A major element that smaller companies sometimes forget is that perception is reality. This is one of the main reasons that larger companies continue to thrive and can crush smaller competition, even if a better product is being offered by the smaller company.
We associate largesse with stability, big budget, and precision whether that is the case or not.
As a result, it behooves smaller firms to make your business look bigger. This is definitely not about being dishonest in your claims, or over-selling what you can actually produce. However, with a few tweaks and tricks you can give the consumer the satisfaction that they are getting the same stability and value as they would with your largest competitor.
BONUS: If your structure is less corporate, more focused on personalization, and an overall better product…..this strategic combination will only lead to repeat clients!
Never underestimate the power of free! Freebie Marketing is the idea of giving something away for free to customers to attract clientele and get consumers familiar with your Brand. This can be a tangible item, a service, or a consultation. But giving people a taste of exactly what your business has to offer can be the deciding factor that allows you to triumph over a competitor. Due to human nature, we believe what we see and have experienced; business is not that different.
If you are a new business or finances are tight, freebie marketing doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive. Discounts and coupon codes are also highly desired by consumers because again, they are able to try your brand without feeling as though they are committing to something they may not be completely sold on yet. 10% off during a transaction and an enjoyable experience can easily equal a customer for life.
In short, you have to tailor discounts to fit your business model. The blog at Intuit has provided some great information about how to utilize freebie marketing to yield the most results.
Money management is arguably the most important aspect of your small business. It canalso be one of the more time-consuming tasks. Mobile comes to the rescue again!
Utilizing mobile apps for money management is a smart move and is easy to implement, mostly on iPhone or Android. Plus, as a small business owner there are many opportunities to deduct expenses as long as you keep very accurate records.
Intuit Small Business talks of 4 Apps (3 of the 4 have free versions,) that aid you in money management and more!
Read it all HERE for detailed information about Mint, Shoeboxed, MileBug, and Expensify.
It’s a tough climate out there for small business because capital can be hard to come by. This means that entrepreneurs need to evaluate their situations and find alternative ways to fund their ideas.
1. Don’t quit your day job. You could have the best idea, and in the future it could prove to be highly profitable but if it’s not quite a steady gig yet, do both for a while. This also gives you an opportunity to suss out your markets without taking on all the risk.
2.) Make contract work a goal. If you can get hired for a few events, you not only hone business skills and best practices, but you should also end up with a great list of client recommendations and hopefully repeat business!
3.) Place yourself firmly “outside the box.” Can you get perks and advice from taking part in University studies, free networking opportunities, or local festivals? Then take advantage of it now while you have the time. This is a great way to get cheap, but valuable feedback.
The Washington Post discusses capital for small business (or lack thereof,) as well as suggestions to supplement entrepreneurship. Read the full article HERE for new ideas and tweet us with non-traditional ways that your company has been attracting capital.
It’s still early enough in Q1 that new steps can be outlined and put into place to revitalize small business. Anything that allows you to “work smarter, not harder,” should be employed in any size business but especially small or start up companies. In smaller companies, there are just as many tasks to be done but less hands on deck to do them.
Smallbiztechnology has compiled a great list of tasks both large and small that need to completed on a daily and weekly basis in order to ensure increased productivity. A critical step that can be taken is to incorporate technology into your daily responsibilities. Mobile devices, as well as the expansion of software in the mobile format make it easier to accomplish file-sharing on the go. Secondary adjustments to consider are a comfortable wardrobe, limiting email perusal to a couple of times a day, and regulating office supplies to control those costs.
There are a few other suggestions, 10 in total that work to revitalize small business. Read through the list HERE, employ them all, and see positive changes start to take place within the walls of your company.
Want to avoid actual and productive work? Have a business meeting! Historically, business meetings are boring, notorious time wasters. And yet, Quarter after Quarter, week after week, meetings are called by all levels of management. This is not to say that sometimes meetings are necessary to business development and company updates, but on the whole they fail to accomplish the goals of informing and motivating staff.
Office-wide meetings don’t have to be the drudge of your work day because there are many ways to make them more productive. The primary rule to abide by when having business meetings is that they should not exceed 1 hour of time. When you go over an hour, employee minds will start to wander to unfinished tasks and speakers will most likely have started to tirelessly repeat themselves.
Second, create a concise agenda and distribute it ahead of time. This gives participants time to prepare relevant questions and commentary. It helps to focus on a single point or goal when both developing the agenda AND leading the meeting. Not only do presenters have a better chance of staying on-task, but when minutes are sent to employees they can judge whether or not the goal of the business meeting was actually achieved.
Inc.has put together an even more detailed list with highly applicable tips for having more productive business meetings. Read the full postHERE.
This winter season, there is a huge threat to your business. Workers will be affected and productivity could influence Q1 profits and loss.
The culprit of these dreadful possibilities, isthe FLU. Cold and Flu in the office have been particularly aggressive this year with people sick for weeks at a time, never fully recovering and infecting co-workers and family members.
As an employee, it can be difficult to balance a demanding career with being sick and not wanting to take time off. Most people are afraid of getting behind in their daily tasks, or of losing money (especially if they are paid hourly.)
Business News Daily has a few ideas for trying to prevent the spread of the Flu in the office as well as some general rules of thumb for contagious illnesses. Read the full articleHERE.
The Number 1 tip that you can do as an employer to prevent a full-fledged epidemic in the office is to push employees to use their sick time when they are under the weather. That’s what it’s there for.
The employee/employer relationship is a delicate balance between expectations, effort, and of course, profit. You can hire the most talented and sought after candidates for your company, but if you don’t make your employees happy, they will find another employer that will.
It’s certainly not about depriving your business and bending to the whim of every employee, but how an employee feels about your company and their position has a direct effect on productivity. If an employee feels under-appreciated or unchallenged they will be less focused on representing your product. Some of the best ways to foster the employee/employer relationship is to promote a healthy work and life balance, as well as provide small incentives and recognition.
Business News Daily has some amazing tips about how to boost morale and foster employee growth.
Twitter is a good source for Marketers to attract customers and publish pertinent information about their company and products. However, as with all forms of social media there is now spam to contend with, as well as competition in appealing to followers. There are a LOT of people and brands using Twitter so you have to continually create innovative content that encourages interactions and improves your Twitter strategy.
Providing employees the opportunity to put money into a 401(k) is a good business practice. However, many times it gets distorted with fees and unclear details. To simplify, higher fees on your 401(k) means that your investment will grow at a much slower rate. For larger firms this is not a huge drawback, but smaller businesses can get crushed with unnecessarily higher rates. As a business owner, it’s your job to make sure that what you are offering in 401(k) solutions is actually a worthwhile investment for your employees.
CBS News Money Watch has provided a concise and easy to understand article about 401(k) fees, how to discern what is happening with retirement at your own company, and how to make the transition from high fees to reasonable ones.
For details on figuring out the 401(k) plan that is best for the size of your business, read the full article HERE and revise today!