How to Manage A Physical & eCommerce Store at the Same Time

Whether your store began as a brick and mortar setup and you added e-commerce functionality over time, or you began your retail journey online and opened a physical store, you need to ensure that you provide a consistent customer experience in both mediums. Operating both a physical and an e-commerce store simultaneously might seem daunting at first but nowadays many retail businesses are doing this successfully and you can too. 

To manage your inventory efficiently, provide the best customer service, manage your finances and market your business, you will need to have the right systems in place to streamline and integrate your different business processes. You will need to find the best way to schedule your employees, to provide the best in-store experience and you will need to build your brand both online and in-store. With so many different components to consider, you need to ensure you are organised and prepared to manage a physical and e-commerce retail store at the same time. 

Let’s take a look at a few things you need to keep in mind to keep your physical and online retail entities operating efficiently. 

 

Consider The Customer Experience

Although your e-commerce store and your physical store are two separate entities, they need to work seamlessly together to provide the best possible experience. For example, if your customer orders something in-store they should receive an email receipt of the transaction on your store app. Likewise, if a customer orders something online, they should have the option to collect from your store. Ensuring that both of your retail outlets work perfectly together will ensure the best possible user experience, encouraging more loyal, long-term clients. 

 

Integrate Your Payment Systems

To manage your business finances with ease, it’s wise to integrate the payment systems of your online and physical retail stores. Collecting all of your financial data in one place will help you to make more informed decisions regarding the future needs of your company. There are plenty of software tools designed specifically to meet the needs of the retail industry that you can use to make this process as simple as possible. Take some time to research your options to find a system that will provide you with the functionalities you need at a price you can afford. 

 

Hire A Fulfilment Company

If your business carries a lot of stock, you will need a space to store your inventory. Most brick and mortar stores only have enough storage space to house the stock for the store. To store the additional stock you will need for your online orders, consider outsourcing to a reliable fulfilment company that will store, package and ship your products to your clients on your behalf. With a fulfilment company looking after these tasks, your in-store staff can focus on tending to the needs of your customers and selling your products instead of packing and shipping items sold online. 

 

Focus On Customer Service

Whether your customers are buying from your online store or your physical store, you need to provide reliable customer service for your clients. Using CRM software you can track your communications with your customers so that whoever is dealing with that customer again in the future can access notes regarding the previous conversation. This helps to provide a seamless customer support service to your clients, making them feel valued and appreciated, which will help to increase brand loyalty over time.

 

Manage Your Online And Physical Stores Seamlessly

Managing both an online and a physical store is no easy task and the challenge might seem overwhelming at first. However, with the right systems in place and by intertwining these two elements of your business, you can manage your completed retail business with ease. With each component of your retail operation supporting the other, you will be able to provide the best possible customer experience in-store and online to build credibility in your brand going forward.

Benefits of Internal Mobility

Corporate Internal Mobility

Recent research revealed that what numerous workers have known for quite some time, the majority of companies and organizations are ill-armed to move talent internally. There is a significant change in the world of business over the past couple of years as power has transferred from businesses to employees in the choice of the best fit for a position.

An accessible large-scale market with developments in mobility enabled workers more independence in career enhancement. This has obliged businesses to become competitive in the selection of new talent, a sharp disparity from conventional hiring methods.

 

The Failing Systems

Usual organizational models look forward to a worker entering at the bottom and work way up in a linear way. Departments are not actively motivated to share talents and opportunities. This standard is logical if a person was anticipated to work a couple of jobs in a single job stream in his lifetime. The change in business and economic environments, with developments in technology and a widening international market, means the average worker is now anticipated to make 5 to 7 changes in a career in their existence.

As business structure keep on to flatten and the worldwide market forces companies to expand and lengthen their reach, there will be a considerable change in the hiring processes. At present, hiring managers aren’t incentivized to search for talent internally, and they are resistant to sharing members of the team.

This can lead to loss of talents as they become inactive in their jobs and are pressured to search internally for a new opportunity. The most popular reason people re-skill for fresh jobs are stress, boredom, feeling neglected and not valued at work, and job insecurity. According to the research, it is easy to look externally for a new position.

From incentivizing managers into clearly marketing internal possibilities, businesses should realign hiring processes to hearten internal mobility to share as well as retain talent.

 

Getting to Know More About Internal Mobility

Internal mobility is a vital part of a comprehensive acquisition technique. This promotes extraordinary engagement in an office environment and, all at once, can make business flexible as well as pliant during declines and recessions as well.

 

What are the Importance and Significance of Internal Mobility?

As a whole, internal mobility refers to the movement of workers in various positions in a company or business of any form. Renowned business publications like Harvard Business Review, Forbes, etc., have agreed that internal mobility is the most efficient method to the success of an organization or business.

When hiring talents outside the company is an important component for the success of the organization, many businesses ignore the most capable as well as the promising employee in their production. This leaves workers unused as well as undetermined. A breakdown to maximize employees could discourage them from staying in your company and push them to search for other careers elsewhere.

 

What are the Perks of Internal Mobility?

Internal mobility offers an array of perks to the business. Some of these benefits take account of the following:

  • Build and Hone Better Future Leaders: Instead of losing the earned skill, experience, and knowledge of your company and its operations, moving workers internally make sure they obtain a thorough understanding and appreciation of the functions of the business. Talent sharing in departments heartens and supports workers retention at the same time empowering them to be good and better leaders in the future as they naturally develop and evolve to a high position.
  • Support the Company: Sharing workers or talents across departments encourages sharing of knowledge and better relationship with workers. What is more, it also enhances creative problem solving because fresh concepts are discussed. Using the available talent for short-term or long-term shares and distributions lessens businesses’ expenses of expensive external hiring procedures while concurrently improving worker engagement.
  • Improve Worker Engagement: Your workers not just complete and finish their daily responsibilities to make sure proper running of a business but also represent the brand and company to existing as well as potential clients. Making sure their positive morale and engagement will not just be mirrored in how they take on with clients, but also make sure they do not have to search externally for new chances and opportunities.

 

Internal Mobility for a Reliable and Effective Management

Proper business management is considered the groundwork of a good approach to internal mobility. With regards to internal mobility, effective heads like managers perform the following:

  • Develop trust with other workers, especially team members 
  • Figure out best talent as well as potential talent   
  • Consistently discuss career objectives and conceptualize means to meet and reach those objectives in the business.  
  • Mentor workers to obtain their objectives, even when that needs leaving the business or resignation. 
  • Internal mobility must be viewed as a normal career move for employees wanting to concentrate on development and learning, balancing the desires of the employees to develop with a business investment in them. 

 

Internal Mobility at Workplaces

As businesses and brands keep on adapting to a constant change in the needs of the market and put focus on the retention and attainment of the best talent and people, internal mobility will just improve. According to the research, the fast-rising businesses are twice as expected to have good internal talent mobility procedures as opposed to idling or businesses with negative development. 

This is true in premier and renowned technology organizations, conventional forerunners in setting employee satisfaction standards. Giving internal mobility choices to workers boosts engagement and, at the same time, lessens staff attrition while working as a rational extension of specialized development and flexibility in the business. Expanding international markets need businesses to have a uniformly expanding internal reach. Using internal mobility keeps critical company knowledge at the same time supporting market transformations and changing the focus of the business. 

To sum up, internal mobility enables for better business results for short term and long term projects, aggressively putting the best people on the best team, already equipped with business knowledge and sound understandings of company processes. 

How to utilise your website to sell overseas

website

Businesses have suffered tremendously during this pandemic; many have collapsed whilst others have managed to stay afloat, but they are now in desperate need of strategies to survive. Many have shifted their focus to expand globally. Having a functional website, with quick load times and easy navigation is vital but the most important factor is that it’s accessible from anywhere in the world. This simple aspect means you can promote and sell overseas, but to truly succeed in international sales, a wider strategy needs to be implemented.

Your business needs to be relevant to people all around the world and your website needs to be relevant for your target audience and the territory they are located in. The key to globalising is localising. To help you understand how to effectively set your website up for global success, the experts at Absolute Translations have shared their 5 tips.

 

1) Local SEO

Selling overseas means you should consider local search engine optimisation (SEO). Research and identify which search engines your overseas target market uses and the terms they frequently search for surrounding your industry. Most often, people do not search for the direct translation of the terms used by your English market. Search engines always crawl to produce results that best fit with the user. It is vital to analyse how international search engines produce their results and ensuring your copy is optimised for differing search terms such as ‘color or colour’. This will help you rank higher than your competitors and reach your new international audience.

 

2) Translate

This might seem obvious, but some businesses assume their English website will work globally. According to HBR, 72.4% of consumers would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own native language. Once you have decided on the content to apply on your international sites, you can begin to translate. Some of the fastest growing languages for business translations from English include Korean, Hebrew and Chinese, the wider audiences provide businesses with a large online presence overseas.

 

3) Domain extension

When shopping online, especially internationally, trust plays an important role. Websites that hold a .com domain is seen as trustworthy and reliable all around the world and it could be the difference to strengthen your international e-commerce strategy. The more you can do to show that you company is legitimate, better. You should also factor in loading times, tools such as this gauge the loading speed of your website around the world, be wise and choose your hosting company carefully.

 

4) Social media

Translating your website is one step but you need to also consider your other digital channels to ensure all content is consistent and relevant to overseas audiences. Some companies chose to create individual social media accounts for each territory you operate in, this allows a direct and personalised approach to each market. Pre-recorded campaigns can be adapted by adding in subtitles or voice overs, this will engage your new audience into a trusted relationship with your business. The use of different networks varies significantly from country to country, in some countries, YouTube is blocked and in others Twitter might be the most popular platform. Research will ensure that that you’re placing your time and budget in the most relevant social media networks.

 

5) Templates

A good tip is to avoid text embedded as a graphic. Web font services such a Google font replacement offers a simple way for businesses to use a range of fonts without embedding text as a graphic. Translating your website into other languages may leave the pages and boxes looking longer or shorter depending on the language used. The template of your website needs to be flexible enough, so it looks presentable, regardless of the language.

6 Tips To Save On Transportation Costs In 2021

Transport cost

Transportation businesses have been struggling to thrive due to the economic downturn in 2020. Like many other industries and businesses, your business might have also been impacted due to the skyrocketing logistics costs. Although planning your transportation budget for this year seems to be a daunting task, you must focus on this crucial factor as it will help you mitigate your rising expenses.

This article will help you gain a more in-depth understanding of your transportation costs and how managing them well will improve your profit margin as you survive and keep your head above water. Whether your business is related to logistics or a trading business that requires transporting of goods and services, one of the most important considerations is to gain knowledge about trucking fleet management and other relevant fs.

There are some practical ways to reduce your transportation costs, so try to implement these tips:

 

1. Plan In Advance

The significant whirlwind change in the economy last year has brought so many businesses to stay alert with whatever will happen again in 2021. So, this year, keep your guards up by planning so you can potentially maximize your savings on costs. If you already have an existing partnership with your suppliers, carriers, and forwarders, communicate openly with them as you go over your plans.

However, if you’re just starting as an entrepreneur and looking to start a transportation business soon, planning will bring you fruitful outcomes. Strive to come up with forecasted lanes and volumes so you can estimate how much budget you’ll segregate for transportation costs. You can also project strategies to save money on unnecessary expenditures. Some examples of such techniques may include route optimization and technology for more efficient delivery.

 

2. Monitor Your Drivers

The people in your company are considered your most valuable asset. Even if you have come up with the most innovative strategies and techniques, but your team won’t cooperate and follow them, it will lead to a failed implementation. The positive results will only impact when done and applied by your field reps and drivers. Hence, it’s essential to monitor them.

Some drivers may take too many personal stops, long periods of being idle, too many brakes, and acceleration movements that can increase fuel consumption and expenses. Add to this some misfortunes of road mishaps caused by reckless or poor driving, and you find yourself shelling out money for damage costs, too.

Track your drivers and vehicles effectively by using a GPS tracker, and you can also set up a speed alert in which you’ll be notified when a driver speeds up. Not only will this help you monitor their daily work performances, but it could also protect your vehicle from theft or accidents.

 

3. Invest In Technology

Sure,2020 has significantly hurt your financial records, and you may feel like this isn’t the right time to invest in anything. However, if you utilize technological systems that will provide you with a long-term outcome, you’ll realize how much of a loss it was to start late. The years have passed in which you could have saved more, but did not take the risk to invest initially for your system’s improvement.

Nowadays, there are transportation flows and operation management software that define the transportation industry. Many businesses have shifted to this convenient way of minimizing workload. You can make a better forecast, operate your flows better, and manage risks, leading to saving expenses and increasing profits.

 

4. Select Well-Optimized Routes For Your Drivers

The use of conventional maps has been a thing of the past and will only lead to your vehicles being stuck in poor routes with severe traffic and bad road conditions. You won’t want to have your vehicles use up a lot of fuel when you can find optimized ways that are better, faster, and safer. You can save money on overtime costs for your drivers, too.

Ensure to provide your drivers with accurate and well-optimized routes for their destinations. This way, it will be a win-win situation for your business and their physical condition, too, as they don’t need to drive long distances. Route planners are available as an advanced technology solution for logistics companies. There’ll be an automated route planning system to make your logistics management flawless.

This kind of software will provide routes that will avoid traffic jams, consider weather conditions, and notify you of road conditions and avoidance zones. Overall, it’s the best technology to increase the productivity of your drivers and your logistics activities.

 

5. Maintain Your Vehicle Regularly

If your vehicle isn’t regularly maintained, it’s a no-brainer to guess that this will notably make a destructive impact on your budget. Vehicle breakdowns would usually require a lot of money for towing, repair, and, not to mention, you must also calculate the lost time for deliveries, leading to a potential loss of clients.

Hence, you should create and apply a preventive maintenance strategy to ensure that your vehicle is inspected and maintained regularly. When they’re in their best condition, you won’t have to deal with the emotional and financial burdens. Change the parts that need to be replaced often and follow some practical tips to ensure that your vehicle is maintained correctly.

 

6. Use An Effective Supply-Chain Management System

Another tool that will help you save costs on transportation is the supply chain management system. If you can oversee and track your business well, this will reduce unexpected costs. You can check your products in transit as you can avoid service disruptions or delays.

When you experience real-time hassles and time delays, you can decide on alternate supply or distribution routes. This way, you can mitigate the most updated issues that your vehicle or driver is struggling with. You can also monitor your client’s products and communicate with them if an unexpected turn of events occurs.

 

Conclusion

Make sure you’re ahead of the game for this year’s business. Applying all these tips will lead you to prosper financially and save on unnecessary costs. Whether your business is related to logistics, or delivering your products and services to your customers, these helpful tips and tricks will surely benefit your overall productivity. You’ll be surprised at how significant your savings on transportation costs can make an impact on your financial statements.

Are You Ready to Re-Open?

IT Solutions

In these uncertain times it is difficult to see the signal for the noise. As we look to start the tentative task of re-opening and re-booting the economy, we must ask ourselves: what is the best way to re-open? How do you protect yourselves and your clients? We spoke to Hot Spring IT, who just may have the answer. During our conversation, Parmi Lally, Owner and MD of the company, offered more insight into his history and experience.

 

From the very beginning, Parmi Lally has endeavoured to deliver client-centric and best in class IT solutions to businesses across London and beyond its borders. With over two decades of experience primarily in the IT and technology spheres in both the US and the UK, Parmi can be considered an aficionado dedicated to innovation and best practice in his field of work.

Despite this background, Hot Spring IT has pivoted somewhat in recent months in light of the Coronavirus pandemic to provide smart solutions to businesses following the easing of the lockdown. After all, this situation is unprecedented: there’s no absolute guide on how to do business in the current climate. But, as history often tells us, challenging times yield creative solutions.

On this, Parmi offers a brief outline of how Hot Spring IT is endeavouring to bring a peace of mind in a time of unwavering uncertainty and stress. “Well, your first line of defence is to ensure that no one enters your premises, offices, factories etc with a temperature. How can you effectively and safely do this? Deploy a Smart Heat Sensing device at your front line. The Smart Heat Sensing device can take a temperature within one second and can verify that the person entering is within the parameters set by you. Now you can be COVID secure and ensure you have a good front line strategy.

“Moreover, I have expanded our range of services to also include Temperature Sensing Cameras, hand sanitisers and hands-free access control systems. Employers can rest assured that these products offer a seamless and intuitive way to monitor employees and allow their business to be COVID secure moving forwards, whatever the future may bring.”

Ultimately, Hot Spring IT’s success has long been secured by ‘out of the box’ thinking, and by staying one step ahead of emerging developments within the greater sector. Partnering this approach with an unwavering dedication to client-centric services has certainly proven to be a potent combination for the company in what is, by all regards, a highly competitive environment.

Indeed, the world of business needs creativity and innovation to thrive right now, and those that can offer a guiding light to others look set to be the pacesetters for the future. Naturally, this is especially true in the technology industry, which has been a vital cornerstone for businesses of all shapes and sizes in this period of immense change. To put it simply, businesses are relying on robust technological solutions and services to operate.

To continue on, businesses need experts that know what they’re doing. Experts that they can trust to have their best interests at heart in a time that many are eager for answers. Parmi is keen to offer his expertise to help. “Hot Spring IT was founded on a mission to establish truly personalised services to a client’s very individual needs. We take the time to spend time with the client, learning about their organisation, their values and their current IT situation. From there, Hot Spring IT builds a bespoke solution to deliver a ‘Best Fit’ to improve the client’s IT function and delivery of their core business.”

With a broad suite of services- which includes relocations, start-up set-up and server, desktop, network, voice, cloud and IT Security infrastructure – it is clear that Hot Spring IT has firmly established itself as a sort of one-stop-shop for businesses old and new alike. In this, Parmi has committed himself to being a ‘Master of All Trades’ rather than, simply, a master of one. He is an individual that doesn’t seem content with sitting on his laurels, and instead focuses on developing and moving forwards in response to the current (and future) climate.

With a strong commitment to its core values, it’s no surprise that Hot Spring IT is growing continuously through customer referrals and long-lasting partnerships that look to establish strong roots in the industry moving forwards. All in all, the future of Hot Spring IT lies in development: in delivering better services that meet – and exceed- the ever-changing expectations of clients.

 

Are you Ready for a Return to the Office?

Here Parmi Lally shares some tips on how you can better prepare for the post pandemic workplace.

  • Re-arrange the desk layout to ensure a 6ft gap (at least) between workstations
  • Small meeting rooms could become temporary individual offices
  • Larger meeting rooms could be used as hot desk rooms
  • Ask staff to gauge who would like to continue working remotely, and action on the back of a potential partial return to the office. Make plans for a potential long-term work from home initiative.
  • Implement floor markings and transparent shields to ensure social distancing
  • Implement temperature checks on staff when they enter the building
  • Provide face masks for staff to use during their commute to and from the office
  • Provide hand sanitiser in communal areas, such as next to printers, and in kitchens
  • Hold an online team building event just before the planned return for the wellbeing of staff
  • Review communication infrastructure on an ongoing basis and be proactive in addressing any issues
  • Above all, maintain regular communication across the team. It’s important in this uncertain time to ensure a strong platform for the business moving forwards.

If you feel unsure about how to be ‘COVID-ready’ in the workplace, please do get in touch with Hot Spring IT and we can discuss what options are available to guarantee everyone is safe and secure in the workplace.

For more information, please contact Parmi Lally at www.hot-spring.it

A True Leader in Leadership Development

Leader

CEO of Leadership Principles LLC, Gordon Tredgold, is a renowned Leadership Consultant, Executive Coach and International Keynote Speaker. With the unique ability to access difficult situations, Gordon is a true expert in supporting businesses and creating engaged and empowered teams that will achieve outstanding results. As winner of Best International Leadership Development Consultant in the 2021 Corporate Excellence Awards, we profile Gordon to find out what makes him such a successful and inspirational leader.

Originally from the North of England, Gordon Tredgold is known as one of the best leadership consultants, speakers and trainers in the world, and owes the majority of his success to his two passions in life, rugby and mathematics. Through his time as a rugby player Gordon has learnt what it really means to be a great coach and to have a solid plan in place, and by combining this with his love from problem solving, Gordon has been able to turn his passion into a long and fruitful career.

With over 25 years of experience, Gordon is well known for delivering $100m programs, reducing company costs, driving change and leading global teams of more than a thousand employees to success. Throughout his career he has worked across various continents and for some of the best-known Fortune 100 companies such as Barclays, TUI, Kredtibank, DHL and Henkel just to name a few. His talents have also led him to write for Inc, Forbes Entrepreneur Business Insider and the Huffington Post and in 2015 he successfully published his own book called FAST – 4 Principles Everyone Needs to Achieve Success and Drive Results.

In 2019, Gordon launched Leadership Principles LLC, a management consultancy firm dedicated to helping businesses drive engagement, performance and profits by providing leaders with the tools and knowledge needed to succeed. The company is made up of a small team of individuals which Gordon hired based on their positive attitude and unique skill sets, with each employee having a vital role to play to ensure the smooth operation of the services Gordon offers.

What makes Gordons approach unique is the simplicity of his training as this makes what is being taught accessible to everyone and allows them to understand and implement the tasks at hand. Through his caring and considerate approach Gordons leadership coaching and training is delivered to leaders just as if it would be for his own team. His training embodies four key principles – Focus, Accountable, Simple and Transparent, which allows his clients to make swift and sustainable improvements within just a few months. Gordon then helps to create simple plans and solutions that helps the leaders to begin and progress with their development journey.

He regularly receives feedback from his clients who truly believe he cares about them and their business, which is a real testament to Gordon and his work. “We care about our people, we care about our customers, and we care about our results, and I would say I embody that approach”, Gordon explained.

Gordon helps both corporations and individuals, whether they are looking to grow their business, transition to new roles, overcome challenges or improve performance. Through his stellar reputation, he’s had very little need for outbound sales and focuses his efforts on his personal branding and social media presence, which drives the majority of his clients to approach him for help.

As is the case for many of us Gordon has faced several challenges this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. As an influential keynote speaker he was scheduled to speak at several events across the globe including China, South Africa, Denmark and the US but they were all cancelled, and Gordon has had to adapt to being involved in virtual events for the time being. “It’s quite difficult getting that same level of experience on-line as you do in person, but we’re moving in that direction”, Gordon explained. He has continued to support his clients by delivering live online training sessions and webinars and has modified his learning programs to allow leaders to continue their training online whilst still providing a caring and personal approach.

Looking ahead, Gordon has a busy 12 months ahead of him. He is keen to return to speaking once live events begin to welcome audiences back in 2021, and he’s also excited to be launching a selection of new courses that are currently being developed, which will definitely be worth keeping an eye out for. Not only that but we can expect to see Gordons new book published by the second quarter of next year titled Leadership Made Simpler, which will no doubt be another ‘must have’ read for inspired leaders to add to their collection.

All in all its an exciting time for Gordon and its clear to see how passionate and dedicated he is to his work and his clients. Through his energy and wisdom Gordon is helping to shape the future of businesses and leaders from around the world, and his true passion for what he does reverberates with us all and encourages us to think about how we can improve and progress in both our professional careers and our personal lives.

For more information, please contact Alyson Orler at www.gordontredgold.com

5 Ways to Boost Business Revenue in 2021

Sales growth

For many businesses, 2020 was a record-breaking year for all the wrong reasons. Millions of business owners saw unprecedented drops in sales due to the pandemic, leading to layoffs, rollbacks, closures, and pressure to recoup their losses.

While there’s no telling what the future will bring, now’s the time to make plans about how to boost business revenue in 2021. In doing so, businesses big and small stand a greater chance of making up for the losses incurred in 2020.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at five ways for business owners to generate more revenue this year:

 

Offer more products and services

Due to the upfront investment and lack of guarantee, many business owners are reluctant to offer more products and services to their customers to increase revenue. However, when done thoughtfully, expanding your offerings is one of the most reliable ways to bring more money into the business. Whether it’s a doctor’s office providing ancillary services to patients or a dry cleaner that also does alterations, companies across all sectors stand to benefit from expanding their list of offerings.

 

Expand your market reach

Chances are you already have a business website and some form of online e-store available to customers. That’s a good start, but if you aren’t using it to reach more customers, you’re not making the most of your digital business infrastructure. For example, a corner bakery could be selling cookies to people seven states (or countries) away. All they need to do is optimize their eCommerce system and streamline their shipping arrangements.

 

Encourage repeat business

One of the most crucial lessons every business owner should learn is the power of repeat customers. On average, 60-70% of sales involve existing customers, meaning customer retention is key to business success. To determine your rate of repeat customers, divide the number of return customers by the total number of customers, then multiply by 100. If your figure is below the 65% mark, consider ways to encourage more existing customers to come back.

 

Invest in marketing

Similar to the idea of expanding their list of products and services, business owners are often hesitant to invest in effective marketing techniques as a means to boost revenue. However, there’s no denying the incredible power of customer outreach and efforts to improve brand recognition. After all, there’s a reason why so many companies invest so much in marketing. The return-on-investment is – more times than not – immediate and long-lasting.

 

Downsize your operation

If all else fails, take a hard look inward to determine ways to downsize your operation. Nobody wants to lay off employees, but if the numbers indicate that’s a sure way to boost revenue relative to expenses, business owners need to do what’s best and pull the trigger. It’s rarely pretty and never enjoyable, but tough choices in difficult times are how struggling businesses stay afloat.

Are you a business owner still reeling from the hit you took in 2020? If so, 2021 is the year to generate more revenue by any means necessary. Doing so will increase the chances of your business making it to 2022 and beyond.

7 Top Tips to Start and Grow a Business

Start a business

One clue to know when it’s time to start your own business is if you know more than your boss. If you’ve been in a certain career for a long time, you can easily recognize what doesn’t work and what your company should focus on instead to increase productivity, enhance sales, and improve the bottom line.  

It’s frustrating working for someone who disregards your years of experience and deflects your best ideas, but rather than chafe against the system, it might be time to create your own system so that you can do things your way.  

With that in mind, here are 7 tips on how to start and grow a business:  

 

1. Recruit the best people 

When building your core team, it’s important to look beyond resumes and get to know candidates well during the interviews. Ask them about their interests and ambitions, hopes and dreams, knowledge, and experience to see if they make a good fit for your company. Once you’ve found the right people, ask for references and do employee background checks before onboarding them.  

 

2. Use the OODA Loop 

The OODA Loop is a thinking framework to help you make better business decisions and outwit the competition if you’re in a fiercely competitive industry. It was developed by John Boyd, a U.S. Air Force Colonel, who applied it to combat operations. It’s a flexible decision-making process that can be used anywhere, not just for military campaigns. Essentially, it’s a cycle: observe, orient, decide, and act. In business, it’s important to observe the marketplace, orient your business in the right direction, decide on your best options, and take action. The loop starts again after you observe the consequences of your action.  

 

3. Plan each day before work

Although you might feel impatient about starting each day by reviewing your schedule and strategy instead of just jumping straight to work, you’ll find this a helpful habit. You will be surprised at how much more you can accomplish each day by first planning and considering everything significant that you want to get done. Prioritizing your work will help you get to the most important things if you can’t get around to doing everything.

 

4. Always be marketing 

It’s always important to keep the pipeline full, even when you have plenty of customers. It’s also essential to keep on increasing your skills at marketing, exploring new ways to generate leads and improve conversions. Eventually, you’ll arrive at a core set of proven marketing strategies that you can consistently roll out.  

 

5. Build great relationships 

Besides establishing rapport with your customers, collaborate with other businesses in your industry and partner with local charities that could benefit from your help. Also, leading with integrity will help you build positive relationships with business partners, stakeholders, and employees. The better your business relationships, the faster it will grow. 

 

6. Learn from your mistakes 

Mistakes are inevitable in business and in life, but rather than considering them as unfortunate setbacks, reframe them as learning opportunities, feedback that will help you consistently increase your level of success.  

 

7. Get better at problem-solving 

Your business exists because it solves a problem for a customer, providing them a product or service that resolves a need. Besides solving problems for your customers, you will also need to get better at solving problems in your business. Study various methods for systematically solving problems to get past sticking points in your business.  

Overall, it may be said that starting your own business is far more challenging than working for someone else, but it’s a risk worth taking because work will now become an adventure rather than just a way of eking out a living. 

The New Norm: Is a Home-Based Business a Good Fit?

Home-based business

The pandemic caused many hard-working people to shelter at home and start working remotely. Initially, it was difficult for many people, especially for parents because their children were there as well. Today, as businesses open back up and these same individuals return to their office environment, many are considering leaving the office behind and turning to freelancing. 

Before handing in a resignation, weigh the pros and cons carefully. 

 

Pros to Self-Employment

There are plenty of reasons why working from home might be a great idea for you. Let’s take a look at a few.

 

Your Own Workspace

Self-employed people who work from home create their own workspace. You can hire a contractor to remodel a room in your home. Just make sure to hire a reputable contractor. 

You can do this by using a business like Networx and check the Networx reviews of the contractors prior to signing the contract. 

 

You Are the Boss

It’s very gratifying to be the boss. All the decisions are yours. Gone are the days of needing the approval of a hirer up. If you possess the skills required, having your own business can prove rewarding. 

 

No Salary Cap

As the owner, you don’t have to ask for raises or try to convince someone else you deserve more money. If the bottom line supports it, you can give yourself a raise when you want. Or you can go the extra to increase your workload prior to holidays, special events and vacations to ensure you make more money when you need it. There’s no need to prove your worth to achieve higher earnings.

 

Create a Work Schedule

When it’s your business, you decide the hours. If you’re an early riser you can begin at 6 a.m. or if that doesn’t quite work for you, go ahead and start work at 12 p.m. or later. It’s up to you. As long as you are putting in the work to meet the demands of your clients, you should be doing well.

 

Selective Work

When you work for a company, you need to complete the assigned work. Often, this means handling less than desirable clients. Now that you’re the boss, you can pick what clients you want. If one doesn’t pay promptly or you simply can’t see eye-to-eye, you can say no to future assignments. 

 

Convenience

Self-employed individuals can work anywhere there’s access to the internet. You can work from home, while visiting family and friends or taking a trip out of the country. So long as there are no physical face-to-face meetings, the workplace is of your choosing. 

 

No Office Attire

Most professional businesses require their office workers to wear semi-formal attire. Along with the dress code comes upkeep which can cost thousands in a single year. Working from home, you can wear whatever you like. If you want to wear sweats or even your pajamas, it’s totally up to you. 

 

Cons of Self-Employment

What about the cons? Well, there are some of those too.

 

Fluctuating Pay

Unfortunately, as a freelancer your pay will fluctuate. Some months are lucrative, while others fall short. If you are good with money management, you can make it work. However, if you don’t budget your money you can fall behind on your monthly bills resulting in late or missed payments. 

 

No Guaranteed Income

When you first work for yourself, it can take several months to land a contract. You don’t have a guaranteed salary as you do when employed by a business. You may also encounter clients who refuse to pay for services performed. 

That means money you counted on to pay expenses is not available. Many people who chose self-employment prepare in advance for the lack of work. They have a savings account containing several months worth of bills in reserve. 

 

No Benefits

Unlike working for a company, as a freelancer you have no benefits. There’s no health insurance, retirement package, vacation time or sick or personal days. Gaining health insurance and retirement benefits can be very costly. If you take time off, you will do so without pay. 

 

Working Alone

If you like to chat with co-workers, working from home may not provide a good fit. Isolation can lead to feeling depressed or anxious. You have no one to bounce ideas off and your day may become very lonely.  

Working for yourself can prove very rewarding. You can design a workspace that suits your style, choose clients and a work schedule, and earn as much as you want. However, there are downfalls to self-employment. Weigh the pros and cons carefully to make an educated decision. 

9 Ways Businesses Can Increase Package Delivery Success

Package delivery

If your company dabbles in shipping products as a supplier or as a drop shipper, there’s a risk you’ll encounter various issues. Shipping delays can happen due to different factors that even you, as the business owner, may have a hard time controlling. But there are still ways you can utilize to create leverage for your business. The deliveries your company makes are the bridge between customer satisfaction a positive brand recognition.

With that, here are nine ways your business can increase the success of package deliveries:

 

1. Prioritize Deliveries

Delays can happen for various reasons, and one of them is when you don’t have an organized system. Deliveries must be made depending on which order was fulfilled first and the urgency of the delivery. The most urgent ones should be shipped first. It’s the reason a VIP courier Sydney service and others exist around the world. When a customer opts for that upgraded shipping and collection option, the courier will place the parcel on their ‘high priority’ list to ensure that it gets delivered or collected on time, safely, and securely. It’s something that you can replicate in your business, or a feature you should look for in a courier when working with one.  

At the same time, you must also make sound decisions in terms of what to put on hold due to supply issues or product quality. You can use any software that can help you manage deliveries by placing ‘low placement’ as a status or following the purchase date.  

 

2. Offer Delivery Schedules

One of the many reasons packages seem to not arrive at a customer’s location are package thieves. They won’t hesitate to trespass on someone’s property to steal other people’s deliveries. While homeowners are welcome to install security cameras, it doesn’t solve the problem, especially if they’re not at home. As a retailer, you can set up a service that allows your customers to schedule the delivery so they’ll be prepared to receive their package. You can also set up options for how fast you want your parcel to be delivered, with varying price ranges.  

 

3. Send Notification Of Delivery

It used to be that customers get anxious and wonder when they’ll receive their orders. It’s also challenging to keep waiting for a package amid tight schedules that have them leaving their homes frequently. That’s why you should work with your partner courier to offer a worry-free delivery service through SMS notifications. It will help let your customers know that their most awaited order is within reach. Couriers make use of GPS to track the destination of the parcel. Customers can also reach out to your partner courier through a dedicated service number as an added safety measure.  

 

4. Allow Delivery Tracking

Some stores only allow standard delivery options without the reassurance that the customer will receive them. You can choose to make use of a delivery tracking software to ensure that the packages will arrive.

It’s essential to keep your customers informed about the status of their delivery. While it’s impossible on the part of the customer, you’ll need to coordinate with the shipping company so you can send email notifications that remind them of an approaching delivery.   

 

5. Work With A Delivery Service

Drop shippers should hire courier services that are reputable and have an equal understanding with you that prioritizing the delivery of orders is a must. They will have their system of delivery, but the customers always receive the orders. The wrong company will have low reviews and complaints regarding people’s deliveries. And because you’re associated with that company, it will affect your business.  

 

6. Check In With Your Driver

Checking the productivity of your courier service is an essential part of your business operations. That’s especially true when the output report shows a decline in the number of packages being delivered in a day. Speak with your drivers to get their insights so you can plan the following:

  • Coordinate with the courier company you’re working with so you can identify specific locations where traffic becomes worse.
  • Identify divers who are more familiar with particular areas so they can cover more ground.
  • Determine courier to customer interactions and what happens during that time (if the customer needed more time to receive the delivery or something similar).
  • Find out if drivers can only cover a specific area, so you can request for other locations to be added to their route.

 

7. Consider Same-Day Delivery

Same-day deliveries are undoubtedly becoming more popular because customers can have what they ordered on the same day of purchase. It’s like they went shopping, only that they’re willing to wait a few hours to receive their items. Amazon is a giant company with a same-day delivery option. You can replicate that by offering same-day delivery to limited areas where your main office or headquarters is located. You can provide a special rate that’s reasonable for the unique service as you go.  

 

8. Plan Ahead For The Holidays

Holidays such as Christmas and New Year are just some of the busiest times of the year as customers scramble to order gifts for their loved ones. You can expect a surge of orders that must be delivered on time. Otherwise, disappointed customers will either never order from you again or leave a bad review—or worse, both. It’s essential to be prepared for special occasions, so careful planning with your team must begin. During that season, you can offer free shipping for local or domestic deliveries, and for those who ordered from overseas, you can set rates based on the zone.  

 

9. Provide Proof Of Delivery

If customers are not receiving their orders, there’s a tendency to blame the business automatically. Therefore, an electronic document or proof of the delivery will serve as an official document that the customer has received the ordered items. Depending on the courier service, they may also require a photograph of the customer receiving the package, as well as their signature.

 

In Conclusion

Setting delivery options that your customers can choose from can encourage people to shop in your store. It also gives them the peace of mind that their orders are on the way, thanks to notifications and other communication mediums. Shipping is also an opportunity to provide good customer service. Customers also feel that they can count on your company’s customer service when you have a trained team who can address their concerns about the delivery. When your business has a sound delivery system in place, customers won’t have to stress and worry, and will give you more business in the future instead.  

What Businesses Can Do to Improve Health and Safety

Covid workplace

Health and safety in a place of business have always been an essential aspect of every workplace. Providing a safe and healthy environment for employees ensures the company can run properly and employees can perform their duties in a comfortable atmosphere.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has created new risks and problems for many businesses. New methods for providing a safe and healthy workplace need to be implemented to reduce the potential of transmission. Only with the right measures in place can businesses safely open in a manner that protects their employees.

 

HVAC System

Companies should have their heating and air conditioning systems checked before employees return to the workplace. These systems can accumulate dirt and debris in the vents during the shutdown and may require thorough cleaning. Proper maintenance should also be performed to ensure the systems are functioning correctly.

Ventilation is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19. A properly running HVAC system can assist with this ventilation. It is also recommended that outside air be allowed to circulate throughout the building if possible. The fresh and clean air can also help reduce the spread of the virus.

 

Identify Exposure Risks

A thorough hazard assessment may also be a good idea to help identify the potential for exposure. This includes identifying where people may congregate during breaks or meetings. It is also necessary to identify the areas where employees work closely together.

It’s also important to identify tools or equipment that may come into contact with people throughout the workday. Various surfaces that are touched often by employees should also be identified. Understanding each of these areas can help devise a plan to reduce the spread of COVID-19 between employees.

 

Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting

New protocols need to be implemented to thoroughly clean and disinfect the entire work area. Commonly touched surfaces need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Proper training and materials need to be provided to employees providing the cleaning.

There also need to be protocols implemented for the proper use and cleaning of tools and equipment. Remove unnecessary items that could promote transmissions, such as coffee-makers or other shared breakroom items.

Handwashing must also be part of a new policy for all employees. At arrival, before and after breaks, before and after using shared equipment, and any other time exposure may have occurred, employees should thoroughly wash or sanitize their hands. Establishing easily visible and accessed handwashing stations can help facilitate this protocol.

 

Implement Mask and Social Distancing Practices

At this point, most people understand the importance of wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing. It is the employer’s job to ensure that employees stick to these protocols when possible while at work.

Where possible, space workstations at a distance to prevent employees from working too close together. Spacing breaks or even work shifts can help reduce the number of people in specific areas to reduce the spread. In areas where social distancing is impossible, plexiglass barriers may provide separation between workers to limit the spread.

 

Employees with Symptoms

Businesses should also inform employees of the new protocols for COVID-19. There should be plans in place so that those exhibiting symptoms can stay home. Those who become ill at work should also be sent home and their area thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Protocols should also be implemented to allow employees to be tested and quarantined as necessary. If possible, allowing employees to work from home when ill could help limit the spread of COVID-19. Prohibiting or limiting visitors to the business can also help limit the potential spread.

This is a difficult time for everyone. Business owners face enormous challenges in keeping their business open while reducing the potential for spreading the virus. With the implementation of new protocols and safety measures, businesses can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and provide employees a safe and healthy work environment.

Short, Medium & Long-Term Planning: Where to Take Your Business

Business planning

Business planning is an important piece of advice that we could give any business, old or new. Even the most efficiently run business should periodically review performance, and how to best move forward into the future. The big mistake that many fall victims to is treating the business plan as an annual review. We should be continually making short-term plans, as well as looking to the horizon to plan for the longer-term.

 

Assess Current & Historic Performance

The first thing to consider is where the business is now and how it got there? If we are in a good place, with a healthy bank balance, full customer list, and an excellent reputation, great. But we still should assess how we got there to repeat the positive behaviors and eliminate any negatives to further increase profitability. If performance is poor then this process becomes even more important. How long have we been underperforming, and how much of an immediate risk does this pose?

 

Look at Potential Immediate Changes

As we just mentioned, sometimes swift action is required in business. Technically speaking reacting is not planning. It is more immediate, but we must identify when this is necessary and do it properly. Maybe there has been a change in the industry, this last year, we have seen a global pandemic, so many of us have direct and recent experience in this area. In the normal scheme of things, we may have a problem with our card payment processing service. We would want to look at alternative payment schemes quickly in this scenario. You could easily set up a PayPal account, although the fees are high for a casual account. Another option would be to accept alternative currencies, such as Bitcoin.

 

Medium Term Identify New Products & Services

Once we get beyond dealing with any immediate issues, we can start looking at real business planning. Medium-term planning involves 1-3 years. We need to identify new opportunities and discard ones that are not working. We spoke previously of accepting Bitcoin as a short-term measure. What if we considered it as a more permanent option for our customers alongside traditional payment methods? We may need to provide customers a bit of info, such as where can I buy Bitcoin with PayPal. Look at where most of our income is coming from, and more importantly, which areas are profitable, and which are not.

 

Long-Term Structural Changes

The last thing we need to be aware of is how we structure our business for the long-term. Long-term planning encompasses the 5-10 year period. If we lease premises, a typical lease lasts about this term. We need to know where we are with our business. Are we thinking of retirement any time soon? Or perhaps a new challenge? Ensure you know where you want to end up and routinely check progress to identify how well we are following this plan.

This article has been contributed on behalf of Paxful. However, the information provided herein is not and is not intended to be, investment, financial, or other advice.