Time is something that most leaders don’t seem to have enough of. It’s something leaders will confess to be chasing quite often. Despite all the time management tips and practices that can help you be more productive, you find it hard to make enough time to get things done. If it’s not the time spent traveling, then it’s the time you spend on calls with business associates. And worst of all, you end up spending a lot of time in meetings.

While meetings can take up a lot of your time it’s an evil that’s necessary, particularly for you as the leader of an organization. Meetings are essential to the work you do because of their ability to draw people closer and share information. Also, meetings can help you synergize and align your team with your vision and purpose. It’s a great way to mentor your talent and understand what drives their passion. Basically, even if you’re tired of all the meetings you can’t avoid them. You simply have to put up with them.

However, meetings don’t have to be such a drag. In the age of exponential growth and digital revolution, the business world is moving fast, and so should you. Getting trapped in hour-long meetings (if not longer) can seriously hamper your ability to get multiple things done. And believe me, the times today necessitate the need to get multiple things done in the least amount of time.

So how do you go about attending all necessary meetings in your busy day and find the time to strategize, brainstorm and do everything else that a leader needs to do to ensure their business succeeds? Here are some guidelines that can help your meetings be more brisk.

1. Drastically Shortened

Small talk and chatting can take up a lot of time. Sure they’re great tools to break the ice, connect with your team members and even as a warm up to the more serious conversations, however, they just take up too much time. This is the time you can save and instead spend on the more meaningful discussion that serves the meeting’s purpose. Limit all meetings that you attend to a maximum of 30 minutes. This’ll force you to address all the important, pressing matters first and get it off your plate. Restrict conversations to the agenda at hand and if you have time to spare, engage in some light talk to connect with your team.

2. Leave Other Matters Out

Have you noticed that sometimes discussions in meetings can take a dramatic turn into a completely different tangent that’s not related to the agenda? These can drag a perfectly well planned meeting into the realm of tiresome and often needless debate and argument. Avoid this trap by reminding everyone to stick to the topic of discussion. Losing focus is easy, however, maintaining it is pivotal to get the most of your meetings and the limited time you have. Sure, you’ll find plenty of meetings that identify other issues during discussions. Try to park them for now and address them in a later meeting.

3. Balance Your Time

Being a leader means you’re generally a busy person. Your team will constantly be on the lookout to grab your attention. You’re going to be pulled in every direction and it’s tough to balance everyone and everything you need to do. So how do you manage? Set a weekly schedule that covers everyone that’s directly and closely working with you. This way you’ll be able to allocate your time in a balanced way and ensure no one is left out. You’ll be able to give everyone your attention, mentor them when required and address several company matters during these sessions with your leadership team.

4. Be Prepared

If meetings were to commence with everyone being briefed on why they’re there and what the purpose of the meeting is, then you’ll waste precious time bringing everyone up to speed. Being prepared for every meeting is essential. Make sure everyone who is attending knows the agenda before they arrive. So all the reading materials, reports, documents, etc. that will be talked about is shared preemptively with the attendees. This way you’ll definitely get the most out of the meeting within the stipulated time.

5. Focused Group

Ever been in a meeting where some of the attendees just huddle up in a corner listening and taking notes (if that even)? These people often don’t contribute much wisdom to the meetings and I find myself wondering why they’re there in the first place. As an exponential leader, you know you want to be surrounded by talented individuals, right? To curb this, make sure only those people attend meetings that are relevant, know what it’s all about and who will contribute to the discussions. This way, you’ll be locked in a meeting room with the true talent and brains in your company and be able to extract the most of their expertise during discussions.

6. Speak Last

Leaders often have the most to say in meetings. They steer it, drive it, and often feel their say is the most important out of everyone else that’s in the meeting. Sure, you have the most vested in the company, there’s no denying that. However, by speaking too much you’re alluding others to have a say. Plus, if you’re serious about building capacity in your company you need to ensure you have a talented group of individuals around you. Test them out. Hear what they have to say. Let them make mistakes, learn, grow in confidence, and be better future leaders. Your job as the leader isn’t to drive every meeting that takes place in the company, it’s to guide and coach your talent.

With these 6 guidelines, you’ll be able to get the most of your time from all the meetings you attend. This way you’ll guarantee yourself the ability to keep up with the rapidly changing business world around you and ensure your company moves forward at the same (if not faster) pace.

This article originally appeared in Paul Keijzer.

This article was written by Paul Keijzer from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Essential Tips to Boost Business Performance

April 12th, 2018 by Neil Mullarkey

blog

Whether you’re just starting out or thinking of ways to further your ability to succeed with your business, you will certainly benefit from getting into an informed position and learning as much as you can about boosting your business. It means that, with any luck, you can increase your sales and revenue. Boosting your business performance will take time, resources and effort but it’s well worth the investment. It is far easier than you might at first expect, all you need is the know-how to do so and the desire to achieve. If your business performance often slips and slides, then you need to be focused on trying to find a strategy that reliably works for you and keep your business consistently achieving and growing towards further expansion.

  1. Review Business Processes

Business processes are structured activities that help the everyday running of your business, and they’re hugely important. These can include maintaining customer relationships, weekly emails of company updates, checking stock reserves and using a warehouse inventory system to help you know exactly what stock you have and where they’re going. If your business includes a warehouse, then it needs to run like clockwork, and you cannot afford for mismanagement where product and delivery is concerned. Business processes are subject to aging, and it’s important to remember that they will not stay new forever. They need regular review to see if, and where, they could benefit from a change.

  1. Use Best Companies

In order to earn your place among the best, you must work and interact with the best. If you want to boost your business, then you need to make sure you’re working with other companies that are reliable and have a good reputation. You should be able to benefit each other mutually by doing business together, so wherever you can, try and purchase and connect with the local businesses. When it comes to deliveries, make sure that you do business with those that can promise a high standard and that your goods can be with you in time. Do some research and find out which companies have a great reputation for service and excellence. You cannot afford to waste your time on companies that cannot promise brilliance.

  1. Have a Great Work Environment

Your environment needs to be conducive to work for both yourself and your team. A happy and contented team is a productive team, so to boost your business, you’ll need to pay attention to the conditions of where your employees work and spend their time. You need to be providing a bright, clean and clear space where they can work calmly. Surfaces need to be clear from clutter, and efficient and timesaving technology should be installed. If your business processes cannot be carried out at speed, then you’re losing time and therefore money and resources. The office space is far more important than you might have realized, so pay attention to it. If you’re unsure about how to go about brightening up the work premises, conduct some further research or (better yet) interview your staff and ask for their opinions and suggestions.

  1. Maintain Customer Relationships

Booting your business involves increasing how many clients and customers you work with, that’s clear. However what is not so clear, is that you need to maintain the customer relationships you have already been able to form. Customers like to know they’re appreciated and valued, so don’t shirk on your responsibility of letting them know how important and fundamental their custom is to the success of your business. Consider getting customers on an emailing list and updating them of company news such as new and improved products, an increase in company revenue, and other anecdotal pieces of information that let your customers know you’re thinking of them. Strike up a meaningful relationship with customers and ask for their advice on matters too. Find out exactly what the customer wants and work out how you intend on bringing it to them.

  1. Utilize the Power of Social Media

Social media can be the difference between failure and success, so make sure you are harnessing the full force of its power to boost your business. Social media is used by millions of people worldwide, so it’s important that you’re active on it. If you’re going to ramp up your business and sales prospects, then you must rival the competition. Let’s face it, there’s going to be many other companies just like yours that sell similar products and services so you must make yours stand out from the crowd, and the internet is a great place to get started. Make sure your product stands out by using marketing skills such as SEO copywriting, using attractive graphics and video, and adding share buttons to allow your content to be more widely distributed.

  1. Boost Management Skills

As the manager, you’re largely responsible for how the company performs, so working on your ability to lead a team to success is going to boost business performance. Learning how to manage a team expertly comes with time and experience, however, if you don’t have this time to spare, then you should consider attending lessons, workshop, and programs to help you go from strength to strength. Managerial skills have a significant impact on how well a business runs, and you must be up to date with technological advancements and knowledge of how to improve staff morale for example, as well as how to deal with conflict, lateness and maintaining customer relationships. Always be interacting with impartial business professionals and ask for tips and tricks and pose questions.

  1. Be on Hand to Answer Queries

Make sure you’re not a distant manager who fails to interact with staff. Your team will look to you for guidance, advice, and inspiration so make sure you’re in the best position to inspire and impact the wisdom you have down to others. Think about holding an office hour once or twice to a week to discuss matters and points of interest with colleagues and your team. Always be seen to be helpful and to genuinely care about the welfare of both the company and also your workforce.

 


The views expressed in content distributed by Newstex and its re-distributors (collectively, “Newstex Authoritative Content”) are solely those of the respective author(s) and not necessarily the views of Newstex et al. It is provided as general information only on an “AS IS” basis, without warranties and conferring no rights, which should not be relied upon as professional advice. Newstex et al. make no claims, promises or guarantees regarding its accuracy or completeness, nor as to the quality of the opinions and commentary contained therein.

This article was written by SmallBizViewpoints from Small Biz Viewpoints and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Raise your hand if you feel like work-life balance is a myth. When you’re freelancing or running your own business, your job demands a lot. You are all the things: the public relations department, the marketing department, and the one who does the work.

Study after study shows that one of the best things you can do for your productivity and to increase your happiness levels is actually take a break from work. That might feel impossible if you’re a one person show, but it’s all the more crucial. Burn out is very real, and it can derail your career if you let things get too bad.

Setting boundaries on your work is a proven method to create more work life balance. With boundaries on your work, you’ll feel less anxiety and more productive. Increase your happiness with our tips.

Create Work and Play Hours

When you’re a freelancer or working from your own home, it’s very easy to let the lines between work and play blur. You might find yourself running errands at noon on a Tuesday, and then working on the weekend to make up for those hours.

While a flexible schedule is one of the biggest perks of working for yourself, having a regular schedule is also one of the best ways to get things done and still reserve time outside of work.

Your schedule can be whatever you want; maybe you start work at 11am and go until 8pm every day. Just makes sure that once 8pm comes, you put down the work and engage in the rest of your life. Boundaries are important.

Take A Real Vacation

Unplugging is crucial to that work life balance. Trying to sneak in a few hours of work while you’re on vacation can be a slippery slope, and it can create the anxiety and stress you’re supposed to be walking away from.

Americans are some of the most over worked people on the planet. Taking a vacation can restore your creative energy and give both your body and mind the break it needs. Take a few days away from hunching over the computer.

Pursue Hobbies

When you’re not working, what do you do? If the first words that come to your mind are along the lines of ‘cit and watch tv’, maybe you need to pick up a hobby.

Hobbies are ways to truly disengage with your work. When you’re focusing on painting a new piece of art, or knitting a sweater for your puppy, your brain is engaged at the task at hand. There’s no space to worry about work or to reach for your phone to check your social media feeds.

Drawing a line between work and the rest of your life is a favor that you do for yourself. It’s important not to lose yourself in your work. You’re a complete person; increase your happiness by celebrating your life outside of work.

This article originally appeared in Due.

 

This article was written by Kara Perez from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Regardless of your role, having great communication skills only improves your ability to lead. It helps you better motivate your team, create a culture of open and honest feedback, and keep people organized and on the right track.

As someone who works in public relations (and loves language), I spend a significant amount of time figuring out the most effective ways to convey messages. I’ve noticed some of the bad habits people adopt in the workplace, and the impact that changing these habits has on both the outcomes of conversations and leaders’ credibility and confidence.

Here are three you can fix today to be a stronger leader at work:

 

1. Use “Don’t” Instead of “Can’t” When Turning Down Projects

 

communication habits

 

For many people, saying “no” can be one of the most difficult skills to master—and yet the most important. How you say it is almost as crucial as saying it at all.

Most people often use can’t or don’t when turning opportunities down, but one of the two is exponentially better than the other.

When people say they can’t do something, it shows limitations to their abilities. By using don’t, it expresses power in the choice.

For example, if you’re presented with a new business opportunity that serves an audience not in line with your target demographic, instead of saying, “I appreciate the opportunity, but we can’t take on this project now,” say, “We appreciate the opportunity, but don’t serve clients outside the entertainment industry.”

By phrasing your response in an empowering way, you reinforce the value of both yourself and your business.

 

2. Stop Writing “Sorry for the Delay” in Emails



In 2016, journalist Marissa Miller tweeted, “Adulthood is emailing ‘sorry for the delayed response!’ back and forth until one of you dies.”

Since then, tens of thousands have liked, retweeted, and shared her post across other social media platforms. To say it resonated would be an understatement.

I’ve had people apologize to me for a delayed response within the same day of receiving my initial message. Crazy, right?

Why are we so eager to apologize for being a reasonable communicator? It ultimately makes people sound weak and undermines their authority.

Let’s ban the phrase. Instead of writing, “Sorry for the delay,” say, “Thank you for your patience.” You can even elaborate, if appropriate, to include why you were delayed in responding: “Thank you for your patience while I gathered the information required to provide you with clear next steps.”

This one small change will enhance your perception as a competent, confident leader.

 

3. Tell People You’re “Focused” Instead of “Busy”

 

communication habits

 

How often do you hear colleagues talk about their busy schedules?

While I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon, we can improve the way we characterize our activities so our language honors our priorities.

When people say they’re busy, it sounds like their lives are out of control and they don’t know how to manage their time.

Instead of saying you’re busy, clearly state your priorities. That means “I’m so busy” or “Work is crazy right now” becomes “I’m traveling for an event” or “I’m focused on developing two new client proposals.”

Putting yourself back in the driver’s seat immediately makes you feel calmer and more in control.

People often don’t realize how the seemingly trivial things we say can significantly impact the way others perceive us. Making these small changes will increase your capacity to effectively lead others as well as work alongside them. Let’s start empowering ourselves and, in turn, those around us by honoring our intentions, priorities, and full lives.

 

This article was written by Julia Bonner from The Daily Muse and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Best Ways to Market Your Business in an Online World

April 2nd, 2018 by Neil Mullarkey

An increasing number of consumers are going online to try and find businesses who can provide a service that they need. They’ll use Google to find a local electrician or plumber, check out Facebook or Instagram when deciding on which restaurant to go to and take into account recommendations they read online.

It’s estimated that at least one in four Americans make at least one online purchase per week while the average smartphone users will pick up their phone 1,500 times a week. That is without taking into account all the time we spend on social media!

Our lives and the world are moving online at an increasing rate, and it means that, for your business to succeed in the current climate, you need to be able to take advantage of that.

Here are the best ways to market your business in an ever-growing online world.

Embrace social media

The big change in our lives over the past decade has been the growth of social media. Ten years ago, how many of us had heard of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, let alone had an account with them? Facebook now has 2.2 billion monthly users, Twitter 330 million and Instagram 800 million. That is a lot of potential clients to entice to your business with savvy marketing.

There are so many ways you can use social media to your advantage. Take Facebook for example. Setting up a page for your business means you can communicate directly with those people who ‘Like’ you. If those people who like you share your posts, then your business becomes visible to their friends on Facebook who may in turn like you, and this isn’t the only way to expand your reach either. You can advertise on the site for a pretty nominal fee compared to traditional media, or you can take out a Sponsored Post which inserts a post of your choice into the news feeds of the friends of people who already like you, all of which increase your visibility.

That’s just Facebook. On Twitter you can produce short, sharp comments to get your name out there on a range of issues going on in the world and use hashtags to get yourself found by potential clients who had never previously heard of you. Likewise, Instagram; take a photo of your work, upload it to the social networking site and watch it pick up likes from people around the world who, intrigued by what you do, will go through the rest of your feed and possibly head on over to your website.

With 30% of millennials saying that they engage with a brand at least once a month on social media, it is a form of new technology you can embrace cheaply and easily, but can be hugely beneficial to the prosperity of your business.

Build a professional network on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is slightly different from the other social media sites in that it is more of a professional network. It had nearly 467 million members and is a great way to advertise your skills and services as an individual.

One of the most helpful functions on LinkedIn is the groups. These are a great way for connecting with others within your industry or area which can help spread your message. You can promote content or services through these groups to other professionals who may have a need for your services while also picking up ideas from others in how you can improve your own business.

LinkedIn provides a great way of contacting those you might have a mutual connection with. You can message any other member in a group without being connected which can be a huge asset depending on the circumstances. Share updates often, stay in the spotlight and make yourself well known to those around you.

Use SEO to help customers find your business

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of rules and guidelines that can be followed by website owners to optimize their websites in order to improve their search rankings, making them more easily found by search engines.

SEO has become increasingly important as more and more people turn to search engines to find a business or company that can carry out the services they require, whether that’s an online shoe retailer or a local plumber. Take Google for example. Google processes 40,000 searches worldwide per second – that’s 3.5 billion searches per day or 1.2 trillion per year.

Research suggests that the majority of search engine users are likely to click one of the top five suggestions on their results page and very few ventures off the first page at all. It means that if you can get your website onto that front page for the search results of the services you offer in your area, you’ll have a much greater chance of picking up customers than if you are lagging behind on page four or five.

The basics of SEO are easy enough to implement to give your website a boost, and there are plenty of guides to get you started available online. The more seriously you take it, the more chance of rising through the search rankings you’ll have and for that reason, consulting a company that specializes in SEO such as 180fusion can he hugely beneficial.

Use listing services

It isn’t just SEO that can help give your business a boost on Google, but their listing services as well. Using Google My Business or one of the equivalent listing services offered by the likes of Yahoo! or Bing will allow your company to be found more easily, as it will then show up on map services for businesses nearby.

So, in the instance that a person’s car breaks down in a town they have never visited before and they desperately need to take it to a mechanic. If they Google a nearby mechanic, your business would be shown to them based on their location rather than just a generic search of the area. The listing includes your contact number, a rating and reviews of your business which will help drive a potential client or customer your way.

It’s free to get listed; all you have to do is register your business via a form and go through Google’s confirmation process that will verify you exist and do what you say you do. Google Maps passed the mark of 1 billion users in 2017, and as more and more people turn towards it as a navigation tool, it can drastically help drive more people towards your business.

Start a blog

A blog is a great way to drive traffic to your website as well as helping you engage with your customers. By writing fun and informative articles on the issues surrounding the industry you are in, you can get people visiting your site, and from your blog they may end up looking at your services, becoming new clients along the way! The best articles to write are topical ones as they will get people talking, as well as cementing you as an expert in your field.

Readers will be interested in what you have to say, and if you can position yourself as an expert, they will be impressed by your authority on the subject. They might even share the article if they agree or learn something from your position. If they do share it, this ,in turn, will increase traffic to your website and increase your visibility, which can only be good for business.

The other type of articles that people like is lists. If you run an interior design company, posting blogs such as “10 ways to improve your home on a budget” will not only get people onto your website but will also a publicize your products or services by subtly mentioning a couple that you can provide within the blog.

If you go down the blog route, just make sure to have a regular stream of posts that will keep people coming back. A dormant, abandoned blog is worth nothing. It’s key to post consistently, often on a set day or time, perhaps that’s twice a week, weekly or even monthly.

Use email marketing

Email marketing isn’t easy; how many of us see an email from a company we once bought a product from or ticked a box to receive details of offers from and instantly decide to delete it? In fact, very few people will even bother to open it. To succeed with email marketing, you need to give something away whether that is a discount code, a buy-one-get-one-free offer on the stock you need to be cleared or a special item only available to those on the mailing list.

If a consumer knows that every time an email drops into their inbox from your business, there is going to be something of value to them contained inside it, they’ll read it. Sending them mere details of products or updates is all very well and good, but the real way to turn those emails into sales is by ensuring that you are sending the client something worthwhile.

 


The views expressed in content distributed by Newstex and its re-distributors (collectively, “Newstex Authoritative Content”) are solely those of the respective author(s) and not necessarily the views of Newstex et al. It is provided as general information only on an “AS IS” basis, without warranties and conferring no rights, which should not be relied upon as professional advice. Newstex et al. make no claims, promises or guarantees regarding its accuracy or completeness, nor as to the quality of the opinions and commentary contained therein.

This article was written by SmallBizViewpoints from Small Biz Viewpoints and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Congratulations!

You’ve successfully advertised for an open position (or hundreds), and you’ve gotten a strong response not just from job applicants but from qualified job applicants who can step into this role and make your organization shine.

There’s just one problem… Top quality applicants are always in high demand. So the perfect person for your job may be on the verge of getting an offer with another organization.

Is there anything you can do to sway them in your favor? Absolutely. As a recruiter or hiring manager, you have the power to make sure your top picks accept an offer with your organization over others they may be interviewing with, and it won’t always come down to paying more. Here’s where to start:

1. Put Your Best Offer On The Table

You won’t be a very successful hiring manager or recruiter if you consistently bring in candidates above and beyond the pay range you’re hiring for, so “pay more!” isn’t a strategy you can apply across the board. That said, it’s possible to mind your budget while coming right in with an aggressive offer from the start.

If you know you’ve found the right candidate for the job, consider how much it would cost to lose them: finding and replacing your second choice when they realize it’s not the right job in the long term, the lost opportunity from hiring someone with less experience or drive, and so on. You can avoid those expenses by bringing your best offer to the negotiating table from the start.

Can’t budge on salary? Think through other ways you can be flexible in advance, such as a one-time starting bonus, relocation costs, extra benefits such as time off, or partial-salary advance as a one-time bonus–anything you can do to show your ideal candidate that you want to make this work.

2. Pay Attention To The Tiny Details

As you vet candidates, your internal radar is reviewing all of the tiny details for fit, including commuting time, career growth, and values. But don’t stop at evaluating whether or not the candidate is a good fit for you–return the favor and help the candidate think through whether or not it’s a good fit for them by paying attention to and addressing all the tiny details that come up throughout the interview process.

For example, if the candidate comments on a lack of teamwork at their current job, emphasize how your company facilitates and rewards employees who help each other succeed. If the candidate is trying to avoid management responsibilities in favor of staying within a specialized career track (it happens–trust us!), speak to how you encourage and develop employees within their specialties when they choose not to advance into management positions. Every little detail helps the candidate form an attachment that can help them see themselves working for you.

3. Own Up To The Challenges

Whether you’re hiring for one of the Best Places to Work or a five-member startup, every workplace has its unique opportunities and challenges. By all means, entice candidates with what’s great about your company in the initial stages of the interview process, but toward the end of it you need to own up to the challenges, too. Not only will this transparency help a candidate make a decision that will be the best long-term fit, but being the recruiter or hiring manager who was honest and vulnerable will reflect well on your organization.

Here are several phrases that–when customized to your company’s situation–will show candidates you understand where they’re coming from:

  • “Working here can be intense, but here’s what our associates have accomplished in the past…”
  • “We know it will be a commute, but here are the perks we offer that will compensate for that…”
  • “We aren’t paying what Google pays, but here’s why our employees think it’s worth it…”.

4. Don’t Get Clingy (And Other Soft Skills No-Nos)

You wouldn’t go on a second date with a person who called and emailed you to check in on how much you like them every few days, would you? So don’t make that mistake with an in-demand candidate, either. Follow up when you say you will and keep the conversation warm and energetic–not smothering and frantic.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, don’t play it too cool or try to pressure a candidate into accepting an offer as is. Aloofness will only encourage a candidate to assume they’re not your first choice, and aggressive phrases like, “This is a very competitive offer, and it’s only available for seven days before we rescind it,” will have any candidate worth their salt rethinking the job.

Ready to make an offer? Keep these tips in mind, and the best candidate for the job is sure to say, “Yes!”


This article originally appeared on Glassdoor and is reprinted with permission. 

 

This article was written by Anisa Purbasari Horton from Co. Create and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Manager working on a project in open space office

In the competitive world of business, it is vital that you are always on the look-out for opportunities to take your operation to the next level. Otherwise, it will be near impossible for you to stand out from your competitors and to make an impressive impact on your area of the industry. With so many options available to you, the prospect of expanding your business might feel overwhelming. That is why you should establish a clear plan and take this process one step at a time. Below are five pieces of advice that will help you to do this.

Aim high with your networking plans

As a business owner, it is vital that you are an expert at networking. Failing to successfully interact with your industry peers will make it extremely difficult for you to move your business forward. That is why you should attend at least one networking event per month. You should also look out for events that aren’t specifically for networking purposes but could still be a great chance for you to find new contacts. For instance, you could attend the launch party of another company. If it is an organization that you admire, you should use this as an opportunity to meet with their branding experts, their public relations team, and their accountancy firm. Once you have identified these professionals, you could pick their brains or find out if they would be willing to provide you with a similar service. During the networking process, you should endeavor to aim one step higher than your own business. Of course, it is important to have contacts on your own level. However, you should also look out for businesses that are a little further on than you. Associating with these companies will help you to appear successful by association. It could also give you access to their resources and help you to secure impressive trade deals.

Work with the right organizations

In order to avoid time-consuming and costly mistakes, you need to ensure you are working with the right organizations. Instead of going it alone, it is a good idea to find experts in expansion. This is especially important if you have no prior experience in growing a business. If you are determined to benefit from competitive marketing strategies, online marketing, website developing services, content marketing, business and cost analysis, and vendor management, you should go online to learn more. Not only will this help you to grow your business, but it will also allow you to do so on an online platform. This is a fantastic way for you to thrive in the modern world and to engage with a younger audience. It is also a great opportunity for you to push your expansion outside of your local area. If your organization has the potential to function nationally or even globally, why place limits on your success?

Take your business national or even global

If you are determined to see your business conquer the world, it is important that you create a clear plan for expansion. Although it is essential that you aim high, you don’t want to run the risk of spreading yourself too thinly. That is why you need to ensure your local business is running effectively. Before you make any big moves, you should take a step back and evaluate your existing operation. Are there any areas where you could be saving money? Perhaps you could automate an element of your production. Or, maybe you could consider moving your business to the cloud. Whatever you decide, the most important thing is that you come to these conclusions before pushing forward with your plans for growth. Otherwise, you could end up making the same mistakes on a larger scale. Another important step is to invest in your human resources department. As your business grows, it is likely that you will have to delegate even more of your important tasks. This will give you the time you need to focus your attention on more pressing matters. In order to make this a straightforward process, you need to ensure you have the right people working for you. This is your best chance of managing your stress levels. It is also a great way for you to protect staff morale, as you don’t want to face giving your team more work than they can handle.

Make clever investments

If you are hoping to successfully take your business to the next level, you will also need to get your finances in order. You can achieve this by establishing an impressive investment portfolio. This could involve anything from backing smaller businesses to purchasing stocks and shares. You should also have multiple savings accounts on the go, with funds that can be directed towards different areas of your operation. Whilst there are a number of benefits to going it alone, it is vital that you also consider securing a substantial loan. Although this could be a risky strategy, it could also be a great way for your business to gain momentum. Instead of taking lots of small steps that are spread out over a number of years, a huge injection of cash could help you to move your business forward at lightning speed. This is a fantastic way for you to create a buzz around your company and to establish a large following.

Get feedback from your clients

Finally, you should endeavor to get helpful feedback from your customers. This is an essential step if you are going to avoid alienating your existing client base. As your business grows, it is important that you don’t lose sight of your customer care. Of course, you will want to generate impressive profits, but this should never be at the expense of the services you provide. That is why you should send out anonymous surveys to your company mailing list. You should also host an online live chat, where loyal customers can offer constructive feedback, urgent complaints, and uplifting compliments. Then, after you have collected the necessary information, you will know whether or not you need to drive more money into your customer relations team. It will also be easier for you to put together useful staff training days that will help your operation to stay on track.

 


The views expressed in content distributed by Newstex and its re-distributors (collectively, “Newstex Authoritative Content”) are solely those of the respective author(s) and not necessarily the views of Newstex et al. It is provided as general information only on an “AS IS” basis, without warranties and conferring no rights, which should not be relied upon as professional advice. Newstex et al. make no claims, promises or guarantees regarding its accuracy or completeness, nor as to the quality of the opinions and commentary contained therein.

This article was written by SmallBizViewpoints from Small Biz Viewpoints and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Get Inspired By Borrowing These Innovative Ideas In 2018

March 19th, 2018 by The Franchise Development Team

borrow-these-innovative-ideas-in-2018Check out VP of Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations, Paul Koulogeorge’s latest article in Forbes, Get Inspired By Borrowing These Innovative Ideas In 2018, where he shares some marketing strategies that are worth taking a look at this year.

5 Keys to Successful Email Marketing

March 14th, 2018 by Neil Mullarkey

successful email marketing

Successful email marketing is a critical, and often overlooked, element of digital marketing.

According to an article on Inc:

But after a couple decades of Nigerian prince schemes, Spanish lotto scams, and mountains of unsolicited spam (which is never a good marketing tactic), how do people feel about email now? Is it still a worthwhile tactic for small-business owners and marketers to pursue?

The simple answer is yes.

Take a look at the graphic below and you’ll see how important successful email marketing is to your bottom line–generating nearly 2X the ROI of the next more cost-effective tactic.

successful email marketing

Image courtesy of Data Mentors

Successful email marketing

Successful email marketing requires 2 tactics: 1) list building and 2) email campaigns.

So, you’ve really got your work cut out for you. Here are some tips to get you started:

List building

Before you can have a successful email marketing campaign, you need a good list. In the bad old days before CAN-SPAM, you could simply buy a list and spam a bunch of folks with your message. Some experts advised against such “cold messaging”, but it worked well if you were very selective in purchasing a list of likely buyers. List buying was an art in those days and I got paid a lot of money to guide businesses on which list purchases were likely to result in high returns. And, selling lists is what kept a lot of small, specialty magazines in business–they provided unique access to highly targeted subscribers.

Now, of course, you can’t buy lists, so you have to develop your own (and comply with CAN-SPAM regulations which you can find by following the link above). Since, the law makes your email client (for instance, Constant Contact, AWeber, or MailChimp) responsible for your violations, they can get hit with a big fine, so they’re invested in keeping you honest in this.

So how do you go about building a list?

  1. Include your sign-up form everywhere-on the home page and each page of your website, in your store (if you’re a brick and mortar), at events, on social platforms …
  2. Offer something (like an ebook, coupon, etc) in exchange for signing up for your email list
  3. Don’t ask for information you don’t need so it’s fast and easy for visitors to sign up. Maybe all you need is an email address and name. Don’t forget you can get additional information after they sign up.
  4. Make your sign-up form obvious without interfering with user experience (I hate those popups that block content until you either sign up or x out). I prefer a small band at the bottom of the screen that asks for an email address or something that pops up as the visitor starts to scroll away from your site. Remember, your website is critical for SEO and you don’t want to mess with anything that reduces visits, bounces, or time on site.
  5. When you send an email, include social sharing and the ability to subscribers to forward your email to a friend. These are great ways to build your list.

Email marketing campaigns

Your email client should make it easy to create attractive and professional email campaigns to subscribers. I use AWeber because of their flexibility and ease of creating campaigns (they recently added drag and drop capabilities).

Here are some things to keep in mind as you craft your campaigns:

  • Your goal. What do you hope to accomplish with the email.
  • Timing — how often, time of day, day of week, etc. Sure, email is available whenever a user wants to view it, but it’s more likely to get opened soon after it’s sent. The better your timing, the better your open rate.
  • Optimize open rates with a great pre-header, the description users see when they check their email. Check out the image below:

successful email marketing

  • Make your email easy to read and inviting on multiple screens (especially mobile) with great design.

Keys to successful email marketing campaigns

1. Strong content

Just like everything in marketing, the message is everything.

  • Make your content (both text and images) attractive and inviting, use lots of white space and a little humor doesn’t hurt. The more an email looks like a personal conversation with a friend, the better it will perform.
  • Personalization doesn’t end with including the person’s name. Make the email look like it was designed especially for each reader.
  • Don’t waste your readers’ time with nonsense: say what you need and provide links to more information.

2. Timing

You don’t want to overload your readers by sending too many emails, but you want to use your email marketing to build loyalty and engagement with your target audience. That’s a tight balancing act.

And, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. A good gauge of the right frequency comes from analytics. If your open rates drop or you start getting complaints or a bunch of folks unsubscribe, you’re probably emailing too often. If you’re not getting folks unsubscribing or complaining, you could probably send more frequent emails.

The key is to send emails when you have something worth saying to your audience.

3. Use marketing automation

Marketing automation often receives a negative knee-jerk reaction because it sounds like you’re treating your subscribers as robots who all get treated the same. But, it’s actually the opposite. Whether you prefer Salesforce or Hubspot or some other marketing automation tool, successful email marketing requires you send the right content to the right people at the right time and that means using marketing automation.

No marketing automation platform works well unless you spend time keeping information up-to-date to ensure the content the subscriber receives is targeted to their product interests, stage in the customer journey, and other key elements, like gender.

4. Use analytics

The wonders of digital marketing provide a plethora of metrics which should guide every marketing decision you make. Here are some metrics you should watch:

  • Subscriber data such as new subscribers and unsubscribes
  • Performance of your email form–I do this by setting up goals in Google Analytics, but AWeber also shows me how many times my form was shown and how many subscribers were generated. I periodically do A/B testing to determine the optimal form, placement, etc.
  • Campaign performance–how many opens, how many clicks, and, if you’ve installed tracking codes, goal completions based on each campaign.

5. Mobile-friendly

Making your content mobile-friendly is a key to successful email marketing. According to Buffer, 47% of emails are opened on a mobile device. Here’s their advice for making your content easier for mobile users:

  • Convert your email to a one column template for an easy mobile fix.
  • Bump up the font size for improved readability on smart phones.
  • Follow the iOS guideline of buttons at least 44 pixels wide by 44 pixels tall.
  • Make the call-to-action obvious and easy to tap. Above the fold is preferable.
  • Consider ergonomics. Many users tap and scroll with their thumb, so keep important tappable elements in the middle of the screen.

The do’s and don’ts of successful email marketing

Here’s a nice infographic if you want more keys to successful email marketing:

successful email marketing

Infographic courtesy of: Campaign Monitor

This article originally appeared in Hausman Marketing Letter.

This article was written by Angela Hausman and PhD from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Play-Based Preschool Celebrates Opening in Mokena

February 26th, 2018 by The Franchise Development Team

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the franchisor of The Goddard School® preschool system, recently announced its latest School opening in Mokena, IL. The new School, owned and operated by Neel and Dolon Saha, is hosting a grand opening ceremony for families throughout the community on Saturday, February 24, from 10 AM to noon.

 

At the grand opening, children will learn about the solar system through STEAM-focused activities. A police officer from the Mokena Police Department will also visit the preschool to hand out Child Identification Kits to parents and walk them through completing the kits.

 

Prior to joining The Goddard School, owner Neel Saha held a 30-year career as a software and management consultant for Fortune 500 companies while his wife and coowner of the School, Dolon, taught science, math and technology to elementary, middle and high school students for 11 years. After a colleague mentioned that he planned to purchase two existing Goddard School locations in another city, Neel was immediately intrigued by the franchise as it is related to education and began considering it as a potential business venture. With a strong passion to help children develop a lifelong love of learning, the Sahas ultimately decided to bring The Goddard School to their community.

 

“By bringing The Goddard School to Mokena, we’re not only filling a need for a high-quality preschool for area families, we’re also giving back to a community that we’ve been a part of for more than 25 years,” Neel said.

The Goddard School preschool system prides itself on its unique dual-management system, a distinguisher in the early childhood education industry. Franchise owners are onsite at each location and work alongside an education director, who communicates and works with teachers, as well as implements the School’s play-based curriculum. This system ensures a hands-on, community-focused approach when it comes to early childhood education. With each School opening, The Goddard School also has a local economic impact, creating an average of 20 to 25 jobs within the community. 

 

The Goddard School’s play-based F.L.EX.® Learning Program (Fun Learning Experience) is grounded in research on how children learn best: children experience the deepest, most genuine learning when they are having fun.

 

At The Goddard School, the focus is on building each child’s emotional, academic, social, creative and physical skills to provide a well-rounded experience and ensure each one becomes confident, joyful and fully prepared in school and in life.

 

“With nearly 30 years of experience in early childhood education, The Goddard School’s unique dual-management system creates lasting community bonds as owners are onsite at the Schools to provide support to the communities they serve,” said Joe Schumacher, CEO of GSI. “One area that truly sets us apart from other childcare systems is our philosophy based on learning through play, designed to teach and reinforce 21st century skills, including social behaviors such as communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. This philosophy fosters a lifelong love of learning and creates meaningful connections at an early age.”

Jobs relating to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) are currently the fastest growing segment of the U.S. economy, and a focus on developing 21st century skills such as creativity and innovation, as well as the abilities to collaborate, communicate and think critically, is expected to increase over time. By introducing 21st century skill concepts early on, children develop a strong foundation and a passion for STEAM at the very beginning of their education.

For more information about The Goddard School located at 11900 Francis Rd in Mokena, visit www.goddardschool.com/MokenaIL.mokena