By Jessica Wilson
Insurance can be a very tricky subject, especially when there are factors like costs and resources to consider. One of these insurance options is taking out health insurance which, at first glance, can be a good investment on your end, but there’s no doubt that there’s a part of you that wants to make sure things about insurance are clarified properly before investing any time or money.
Things and what to consider before taking out health insurance are important things to consider when thinking of getting such an investment. Do consult a financial professional before taking out health insurance, as you have to be prepared not just for the benefits it can give, but the costs on your end as well.
Quality of Care
It’s important to remember that when you take out health insurance, there are a number of factors that will be totally out of your control.
For instance, according to The Balance, some health plans actually make you use the doctors under the employ of the company. This means if you have a physician you see often, try to check if your medical professional is within the health care plan network you’re considering. Should you have to check and choose a new doctor from their employ, try to consider the kind of credentials they have and if they are suited for the kind of care you need.
- This applies with the specialists you may want see especially when it’s about certain conditions you have. They are ones to operate on you, which means considerations have to be extremely careful on your end.
- Try to assess whether or not hospital and emergency room care is covered in your particular plan. What exactly for the insurance plan constitutes the term “emergency”? Try to make sure you are well aware of how they define these special terms.
- Try to check how regular health screenings work and which parts of these services are actually covered. Assess how managed care plans get to affect these screenings, especially on your kind of periodic service. Interestingly, some insurance plans don’t even cover these aspects at all.
- Try to check if they also cover prescription drug coverage. This is especially crucial if you need to use drugs or different kinds of medicines on a regular basis.
- Health insurance also doesn’t necessarily mean insurance only for extreme injuries and accidents. There are some forms of insurance, such as those here, that also cover general health and wellness. It may be helpful to look into these before choosing the kind of insurance coverage you want.
External Aspects, Services
Aside from the quality of care, it’s important to also consider the kind of external services and aspects of the health care plan in itself. For instance, try to assess if there are preexisting conditions or waiting periods that you should consider. A lot of people tend to forget to confirm how preexisting conditions or waiting periods factor into their new health insurance coverage.
- Try to assess the kind of services that are covered with the health plans you want to consider. What other plans do they have? Do they offer programs related to mental health care, home health care, hospice, nursing home care, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, alternative treatments, experimental treatments, and even chiropractic care?
Costs, Assessment Matters
Perhaps the last thing to consider is to make sure the cost of the health insurance is something you can tackle in the first place. While there are a lot of good prospects in terms of coverage you can get, it’s always helpful to make sure you try to keep yourself within the confines of something you can actually commit to pay for. Remember, the benefits of health insurance can only be reaped if they are consistently paid. Don’t overwork yourself into making sure you meet those standards, as your overworking can lead to health problems that could be a waste of your hard-earned insurance.
- Make sure you do things in moderation – the same thing works when it comes to health insurance. If you’re looking into plans for yourself and your family, make sure the one you’re getting is something you can fit into your budget. If there are adjustments to be made with lifestyle choices and your savings, make sure it’s something you can commit to in the long-term, as health insurance really works best as a form of security.
- Before taking out an insurance policy, make sure you make proper assessment not just of the costs, but its potential effects on your life as well. Do consult a financial, legal, and medical professional on the kinds of impacts a health insurance could have on other aspects of your life outside the insurance in itself. Understanding the full extents of coverage can greatly help you decide properly.
Taking out health insurance can be a good way to make sure your bases are covered when it comes to health concerns, but sometimes it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. This is especially true if you look at all the kinds of insurance options out there. However, all these options generally mean one thing: there are many ways for you to look after your health, and deciding which one works for you can take a lot of time and deliberation. Knowing what to consider, at least on a basic level, could give you a headstart when it comes to deliberating on which of these options you have to consider first.
Jessica is a professional health expert who works for some major health industry giants. She currently writes for Membersown and is dedicated to helping people learn more about health related topics along the journey. When she’s not a health advocate, she enjoys some down time traveling or talking with family. “
By Brian McKay
When you go shopping at a store, or you’re on the lookout for a company to clean your windows, manage your accounts or fix your roof, what factors influence the decisions you make? As a consumer, you may take a good look at the price, but it’s also likely that reputation will play a role. If you’ve heard of a brand for the right reasons, you’ve read rave reviews, or you’ve received recommendations from friends or colleagues, this may sway you towards certain products and providers. In business, having an excellent reputation can drive you forward and catapult you into the stratosphere. In contrast, a bad reputation can send sales plummeting. If you’re a business owner with grand plans, here are some tips to help you protect your reputation.
Delivering on your promises
If you own a business of any kind, you have a duty to ensure that you deliver on promises. If you’re marketing high-quality products or first-class customer service, you need to ensure that this is exactly what you’re providing. If you can’t fulfil orders on time, customers are waiting in line for hours or the products you’re selling aren’t standing the test of time, you may find that clients want refunds, they leave negative reviews, and they actively discourage others from choosing your company. If you make a promise, you could also face legal charges under acts that protect consumers. As the boss, you have to ensure that you act in the interest of your customers. If you can’t deliver on a promise, for example, there’s been a delay at the warehouse, act as quickly as possible and find a solution. If you’ve promised a customer next-day delivery, and you can’t achieve this goal, contact them, explain the situation and offer a refund. If you can nip problems in the bud, this will help to keep clients on side.
Image courtesy of https://pixabay.com/en/customer-service-1433640/
Acting on reviews
Many of us read reviews before we buy products or invest in services. If you’ve got brilliant reviews, this can help to bring customers in. If you’ve received negative reviews, this can put potential clients off. If you’re asking customers to leave a review online or to post comments on your Facebook or Instagram page, make sure you act on this information. If people are taking the time to share their experiences or make suggestions, take their comments on board. In business, success is all about giving clients what they want, and feedback can be incredibly useful. It’s easier to read positive comments and glowing reviews, but negative testimonials can also be beneficial, as they enable you to identify issues and move forward. Consider a review that criticizes service in a restaurant, for example. If your customers aren’t satisfied, you know that you need to improve the service you provide. Offer training for your staff, make sure you’ve got somebody there to welcome customers at the door and be more attentive. If you’ve got a reputation for bad service, it doesn’t matter how brilliant the food is, there’s every chance that your business will struggle. For helpful tips on improving customer service, take a look at this article https://www.thebalance.com/providing-excellent-customer-service-2951744.
Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/feedback-opinion-customer-1977986/
Running your business by the book
In business, you don’t want to have a reputation for cutting corners or see your name up in lights for the wrong reasons. You have a duty to ensure that the way you run your business satisfies legal guidelines. If you’re embroiled in tax disputes, or you’ve got employees making claims related to their working conditions or health and safety, this is likely to have a negative impact on your reputation. As a customer, you may think twice about giving your custom to a company that is linked to indiscretions or trying to exploit loopholes.
Recognizing the importance of your own behavior
When you’re trying to hit the big time in business, it’s not just the reputation of your company you should aim to protect. As the boss, you also need to consider your own reputation. If you’ve been charged with felonies or misdemeanors, this will affect the reputation of your business. Everybody makes mistakes, but it’s important to understand the potential impact. If you have committed a crime, take a look at sites like https://rowdywilliams.com/ and make sure you have experts in your corner. If you’re the face of your brand, people are going to associate the company with your name and the stories they read in the media or hear about at the local store, cafe or school gates. Of course, it pays to steer clear of trouble, but if you do find yourself in a difficult situation, it’s essential to ensure you seek legal advice as quickly as possible.
Image taken from https://www.flickr.com/photos/143601516@N03/27571702173
Building your brand
Branding is all about promoting your business and telling people what you’re all about. If you’ve got a strong brand, customers should have a clear idea about what your company does and the kinds of products and services you offer. When you’re working on branding, you want to communicate positive messages about your business and its ethos. Work on creating a brand that appeals to the target market and encourages clients to form a positive association between the brand name and the products they buy. Think about how often you go shopping and buy branded products. Many of us stick to recognized names because we link that brand to high quality.
Competition is rife in the business arena, and it pays to have a USP. Today, many consumers are impressed by brands that go the extra mile to do good in the world. You could enhance your reputation by employing eco-friendly production methods, using recycled packaging or investing profits in conservation projects or you could form partnerships with local charities, for example.
Picture credit https://pixabay.com/en/recycle-bottle-plastic-glass-309972/
In business, it’s incredibly beneficial to establish a good reputation. You want customers to spout positive words and terms when they hear your brand name. If you’re trying to protect and enhance your reputation, take these tips on board to impress your customers and set your company apart from competitors, and ensure you have plans in place to respond to potentially tricky situations swiftly.
By Brian McKay
For a small business with big ideas, one of the hardest challenges is getting your name known. You may have an innovative product, a strong fledgling brand, and a whole raft of clever ideas, but unless you have the audience to support them, they may remain just pipe dreams. As traditional marketing continues to be turned on its head but the digital world, working with influencers is emerging as a key channel to drive brand awareness. The great thing about it is, you don’t have to have a corporate budget to do it. Influencer marketing is very do-able for micro-enterprises and can bring huge gains.
Who and What Are Influencers?
The term ‘influencer’ has sprung up to describe individuals creating content on platforms such as blogs and Instagram. These people already have large audiences that trust their opinion and actively seek their recommendations – which can be gold dust for businesses that want to work with them. Previously, only celebrities and politicians commanded a share of voice in traditional media, which some have used to espouse local business interests, like Mike Crapo and Small Business Saturday. With new forms of media, regular individuals have the chance to be heard and build a number of followers – and it is these people you need to work with.
How Do I Work With Them?
The key to a great partnership with an influencer is to be authentic. You need to find the right person, who will really appreciate your brand’s mission and has the right interests. Then their audience in turn will be receptive to hearing about your business, and it won’t seem out of place. Practically speaking, you have several options. Either you can approach the influencer to create a post and social media about your company for placement on their own channels, you can interview them or get them to appear in content you create for your own site, or you can invite them to ‘takeover’ your channels and make content for you. Every influencer works in different ways, so begin with an honest conversation about what could work for both of you.
How Do I Find Them?
Consider the outcome you want your activity to achieve – starting with a clear goal in mind, whether it be sales, raising awareness or more hits on your website, will help you to select the right influencer match. There are many online tools to help you find the prominent individuals that can get you seen – Klout, BuzzSumo, LittleBird and OutreachNinja will help you identify who is who. Don’t just concentrate on their number of followers, but take the time to narrow it down to influencers who have great engagement with their audiences and who will genuinely be a great fit for what you’re promoting. And set a decent budget. This may be more cost effective than a billboard, but you shouldn’t expect it to come free. Some will have set rates and media pack, while other smaller influencers may do a review in exchange for a free sample or service. But never expect anyone to work for free. Use their expertise to help guide the content you create, and focus on slowly building a long term relationship rather than going in for the quick win.
By Jerry Mooney
When you start up your own commercial business, your thoughts tend to be largely focused on your brand and what it is going to provide. This is logical. You really do need to spend a whole lot of time developing product concepts, getting things into production, developing a brand image and getting everything together in order to have products and a brand image that will encourage customers to spend their money with you. While this is hard work, this is still the more fun and creative part of business ownership. Sadly, there are a few more paperwork based formalities that you need to complete before you really can get things up and running. So, let’s talk commercial business contracts. Here are a few that you really do need to consider and have sorted out as soon as possible!
First things first, you need to secure yourself a place to operate your business from. Nowadays, more viable options than ever are popping up in brilliant locations. Why? Well, many companies are taking to operating solely online. While their reasoning is logical (operating online means they have fewer outgoings, require fewer staff members, and also allows them to offer lower prices as a result), there’s still plenty of profit to be made from brick and mortar stores. If anything, now is a better time than ever as there is less competition on the high street without reduced demand. Now, when you have settled on a commercial property to rent, in particular, chances are that the individual leasing it to you will draw up a contract and request that you sign it. This may be the easiest and fastest way to go about things, as all of the hard work is taken out of your hands. But remember that this also means that control has been taken from your hands too. If you haven’t played any role in drawing up the contract, you haven’t had a say in it, and it’s extremely likely that things have been swung in favour of those letting it to you. It’s highly recommended that you draw in legal help when securing a commercial property. Small businesses and startups, in particular, tend to think that the expense isn’t worth what they receive. But they couldn’t be more wrong! In the long run, numerous problems and expenses can be avoided by taking a little more time in this process from the start. Some of the things that should be considered when drawing up a contract include payments, fees, fines, terms and conditions. You may not be able to negotiate all of these well without a neutral third party intervening. Employing legal advice also means that you have a professional on hand to decode anything that you might be signing or encouraged to agree to. The simplest things can be made incomprehensive with a good dose of legal and technical jargon and what’s the point in having documents that you don’t understand? Legal advice will support you and ensure that you are clear on absolutely everything! This prevents you from being taken by surprise with charges and fines down the line.
Energy (Electricity, Gas, and Water)
Every brick and mortar commercial space, no matter its purpose, will need energy in order to function. Many new businesses make the mistake of thinking that they simply take out a policy the same as they do for their own home. However, when you consider the sheer volume of energy that a commercial property will use in comparison to the standard household, you should start thinking a bit more about your energy usage. Effective energy management is absolutely essential for any business, whether large or small. It can save you a lot of money, reduce your company’s exposure to future changes or fluctuations in energy price, improve your brand’s productivity, reduce your company’s greenhouse gas emissions, reduce maintenance, and improve your brand image and the public’s perception of your company. Here are a few simple steps to achieve this!
Taking Out a Commercial Energy Contract
Avoid the temptation to take up the first contract that presents itself to you for the sake of convenience. You should take a look at exactly what the energy company you choose will provide you with. There are so many different things that you need to take into account: cost, procurement, network service charges, and metering and billing costs. All of these things can mount up, greatly altering the estimated costs that energy providers may initially give to you as examples. Once you have taken all of these factors into account, you can draw up a more reliable image of how much you will be forking out on energy expenses each month.
Considering Eco-Friendly Providers
Once you’ve worked out the projected costs of your intended energy bills, you should also take environmental obligations into account, considering the most environmentally responsible and friendly energy options out there. Perhaps you could engage with a more environmentally friendly provider. This may be at a slightly higher cost, dipping into your profits, it could boost your public image and prove more profitable in that way.
Finding a Reliable Electric Service Provider
You will need to find an electrician or service provider. However, to find the right individual or agency you need to do your research! While some options will present themselves as being capable of carrying out whatever work you provide, you need to ensure that they are accredited to do so. This will guarantee that they have received the necessary training and qualifications to carry out the work you require to the highest standard. Generally speaking, you will need a Level 2 Service provider, as they will be able to meet the needs of medium to large scale projects. The individuals working for these types of providers will be able to provide services such as power supply upgrades, underground mains and sub mains, authority metering installation, and the installation of distribution switchboards.
As you can see, a lot of hard work is going to be required during the setup of your commercial business. You’re going to have to set up a lot of contracts, perhaps a larger number that you initially intended. But believe us when we say that putting this effort in now will help things to run much more smoothly and will also prevent larger problems from developing later down the line. So, make sure to be thorough with your research and secure your contracts before you begin operation!
By Lina Martinez
There are so many ways you could go about expanding, and growing your business to boost profits and sales, there are almost too many options to choose from. If you don’t have a marketing team or a someone to do all the leg work for you, chances are you are going to have to figure out how you are going to about growing your business. There is so much information out there, and misinformation too, it can be difficult to know who to trust or what will work for you. At the end of the day you can guess, and estimate, but you will never know what will work for you or your company unless you try it out.
There are lots of different avenues you could investigate, that would enable your business to flourish, and here are a few that you could try out. It can be anything from boosting your businesses ability to produce, to coming up with new ways to appeal to new audiences, and figuring out how you can do this successfully. Whatever you want to achieve, if you research thoroughly first, and track these changes in your company over time, then you can’t go too wrong. Explore all the options that are open to your business, and even consult other business owners, before making drastic changes. Read on to find out some great ideas that could help to grow your business, and see how your can create positive change in your company today.
Expand Your Demographic
Chances are your product can be marketed to a wider audience, and it much easier, and not that costly, to widen the demographic that your product appeals. This can be done on so many easy, and simple ways. You can try changing the language which you use around your product, which might make it more appealing to a younger or more mature demographic for example. Where you advertise too could also enable you to reach new audiences. Why not look up what kind of sites your new demographic views a lot online, and target this gain more traffic to you site. Even things like interests or topics, could help you to reach new audiences. Changing the colours around your product, for example, could mean creating a children’s line, without making too many changes to production. Tweaking your product in this way is easy, cost effective, and could mean that it will appeal to far more people than you are currently targeting. Reaching new audiences does not have to be expensive, nor time consuming, and is probably much more achievable than you think. Try any of these ideas to expand your target audience, and help you grow your business quickly, easily and very efficiently too.
Solidify Your Online Presence
Marketing your product online can make or break the success of your business, and is so important when trying to grow your business. It is worth evaluating your current online presence, a fresh pair of eyes would give you some new insights, or your own will do just fine. What works about your current advertising strategy? What brings in the most traffic to your site? Which advertisement has been the most effective? Taking a step back, and looking at what your business is currently doing, allows you to evaluate it. Seeing what works and what doesn’t means you can make informed decisions about how you business can grow, and which is the best strategy to choose.
Social media is a cheap tool, and done right, can boost sales and bring loads of new customers to your site. Having a healthy online presence is essential for any business these days, and doing it wrong could even hurt your business. Keeping up with your customers on lots of different social platforms is a great way to get your product out there. The key is to remind them that you’re there, without pestering them. Receiving countless spam emails, or updating your twitter feed every 5 minutes is more likely to deter customers. Having a blog and producing great informative content, that your customer might actually be interested in, is great way to increase traffic and encourage them to stay. Sprucing up your site with some informative topics surrounding your products is a really useful thing for any business to do. If you have as shoe hop for example, talking about how to care for shoes, and what products are the best for certain materials is a fantastic topic that your customers might actually want to read about. All kinds of businesses have blogs on their sites, so you should get one for yours.
How Much Space do you Need?
Space is costly, and depending on what kind of business you won, you might need it or you might not. For many small businesses that function online, space is costly and is not really needed. Outsourcing can be a great way to save on space, as well as lots of other costs. If you can work from home, chances are that this is how your business will grow. Space is expensive,a and if you don’t need it, then get rid of it. Outsourcing any extra work that needs doing is a great to save on office space, and means you don’t have to employ someone full time. If your work is seasonal, or you need help with particular projects, then this could be a great way to help your business to grow.
On the other hand, if you have lots of stock that needs storing and moving, you are going to need space in order for your company to grow. Keeping up with demand, or anticipating it, can be tricky. Getting extra storage space can be difficult, so it is worth comparing prices of warehouses near you, like 3pl for example. Extra space to store your product means you can increase production without a worry in mind. If you have enough space you could even look into reaching potential overseas markets, which is worth investigating and researching. Not only are their audiences here, but elsewhere as well. The web makes it easier than ever to establish a presence in other countries, and your company could thrive overseas.
Supplement Your Main Product
Chances are you have a main product that your company specializes in, and it brings in the most profit for your company. Offering supplement products can boost each sale you make, and can offer a little bit more of a profit each time you sell something. If you own a shoe shop for example, offering shoe accessories and show care products is a great and relevant product for you to offer people. Considering branching out in small ways like this can help grow your business. If these products go well you could offer others too, and your company could expand into lots of different avenues. Consider supplementing your main product to boost sales, and get your customers coming back for more.
Open Up in a New Location
If your current business is running successfully, why not open up another one in a new location? Starting a business from scratch is a lot more difficult than opening up one in a new location. It is worth considering the town or area you are planning on opening up a new business in, and evaluating whether it suits your store. Is there a market for your product or service? Will you have to adjust the presentation of your store? These are all things worth considering. As long as there is a market for it, and your marketing and advertising goes well, your store should stand to be as successful as your last. It is worth considering to help your company grow, and could be the beginning of a chain of successful stores.
Here are just a few ideas of how you can help your business to grow. There are so many different ways in which your business could grow, from changing up your presence on social media, to tackling new marketing campaigns. Doing your research, and doing your marketing research too, is a fantastic way to make sure your strategies work, and they have all the chance of helping your business to grow. Keeping track of your business, setting goals, and knowing the impact of any new marketing strategies you are using is a great way to know whether to continue with them or not. For example, if you are trying a new costly advertising campaign, keeping track of sales and traffic to your site will help you evaluate if it is worth it or not. Plans and goals help keep you and others motivated, and can keep you on the right track too. Why not try solidifying your online presence, introducing supplement products to your main product, or launching a new marketing campaign, and see how your business grows. There are both costly and free ways of growing your business. As long as you do your research, know your audience, and monitor your progress, your business is guaranteed to grow.
By Nigel Hilton
Outsourcing to an offshore company is part and parcel of how we do business nowadays, and outsourcing has yielded many positive results, but it’s also causing problems, as the recent story about Carillion has shown. But, for those who are in the manufacturing or factory industries, and they plan on moving their business to another country, or at least a part of it, what are the advantages and disadvantages that you need to be aware of, but also, what do you need to consider for your own business stability?
The Foreign Market
The foreign market in an overseas facility is a double-edged sword. It can help you to reach brand new markets, meaning you eliminate your immediate competition in your home country, but it also helps give a more comprehensive recognition of your brand. Brand awareness is vital now, and working overseas can help this no end.
Of course, moving part or all of your operation overseas means a lot of logistics that need to be figured out. If you are building a site from scratch, you need to consider the overall practicalities of the place itself. The sewage infrastructure and the cost of industrial water pumps, piping, as well as other essential amenities will be a significant cost upfront. But all these amenities are essential, so if you are heading to another country, there are these practicalities, but there’s also potential instability. Depending on the country, the political situation may be unpredictable, and this will have a direct impact on your success, especially if the economy is precarious.
The Potential Backlash
This is something that not many businesses consider, but if a company that is inherently American, for example, decides to open another branch in a foreign country, it’s not always met with resounding support. And if you choose to eliminate jobs native to your country to make the most of the cheaper labor overseas, this can result in a potential backlash, not just from your employees’ perspective, but the image of your business can be tarnished. This can have a direct impact on your clients, who could choose to work with a company 100% based in your country, meaning that when you calculate the real costs, you might have been better off staying at home.
For all of the risks involved in moving to another country, the costs can be an overwhelming positive. As many foreign countries have lower operating costs, this is something definitely worth taking advantage of. You could potentially save 50% on your outgoings. If your company is facing potential problems, especially when it comes to finances, this is a common sense approach.
Yes, this is something that is considerably popular, and it’s worth investigating, but lots of people choose to outsource or move to another country completely due to the highly competitive nature. So, does this mean that there will be as much competition overseas as in your current location? Think about it before embarking into new territories. It can very much be a lucrative option, but it isn’t always so lucrative.