Manage Time Like Money and Profit Through Time Management

Manage Time Like Money and Profit Through Time Management 

Why did you get into business for yourself? Was it to be your own boss? Choose your own hours? Have more time with the family? Spend more time doing what you love? How do you manage your time? Chances are, you answered yes to all these questions.

These days, you probably wonder where the time went. Why you spent 12 hours at work and barely make a dent in your to-do list? We already know that time is a key resource for you and your business, but it’s also a key resource in your life. Harnessing and leveraging time is the only way to enjoy life, and have a profitable business at the same time.

A few years back I was working with a client who told me that he hadn’t had a date with his wife in years! He was running a million-dollar business with ten employees but he didn’t take any time off for himself. We were able to restructure the business that made him more profitable and he was able to get regular dates with his wife.

The Pareto Principle in Business

time management

You may be familiar with the Pareto Principle; 80% of your results can be attributed to 20% of your efforts, while 20% of your results can be attributed to 80% of your efforts. As the leader of your business, you want to focus your efforts on the activities that yield the greatest results.

Most business owners carefully manage their financial and personnel resources, and pay due attention to their performance. Marketing plans and budgets are created, people are hired and fired. What most business owners don’t realize is that time – and the time of all employees – requires the same attention and diligent management.

Time will never manage itself.

Time is invaluable when you are running a business. That is why it is important to manage your time like money and profit through time management. Time will never manage itself. The decision to make a pro-active effort to manage your time must come from you. Once you have committed to taking ownership for your own time management, there are a host of tools available to you. But first, you must understand how much your time is actually worth, and where you are currently spending it.

What is Your Time Worth?

Ever wonder what your time is actually worth? Here’s a quick way to figure it out:

Target annual income A.

Working days in a year B. 235

Working hours in a day C. 7

Working hours in a year D. 1,645

A/D = YOUR HOURLY WORTH (before tax + expenses) E.

This is a very simple calculation intended to put your time in perspective. In reality, no one is productive for each of the 1,645 hours. Various studies have put actual productivity at anywhere between 25 minutes and four hours per day. Either way, there’s a lot of room for improvement.

How Many Days Do You Have Left on Earth?

Let’s look at it another way:

Your age A.

Days in a year B.

Days spent on earth to date (A x B) C.

Average life expectancy D. 70

Total projected days on earth (D x B) E.

Estimated days left (E – C) F.

This exercise isn’t intended to scare you, but bring your attention to the importance of choosing how you spend each hour you have available. It is a choice! By developing the skills required to manage your time, you will not only have a profitable business but rewarding and balanced life

Pro-Tip: Grab 30 minutes on my calendar to ask any questions you have about small business coaching. I’ve been a business coach (and business broker) for over 20 years. I also have a business coach of my own, so I know what successful coaching looks like on both sides of the table.
~ Alan Melton, Small Business Coach Associates

The Five Culprits of Time Theft

Chances are – if you’re like most people – you have no idea where your time goes. You’re likely frustrated by the fact that you can spend 10, 12, even 14 hours a day working, and not make a dent in your to-do list, or only bill half of those hours.

When we’re too busy and overloaded with work, we often switch into reactive mode. We can’t make it to the bottom of the pile and end up handling issues and making decisions at the last minute. One of the great benefits of choosing to become proactive in time management is that you can become proactive in all other areas of your business. When in a proactive mode, you can take steps to grow your business through networking, building programs, and establishing systems.

Before you investigate where your time goes, let’s take a look at the top five culprits of modern-day time theft:

1. Time Management and Your Email

Make profit through time management and managing your email. How many times a day do you check your email? Is Outlook or Mail constantly running on your desktop? Email – internal, external, personal and business – clogs up your day like no other communication channel. For many of us, it is possible to spend the entire day writing and responding to emails without even glancing at our inbox. The number of emails sent and received each day by the average person in 2007 was 147. Multiply that by an average of two minutes per message, and you have spent almost five hours on email in a single day.

2. Time Management and Your Mobile Phone

Cell phones have created convenience, security, and the luxury of telecommuting. PDAs and cell phones have also created a society that expects to be able to reach you at any moment or at least receive instant responses to their calls. Your cell phone or PDA not only robs you of your time during the day but also during the evenings and on weekends when you are not at work.

3. Time Management and Your Open Door Policy

If you make it easy for your staff and associates to interrupt you, they will. Too often, open-door policies are set up by human resource departments to create clear communication channels. Instead, they create a clog of employees lined up at your door seeking immediate answers to non-emergent issues.

4. Time Management in Meetings

You can profit through time management if we also manage our meetings well. How many times have you been to a meeting that was scheduled to be an hour, and ended up lasting three? How often do you attend unnecessary meetings? Or meetings that run off-topic? Meetings can be a huge source of wasted time – your valuable time that is why it is important to manage your time. In a senior management or ownership position, your day may consist of back-to-back meetings, leaving only your evening hours to complete the tasks that should have been done during the day.

5. Time Management: YOU!

Every person has daily habits that sabotage their ability to work productively and efficiently. Many entrepreneurs and business owners can’t separate business hours from leisure hours. Some get caught in a time warp while surfing the internet. Others – mainly overachievers – can become paralyzed by perfectionism or procrastination. Mainly we just don’t have the tools to schedule and structure our time in a way that fits with our working style.

Where Does Your Time Go?

So far we’ve seen that time is a resource that should be as carefully managed as cash, we’ve figured out what your time is worth, and looked at the top five culprits of time theft. You’ve committed to taking steps to become a better time manager. What now?

time management

Personal Time Management Research Exercise

The next step is to take a good, (and honest!) look at how you spend your time. Once you understand your patterns and habits, you begin to implement the strategies in this chapter that will make you manage your time better.

Step One: Time Audit

Use the Time Log Worksheet at the back of this chapter to record how you spend your time for three working days in a row. Be honest, and be specific. Include time spent in transit, surfing the web, interacting with clients and colleagues, as well as how your time is spent at home in the evenings. The more information you can record, the easier it will be to analyze your time management skills in step two.

Step Two: Time Categorization

Once you have recorded your time for three days, sit down with all three sheets in front of you and identify the following using different colored markers or highlighters:

  • Driving, public transportation or other travel
  • Eating, including food preparation
  • Personal Errands
  • Exercise
  • Watching TV
  • Sleeping, including naps
  • Using the computer, personal use only
  • Being with family/friends
  • Emailing, including checking, reading, and returning messages
  • Talking on the phone, including checking and returning messages
  • Internal meetings
  • External meetings
  • Administrative work
  • Client work
  • Non-client, non-administrative work

Step Three: Time Analysis

Now that you have identified how you have spent your time, go through the worksheets one more time and identify if you have spent enough, too much, or too little time on each main task.

Then, based on your observations, answer the following questions: Download the Template Here

  1. What patterns do you notice about how you spend your time during the day? (i.e., When are you most productive? Least productive? Most or least interrupted?)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Write down the four highest priorities in your life right now. Does your timesheet reflect these priorities?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. If you had more time, what would you do?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. If you had less time, what wouldn’t you do?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Could you remove the items in question four and add the items in question three? Why or why not?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. Is procrastination a problem for you? How much?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Strategies for Profitable Time Management

There are many ways to curb time theft and refine your time management ability for you to manage your time well. Through a solid understanding of how you currently spend – and waste – time, you can determine which strategies you need to implement to correct unproductive behavior.

Here are 17 ways you can turn less of your time into more money:

1. Set Clear Priorities

The foundation of time management is a clear understanding of what your time is best spent on. Once you accept that you can’t do everything, you need to decide what needs to be completed now, what can be completed later, and what someone else can complete in this way you can manage your time effectively. Each to-do list you create should be put through this filter, and reorganized so the highest priority items are on top, and the lowest priority items are less visible, or on the bottom.

Once you have established your priorities – which will also naturally reflect the priorities and goals of your business – stick to them. Just because someone else feels something is of a high priority doesn’t mean it holds the same status next to your other tasks.

Prioritization is also helpful in your personal life and leisure time. Your spare time is precious – so make sure are clear on how you would like to spend it.

2. Use Your Skills – Delegate Your Weaknesses

As a business owner, your day naturally consists of tasks you dislike doing. Some are essential – signing checks, reviewing financial statements, and other business maintenance – while others are simply not within your skill set.

If you are a strong public speaker but struggle with report writing – delegate to a copywriter or editor. If you own a retail store and have no experience in design – outsource your signage. These freelance professionals often cost half as much as you and take half as long to complete the task. It is a great idea, especially if you struggle with time management. Your time is saved for tasks that use and strengthen your skills effectively, your stress is managed, and ultimately a better product is produced. Delegating your weaknesses or tasks that can be delegated to your team is one of the best strategies for you to manage your time effectively.

3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

As a small business owner, the only way you will ever get everything done is by delegating. Delegation is a vital skill that needs to be refined and practiced, and once mastered is the key to profitable time management.

time management

Too often, owners and managers believe that it will be “faster” or “more efficient” to complete the task themselves than to train and monitor someone else. Other times, there are no internal resources to download assignments.

As a result, the following trends can be seen in many small companies:

  • Owners and senior staff are stressed and overworked, while junior staff is underutilized and under capacity.
  • Staff members are not given an opportunity to grow and develop in their roles and may perceive a lack of trust or confidence in their ability. The company loses good people.
  • Owners and senior staff are always in a reactive state, instead of a visionary or proactive state.
  • Delegation happens at the very last minute, and junior staff has little understanding of either the overall project or expectations for the task.

The easiest way to fix this problem is before it starts. Create a solid team of staff members around you who are well-trained and prepared to support the business. Attract and retain qualified and quality people who can be cross-trained and promoted within the company. Ensure that communication flows throughout the business, so everyone has the product and service knowledge to step in and assist when necessary.

4. Learn to Say “No”

It’s easy to fall into the habit of saying yes to everything. You are, after all the business owner, right? No one can complete these tasks as well as you, right? You’ll lose that customer if you don’t help them with their garage sale, right?

Wrong. The most successful business owners have a keen understanding of time management and delegate the remaining responsibilities to trusted others. It’s too easy to say yes to every request in the moment, and later feel overwhelmed when it’s added to your to-do list. You may not ruffle any feathers, but what toll does it take on your stress level? Your workload? Your time is valuable – so manage your time well and protect it!

Remember that if it is too challenging to say no immediately, you can always request some time to think about it. This way, you can evaluate your workload and realistically decide whether or not you can take on a new project. Then, stand by your decision, or assist in bringing in the necessary resources to get it done. 

5. Create (and keep!) a Strict Schedule

While multi-tasking is a desirable skill, it is also often a time thief. Attempting to do too many things at one time ensures that nothing gets done. As a business owner, you need to be able to focus and concentrate on essential projects without interruptions.

The only way to do this is to commit to a strict schedule. Once you understand your work style and concentration patterns, you can allocate periods of the day to specific tasks. This includes personal and leisure time – schedule it, and stick to it.

Doing a time management by creating a schedule time for list-creation + prioritization, email messages, telephone messages, internal meetings, client meetings, meeting preparation, “me-time”, family time, recreation + fitness, daily business tasks, and blocks for focused work.

Remember that there is a training period involved in beginning a new routine – for yourself and those around you. Use your voicemail, out-of-office email message, and a closed-door to begin to let people know when you will not be disturbed.

6. Make Decisions

The choice to not make a decision is a decision in itself. The most successful business owners have the ability to make good decisions quickly and efficiently and do not waste time deliberating over simple choices.

In leadership positions, often people are afraid of making the wrong decision or looking foolish if they make a mistake in front of junior staff. What they don’t realize, is that hesitating or avoiding decision-making impacts their leadership just as much or more than making the wrong decision. Not only can being indecisive be personally stressful, but it is also stressful for those around you whose tasks are waiting on your choices.

Remember, you must make the best decision with the information you have, in the time frame you have to make the decision. No one expects you to be a fortune teller – be decisive, make some mistakes, and learn from them.

7. Manage Telephone Interruptions

This is a huge source of time theft that can easily be managed and avoided. If you are available to take phone calls at any time of day, you are setting yourself up to take work home in the evenings. The phone will always ring when you are focused on an important task, and this is something that can easily be avoided.

Figure out when you are most productive. Is it in the morning or the afternoon? Before, during, or after lunch? Once you have identified this time period, set your phone on “do not disturb” or have your calls directed to voicemail. If you do not have a receptionist, a variety of automatic answering systems are available for a nominal fee. To structure your phone time further, let callers know on your voicemail what specific time of day is best to reach you via phone. Then, set that time aside to receive and return phone calls.

8. Keep Your Work Environment Organized

Have you ever tried to make dinner in a messy kitchen? More of your time is spent looking for (and cleaning) dishes and tools than actually spent cooking the meal.

The same goes for your work environment. If your desk and office is in a constant state of chaos, then your mind will be too. In fact, some studies have revealed that the average senior business leader spends nearly four weeks each year navigating through messy or cluttered desks, looking for lost information. Does that sound like a productive time for you?

Once you make the initial clean sweep, it’s easy to maintain order in the chaos:

  • Tidy your desk at the beginning and end of each day. Attach pertinent documents to your to-do list, or have clear and organized folders for loose papers.
  • Organize your supplies drawer so you have easy access to stationery like pens, post-it notes, staplers, and highlighters. Every minute counts!
  • Only have the documents and files you are working on, on your desk. The rest should be neatly filed on a side table for later retrieval.
  • Keep personal items (like photos or memorabilia) out of your primary line of vision. These can be distracting and encourage daydreaming.

time management

As for your office or store, there are many ways to make its layout more conducive to effective time management. Try:

  • Minimizing the distance between the reception desk and electronics like photocopies and fax machines.
  • Keep a clear line of sight between your office and the most productive area of your business, so you are aware of what is happening amongst your staff.
  • Organize shelves and filing cabinets so files are not only easily accessed, but out of sight when not being used. Consider putting sliding doors or cabinets in storage areas, and remember that the floor is not a storage cabinet.

9. Keep Your Filing System Organized

If your data isn’t organized properly, you will waste hundreds of hours searching for documents you need on a regular basis. This includes both electronic and hard copy files; they need to be organized and up-to-date.

Customer databases and inquiry records are worth their weight in gold. You can’t afford to get behind when updating this information, or poorly store it for later retrieval. There are many easy to use software programs that will manage and organize customer databases for you; it doesn’t need to be a time consuming or tedious exercise.

A simple way to manage information is to keep it in short, medium, and long term files for both hard and electronic copies. Create shortcuts on your desktop for folders or files you constantly access. Have short-term files available on your desk, medium-term files available within an arm’s reach, and long-term files stored in cabinets.

10. Clearly Communicate – Never Assume

One of the biggest issues for time management in business – and likely the world – is miscommunication. This is a dangerous issue that can cripple any business, including yours. Establishing and enforcing clear policies on things like accurate note-taking, task assignments, and phone messages will ensure your staff understands the importance of clear and accurate communication.

The easiest habit to start to curb miscommunication is simple: write everything down. Carry a notepad, and jot down key points, figures, agreements, and deadlines. Don’t assume you’ll remember later – you have at least a hundred other things to remember.

Some other simple strategies are:

  • Return all communication promptly, including email, letters, faxes and phone calls
  • Repeat back phone messages, phone numbers, and other figures to confirm you recorded the information correctly.
  • Record appointments in your PDA or agenda the moment you make them. Otherwise, you will forget.
  • Double-check and confirm everything – addresses, phone numbers, meeting locations and times.
  • Maintain accurate customer contact logs with dates, times, and phone numbers.
  • Post checklists in your store or office for routine operations procedures.
  • Announce any changes to the policies and procedures manual immediately.

11. Stop Duplicating Efforts

This is a key element of time management that is closely related to effective communication. Studies have continually shown that many businesses often duplicate and triplicate efforts that need only be completed once.

When you have clear systems and procedures in place, your staff will not need to “reinvent the wheel” each time the task needs to be completed. Meeting minutes and individual task assignments will ensure everyone is on the same page and understands their personal responsibilities.

Simple examples of this include re-reading your to-do list each hour to determine what the next important item is. If your list is already structured by priority, this is a needless task. If two staff members are working on similar projects, but unaware of the other, the work will not only be inconsistent, but the efforts will be duplicated. These are easy problems to fix, once they have been identified and communicated.

12. Say Goodbye to Procrastination + Perfectionism

If you want to manage your time effectively, then, procrastination is something you need to get rid of. We all face procastination at one time or another – and likely have since our school days. However, given the pace that the world operates at today, you will only fall behind your competitor if you allow procrastination to rule your day. So how you do avoid it? It’s simple. Stop, and just get started, no matter how boring, tedious, or painful the project may be. Reward yourself by crossing each step off your to-do list.

Many small business owners also fall victim to perfectionism, which can be paralyzing. The fear that there isn’t enough time or resources to “get it perfect” will sometimes stop you dead in your tracks. Perfectionism can also hinder your ability to delegate and say no to tasks you believe no one else can complete “better”. Do the best you can with the time and resources you have – and just get started.

13. Avoid Needless, Impromptu + Unstructured Meetings

This may seem like a time theft issue that is out of your control, but it’s not. You are in control of your own time and able to manage your time, and through strict scheduling can establish a structure for internal and external meetings that everyone around you can work within.

Minimize impromptu internal meetings by letting your staff know when you’re available for a “quick chat” and when you are not. If it is important, ask them to schedule a time to meet with you that works with both of your schedules. This not only saves you time, but encourages staff to find solutions to their own issues, and only approach you with more urgent or challenging matters.

You can’t avoid having meetings, but you can avoid having unstructured meetings. Ask for or create an agenda for each meeting you attend, with a clear objective and an amount of time allocated to each item. This will keep your meetings focused and on task. If a meeting does run late, give yourself a reasonable buffer, and politely leave for your next appointment. You can always follow up with a colleague to catch-up on the pertinent items you may have missed.

14. Establish Clear Policies + Procedures

A clear policy and procedures manual is like a marketing or business plan – it takes time to create, but ultimately saves everyone in your company time, money, and effort. A step-by-step guide to “the way we do things here” is an invaluable resource for your existing and new staff, and provides clear expectations for how you like things done.

Too many businesses make up policies and procedures on the fly – creating dangerous scenarios where mistakes are made and expectations are not clear. Some items that should be included in a comprehensive policy and procedures manual include:

  • Recruitment
  • Customer relations
  • Customer inquiries
  • Customer complaints
  • Returns
  • Exchanges
  • Late Payments
  • Salary structure
  • Bonus structure
  • Employee review
  • Theft
  • Harassment

15. Keep the Right Set of Tools

The equipment your business needs to operate (and grow!) effectively should always be on hand, or easily contracted out. This is specific to each company, and closely related to costs – including the cost of your time.

Whether you are a high-tech business or local retailer, knowledge of the latest advancements in technology will increase your efficiency. It will help you stay on top of the competitor, maintain your position as an expert, and perhaps provide an easier way of getting things done.

Always ask yourself if these purchases are essential to your business –could you perhaps make these purchases from a second-hand dealer to minimize cost? Is it more cost-effective to outsource or sub-contract the tasks to someone with access to this equipment, or to buy the equipment yourself?

If your business relies on tools and technology for daily tasks (such as the trade profession) then obtaining the best quality you can afford is crucial.

16. Maintain Your Equipment

This may seem obvious, but you’ll understand the importance of your network server has ever crashed, or point of sale system has malfunctioned. Your business can be slowed to a stand-still if your equipment is not in good working order. Of course, there are instances that can’t be predicted, but regular maintenance of your essential equipment will reduce these occurrences and help to anticipate when old equipment needs to be repaired or replaced.

Personal Time Management Strategy

Choose one from the top five tips that you think will help you the most, given your personal time management study. This time management study will help you finish all your important tasks and appointments on time.  Write them below, with three corresponding actions that you will start tomorrow.  For example, if you are going to set a strict schedule, three actions might be to establish the schedule, communicate it to your staff, and re-record your voicemail message. Download the Template Here

1.

a._______________________________________________________
b._______________________________________________________
c._______________________________________________________

2.

a._______________________________________________________
b._______________________________________________________
c._______________________________________________________

3.

a._______________________________________________________
b._______________________________________________________
c._______________________________________________________

4.

a._______________________________________________________
b._______________________________________________________
c._______________________________________________________

5.

a._______________________________________________________
b._______________________________________________________
c._______________________________________________________

Timesheet | Day Three Download the Template Here 

Timeslot Activities More/Less/Enough time?
7:30 – 8:00
8:00 – 8:30
8:30 – 9:00
9:00 – 9:30
10:00 – 10:30
10:30 – 11:00
11:00 – 11:30
11:00 – 11:30
11:30 – 12:00
12:00 – 12:30
12:30 – 1:00
1:00 – 1:30
1:30 – 2:00
2:00 – 2:30
2:30 – 3:00
3:00 – 3:30
3:30 – 4:00
4:00 – 4:30
4:30 – 5:00
5:00 – 5:30
5:30 – 6:00
6:00 – 10:00

(Evening)

Daily To-Do List | Business Download the Template Here

Task Priority (1-10) Deadline Delegation?

Weekly To-Do List | Personal (Family, Leisure, etc.) Download the Template Here

Task Priority (1-10) Deadline Delegation?

There you have it, then. I hope this post will help you manage your time so you can attain the results you were hoping for.

Do you need help taking action on all this information? Then book a free call with one of our small business coaches today.

small business coach

Mobile Application That Can Help With Route Deliveries

route deliveries

There is a growing need for effective methods for businesses to boost their delivery capacity and provide shipments that satisfy consumers’ expectations while remaining competitive. Investing in a route optimization app and future-proof delivery management solution is essential to reduce operational costs while providing customers with an exceptional delivery experience.

Thus, routing delivery trucks’ routes automatically and effectively is the goal for every business. Managing vehicle scheduling and various other optimization tasks produce the most effective routes. As a business owner, you may choose from multiple routing apps for iPhone or Android to increase the number of deliveries or consumers you see on each sales route.

Businesses are increasingly turning to drive route optimizers to cut down on travel time and costs while also obtaining an advantage over the competition. According to Forbes, it may be highly challenging to find the finest routing software for your specific requirements due to a large number of route planning alternatives that are accessible nowadays and the intricacy of the features given by these options. Because of this, we thought it would be helpful to discuss the significance of route planning applications and provide some choices for you.

RouteSavvy

Multi-stop route planner RouteSavvy is ideal for freelance drivers and contractors. Adding several addresses, organizing them, and creating the whole route planning for service calls, pickups, and deliveries may all be done by a single driver. 

Besides that, it can display multiple routes at once on the screen. Having this information helps drivers and managers see where they’re going. Another helpful tool for drivers is navigation with turn-by-turn directions.

route deliveries

Google Maps Route Planner

We included it even though it’s not the most feature-packed route-planning program. One of the earliest mobile mapping and navigation applications, Google Maps, has assisted people for years. Its functions are limited, yet it’s reliable.

If you enjoy Google’s tech, you won’t have any problems. You may schedule up to 10 stops for free. Since it’s on every Android phone, it’s a no-brainer. 

inRoute 

With inRoute, users can plan their delivery routes and determine the most efficient routes. Additionally, they have the option of exporting the same routes. When it comes to generating routes, inRoute considers various factors, including height, weather, curves, and more. 

Users can also use it safely on the road, thanks to voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions. It may also automatically check your route in extreme weather conditions. 

Zeo Route Planner

Zeo Route Planner is the most well-known and straightforward mobile route planner application. Users can create a limitless number of routes. If there are any last-minute adjustments, Zeo Route Planner is equipped with the capability to re-route the optimal route order.

In addition, it aids companies in delivering real-time information to their customers. Drivers can get a copy of the delivery receipt, use Google Maps or Waze to find their route, avoid tolls and roads, and schedule deliveries according to their availability. Such functionalities are uncommon in mobile route planners.

Smart Routes

Users can construct delivery routes that include unlimited stops using SmartRoutes, which markets itself as a route planner for delivery services. You can plan routes in minutes, thanks to the new, user-friendly UI that was recently implemented.

It optimizes routes for optimal efficiency, and it allows for more than ten stops, which are the two primary problems that plague Google Maps. They developed this feature to overcome both issues. The software uses Google Maps for navigation, so you’ll still be able to use a familiar UI when driving.

Additionally, the app has several useful delivery-related functions. It can add comments to stops and record driver notes at the drop-off spot, which can be retrieved later in the route history.

Circuit

The Circuit has become a popular choice for couriers and delivery drivers for the past few years. It is a highly reliable application that provides an enjoyable user experience that can be mastered in seconds.

A free trial version of the software is available for Circuit for Teams, but it restricts you to only ten stops on each route. As a result, it can be challenging to acquire a good feel for the app before spending $20 of your own hard-earned money on it. On the other hand, it lacks delivery-specific capabilities such as photo proof-of-delivery and notes if those are things that are necessary for your line of business.

In general, though, it has received positive feedback on iOS and Android, and the $20 monthly subscription fee for the paid version is reasonable considering its features.route deliveries

What is the significance of using delivery route applications for businesses?

When a firm expands, it typically necessitates using more sophisticated software to streamline fleet management and map out the best routes. Consider how the route optimization app for Android and iPhone enables transportation companies to operate more quickly.

Enhances Task Managements 

To get your delivery process moving along more quickly, the first thing you should do is automate your schedule. Real-time task scheduling can save you precious hours. Drivers no longer have to constantly check their to-do lists, phone their supervisors, or inquire about their responsibilities.

Your feet’s time and labor savings allow them to meet client expectations and deliver on time. Consequently, you’ll be better able to serve your customers and increase their level of involvement.

Allow drivers to input multiple stops.

Administration and drivers used to have difficulty planning additional stops and deliveries. However, in this modern time, you’re free to quit worrying and put in any number of stops that you like.

There are no delays in getting any changes to the driver’s route. Any form of phone conversation or verbal communication is unnecessary with the correct route optimization technologies at your disposal.

Strengthen Your Fleet’s Capacity

Using a route planning tool can potentially improve the efficiency of your drivers. Tracking in real-time prevents them from changing directions or giving inaccurate positions, and it also prevents them from taking unnecessary pauses. 

The driver app enhances agents’ ability to navigate, saving them time and reducing the amount of driving that is not essential.

If they have a smartphone, they can follow the pre-mapped routes to ensure their deliveries are always on time. With more orders and more client demand, your firm will be able to handle it all. 

Effortless Interaction

The hands-free communication provided by the software that optimizes routes is designed to provide the utmost ease. Using a digital solution, the traditional method of making and receiving phone calls is abolished. Automation reduces the necessity for face-to-face communication.

Furthermore, it highlights each street address and location on the map and provides vehicles with assistance navigating to those locations. It will notify drivers via text message or dashboard notification of any new information you want to share.

Key Takeaways

Utilizing a route optimization tool will mitigate most of the challenges you face with transportation, and you will have an end-to-end delivery solution. It is a fantastic method to meet customers’ demands and provide service that cannot be beaten. 

Additionally, your organization should expect to see an increase in production due to the time and money saved. Your business should always be able to fulfill the customers’ requirements by delivering the goods or services on time

small business coach

4 Elements Of Efficient B2B Ecommerce Customer Experience

customer service

The customer journey is the driving force behind any customer experience. It should be the backbone of not only marketing, but every department in the company. Each customer touchpoint should be carefully molded to ensure that the customer is surprised and delighted at every stage. The company as a whole, should be deeply entrenched in the customer journey. 

But, how do you get the process right from start to finish and ensure that the customer not only converts, but returns as a loyal, paying client? We took a look at what B2B companies are doing globally and how they have optimized their customer experience.

Automate as Much as Possible 

Automation is a great way of ensuring that all of your processes are done efficiently, swiftly and with as little human error as possible. There are tons of automation tools out there for you to make use of. And you can automate almost every aspect of your business. From eInvoicing to procurement, supply chain, HR, and many aspects of marketing, there are hundreds of online tools and platforms for you to choose from. 

What is more, most of them are incredibly affordable and easy to use. They mostly work on a subscription basis, and there is usually a variety to choose from to suit your unique business needs. So, if you need, for example, custom invoices to automatically be sent to your clients, you can opt for a solution that not only fits your budget but your brand. 

Remember, the customer journey is pulled through to every aspect of your business and dealings with clients, and this includes finance and invoicing, so make it as streamlined as possible. 

Make Customer Service a Company Wide Effort 

Customer service should not be a siloed effort. It should not just be client-facing staff that are trained on effective and quality customer service. It should rather be pulled through to every part of the company. Make sure that each staff member from each department is sent on some kind of training to ensure that your customer journey is streamlined. 

Now, you might think that this is slightly unnecessary for, say, the guys in the dev department who are working on your site. But consider for a moment what your first point of contact usually is with a client. It is usually through your website. So, not only do they have to consider the full UX design of the site, they need to optimize each point that they would be in contact with your brand. 

Take, for example, chatbots which usually appear on most landing pages of your site. It is up to the development team to create interactive, helpful, and efficient points of contact that your clients can effectively use. So, training your developers on customer service and its intricacies of it can ensure that these small elements are carefully designed to optimize the customer experience

Heighten Communication With your Clients 

While we are on the topic of chatbots, when was the last time you audited your contact points? The fact of the matter is that every single client prefers different forms of communication and contact. While some prefer phone calls and direct contact with a person, others prefer getting questions and troubleshooting done with instant messaging. 

Make sure you are offering your clients a variety of ways to engage with you about a wide variety of issues. From social media, to chatbots on landing pages for real-time query solving, and access to an account manager, the more you can offer, the more streamlined the customer journey. customer experience

Keep communication transparent and honest at all times. Allow them to choose what communication they receive from you and provide them with regular opportunities to provide you with feedback. Remember, the more feedback you get from your clients, the more you can streamline your services and offerings.

Test, Measure, Monitor and Track Everything 

How do you know what you are succeeding at without the right data and metrics? If you are not receiving feedback from your clients, how do you know if the products or services are what they want? Or how would you know what they need for continued patronage?

The rule of thumb is to measure everything. From the traffic going to your site, how it behaves and where it drops off and converts, to the success of your social media campaigns. Gather metrics from various sources to be able to understand which campaigns were successful, what your clients responded well to, and what was a flop. 

Google Analytics allows you to track the traffic on your site and understand how it behaves. Your social platforms and mailing tools provide you with relevant metrics too about the success of your campaigns. But there are a plethora of other tools that allow you to track everything. 

The Bottom Line 

Customer service is a company-wide initiative. Train up your entire staff complement regularly and make sure that you have the right information coming to you at all times. The customer journey is your answer to great customer experience. 

small business coach

The Best Parking Management and Control Systems for Companies

parking management

How does a parking management and control system work?

Long gone are those days when you had to pay some coins to be designated parking space for your vehicle. As the world inches close to complete digitalization, developing parking management software is the need of the hour. It provides the best solutions to problems like the increasing number of vehicles, rapid urbanization, and the growing population.

Parking is one of the essential components of parking that need extra full attention. All vehicles require a specific location where they can be parked. But due to the unavailability of real estate and parking spaces, companies are taking the help of parking administration and control systems for the optimum utilization of parking land.

Parking management refers to the methods and programs used to optimize the usage of parking spaces and resources. As urban areas struggle to allot spaces to vehicles, parking control solutions are in demand. However, maintaining spaces and car parks isn’t easy, and that’s where these methods come into play. 

Key components of a parking management and control system

Many companies are coming up with their parking management software. The varied choices one has in the industry make it complicated to choose one method that provides all solutions. To make it easier to choose, you can look out for the following key components that should be in every parking management and control system:

  1. Track traffic: The software should be able to track inbound and outbound traffic in real—time. It should calculate the spaces that have cleared up and the number of cars that have passed in a specific time. 
  2. Set unique criteria: The parking management and control system should be able to manage different criteria, such as VIP and disabled categories. 
  3. Cover multiple locations: The software will be a hit with vehicle owners if it can manage and cover various areas at once. This could be in the form of car parks in different locations or parking slots in a multi—story car park. In addition, the higher organizational skills the software has, the more people will be compelled to use it. 
  4. Develop reports: The critical feature one must look out for in a parking management and control system is that it should be able to translate data into actionable measures. For example, analytics like improving traffic flow or generating more ROI will help you oversee and gain control over all parking systems. 
  5. Choice in payment options: You cannot expect people to pay for their parking space in a standardized manner. Therefore, your software should give people the freedom to choose a convenient mode of payment. 
  6. Parking permits: Issuing and tracking permits, depending upon the duration and location, influence the parking control system. Visitor passes, staff passes, and other passes should be smoothly issued within this software. 

Seven Benefits of a parking management and control system

An efficient parking management and control system benefits the vehicle owners and spaces owners. Here are the following benefits:

  1. Reduces the expenses of governments, businesses, and consumers
  2. Reduces parking management costs
  3. Improves and facilitates hassle—free parking
  4. Improves the safety and security of vehicles in a proper parking management system
  5. Minimizes traffic congestion and accidents
  6. Saves time as the people find parking spaces within a few seconds using a parking management software
  7. Greater accountability and understanding of how car parks are used and monitored

The advantages of using SaaS for parking management

Using a SaaS product for parking management can allow you to:

  1. Sign in to the parking management software from anywhere and real-time access statistics of car parks.
  2. Respond to multiple queries regarding parking at once. Users of the software need to adapt when environmental, legal and other logistical changes happen in the system.

Where can parking management and control systems be used?

The following industries will benefit from the inclusion of an efficient management and control system:

  1. Multi-story car parks with multiple entrances and exits
  2. Businesses/Companies with more than one parking compound on site
  3. Hotels and conference centers
  4. Hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities
  5. Commercial car parks
  6. Airports and train stations
  7. Malls and shopping complexes 

parking management

The best parking management and control systems around the world

  • ParkOffice

ParkOffice/Wayleadr is the best parking management software for smart offices. This software optimizes the car park management system, generates employee parking revenue, and reduces carbon footprint. In addition, companies can integrate Wayleadr with their parking hardware and software systems to streamline the parking process.

Wayleadr can be synced with the access control systems in your company. Doing so will ensure that only employees with valid bookings can access the car park. The parking management software can also be synced with sensors and cameras, maximizing usability. 

  • Parkalot

Parkalot is a cloud-based parking control system that allows companies to create and allot parking spaces and make prior reservations. The web application handles all the parking problems of the company and allows other employees to manage their parking spaces online. 

Here is how Parkalot solves parking problems:

  • Your office manager can create a parking lot with a limited number of slots and invite colleagues
  • Some slots go to the management team and a few others go to people who come from far. These employees should confirm their reservations a day before or by 09:00 am
  • Out of all the proposed occupiers of the parking spaces, some of them have confirmed their reservations
  • Now all the other unreserved spaces are available for booking by other employees
  • Before the day begins, all employees get to see the utilization of parking spaces and can plan their mode of transport accordingly
  • Parkable

Parkable is a park sharing platform that manages the parking of both tenants and employees. Using Parkable, one can find near parking spots and reserve them well—ahead. Additionally, you can also charge your electric vehicle using this software. 

Booking on Parkable is easy, and you can book a slot for as long as you want. All fares you see on the software do not contain any hidden charges. Pay for the space and get receipts directly to your inbox. 

  • Secure Park

Secure Park is a SaaS parking platform that helps companies achieve optimal parking control. Some of the features of Secure Park are visitor management, license plate recognition, access control, and much more. One can rent, lease or book parking spaces online via Secure Park.

  • Izix Parking Management

Izix provides flexible and streamlined management tools to simplify booking experiences for end—users. It can improve parking efficiency by using advanced insights to manage demand and bring new mobility rules. Izix’s goal is to facilitate a better urban life. 

The future of parking management and control systems

Technologically driven parking management and control systems simplify traffic, optimize traffic management and reduce air pollution. Software that optimizes and can solve urbanization, pollution, population, and more vehicles. Therefore, parking management and control systems are much needed today. 

By B Naomi Grace

small business coach

Wondering How To Reduce Costs In Your Business?

business cost

Reducing business costs can seem like a daunting task. But with a few simple steps, you can make your business more efficient and reduce expenses. Business costs can include anything from inventory and materials to employee salaries and marketing expenses. Many factors contribute to the cost of doing business, even though, for many small businesses, the cost of goods sold is the largest expense category. But there are ways to minimize them. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Use The Right Technology

There are many different types of technology that can help reduce costs in your business. For example, you can use online software to manage your finances instead of paying for an expensive program. You can also use a service like Skype or Google Hangouts to communicate with your team instead of paying for long-distance calls. The right technology can help you save a lot of money in the long run. This is just one of the many ways that you can reduce costs in your business. More so, you could use a cost-effective strategy that is relative to what your business does.

Compare Prices /Costs

One of the first steps in reducing costs is to compare prices and costs between different providers. As mentioned at compareyourbusinesscosts.co.uk/compare-gas-electricity-prices, it is important to remember that not all services are created equal, so it’s important to find a provider that can offer you the best value for your money. You can also employ the service of agencies that can assist you in finding better deals on the products and services that you need. This will help to ensure that you are getting the best possible deal on the products and services that you need. More so, you will also be able to save money in the long run.

Rely On Modern Marketing Methods

There are many ways to reduce costs in your business, but one of the most efficient is to rely on modern marketing methods. By using online advertising and email campaigns, you can reach a large number of potential customers without spending a lot of money. In addition, social media platforms offer free or low-cost methods of promoting your products or services to a wide audience. This approach can be more effective than traditional advertising methods, such as print or broadcast media, which can be expensive and reach a limited audience. It’s also important to make sure that your website is optimized for search engine ranking, as this can help you attract potential customers who are looking for your products or services online.

business cost

Avoid Overpriced Services

Another way to reduce costs in your business is to avoid overpriced services. There are many providers of professional services, such as marketing, accounting, and legal, who charge more than necessary. Do your research to find affordable providers who can offer you the same quality of service. The money you save can be reinvested back into your business. This can be a difficult task if you don’t have the time to do it yourself, but there are many resources available to help you find the right provider for your business.

Use In-House Resources

Another way to reduce costs is to use in-house resources. For example, if you are a small business, you can handle marketing and accounting tasks yourself. You can also contract out specific tasks to freelancers or other service providers. This will help you save money on outside services. The key is to be strategic about which tasks you choose to outsource and which ones you can do yourself. It may take a little bit of trial and error, but you’ll eventually find a cost-effective solution that works for your business. The bottom line is that you need to be smart about where you’re spending your money and how you can reduce costs. By using in-house resources and outsourcing specific tasks, you can save a lot of money in the long run.

Negotiate Better Rates

One way to reduce costs is to negotiate better rates with your suppliers. Many businesses pay more than they need to for the goods and services they use. Talk to your suppliers and see if you can get a better rate. You may be able to lower your costs by 10% or more. The key is to be willing to walk away if you can’t get a good deal. This can be tough, but it’s often necessary to keep your business running efficiently. It’s also important to shop around and compare prices.

Use Recycled Materials

Another way to reduce your business costs is by using recycled materials. This can include everything from recycled paper to recycled office furniture. Not only is this better for the environment, but it can also help to save you money in the long run. You can find recycled materials through online retailers or through local suppliers. The more you buy, the more you can save. This is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint as well as your costs.

Improve Process Management

Process management is one of the key aspects that can help reduce costs in any business. The better the processes are streamlined and organized, the easier it will be to identify and eliminate wasteful spending. Make sure everyone in your organization understands and follows the established processes, and track performance regularly to ensure that they are still effective. The less waste there is, the more money you’ll save. This can include things like improving communication and coordination between departments, automating tasks wherever possible, and using technology to your advantage.

Cut Staffing Costs

One way to reduce costs in your business is to cut back on staffing costs. You may be able to do this by reducing the number of employees you have, or by finding ways to make your current employees more efficient. You could also outsource some of your staffing needs to a third-party company. The key is to find the right balance between reducing costs and still providing the level of service that your customers expect. This can be a tricky balancing act, but it’s worth the effort.

 

In conclusion, reducing costs in your business can be done in a variety of ways. It’s important to find the solutions that work best for you and your company, and to always be looking for ways to save money.  Additionally, by being proactive and strategic about your spending, you can ensure that your business is as cost-effective as possible.

small business coach

The Importance of Software Solutions in Building Your eCommerce Business

software solution

eCommerce has become a standard way for businesses to sell products and services. A large share of shoppers has turned to the internet for convenience, making it vital for businesses to create an online storefront to stay competitive and grow. But, what does it take to build an eCommerce business? Besides running a successful website, you need a good payment processing solution that will allow customers from all over the world to buy your products with ease while still protecting your revenue. Without software solutions, you won’t be able to process payments or complete any other necessary tasks!

Automating Packaging and Shipments

A good software solution will automate your packaging and shipments. This is important because you don’t want to have to manually package each product every time an order comes in. Automation will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. A software solution that automatically recommends the best packaging can help your business with this. Additionally, a software solution can automate the process of printing shipping labels. This is important because you want to make sure that your products are properly labeled and shipped promptly. Otherwise, you risk losing customers and damaging your reputation.

Tracking Shipments 

Another important aspect of eCommerce is tracking your shipments. This is important because you need to know where your products are at all times. A software solution can help you track your shipments and inventory levels so that you can always be aware of what’s in stock and where it is. This information is critical for keeping your business running smoothly and avoiding any service disruptions. It’s also an important element in retaining customer satisfaction. 

software solution

Tracking Inventory

Another important task that a software solution can help with is inventory management. You need to be able to track what products you have in stock at all times so that you can avoid overselling. A software solution can help you do this by automatically updating your inventory count whenever an order is placed. This way, you’ll always know exactly how much stock you have on hand and can reorder products as needed. This way you’ll also know how many of each product you have sold. This information is vital for knowing when to restock your inventory and for keeping track of your overall sales. Without software solutions, it would be nearly impossible to keep track of this information accurately.

Payment Processing Software

As we mentioned before, payment processing is a vital part of any eCommerce business. A software solution can help you accept payments from all over the world and protect your revenue. There are a few different types of payment processors out there, so it’s important to do your research and find the one that best fits your needs. Some payment processors will allow you to accept a wide variety of payment methods, while others may only work with certain types of payments. You’ll also want to consider fees when choosing a payment processor. Some processors charge transaction fees, while others charge monthly fees. You’ll need to decide which type of fee structure is best for your business.

Mitigating Payment-Related Issues and Risks

Another important thing to consider when choosing a payment processor is how well they handle fraud and chargebacks. You want to make sure that your processor has a good reputation for handling these issues so that you can avoid any problems down the road. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure that your processor offers some sort of protection against fraud and chargebacks. This way, you can rest assured knowing that your revenue is safe.

Automating Marketing Efforts

Another important task that a software solution can help with is marketing. You need to be able to reach your target market and promote your products effectively. A software solution can help you automate your marketing efforts so that you can focus on other aspects of your business. There are a variety of marketing automation tools out there, so it’s important to find the one that best fits your needs. Some tools will allow you to automate email marketing, while others will help you manage your social media campaigns.

Scheduling Marketing Campaigns

You’ll also want to consider a software solution that can help you schedule your marketing campaigns. This is important because you need to be able to time your campaigns so that they’re most effective. A software solution can help you schedule your campaigns in advance and make sure that they’re properly executed.

software solution

Customer Relationship Management

A final task that a software solution can help with is customer relationship management. You need to be able to manage your customer relationships effectively to grow your business. A software solution can help you do this by keeping track of customer data and interactions. This way, you can identify potential problems early on and take steps to prevent them. Additionally, a software solution can help you segment your customers so that you can target them more effectively with your marketing efforts.

Managing Customer Relationships Creates Long-Term Benefits

By investing in software solutions to help you with tasks like these, you can create long-term benefits for your business. Automating repetitive tasks will free up your time so that you can focus on more important aspects of your business. Additionally, by managing your customer relationships effectively, you can create long-term customers who are more likely to stick with your brand.

 

There are a variety of tasks that a software solution can help within an eCommerce business. These solutions can automate many of the tasks that are essential for running a successful business. This allows you to focus on other aspects of your business, such as growing your customer base and increasing sales. If you’re not already using software solutions in your business, now is the time to start. Investing in the right software can make a big difference in the success of your business.

small business coach

Six eCommerce Business Ideas For 2022

ecommerce

These days, people want something they can do from home, and people are making money from eCommerce businesses online. If you are looking for eCommerce business ideas you can venture into, then this article is for you. Here is a list of online business ideas you can choose from.

Have it in mind that when we say online business, or if you like, Ecommerce, it refers to a wide range of business ideas which can be done online. From physical products to information and data, there are a vast number of online business ideas out there to choose from. You just have to pick your preference, learn about it because you need to learn how to start an ecommerce business, and kick start your eCommerce business from there.

Drop Shipping

ecommerce

This is one of the easiest kinds of ecommerce businesses to get into. It takes the responsibility and stress of handling goods and managing storages off your hands. In drop shipping, your contact with customers is solely for the purpose of collecting money through PayPal or credit cards.

Everything else is on the supplier. Simply put, in drop shipping, you link an online website to what is called a drop ship supplier, customers make orders on your online store, your online store sends the customers’ order across to the drop ship supplier, and the suppliers deliver the order to the customer using location details the customer provided while placing an order.

Online Tutoring

Remember how the pandemic hit several countries from the continents of the world, and workers had to stay home, students, also? Some schools continued to take classes online, we even had students graduate from universities from home, and hold their graduation ceremonies, as well as receiving honorary speeches online.

Teachers and non-teachers who had knowledge that people were in need of became more interested in online tutoring, especially since schools were closed, and there was no other way to meet with students for private classes.

Teachers signed up to teach and sell courses online, and in turn, got paid. The pandemic may have gone down, but this is still an eCommerce business idea to venture into. In fact, there are many online tutors and tutoring platforms out there you can sign up with. Some of them include; Udemy, Coursera, Fiverr, Skooli, TutoMe. SuperProf, and Chegg Tutors to mention but a few.

You can also utilize your social media platform, set up online training sessions, and sell your courses. It doesn’t have to be an academic course, businesses and individual brands utilize this means to sell their value, professional advice online in the form of videos, private and paid classes on zoom, telegram, YouTube, and through eBooks. These are not the only options.

Freelancing

Freelancing covers a number of skills that can be outsourced in exchange for money. There is graphic and web designing and development, different aspects of writing—copywriting, content writing for websites, blogs, articles, ghostwriting business books, eBooks, fictional stories, editing, coding, translating, and several other skills.

The beautiful thing about freelancing is that you own your time, you’re your own boss, and you can decide to travel the world and still be able to do your job. You can work as a freelancer from anywhere in the world provided there is electricity and data available. Basically, a freelancer sells their skills to clients who are in need of those skills.

It’s a wonderful ecommerce business idea to consider. Another interesting thing about venturing into freelancing as an online business idea is that you can get offers from many clients. You can choose which client to work with, but importantly, you can become an outsourcer yourself. That means that you can take more jobs, outsource to other freelancers, pay them a stipulated amount, and keep your cut.

Affiliate Marketing

ecommerce

One of the most in-demand marketers presently is affiliate marketers. They stand between businesses who have products to sell and potential customers. Affiliates, as they are commonly called, convert potential customers to actual buyers. They talk potential buyers into wanting and trusting a product enough to actually buy it.

For each conversion, that is, every potential customer who eventually buys a product recommended by an affiliate marketer, the affiliate gets a percentage off the product sold. Affiliates are digital marketers, for every sale they bring in for a product seller, they get paid a certain percentage of the money made off the product.

Affiliates are greatly in demand by many businesses, and they make a ton of money from brokering sales. Some affiliate marketing platforms are ShareASale, Awin, Amazon Associates, Expertnaire, and Affise to mention but a few.

Social Media Influencer

A lot of things go on, on social media, and not all of it is bad. Social media influencers are social media personalities who have followers who are loyal to them, followers who have come to trust them down to taking advice from them. These people make their money by promoting products, brands and businesses on their space while their followers go on and buy or patronize these brands, products and businesses.

All on the basis that their favorite or trusted social media personality recommended them and, these influencers get paid for their influence. An example is a fashion enthusiast; this person stands the chance of becoming a social media influencer for a fashion company because their followers have come to trust their sense of fashion, or a makeup enthusiast who can become an influencer for a makeup products and cosmetic brand.

Social Media Management

This kind of ecommerce business or online business idea involves two parties, a social media personality, brand or business who probably doesn’t have the time or the skill required keep their feed active, interesting, and engaging, and another person who has just the skills required to do the above stated.

Knowing how seriously businesses and brands are taking their presence on social media, this is a lucrative ecommerce business idea to try out. Technology has made it possible for people to do what was impossible decades ago, now, everyone is jumping on the ecommerce business train, these are just a few online business ideas you can venture into.

 

small business coach

10 Free Marketing Strategies to Build Up Your Business

marketing

Building a business doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t always need to spend a fortune on pay-per-click ads or SEO services to get noticed – at least to begin with. Instead, you can use free marketing strategies to get the ball rolling.

In this post, we take a look at some of the tactics that you can use, without the need to hand over any of your precious capital. Check them out below.

1. Set Up Your Google My Business Account

You can think of setting up a Google My Business (GMB) account as having a similar effect to regular SEO activities, without the time and money investment. GMB is essentially free and gives you a leg up on the world’s largest search engine virtually overnight.

You can set up a GMB account using a simple tool provided by Google. Once you prove your address, the search giant will display your business information on Maps when users type in relevant keywords. You can display your telephone number, address, type of services you offer, opening and review rating – all of which encourage people to click through.

2. Attend An Industry Networking Event With Marketing In Mind

marketing

Going to conferences can be a great way to drum up interest in your business. Entry fees are often low or non-existent, but the value of contacts you make can be tremendous. For instance, you can learn inexpensive branding strategies to get your business’s message out, or you can partner with other firms to get your goods and services in front of more people. Often, having B2B contacts lets you access better wholesale prices and source the talent you need to thrive.

3. Host A Class To Assist Marketing

In today’s information economy, people want insights. They need professionals – industry authorities – who can guide them towards their goals. Depending on your experience and role, this knowledge-giving professional could be you. You could be the one putting on an event and creating an authoritative brand.

To build interest, you could post information on community bulletin boards in grocery stores, coffee shops, colleges and professional education establishments. You could also partner with local events and become a speaker.

4. Launch A Webinar Series

Webinars are a wonderful tool for promoting your business because they allow you to show your human side. You’re not just a faceless person, hidden behind a wall of website branding and advertisements. Instead, you’re someone who other people can relate to.

Webinars do several things that help you build your business:

  • Prove to your audience that you understand their needs
  • Give you time to explain the benefits of your products
  • Show your human side, building trust
  • Demonstrate your expertise

What’s more, attracting people to attend a webinar is incredibly cost-effective. Just post details on your social media account or include times and links in your email marketing.

Custom ecommerce web design by agencies integrates webinar features into your website. This way, even if you’re running an online store, you can still offer customers value directly.

5. Write Your Own Press Releases As Part Of Your Marketing

You can go to marketing agencies and ghostwriting services to write press releases for you. But, as you probably already know, you have to pay.

Here’s an idea: write your own. Once you get the hang of press release format, they’re actually quite easy to do. Adopt a neutral tone, talk about your business in the third-person, and include quotes. Choose a newsworthy angle and you’re pretty much ready to go.

Once you complete the copy, submit it to a free press release distribution service. The quality of syndication (the sites the service will publish your press release on), usually aren’t as high as paid services. However, it still gets your message out there, which is always a good thing.

6. Help Others For Free

You’re in business to make money, so the idea of helping others for free seems crazy. However, it can work if you get it right.

You’re not a charity. But if you give away a sample product or a small amount of your time, you can prove your value. Prospects are then much more likely to use you in the future. Just make it clear that it’s a one-off. You won’t be giving up your time out of the kindness of your heart in the future.

7. Create A Free Resource For Your Marketing

Do you know something that other people in your sector don’t? Are you able to produce a resource for your audience that your competitors haven’t yet?

If so, then it’s time to get busy. Creating free resources is a powerful way to attract people to your business and brand. Providing free downloadable tips sheets or ebooks lets you capture email addresses while introducing your audience to what you do.

8. Build A Referral Program

marketing

Referral programs aren’t free to run, but they are cheap to set up. The basic idea is to get your customers to spread the good news about your brand for you, so you don’t have to. It’s like outsourcing your marketing department. It works because prospects are much more likely to trust existing customers than they are conventional advertisements.

To build a referral program, you’ll need to offer an incentive to customers who refer leads to you. You might offer a fixed fee – say $100 for every new client they win – or a share of the value of the client, perhaps 5 percent.

9. Initiate A Tweetstorm To Aid Marketing

As a brand, you’re not trying to become a drama queen. There are already enough of those on Twitter. But if you can cook up a tweetstorm, then you can create a lot of buzz.

The best strategy here is to follow news in your niche and then make careful, well-reasoned comments on events as they unfold. If other people in the twitterverse find your contributions interesting, they’ll start following you, increasing your reach.

10. Cozy Up To Influencers In Your Niche

Lastly, you might want to try ingratiating yourself with top influencers and reaching out to bloggers in your niche. Try to get them interested in what you’re doing by offering something unique that their audience will appreciate. It might be that you offer a product purity level unsurpassed in your industry. Or you could be doing something totally new. Just make it exciting and valuable to the influencer.

So, there you have it: our ten free marketing strategies to build your business. Which will you use?

 

small business coach

How To Drive Innovation In Your Business

innovation

Successful innovation requires clear communication and a deep understanding of the process. Innovating enterprises, work environments, products, and services are the goals of most business owners, especially for startups. Yet, it appears as though innovation is not a priority in the majority of firms today, leading to anti-innovation cultures.

Notably, the strategies required to expand a business are distinct from those required to avoid its failure. If you want your company to develop and innovate, you must be willing to take risks and cope with uncertainty.

 Your company may require new approaches to develop innovation.

1. Invest In Innovation Consulting

Adding innovation consultants can shake things up. Innovation Consulting can bring a unique set of skills and perspectives to the table. They can help the company see how it compares to the competitors, and more importantly, how it compares to other industries. Using thought leaders from different organizations, industries, and sectors can be a terrific approach to spark new initiatives and projects within your company.

The choice of the right innovation consulting firm can be difficult because there are so many options available, including:

  • Internal ideation management
  • Front end innovation
  • External solution implementation
  • Strategic thinking and insight gathering
  • Design thinking and rapid prototyping
  • New business models
  • Building a global ecosystem
  • Scouting for new technologies
  • Start-ups

A company’s innovation is also impacted by numerous other factors. That’s why companies are more likely to collaborate with a variety of experts.

Modern businesses need creative help like from an innovation consulting team at Normative to avoid stagnation. This can help you stay ahead in a competitive environment.

2. Identify Key Challenges And Goals

The path to innovation begins with defining important hurdles and goals. You may start with assessing how clients’ expectations of your services and items have changed.

To improve client involvement, organizations can, for example, adapt in-store customer experiences into online shopping.

Assess all consumer touchpoints and search for shifts in expectations that may help you innovate. Then you may start creating new products and services for your customers while also changing your marketing strategies.

Owners should actively participate in the evaluation and implementation of innovative ideas. The best new strategies require input from all levels of authority. Leads should be encouraged to bridge silos and propose new ideas.

innovation

3. Establish New Business Models and Strategies

Now that you know what works, you can accelerate and evolve these strategies and business models. Consider removing previous channels from the process. Terminating channels is important if you need to establish new methods. Reallocate resources to successful prospects rather than failed company tactics.

With proper budgeting, reallocating funding for innovation helps promote it. Consider everything as a learning experience, and don’t be scared to change your mind.

4. Embrace New Technology

From cloud computing to artificial intelligence, digital innovation is altering the way businesses operate, saving time and money. Businesses that digitized quickly during COVID claim digital and telecom services are now more significant than they were before. Small businesses are now using connected, always-on technology to build new consumer experiences and business models. 

What does digital transformation mean to you? What tech innovations could change the meaning of ‘business as usual?’ One example is leveraging AI in email marketing. When it comes to consumer outreach or business-to-business or B2B marketing, you need to eliminate the guesswork. Incorporate AI into your email marketing plan to get the most out of every email you send.

You can even utilize an innovative email grading system to analyze your email collection and gain valuable information. A smart email platform can tell you how your receivers will respond to your emails so you can boost engagement and conversion.

Remember that change might be little or enormous. Just remember that adopting new technology should improve your business, customer service, and employee support.

5. Encourage Communication

Encouraging the sharing of ideas will increase the amount and quality of new ideas in your company. Diverse backgrounds representing the customer landscape will lead to better talks about innovation.

Promote idea flow by eliminating assigned desks and creating comfort zones for relaxing. For example, to ensure no employee lives in a vacuum, Google has weekly TGIF meetings conducted by its creators to present an overview of projects and to ensure that no employee is left in the dark.

6. Don’t Focus Much On Efficiency And Scale

Typical business management approaches emphasize efficiency and process over experimentation. But being innovative means taking risks and attempting new things. That means some will fail. ‘Failures’ are like deposits for the things that work and help your business grow.

7. Collaborate

Businesses need to specialize to remain competitive, and collaboration allows them to pool resources and knowledge while sharing risks. Collaboration patterns are influenced by business factors and innovation goals.

Businesses should leverage channel cooperation to strengthen their business abilities, understanding of the environment, and market responsiveness. Businesses should easily absorb this transfer of business abilities because it is directly related to their ‘previous knowledge.

8. Always Address Customer’s Concerns

Your business customers will probably have concerns with your products, services, or operations at some point. For example, the expected product functionality isn’t delivered with the required speed, quality, or service. Or maybe decision-makers need more information than you provide.

When a consumer complains about your product, service, or support, make sure their input is documented and used to improve.

Convenience and safety are now two things many of your business clients would demand from you to meet their needs.

9. Boost Revenue

Profit is determined by price, demand, and costs. Any business strategy must enhance profit by lowering costs, raising pricing, or increasing demand.

Earnings innovation allows enterprises to maximize profits. Expanding your consumer base is typically the most effective method to do this.

Whether you’re developing a new product or upgrading an old one, the financial impact should be a key consideration.

Conclusion:

The ability to produce completely fresh ideas is exciting to many. Innovation can create new products and services, open access to new markets, and solve societal issues.

You’ll need an innovative strategy to stay on track when faced with changing consumer preferences, new technologies, and strong competition. Think creatively and incorporate new business models.

 

small business coach

How to Start and Grow a Successful Restaurant Business

restaurant

Starting a new business can be exciting and very fulfilling. However, it can also be time-consuming and difficult to launch. Your restaurant can withstand tough competition from new and established businesses with a unique marketing strategy. Lack of planning is the leading cause of failure among many businesses.

It is essential to take the time to establish all the details about your restaurant business. Here are some crucial pointers on how to start and grow a thriving restaurant business:

Establish a Solid Business Plan For Your Restaurant

restaurant

We cannot emphasize the importance of a solid business plan enough. It would be best to have a detailed business plan that outlines the general course of your business.

It will be constructive in planning your growth and measuring your success. You can use the business plan when you need to expand to access what is feasible for your business.

The business plan should be comprehensive and should include:

  • Analysis of the competition
  • Target audience information
  • Market plan
  • Financial projections
  • Vital market research

If you need assistance drafting a solid business plan, it would be helpful to use planning templates. An essential tool you can also use is business planning software to make the planning process a lot easier. Planning will be the key to the success of your restaurant business.

Pick a Great Location to Set Up the Restaurant

Location is an essential factor to consider before setting up your restaurant business. It would be best to pick a location that is easily accessible, within your budget, and will attract many people. The restaurant’s location will also determine the possibility of growth and expansion in the future.

It would help to take your time and extensively research possible locations whether you intend to build or rent some space. You can always start small and expand your business later.

Market Your Business

For your business to grow and attract new customers, you must invest your time and money in marketing it. More customers mean your revenue flow will be steady. Relying on word of mouth is not enough to take your business to new heights. You can:

  • Establish a solid online presence to interact with potential customers.
  • Placing ads in the local press
  • Distributing leaflets
  • Offer discounts to new customers
  • Join a local business association
  • Organize and participate in events. You can use event management software for restaurants to simplify the process. You can also give out free samples to market the available cuisines.

Marketing your business online and offline is essential in building your brand as a business. It will help your business to get recognition.

Hire Well Trained Essential Help

Your business will run a lot smoother if you have some essential help working for you. It is vital to fill out important positions such as cooks and dishwashers before launching your restaurant business.

However, paying attention to your budget and financial position is essential. If you hire too many employees when you are just starting, you may have trouble paying all of them. You can hire a few at first and increase the numbers with time.

It would also help to train your employees adequately. You can create a code of conduct that your employees have to follow. Job descriptions will also help the employees better prepare for their roles. As the restaurant owner, you should also be prepared to roll up your sleeves and be willing to fill in regularly.

Work On Efficient Financial Management

restaurant

Like any other business, you will need to secure enough startup capital for your restaurant business. In addition to the startup costs for buying equipment and setting up your business, it is also essential to have enough money to cover your expenses for at least a few months.

In the beginning, your business will most likely have few customers and, therefore, less income. The money will provide a cushion before your business picks up.

As with any other business, you should be prepared to incur losses with your restaurant business. It may take some time to market your business and attract regular customers for your restaurant business to become profitable.

A good financial plan can help you overcome hard times. In case of any new challenges, it would help to evaluate your processes and numbers.

Take the time to figure out the most efficient processes for your business. It will help in keeping your costs and expenditure low and manageable.

Keep track of your food costs. Check out several suppliers to find the best for you. Avoid waste and keep your food pricing competitive to avoid huge losses.

Have a Unique Menu Card For Your Restaurant

It may be easy to overlook the importance of a menu card. However, it is essential to invest in having your menu card designed professionally. The restaurant menu is the first thing the customers will come across when they visit your restaurant.

You should aim to leave a good impression. The card displays the prices and available dishes to the customers.

A professionally designed menu will speak volumes about the restaurant. Ensure the available dishes and prices are neatly displayed. It would help to use a combination of images and text uniquely and appealingly.

The menu card can be a great marketing tool for your business in general. It is therefore vital to ensure a positive portrayal of your business. It is also essential to have a great menu too.

To collect honest feedback, you can organize a small party or dinner that features your proposed menu. You can incorporate a way to collect anonymous comments on the dishes. Market research will also help understand pricing patterns.

Running a restaurant can be highly rewarding and fulfilling for the owner. It is vital to have a strategy when starting a restaurant to grow. Run the business professionally and provide outstanding service to your customers. Your business will grow and be successful in no time.

 

small business coach