virtual connections would be able to emerge strong through the crisis and thrive in the post-pandemic era as well. 

Virtual collaboration has huge potential, today and in the future. Mastering it boils down to bringing together a stellar team, providing them with the best tools available and equipping them with efficient processes to stay connected even while they aren’t working from one location. 

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