Small Business Consulting Services – Quickly Identify The Best

small-business-consulting

Small business consulting services can be an invaluable asset to your company, helping you to reach your full potential. With the right consultant, you can improve performance and make necessary adjustments for success. Small business consultants can assist in overcoming setbacks, increasing revenue, and expanding operations – all essential factors for a successful venture. Before hiring a small business consulting service, ensure your consultant has the necessary experience and qualifications to help businesses like yours reach your desired outcomes.

Making this investment in a small business consulting service is an integral step towards ensuring that your company can thrive today and well into the future. Let the professionals help you find success.

In this article, we will be covering small business consulting services – what it is, what they do, and how you can find a small business consultant for your business.

What is a small business consulting service?

A business consultant is one who assists business owners with their goals and has a unique skill set gained via education and prior experience. Business consultants can also help firms enhance their performance and efficiency by providing management advice. These individuals examine organizations and develop solutions to unique challenges, while also assisting firms in achieving their objectives. When business owners require assistance or perspective on their chosen course, or a catalyst for change in their organizations, they might consider employing a small business consulting service.

small business coach

What is the role of a small business consulting service?

A small business consultant assists business owners in developing business plans, identifying marketing needs, developing marketing strategies, and imparting skills to improve management and efficiency in order to maximize earnings. As a result, they play an important role in the expansion of businesses.

Business consultants, to be more exact, are frequently connected with the following responsibilities:

1. Information Exchange

This typically explains why people seek out small business consulting services in the first place: they need information. Surveys, cost and feasibility studies, market surveys, and other techniques can be used to gather necessary information. The small business consultant brings to the table specialized knowledge as well as more current (up-to-date) information that can benefit the company. If the organization is unable to commit any of its resources to data collection internally, business consultants may be recruited. Data is everything in today’s ever-expanding technology environment, and small business consultants can collect it to help their clients build their businesses.

2. Solving Issues

Small business consulting services are usually able to solve complex challenges, and business owners and managers regularly turn to business consultants for help. This could include questions about purchasing a component for the business, acquiring a business line, strategies for restructuring the company’s organizational setup, determining appropriate financial policies to adopt, determining the most appropriate approach in dealing with compensation and morale issues, management succession, efficiency, and so on.

Attempting to solve these kinds of difficulties is undeniably a legitimate duty that ought to be compensated. However, the small business consultant must subsequently discover answers to such difficult issues. He or she must first evaluate whether the problem is one that needs to be solved. Rather than acting on synthesized problem statements, the small business consultant may need to assist in defining the underlying issue. The small business consultant may ask the following questions to learn more about the problem’s context:

  • What specific solutions have been tried to address the problem in the past? What were the outcomes of the solutions that were used?
  • What are the client’s ideas for solving the problem that haven’t been tried yet?
  • What components of the business aren’t doing well?
  • If a solution to the problem is developed, how will it be implemented in the business?
  • What steps will be taken to guarantee that the developed solution is accepted?

A small business consultant should not just accept or reject the business owner’s statement of the problem. Instead, he or she should examine the situation in a methodical manner and determine whether or not the business owner’s original evaluation is correct.

3. Diagnosis that works

The ability to successfully diagnose accounts for a significant portion of the value of a small business consultant. The diagnosis process can sometimes put a strain on the management-consultant relationship, because the small business consultant may find deficiencies in the company’s management, leading to blame.

Accurate diagnosis isn’t restricted to the company’s external environment, technology, economics, or employee behavior. The causes behind specific choices and decisions that appear to be blunders may also be probed by the small business consultant’s diagnosis. Such investigations will also look into activities that were judged inconsequential and thus were not taken.

4. Recommendation for Action

business-consultant

A written report or oral presentation describing the business consultant’s lessons and some recommendations to the business is usually provided at the end of a small business consulting engagement. It’s critical that reports and data are presented in a way that makes them easy to understand and use. The above recommendations are based on the business consultant’s diagnosis. In most circumstances, the small business consultant’s job isn’t done until he or she has produced a consistent, logical plan of action with measures to address the identified issues. It is the job of the small business consultant to make recommendations, but it is the responsibility of the business owner to put those recommendations into action if he or she so chooses.

5. Implementing Changes

The business consultant gives a fresh perspective to the company and may play a key role in executing change. Now, the degree of flexibility for carrying out this duty may vary, as some firms may prohibit this function of the small business consulting service because it may be seen as infringing on management responsibilities. Being a proponent of recommendations for the business’s growth, on the other hand, implies implemented recommendations, which puts the small business consultant in the role of implementer rather than just recommender.

6. Building Commitment and Consensus

The success of proposed recommendations and diagnoses is determined by team members’ willingness to agree on the nature of problems/opportunities and come up with appropriate remedial activities, lest the diagnosis be rejected and recommendations be ignored.

A small business consultant is critical in motivating commitment and consensus around identified issues and recommended solutions. As a result, the small business consultant is persuasive and has fine-tuned analytic skills, which are required for eliciting consensus on necessary measures to be taken and building the momentum (zeal) to see these agreed-upon activities completed.

7. Improve your management skills

Small business consultants have the ability to improve a business owner’s ability to deal with immediate concerns as well as teach them strategies and procedures for dealing with future obstacles. This isn’t to say that when business owners gain these talents, they become obsolete. Instead, satisfied business owners will always refer and promote such small business consulting services to others, hence expanding the area of influence of the business consultant.

8. Improving Organizational Performance

The implementation of new ideas and objectives necessitates new management skills as well as a fresh viewpoint, which business consultants provide. Small business consultants assist organizations in achieving organizational performance by bringing the ability to adapt future strategy and behavior to environmental change while maximizing available human resources. This keeps the company current in an ever-changing world.

Types of Small Business Consulting Services

In general, there are five categories of small business consultants, each of which can provide value to your business domain. They are as follows:

1. Management and strategy

These small business consultants can help your company scale, obtain new prospects, and generate income by bringing industry expertise to the table. Small business consultants who specialize in strategy and management can assist your company in expanding into new markets or raising awareness in existing markets.

  •         Creating a cost-effective strategy by reorganizing your business model.
  •         Increasing the capabilities of your company.
  •         Getting a new company venture off the ground.
  •         Changing the structure of your company or merging with another.
  •         Taking on the role of middle management at a period of transition.

IT consultants

2. Operations

Small business consultants who specialize in operations can assist business owners in improving the quality of their day-to-day processes. These business experts assess your present business model and determine the most cost-effective and time-effective strategy to achieve the same high-quality results at a fraction of the cost and effort. Quality control and understanding how to alter and optimize your production for better results are two more ways these consultants may help.

3. Financial

A financial consultant can show you the bigger picture of your company’s financial health. They mostly assist investors and business owners in determining the best strategy to manage their assets and debts. Financial consultants can also provide additional services, such as financial planning, in which they advise customers on taxes, daily spending, and retirement plans.

4. Human Resource

There are a variety of HR consulting organizations and freelancers who can help business owners with their HR needs. These consultants can handle day-to-day HR responsibilities like hiring and retaining new employees, payroll management, administrative tasks, and performance management.

5. Marketing

Marketing consultants assist firms in identifying and expanding on their brand’s strengths in order to increase brand awareness and visibility. A marketing consultant may help you improve your business’ reach, whether you need a new logo or a social media plan.

How to Locate A Small Business Consultant?

You can go on to the exploration step once you’ve defined the area where you need assistance. It may be difficult to discover the proper small business consultant for your needs, but there are several areas you may look into, such as:

  •         Investigate Consulting Networks on Google
  •         Make the Most of Your Personal Network
  •         Industry Events to Attend
  •         Participate in Online Communities
  •         Examine Online Advisors

Are you in need of small business consulting services? Then contact our certified small business consultant today. Click here to book a free strategy session here.

1. Do a Google search on small business consulting services.

You might look for terms like “management consulting for small firms” that are relevant to the company difficulties you’re trying to solve. Google is the quickest method of obtaining contact information. However, this will mostly identify small business consulting services with sufficient resources and motivation to pay for AdWords advertisements and heavily invest in SEO. Individual consultants and mentors may not be applicable.

SO, while this is a good starting point, you can supplement your list with the methods described below.

2. Check Out Small Business Consulting Groups

Clarity is a consulting network with a few thousand members who specialize in a variety of fields. Another choice is OnFrontiers, and there are a couple of smaller ones as well.

Mentorship communities and groups also exist. Small business bureaus are also available. This strategy is effective in niches where membership is virtually “required” and consultants apply and participate frequently.

The benefit of similar consulting networks is the ability to instantly contact a small business consultant without having to go through a lengthy “interviewing” process, contract signing, or arduous negotiations. You can literally call the next day and get started on your case.

3. Make the Most of Your Network

Potential business alliances may be discovered by tapping into your existing network. The circle of “friends and family” is a good place to start; partners, vendors, and other industry peers. When in doubt, ask on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn; someone may be able to provide a referral who can assist.

It’s likely that you’ll be able to contact someone who has appropriate knowledge in this industry and is willing to work with you or connect you to someone they know.

This is when the rule of “top of mind” comes in helpful. When they think of a specific industry or a problem, some of your colleagues will propose the go-to person.

4. Industry Events to Attend

Meetups and seminars are popular gathering places for local small business consultants. Some give talks, some network, and yet others sponsor or assist other clients.

Even if you are unable to locate a consultant there, event organizers or volunteers may be able to assist you. A tiny group of people work as “networkers,” connecting different vendors with one another. You can spot them by the steady flow of exchanges and talks with everyone in the hall.

When it comes to finding niche experts, events are extremely effective. At comparable events, the majority of industry leaders speak. Alternatively, their employers may fund them. Or it’s where they regularly meet up with old friends, colleagues, and partners.

5. Participate in Online Communities

Whatever works in your field: social media, Quora, forums, Facebook groups, etc. Many people use Quora to promote themselves or their businesses. On Facebook, industry groups bring together all kinds of people, including small business consultants and advisors.

Quora is so effective that you can even connect with and pitch investors through it.

LinkedIn is also a good place to look for small business consulting services. If Twitter is a network you use sporadically, some people put a lot of money into it.

For seasoned and competent small business consultants, their online reputation is crucial. You can locate some great talent there if you use the appropriate search filters and join the right business groups.

6. Mentors and indirect small business consulting

People frequently overlook the source of the information they get on a daily basis from the internet.

In your browser, go to the History tab. Sift through the last 30 posts you’ve read to see what you’ve learned. Who penned them? Thousands of contributors work for sites like Forbes, Inc., and HuffPost. Look them up on social media or on their websites. Some of them are likely to provide small business coaching services; if you’ve benefited from their counsel, consider reaching out to them.

How to choose a small business consulting service to hire

Many people try to market small business consulting services without actually understanding what they are consulting on. It’s time to discover how to evaluate consultants after you’ve done your research and potentially made a list of potential consultants. Here’s a short checklist just for that: References, background, and public appearance.

Are you in need of small business consulting services? Then contact our certified small business consultant today. Click here to book a free strategy session here.

1. Look up References

This can include their client portfolio, CV, case studies, or recommendations from others in your network.

LinkedIn suggestions may be useful, but they are usually more optimistic than practical. However, 40 or more positive ratings for an advisor or consultant are quite rare.

Their curriculum vitae should show that they have worked in their respective fields.

Case studies can assist you in determining what they do, what they specialize in, and the types of problems they handle (including their strong areas of expertise which vary across consultants).

The power of being recognized in podcasts and guest pieces (or interviews) is undeniable. The same can be said for writing a book or hosting a podcast on the subject.

2. Do a background check on the small business consulting service

With only a few years of experience in the area or even after an MBA, it’s not uncommon for young people to offer consultancy guidance.

Needless to say, this will not provide the desired results. Sure, a small business consultant could have spent 15 years in the same company, with a limited understanding of the larger ecosystem, or even in a completely different area.

However, having worked with a variety of clients on varied projects allows you to validate your knowledge and change your approach across enterprises.

3. Consider public appearance.

Most small business consultants are involved in some type of public relations, branding, or marketing. This includes the following:

  •         Speaking in front of an audience (presenting at conferences, teaching courses)
  •         Appearances on television or radio, as well as podcasts
  •         Marketing with content
  •         Posts by visitors
  •         Interviews
  •         Books created in collaboration

 The most challenging component for the owner or management may be finding the right small business consulting service. The small business consultant should be enthusiastic about their work, have a strong desire to succeed, and have a keen sense of organization and detail. It’s critical to choose a small business consultant with experience in your field or with the types of difficulties your company faces. Check to see if they have any reliable recommendations.

In addition, check to see if the small business consultant has any relevant certifications for your field. You should check out the consultant’s website and resources. Examine their services for professional photos and well-documented material, as well as contracts and consulting rates. It’s a good idea to ask for examples of previous accomplishments and chat with such companies.

How much do small business consulting services charge?

Management consultants earn an average of $150,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, that is the amount of money that the employee “takes home,” and consulting fees are often larger to cover business expenses. Small business consultants don’t necessarily work on an hourly basis. According to Consulting Success’s consultant fee survey, the following are some of the most common fee schemes and the percentages of consultants that choose them:

  • Per project – 34.2%
  • Hourly – 27.3%
  • Monthly retainer – 15.1%
  • Daily rate – 14.1%
  • Other – 9.3%

According to the report, 43% of consultants earn less than $5,000 each assignment, with some earning more than $100,000. Obviously, the cost is determined by the project’s size, scope, and duration.

Small business consultants can be costly, but their advice and planning can help you grow your firm and earnings while also identifying difficulties and chances for future success.

Are you interested in hiring a small business consulting service? Do you desire your business to attain a height of progress and success unlike never before? Then, book a free strategy session with our certified small business consultant today. Find out more here.small business coach

Credit Card Processor for Small Business

credit card processor

Credit Card Processor for Small Business: 3 Things To Look Out For

Payment methods are evolving every day, and you don’t want to lose a sale because a customer can’t pay using their preferred method. Having a credit card processor can be very helpful to the function and success of your small business.

Besides collecting debit and credit card payments, the processor should also accept prepaid cards, gift cards, money wallets, electronic benefit transfers, ACH transfer, phone payments, etc.

Before signing a contract with a given processor, go through their accepted payment methods and ensure they line up with your customer’s needs.

The fees and costs involved with a credit card processor

As much as the credit card processors bring convenience and allow you to collect credit card payments on your website, they are in business and make their money through fees.

The most common credit card processing fees are:

Interchange fees: These are the fees charged for every transaction, and the payment processor pays them to the card-issuing bank.

Monthly statement fees: The processor might charge a monthly statement fee to cover the expense of mailing the statement.

Monthly minimum fee: This is the minimum amount in fees that the processing company must collect in any month. If you fail to meet or exceed the minimum amount, the company will charge you to meet the minimum. For example, if the company’s monthly minimum fee is $30, and your credit card transaction fees for the month are $25, the company will charge you $5 to make up the difference.

Application and set up fee: From its name, this is the fee charged to apply for the processing service. Some companies will charge you extra for setting up the equipment needed to accept the credit cards.

Early termination fees: Some processors will charge you termination fees when you cancel their service before completing the contract.

To make the right decision, you need to carefully go through the different fees charged by the various companies and ensure that you understand them.

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Customer support reliability

Things can quickly get out of hand. For example, you might run into technical problems with your credit card machine, encounter confusing fees, or have other problems.

The last thing you want is to have problems processing the credit and debit card payments, and you can’t access the credit card processor.

Before deciding on the processing company to work with, contact their helpline using different ways (email, phone, chat) and see how quickly they respond and how helpful they are.

For peace of mind, work with a payment processor providing 24/7 customer support. The company should also be easy to reach.small business coach

4 Things to Look Out for When Getting a Small Business Loan

small business loan

Four Things to Look Out for When Getting a Small Business Loan

You own a small business and you need extra financing — it’s a tale as old as time. You want to secure a business loan fast, easily, and with no personal guarantees involved.

You don’t have a great credit score and you don’t want to go through the trouble of justifying your expenses with an elaborate business plan. Basically, you would like to benefit from a type of flexibility that one-size-fits-all types of loans cannot provide.

What You Need to Do to Get a Good Business Loan

Whenever you need capital — to expand, to keep operating, or to weather a storm — small business loans have the benefit of speed, transparency, and simplicity that more traditional financing options just cannot provide. 

In many cases, all you have to do is fill in a short online form and a financial specialist will get back to you within 24 hours. A brief conversation is all it takes for them to assess your business needs and your general financial situation. 

After that, you will generally receive a personalized offer and the possibility to sign everything online or at a nearby branch. Within a few days the much-needed funds will land in your business account and you’ll be all set.

What to Avoid When Searching for a Small Business Loan

small-business-loans

To make sure you navigate safely through the abundance of financial information out there and make an informed choice, you must first be aware of the potential traps of small business financing.

1. Avoid middlemen and third party involvement

With nobody earning a commission on your financing deal, you can pay significantly less and, by not involving third parties in the lending decision, the entire process can happen much more quickly.

You should also make sure your information is not shared with anyone else, as security should always be a priority for you, both as an individual and as a business owner.

2. Avoid excessive automation

Technology helps speed up things and cut down costs, but it can also become a burden for customers who need human interaction. As a small business owner looking for a cash advance or an online loan, being able to get in touch with an actual specialist is important, instead of just ticking boxes in a rigid form.

Unfortunately, many online lenders tend to overly automate their flows, not taking into account that small businesses have different needs and they are all unique.

small business coach

3. Avoid lengthy processes and predefined offers

Getting a loan from a bank is likely to give any small business owner a headache. Not only does it take months to get through the entire approval process, but a lot of paperwork is involved as well. In the end, you are the one who has to fit their requirements, instead of the other way around. 

What you should do is opt for tailored solutions from reputable direct lenders and enjoy that extra flexibility and speed of loans for businesses with no credit.

4. Avoid predatory techniques

Stay clear of confessions of judgment and other similar tactics that prey on small business owners. Also, make sure that you can pay your balance early without penalties — there are companies that unfortunately incur them. 

In fact, it’s even better if you can get early payment discounts mentioned in your contract.

Final Small Business Loan Insights

In order to access a fast and convenient financing solution, you generally need to have been in business for at least 6 months and prove monthly sales of $10,000 or more. 

Now that you know what to avoid when looking for a small business loan so that you can fully benefit from them, get ready to take your business to the next level.

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The Case For Multilingual Cross-Border Marketing

multilingual

The Case For Multilingual Cross-Border Marketing

Having a good marketing strategy is essential for any business looking to sell their products. For businesses engaged in cross-border commerce, this can mean dealing with audiences that speak in different languages. Having multilingual accessibility is very important.

Language is perhaps the biggest challenge when it comes to cross-border marketing, but paying attention to language is what can make or break a business in a new foreign market. This article will talk about translation as a key strategy for cross-border marketing success, and what things you will need to keep in mind when integrating it into your business’s marketing strategy.

If that interests you, then let’s dive in!

Cross-Border and Global Marketing Strategy

Cross-border marketing refers to the strategy of promoting your products and services to a different market. It’s an important thing to consider if you want to expand your business’s reach.

It’s a concept that’s very closely related to global marketing, and shares the same basic principles. This blog post from leading translation company Tomedes provides a good breakdown of what it is, and the legal, logistical and production challenges that need to be accounted for before you even consider marketing for a foreign audience. 

When it comes to cross-border marketing, one of the most important considerations is language. If you’re running a successful domestic business, you may already have a good marketing strategy in place. But if you’re trying to reach out to a new foreign audience, you will be facing a whole new set of challenges, and communicating with this audience is the biggest of these. 

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Why Multilingual Translation Is Important In Cross-Border and Global Marketing

A lot of research has shown that consumers want to be marketed to them in their own language. CSA Research’s continuously updated “Can’t Read, Won’t Buy” is one of the most authoritative studies on the matter, and its most recent iteration found that a staggering 76% of consumers around the world prefer products with information in their own language.

This makes translation essential for any good cross-border and global marketing strategy! Without it, you’re only reaching a quarter of potential customers in any new market that speaks a different language.

What Should You Target For Multilingual Translation?

So how do you integrate translation into your global marketing strategy? There are a number of aspects that you might want to prioritize:

Website

For e-commerce businesses, often the single most important platform to focus on for marketing is the website. This is where customers will go if they want to learn more about a business or buy its products, and if they don’t find it accessible they are likely to leave and take their business elsewhere instead. But if the website is available in a customer’s native language, then they will feel that your product or service does cater to them, and they will be more likely to stay and even make a purchase.

Social Media Platforms

Another major part of any effective marketing campaign is the ability to reach out to consumers on social platforms. Broadly, Facebook dominates the social media landscape, and also has a strong e-commerce ecosystem, so any business will want to carve out a presence there. But aside from Facebook, the preferences differ by country. For example, Instagram is popular in Europe and the Americas, but it’s outpaced by Twitter in parts of the Middle East and Asia. In China, the top social media platform is WeChat. It’s important to not only speak to consumers in their language, but also on the platforms they use most.

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Advertising Copy

Ads are an important component of a marketing campaign that you need to seriously consider for translation. After all, ad spend can take up a large part of the marketing budget, so you want to be sure you’re getting the bang for your buck. Advertising to consumers in their native language is the best way to catch their interest.

Customer Support That is Multilingual

A good customer support experience helps build customer loyalty. This is one thing that’s easy to overlook, but is an important thing to consider if you want sustainable success in a foreign market. Having customer support be available in your customers’ native language makes for a better experience and encourages continued patronage to your business. After all, it’s frustrating for a customer to deal with refunds or questions about your product if you don’t speak the same language!

Product Labels and Packaging

Consumers have a lot of options to choose from, and the best way to catch their attention is if your product looks and feels like it was designed for them. You might think there’s some allure in having a foreign or exotic aura, but this is often a novelty and doesn’t translate into long-term interest. Having a product that consumers can feel at home with is in most cases the better and more sustainable strategy.

Other Things To Consider with Multilingual Translation

Invest in high-quality translations. The main point of marketing is to show your business and your products in the best possible light to your customers. Poor translations reflect badly and will make customers less inclined to trust you, no matter how good your product is. Machine translation might seem like a cheap option but its quality can never approach the human touch.

Be sensitive to cultural nuances. It isn’t enough to just translate your content into a different language, it has to speak to your audience in a way that really speaks to them. This means knowing more about linguistic trends and quirks of your audience so that you can better design your marketing to appeal to them on a cultural level.

Outsource the translation work. If you don’t have the resources to do professional translation work, the best option would be to hire a reputable translation agency to handle it instead. This will not only lift the burden from your team so they can continue to do their own work, but will likely also be less of a headache in terms of quality control since you’ll be working with actual language professionals instead.small business coach

21 Marketers Share Marketing Strategies For Small Business

marketing-strategies

21 Marketers Share Marketing Strategies Every Small Business Can Afford

Starting a business requires a lot of work, time and effort. Marketing strategies are essential to a successful business.

After you define your offering and your target audience, you need to find a way to reach them. Marketing is a crucial part of establishing your brand and generating sales leads for your small business.

In this post, we discussed with 21 experienced markets the best marketing strategies that will help you grow your small business both in size and reputation.

Michael Hammelburger, Sales Therapy Sales Coaching

business

One work: Networking. With many networking meetups starting up again you should do everything you can to join. Meeting with other small business owners is not only a great opportunity to get direct clients, but also a way to be top of mind for them in the future.

Michael Rossman, MachFast

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There will always be key digital channels that small business can rely on to drive traffic, the likes of PPC, SEO and Social ads will always be viable. But they may not always be affordable. CPCs having been rising every year, and good SEO is not cheap, and also takes time to build up.

This is where Google My Business (GMB) can come in very handy for small business. If you have a physical store, office or clinic etc you need to set one up.

Setting up a Google My Business profile is free, and will get allow you to potentially rank in the local map pack for localized search terms. Once you have you profile set up you’ll just need to request a pin to verify the location and fill out your profile as much as you can.

Make sure you set the correct categories, add products and services and start regularly posting. You’ll also want to start collecting reviews. All of these will help you rank better in local search results which will be vital in driving local customers and awareness in the early days.

As a top tip, make sure you use a URL with UTM parameters within your profile, you’ll be able to see how much traffic your GMB listing is bringing in and if it’s converting.

Anders Rydholm, PrimeTime Web

marketing-strategies

At PrimeTime Web, we take a comprehensive approach to marketing. Any small business, even with little or no marketing budget has many options to choose from to build more awareness and stronger relationships with their fans and consumers. 

This could include more established channels like social media, content marketing, and on-site SEO. It’s also fairly inexpensive to get into affiliate marketing by building up a Niche authority website in your industry and monetizing with advertising or links that earn referral commissions. 

However, in a time where rewards from external platform algorithms are at an all-time low, we would recommend focusing on product marketing, influencer marketing, e-mail marketing, and off-site SEO. Influencer marketing through content creators of audio, video, or written word is something you can build on with your credibility and social network. 

Check out SparkToro to see where your audience hangs out and which accounts they follow. It’s one of our favorite influencer marketing tools right now. 

Adam Walters, Owner muON Marketing

marketing-strategies

Because most small businesses are strapped for cash most are seeking a flexible and efficient marketing strategy to go with their lower budgets. While it would be nice to do everything all at once to drive traffic and bring in leads (i.e., pay-per-click ads, paper ads, content creation, SEO, etc), the smartest route to take for any small business owner is to focus on their website.

This means first focusing on creating content that is optimized to rank on page #1 on Google Search. We recommend using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to do this because the value of an article on page #1 will drive more (free) traffic over a longer period of time versus spending money for PPC ads. The extra benefit of having good content on your website is you keep your potential customers from going to a competitor to find an answer. 

Feel free to contact us on our website to learn more about SEO or if you would like to see how muON Marketing can help your business succeed. Visit > https://muon.marketing/ 🚀

TL/DR: Write good content using SEO and they will come to your site. Let’s work together!

Quentin Aisbett, Pocket Insights

marketing-strategies

For the small business, one of the low effort and big impact online strategies is to work on your Google My Business listing. It’s free to manage and doesn’t require an agency to do everything if you have the time. 

Customers will find your GMB listing when they search for your business or for relevant services/products within proximity of your business. 

There are particular elements to optimizing your GMB listing including:

– Completing the profile 

– Choosing the right category

– Adding Questions & Answers

– Publishing weekly Google Posts

– Encouraging customers to upload photos

– Encouraging customers to leave Google reviews

And for those wanting to take the next step with GMB, I would also encourage you to read up on fighting GMB spam. There are a lot of spammy competitors ranking more prominently than you in those local pack (map and results) searches. Unfortunately it’s working for them but you can even the playing field and give your own listing a boost. 

Understand what’s against Google guidelines and let Google know about your competitors. For example, do a search for a term you want to rank for with local intent (pest control in Idaho) and click through to ‘view all’ in Google Maps. If you see listings where the business name is stuffing keywords, then ‘suggest an edit’ and go through the process of changing their name. 

If it’s appropriate, Google will make the change to comply with their guidelines and your competitor will stop ranking for the spammy terms. Giving you a better chance of ranking. 

Nicholas Scalice, GrowthMarketer

marketing-strategies

The #1 marketing strategy I’d share right now is to create a newsletter. But not just any newsletter, something you’re passionate about and know can bring value to a specific niche. Be focused with your topic, and don’t talk about yourself. Share amazing content, whether it is curated from various sources, or a case study that you write from scratch.

Why are newsletters so great? Well, for one thing, the value of an email subscriber is much higher than the value of a social media follower or a page “like.” Plus, you have multiple opportunities to monetize a newsletter while building awareness for your brand on a weekly or monthly basis.

There are many tools that can help you get started with your own newsletter, such as ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, and Substack. But more important than the tools you use is the content you share—and how consistently you share it. So, be consistent, add value with each edition, and have fun! Newsletters are back and better than ever.

Justin Herring, YEAH! Local

marketing-strategies

Small businesses frequently have a limited marketing budget, which can make promoting your company difficult. The good news is that there are a plethora of free (or low-cost) alternatives for you to sell yourself to your clients

Here are 5 I suggest starting with:

1) Create a Free Google My Business Listing

A Google Business Profile has become one of the most efficient free marketing tactics available, especially for small businesses. The free listing will allow your company to appear on Google Maps, Google Search’s local section, and the right-hand Knowledge Panel for brand queries.

2) Engage in Local SEO

The best thing about Google’s algorithm is that it’s built to deliver the most accurate, high-quality, and relevant results for each given search query. Because it is not necessary to pay to play, the playing field is leveled, allowing local smaller businesses to compete with large corporations for page one real estate.  Start by adding location keywords in your page title and descriptions.

3) Create an Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing is an excellent approach to attract new visitors and retain ties with existing consumers. Even though email marketing isn’t new, it’s still one of the most reliable ways to get a good return on your marketing dollars. Use MailChimp for a free platform to get started with.

4) Create a Referral Program for Your Customers

For introducing new clients, provide existing customers a free product, a free month of service, or some other very good incentive. Remember that word-of-mouth is quite powerful, and consumers referred by other customers are especially valued, therefore friends informing friends about your business is extremely beneficial.

5) Launch a Facebook Marketing Campaign

Even if you just have a small advertising budget, Facebook ads may be sufficient! Facebook advertising can have a very low cost per click. Just make sure to target your specific city and only the target prospects who you know are interested in your type of business.  Start at $5 a day and increase from there.

Kevin Dam, Kevin Dam

marketing-strategies

I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful Partnerships are! The benefits of your partnerships may last for years if they are properly nurtured and cared for. This might be as simple as a referral program.

The most crucial thing to take away is that collaboration should be mutually beneficial, so make sure you know what your partner values – it doesn’t have to be new clients for them; it might just be a one-time financial incentive.

I started by thinking about the service providers my clients would engage, either before or after they work with me, and came up with this list:

– web developers

– web hosting companies

– branding and graphics designers

– content writers

– other marketing agencies

What providers do your clients go to for help?

Start making a list of the potential partnerships you can nurture and reach out to people of influence from the service providers that you can provide mutual benefits to.

Another way to find more prospects for your business is to do the following:

  1. Find a “”how-to”” article in your field of expertise and follow the techniques in the article to learn how to do it yourself.
  2. Make a list of email addresses for individuals who have liked, commented on, or shared the post before. Chances are they engaged the post because they’re thinking about doing it for themselves 
  3. Record a video of yourself implementing the ‘how-to’ article
  4. Offer to implement the same for someone on the list via email and include your video

The important takeaways from these steps are:

  1. You’re leading with value and not asking for anything
  2. You’re demonstrating you can do what was outlined in the article with video proof
  3. You’re taking the initiative and time to give them value
  4. You’re providing something they’re most likely interested in since they engaged with the how-to article

Best of luck!

Tommy Gallagher, TopMobileBanks

marketing-strategies

More often, Small Business is servicing a local community. As a result, it has close relationships with partners and clients. 

This happens organically, but that doesn’t mean that a small business owner shouldn’t leverage it. Build trust and friendship. 

That doesn’t cost much, if anything, but requires changes to the daily business lifestyle. 

Become a brand of your small business. Everyone should know you in the community and beyond. Your clients and partners should see that you live your business. 

Have active social profiles. Post regularly about your business AND your life.

Visit your place of business often. Communicate there as much as possible. 

Run giveaways to your local community. 

Build yourself as an expert in the field. Publish expert details of your business. Participate in the trade shows. 

Partner up with other small businesses you like and launch cross-promotional campaigns. 

Leveraging your business trust and reliability in the customers’ eyes will significantly impact your sales. 

Nestor Vazquez, SEO Mexico

It’s difficult to find good business strategies. Many concepts work well for larger businesses, but they don’t produce the same results when utilized in smaller enterprises. This is because it’s difficult to find strategies that can be successfully implemented on a small budget. However, there are strategies every startup or small business can afford! 

Start a Blog – One strategy every startup or small business should consider is starting a blog. A blog gives your company the ability to post content on an ongoing basis and establish a voice for your brand. 

Keep It Simple – Another affordable strategy any startup or small business should consider utilizing is keeping things simple for customers. As most startups and smaller enterprises are already operating on a limited budget, there’s no reason to make it more difficult for customers to find information on your website. 

Let’s face it, most people don’t want to navigate through multiple pages of content when all they need is in front of them. So why not save yourself the trouble and offer up what you have in one simple page?

Eduard Agapie, Sortlist

marketing-strategies

One of the cheapest marketing strategy for small businesses is social media. You don’t need to invest anything, you just have to share good content, be creative and engage with your audience! Researching and using the right hashtags and the right tone of voice for your business only costs time. 

There are many platforms you can grow an audience on like Instagram, Facebook and even Tik Tok is becoming an essential platform for businesses. Building a blog on your website will also be a minimal investment. Researching related topics and publishing content will also costs you next to nothing. Writing a good blog can drive a lot of traffic to your website and make your business known! 

Nikola Roza, Nikola Roza- SEO for the Poor and Determined

marketing-strategies

One marketing strategy that doesn’t cost money and that every small business should be doing is Quora marketing.

Whatever the niche, there are probably hundreds of questions people ask about that niche within Quora.

A smart small business looking for free promotion and marketing would first plow through Quora and record in a spreadsheet every possible question even remotely related to what they’re doing.

Then they’d filter out questions that are too competitive or too outside of their niche.

Finally, with the batch that remains they’d organize those based on competition level and number of views the question has.

Then they’d start plowing through those giving their take on the topic, with a CTA link within each answer pointing to their property.

Pro tip: recently I’ve been playing with Jarvis the AI writer. It’s pretty good for shorter form content , not as good for long form posts.

But, Quora answer are short-form content and Jarvis even has a Quora answer template you can use to streamline Quora post creation.

I recommend it as a time saver, but only in a case if you have several hundred to a 1000+ questions to respond to.

If you have a dozen or so then don’t bother and write them manually.

Jabez Reuben, Thailand Nomads

marketing-strategies

When it comes to building your small business, you should always consider email marketing. While it may sound like a traditional technique but it still has a massive ROI. Many small businesses ignore this marketing tool as they assume that only big players in the industry can reap benefits from it. 

But you use email to improve customer retention and build qualified leads for your business. It gives you an opportunity to reach out to customers and offer your latest products or services easily. You will also be able to learn more about your audience’s likes and dislikes. 

The biggest challenge you will face is to develop compelling content to make sure your emails are being clicked. By segregating your customers based on activity or how far down the funnel they are, you can build personalized relationships with customers and nurture them into their first sale or into your loyalty program.

Ricardo Sentosa, Aemorph

marketing-strategies

There are lots of ways to market your business in 2021 that are very cost effective.

Some include:

Posting on social media such as Instagram or Facebook. Both platforms enable you to reach millions of people with a single post, you just need to make sure you’re connected to and engaging with your target audience.

Another popular one now is Facebook groups! If you do a search for your area of expertise there’s bound to be a group about it on Facebook. By participating in the groups, sharing your expertise and knowledge, you can build trust and allow others to engage with you on what you’re best at doing.

For some others maybe it’s on the rising social platform TikTok. Creating videos that tell an engaging story and getting impressions of you and your brand can help you generate more revenue very quickly and easily! 

Garrett Nafzinger, Garrett Digital

marketing-strategies

The marketing strategy all businesses can afford is working with a marketing agency or professional to build a website that clearly articulates what you do, the pain points you solve, and the things that differentiate your business from the competition. 

There are so many companies that don’t pay attention to the value proposition and business differentiators. Doing so will make your business stand out, and it will drive people who visit your website to convert into customers. 

Ben Soltana, DigiDux

marketing-strategies

Small businesses often have a tight marketing budget to work with, which can make promoting your company a challenge. The good news is, there are enough ways for you to market your business. Here some cost effective ways to market your small business.

– Create and optimize a Google My Business account: a GMB profile is one of the most effective free marketing strategies. It allows your business to show up on Google Maps and on the knowledge panel for branded searches.

– Establish a Social Media presence: whether it’s photos on Instagram or blogging on your Facebook page, social media are great to brand your business and create a consumer buzz around your products.

– Join or create a Facebook group: Facebook Groups are underrated. If you choose the right group, the members represent the core of your targeted, engaged audience. To be more specific, potential customers.

– Build an email list: an email list is worth its weight in the gold. Once you have a potential customer’s email address, it’s just a matter of driving some great email marketing flows and campaigns to turn them into customers.

– Guest post on industry blogs: a great way to build backlinks and gain a lot of weight with search algorithms.

– Sign up at HARO as a source: instead of writing the article yourself, you can provide a quote by signing up as a source at HelpAReporterOut.

– Leverage your network: One thing many small business owners forget about is their network. Hitting up your network of friends and family and asking for referrals or testimonials can give you a boost.

Darshan Somashekar, Solitaired

marketing-strategies

As a strategy for link building, explore the shoulder niches. A shoulder niche pertains to a topic that directly relates to your blog’s core content. All of them revolve around the central message you want to convey to your brand.

They can increase traffic to your website by expanding your content to new audiences. As long as those industries are relevant to your content, you can improve your online presence and authority. Take time to brainstorm for ideas of those related industries.  

Choosing shoulder niches will allow you to earn backlinks from authority sources and other bloggers. In your niche, you are constantly competing with other sites. Your website will receive more backlinks if your content deviates even slightly from that of your competitors. 

This strategy increases your content’s visibility in search engines because high-quality, relevant backlinks are a ranking factor of search engine algorithms. This neat SEO hack will allow you to grow your website’s traffic more.

Simon Woodcock, Man With A Camera Photography

Starting my photography business with very little spare cash meant I had to be resourceful when looking for ways of getting my brand name in front of potential clients.

I started by immersing myself in learning more about SEO and how I could get Google to look upon my website favorably.  One of the best areas for gaining immediate traction in the Google search results is by utilizing your Google My Business listing.  I recommend that all new businesses create one and flesh it out with as much information as possible. If you have premises that customers can visit, make sure you add photos of the exterior and interior as well as any photos of your product or service in action. 

Encouraging clients to post their photos and reviews also helps enormously.  Responding to all reviews, both positive and negative, looks great to potential customers and shows that, as a business owner, you care.

Don’t forget to post updates on the business listing regularly with useful content, special offers or recent events and upcoming occasions. Where possible illustrate these with a photo so they stand out when potential customers are browsing.  Creating a library of useful images for these regular postings is a great idea and you’ll find plenty of local small business photographers offering one-off and regular social media packages where they photograph your business and then supply a large batch of relevant images that can be used anytime.  Don’t underestimate the value of quality photography!  It’s often what will set a business apart from their competitors.

With plenty of trial and error and a large amount of patience when using my learned SEO techniques both on the website and the Google My Business listing I have seen a strong local presence develop and have cemented the website in the top 2 organic search results for some very popular search terms.  Don’t be daunted by SEO and don’t try to learn it all at once – learn one thing a week and you’ll be surprised how quickly this valuable information starts to build.

Aaron Hughes, Boost Suite

businessman

The most cost-effective marketing strategy that every small business can afford is to build on your existing relationships with past customers. 

Past customers have already demonstrated that they trust you and have a need for your product or service so reaching out again is a simple and cheap way to boost your sales.

When you reach out, the first thing you need to ask is about their experience with your company. Was their purchasing experience simple and easy or were there unnecessary barriers? Has your product been reliable and has it lived up to your promises or could it be improved in some way? Have they benefitted from your customer support or could you do more to help them utilize your product or service? 

Now comes the marketing part: if they’ve received value from your product, ask them if they anticipate needing more of your product or service in the future. If they do, set a reminder to reach out a little before when they’ll need it to see if you can help them. They already trust you enough to pay for your product or service so if your product or service has lived up to your promises, this should be an easy sale. 

Also ask them if they know anyone else who might need your product or service and if they could introduce you. A warm introduction from an exiting customer who has used your product will side-step the necessity to build trust with this new customer as you are leveraging the trust that already exists in their relationship.

The cost of this process (your time) can be even further reduced by using some automated tools to streamline this process. There are systems that can set automatic reminders to follow up with clients and even email autoresponders that will follow up with past clients without you needing to pick up the phone.

Building this into your standard customer follow up processes will boost your sales and conversion rate significantly with very little cost.

James Lee, Monetized Future

drinking

I know that sometimes it can be difficult to justify spending additional money on marketing for your small business. 

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to generate traffic, leads, and sales for a small business is through SEO marketing channels.

Local brick-and-mortar businesses and eCommerce stores alike can benefit from spending time and money building an SEO campaign.

Contrary to popular belief, most businesses do not have an SEO-optimized website, so just investing the minimum effort in an SEO campaign can really produce some quick wins!

If you have no idea where to start when it comes to SEO, there are plenty of resources online that can help you understand the basics. From there you need to evaluate what your direct competition is doing.

What this means is to find businesses that are ranking for the keywords most likely to bring you new customers, and reverse engineer their efforts, applying them to your own site.

Shaurya Jain, Attention Always

strategies

Use LinkedIn

One super low-cost marketing idea that’s working for me right now is LinkedIn. The organic reach on the platform is mind blowing.

LinkedIn is a powerful social media site that doesn’t get the attention it deserves because so few people know how powerful it can be. Most people inflate their network connections and sleep on it. Use the platform to create discussions with your connections, share full/part of your blog posts, share your offers, contribute to groups and above all share other people’s content. The thing is this—each piece of content you share lives on your network’s feed for days and sometimes weeks. Know what that does? It gets engagement.

LinkedIn is a good platform to educate your potential audience. This helps you build your brand while earning trust while improving your reputation. Encourage your employees to be active on the platform as well. And it’s not just B2B businesses that can benefit. If used creatively, the platform is a boon for B2C businesses as well.

This LinkedIn strategy is free and doesn’t require a lot of time or resources from your end. Despite that, you get to maximize your reach and build on your success.small business coach

Benefits From a Commercial Filtration System

small business

Small Business Can Benefit From a Commercial Filtration System

What is stopping you from installing a commercial filtration system for your business? Whatever industry you might belong to, it can definitely make your lives easier. Not only will it help reduce costs for business maintenance, it can also improve the atmosphere of your establishments—literally. Various industries such as health and wellness, beauty, and food industries might also need it more due to the nature of their products and services. 

The potential of this investment is endless. Some of the benefits include improved indoor quality, prevention of the spread of airborne diseases, reduced exposure to harmful chemicals when you’re operating your business, and eliminating unpleasant odors that can affect the productivity of your staff. 

Here are some of the other benefits that should help consider installing commercial filtration systems:

  • Reduced Exposure to Airborne Diseases

When you install a commercial air filtration system, you may help decrease the chance of getting airborne diseases. In small spaces without proper ventilation, the risk of airborne transmission is higher. Aside from viruses, your filtration system may also filter out bacteria, fungi, and mold. However, this depends on the filter used and the filtration system itself.  

The technology responsible for this innovation is bipolar ionization which, according to manufacturers, may kill viruses via the generation of positive and negative particles in the air.  It also facilitates surface disinfection within the area. Another option is the UV light filter that is also proven effective for killing viruses and bacteria. Hospitals and medical centers use this type of filtration.  

  • Reduced Risk From Harmful Chemicals

Aside from viruses, there are many contaminants circulating in the air. An appropriate air filtration system can remove 99.7% of these harmful chemicals, allergens, fumes, asbestos etc. from your establishment. This can help in improving the overall atmosphere of your business.

small business coach

  • Cleaning products: Toxic chemicals such as chlorine, bleach, ammonia, and phthalates that you use in cleaning your business premises can harm you if you or your staff are exposed. An air filtration system will reduce these chemicals to prevent serious health issues for your staff and your customers.
  • Allergens, pollens: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 out of 12 people in the U.S. suffers from asthma attacks. These are people who can get irritated from inhaling certain pollutants like pollen, dust mites, etc. These pollutants can still remain hovering in the air even if you clean the infested area. Thus, an air filtration system is a must. 
  • Harmful fumes: Even a small enterprise like yours is not exempt from the dangers of harmful chemicals hovering in the air. Especially if you’re located in large cities with dense traffic, pollutants can easily enter your business premises. Carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are gases often discharged from vehicles. Exposure to these gases can increase your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Asbestos: This is a known carcinogen that’s present in old insulation pipes and roofing materials back in the 1940s to 1960s. If the location of your business is near or in an old commercial building, you’re potentially exposed to asbestos particles. If the asbestos-containing material is still in a good condition, there’s no need to disturb or remove it. But the problem starts when its fibers are degraded and become airborne. If you breathe these particles in, they can cause scarring on your lung tissues which makes you more susceptible to lung cancer. Air filtration systems are known to catch asbestos particles in the air, so consider checking them out.
  • Radon: This is another carcinogen that’s present in the cracks on the walls, floors, and plasterwork. This gas can damage the lining of your lungs and can also lead to cancer. It’s extremely harmful because it’s almost undetectable due to its colorless and odorless nature. According to an EPA assessment in 2013, there are 21,000 deaths yearly in the US due to this radioactive element. 
  • Less Unpleasant Odors

small business coach

If you’re operating a restaurant or a diner, gasoline used in cooking can cause unpleasant odors that might affect your customer’s experience. Without proper ventilation, the air and smoke will circulate from the kitchen to the lounging area of the customers. Gasoline is one example of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are also present in paints, air fresheners, and aerosol sprays. The odor from these can cause breathlessness, nausea, and even affect your cognitive functions. 

Through a sophisticated filtration system, these can be eliminated. According to a study from Harvard Business Review, low VOC levels in the air significantly improved productivity and performance. Think of your customers’ convenience and employees’ well-being! Once you’ve installed an air filtration system, you don’t need to worry about the smoke and other odors bothering them.

  • Less Expense For Maintenance

If you’re in tech industry or a business that heavily relies on electronic and digital equipment, you might want to consider investing in air filtration systems. Why? You might think that the most dangerous things for electronics are ‘liquid’ and ‘overheating.’ Of course, these two are indeed damaging to electronics. But dust is often left unnoticed because it takes years to do its damage. 

Dust buildup can be destructive to computers, sensors, and others electronic devices if left unchecked. This is where commercial filtration comes in. By reducing the number of dust particles in the air, circuit boards and processors will have a longer service-life. Also, expect to have less recurring downtime which means your business will spend less on equipment maintenance. 

Final Words on Commercial Filtration Systems

The bottom line is that a commercial filtration system is a must-have for your business. Some industries like health and wellness, beauty, and food might require it more than others. This shouldn’t prevent you from acquiring the same benefits that these industries have experienced. 

Think about the convenience and improved experience of your customers, and the enhanced productivity of your staff. This could mean more income for you. You can also reduce the potential hazard they might get exposed to. Also, don’t forget about the money you’ll save by not spending your resources on equipment maintenance.small business coach

How Managed IT Services Can Grow Your Small Business

it services

How IT Services Can Grow Your Small Business

Over the years, businesses have been operating more seamlessly with the help of Information Technology (IT). Proper management of the IT infrastructure is essential in ensuring efficient and smooth business operations.  If you want to improve your business operations’ overall efficiency and productivity, it might be best to consider managed IT services. When you work with a managed IT service provider, a team of skilled professionals will proactively perform the following:  

  • Regularly monitor the IT infrastructure.
  • Minimize the risks from cybersecurity threats.  
  • Maintain data integrity and networking requirements with the help of key performance indicators.  

If you decide to hire one, your business can prioritize and effectively tackle the core operations to boost efficiency. If you’re eager to know more about managed IT services, checking out Dallas based IT services companies would be a good starting point.  This might help ensure the safety of your business operations.   

What Is A Managed IT Service?  

When a business employs managed IT services, it generally involves delegating IT tasks to a third-party provider. A reliable service provider performs various IT-related functions such as overseeing the IT infrastructure, providing equipment, repairing issues, monitoring reports, and many more.  

Some of the advantages of having a managed IT service include:  

  • Monitoring and providing support for your network, including the infrastructure and software elements.  
  • Optimizing the overall performance of the system.  
  • Fine-tuning of the IT structure to gain better savings.  
  • Enhancing various functional aspects of your business.  
  • Complying with IT requirements and improving compliance, security, and maintenance. 

Different Ways Managed IT Services Promote Business Growth   

A reliable managed IT service provider deals with the IT-related aspects of your business. Thus, it will give you more time to oversee the core operations. Since you can focus on the main processes of your business, it’ll ensure seamless flow for better efficiency and productivity.  

If you’re still having doubts about whether or not to work with a managed IT service provider, here are various ways their services could contribute to the growth of your business  

  • Improve Reliability And Efficiency Of IT Functions  

it services

Most businesses maintain a team of IT staff who might lack the skills when dealing with the constantly changing demands of technology. By working with a dependable provider, you’ll have access to a team of IT professionals based on the specific needs of your business.  

Depending on the type of business you’re operating, you’ll access the latest technology and solutions.  These solutions may include remote monitoring and management, cloud computing, backup, and disaster recovery. Additionally, managed IT services could also maintain uptime and profitability. These are essential factors for the growth of your business in the long run.  

  • Better Maintenance  

Planning for IT-related functions such as network performance or operations and IT environment could take time. With managed IT services, your company will significantly benefit from regular monitoring. The services allow remote management while also pinpointing potential threats and utilizing the right solutions to mitigate risks.   

You’ll have assurance knowing that IT professionals will readily troubleshoot and deal with bugs. It might be time to make the most out of proactive technical solutions in maintaining the IT infrastructure of your business.   

  • Cut Down Operating Costs  

Saving on the overall operational costs is one of the advantages of working with a managed IT service provider.   In most companies, an issue of concern is the high workforce cost in the IT department. During certain times, employees who don’t have the right skills might handle tasks they’re not highly proficient to do so.  This leads to poor productivity and hampers the growth of your business.  

However, a managed IT service provider will guide you along the way in predicting and planning the monthly allocation for IT functions. A reliable provider will also deploy the correct number of professionals with the appropriate skills.  They do so to ensure consistency and efficiency. As a result, it frees other resources of your business to focus on core tasks.  

small business coach 

  • Help Stay Up To Date With The Current Technology   

If you want your business to grow, you need to stay updated and adapt latest technology trends. Also, it’s a cost-effective way if you decided to outsource technical functions to a reliable managed IT service provider.

Managed IT services will ensure your system infrastructure is equipped with the latest security patches and software updates to ensure seamless business operations and safety.  

  • Improve Scalability, And IT Support  

When your business faces downtime, it could be a minor or a severe loss and might come with dissatisfied customers. A reliable managed IT service can significantly reduce potential downtime, allowing your business to save on extra costs.   

Additionally, professionals will carry out IT and network monitoring to make sure the IT infrastructure is readily available. They also improve scalability depending on the current demand

  • Maintain Focus On Important Projects  

Managed IT services can help maximize your business operations to boost the productivity of your employees. A team of professionals will maximize the IT aspect which increases overall operational efficiency.  Additionally, the services will help empower your in-house IT team to focus their efforts on creating strategic IT projects and initiatives.  

  • Enhance IT Security, And Compliance  

it services

The increasing cybersecurity threats such as hacking and data loss are responsible for significant losses among businesses in different industries.   

Security is a crucial element if you want to ensure seamless operations for your business. There are various devices present in the workplace.  These devices include desktops, laptops, tablets, servers, applications, smartphones, browsers, operating systems. All of these devices transmit data and should comply with stringent security measures.  

When you hire managed IT services for your business, your provider will handle the security and compliance protocols. Doing so is a good move since they fully understand the importance of safety and adhere to the current regulations.  

  • Boost Productivity And Value  

Managed IT services could improve productivity by establishing a streamlined, reliable, scalable, and well-supported IT environment. When you hire their service, you’ll enjoy access to network management resources.  It also comes with a team of professionals without requiring you to make a significant upfront investment.   

Final Thoughts on Managed IT Services 

A managed IT service provider will tackle all IT-related tasks so your business could focus on its core operations. Doing so will help your business grow in various aspects. If you want to ensure the steady growth of your business, consider getting reliable managed IT service soon.

small business coach

4 Negotiation Tactics that Every Business Can Use

negotiation

Four Negotiation Tactics That Any Business Can Employ

Whether it’s asking your boss to assign you a two-day off or establishing a B2B trade, it is never easy to negotiate as one does not know the intentions of the person sitting on the other side of the table. Knowing how to negotiate is a skill that one develops from knowledge and information about both the trader and the traded. Every business needs negotiation tactics that can help direct their actions in the right direction to achieve the desired results. So, we are going over the 4 best negotiation tips to help you win your business deal. 

Let’s take a look.

  1.     Ask open-ended questions

To know your counterpart’s threshold, you must ask them open-ended questions. Allow them to speak more so that you can understand what they want. 

Let’s say that you are sitting on the table for a factory equipment deal. You can ask questions like:

  • How about we buy 12 instead of 10 pieces of factory equipment  from you, will you offer any discounts then?
  • Will you provide after-sales support if need be?

Such questions will give you an idea about how much extra your counterpart is willing to offer. 

  1.     Figure out their vulnerabilities

Your counterpart will try to get the better end of the deal. To counter that, you must know where their pain points are. Think like your counterpart, what they do or don’t want. Robust analysis of your counterpart will help you know more about their capabilities and pain points. So, if they try to take advantage of your vulnerabilities, you know where to hit. small business coach

  1.     Give them a number

Another strategy is called the bogey strategy. In this tactic, you give a budget to the counterpart, which is a touch lower than your actual budget. You tell them that you cannot afford anything above a certain price. Coming back to the ship example, you tell your counterpart that you can only afford to spend $1million for the ship, of which your actual budget is $1.5 million. Through this tactic, negotiation slightly bends in your favor. Even if your counterpart wants to negotiate further, they can only ask you to increase your budget a bit. In other words, you may end up buying the ship for approximately $1.1 million. 

  1.     Always have your deadlines in place.

Deadlines force people to take action. However, in negotiations, deadlines are often not honored because of the lack of mutual consent between the two parties. But that does not mean that talks should go on endlessly. You must set your deadlines as your time and effort are precious. If the deal is eating up a lot of your time, try changing the mediator, manager, or the deal itself. At last, if it still does not work out then, it might be time to call it quite. 

Final Thoughts on Negotiation

Negotiations are a part of daily business life. They can happen internally between an employee and their boss or externally between the two businesses. To be a perfect negotiator, you must know what you and your counterpart expect from the deal. Ask them open-ended questions to figure out what they want from your business and how far they are willing to go for the deal. Also, it would help if you spent ample time researching their vulnerabilities. Use the bogey technique to play safe and keep your deadlines intact. You must know the last date until which you are willing to negotiate. By using these techniques, you will always have the upper hand. small business coach

How to Protect Your Small Business from Cyber Attacks

cyber attacks

Just because your business is small, it does not mean that you are not on cyber attackers’ radar. You are, in fact, their training ground. That’s because most small businesses do not invest in cyber security. As a result, according to cyber attacks statistics, 28% of all data breaches involve small businesses. Moreover, this number has increased during the covid-19 pandemic due to the digital transformation of many small businesses.

What are cyber attacks?

When cybercriminals, commonly known as hackers, attack a website, computer system, or network to cause some sort of damage, it is called a cyber attack. Cybercriminals do this to gain access to your valuable data, which they can sell off to other criminals on the black market. The stolen data will be later used for more criminal activities such as identity theft.

Top cyber attack trends and threats in 2021 include insider threats from the company staff and stakeholders, phishing attacks, ransomware attacks, cloud-based threats, and IoT devices that are in the developmental stage. 

Impacts of cyber attacks on small businesses

cyber attacks

If you are maintaining an online store, losing one day’s business can cost you a fortune. A ransomware attack or a denial of service attack can easily block your business for a day. So you need to have a way to resume your business as quickly as possible. Also, small businesses rely heavily on their customers. One minor security breach is enough for your customers to lose their trust in your business. In this day and age, where word gets around social media very quickly, restoring your reputation can be extremely difficult.

How to protect your business

from Cyber Attacks

So how can you protect your business from these threats? Following are some simple steps you can follow to protect your business.

Prioritize Cyber Security

Do not treat security as an afterthought. Instead, treat it as a priority. If sensitive data related to your customers get into the wrong hands, you will lose your customers’ trust, and your business’s reputation will suffer.

Raise awareness among employees

Educate your employees about cyber threats and security. Most issues occur due to the lack of knowledge employees have on the subject. You can educate them about the following:

  • Not to install software/software updates and patches from untrusted sources in the company machines or mobile phones as they could be trojan horses or ransomware.
  • To use strong passwords and protect those passwords from disclosure. 
  • Encourage multi-factor authentication.
  • How to identify suspicious emails and website links from unknown sources that could lead to phishing scams and ransomware.
  • Encourage them to use an approved virus guard.
  • Encourage them to use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) when working from home or off-site premises.
  • The steps to take in case they face an attack.

Understand your data

One of the main problems in small businesses is that most businesses do not adequately understand the sensitivity of the data involved with their businesses. For example, many online stores handle online transactions but do not employ proper methods to guard their customer’s information, such as credit card details. Therefore, everyone in the business needs to understand the true nature and the value of their data.

Backup your data 

Ensure you take timely backups of your data and store it in a secure off-site location or a cloud using an automated backup service that will allow you to access your information during a cyber attack. This is the best solution for a ransomware attack. This will enable you to recover fast and resume work as soon as possible by restoring the data with backups.

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Control network access

Make sure only your employees can access your network. You can do this by implementing Virtual private networks (VPN), which will allow you to encrypt your data and secure your connection by masking your IP address when using the untrusted infrastructure. As many hackers tend to piggyback on public Wi-Fi and eavesdrop, encourage your employees to use your company’s VPN when using public Wi-Fi to work remotely. 

Limit access to your data

Create user privileges and make sure that only the necessary employees have access to your sensitive information. Remember to revoke access privileges from employees as soon as their employment ends. Most attacks are a result of a disgruntled employee taking revenge.

Connect with the right partners and platforms

If you are using another company to build your website/system, make sure they can sign off on the fact that there are no security vulnerabilities code-wise. Such vulnerabilities can lead to SQL injections or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, disrupting the regular traffic to your website. In addition, if you are using a payment gateway or connecting to some other businesses via their APIs, make sure they follow the correct security protocols and standards. Their lack of responsibility can harm your business too. 

Secure your hardware from cyber attacks

Your hardware also needs protection. If your servers, laptops, mobile phones, or any other electronic device gets stolen, it leads to a data breach. If you maintain an office, make sure it is secure and that those devices are locked up and hard to steal. 

Establish a Cyber Security Team

It’s a good thing to have a dedicated team who is responsible for monitoring and keeping track of all the computers & servers used by your employees and ensuring they have installed all the necessary security updates and OS updates in their machines and mobile phones. If your website is hosted on a server provided by an external hosting service provider, your security team can regularly check in with them to verify that your server’s security is up to date.

Create an incident response plan to combat cyber attacks

The employees should know what to do in case of an attack. You can prepare a list of steps for them to follow with the help of your security team. For example:

  • Disconnect the machine from the company network and internet to make sure that other machines connected to the same network might not get infected.
  • Disabling remote access
  • Install any pending security updates or patches
  • Maintain your firewall settings
  • Change passwords
  • How to contact the security team and raise an incident.
  • Contact relevant legal authorities and report the breach.

Most of the time, the employees do not know what to do, and they waste time trying to resolve it themselves. This way, they will quickly contact the security team, saving time for both parties.

Invest in business security

For intangibles, invest in antivirus, antispyware, and anti-spam filters. Most companies that provide these services also offer multiple packages that even small businesses can invest in. For tangibles, invest in security cameras and alarms that can protect your office space and hardware. In addition, invest in insurance. Most insurance companies now provide cyber insurance along with their standard business insurance policy. 

Conclusion on cyber attacks

Cyber attacks can do severe damage to small businesses. There are a lot of precautions small business owners can take to avoid cyber attacks. Of course, you might not be able to afford or follow all the steps mentioned above. But by adopting at least a few of them, you can minimize the damage significantly.small business coach

Factors to Consider When Writing a Great Business Plan

business plan

A business plan sounds so strict, serious, and a little intimidating. It’s a particularly scary word for young entrepreneurs who have never drafted a business plan before. However, as long as you have a winning business idea, you should not be afraid to implement it in life. Thus, at some point, you’ll need to start working on that business plan. Don’t fall in despair, though. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. You can simply follow the common steps of writing such a plan. To do so, just follow the five main factors we mention in the article.

 

Consider the Following When Writing a Strong Business Plan

 

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a breaking point in your pursuit. This concept turns your vision and dreams into reality. Thus, it turns your idea into something tangible. You should be able to put your idea on paper, plan it out, and decide on every needed step. Your business idea should look like a concrete strategy for turning your dream into reality by the time you finish your plan.

Of course, you don’t write such a plan only for yourself. This document is for your future sponsors, partners and employees. Hence, your plan should be professional, clear, and convincing. Don’t worry. You can always ask writers from study bay for professional writing tips or help with composition and edition. Overall, your business plan should always consider all necessary steps for making your idea work. Thus, it should include around five factors. These are the future strategy, people involved, finances, marketing, and operation. Let’s have a closer look at all five of them.

business plan

Strategy

The first stage of your plan should always be an introduction. Thus, you get to explain your idea. Write why you think it is a good one. Start with factors that make it special so others will get invested in further reading. Here, you write what you plan to do with this idea. Hence, you briefly draft the strategy and outcomes you expect. Outline the purpose of it all. Explain what niche it is going to take and what goals it pursues. End with explaining how you are going to gain profits. This part is everything your future investors or partners are interested in, so make it count.

Execution while writing your business plan

At this stage, you explain all the operational elements of your business. Hence, this step answers all the ‘how’ in your plan. You should write down how you will run your business including the type of the organization you want to have and how you will implement it. Detail all the technical and operational issues. Thus, here, you show the upwards of your business. Start with the leadership team, explaining how the system of hierarchy works in your business. Next, move to the predicted point of your first profits. Then, show how you expect to achieve it. Overall, explain every little build of how your idea can work as a business.

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Marketing

In our modern world of tight competition, marketing can make or break a new business. Explain to the people your marketing approach. Find the right ways to get noticed by the public. Show several marketing strategies that aim to attract, win over, and gain customers’ loyalty. Don’t forget to stress out your online marketing strategy, as this is where the real game happens. However, this approach requires a lot of time, which is an unattainable dream for many students. But you can always delegate your papers and focus on the marketing details. But which company should be trusted, and who is the cancer of the academic market? Look what students say on Unemployed Professors, and you will understand what you must do.

Finances

Here, everything is rather simple. You should write down your predictions, or better calculations, on how much money your business needs. Thus, you get to outline all your expenses. See what type of working space you need and how much that is going to cost you. Perhaps, you just need a website and social media presence. See how you plan to advertise your product. Plan how many people you need on your team to start off with your plan. Try to predict how many employees you may need if the business takes off. Overall, the financial factor is often the hardest one to predict and implement into life. However, this step is crucial for a reliable and good business plan.

Team

A good business plan will mention the people needed for the work. Overall, here you state what professionals you need to run your business. The people on your team play an essential role in your future success. So, already having good specialists on the team will help convince investors to believe in your idea. Overall, the people factor in a business plan is often among the most influential ones. Make sure you pay enough attention here.

The bottom line of your business plan

These five factors should serve you as the crux of your future work. However, it’s not enough to learn only about your future enterprise. Remember to make adjustments to all plans and presentations depending on the audience. The people you present this plan for play a huge role in your future success. After all, your main goal here is to make people believe in yourself. Sometimes, you can achieve it with pure facts, numbers and graphs. Sometimes, though, you get to win people over with passion and ambitions.small business coach