Let’s take you back to that moment you first got an idea. An idea that planted in your brain and failed to go anywhere. It grew, it evolved, and suddenly you had the inclination and the drive to start your own business because of that one seedling of an idea. Being passionate about what you do helps, and it can certainly be a huge driving force throughout your business journey. But there are things that every entrepreneur can fail to be a master of, and one of the important ones happens to be marketing.
Marketing is a huge part of your business, you know that as well as anybody. But getting it right can be tricky and now with a more digital focus it can be harder than ever to get your business seen and heard. There are some common marketing mishaps that everyone can be guilty of making. I wanted to highlight some of them for you to do and hopefully offer a quick tip or a resolve to help you overcome it once and for all.
It is important to realise that we live in a digital world where everything seems to be done online these days, and one of the big marketing tools any business has is social media. This can be a big way to get your business seen and in front of people that normally wouldn’t see your business and what you are all about. However the common mishap associated with social media is the fact that businesses do not utilise it enough. It is important to consider having a separate strategy for social media and really think about what you put out there for people to see. You may also want to focus on some of the more popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and growing those audiences collectively.
Thinking you have what it takes to control all aspects
It is so easy to think that you can control every aspect of your business, and collectively you can, but that doesn’t mean to say that you should implement every aspect personally. Good delegation means that you know when to give out responsibility and ultimately when to outsource. That means that for things like marketing, getting a digital agency involved in your strategy and also your website could be the way forward. They can help you with your online visibility and make it their primary mission while you focus on other aspects of your business.
Not having a marketing campaign in place
Going back to basics often means that you need to rethink some of the areas of your business and doing this regularly with your marketing focus could be the right way forward. Often, businesses don’t have a strategy or campaign in place for marketing and this can be your downfall. Think about the hype there’s around Christmas and TV adverts at the moment, that is a separate marketing campaign in itself. Regularly reviewing what you are doing will help you to seize more opportunities. Start off small if it is easier, focusing on one product or service that you wish to promote more than others. Or even just focus on a concept of your business, for example, humanising your business in some way and giving it a voice to be heard digitally and physically.
Being consistent? Yes. Boring? Definitely!
You may be consistent online, updating your status and regularly checking in with your audience. You might have an up to date website and doing well in search engine rankings. Consistency is very important, but are you running the risk of just doing the same thing over and over again? Instead, why not focus on what you say as well as being consistent. Be open-minded to sharing content in different ways like in video format or through images. Maybe step out of the comfort zone and try a Facebook Live or Instagram stories. You never know what kind of reception you get but it could be well worth it to your business.
Forgetting more traditional methods
Finally, we may feel like we live in a digital world but does that mean we are focusing too much on the digital methods and less on the traditional methods? Why shouldn’t we think about marketing through TV or radio anymore? Advertising in the local press or even through mail shots. Some of these older methods do still provide results, and can often be determined by your customer demographic.
I hope that this helps you improve your marketing in your business.
There are few ways that you can improve your office atmosphere more than making sure that you empower your employees as much as possible. Here are some tips on how you can do that…
Set Your Ego Aside
As the boss of a company, or as a manager, you may feel that you’re the most important person in the room – you earn the most, you have the most skills and experience, et cetera. But it’s absolutely crucial to set this ego aside – partly because it would be extremely off-putting for others to deal with but also because there will always be someone around who’s smarter than you in almost any area out there. Putting your ego aside means that you can learn from the people you’re working with and that they can give you as much growth as you’re giving them.
It’s important to make sure that your employees have all the information they need to be able to make decisions and to carry out what they need to do without asking you for help or for confirmation all the time. Trusting them with that information is a way for you to shake off any worry when you go on vacation or take a day off. Make sure they’re aware of all the processes within the office – for example, if the computers go down then they know to call the managed IT services company that you work with.
Make Sure Your Office Is Flexible
Flexibility is often key to people’s happiness in their work lives. If they get their work completed, does it matter if they’re in the office from 8-4 or from 10-6? Can parents who need to pick their kids up work from home for a couple of hours in the evening so they can leave early? Can you be flexible for any employees who may have other issues in their lives, such as caring for sick or elderly relatives? Are people able to work from home so that they can save the time, energy and expense of a commute? Are you happy for people to attend doctors’ appointments during the working day so that they can feel as healthy as possible and achieve as highly as they have the potential to do? Allowing people this flexibility will make everyone happier.
Communication is absolutely key in workplace environments. If someone has an issue, listen carefully to them so that you can work out how to fix it. You have a responsibility to people to do your best to make sure that they feel comfortable at work, and if they don’t, you need to work out what the problem is. You want to make sure that the people you work with are happy to tell you the truth instead of what they think you want to hear.
Let Mistakes Go
It can sometimes be very easy to get frustrated when people make mistakes at work, especially when what they should have done is entirely obvious to you. But it’s important to remember that everyone has different life experience and a different work history, that nobody is perfect and everyone is in a different stage of development – and of course that even though you’re now at the head of a company or in a managerial role, you once made mistakes too. Make sure that you’re approachable enough for people to come to you to figure out how to fix their errors, and make sure that you forgive their mistakes, and that you forget them once you see that they’ve learned from them. Holding a grudge is good for no one at all.
When someone does good work, you need to acknowledge it and make sure that you praise them for it. People need to feel as though their time and hard work is noticed and rewarded – it makes them a lot happier and it will ensure that they continue working just as hard. It doesn’t have to be a big deal – just call them into your office, and tell them that you’ve noticed they’ve done excellently lately. If possible, it’s always good to reward particularly good work appropriately, whether it’s with a pizza party for a team that has hit all their targets or a raise or bonus for whoever has done particularly well.
It isn’t always easy to make people feel happy and empowered at work, but these tips should help along the way. Praise people, notice their good work, forget their errors, and give them the help they need to go far, and you’ll all get along excellently.
Do you want to grow your small business? Maybe you just want to learn more about the fundamentals so that you can take things to that next level. Either way, there are a few things that you can do to try and help yourself.
Build a Sales Funnel
The fastest and easiest way for you to grow your company would be to try and build your own sales funnel. If you don’t have one already then you could be making a monumental mistake. If you are willing to invest in a sales funnel, then you’ll soon find that this can help you to automate your business and it can also help you to grow and scale much easier too. Sure, you might need to put in some work at the front end but when you have all of the processes established, you’ll soon find that it is smooth sailing from that point on.
Computer Management System
Manually tracking all of your transactions can be difficult to say the least. Nobody likes to do it, and at times it can easily be cumbersome. If you do want to scale your business quickly then it helps to use a computer management system. There are so many of them out there for you to choose from but at the end of the day, you have to choose one that aligns with the way that you work.
Research the Competition
If you want to get ahead of the market then you have to make sure that you understand your competition. You need to research them properly and you also need to do everything you can to uncover their strategy. This will help you to cater your own marketing campaign so that it better meets your needs and it will also help you to really take things to that next level.
Loyalty programs remain to be the best way for you to increase sales. It costs three times more to acquire a new customer when compared to selling to one that you already have. Building a loyalty program will help you to tap into this potential and it will also help you to make your business more accessible.
It’s so important that you analyse any new opportunities that may arise in your business. You need to understand everything from your distribution channels to your direct competitors and your demographics too. Only then will you be able to understand any changes that you need to make, and It also gives you the chance to see how you could branch out too, so it’s always worth doing. If you need to boost your efforts then consider networking more, as this will connect you with more people and it will also help you to take things to that next level.
Many of us conduct a lot of our business online now. With company websites, cloud software, remote working and a reliance on the internet, it’s essential that businesses prioritise cyber security. You should use an IT management service like Zeta Sky, but there are things you can do yourself. Keep customer data safe and protect your business from cyber attacks and hacking with these top tips.
Application Whitelisting. When you’re running a company with a large team all using laptops or other devices owned by the business, it can be a challenge to keep track of the use of cloud applications or other software. To help with this, use application whitelisting to be certain that only software applications that you’ve approved can be run on company owned devices. All other applications are automatically blocked by your malware protection. Restrict administrative privileges to only those who actually need to stop anyone from installing software that you haven’t approved to be used.
Multi-factor authentication. Add tougher security elements, beyond a simple account password. Add more security measures, like a passphrase or PIN, a physical token, software certificates or biometrics data like a fingerprint.
Restrict administrative privileges. Only employees who actively need it for their job, such as IT staff, need administrative privileges. By restricting access, you can make a big improvement on your net security quickly and easily.
OS and application patch management. Any software, applications of operating systems that you use should be patched thoroughly and regularly. Keep their security tight and up to date by patching as soon as fixes become available.
Disable untrusted Microsoft Office macros. Office can, and should, be configured to automatically block macros from the internet. It will only allow macros that have been pre-vetted. Pre-vetting protects against common ingress attack methods from hackers.
User application hardening. You should have in place security measures like blocking web browser access to things from the internet like Adobe Flash Player (uninstall it if you can), advertisements and untrusted Java code. This will guard your network and make sure that the firewalls you use even more effective.
Next-generation firewalls. A next-generation firewall is an effective security system for your network which will detect and block more sophisticated cyber attacks. A strong firewall will boost your security policies at the application, port and protocol level. A NGFW combines a number of important security options, such as URL blocking, packet filtering, SSL inspection and application awareness.
Bring in a SIEM solution. Smaller businesses won’t always need to go as far as this, but if your business is growing rapidly, you should definitely consider a security information and event management (SIEM) solution. This will detect and respond to threats to security continuously. This means real time collection is enabled and the solution can conduct historical analysis of security events. With this data, you can stop similar breaches from happening to you again in the future.
Employee training. Train your all your staff on your IT security protocols to automatically add an extra level of security and protection against data breaches. Train them on how to recognise scam or phishing emails.
If you’re running a small business, you’re likely to focus on the absolute basics first and foremost. This might entail coming up with a product concept, considering manufacturing, testing products and conducting market research to ensure it sells. You’re also likely to have to focus on marketing and advertising to get the products into the consumers’ consciousness. However, this isn’t where the hard work ends. If you want to experience success, you’re going to have to focus on more niche matters at some point down the line. SEO is one of these.
SEO, or “search engine optimisation” is the process of getting your website to rank as highly in search engine results as possible. When your potential customers type keywords into the search engine and you have what they’re looking for, you’re going to want to appear on the first page. SEO can help you to achieve this.
One way of implementing SEO into your website is through blog posts. This is simple, cost effective and effective overall. But writing the perfect SEO blog post can be relatively difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. You need to include the right images, backlinks, and keywords. You also need to focus on post length and various other matters. But not to worry. The infographic by Rankfire.agency below should help to introduce you to SEO blogging and provide you with a checklist of all the things you need to include!