Giving Your Struggling Business a Facelift!

Has your business hit the proverbial brick wall? Regardless of how far along you are as a budding start-up or experienced business, we’ve all hit problems and the roadblocks to better progress to the next level. The signs of a struggling business includes declining revenue, lower customer retention, higher employee turnover, and decrease in product/service quality. So what can you do to effectively revive your company?

Take the First Step

You need to reevaluate the situation you are in. So look at the key aspects that you feel are severely lacking in your business, for example, the business strategy. Do you feel the business has a clear direction anymore? Do you know why the business exists in the current market and does it solve any problems for customers or any gaps in the market?

If you feel that your business needs a lift, these might be the right things to change. From there, you need to look at the people. Do you have the right people running the company? Are these people committed to the success of your organisation, and are they actually incentivised properly to do what they can for your business?

Motivation is a massive part of why people work well — remember that!

Are You Surrounding Yourself With The Right Tools?

Productivity is a massive part of why businesses can go down the pan quickly, so if you’re not able to make the most of the tools you have, it might be time to re-evaluate and to bring in better ones. Whether this is using better technology and network support services to help prevents catastrophes occurring on a technological front especially if you have been suffering from a lot of system issues recently.

The right IT company can give your productivity a big facelift, and it’s also vital that your staff and workers are working with the right tools and while it’s a cliché that a shoddy workman blames his tools, you do require the most up-to-date technology for your business to succeed.

Read also: MasterCard Remakes Its Well-known Logo for the Digital Era

Does Your Business Require Rebranding?

As we all know marketing is a massive part of the success of every business. If you’re not able to market ourselves effectively to the right demographics and target market, this might be the reason your business is lagging behind.

If your business is dying a slow death it can have a big impact on your brand and customers will start to lose face in your brand, and their trust in what you are able to achieve will wane as negative word of mouth spreads faster than wildfire.

So you don’t need to necessarily make a complete change in how you present your brand, this really needs to be a last resort, but if you can give your business a new brand identity with some new marketing strategies, this will help to present a new and more dynamic image which then will instigate more customer interest.

So take the right steps to evaluate, check your tools, and check your image before all hope is lost!

Run Your Business Like a Fine-tuned Machine Even When You’re Not in the Office

Keeping your business running smoothly is enough of a challenge as it is, so how can you tackle that task when you’ve got to step out? Be it a business meeting, dinner with investors, scouting out a new location or even just a holiday, here are some ways to ensure that your business can stay focused and on-schedule even when you’re not around.

Have employees you can trust in

There are many advantages that come with employees who go the extra mile:

  • Building trust in them allows them to trust you as well. Remember that it’s a two-way street, and if you want to leave your business in capable hands then you need to establish a solid working relationship with your staff
  • Fewer chances of arguments between staff mean that there’s less chance of a serious situation happening that could leave your workforce divided or with a key member of staff leaving
  • Giving your employees autonomy can only be done once you have trust in them. Giving them the freedom to do what they want can also contribute to their motivation. This is because they’ll feel like they’re actually part of your team, not someone that just blindly follows orders when asked to do something

As you can see, having employees you can trust will give you a huge advantage whenever you need to be away from the office. Start building up a good relationship with your staff and you’ll find that you can run your business effectively with very little input.

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Consider what services you can use to make it easier

If you’re a small business, then there are plenty of ways to add some autonomy in your business to make it run without you actually being there:

  • Consider using an answering service if you don’t have enough employees or the money to have a receptionist. A business answering service is relatively cheap to add on to your business expenses and it’s a fantastic and cheap way to forward messages to you when you’re out. This is a lot better than asking an unqualified employee to do it because they could give whoever’s calling a bad impression or false information by accident
  • Working from the cloud is a popular way to access your work and office from almost anywhere. Since you can access documents online, you can check on the progress of your staff and how they’re doing with their projects. This also opens up many more advantages that can be utilised in the future, such as an easy-to-use continuity plan in case your storage devices fail and the opportunity to collaborate with freelancers and outsourced staff
  • Establish a method of communication by using apps such as Slack or Skype. By staying in touch with those at the office, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re not in the dark when something happens or if your assistance is needed

In short, it’s fairly simple to keep your business afloat when you’re not in the office. With a mix of technology (assuming you know how to use it properly) and a healthy working relationship with your staff, you could reach a point where you don’t need to contribute much and still have a stable business.


New Marketing Strategies to Improve Your Business

Nothing ever stays the same, which is definitely true in business. If you want to attract new customers and keep loyal customers coming back, you need to be willing to try new things every once in a while. Your industry is constantly evolving and generating new developments, so your marketing strategies need to reflect that change in your business; people like having the latest thing, so you must always make your services feel like new, no matter how long you’ve actually been in business.

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Find your niche

Competition is both good and bad for your business. It’s good because that means there is definitely a market for your services, and you’re always encouraged to make your product more interesting. It’s bad, because the more competition you have, the harder you have to work to stand out.

Say, for example, your business is focused on the education industry; you have a wide market, there is a need for your services, and you can cater to a range of subjects, target audiences, and skills. In terms of business ideas, you have a lot to work with, but you will need to present yourself as the best option out of thousands of competitors. To accomplish this, you need to find your niche; don’t be something for everyone, focus on one age group, one skill set, and a handful of topics.

You can learn more about education marketing at MarketingWorks and find out how to market your education business to the right people. But no matter what your business is, you need to establish your niche and center your marketing around your target audience. The more they identify with your product or services, the more likely they are to become your customers.

Content marketing

Unlike online ads, content marketing is an ongoing process that fits into any marketing plan. One of the best ways to convince people to use your services is to establish yourself as an industry expert. If you’re trying to sell people business strategies to boost their online presence, you need to show how you have been successful in doing the same.

Blogs are a good way to do this, because they are digestible articles of information, and they work best if there isn’t a lot of jargon in them. However, vlogs are becoming increasingly popular because the creators can inject more of their personality into the content, and some people respond better to a more visual presentation.

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Engaging with your target audience is the foundation of good marketing, and chatbots are now changing the format of these conversations. Recently, you could include contact details in your website, such as an email address, a link to your social media page, or even a phone number. But customers always had to wait a certain period of time to receive a response. Customer feedback is an essential part of improving your services, and chatbots have made it possible to receive instant feedback from customers, and for them to receive instant responses to their queries.

Outsourcing: A Genuine Path to Success in Business

There’s a fairly pervasive attitude among a lot of business owners that they should be able to do everything themselves without ever leaning on anyone else. A lot of this comes from the idea of the “self-made man” or any other ideas of total and complete independence.

Of course, it shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise that this attitude is pretty much completely useless. The idea of trying to do everything yourself might be rather romantic, but it almost ends badly as Romeo and Juliet’s story.

Instead of making a business that you can take total credit for, it usually creates a business that it barely held together and it pretty much doomed to fail. If you really want to succeed in business then you need to reach out to other people with one of the most effective approaches: outsourcing.

Outsourcing is one of the beneficial things for both you and your business and here are just a few reasons why.

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It frees you up to focus on other things

Everyone has certain things that they’re more interested in than others. Because of that it’s pretty much guaranteed that there are going to be parts of your business that are simply outside of your particular expertise.

By outsourcing those things to other people, you’re able to focus all of your energy on the aspects of your business that you’re really good at. If you’re fantastic with numbers but connecting with customers isn’t your forte, then outsourcing your marketing might be the best bet.

If it’s the other way around then bringing in a forensic accountant to handle the numbers side of your business might be a better idea. Think about where there are gaps in your skills when considering what to outsource and what to deal with yourself.   

Your business is in the hands of the experts

One of the best things about outsourcing certain tasks is that it usually involves companies or individuals who are specifically skilled in certain areas.

That way you can be sure that any aspect of your business that you’re outsourcing is in the hands of well-trained and highly competent people who are going to be able to bring the best possible work to your business as a whole.

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You’re far less likely to become overworked

Overworking yourself can be dangerous at the best of times. It can leave you exhausted, unfocused, and it can have a seriously negative impact on your health. Things get even worse when you’re running a business since so many things depend on your ability to work and function.

By outsourcing certain tasks, you’re able to avoid overworking yourself so that you’re always in a position to take better care of your yourself and your business.

If you collapse from exhaustion then not only does that impact your own life negatively, but it also directly affects everyone else involved with your business.

It’s far better to put certain parts of your business in other people’s hands so that you don’t put your health or your business in danger. After all, health is wealth.


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Make Customers Happy by Fine-tuning Your Business from Every Angle

One of the major reasons that many new businesses fail is that those in charge are not fully prepared for just how much work there will be. This might sound strange, given that running a business obviously requires a lot of effort from anyone — but it’s true.

No matter how much you think you might know, it always turns out that there’s more to it than you had originally anticipated.

A successful entrepreneur needs to know how to approach their business from all angles simultaneously.

There are so many ways in which they need to look at what is going on, and sometimes it can feel like trying to be omnipresent. You really do have to be everywhere at once.

To get you ready for that feeling, we have put together some of the major aspects of running a business. However, this is not an exhaustive list, so keep your eyes open as you get into it.

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The Office

As your central hub, the office plays a very important role in the growth and sustenance of the business.

It is often surprising how some business owners are unaware of the importance of running a smooth office. Any problems that occur in your headquarters, are likely to trickle down to your customer and subsequently affect their experience with your business. No business wants to affect their customers’ experience, so you need to be sure that you are keeping an eye on what’s happening in your office at all times.

There will be times of low morale, as this happens in every workplace environment at least once. But you should be sure that you have the necessary tools and personal persuasion to be able to limit those occurrences and to deal with them accurately when they do appear.

Run the office as smoothly as you can and the rest of the business will eventually follow suit. Conversely, allow it to fester and the same will happen in the rest of the business too.

Uncle Fester of The Addams Family movie

The Customers

Your customers are as important to your business as your employees. It is vital you remember this, as it determines the success or failure of your business pursuits.

No matter what’s going on in your business behind-the-scenes, always ensure your customers are happy.

There are numerous sides to just this issue that you could write an entire book on the subject. One core tenet of good customer service is communicating well. The quality of communication with your customers should be honest, direct, polite, and professional. This translates into happily returning customers and possibly referrals for your business.

Good customer service experience can very often make up for anything, like a product delivered not being slightly disappointing. It’s important that your customer service staff are well-trained, as this makes a world of difference.

And above all, ensure that you are over-delivering on whatever you promised. This is a great way to keep customers happy.

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The Digital Space

In a digital age, traditional brick and mortar businesses now need to thrive online as well. For some businesses, retail has been outpaced by online (direct-to-consumer sales).

The strength of your business in the next five to 10 years will be dependent on how strong your presence is in the digital space.

To keep your business in good shape, you’ll need to undertake a few things, like hiring professionals with specific technical skill sets like web development, UX design, SEO, data analytics, etc. This will help to make your website more functional.

In fact, some argue that accessibility, usability and SEO go hand in hand. With a strong SEO, you can be sure that you are attracting web traffic to your business. This promotes online marketing and demonstrates that you are a modern business.

Consider curating your digital space in a way makes user admire and respect your business as forward-thinking and modern.

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The Product

At some point, you also have to put a lot of thought into the actual product that the customer ends up with.

This could be a product in the more traditional sense — something tangible as opposed to digital.

Do your best to guarantee your product is as good as it can be. You will find that this is one area that necessitates you pay attention to customer feedback. Customers will offer invaluable feedback on your products that will save you time, money and effort to conduct a market research to solicit the same data.

This will help to grow your business much faster.

Figure out how to make all four moving parts work cohesively and you’re well on your way to making your customers happy about their overall experience with your business. Everything else should fall into place as you grow.


Improving the Communication in Your Company

How much thought have you put into the communication in your business? With a million and one other tasks to oversee as the boss, it can be easy to overlook. However, being able to relay information quickly and effectively is so important, and lack of communication could even lead to failure of the entire company. Here are some of the ways you can ensure communication is up to scratch in your business.

Update Your Phones

The way we communicate has changed massively over the last decade, and using standard telephones may no longer provide all of the functions you need in business. The new generation of business phones can be seen with companies like Commander. If you want to ensure your company remains up to date with your competition these are the kinds of technologies you should consider implementing. As well as phones, using video calling software to hold meetings and conferences with those who can’t get into the office is useful too.

Drop The Unnecessary Meetings and Emails

Meetings and emails are key to communication in business. However, they should be kept to important points only. This means that when an email or meeting is held, staff know they really need to pay attention. Too many of these can not only disrupt workflow but also might lead to staff missing important points where they didn’t realise what was being said was priority.

Consider a Business Social Network

Since you will be keeping priority information to important emails and meetings, you need another way for staff to communicate with each other. A business social media platform can allow staff to quickly message and contact each other without physically getting out of their seat (which can again disrupt workflow). Enterprise social networks like Salesforce’s Chatter Podio, ZenDesk, and FreshDesk, are all options to consider.

Arrange Some Team Building Activities

Team members that work well together will have better communication, and so this isn’t something to overlook as a boss. In the recruitment stage, prioritise people who are open and friendly, and have a good track record of working as a team. You need great teamwork and cooperation, this ensures a pleasant working environment for all staff and means information is being relayed correctly where it needs to go.


Being the kind of boss that employees can speak to is always useful. They will feel confident coming to you with any issues, and things can be resolved much more quickly when they’re reported directly. Check in with your workers on a regular basis, be a friendly and approachable boss, and let them know they can tell you if something isn’t quite right. It’s your job as the boss to ensure everything is running as it should, so keeping tabs on potential issues which can affect communication is important. It could be anything from bullying problems to systems that just don’t work correctly.

What systems do you have in place to ensure effective communication in your business? Is this something you’ve put much thought into? Leave a comment below.


Ideas to Make Your Retail Store Standout From the Competition

The retail sector is one that continues to remain competitive despite the popularity of online-only businesses. This makes it an excellent place to expand your current business operations, offering you a clear path to help you grow your business. If you’re looking for the next best place to take your business then retail is the place to be. Giving your online business a physical location can do wonders for your business. It will help you increase exposure, it gives your local customers somewhere to shop, and it allows them to try out or view your products before buying.

But whether you’re thinking of expanding to a physical location or if you simply need a bit of help drawing more attention to your retail store, here are a couple of tips to give you a hand.

Making your own products

Very few retail stores make their own products to sell. This is usually more common in arts and craft areas, but it’s also possible to do if you sell things like computer components, electronic devices and so on. This is usually associated with owning a factory, but there are times when you can create your own products in the back. If you own a restaurant or a cafe, then this also applies. Instead of buying things frozen or storing food in fridges and freezers, considering making everything from scratch. Whether it’s the bread that you turn into sandwiches or the pasta you add to your homemade sauces, put some love into your product by making it yourself.

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Have a parking lot

With some striping pavement stencils and permission, you could paint on a simple parking lot for your customers to use. This is fantastic for any store that sells large appliances such as kitchen equipment, computers or even workshop tools. This is because you don’t want your customers hauling out heavy equipment from the front door and then several minutes down the road just to reach their car. Having a parking lot is fantastic for customer service and it will set you apart from the competition surrounding you that haven’t invested in a parking lot. Just keep in mind that you’ll need some equipment, signage, and permission to set it up — it’s not an option available to everyone, so contact the city/municipality for guidance.

Less is more

One of the things that a lot of businesses get wrong is with choices. Too much choice can be damaging to your brand because you’re making your customers decide between an already congested market. In today’s world consumers have to pick between the dizzying number of smartphone manufacturers (Samsung, Apple Inc., etc.); so if you’re selling electronics (such as phones, computers, and other devices), you want to limit the decisions your customers have to make by offering a more diverse choice instead of too much choice. For instance, instead of having several smartphone models from the same manufacturer, have the latest flagship phone from several different manufacturers instead. Similarly, if you operate a restaurant with a menu that has 500 items, then you want to cut down, condense your menu and give your patrons more diverse choice, not five of the same menu item with different variations of the sauce you use.


Starbucks to Open in Jamaica, Expanding its Caribbean Presence

Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) today announced it has entered a geographic licensing agreement with Caribbean Coffee Traders Limited, a consortium led by Margaritaville Caribbean Group, a leading restaurant management and franchise operator in the Caribbean. The agreement grants Caribbean Coffee Traders the exclusive rights to own and operate Starbucks® stores in the country. Jamaica will be Starbucks 17th market in the Latin America and Caribbean region, with the first store slated to open in Montego Bay.

“Jamaica is a country blessed with a rich culture and heritage, particularly with its locally-grown and world renowned Blue Mountain coffee, which Starbucks has sourced as a specialty offering for over 40 years,” said Ricardo Rico, Starbucks general manager and vice president for Latin America operations.

“We are delighted to build on this legacy and continue our expansion into the Caribbean by introducing the Starbucks Experience in Jamaica for the first time. As we position the brand for continued growth, we are proud to add Caribbean Coffee Traders to our strong network of licensing partners and leverage their proven market capabilities to reach new customers.”


Starbucks® stores in Jamaica will be operated by Caribbean Coffee Traders Limited, a joint venture between Ian Dear, Chief Executive Officer of Margaritaville Caribbean Group and Adam Stewart, who is also Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sandals Resorts International. Margaritaville Caribbean Group currently operates restaurant, entertainment and tour concepts throughout the Caribbean, and provides complete, multi-branded food and beverage experiences for major Caribbean tourism hubs.

Margaritaville Caribbean Group’s brand portfolio includes a diverse collection of proprietary brands, international franchises, casual dining concepts, themed bars and popular quick service restaurants, including Wendy’s, Dominos, Dairy Queen, Quiznos, Auntie Annie’s, Cinnabon, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Nathan’s. The group employs over 1,000 people throughout the region.

“We are thrilled to welcome Starbucks, a globally recognized brand, to Jamaica. Leveraging our knowledge of the local market, we will deliver upon the Starbucks Experience and create a global platform for Jamaica’s locally-grown and Blue Mountain© coffee.” said Ian Dear, Chief Executive Officer of Margaritaville Caribbean Group. “Our organizations share similar values, including our dedication to the customer experience, commitment to our crew members, and responsible corporate citizenship.”

For more than 45 years, Starbucks has built its brand by delivering a consistent, authentic in-store experience to customers around the globe that is rooted in high-quality arabica coffee and engaged, knowledgeable baristas. Since launching the brand in Latin America, Starbucks has grown to over 1,000 stores across 16 markets, 15 of which are operated by trusted licensing partners.

In the Caribbean, Starbucks licensees currently operate 43 stores across Aruba, the Bahamas, Curacao, Puerto Rico, and most recently, Trinidad and Tobago. Jamaica will become the company’s sixth market in the Caribbean region.

Is Your Business Ready for a Factory?

Business growth is a hard thing to control. You can’t exactly stop customers from buying your products, but it’s difficult to tell whether your business is currently just a fad company or if you’re actually providing products to a growing audience. Whatever the case, your business growth needs to be taken seriously and if you aren’t preparing your workplace and assets for that growth, you could become and irrelevant business within just a short and painful week.

Preparing for a factory

A factory is one of the biggest steps a business can take when moving on from a small startup to a large corporation. First, you need to think about the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing your production as opposed to buying or building your own factory. Then you have to think about advanced machinery, tube conveyor systems to ferry goods around your factory, and even hiring a foreman to help the operation run smoothly. It goes without saying that there is a lot to think about, but there are some simple steps to help you break it down.

First, identify if your business is going through a legitimate growth or if a famous celebrity recently tweeted about your company and you’re just going experiencing a short uptick in social media engagement and popularity. If your products are being sold to a variety of customers and you’re actually providing something useful to your customers, then it’s a safe bet that you need to grow quickly. If you’re just selling your products because it’s a trend (fast fashion, for instance), then you might want to hold off on expanding to a factory.

Switching to a factory isn’t an overnight process and it’s nothing something that can be negotiated within a month, so you have plenty of time to decide if it’s worth the extra work and effort. However, if for that month or so of negotiations you’re unable to cope with orders, then it’s a good sign that you should be expanding your operations.

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Deciding between outsourcing and building your own

Let’s not take this lightly; building your own factory is extremely expensive and you’re going to need a lot of professional help in order to make it work. The only time you should seriously consider making your own factory is if you plan to diversify your products and make something new, or if you need total control over all of your production.

If you don’t need that much control or if you’re only focusing on a single product, then consider outsourcing your production instead. You’ll need to negotiate with the factory owner and you might even run into some logistical problems due to the location of the factory and how you plan to source the raw materials, but it’s a great way to get large batches of a product ready to sell.

Just keep in mind that you’ll need to monitor the production line no matter what option you chose. The last thing you want is to mass-produce your famous product, only to find that the production line has compromised quality for the sake of speed because you might lose more than just a few customers.

Could This Be Why Your Business Is Failing?

When you think about businesses failing, your mind is often filled with images of huge disasters or serious mistakes that cause everything to fall apart at once.

Now, there’s no denying that this is definitely something that happens, even big companies are capable of making some pretty deadly missteps, but that’s not really the reason that many businesses, even some with huge amounts of potential, tend to fail.

The reality is both much less interesting and much harder to spot. The reason that businesses fail is usually that there is some small problem with them that slowly grows into something more significant.

Only by the time that it’s causing serious issues do many business owners take note of this problem and actually start doing something about it.

The best thing to do is to try to pay close enough attention to your business as a whole in order to avoid falling into this trap. 

In order to help you do just that, here are some common things that can grow into the kinds of problems that could potentially doom a business.

Poor Infrastructure

No business can function without decent infrastructure. It might not be the most interesting or glamourous side of your business, but without it, things are likely to fall apart pretty quickly.

Keeping things up and running is a challenge that even the most experienced business owner often struggles with.

This is why it’s a good idea to put your infrastructure in the hands of dedicated professionals. Outsourcing things like your data centre infrastructure solutions means that you’re going to be sure that they are getting all of the attention that they need while you focus your energy elsewhere.

It’s all too easy to start taking things like data storage, your internet connection, and even your phone lines for granted, but without proper care and attention you could end up with some serious technical problems.

Smartphone with compass app held up to sunset

A Lack of Purpose

There’s a fantastic sense of momentum in the early days of your business.

The strength of your idea combined with the motivation you’re feeling to turn your business into a success is often enough to propel you forward and get you through that incredibly challenging first year.

However, once that starts to wear off, it can be surprisingly easy for a business to start meandering around with no real sense of direction. This is the moment to start looking at your business plan and reminding yourself of the goals that you set out at the very beginning.

What is your business trying to achieve? Once you can zero in on the answer to that question, you’re going to able to focus your efforts more effectively to help you achieve it.

Your Leadership

It’s sad to say, but the problem might be you. If you’re not able to provide your staff with the kind of leadership that’s going to encourage them to really give their full effort all the time, then things are going to fall apart pretty quickly.

The most common reason that this happens is that business owners are trying to keep themselves above their employees to give a sense of authority.

If you really want to connect with and inspire your staff then communicate with them directly. Give them a reason to care about what they’re doing beyond the promise of a decent paycheck.

If you can help your employees understand why they should give one-hundred percent every single day, then your business is going to be in a much stronger position.