About Playing It Safe in Business

  • Have you been sticking with the same target market without ever questioning your choice?

Perhaps you chose this target market years, even decades ago. You have a lot of experience working with them, but there is little or no challenge any more. In fact, you may find yourself resenting certain aspects about your clients. It’s like the boredom and predictability many long-married couples experience. There are no surprises or variety. If that’s true, it’s time to upgrade or revise your target market. Look at adding a whole new market slice to your current market or exploring new ways to serve. Start with examining any atypical clients you’ve had. When they have been a pleasure to work with, these outliers may be the beginning of a new market for you.

  • Have you been playing it safe by offering the same services and products without revision or addition?

Maybe you’re even actually selling to an outdated market that no longer exists. Your market is looking for new ideas. What can you do to update your offerings? Do you need to eliminate some items and add new ones? Do you need to think about combining services or combining products with services? What is the current market demanding and how can you fulfill that need?

  • Are you playing it safe in your marketing efforts?

Are you going to the same networking events and talking to the same people and not wanting to move out of that comfort zone? Are you sticking to the same old “tried and true” marketing efforts-even though diminishing returns has made them a waste of time? It’s time to consider some new approaches, focus, and methods. Do you need to explore some new networking venues? Does your website reflect favorably on your business? Do you have marketing materials that effectively present your business? What do you need to update, revise or revamp?

  • Have you developed cynical attitudes towards prospects, the current economy or your target market?

Do you feel defeatist, so you don’t take any risks or don’t go out of your way to win business? Have you gotten sloppy about follow-up or customer service? Have you lost your sense of caring about your clients? Look at the source of your irritation and negativity and see what it suggests. Often this means you might consider “firing” unpleasant clients or getting yourself an “attitude adjustment”. You may need to change unworkable circumstances or gain some new and inspiring knowledge. Take action to correct the cause of your unhelpful behavior. Don’t let it continue.

  • Do you spend your time rearranging the deck chairs?

Do you clean your office and organize your pens and avoid working with customers or marketing to new areas? Do you keep telling yourself that you can’t get anything done because your office is in a shambles? Do you spend your time on computer games, emails, chats, ans surfing the net? Do you convince yourself that there wasn’t any real work to do anyway? Do you believe that your activities could bring you business down the road?

Get real about your motivations and acknowledge that you’re avoiding. Choose priority activities (marketing for instance) and put your major efforts there. Consign the “time wasting” stuff to “outside-work” hours.

Dream Big, Start Small

Start small

Start as small as possible. In other words, establish what your minimum viable product (MVP) is. This refers to the most basic version of your product or service that you can offer. It gives you the opportunity to understand what your market wants and improve from there.

Move fast and break things

This simply means, “don’t be afraid to try new ideas and be disruptive”. Try new ideas and fail fast. If you fail, learn the right lessons and move on fast. In fact, it is one of the advantages to being small – you can implement new ideas quickly.

Secure cash flow quickly

Contrary to belief, profits aren’t the key to sustaining a business. It is cash flow. How consistent is your revenue? If you are able to achieve consistent cash flow, profits are not far off.

Treat your customers like king

This is more than just a cliché. It is very important that you offer the best customer service possible. Doing this will make them more than just customers; it will make them your ambassadors.

Fine-tune your company culture and leadership skills

Your company culture means how you do things as a company, your processes, and your interactions among you, your staff and suppliers, among others. If you are unable to get it right when the company is small, it will even be harder as the business grows.

Learn as much as possible about every aspect of the business at this stage

The times will come when the business will be too big for you to micromanage like this, and if there are aspects of it you do not understand, you will have a management crisis waiting to happen.

Small Business Secret Weapon

Overseeing the daily operations of a business is an enormous task if one hasn’t the necessary skills or, frankly, time to manage it all. Enter the secret weapon: a Virtual Assistant, or VA. VAs work with clients to identify tasks or projects that need to get done but for whatever reason are only marginally completed, left for eight months on the list of “things to do today” or become a fond memory of what might have been. Once identified, the client has the VA complete those tasks or projects.

The services a VA offers depends on the needs of the client and the skills of the VA. A few of the most common services include: general administrative support, writing/editing services, event planning, concierge services, business procedure development and start up assistance to new businesses. If a company needs something done, there is a VA out there who can do it.

Collaboration with a VA could be seen as unnecessary or costly to some but it’s important to consider the value a VA can offer. Clients only pay for the services the VA provides and nothing more because they are contract workers not employees. In turn, clients use this new found time to do business, not juggle it.

Whether an increase in profits, improved organizational procedures or a much-needed vacation is part of the business plan, working with a VA can help any small business realize its goals. VAs provide the professional support and peace of mind of not having to go it alone. That, indeed, is true value.

Key To Ultimate Marketing Plan

  1. Attract more new customers (Reach)
  2. Increase the average sales amount (Average Check)
  3. Make your customers buy from you more often (Frequency)
  4. Hold on to your customers for life (Retention)

I believe small businesses focus to much of their efforts on issues that have nothing to do with these four strategies. It is very easy to act with knee jerk
activities to the issue dujour. The key is to do go through the proper planning process, and then choose the area that needs to be focused on. Today you may
decide to focus on new customers but a year from now you may need to change your focus. This is an ongoing process and your local sales area changes every day.
You will have to change with it or you will die.

Don’t get me wrong. Referrals are the best kind of customers. But if you spend the majority of your time and money trying to get them you may be neglecting a
whole slew of new customers that are waiting to buy from you.

In the same vein, if small business spends all its time marketing to new customers and ignoring existing customers, you may be missing out on a lot of low hanging
fruit.

As I mentioned, there are many ways to leverage your marketing efforts in these four categories. here are just a few ways to improve each of your areas of growth:

Attract more new customers…

  • Select a niche market that you can easily contact and dominate it.
  • Develop an Education Based Marketing Program that compels your prospects to contact you to learn more about how you can help them.
  • Establish a proactive referral program with centers of influence that can open new channels of growth for you and your business.

Increase the Average Sales Amount…

  • Up-sell your customers to high quality products and services
  • Suggest accessories and add-on items and services that compliment your customer’s purchase
  • combine several items into a package that would cost less if sold seperatley

Make your customers buy from you more often…

  • Establish ongoing communications that present compelling offers that can’t be turned down.
  • Follow up with your customers to see how they’re enjoying the benefits of the new product or service you sold them, and suggest products or services that would increase their satisfaction
  • Track your customer’s usage and buying patterns to suggest purchases right before they actually need them (this also helps keep the competition away)

Hold on to your customers for life…

  • Deliver uncommon customer service by going the extra mile
  • give your customers the opportunity to go on record by giving you testimonials about your great customer service
  • Perform stealth surveys with your customers from time to time to gauge their level of satisfaction

Going to buy a dust monitor? Read this first!

How many times have you been to the doctor due to a bad cough? How many times have your eyes burnt during your morning run? How many times have you sat down in the airport due to flight delays?

Well, I am sure most of you screamed ‘of Course, yes. A million times over’. The current rising levels of pollution are to be blamed for this, where everything gets hindered, be it sight, breathe or work. In fact, the biggest problem of the environment right now is the rising damage caused by air pollution. Air pollution is highly scalable, not easily visible to the eye and hence, difficult to control.

Compared to land or water pollution, where it is just one lake or one strip of land that needs to be cleaned, air pollution is difficult to get rid of. One single gush of wind and all plans of air purification can go down the drain.

In cases like these, environmentalists and weather specialists talk about how it has become crucial to directly stop emitting particulate matter and harmful gases which not only impact air but also cause global warming and ozone layer depletion.

Moreover, awareness about the surrounding levels of air pollution, the quality of the air we breathe and how ambient the air around us is needed so that one knows when to stay at home and when to step out.  This is the first step indeed, especially when it comes to particulate matter or dust, which needs to be monitored in order to be avoided.

How can we monitor?

Monitoring dust needs specialized equipment that samples the air around it and gives appropriate measures. A dust monitoring system is best suited for this job as it can measure everything from Suspended Particulate matter to Total Suspended particulates in the air and gives data to figure out where, when and how should anti-dust precautionary measures be taken. A dust monitoring system uses active air sampling and analyses the air collected via different sensors to give a well-sought and verified conclusion about the dust matter in the air. Be it PM2.5, PM2 or PM10, each type can be monitored, and the causes, effects, and diagnosis can be done.

The right dust monitors!

Choosing the right dust monitor means looking at the right features and right information available, especially when it is an investment to safeguard individual health and a step towards protecting the entire environment.

1.      Structure

A dust monitor has to exist and survive amidst the natural weather to capture information. A durable structure that can handle harsh weather conditions along with a mobile body which can be moved around as per need is a good start. This way, one monitoring system can cover a single geographical area without any concerns about damage. Looking for an IP65 grade enclosure body typically ensures that the system meets international standards and survives the likes of cyclones, snowfall, and extreme heat.

2.      Real-time

A dust monitoring system should be of the continuous kind rather than a manual system. The system should provide real-time data as and when the air is sampled without any chances of human error. Be it temperature, humidity or PM measurement, all data should be collected and available without any delays, ensuring active decision making and use of the data. Especially for researchers, the data is precious as long as it is valid, which can only happen if it is live and quick.

3.      Customer service

A dust monitoring system nowadays comes with many additional benefits that one shouldn’t compromise upon. Be it a notification set-up, solar power facility or assessment reports, data can now also be analyzed via the system. The availability of Wi-Fi and online transfer of results allows one to monitor the air without being present at the location. This makes the transfer of reports to weather stations and environmentalists at research centers extremely easy and efficient.

The detailed and comprehensive solution provided by a dust monitor can now be used for various problem-solving options.

1.      Construction sites

Construction sites are known to emit a lot of dust and have many workers working on spot amongst the pollution. Having an on-location dust monitoring system can inform the workers when the level goes beyond a permissible limit that can harm the laborers. infect, it also tells when drilling or other on-site activities need to be stopped in order to avoid long-term pollution impacts. Moreover, various landfill sites can have a dust monitor installed so that they don’t contribute to central city pollution.

2.      Industries

Many industries are known to be emitting particulate matter as smoke or raw dust during manufacturing processes. Having a dust monitor on chimneys or emission panels can inform owners when to install a cleaner, have maintenance done or look at controlling pollution-related activities. Industries are usually known to be main contributors to air pollution and hence this precautionary measure is necessary. Similarly, for mining activities, a dust monitor is crucial for the dust suppression team, especially considering the number of deaths that happen during mining activities.

3.      Ports

At various ports, many activities like ship movements or loading/unloading activities lead to dust pollution. To ensure dust mitigation, a dust monitor to sample air at ports can not only reduce the levels but also inform the staff when and where is which activity leading to a high dust content. This way, those activities can be controlled and maybe the supply chain activities can be changed to cut down on pollution.

The data collected at various locations and sites can later be used by Governments before implementing newer policies for environmental protection. Moreover, many researchers use dust monitor data for adequate reporting as it fits the budget, is scalable and easily available.

Don’t hesitate to use and install a dust monitor at home or at work, especially if you want to protect your own health and make the environment sustainable for future generations. Make sure you choose the right system, the right provider and the right place for setup.

About Snapchat Marketing

It might not seem like an ideal platform for marketing, but the statistics might surprise you: Sumpto, a company focused on marketing to college-age individuals, found that 73% of college students would open a Snapchat from a familiar brand, and 45% would open one from an unfamiliar brand. The app had 30 million users as of December, had surpassed the number of users on Instagram in the US alone, and has growing usage abroad. The picture messages do disappear as soon as a user views them, but there are still some interesting, and novel, marketing possibilities.

The most interesting thing about Snapchat is the immediacy of the experience. While there are workarounds to save the images, there’s still a time limit on how long it will be on the app. As a marketer, you can add a sense of urgency. Try Snapchatting some limited-time discount codes, for example. Keeping in mind that the pictures can only be shown for up to ten seconds, keep the code short and easy to remember. Key to this strategy, though, is giving a short deadline for using the codes: a few hours, or a day at most. That way, users will know that they have to open messages from you shortly after they get them to avoid missing the goodies.

Keep in mind that many users use Snapchat for its high entertainment factor, so keep content as funny, quirky, or surprising as you can to keep users’ attention on your Snaps. Snapchat itself can make that easier, allowing you include captions and even draw on the picture in different colors.

An example of a company that used Snapchat very well was 16 Handles, a frozen yogurt chain. The company created an account and advertised an offer for customers to send a Snapchat of themselves at 16 Handles, and they would then get a Snap of a coupon code they could only use while the Snapchat was on the app: they couldn’t open it until they went to pay. To add to the fun, the company sent different coupons to different users: 16% off, 50% off, and 100% off, so they didn’t know what they would get until they used the coupon.

McDonald’s also had a successful campaign on Snapchat. One thing they did is use the “Story” feature, which allows you to create longer messages by stitching together different pieces (though they’re not directed to particular users, but available to everyone who’s connected to the brand). The McDonald’s Story provided a special access look at an upcoming ad campaign with some huge star power. They also let their friends in on a release date for a new product.

The takeaways here are using the Story platform for longer messages and, again, giving an incentive for opening your Snapchats: it might be behind-the-scenes info instead of a discount. This could take the form of a quick tour of an important part of the business, a shout-out from someone (Snapchat videos are sound enabled), or just pictures of fun things related to your business that the public wouldn’t see otherwise.

Another way to use Snapchat is giveaways. When you’re first launching your Snapchat, you want to get people to add you on the app. One way to do this is to give tickets to an event away, for example. Advertise the giveaway on your site and other social media, telling anyone who wants to enter the giveaway to add your business on Snapchat and send you a Snapchat with their username and a hashtag you determine to represent your company. Then, they have to get five of their friends to add your business and Snapchat you an image with the same hashtag and the username of the friend they’re helping enter. This both helps you gain new Snapchat connections and disseminate a hashtag representing your business to users who might never have seen it before.

Snapchat isn’t a platform that you absolutely have to be on-yet. The benefit is that your offers won’t be buried under a flood of other similar offers, and you can reap the rewards. Keep in mind that the main demographic at this point is teenagers and 20-somethings, so your advertisements will have to be curated accordingly.

How Mobile Marketing Strategy Change Day By Day

Mobile marketing has evolved as a revolutionary tool in recent years. It has enabled marketers to directly communicate with their target audiences and advertise products.

According to a study around 52% of the searches happen through mobile phones globally. Mobile app development companies when developing an app, allow users to access information, products, and services at any time, anywhere in the world. Businesses today need to ensure that their websites are mobile-friendly so that they are easily accessible to their target audiences.

To build a dynamic mobile marketing strategy, A Mobile app development company needs to keep upgrading and evaluating their web site’s content, loading speed, UI/UX, etc.

Marketers should fully exploit the capabilities of smartphones and tablets to keep up with the constantly changing mobile marketing strategies.

To implement a mobile marketing strategy successfully, the following points need to be kept in mind:

1. Mobile analytics:

Setting up a website or mobile analytics helps businesses to get insightful data about their customers. It enables them to engage with customers most effectively. Implementing mobile analytics is an important step in mobile marketing. Marketers can approach any good mobile app development company to help them set up analytics.

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2. Speed:

The speed of mobile greatly affects the user experience. A slow website will negatively impact the growth of the business which in turn makes them lose potential customers. Therefore to run successful online campaigns marketers need to focus on improving the mobile speed.

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3. Mobile applications:

To simplify customer interactions mobile apps are a must-have for businesses these days. It will help brands to boost customer engagement and brand awareness. Mobile applications offer the best user experience and attract new customers through reward points, offers, and discounts. Thus, Marketers should take help from a mobile app development company to compete with their rivals.

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4. 24-hour chatbot:

24/7 chatbots enable businesses to offer support to their digitally active customers. They can handle thousands of customer queries, upsell prospective buyers even when you’re not in the office. Any business can build a chatbot quickly by taking help from a mobile application development company. Chatbots offer analytics, AI features like natural language processing that helps to maximize the target audiences. Soon every business would implement chatbots to maintain its competitive edge in this dynamic online economy.

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5. Geotargeting:

Geo location-based targeting helps marketers maximize the cost-effectiveness of their efforts through precise targeting. Geotargeting allows marketers to show their content to specific audiences based on their location, such as local pay-per-click ads.

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6. Website/app design:

To target prospective buyers’ businesses, we need to focus on the Usability of how a website or app is programmed to function. Very technical or non-responsive website design doesn’t give a smooth user experience and customers tend to lose interest. Businesses need to make sure that their websites are easy to navigate on mobile phones, have call-to-action buttons, attractive layout and designs. Marketers can loop in a good mobile app design company to create amazing masterpieces for their target audiences.

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7. Data Privacy:

Privacy policies help to build customer trust. Phones are part of people’s lives and make privacy very important. Businesses need to make sure that people’s data is secure. They should obtain and send information, maintain privacy and security and comply with industry regulations.

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8. Social Media campaigns:

Mobile marketing helps businesses to attract more audience and generate quality leads through mobile campaigns. Social Media promotions are the best ways to reach new audiences, as well as engage and generate new leads. Quizzes, coupon promotions, enhance the marketing mobile strategy! Mobile devices have become one of the first traffic sources to Social Media campaigns, therefore marketers need to adapt the images according to mobile devices.

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9. Mobile-friendly content:

People spend 3-4 hours daily on their mobile screens and therefore brands need to focus on creating content specifically for mobile devices. Small changes in their website such as short paragraphs, ordered lists, easy-to-click links, call-to-action-buttons, and clean navigation can have huge impacts on engagement and conversion. Businesses should invest their time and effort in developing unique mobile-friendly content to compete with other competitors in the market.

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To ensure that their website gives the best user experience on mobile, marketers need to meet Google’s latest SEO updates and algorithms. A timely updated website can help businesses to remain relevant into the next mobile revolution. Since we all know that the upcoming technology innovation is favoring smartwatches which are directly linked to mobile devices. Therefore, brands need to make sure that their business messaging and marketing fit these platforms. Thus, marketers need to keep a close watch on the marketing trends from time to time to see where they should be promoting the business and explore new platforms to drive conversions. Also, a mobile-optimized website is a must to achieve the objectives of the strategy.

About Time Management

If you are a person with a busy schedule and want to have time to be creative during the day, you must stop wasting time and find ways to save it. Just like any other venture it is important to know your timesavers and timewasters. If you do not know it, you need to find out and make the necessary adjustments in your life to save more time so that you can take care of important matters. To see how you are spending your time, get a pen and paper and make a list of your timewasters. This exercise will allow you to find out what your timewasters are so that you can start working on eliminating them. We want to have more control over our time because when things are done at the right time and place, we always see significant results.

How do you control your time? Experts believe that for every minute we spend planning our time we save five. It is very important to plan your day if you want more control over your time. Planning your day may consist of many of the steps listed below:

  • Set a schedule and follow it
  • Set goals for yourself
  • Be realistic about what you can accomplish
  • Delegate whenever possible
  • Hire adequate resources
  • Set realistic goals
  • Prioritize your work and/or assignments

Managing time and organizing work is very important when starting any kind of business. By keeping the paperwork organized, you will be able to find documents quickly rather than spending a lot of time searching for them. By organizing your time, you can determine how to successfully use the number of hours in a day. We have one hundred and sixty eight hours in a week and twenty-four hours in a day. How these hours are used will determine the success of the business. You may want to keep track of your time by keeping a log of what you do on a daily basis. Then examine the log to see what improvements, if any, can be made to manage your time more effectively.

You must be able to set priorities to manage your time. To prioritize your time, you must be able to look at five or more different things at a time and determine which one you will do first. You may want to enroll in a time management seminar to help you to manage your time more efficiently. If so, do not hesitate to contact the local community college for a one-day seminar on time management.

When getting your business organized, you must be able to find quiet time to just sit back, relax, and think about what needs to be done. Then you need time to organize your thoughts by writing them down on a piece of paper. It is also helpful to make a list of “Things to Do” and get busy and do them. Try not to procrastinate because you will find yourself putting things off and never getting them done. Make a weekly schedule for yourself and try to complete everything on your list. Over a period of time you will find that you have successfully completed everything that you set out to do.

CRM Application in Small Business

The need for CRM Application for small business:

  • Collection and analysis of customer information.
  • Integration and availability of mission critical data, for all the employees on demand any where any time.
  • Automated sales, to facilitate faster provision of product-centric services synchronizing with the changing trends.
  • In order to plan your marketing strategies, which in-turn will ensures quicker turn-around time to product-centric services.
  • Using a CRM application to plan your marketing strategies, ensures quicker turn-around time to product-centric services..
  • Fully scalable web-based feature-rich streamlined approach.
  • Secure as well as low risk data base.

In order to select the most efficient CRM application that will be a perfect fit to your unique special requirements, you will need to make sure of the following …

  • Research your business requirements and your end goals.
  • Enhancing business activities from around the globe from a single location.
  • A full scalable web base.
  • Click away feature-rich techniques.
  • Easy to customize to your organizational set-up.
  • Satisfaction more than exceeds cost.
  • Low risk solution
  • Zero skills adaptability.
  • No additional infrastructure requirements.

CRM applications, provides world class technical expertise in combining, consulting and analyzing your critical business problems. With its excellent cost-effective customer-centric services, it ensures to boost your business image as well as credibility in the market.

Take Business Personally

Taking business personally creates success for you, for your clients, and for your staff.

It moves business into a whole other realm, the realm of connection. Connecting with yourself, with your clients, and also with your staff, if you have people working with you.

Let’s not go down the well-worn path of pretending to be impersonal. You can instead choose the creative path of making everything personal!

A business is all about the people who make it come alive: entrepreneurs, clients, staff. If you as an entrepreneur do not take your businesses personally, then you risk abdicating responsibility for your decisions.

Your decisions about how you treat clients and staff, and even yourself, become disconnected from who you are as a person, because you can blame it all on, ‘it’s just a business decision’.

Do you want to be a connected entrepreneur? I sure do! Chances are, if you want business success, you do too.

Here’s a quick 1-2-3 on how to stay connected:

  1. Be clear. When you are clear within yourself about what your goals are, your vision, you can make the appropriate choices from that place. Being present to where you are and where you want to go gives you access to an amazing inner guidance system. That allows you to make decisions from that very personal place within yourself.
  2. Be responsible. Sound a little boring, or even a little scary? Here’s where we get to redefine responsibility – it’s the ability to respond. Response-ability. You are able to respond in a way that you choose, a way that is true to you. Clarity helps, but ultimately your business hinges on the action that you decide to take. Make that action conscious, by taking each decision personally.
  3. Be yourself. You are the ultimate compass for your business. You as the owner decide on the vision, the goals, AND how the business operates every single day. You get to have the best day at work ever, if you define what you value, what’s personally important for you, and act authentically out of that place. That’s also what sets you apart.

Being an entrepreneur is an ongoing challenge – remaining true to yourself while managing the day-to-day of your company, dealing with a lot of different people, serving your clients.

Yes, it’s a challenge. AND you can do it without abandoning yourself and who you came here to be.

When you are called to make a tough choice, own it! Nobody but you is making this decision, and it is always for a myriad of reasons.

That’s at least partly why you choose to be an entrepreneur – you choose to bring the whole of yourself into the world, into your work, into your life.

It’s not always easy, but it is so worth it!

So which are you going to choose? Living fully, with your whole self, in everything you do? Or defaulting to ‘just business’?

Consciously ask yourself, is this choice a true expression of me as I choose to be in the world? Once you’ve considered that, you can step up, make your choice with clarity, and stand behind it as your personal decision.

Your own clarity translates directly into business success. Your clarity becomes a beacon, a guide, a sentinel for you as you move forward.

People won’t necessarily like your decision, but as long as you stay connected to yourself, you can stay strong in your clarity, knowing you have brought your whole self into your decision and your business.