3 Instances in Which Your Small Businesses Should Outsource

If you’re a small business owner then the chances are you’ve been told to outsource. This usually leads to some small business looking to outsource every single job they have. It’ll save money, they think. In reality, outsourcing only saves money and benefits your business when used correctly.

So, today’s your lucky day — here are some pointers that outline when it’s right for your business to outsource.

Jobs That Aren’t Always Constant

In your small business, there will be some jobs that are constant and some that aren’t. Now, here’s a question worth considering — why would you hire a full-time employee for a job they won’t have to do every single day? It’s a waste of money. Hire on an as-needed basis is the best approach — and this is where you’re far better off outsourcing.

Things that come to mind include content writing for your website or even web design. It’s unlikely you’ll need new web content everyday, or for new web design. So, it makes way more sense to outsource these jobs whenever you need them, cutting your overheads quite dramatically.

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Complex Jobs That Require Specialist Skills

There’s no denying your business will have some complex tasks that need to be fulfilled. Attempting these yourself can take a long time, and you might not have the skills to do them. The problem is, if you bring someone in on a permanent contract, they could cost a lot of money as it would be a skilled job. Here, we have the perfect opportunity to outsource.

If your business outsources a bookkeeper, they handle all the complex financial tasks because that’s what they’re good at. You could outsource a marketing team to handle the complicated marketing strategy, and so on. There are loads of tasks that require skilled individuals, and you’ll find it cheaper to outsource rather than hire permanently.

Plus, you could get a team of people doing one task, rather than having to physically hire individuals to make up a team.

Large-scale Jobs That Need Multiple Hands on Deck

This final point kind of plays off the last sentence of the above point about outsourcing a team of people. You’ll find this is one of the main benefits of outsourcing — you can pay a company to do a job, and they’ll provide their team for you. This comes in handy when you have quite large-scale jobs that mean you need a lot of people working at once.

The main thing that pops into my mind is customer support. Even a small business needs a decent support team for their customers. This could mean hiring a lot of people, even a small support team of five or 10 employees is costly. By outsourcing jobs like this, you get a team working for your business, and all you do is pay the company that supplies them. It’s easier to manage, and you get rid of the overheads like employee benefits, etc.

The whole point of this article is that you don’t have to outsource every job. In fact, some jobs are better done in-house. Hopefully, these points help you figure out when you should outsource to gain the most from it.

How to Ensure You Get Paid and Not Have Your Business Crumble

Different businesses tend to get paid in different ways. Some get paid before they do a job or service, while others get paid afterwards. Some don’t actually get paid at all because they fail to implement some of the most crucial things to do as a business. If you’re not getting paid on time, then you can run into plenty of trouble as a business.

Here’s how you can start making sure you get paid for the work you do by following these six (6) tips.

Do a Background Check

If this is an expensive service and you absolutely must get paid for the work you do, it could be wise to perform a background check on your customers before you accept them. Smart businesses do this to check the ability of customers to pay. You can then ask for a portion for the project up front, so that you can feel confident this person is serious about working with you and the services you provide.

Offer a Small Discount for Prompt Payment

Really encourage your customers to pay by offering a small discount for prompt payment, say within around seven (7) days. However, always be sure to first show them the overall cost of the service or product. This guarantees that your value is communicated above a discount. It’ll be in their best interests to pay you quickly then, and you won’t become something at the bottom of somebody’s to do list.  

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Create a Contract and Ask Them to Sign It

A contract protects the both of you, so make sure you create one and ask them to sign it. There’s no obligation to pay without a contract! There are templates you can use online, but it could be in your best interests to have the contract written up by a professional. Any wrong wording could be the undoing of your contract.

Bill and Invoice Your Customers in a Consistent Manner

Make sure you bill and invoice your customers in a consistent manner. Don’t do it in a way that allows them to forget, like most companies. Online invoicing is the future and will help to cut down time and hassle for you. Avoid waiting 30 days followed by sending out a reminder then extending to another 60 days and a reminder. This approach just doesn’t work.

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Make It Simple for Customers to Pay You

Present several options to customers to facilitate payment after you’ve delivered a product or service or both. There’s no reason they can give not to pay you quickly. You can accept payment using PayPal, direct bank deposit, wire transfer, cheque, cash, and so on. Any business that only has one way to pay is only holding themselves back from growth. 

A Last Resort: Sell Them on to Collections

If you’re seriously not having any luck with a customer, you can’t be afraid to take action. Just bear in mind that this is always a last resort. Consider how valuable this customer is to you by asking the following questions:

  • How long have they been a customer of mine?
  • How much have they spent with me over the years?
  • What could this customer be going through?

You could potentially try to see things from their point of view and arrange something that suits them better if you don’t want to lose them completely. However, it may have to come to selling on to collections if they still avoid you. You are running a business, not a charity.

Adding a More Personal Touch to Your Business with These Four Tips

Owning a company comes with so many options that are as exciting as each other — like branding, sales, marketing strategies and so on. Each new venture is a joy, and each task completed makes you feel so proud. But there are some things you could be doing to give your company a more personal touch which will make your employees happy and will, hopefully, increase your customer return.

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Personalised Product

Branding isn’t just about sticking our logo everywhere. It’s about being memorable. The more people are familiar with your name and logo, in a positive way, the better. You can do this in a few different ways; the first is to sponsor local events — but make sure that it makes sense with your company.

Like a beer company at a festival — it makes sense, and you are going to be surrounded by your chosen audience. The second is to make your own products — whether that’s merchandise or flavors. Most coffee roasters will tailor make a flavor unique to each coffee company.

Specific Training

Training up your employees is an integral part of running a business — but how you go about it matters. With a store that deals with a particular product, the higher ranking employees at least should have product specific training that goes further than the basics.

This detailed training will allow your employees to give more care and attention to your customers. Training like this can include going to the brewery, to the roastery, the bakery or wherever your product originates so that your employees will be able to know more.

Product Specific Software

Sometimes you need more software that is more geared towards your actual product. If you own a brewery, then beverage software would be perfect for you. This sort of personalisation will help you to organise different aspects that might not exist with another product, like where you source the base materials or ingredients from.

Customer Interaction

Whether you run your business from an office or a store, your customers are everything. Customer care and customer service is something that every business should have at heart — if you have a great product but treat your customers badly then you’re still going to fail. But more than just treating customers right, you should also encourage them to talk back.

Client reviews will help you to improve areas that you might not have realised need improving – sometimes things in theory in the office might not work well on the ground in a store. Customers will always shape your business and if you ignore them is the worst thing you can do.

There is also the opportunity to get your clients involved — if you run a coffee store then have an evening where your staff teaches the public latte art, if you own a vineyard then wine tastings are an avenue you should be tapping into.

3 Essentials Your Business Needs from Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is a very broad umbrella term to cover a lot of different activities. It might cover your blog, your Facebook advertising campaigns, and your PPC. Digital marketing also encompasses emails and digital newsletters, texts, pop-ups, and more. As new platforms emerge, the scope will broaden further. Social media on its own could be taking up a huge amount of your time, even if you allocate no cash budget to it. But for all the activities you engage in and all the campaigns you create, what should you be getting out it?

Customers

No matter how much you spend on marketing, your primary objective is to gain paying customers. You might sell products, or you might provide services. Without the qualified leads that digital marketing so easily provides, you’ve got no chance of turning a profit. Digital marketing can be focused on a very narrow group or demographic. It can find the customers you want at the right time. Most importantly, a good campaign addresses their needs and their problems just as they realize they have them.

Once you’ve got your customer’s attention, you need to channel them through that all-important funnel. The customer’s journey length will vary from campaign to campaign. But each one should end up at the credit card input page.

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Increased Brand Awareness

According to marketing guru Sabri Suby, your objective should be to “provide value to prospects by giving them free reports, webinars or free assessments.” This serves two purposes. The first is to increase the customer’s awareness of your brand. The second is to build their relationship with that brand. The more you give them what they want, the more inclined they will be to come back to you for more. The customer will trust you and feel more ready to embrace your proposition.

It takes time and a series of campaigns to go from stranger to best friend brand. Plan your campaigns carefully, and consider what your customer needs most from you. Build trust in your brand step by step to build trust in your sales pitch and product offering.

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Return on Investment (ROI)

Of course, promotions and advertisements cost money. You want a return on that investment. And when you spend hours each day developing your campaigns and content, you want something back for all that effort. This is where digital marketing is the clear winner. It is highly measurable. In fact, you can see results as they happen with live web stats and analytics.

Make a note of your stats at the same time each day so you can compare traffic figures with past performance. This will help you determine conversion figures and sales values too. Use dedicated landing pages every time and track the customer journey. Cookies can help you identify returning customers as well.

Digital marketing has overtaken every other media. It is superior for measuring campaign effectiveness, and it is preferred by most customer groups. Is it worth the extra time and energy on your part? Use an agency to help you get the most out of your digital marketing campaigns without the personal burnout!

Making a Great Product Page for Your Customers

Your website is one of your greatest marketing tools, and it has the power to convert passing visitors into paying customers. You need to focus on every aspect of your site, but your product page is something you should definitely pay attention to. The online shopper doesn’t have the opportunity to see the product first hand, and they can’t pick it up to feel and test the item before they buy. Therefore, the way you present the product page needs to give them all the information they need to know.

These are the aspects you need to focus on when designing your product page.

Top quality photographs

The customer is unlikely to buy something if they don’t know what it looks like. Therefore, highlight the product through high-resolution pictures, and include pictures of the item taken from different angles. While you could take some simple pics with your smartphone or tablet, you might also consider hiring a professional photographer to make the pictures stand out.

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Captivating wording

This is your opportunity to sell the product, so make every word count. Tell the customer exactly why they need to buy the product, listing all the benefits that will make their lives easier. Explain how your product is better than others on the market, and highlight anything that makes it particularly unique. In short, this is your sales pitch. By the time they have finished reading, the customer needs to feel excited and inspired by what you are selling.

Greater detail

Separate to your sales pitch, you need a paragraph that goes into greater detail. So try and preempt the questions a customer might normally ask in a store and list every feature you can think of that is relevant to your product. Those in the building industry, for example, will want to highlight the materials they use, such as PPGL Coils, and give a full description of the material’s benefits, including durability. There are those people who’s buying decision will hinge on the technical specifications of a product, so don’t skimp out on any important details.

Pricing information

Be upfront about the cost, even if your product is expensive. Customers appreciate honesty, so don’t smuggle the price away in the small print or a few clicks away from the product screen. However, if you have specific deals for first-time customers, or have made some sales reductions, let the customer know front and center on the product page. People like to know they are getting value for money, so even if your item sells at a premium price, the other information on the page, such as your product description, will encourage them to buy.

Shipping information

Shipping costs need to be included within the pricing information. However, you need to give the customer other essential information. For example, what shipping method are you using? What is the expected delivery time? Do you have a returns policy, and if so, what is the best method for your customer to return the product back to you? The more information you can provide, the added peace of mind you are giving the customer.

Bottom line

You may have a great product on sale, but if you aren’t giving the correct information, you may struggle to make a sale. Therefore, use our advice. The more information the customer has to hand, the more likely they are to buy when they can make an informed decision.

Here’s Why Online Selling Is the Answer to a Bigger Audience

What is the main purpose of your business? Answer — to make money.

With this in mind, it’s imperative that your operation is built to serve the largest possible audience. Otherwise, you’ll be limiting your potential before the business has even opened its doors. While very few businesses can target a universal audience, there’s no need to restrict yourself to a single niche.   

Thanks to the beauty of online interactions, working multiple demographics is easier than ever. So, how can you reach and satisfy a bigger audience to boost the hopes of increased sales? Let’s take a closer look.

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1. Target Multiple Locations

When starting an offline venture, it’s almost certain that you’ll be limited to hitting a localized audience. Given that the world now feels smaller than ever, this outcome is ridiculous!

 Working online doesn’t only create a chance for people around the world to find you. With smart localized SEO strategies, you can gain a strong presence in multiple cities or countries at once. Master the Google My Business platform, and you won’t go far wrong. When added to the generic optimization, your web content should reach a far larger audience than a traditional store ever could.

There are many pitfalls to look out for, such as copying pages and only changing the location tags. If this all feels a little complicated, there are experts who can help too. Oh, and if you are ready to hit a global audience, it’s imperative that content is presented in multiple languages.

2. Diversify Your Products

With most traditional stores, you only have a limited amount of selling space. As such, you have to make very clear decisions on what you are going to sell. Mixing different products aimed at slightly different niches can leave everyone feeling alienated. When working online, that simply isn’t an issue.

Thanks to the navigational aspects of e-business platforms, you can sell a far more eclectic mix of products. Menus and similar tools can be used to separate your online stock catalog into specific sections. You only need look at giants like Amazon to see how this can be used to promote different products to various audiences, even on the same website.

 Of course, the alternatives can include setting up several websites all under one umbrella. However, most modern consumers are happy to shop on a website that also targets other audiences. Rather than feeling disconnected like they would in the real world, it only further cements your reputation. After all, it makes the business look far bigger.

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3. Consumers Have Fewer Inhibitions

In many cases, products ranging from home accessories to clothing can appeal to several audiences. Sadly, the branding elements of a high street store may deter secondary demographics from entering the store. It’s all about the key demographic because losing them would be disastrous.   

As an online audience, you can still create a strong brand. However, secondary demographics may still visit the site, even if it’s only to buy that one product that they want. It’s a far less daunting prospect than entering a traditional shop where you don’t belong. This can be a telling factor.

Thanks to social media, it’s possible to make up alternative accounts that work those secondary audiences too. If it leads additional customers to the web store without reducing the volume of visits from the target market, the impacts can only be positive.   

4. Customers Don’t Even Need to Buy

It sounds crazy, but online business also offers a chance to generate revenue without even selling directly to the customer. With the use of affiliate marketing, people can bring new clients to the business in return for a commission. In turn, you are essentially hitting their networks without actively doing anything special. This ultimately allows the company to grow at a far greater rate than any offline venture.

Meanwhile, there are opportunities to make money without even selling stock. Website advertising and promotions can bring in serious levels of income. Great content will have audiences visiting the site even when they have no interest in buying. In fact, many people use blogging or vlogging as their main source of revenue.   

Then again, familiarity is crucial for winning the trust of potential customers. Those regular visitors can soon encourage readers to become clients too. Subsequently, you’ll be working two audiences at once. Best of all, the money generated from that content is 100% profit. Not only will it boost your hopes of sustained success, but it’s also something that traditional companies can’t utilize.   

So, there you go. If you want to earn more money by reaching a larger audience, adding online facilities to the venture is vital.  

Avoidable Errors That Can Derail Any Business Event

Throwing a business event is always tough, whether it’s the first or the 20th time. You’re opening your business up to unknown eyes, hoping to gain attention, new customers, and potentially free advertising via friendly local media or the web and social media. Of course you’re going to be stressed.

Whether it’s a launch event for a new product or a charity drive, you’re going to have your work cut out to ensure the entire shindig goes off without a hitch. It’s important to focus on the aspects of event planning that you should be doing, but what about the things that you shouldn’t? Let’s explore a few — absolutely avoidable — errors that businesses have a tendency to make when they plan an event. Learn from their mistakes, and you can be sure yours won’t fall into the same problems.

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Being Too Restrictive on Budget

If you’re going to throw an event then throw an event.

Yes, you’re a business owner; you’ve always got one eye on the bottom line and you endeavour to save money wherever you possibly can. However, a cheap event is always going to look like a cheap event. Do you really want to be bringing together potential customers, fellow businesses, and potentially even a media presence to make it obvious that you’re a cheapskate?

Obviously, don’t go crazy with the purse strings, but don’t damage how good your event is by being too parsimonious for your own good.

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No One Shows Up

We’ve all had moments where we say that we absolutely will attend an event and then we don’t. That’s bad enough on a personal level, but when it happens to you as a business owner, then it’s a real problem. If you’ve invested a lot of time and money into organising an event, then you’re going to want to have guests there to enjoy it.

There’s no way of getting around the fact that, sometimes, people will say they are attending – and then not show up on the day. However, with good event management software, you can at least stand the best chance of keeping track of who’s coming or going.

By taking details of confirmed attendees, you can drop them a quick call 24 hours prior, and ask if they still plan to go. If they do, great. If they don’t, keep a backup list of potential guests that you can turn to fill their spot.

Too Little Content

Most business events will center around a presentation of some sort; which is fine. You’re not hosting an event to allow everyone to have a good time at company expense; you’re doing it for promotion.

If there’s nothing but the presentation, however, then you’re going to have bored and listless guests. Stand up comics or even bands can be a great way of breaking the ice, allowing your guests to mingle and enjoy themselves – outside of your hard sell.

By avoiding the above, you can be sure that your event is one to remember — for all the right reasons!

Make Your Business More Memorable with These Marketing Tricks

It can be hard enough to create a positive first impression in business, but it’s often even more difficult to market your company in a way that leaves a lasting impression. If you’re working on building relationships after introductory meetings, you’re trying to grow your contacts network, or you’re hoping to expand your business in the coming months, here are some handy hacks to bear in mind.

Follow up leads

If you’ve been to a trade show, you’ve hosted a launch event, or you’ve attended meetings with buyers or potential clients, don’t rest on your laurels. Even if the meeting went well and you have verbal agreements in place, it’s important to follow up leads and make sure positive experiences produce the desired outcome.

It’s no good having a room full of people say that they love a product you’ve designed if you’re not going to get any orders at the end of the day. Note down contact details and send emails and make calls to make deals happen. You have to be proactive in business and once you’ve got interested parties, work to maintain their enthusiasm and ensure they become repeat customers.

Issue a reminder

If you’ve got a client base, that’s great news, but the hard work doesn’t stop here. There’s nothing to stop your valued customers going elsewhere if another firm can offer something better or a lower price. Maintain contact with your clients and issue some reminders.

If you go to trade shows on a regular basis, it’s a really good idea to invest in merchandise that people will use long after the event, such as custom USB sticks. A customer will use the stick, see your logo and potentially think of using your business again. For an online business, use social media and emails to keep in touch.

When a customer hasn’t placed an order in a while, send an email with a special promotion code to encourage them to buy again. It’s also a really good idea to develop an app. An app can act as a constant reminder of your business that sits on a home screen. On average, people check their phones more than 85 times per day, so this can be a very valuable marketing ploy.

Personalise your marketing strategy

Your marketing strategy should be focused on your target market. Your aim should be to ensure that every customer has a positive experience and to impress them so much that they couldn’t possibly overlook you in the future. If you’re blown away by customer service, there’s a good chance that you’d use a company again, but this works both ways.

If you’ve had a dreadful experience, you’re not just going to look elsewhere. You’re also going to tell others to do the same. Ensure you’re providing a service that caters for your clients and go the extra mile to ensure that they remember you for all the right reasons.

If you run a business, you’ll be all too familiar with the importance of creating good first impressions, but don’t underestimate the value of leaving a lasting impression. Use these marketing measures to ensure that your clients don’t forget about you in a hurry.

Forget the Digital Guessing and Go with Inbound Marketing

For many, the digital world has made marketing a little harder to understand. For sixty years, marketing was dominated by shouting loud in every direction and seeing what stuck. Radio adverts, television campaigns, spread in the yellow pages and all that sort of jazz. Nowadays, though, how you market yourself in the online sphere is critical.

Luckily for you, we’re here to clear the air a bit because inbound marketing is hands down the way to go. This is because it is getting cheaper and cheaper, it latches on to the idea of getting the customer to come to you and it is easily achievable with nothing more than a website and some great content.

With that at your disposal, you’re ready to attract visitors. Winning. Of course, we’re not just going to leave you with that. Oh no, we’re going to hit you with the best strategies within this bell curve.

Ramp Up Your SEO

If you haven’t got the first clue when it comes to SEO or how to improve it, then we suggest you bring an agency on board because, as Sticky Digital explains in no uncertain terms, ninety-three percent of all online experiences start with a search engine.

We’re talking about Google, Yahoo or Bing. Your job, as such, is to get onto the first page of these search engines, which means increasing your ranking. Do that and you’ll see more traffic wash up on your shores. More traffic, more chance of making sales. It’s that simple.

Make Sure You Blog

We dropped a pretty astounding statistic on you above, and we’re about to do it again because businesses that have an up to date blog get 77 percent more traffic than those who don’t blog. Seventy-seven percent! That’s no small change.

That’s a huge difference and one that means you are seriously falling behind in any tussle you are having with your competitors.

It isn’t just traffic that is boosted, though, it is also sales. This is because blogging has a way of creating value, trust and credibility, all of which are good words to latch onto when customers are concerned.

Use Other People’s Audiences

Another way to get paying customers to take notice of your brand is to leverage the audiences of influential people. In fact, the average response on this front is a six to one return. To go down this route you have a few options.

It could be that you use hashtags to better suit your social media impact, or start getting your brand synonymous with people of influence through commenting on posts of relevance.

However, the best way to reap the rewards on this front is to engage with people who already have the audience that you want and need, and then use this audience to boost your own following.  

Retargeting Really Works

You would be forgiven for think display ads are nothing but annoying and infuriating, and they are to a degree.

But they also work wonders because those visitors who are then retargeted with display ads are over seventy percent more likely to pop back and click your purchase button.

Not only that but by retargeting (remarketing), you are also improving your brand awareness online, which makes it a double win.