Running a successful business is all about responding to the challenges in front of you in the most effective way possible. Though the problems faced vary significantly from company to company, it certainly helps to know what a few of the most common are so you are ready to respond when you need to. After all, the world of business is Darwinian — the companies that don’t adapt are the ones that will become extinct. Blockbuster is a classic example and most recently Yahoo! and Sears Canada.
A Vast Amount of Competition
The internet has made it so much easier for anyone to establish a business. This means that you are likely to face more competition than ever before, and staying in business is the challenge that you are likely to find yourself up against. You find yourself in a battle of perception, focus and marketing. Establishing a trusted brand and a loyal following of customers is what you should be aiming to achieve.
Speeding Up Response Time
In today’s interconnected world, consumers are a lot less patient than they once were. With so many different methods of communication available, you need to make sure that they are all well-manned. Firms like Skyresponse aim to help meet the instant alarm and notification needs of their clients. Ensuring that clients can access the information that they need as efficiently as possible is certainly a challenge that is worth taking on. And this is a constantly evolving problem as more and means of communication open up.
Finding (and Keeping) the Right Staff
Recruitment has become a key issue for businesses all around the world. But the challenge doesn’t stop at getting them on board — it continues into making sure that they stay with your firm for the longest possible time. While the culture of small businesses is easier to manage, when it comes to larger firms, human resources becomes increasingly important. Talented members of staff are looking at what their companies can provide for them, whether this is flexible working or other in-work benefits.
Getting the Word Out There
Of course, there are more platforms out there to get your message across. The challenge remains in working out exactly what your message is and how best to communicate it with your target audience. Essentially, this is all based on increasingly advanced methods of profiling your customers and finding out exactly what it is that they are looking for. And this is an ever-evolving task as customer requirements evolve continually over time.
Reputation is Everything
The thread of this article has been all about connectivity, and this is very important when it comes to business reputation. Negative publicity spreads so much easier than it once did, and if you don’t take steps to manage this, you could find your business name completely tarnished.
Tackling each of these challenges head-on should be one of the priorities of every business owner. You should aim to reduce the risks where you find them and not shy away from the challenges you face.
When we break business down, it’s all about consumers. We can fool ourselves that we have power, but we’re only as strong as those who buy from us. Without them, our products and ideas don’t stand a chance. Yet, despite their importance, customers often remain an unknown entity. In the past, that couldn’t be helped. Aside from taking to the streets with questionnaires or feedback forms, businesses had no way to reach out. Their connection with the consumer was nothing more than a brief transaction. As such, it was near enough impossible to know what customers were really after.
Now, though, we have a variety of ways to get to know consumer patterns. And, if you want to run your business efficiently, you need to get on top of them. The better you understand how and why people shop, the better you can sell your product to the right market. Knowledge is always key, so start learning by testing the following techniques.
Obviously, nothing is better for reaching your customers than social media. Thanks to platforms like Twitter, consumers and businesses are closer than ever before. When you have a social media account, you’re in a position to answer customer questions the moment they’re asked. But, social media isn’t an automatic pass to knowing your clientele. The success you have on the platform very much depends on the way you use it. While comments online are useful, they’re not dissimilar to the feedback of old. And, that won’t cut it in the modern climate. To make the most of the platform, you need to use it in a variety of ways. Twitter polls are a fantastic option here. They provide instantaneous feedback. Even better, the interaction these provide is sure to strengthen customer loyalty. If people feel they have a say in your business, they’re more likely to return to you. In some ways, this is an extension of the street questionnaires mentioned above. But, it’s a lot more valuable. For one, you won’t have to invade people’s space to find out what you want. As such, the communication is sure to be much more positive. It’s also worth paying close attention to how people react to your posts. Try posting on a variety of topics and products, and see which receive the most likes and attention. This is an excellent way to judge what your customer base cares about.
It’s also important to analyse customer behavior on your site. This gives you unprecedented access to buying and browsing habits. No matter your site provider, you should have some form of analysis page. If not, or if it’s too basic, you could also try out analysis software. However you do it, this option is sure to lead to fruition. Of course, you could get caught up for hours tracing people’s movements, so narrow your search. Know, before you go in, what you’re most interested in. You could, for example, trace which time of day your website shop is most active. This will tell you a lot about the shopping patterns, and when your customers are available. Or, you may want to see how many people left without buying anything. If the numbers here are large, it’ll be obvious that your website isn’t hitting the mark.
Your Shop Floor
Modern methods can also help you when it comes to your shop floor. Many businesses are turning to the long-awaited Internet of Things to get a grip on consumer behaviour. Using IoT, you can install sensors in your business’s physical space. Analysing these in the same way you did your website will take you far. Door sensors mean you’ll be able to track your busiest times of the day. They’ll also alert you when to open more tills. Avoiding queues in this way is sure to increase customer satisfaction. Sensors throughout your shop will also help you judge how long customers spend looking at certain products. This will give you a good sign of areas on which to spend more focus.
Keeping an eye on your most successful competitors will also help you get to know your customers. Even better, the modern age means it’s easier to analyse their success than ever before. Forget incognito trips to their shop, get online and see what they’re offering that you aren’t. Look at their website, social media accounts and so on. How does their interaction vary from your own? Then, use what you’ve learned to improve your techniques.
Website design is everything in the modern business world. Companies will never reach their profit goals if they fail to focus enough attention on this issue. Indeed, some of the most successful brands in the world spend millions every year to ensure their site fits the bill.
So, you’ll need to pay attention to some of the advice on this page if you want to get things right. At the end of the day, most of the moves you need to make are pretty simple. So, read this information and put it to good use as soon as possible. Entrepreneurs who overlook this advice will undoubtedly lose out to their competition.
Keep your design as simple as possible
It’s often tempting for a business owner to try to stand out from the crowd. That is an excellent strategy if you get it right. However, it’s a dangerous concept if you get it wrong. With that in mind, it’s usually best to keep things as simple as possible. Just take a look at some of the most popular websites online today. Take Amazon for example. It creates millions of dollars worth of sales every single day. It’s also one of the most straightforward domains you’ll find. That should tell you something about the benefits of simplicity. So, avoid bright colours that will strain eyes, and try to follow in the footsteps of those successful sites.
Publish only the most relevant content
Lots of entrepreneurs make the mistake of putting too much information on their sites. Either that or they present the material in a long-winded fashion. You should aim to avoid that error at all costs. Time is valuable for the people who visit your website. For that reason, you need to make sure you keep things as straightforward and basic as possible. A website content checklist could help to ensure you don’t go overboard. At the end of the day, you just need information about your products or services. While an “about us” page is a wise move, it shouldn’t contain more than around 1,000 words.
Provide an instant means of contact
Probably is the best tip I can give you today for increasing conversion rates and boosting profit comes next. Live chat features are everywhere these days, and they’re easy to install on your website. For that reason, you need to speak to your designers as quickly as possible. If customers can converse with a member of your team without leaving your site, they are more likely to make a purchase. If they have any questions or encounter issues, they can raise them immediately. That should stop the individual from looking elsewhere or buying from your competitors.
You should now have enough information to make a start on improving your website. The basic rule of thumb is that you just need an expert design team. People working in that industry understand the latest trends. So, they’re in the perfect position to offer more advice that could improve your chances of success and increase sales. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck during the next twelve months!
There’s no escaping the fact that it’s hard out there for a small startup business and new entrepreneur. You need to hit the market fighting so that you can make a positive impact and succeed where many have failed beforehand.
The following are five (5) things to consider when starting out on your business path and will help to navigate you through the obstacles that the market will throw your way.
1. Find Your Place in the Market
You need to carefully consider where you’re aiming to jump into the marketplace, and if your service or product has the appeal to stay afloat or be swallowed up by the heavily saturated surroundings. If you feel you’ve found a substantial and definite gap in the market; congratulations, you’ve found the holy grail in business and should be able to progress in leaps and bounds with the help of the upcoming steps.
Liane Weintraub and Shannon Swanson created their own brand of organic baby purees, Tasty Brand, after realising how little choice there out there for them and their little ones. Tasty Brand is now stocked in a number of national chains, including Wholefoods and Fairway, and continues to grow in success. Check out the company’s road to success here.
However, if what you’re producing has an array of counterparts to contend with, then you need to ensure that you have a point of difference or can offer an upgrade to what the consumer is used to. If you can provide a fresh take on an old classic, or your product and service is simply better than the rest; this will stand you in good stead at the start of your business journey.
Take a step back and look at your product from a customer’s position, who knows nothing about the story behind the item, or any of your journey to get it to market. By looking at what you can offer without any sentimentality, you’ll be able to understand if a person is likely to buy into it or not.
If investing a ton of money into market research isn’t an option for you; utilise the internet, organise focus groups locally or online, and ask an in-depth list of questions. Taking your market research into your own hands can often lead to a better understanding of which direction your small business is heading in, which will prove vital in the tentative first months of starting out.
2. Check Out the Competition
As talked about before; you need to scope out your company’s competitors and find out as much as possible about their routes to success. Don’t ignore the big guys just because you’re small; they got to that size with good reason, and you’ll be able to downsize many of their techniques and implement them within your business.
The great thing about looking into the larger brands is that their ambassadors and consumers are easily found through social media. By discovering a big corporation’s patrons; you can figure out what they expect from the brand’s services and products. Comparing these consumers to the ones you hope to attract (maybe they’re the same), will ensure that you’ll gain a clear plan of where to aim your products.
Another reason to research into what the big guys have been up to is to learn from their mistakes. There is no doubt that each business will have made costly mistakes, but, if a company is still alive and kicking; they’ve dealt will them accordingly, and more importantly, with success.
Therefore, looking into what happened within the business’s history, and how they got over each hurdle, will help you make informed decisions for your small brand.
As the little guys that are new to the market, you’re unlikely to have a vast herd of employees. Therefore, you need to ensure that those you pick to work for your brand are dedicated and right for their role. The qualifications that a potential employee has on paper don’t always translate into a strong fit for your company.
If you’re hiring a small team; make sure that you can all work successfully in close proximity, as well as when everyone goes to complete an individual task. Trust is important, and using HR recruitment specialists will help to ensure that you’ve got a strong team around you so that you can delegate work without worry.
Invest your time into getting to know your employees once you’ve hired them and find out what makes them tick. By understanding how your team works best, both alone and together, will speed up processes and you’ll reach your business targets with ease.
4. Be Adaptable and Quick
Business success will favour those who are nimble and can adapt to the ever-evolving technology and strategies on the market. Take time each week to read up on what’s happening in the business world and how the latest in tech is helping brands to bring in revenue.
You won’t necessarily have the means to jump on every invention bandwagon.
However, by staying up to date with how companies are targeting their customers and using the technology to enhance their shopping experiences; you’ll be able to see more of what’s expected on the market and strategise how to implement any changes to your business. Take a look at the benefits of adaptability here.
5. Enjoy Your Customers
Your customers are the ones who will determine the longevity and success of your business; so bear in mind how important they are at all times. The free communication tools you have access to through social media are excellent ways to gauge what your patrons are feeling towards using your business.
You should engage them as much as possible by asking regular questions through your Twitter account, or by sending out and email monthly or every couple of months.
Listen to their feedback and run with it; shoppers are savvy and will notice the changes you’ve implemented to iron out your company’s creases. Let your consumers know when you’ve made these changes and tell them it’s because you listened to them; effort is always appreciated.
If your customers become your brand’s biggest fans; they’ll become your loudest marketing tool, ensuring you’re on the path to giving those bigger businesses a run for their money!
As a freelance graphic designer, you spent your time giving and gaining new design experiences, whilst creating a client list and a reputation for putting out quality work. You acquire client testimonials, because tooting your own horn just isn’t going to cut it.
Every year you question whether or not you’re charging clients the right amount for design work completed; you look at the prices and you think you have. But have you really?
In business, knowing or even discovering your own monetary worth is one of those instances that requires a sometimes really long and hard look at all that you have done and accomplished as a freelancer or entrepreneur.
Take time to do the following:
Examine your present and past clientele
Evaluate your portfolio of work
Find someone established and positioned as an industry leader and ask for advice
Look at the prices of your competition locally and globally
Join forums for freelance designers
Make the tough decisions on pricing your value
Lose a few prospective customers who aren’t ready to pay you what you’re worth
To get your business to the next level requires a lot of effort in heavy-lifting. It’s a lot like moving your friends furniture to their new apartment that’s on the fifth floor and the place has no elevators only stairs. You know its going to be back-breaking work and sweat pouring down your face, but it’ll all be worth it knowing you’ll be rewarded (not with pizza and cold beer).
Don’t be afraid to raise your prices. Only you can do what you do and if people are lining up around the block just to work with you then that’s a good sign you’re worth more than you first thought.
How did you discover your true value as a designer? Share your story below. We could all learn from it.