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3 Ways to Reduce Customer Acquisition Costs

Have you ever stopped to think how much it costs to get a person to buy one of your products?

Then you’re in the right place.

Customers come with a price tag called customer acquisition cost (CAC), and it’s one of the most important pieces of information for business owners who want to get more customers without breaking their marketing budget.

So, how do you get more customers without breaking the bank? We’ve broken things down into three categories:

  1. Streamline your customer’s shopping process
  2. Optimize your marketing tactics
  3. Embrace customer relationship management

Let’s dive right in!

What is customer acquisition cost?

Your customer acquisition cost is defined as how much it costs your business to attract a new customer.

How to calculate customer acquisition cost

reduce customer acquisition cost

CAC is calculated by adding up all your marketing and sales costs and dividing them by the number of new customers acquired for a certain period of time. Here’s the formula:

customer acquisiition cost

For example:

Let’s say you spent $5,000 on marketing and sales expenses this October. That same month, you got 1,000 new customers (meaning only customers that have never previously visited or made a transaction at your store).

Sum of all marketing and sales expenses = $5,000.00
Total newly acquired customers = 1,000
CAC = $5

In this example, it costs you $5 to acquire a new customer.

The next question you should ask is “what is my average transaction value?” If your point of sale system’s sales reports tell you that your average transaction value (ATV) for October is under $5, that means you’re effectively spending more than you’re making per sale. Not good. Your ATV should ideally be higher than your CAC.

How to reduce customer acquisition cost

Let’s say you fall into the above category: Your CAC is higher than your ATV. How do you lower your CAC?

Streamline your customer’s shopping experience

A great way to lower your acquisition cost? Remove as many barriers to purchase as possible.

Make it easy for customers to find and buy what they’re looking for either in your store or on your website. The easier it is for them to find and complete a purchase, the more transactions your store stands to make (that’s why online vendors are developing one-click to purchase technology).

The same can be said for brick-and-mortar transactions: Every retailer’s goal should be to remove as many friction points from their purchasing process as possible.

Imagine being a customer ready to buy something, only to find yourself in a lengthy lineup to pay. Most customers will abandon their purchase entirely if the wait time is too long. Research from Irisys found that Americans will leave a checkout line after waiting just six minutes.

The best way to stop losing sales from long checkout lineups? Eliminate them altogether.

Barbara Thau, a contributing writer for Forbes, suggests that brick-and-mortar retailers “banish the wait in line, once and for all” to avoid losing sales.

A cloud-based point of sale effectively removes the need for lineups and traditional cash registers. Sales associates can ring up sales from anywhere in the store and accept any type of payment. Only If the transaction is in cash do you need to move the transaction to your cash register, but consumers are using cash less and less these days.

If you want to increase your average transaction value, we suggest refreshing your store merchandising and point of purchase displays to cross-sell more items. For a deeper look into how you can increase in-store sales, check out a list that Lightspeed curated with other retail experts, How to Increase Retail Sales – 11 Tips.

Make your business easy to find online by local customers

reducing customer acquisition cost

The next step is to get more customers to find your store or website for free. To do this, we suggest doing the following:

  • Create a Google My Business (GMB) profile
  • Include your store’s contact information on its Facebook and Instagram Business Profile
  • Use the right keywords to describe your business on your Facebook and Instagram Business Profile

The concept here is simple: focus your marketing on people that live close to your business. If they can find you online, see your inventory and get directions fast, the likelihood of them paying you a visit increases substantially.

That’s why we created a step-by-step guide to creating a GMB profile and optimizing your business’s Facebook and Instagram profiles so that you get found online by more local customers entirely for free. With a little work, you can attract customers for $0.

Embrace customer relationship management

If you consistently have what customers are looking for in stock and your customer service is personalized, friendly and helpful, customers are likely to come back to your store again and again.

The more they come, the more they buy. Commonly known as customer lifetime value (CLV), the metric looks at the estimated revenue you make from a customer over the duration of their relationship with the company.

We mentioned ATV earlier, you can think of this as a micro view of your sales. CLV, on the other hand, is the macro view—the big picture.

In an ideal world, you want a 3:1 CLV to CAC ratio. In a nutshell, this means that you generate three times more revenue from a customer than what it cost you to acquire them.

But how do you achieve that ratio? In part, by leveraging loyalty programs, referral programs and customer retention.

Loyalty programs

A loyalty rewards program incentivizes members to make more purchases, eventually getting points they can exchange for exclusive rewards. In a nutshell, it motivates repeat visits and purchases. The more purchases they make, the more points they get to exchange for exclusive offers, promotions and gifts.

For the retailer, the loyalty program helps grow their CLV. It’s a win-win scenario.

See Also: Will Your Customers Buy From You Tomorrow?

Referral Programs

Your existing customers are your store’s biggest brand ambassadors. If they’re happy, they’re more likely to recommend your store to friends.

Believe it or not, brand ambassadors and referrals are one of the most effective ways to bring in new customers. 77% of customers are likely to buy from a business that they’re introduced to by friends.

Rather than sinking tons of cash into marketing to acquire customers, the most cost-effective (and financially sustainable) way to acquire new customers is for your happy customers to spread the word and recommend your business for you.

It’s an authentic trust signal that marketing alone simply can’t replicate.

Consider incentivizing your customers to refer your business to friends and family. For every customer they refer, they get more points they can use as part of your rewards program.

Customer retention

Did you know that it’s up to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one?

This means one thing: If you focus on keeping your existing customers happy (happy enough to recommend your store to friends), you can get them to find new customers for you. It’s cheaper and more effective.

Want to know what your business’s current customer retention rate is? Just use this formula:

customer retention rate

Retaining customers brings in a ton of ROI:

  • Affordable: It’s five to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer. (HBR)
  • ROI: Just a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s revenue by 25-95%. (HBR)
  • Loyalty: Retained customers buy more often and spend more than newer customers (maybe in part to the loyalty and rewards programs they offer). (American Express)
  • Referrals: Satisfied, loyal customers are more likely to refer their friends and family—bringing in new customers, without having to spend anything on marketing. (American Express)

See Also: 12 Tips That Build Customer Loyalty And Boost Sales

Improve your customer acquisition cost

Improving your customer acquisition cost is a process that should start from the inside out.

Before you focus on finding new customers and launching fancy marketing campaigns, you need to make your existing customers happy. When your customers are happy, they’ll voluntarily recommend your business to friends and family. Your customers turn into brand evangelists; walking trust signals that find new customers for you, free of charge.

The next step is increasing your customer’s lifetime value. With Loyalty and referral programs, you can increase how much your customers spend in store and achieve that coveted 3:1 CLV to CAC ratio we mentioned earlier in the post.

But it all starts with customer happiness. When customers are happy, businesses don’t need to spend as much on marketing to convince people that their shop is worth going to and spending their hard earned money.

The post 3 Ways to Reduce Customer Acquisition Costs appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Create Effective Infographics to Boost Your Content Marketing Game

A static content is nothing but an onslaught of dead words running the length of a full page. The wordy research might be of high value, but for today’s generation that’s highly off-putting.

Do you know why?

Because present online users have relatively shorter attention spans and are more likely to lean towards visually appealing content that’s logically moving and impels their participation at the same time.

The true mark of a successful business organization is marked by its ability to use different strategies according to the latest trends.

And what’s in hype these days? ‘Interactive’ infographics that are dynamic, colorful, and engaging. It’s the new marketing strategy.

How do you create a perfect ‘interactive’ infographic? How to create effective infographics?

It’s not an easy process. It’s quite a tricky one. A significant amount of planning goes into it. But you need not worry because I’ve delineated the proper steps in a convenient progression below.

Here’s how to create effective infographics:

Examine your brand

Before heading out towards the battlefield, it’s wise to make a thorough inspection of the artillery and inventory, right? To make sure you’ve got the right weapons and defenses?

Similarly, before creating interactive infographics and adopting this new marketing tactic, it’s crucial that you reexamine your brand from top to bottom.

  • Run tests on it and sort out its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Mark the selling points and focus on improving the lags.
  • Plan your pitch and devise techniques to convert consumers into clients.

Once you know what your brand’s true call is, it’ll be easier to project it from the rest of the world.

Double-check the target audience

If an English Literature teacher delivers a lecture on Shakespeare to a class of medical students, that would sound absurd. It’s a total waste of time, energy, and resources, right?

So, it’s absolutely paramount to understand that audience matters greatly. The people listening to what you’re saying and receiving your message get to have the final say about that message after all. A simple yay or nay of the consumers could make or break your brand’s image.

Know your target audience so you can build a productive interaction through an infographic with them. Consider their pains and problems, find out their interests and motivations, and then mold your call accordingly.

Collect convincing facts

create effective infographics

Abstract propositions are a total turn-off for consumers, believe me. It’s like throwing darts haphazardly into thin air and never hitting the bull’s eye. Missing your mark means missing your chance of survival in the long run.

Only with concrete data, hard-core facts, and undeniable logic can you turn disinterested online consumers into potential customers. You need to convince them why they should opt for your brand instead of others.

If they do choose your brand, what’s in it for them?

Relaying everything through an interactive infographic sounds like a wonderful idea, doesn’t it?

Saves everyone time and positively leads to sales.

Craft an interesting narrative

Information explosion is one thing you have to look out for. It’s hardly delectable and not easily digested. If an infographic is filled to the brim with hard-core facts, then the online consumers will find it difficult to relate to it. And if they can’t find a hook, they’ll just drop it and that’s not something you’d want.

So, to make it easy for your target audience to smoothly sail from one point to the next one, you need to:

  • Craft a clever story around your brand which will take the onlookers on a journey and touch them on an emotional level.
  • Include real-life examples, metaphors, cool analogies, voice-overs, and comments in the infographic. This will allow it to actually speak to your potential clients and convert them into buyers.

Incorporate eye-catching graphics

The appeal of a pastry lies in its delicate decoration. Because it seems pleasing to the eyes, we naturally assume it to be tasty and worth eating, right?

The same applies to interactive infographics. If the information is represented visually, it automatically engages the users’ attention. You might think of graphs, pies, and charts, but they’re too mainstream and bore easily.

Animation, on the other hand, is a foolproof attention-grabbing hook.

A wonderful color-scheme coupled with creative doodles and mechanisms like easy transitions, on-click revealing of hidden information, scrolling and hovering is bound to keep the online consumer’s eyes on the infographic through and through.

See Also: 10 Design Rules You Should Never Forget in 2019

Embed SEO-friendly gambits

how to create effective infographic

An interactive infographic is like an open canvas. You can freely throw paint on it, add music videos in it, include links and watermarks, gifs, voice-notes, and so much more.

In addition, you can embed top-ranking keywords in the visual content in more than one SEO-friendly ways. This will allow Google or other search engines to trace it and rank you higher in its result. Crafty, right?

Elicit user response

The most important feature of all is enabling the online consumer to engage with the infographic and respond to it. To this end, you can include a smart ‘form’ or an opinion-based poll in the content, which the user can fill and give his feedback.

This feedback can then be used to inform the firm’s policies. It is a positive call to action which is the main purpose of the infographic.

Because of this, the user will feel empowered and know that his voice matters for the brand. This will encourage him to share the infographic with others and do an indirect advertising for the brand.

Once you’ve taken all these factors into account, creating an interactive infographic should not be a conundrum for you. Just make sure to operate over a stable connection and you’re good to go. Say goodbye to plain wordy content and welcome the colorful interactive one. It’s the way of the future.

The post How to Create Effective Infographics to Boost Your Content Marketing Game appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Did The Gig Economy Jump The Shark?

Is the gig economy working and thriving?

The gig economy came on strong at a time in American history when people needed to be able to onboard quickly and start making money immediately. The country was deep in the grips of The Great Recession and people were losing jobs and homes left and right. The idea of driving people around in your own car for money didn’t seem all that crazy.

And back then, the money was actually pretty good.

These days, gig drivers have seen wages fall by more than half since 2014 and it’s not just gig driving jobs that are seeing turnover rates of more than 500% per year. As the economy strengthens and people are able to find more steady employment that includes the benefits they need to live, the gig economy is starting to show signs of jumping the shark.

Where Did The Gig Economy Come From?

gig economy working

During the Great Recession, unemployment rose to 7.2% and many people struggled to get back into the workforce right away. This is due to the higher numbers of applicants that went out for the same small pool of jobs.

At the same time, tech was being developed to hire and manage independent contractors to do things that didn’t require companies to own any property or employ any workers. It included things like ridesharing and home-sharing.

With an app, you could suddenly rent out your spare room like a hotel or drive people around like a taxi. It seemed like the perfect stopgap move for people struggling to find full-time employment and the money was worth the effort — at least at first.

What Happened To The Gig Economy?

As these jobs became more popular and more people were competing for them, wages fell. Municipalities began to question the legality of such employment situations, with some outright banning the services due to concerns about worker protection and even public safety.

As wages continued to fall, people began to realize that when they factored in the cost of wear and tear and fuel for their cars, they actually weren’t even making minimum wage in some cases.

As a result, some people tried to unionize while turnover skyrocketed to 500% for some companies. Today, 60% of gig workers can’t come up with $400 for an emergency.

The Gig Economy Is Still Struggling

the gig economy working

As this option becomes less appealing as a full-time job and people are reverting back to using the gig economy as a side hustle, incomes have dropped off sharply. Median monthly incomes for gig economy sectors are:

  • $793 non-transportation
  • 762 transportation
  • $534 selling

The number of full-time gig workers dropped from 16.2 million to 15.8 million between 2014 and 2018, but the number of part-time gig workers rose from 12.9 million in 2017 to 14.9 million in 2018. People are relying less on the gig economy to provide them with full-time work and a living wage and more to provide a part-time, short-term gig to help get them out of a pickle when they need it.

The U.S. Department of Labor ruled that gig workers are not employees. Therefore, they are not entitled to minimum wage protections or normal employment benefits such as health insurance. Most workers are flocking to more traditional forms of employment, but employers are increasingly seeking gig workers to do jobs in more flexible arrangements.

As of 2016, one in six organizations had at least 30% of contingent workers in its workforce, signaling a shift in the parameters of traditional roles. Meanwhile, gig companies like Uber are trying out benefits like free college tuition for top drivers, though this is doing little to stave off unionization efforts.

See Also: GenZ and Money: How GenZ Faces Their Financial Fears

Is It Completely Doomed?

As with all new things, the gig economy is going through growing pains trying to find its place in the world. There are some people who benefit from being able to start and change jobs quickly and set their own hours and who don’t necessarily need all the perks that come along with doing a particular job.

As the gig economy grows up, these will be the people who power it, while others will move back into more traditional working arrangements as the economy strengthens. Learn more about the future of the gig economy from the infographic below.
Gig Jobs
Source: Online Schools Center

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Staying Productive: 8 Tips I Follow To Break My Productivity Slump

For the last few days, I have been feeling way too sleepy. That could be because the weather is fantastic where I live or I am overeating (I just ordered Mexican food from Chili’s) or both. The point is I am a solopreneur, a freelancer. I am in the phase of scaling up my business and feeling sleepy at two o’ clock in the afternoon is not something I can afford.

I have too much on my plate at the moment. For starters – I want to get my website up and running. Don’t worry – it will be live by the time you read this article. My husband and I have family visiting us, so there’s that. We are traveling a bit too much in the coming months, so we have to plan for that.

And these are just non-work related tasks. There are assignments to be scheduled for the clients I signed up recently, and articles to be delivered before the month gets over.

Too much to do. Too little time.

These days, by the time I look up after finishing one assignment, it’s already nighttime and I can’t help but wonder if there is a way to break this productivity slump and complete all the tasks on my to-do list faster.

To answer my own question, I usually follow these eight nifty tips to staying productive. Check them out:

Write even when I don’t want to

Since a significant part of my job revolves around writing, I can’t escape it even when I want to. I have deadlines to meet and some critical clients who I can’t disappoint. Therefore, whenever I feel lazy or unproductive, I write. The output may not be as good, but I still get the job done. And, that’s what matters at the end of the day!

Talk to a friend or colleague

stay productive

I am lucky to have a few friends from the same industry. I get on weekly calls with them to discuss our goals and challenges. Sometimes, I have a casual call with them. It’s nice to know what they are up to besides work, which can often get boring.

When I am feeling low, I prefer speaking to a select few – the ones that make me laugh. My conversations with them put me back in the right place, and I can put things in perspective, professionally and personally.

You don’t know how much good vibes of a person can rub off on you.

Take a stroll in the park

I don’t do this often, but just going for a walk calms me and helps me readjust my focus. I really enjoy the weather here, so it’s great stepping out in the evenings. I try to walk for 30 minutes every day. Walking increases cardiovascular fitness, improves balance, reduces body fat, among other benefits.

Stay away from social media

When you are unproductive, don’t make it worse by browsing through your Instagram feed. Believe it or not – it is not the first thing I check right in the mornings anymore. I go on Twitter while I am working, but that too is controlled.

I was never a huge fan of Facebook and can go days without checking it. I am a bit active on LinkedIn, but really, it can’t and doesn’t do much harm. In the last year, if there’s anything that I have learned is that social media can suck your time and energy.

Worse, it can make you feel guilty, useless, and incredibly low by the end of the day. Trust me, you don’t want that.

See Also: Social Media Causing Depression and Anxiety: Is It True?

Listen to music

how to stay productive

I love listening to music. Sometimes I put on ambient music to remove all distractions while researching or writing. Hans Zimmer, anyone? And then, there are times when I want to listen to SZA, The Weeknd or Post Malone.

Music has a way of filling my surroundings with substance. It lifts my spirits and makes me very happy. The right type of music makes me want to dream big, achieve big, and live my life to the fullest! I hope your experience is similar.

P.S. I am listening to Unforgettable by French Montana and Swae Lee right now.

See Also: How Music Affects Your Productivity

Have some chai

I am a North Indian, and we thrive on chai. When I was working in an office, my friend and I would wait to go on a tea break. Now that I work from home, the charm of companionship may be lost, but hey, I still have my chai. Evenings are meant to be enjoyed with freshly brewed tea.

I feel I deserve a steaming cup after a hectic day. Don’t we all?

I am also a fan of green tea but I feel that’s an acquired taste. I recently bought Blue Pea green tea from Tea Trunk. It has a beautiful azure hue – a visual delight indeed! I like the dull taste too – balanced and calming – just how I want it.

Bottom line: Any type of tea breaks my productivity slump.

Finish off household work

I love my house, and I like it to be nice and proper. Whether it is folding laundry or cooking – I like to make sure I am at the top of things. This attitude is specifically handy during such dull days, when I still want to do something substantial.

When I know I have got one chore off my list, I know I can write an article or finish scheduling social media for a week pretty quickly.

Re-organize my Trello

I am a Trello geek. I think I have over ten boards on my Trello. When I want to break my productivity slump, I get on it and start re-organizing it. It helps me identify the tasks or clients that don’t need my attention urgently.

I can reschedule, reduce clutter, and start work with a clean state – all of which helps me become more productive and better at how I approach things.

What do you think?

As a new solopreneur, I am all about finding new ways to boost my productivity levels, work less and earn more. And, it would be great if you can help me perfect the way I am operating at the moment.

What do you have to say about my tips? Are they nifty enough for you?

The post Staying Productive: 8 Tips I Follow To Break My Productivity Slump appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Things to Consider Before Starting a New Marketing Campaign

Starting a marketing campaign from scratch can feel overwhelming. In case you have never made a marketing campaign or if you have at least tried and just felt like you were in a tight spot, you’d know how tough it is.

However, if you want serious returns for your new business, you need to think your marketing campaigns through.

Preferably, before you plan a coupon marketing campaign, you ought to have a marketing plan for your business. The marketing plan is the foundation of your marketing strategy for a product or service. It gives the general coupon marketing strategies and objectives to draw your target market to the products or service your business offers.

A good marketing campaign includes only a bit of your actual marketing plan—an activity intended to accomplish a specific marketing goal. When you know how your campaign fits into your general marketing plan, then you can distinguish your objective market and how best to approach them.

Here are some things you should consider before starting a marketing campaign for your product/service.

When to start your campaign

Your marketing campaign must have a start and an end date. Utilize a calendar to schedule and plot out the significant dates and activities.

Figuring out when to begin your promotions is similar to tossing spaghetti at a wall. You study different marketing strategies and implement what you think fits the bill.

Hence, there is no definite answer to this question as it varies from business to business. You need to consider your market, the type of product or service, the purpose of the product, and other factors before you can decide when to start your marketing campaign. However, you need to take your time to plan out and design the campaign and the strategies you will need to implement in order to make the campaign successful.

See Also: Ask Questions Before Approving a Marketing Campaign Plan

Pick your target audience

Before you start your coupon marketing campaign, you have to decide the “who”. You need to determine your target market and how you will contact them.

The most ideal approach is to comprehend their novel difficulties and how you can tackle them. Characterize purchaser personas for your customers so you can refine your messages to their particular needs as they assess their alternatives.

Create a content calendar

target marketing campaign

When you share content on different marketing platforms, it tends to be hard to remain on track. On the off chance that you fall behind, completely disregard a platform or miss a post, it could destroy your whole campaign.

Endeavor to recall what content to post and when can be a noteworthy pressure. Occasional posts and conflicting messages may make your clients think that you don’t care about your online nearness.

A content schedule or calendar will enable you to remain on track and guarantee you’re posting the right data at the best time. Rather than expecting to recollect what day you should post something, you can check your calendar every morning to decide what ought to be planned for that day.

Moreover, it enables you to see the master plan for your marketing procedure. You will know how each bit of your marketing content fits together to make the whole campaign.

See Also: Effective Content Marketing: 8 Ways to Get Your Content Noticed

Where to distribute your campaign

What media channel will you use to convey your message and pull in and catch your customers?

Some marketing platforms include:

  • Websites
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Mobile
  • Video
  • Search Engines

The channels you pick should depend on your business, target audience, and objectives.

Note: The channel is the way to communicate with people. The strategy is how you use the channel to promote your business. So, your coupon marketing strategy is the thing that you post, share on the marketing channel to promote engagement which turns into leads.

Set your marketing campaign budget

The amount of cash you can spend on your campaign will enormously influence the advertising strategies you pick.

A billboard is much more expensive than flyers. Try not to rely upon free publicizing and advancement procedures for your business.

This doesn’t mean that all free advertising techniques are terrible. However, there is always an expense to marketing. The best method to achieve your target market may not be so cheap, so be reasonable when setting your campaign budget.

Track and measure results

It is imperative to monitor your marketing strategies to results. Results will be dictated by what your objectives were for the campaign. Following and estimating results can be easy or complex depending on the business.

When you have finished your campaign, keeps these things in mind during the review:

  • Did your offer fulfill the needs of your target customers? If not, what would you be able to offer that will?
  • What did you discover that you can apply to your next campaign?
  • Did you meet the objectives? If not, why?
  • Should anything change next time you run the campaign?

Boosting a marketing campaign isn’t something you can do rapidly and accomplish results overnight. Every activity should be arranged and carefully thought of before you start the campaign. Without an appropriate plan, your campaign is probably going to fall flat.

Make changes

marketing campaign

You can dissect, measure, and track your marketing practices to figure out what your crowd will associate with. When you realize your coupon marketing campaign isn’t verging on accomplishing your objectives, then you need to make changes.

Remain mindful of how your audience is responding, yet keep your team ready to make improvements and amendments wherever necessary. Do not sit idle or waste your money on a campaign that will not bring you any returns.

Conclusion

The key takeaways here are to focus on the needs of your audience, pick the channels that you believe will give the best return, and monitor your progress and finally stick with what works for your business. Consider the factors mentioned above before starting a marketing campaign to get the most out of your coupon marketing efforts.

The post Things to Consider Before Starting a New Marketing Campaign appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

6 Things to Do Before a Product Launch

The best way to bring much-needed attention to your new product or service is by doing a product launch.

Even with an awesome product, a great deal of its success depends on the launch, as the hype surrounding it can bring you more sales, more happy customers, and a better reputation for your company.

Still, having a good product launch is a daunting task, which takes a lot of research and planning in order to be successful and if you don’t go through all the key steps to do it right, you are risking the future of your product.

Here are a few things you shouldn’t skip doing when launching your new product.

Research the market

For a new product to be successful in the market, you should do your research well. There are three key points that need to be considered even before developing the product.

  • Audience. No product will succeed if no one wants to use it, so think about your potential customers and their needs. Is there a pain point your product will solve?
  • Competition. Are there any other businesses offering the same or similar product? How are you going to differentiate yourself from them? What makes your product unique and special?
  • Finances. How much will you need to invest upfront and what are the risks attached to the new product launch?

Once you’ve found the answers to these questions, you will be able to create both a unique selling proposition and a value proposition.

This means you will be able to provide your customers with answers on why your product is better than the one your competitors are offering and what they’ll get in return for their money.

Plan ahead

new product launch

For a product launch to succeed, one must plan ahead.

There are numerous aspects which need to be included in the plan, from product development and testing to marketing and pricing.

Not all the details have to be known at the early stages of the planning, but the timeline and the framework of the activities should be mapped out and defined.

As gaining attention is your main goal, you will need to gear up early and focus on building relationships with influencers, as well as brainstorm all the creative elements which are going to get you publicity. Making a schedule will make it easier for your teams to check their progress and prioritize tasks, and if followed, a plan will decrease the odds of working under stress and launching late.

Find the right influencers

With all the impact social media channels have nowadays, you should focus on finding influencers who can easily approach your target market.

Stats say that 49% of consumers rely on the influencer recommendation on social media, so be sure to provide influencers with the exclusive news and samples of your products.

Encourage, entice, and incentivize them to put their reviews of your products on their blogs, video, and social media channels. This can bring the right kind of attention to your launch and attract the right customers.

See Also: 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Instagram Advertising

Promote the launch

product launch checklist

Before the product hits the market, you need to educate your potential customers on its features and advantages and build hype around its arrival. Here are some ideas on how to best achieve this:

  • Update your social media followers regularly on your progress.
  • Write a blog and educate your customers on products features.
  • Use videos, demos and whitepapers to give detailed info on your product.
  • Submit guest posts to sites relevant in your industry.
  • Have social media contests offering your customers a chance to be the first to get a sample of your product.
  • Provide the industry experts and influencers with samples of your product and freebies.
  • Make a countdown timer on your website and publish teaser videos and photos.

If possible, it is the best to tie your launch day to a larger event, such as an industry event or trade show, to get the most publicity for launching.

Get feedback

The best way to know whether your product is going to be a success once it reaches the market is by soft-launching it to a portion of your target audience. By testing your product in your product market, you will gather valuable information. You can then use this to make the necessary adjustments to your product or campaign.

There are many different ways to get customer feedback that can help you solve the customers’ complaints and issues from the moment your new product reaches the market. Statistics show that a dissatisfied customer shares their experience with 16 people on average, while only 1 out of 26 will actually complain to the company. By using different social media listening and other available tools, you can now respond to both the positive and negative feedback in a timely manner and do wonders for your brand’s reputation.

Keep the fire alive

The launch is hardly over when the launch day is done.

To get the most out of it, plan ahead on how to best exploit it afterward.

You can achieve this by posting the news about your latest product and the benefits it brings into your customers’ lives. Also, think about the ways to involve your customers into this post-launch campaign and motivate them to post videos and photos of themselves using and enjoying your product.

As a successful launch is essential to the positioning of your product in the market and your brand’s reputation, make sure to plan it carefully and not leave anything out. Use as many promotional tactics you can handle, because when it comes to a product launch, you can not over-market it.

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Ask Questions Before Approving a Marketing Campaign Plan

Before you sign off on a marketing campaign plan, it’s crucial that you understand what the plan is about and if the budget is reasonable. You can’t let a plan go ahead without questioning the people who worked on those ideas to see if they are worth doing.

Why did you choose that platform?

The first question is about why the marketing team chose a specific platform.

Is it the best option considering the choices available? Isn’t it a rehash of previous campaigns used?

If the next campaign focuses on traditional ads like the use of pop up banner design and posters, you need to ask if they’re worth the money when compared with online campaigns. The goal is not to discourage the chosen platform, but to know the reason behind the proposed use.

How will it attract the target audience?

You need to ask this question to determine if the marketing team has studied the target audience. Perhaps, the members decided to come up with such a strategy without knowing if the ads will work with the people you want to buy your products. If you don’t think the ads make sense or there’s no guarantee they will appeal to your chosen audience, you need to encourage the use of a different campaign.

How much will the campaign cost?

You need to know how much you’re going to spend if you pursue the plan and if it will significantly affect the overall budget you allotted for marketing. If the amount is reasonable and the team can justify the decision, you can sign off on it; otherwise, you need to ask the team to resubmit the budget plan and defend it.

What’s Plan B?

It is crucial that you know what the marketing team intends to do if things don’t go as planned. In the world of marketing, any result is possible. You can’t always expect things to end the way you want. As such, you need to ask what the alternative plan is and how it will be implemented. You don’t want to work on the plan, but you need to know what it is in case things go south.

You’re not making it hard

You might think that you’re making it difficult for your employees because of your decision to ask several questions. The truth is that you’re only protecting your business because you don’t want to terrible results.

Besides, asking questions doesn’t mean you are power tripping. You’re trying to clarify things and ensure that everyone is on the same page. It also makes you feel confident seeing your marketing team know how to respond and even defend their responses. They will implement the plan, and if they seem to have no idea what’s going on, it could end in a huge mess.

Once you have finished asking questions, you can encourage everyone to work hard until you achieve the marketing goals.

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Online and Offline Businesses You Can Start With No Money

These days, it’s easier than ever to start your own business. With the rise of the internet and online platforms for conducting business, there are plenty of opportunities to make money. There’s a long list of businesses you can start with no money.

Traditional wisdom holds that you need to “spend money to make money”. In reality, however, there are many ways to earn money without an initial investment.

Here are just a few potential businesses you can start with no money.

Driving for Lyft or Uber

One of the more popular ways to make extra money these days is driving for a rideshare service like Lyft or Uber. These companies don’t require anything other than a car, a valid driver’s license, and a background check to get started.

It does take some time to complete the onboarding process. However, once you’re a part of their network, you can start earning money fast on your own time. There are some requirements in terms of how old your car can be. Working in certain cities or at specific times of the day will allow you to make more, but it’s relatively easy to get started with these companies.

Pet Sitting

Do you have any friends with pets?

If so, you could easily start working as a pet sitter with little to no upfront costs. Even if you don’t personally know anyone with pets, you can advertise your service on Craigslist or other freelance websites and start taking care of people’s pets while they’re away.

If you’re the type of person who enjoys being around animals, pet sitting is definitely one of the best businesses you can start with no money.

Babysitting

Obviously, babysitting might require more screening than pet sitting. However, if you are good with kids or know people who will trust you to take care of their children, it can be a great way to make money.

Of course, people want to be careful with whom they hire to look after their children, so you may have to invest some time being interviewed by the parents. But other than time and the gas it takes to get around, there’s not much you’ll need to spend to get started as a babysitter.

Selling things on Etsy or at Flea Markets

If you have any items lying around that you no longer use or you feel willing to part with, selling things at flea markets or online marketplaces like Etsy can be a great option. Everything from the furniture you no longer need, clothes you don’t wear anymore, video game consoles you never use or even your old appliances and electronics can be sold to people who have more use for them.

Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are other options for selling your stuff online. If you have some things at home that you no longer need, consider putting them up for sale to start making some extra money.

Delivering Food

Similar to driving for Lyft or Uber, all you really need to start delivering food is a car and a valid driver’s license. Uber Eats, Postmates, Grub Hub, and many other companies offer this service nowadays. It’s a great option for people who want to set their own hours and make money without a significant cash investment up front.

Of course, you’ll want to work during lunch and dinner rush hours to make the most money possible. However, delivering food represents a good business opportunity if you’re willing to work during those times of the day.

Tutoring

If you happen to have a lot of knowledge about a particular topic, such as math or grammar, you can make a fair amount of money as a tutor. Unlike teaching at a school, there’s no formal training that’s legally required for you to tutor. As long as you can prove your expertise, you can find work.

People of all ages may require tutors. You can teach kids in school, college students or even adults attending night school. If you have good people skills and a fair degree of knowledge in a specific area, tutoring could be a good business opportunity for you.

Blogging

freelancer website

There are a few different ways you could potentially make money through blogging. One is to work using freelance sites to write blog articles for other people or companies.

Of course, to do this, you may need to have some experience to prove to a potential employer that you’re worth hiring. But even if you have no experience, you can start your own blog and potentially make money by running ads on it.

Once you have a few blog posts up, try promoting your blog via social media or other outlets. If you can generate an audience, ad networks may pay you to run advertisements on your blog.

Cleaning

While you may need to invest in some cleaning supplies, getting started as a cleaner is relatively easy. You can advertise your services online and make money by cleaning people’s homes or apartments. There’s also the opportunity for you to find regular clients who pay you to clean their place every week or so.

The biggest investment you’ll need to make to start a cleaning business is time since you won’t be able to do this job from home.

House Sitting

If you have friends who are preparing to travel for a long period of time or if you know someone with a summer home that needs regular maintenance, you could take care of their home while they’re away.

House sitting won’t require you to make any expensive investments. One of the downsides, however, is that it can be tough to find this type of work regularly. But if you can rack up a few clients that need some house sitting done, it can potentially be a lucrative business that doesn’t take much money to get started.

Dog Walking

There are websites like Wag and others that allow you to sign up to become a dog walker and start earning money quickly and with no cost up front.

You may need to undergo a quick background check to ensure you can be trusted with other people’s pets. After that, you can start making some cash quickly. One of the perks of being a dog walker is being able to spend time outside and getting some extra exercise.

If you enjoy being outdoors and you like dogs, this could be an ideal business for you.

Social Media

Like blogging, there are different ways you can use your social media skills to make money. You could manage social media accounts for a company or individual.

If you have some experience doing paid social media work in the past, this could be a great opportunity. If the only social media experience you have is running your own accounts, you can still find work, especially if you can show that you’ve generated a lot of engagement.

Another potential opportunity is to make money through your own social media accounts. Some companies might pay you to be a brand ambassador or make sponsored posts if you can prove that your content will be seen by a large enough audience.

As you can see, there are a lot of businesses you can start with no money. Whether you prefer to work online or offline, there are businesses that can put some extra cash in your pocket fast. You can choose to work for another company or start your own in one of these areas.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure to perform the job well and communicate with clients. It’s a really good way to build your network and get more work in the future.

See Also: 3 Home Business Ideas to Help You Start Making Money from Home

The post Online and Offline Businesses You Can Start With No Money appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

10 Unstoppable Entrepreneurs Share Their Advice For Success

Being an entrepreneur is never about the end result but the journey you embark yourself on. If you really want to succeed, you must look past your failures and pursue your goals with persistence.

Unfortunately, staying motivated on this journey isn’t easy. Whether it’s online trading or any other business you are running, always remember that there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

Ever wondered how successful entrepreneurs survived and still managed to thrive? Well, it wasn’t easy for them, either. Hear it from themselves.

Here are some words of advice from 10 most influential and unstoppable entrepreneurs:

Elon Musk – Keep Questioning Yourself

elon musk

Founder of PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla, Musk is a game-changing innovator. He is the real-life Iron Man. It’s amazing how he keeps running so many projects despite his previous failures.

Musk admits that he hasn’t read many books on time management. Still, he has some great advice to share. He says, “It’s important to have a feedback loop. It will let you think about what you have done and how you can do it better. So, constantly think about how you can do things better. Keep questioning yourself.”

Sheryl Sandberg – Be Yourself

sheryl sandberg

Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, is a role model for women and men alike. She has learned so many lessons from her journey of becoming the first woman to sit on the board of the social media giant – Facebook.

She believes there is no professional self from Mondays through Fridays and a real-self during the weekends. This kind of division has never worked for anyone. She has cried at work so many times. She has talked about her hopes and fear and asked people about theirs. In the midst of it all, she tried to be herself.

J.K. Rowling – Believe in Yourself

j k rowling

J.K Rowling, the best-selling author behind the Harry Potter series, has a success story that’s an inspiration for all of us. It’s amazing how she wasn’t always a runaway success.
Rowling says that “You will face rejections but you must dare to believe in yourself. If you can’t do that, then find someone who will believe in you while you work on your ideas.”

Arianna Huffington – Be Comfortable with Failure

arianna huffington

Arianna Huffington, famous politician and founder and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post says you must learn to be comfortable with failure. It is something her mother taught her when she was young.

She said, “Failure isn’t the opposite of success. It is, in fact, the stepping stone to success.”

Arianna has a fair share of professional and personal setbacks. There was even a point in her career when she was tempted to change her profession. Despite that, she kept going with the belief that the best things come from the biggest heartbreaks.

See Also: 5 Women Entrepreneurs Who Failed Before Becoming Millionaires

Steve Jobs –Focus on Quality

steve jobs

Steve Jobs may not be with us today but this genius left a very sound piece of advice for young entrepreneurs. He has always given attention to detail and placed quality above quantity.

Let’s hear from Jobs himself – “Quality is better than quantity. One home run is better than two.”

Mark Zuckerberg – Move Fast

mark zuckerberg

Zuckerberg is one of the most successful young entrepreneurs. His advice for all newbies is to move fast and don’t hesitate to make mistakes. When you try to be perfect and move slow, you mess things up. As you move fast, you break things. And if you are not breaking anything, you are not moving fast enough.

Remember when Facebook received negative feedback on redesigning its news feed? The company then chose a middle ground by offering its users to retract to old newsfeed along with keeping the new one. When they rolled out the timeline, they used a similar strategy.

Jeff Bezos – Put Customers First

jeff bezos

The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has so many businesses under his belt. What’s his secret to success?

Keep your customers above everything.

He says, “The most important single thing is to focus on your customers. Amazon’s goal is to become the most customer-centric company in the world.”

He’s right simply because customers make or break your business.

Tony Robbins – Psychology Makes or Breaks You

tony robbins

Who doesn’t know Tony Robbins, the famous bookseller, entrepreneur, and philanthropist?

He is best at negotiation, leadership, and organizational turnaround.

What’s his secret to success, you ask?

Robbin says, “Business success is 80 percent psychology and 20 percent mechanics.”

Mark Cuban – There’re No Shortcuts

mark cuban

The owner of Dallas Mavericks says that best advice he would give to someone is to “Do the work. Outthink and outsell your expectations. Remember, there are no shortcuts to success.”

His father was the one to give this advice when he was in high school.

Daymond John – Save Money

daymond john

Daymond John is the founder of FUBU and an investor on Shark Tank.

When he came into the fashion business, an older salesman shared a piece of valuable advice with him. “You must save money in this business. You never know when you would have to invest it back into your business.”

Final Words

There’s always something to learn from the journey of successful people. Make sure you remember these pieces of advice as you move forward.

The post 10 Unstoppable Entrepreneurs Share Their Advice For Success appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Fake Productivity vs Real Productivity

Putting in work or “hustling” is the most widespread maxim for success in the world of entrepreneurship. But the question is this: Are you really being productive with your time or is your work merely a heightened form of procrastination?

The three levels of productivity:

The first level of productivity is outright procrastination

It is zero productivity. It’s neglecting your priorities and responsibilities in lieu of the dopamine rush of a Netflix series or a video game. Procrastination is a killer of success and deserves no further mention.

The second level of productivity is work

However, it is not productive work but it is the work you use as an alibi against procrastination. It is cover-up work.

When you are engaged in cover-up work, it may seem like you are being productive and putting in the sweat necessary for success. In reality, you are running a hamster wheel, making no discernible progress.

An example of cover-up work is the salesman who is making 100 sales pitches every single day, closing one. His approach is self-pitying and self-centered. Rather than focusing on the potential customer, he focuses on his own deep desire to sell. His egocentric mindset shines like a flare gun.

Nevertheless, the salesman sits at his laptop in the evening and posts on Twitter “Putting in work! The hustle is real!”

People engage in cover-up work to feel better about their lack of progress. If you are doing cover-up work, you are stuck in your comfort zone.

The third level of productivity is the only work that will take a person towards their entrepreneurial aspirations

It is level-up work at the very top of the productivity pyramid

Let’s examine.

Level-up work means doing the tedious work. It means digging up the roots, getting dirty, and planting new seeds. It means dealing with the grit. Real productivity is hardly exciting.

If the aforementioned salesman engages in level-up work, he will spend his evenings learning about human psychology. He will start going from house to house and website to website to learn about his customer base. He starts reading books and magazines that help to increase his social acuity. As his knowledge expands, his percentage of converted customers increases exponentially. Rather than closing one out of 100 cold-calls, he closes 10 out of 20.

Level-up work requires spending unromantic hours in your room filling your head with all the knowledge that you will require in your field and then some. It means building the backbone of your business. It means becoming more than your next competitor. In the end, it is the only path towards true success.

To engage in real productivity, start mastering level-up work: Become more than your competition. Be smarter, better practiced, more up-to-date. Put in the hours that matter.

See Also: 6 Strategies to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

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How To Modernize Your Business By Ditching The RFP

In our modern, fast-paced world, there is hardly any time to spare. Businesses need results and they need them quickly, encouraging the development of new technologies that can keep up. Yet 95% of companies still use RFPs when they need to get the job done – why is this outdated practice still treated like a business staple?

It’s Time To Move On From The RFP

request for proposal

Smart businesses today understand the value of diversifying away from the risk of relying on single one-stop-shop vendors. If the massive change in Forbes Global 2000 companies that outsource IT projects to single vendors is any indication, this shift is a massive trend. In 2008, 42% of these businesses worked with a single vendor for their IT or application needs; in 2018 that number is just 15%.

And yet, for lack of a better method, many businesses find themselves at a loss for reaching new vendors. Whether their project scope is too wide for in-house work, or they just need some extra guidance from creative professionals, it’s easy to turn to Requests for Proposals to scout out the talent. But there’s a glaring problem with using RFPs to do this – the results very rarely elicit the most innovative solution. Companies that use RFPs may ignore innovative startups in favor of “established” vendors, rewarding longevity over skill and flexibility.

How Do Startups Compete With Established Relationships?

When we look at startup funding trends, we are met with stats of explosive growth. In 2017 alone, the global venture capital investments for startups hit over $140 billion, and in the years between 2015 and 2017, the total global startup economy value creation was $2.3 trillion. Any way you spin it, there is some serious firepower behind startups and for good reason. Unfortunately, these talents can go ignored and even outright rejected when forced to participate in requests for proposals.

  • Bidders must specify how long they have been in business to even qualify
  • Not useful and counterproductive in the age of startup innovation

As a result, RFPs are actually a roadblock to reaching effective new vendors, placing incumbent vendors ahead of other bidders. For new vendors participating in RFPs, they may only have a week to respond, yet incumbent vendors are notified several weeks beforehand. Even then, many startup level vendors find it challenging to work within the confines of typical RFP guidelines and are unable to let their talents show.

  • Discourages considerations of more innovative proposals
  • Rewards easy solutions over flexibility and talent
  • Low value and low innovation
  • Long-term costs are higher than originally projected

There’s A New And Better Way

It’ll take more than a simple update to overhaul this antiquated process. Real solutions will come from a total mindset change, improved flexibility, and real ROI projection. The best way to try out a new vendor is by using Proof of Value, or PoV. This process ensures the best value projects are done for the right price and by the right people. Based on information measurement theory, Proof of Value considers the predictability of success or error using measurable, factual information. This replaces the RFP with scalable options using information and performance-based solutions as a new standard.

  • Create a full working cloud-based model app
  • Share the real app with business users to get an idea of what the full solution will look like
  • Use PoV as a first iteration jumping off point to fast-track the project

Accounting for lost time, wasted money, and piles of busy work, RFPs, or requests for proposals just don’t work anymore. A LexisNexis survey revealed nearly 17% of businesses deal with up to 10 RFPs per month, and 15% of businesses have a load of 21 or more. Organizations are relying more on RFPs, but it doesn’t necessarily benefit their firm. Smart businesses can use more nimble vendors and methods to outperform instead.

  • Intuitive user experiences
  • Clean interfaces
  • Deliver against tighter project deadlines
  • Reliable, measurable ROI
  • Diversify risks away from conventional mega-vendors

It’s Time To Ditch The Outdated RFP

Though many organizations are still using RFPs for solutions, when has following the status quo ever done business any favors? Is your company still using RFPs? Take a look at this infographic for more on how RFPs hurt innovation, stunt professional growth, and ignore real talent, and what you can do to break this cycle by developing better solutions that fit with your business’ needs.
RFPs: Dinosaurs of the business world?
Source: Semarchy.com

The post How To Modernize Your Business By Ditching The RFP appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How Is an Entrepreneur Different From a Businessman?

“I am an entrepreneur, but I am also a businessman. I can’t be both. There must be some difference between entrepreneur and business owner. Oh, God! Can anyone help me with this?”

If this is the thought going through your mind right now, then you are on the right page at the moment. Many find themselves in this difficult situation when they start a business of their own. I will try to clear all your doubts and help you decide what you are through my points.

So, read this post till the end to entirely comprehend the difference between entrepreneur and business owner.

Originality of idea

originality of idea

An entrepreneur always starts with a fresh and out-of-the-box idea. He wouldn’t even start if the idea has already been taken.

A businessman may or may not have one’s own idea. He only thinks of money and profits which is why it won’t really matter to him if the idea is already out there.

Since entrepreneurs usually have less to invest, they have to emphasize a lot on finding the most innovative ideas, unlike regular business.

The decision of taking risks

When it comes to risk-taking, an entrepreneur doesn’t usually hesitate in taking any risk as there isn’t much choice.

This, however, might not be the case with businessmen. A businessman would usually think hundreds of times before getting to any decision.

Businessmen take well-calculated risks. One may not take the risk if losing money has been predicted. In entrepreneurship,  it’s always a 50-50 chance.

A boss vs a leader

For an entrepreneur, his co-workers are his business partners. He would even take part in the active processes of his organization to lead his team. This eventually motivates his co-workers and improves their productivity to a massive extent. It also serves as a way for an entrepreneur to consistently keep up with the performance of his organization.

On the contrary, a businessman sees every person working under him as a worker and him as the boss. He may not always keep up with the performance of his organization as there’s a pretty thin line between visualizing things from going through reports and experiencing things personally.

Perspective towards customers service

For an entrepreneur, serving one’s customer is a holy duty which one must do with one’s full heart. One is always grateful to the customers and letting them down would be one’s biggest nightmare. Now, these customs would not necessarily fit a businessman.

For a businessman, customers are just the source of income to one’s business. Practically, one does not truly respect them unless one observes a considerable amount of profit from them.

Perception of competition

A businessman is competing with the market on a daily basis to get his company on the top. He’ll take whatever step is necessary to achieve that.

An entrepreneur continually strives to make his startup better. He does his best without having to actually compete with anybody.

Furthermore, entrepreneurship is all about proving that one’s idea really works in making the lives of their consumers better. Once proven, sales will generate automatically. Of course, the process also requires a great deal of promotion.

Definition of Success

definition of success

Entrepreneurship is striving to get one’s vision come true. A lot of startups have come up with many revolutionary ideas over the years. Of course, there’s no denying the fact that entrepreneurs love to make money, too. However, it’s a business generated out of one’s profound faith in one’s ‘out of the box’ idea.

Most importantly, entrepreneurs are believed to always have something better and new to offer. They aim to revolutionize the lives of many.

However, this doesn’t hold true for a regular business as it is totally profit oriented. In many cases, businessmen even overlook the quality of their services or products as they desperately look for ways to earn more profits.

Success in a regular business, nowadays, is certainly beating the competitors and getting on the top of the SERP. Of course, there’s no denying the fact that there are many regular businesses that have been delivering at their best over the years.

See Also: Top Lessons From Successful Entrepreneurs You Need to Know Now

The Bottom Line

In this post, we have shared some valuable points that should make the difference between being an entrepreneur and a businessman much apparent by now.

Aspects like independence, low capital, originality of ideas and of course, innovative ways of earning is what really make an entrepreneur. Most importantly, it is absolutely based on coming up with the most brilliant ideas to improve lives.

A regular business, on the other hand, runs on the basis of heavy capital and unimaginably effective promotion to beat its competitors even if it has nothing new to offer.

See Also: Tips for New Entrepreneurs: What You Need to Know Before Starting A Business

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Avoid Decision Fatigue: Learn The Steps for Effective Delegation

Small business owners are no strangers to sacrifice. Whether it’s spending your family vacation tied to your laptop or skipping a paycheck to float the business, owners give their all to help their business succeed. But if you’re working long nights trying to do everything yourself, you’re probably not making your business grow.

Paralyzed Overthinker: Delays making choices, creating more work in the long run.
Overwhelmed Hothead: Easily frustrated and overly combative.
Immediate-Satisfaction Seeker: Takes impulsive shortcuts that favor short-term goals.

Does one of these profiles describe you?

If so, you might be suffering from decision fatigue. Decision fatigue robs your brain of its decision-making powers and has a negative effect on your business. Learning the steps for effective delegation can help you refocus on your long-term goals.

Step 1: Hire the Right Team

hire the right team

Small businesses can struggle to compete with the salaries and benefits offered by larger companies, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find the right people. Focus on what you do have to offer. It can be flexible work hours or better company culture. Try to hire people who are a good fit for your company and are committed to sticking around.

Replacing a single employee can cost nearly a quarter of their annual salary. Specialized employees whose replacements might need additional training can cost even more. The good news is, as freelancing grows more common, you may be able to find qualified flexible staff who can work only when you need them.

When hiring contract workers keep in mind:

  • Freelancers only work when needed, but you can always offer a full-time position later
  • Find someone qualified so you don’t waste time training freelancers
  • There’s no guarantee your flex staff will be available when you need them
  • Flex staff are less invested in your company, meaning they’ll bail if a better offer appears

See Also: What Managers Should Know About Motivating Their Team

Step 2: Create a Training Manual

A training or operations manual can guide your employees through procedures and decision making even if you’re not around to provide input. Your manual should lay out procedures that are consistent, proactive, and any staff member can follow. Design your policies and procedures so they’ll scale easily as your company grows. That way, you’ll be able to save yourself from major organization shifts down the road.

When writing your training manual, be sure to include:

  • An overview of your company’s history and story
  • Your mission statement, company culture, and long-term goals
  • Descriptions of major systems and operations
  • Job descriptions for each employee, including their specific responsibilities
  • Instructions and procedures for regular operations and tasks

You can streamline your operations even more by creating form letters for responding to common client questions. With a little tweaking, your staff will be able to quickly answer queries without bugging you for input. Once you have a well-trained staff in place, you’ll be free to let go of daily decisions and focus on the bigger picture: growing your business.

Step 3: Time to Delegate

effective delegation

If you’ve prepared your business and your employees well, beginning to delegate should be natural and easy. Start by considering each employee’s skills and match their strengths to the tasks at hand. Don’t dump a whole set of new responsibilities on the same employee. Give everyone the time to adjust to a new task before asking one to take on even more.

It’s always important to keep in mind how much time each employee has available. It might be tempting to delegate all administrative tasks to your office manager, but if he’s already working late every night, you’ll need to get other staff to help out, too. Asking one employee to do too much is a recipe for disaster. Many workers will simply get fed up and leave the company.

Delegate tasks that don’t require your input or don’t match your expertise, such as:

  • Bookkeeping and payroll
  • Social media management
  • Marketing campaigns
  • Legal counsel
  • Data entry
  • Web design

Regardless of what you delegate and to whom, remember that you’re asking your staff to take on extra work and extra responsibility. Be sure to acknowledge and be grateful for their extra effort. Always offer constructive feedback and give thanks for a job well done.

To learn more about how delegation can help your business thrive, check out this infographic:

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Smart Tactics to Resolve and Stay Out of Entrepreneurial Debt

Debt is a part of every business and every entrepreneur knows that. However, not all entrepreneurs are aware of the difference between a bad and good debt and that makes it hard to learn how to avoid the debt trap.

All good business debts are credit lines, mortgages, and loans. They get leveraged for the benefit of the entrepreneur’s business. In other words, they are productive debt.

Bad debt, on the other hand, is the amount that you can’t leverage as your company expands. Financial experts call this reductive debt. Simply put, it’s money which isn’t working in your favor. Generally, this capital gets used to purchase things that are beyond your financial reach. Typically, the results aren’t always favorable.

Reasons entrepreneurs encounter debts

Entrepreneurs find themselves in debt for three main reasons. They are discussed as follows:

The fluctuations of the cash flow

Some entrepreneurs and business owners sometimes undervalue the crucial cash-flow ups and downs. They are unable to predict a poor cash-flow for a prolonged time frame. These entrepreneurs usually switch to credit cards to manage the troublesome cash flow, hoping there’s some balance.

Most entrepreneurs feel that they can repay off their credit card amounts fast, but that’s far from the truth. And that’s the starting point of the crisis. It is here that entrepreneurs contemplate on loan and get caught up in a debt cycle.

Excessive business pressure

Sometimes, entrepreneurs start to live on their business income. It is not a smart call until such time the business can support them.

Most leave their jobs and go all out to develop a business. But most don’t realize that they aren’t yet ready to pay off the monthly earnings that they stay on.

Each company requires investment and it also needs time to invest. It also requires time and reserves for generating a consistent cash-flow. If you resonate with this, have a second line of earning to balance the crisis.

Overconfidence is dangerous

At times, entrepreneurs can be overconfident while using productive debt. Generally, the situation shapes up something like this:

The entrepreneur counts on his earnings and he decides to maximize the business debt to expand his business as fast as possible. However, his lifestyle also gets modified to the new income level.

Here’s where the situations go out of hand.

Due to losing customers or an economy change, a crisis happens. The entrepreneur incurs a financial loss and the situation goes out of control. The entrepreneur incurs a debt to smoothen financial crisis.

See Also: Tips for New Entrepreneurs: What You Need to Know Before Starting A Business

How to manage entrepreneurial debt?

Entrepreneurs who understand good debt go a long way. Their strategies are progressive. Some of these entrepreneurs, who are millionaires, have various thought processes that other business owners don’t possess. They have a unique way to make money and manage debts as well.

Two primary methods have been discussed below as follows. If you want to know more on managing entrepreneurial debt management, you can browse through sites like NationalDebtRelief and others to get better information.

Getting out from a reductive debt

Every entrepreneur wants long-term success. For that, it’s essential to obliterate all kinds of wrong and reductive debt from your business at the earliest.

The spreadsheet strategy or analysis must be familiar to you. It is instrumental in taking you out of any business debt faster than you can imagine. The process is simple.

All you need to do is:

• Develop a basic financial plan
• Adhere to it
• Learn from your experience

You need to start by outlining the monthly earning. Know how much of it you can use on an end-to-end basis to reduce the reductive debt. Commit as much as you can. The amount you decide to pay to remove the deficit needs to stretch you.

Go on and create a reductive debt list in proper order. You may start with a high-value debt amount at number 1 and the least at last. Don’t forget to add in the least payment beside every debt in your list.

Once you do this, you’re all set to execute the plan. Go ahead and take out the exact sum that you promised to remove the debt with on a monthly basis. You may add some extra money to small debt payment.

Keep on making your required minimum repayments for every remaining payment. You’ll notice that the lowest debt gets repaid fast this way. Going forward, you may apply the same process to pay off the high-value debts. In the same process, you’ll see that the high-value debt amounts get repaid. Repeat this process, until such time all the debts get cleared.

Consciously stay out from any debt

It is the ideal way to steer clear of all kinds of business debt. However, precise financial planning is essential. You can count on few of the best business practices to manage and stay away from entrepreneurial debt.

Try and shrink expenditures – Being frugal is smart. Successful entrepreneurs always suggest this practice. You can read books that will be of help.

Avert unnecessary expenditures – Do consider the opportunity expenses when you are arriving at a financial decision.

Recruit people only when it’s possible – You have to pay your staff. So, it’s a smart call to only recruit people when you have the financial capacity to. Else, you will have to apply for a loan and eventually fall into a debt cycle.

Don’t stretch with productive debt – Spending carefully, even with productive debt, is crucial. Making investments that can go against you isn’t a smart decision.

Conclusion

In all situations, it is always advisable to have ample cash deposits. It helps to manage economic downturns and manage other emergencies.

In the recent times, debt consolidation has proven to be a great way to manage entrepreneurial debt. Rather than repaying at various quarters, it is easy to pay off one huge loan amount. That way, an entrepreneur will have one amount to pay off in a month.

Today, there are various financial institutions providing debt loan consolidation services and other financial counseling. You can use it to plan your business cash-flow better and master how to avoid debt trap.

See Also: Entrepreneurship: A Better Career Choice For Generation Z?

The post Smart Tactics to Resolve and Stay Out of Entrepreneurial Debt appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Lesser-Known But Highly Effective Hacks to Achieve Sales Success

Sales is one of the most crucial aspects of a business and the art of selling is a sought-after trait. In fact, as competitive individuals, humans go through a continuous process of selling. From selling delegated products to selling our skills and unique personalities to our superiors in the office, we regularly undergo the sales process in our daily lives. This makes it important that we become extremely aware of the best ways to boost sales.

“No matter how big (CEO) or small (a salesman) is the job, experience in sales is a must”, said Naeem Zafar, former CEO of multiple unicorns including Bitzer Mobiles and the founder of Telesense, in an interview.

Now, to ensure that you become successful in the process, here is a list of 5 lesser-known ways to boost sales.

Tune in to your prospect’s frequency

Grabbing the attention of your prospect is the most important thing in the sales industry. More than speaking about the product, you need to ‘listen’ to the customer and suggest to him the right product.

This typically requires building a certain amount of trust with the prospect. The best way of doing that is by tuning yourself according to the potential customer.

Mirroring the customer’s actions is how you can pair yourself with his frequency. If he talks slowly, slow your speech down. If he is a conservative, serious person, hold your dad jokes and be serious as well.

Understanding customer psychology and showing familiar ground between you and him is crucial to furthering the sales process. After all, like attracts like, right?

Foresee objections and prepare answers to them

Anticipating is the key and preparing accordingly is your best bet.

The most embarrassing part of sales is when your prospect throws an objection or problem at you and you have no answer to that.

To prepare yourself, you must start by thoroughly researching the product you are selling. Keep track of the competitive landscape and know the pros and cons of your product so you can demonstrate its unique offering when compared with rival products in the market.

To know how to handle prospects, make a list of hurdles already thrown your way by previous prospects or customers and come up with turnarounds for them. Having done that, you will automatically feel more comfortable talking to customers. That can make you look more confident and approachable, setting you on the road to speedier sales success.

Unleash your emotional chameleon

As mentioned above, you need to let the customer do the talking and exercise patience when it comes to sales. In fact, you have to take the back seat and let the prospect drive if you want a successful deal.

Start by letting the customer narrate his problems. Throw emotional darts at him and pinch his pain points. Then, slowly take the leash and guide him towards the solution– your product! And voila, you have your deal signed!

The key is to be sophisticated and subtle while you do this. Genuinely try to understand the customer’s pain points.

Take note of feedback

Customers tend to share feedback in creative ways. From Facebook posts to spitting venomous words in person, customers tend to be brutally honest when it comes to sharing feedback and reviews.

Quite naturally, this can be a huge blow to the seller’s ego, causing the salesperson to get offended and switch off from the conversation. However, ignoring the issue can only lead to dissatisfied customers leaving your product/service subscription and a needlessly high churn rate.

To counter this, think of such unpleasant customer interactions as a golden chance to understand current issues. Use them to come up with things you need to improve or work on.

Grab an in-person meeting

Phone calls and emails all work fine but if you want to hook the big fish, get a face-to-face appointment.

Again, you need to be creative here and not seem like you are imposing yourself on the customer. A light, cheery, ‘I’m in town next week, want to meet up?’ or ‘I’m free tomorrow, can I pop in?’ will work much better than saying outright to your customer why they should purchase your product/service.

Once you get the opportunity, you can pitch your product in a far more relaxed setting than the four-walled sales setting of your office. This can increase the probability of signing a deal sooner than you thought possible. To maintain professionalism, bring a prototype along. If you can get the product itself, there’s nothing better.

In Summary

These are just a few ways to boost sales. The key lies in understanding that your customers and prospects need to see value in your product/service. Critiquing your product is the first step towards understanding the crowd. Once you understand the mindset of the person buying your product or subscribing to your services, you will be in a much better position to sell.

The sentence ‘How can I help?’ should be your signature line and a smile on your face should reflect your empathy, understanding, and conviction. After all, persuasion is the key to sales success.

Happy selling!

The post 5 Lesser-Known But Highly Effective Hacks to Achieve Sales Success appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

MallforAfrica goes global, Kobo360 and Sokowatch raise VC, France explains its $76M fund

Jake Bright
Contributor

Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa.

B2B e-commerce company Sokowatch closed a $2 million seed investment led by 4DX Ventures. Others to join the round were Village Global, Lynett Capital, Golden Palm Investments, and Outlierz  Ventures.

The Kenya based company aims to shake up the supply chain market for Africa’s informal retailers.

Sokowatch’s platform connects Africa’s informal retail stores directly to local and multi-national suppliers—such as Unilever and Proctor and Gamble—by digitizing orders, delivery, and payments with the aim of reducing costs and increasing profit margins.

“With both manufacturers and the small shops, we’re becoming the connective layer between them, where previously you had multiple layers of middle-men from distributors, sub-distributors, to wholesalers,” Sokowatch founder and CEO Daniel Yu told TechCrunch.

“The cost of sourcing goods right now…we estimate we’re cutting that cost by about 20 percent [for] these shopkeepers,” he said

“There are millions of informal stores across Africa’s cities selling hundreds of billions worth of consumer goods every year,” said Yu.

These stores can use Sokowatch’s app on mobile phones to buy wares directly from large suppliers, arrange for transport, and make payments online. “Ordering on SMS or Android gets you free delivery of products to your store, on average, in about two hours,” said Yu.

Sokowatch generates revenues by earning “a margin on the goods that we’re selling to shopkeepers,” said Yu. On the supplier side, they also benefit from “aggregating demand…and getting bulk deals on the products that we distribute.”

The company recently launched a line of credit product to extend working capital loans to platform clients. With the $2 million round, Sokowatch—which currently operates in Kenya and Tanzania—plans to “expand to new markets in East Africa, as well as pilot additional value add services to the shops,” said Yu.

MallforAfrica and DHL launched MarketPlaceAfrica.com: a global e-commerce site for select African artisans to sell wares to buyers in any of DHL’s 220 delivery countries.

The site will prioritize fashion items — clothing, bags, jewelry, footwear and personal care — and crafts, such as pictures and carvings. MallforAfrica is vetting sellers for MarketPlace Africa online and through the Africa Made Product Standards association (AMPS), to verify made-in-Africa status and merchandise quality.

“We’re starting off in Nigeria and then we’ll open in Kenya, Rwanda and the rest of Africa, utilizing DHL’s massive network,” MallforAfrica CEO Chris Folayan told TechCrunch about where the goods will be sourced. “People all around the world can buy from African artisans online, that’s the goal,” Folayan told TechCrunch.

Current listed designer products include handbags from Chinwe Ezenwa and Tash women’s outfits by Tasha Goodwin.

In addition to DHL for shipping, MarketPlace Africa will utilize MallforAfrica’s e-commerce infrastructure. The startup was founded in 2011 to solve challenges global consumer goods companies face when entering Africa.

French President Emmanuel Macron  href=”https://pctechmag.com/2018/05/french-president-emmanuel-macron-launches-a-usd76m-africa-startup-fund/”>unveiled a $76 million African startup fund at VivaTech 2018 and TechCrunch paid a visit to the French Development Agency (AFD) — who will administer the new fund — to get details on how it will work.

The $76 million (or €65 million) will divvy up into three parts, AFD Digital Task Team Leader Christine Ha told TechCrunch.

“There are €10 million [$11.7 million] for technical assistance to support the African ecosystem… €5 million will be available as interest-free loans to high-potential, pre-seed startups…and…€50 million [$58 million] will be for equity-based investments in series A to C startups,” explained Ha during a meeting in Paris.

The technical assistance will distribute in the form of grants to accelerators, hubs, incubators and coding programs. The pre-seed startup loans will issue in amounts up to $100,000 “as early, early funding to allow entrepreneurs to prototype, launch and experiment,” said Ha.

The $58 million in VC startup funding will be administered through Proparco, a development finance institution — or DFI — partially owned by the AFD. “Proparco will take equity stakes, and will be a limited partner when investing in VC funds,” said Ha.

Startups from all African countries can apply for a piece of the $58 million by contacting any of Proparco’s Africa offices.

The $11.7 million technical assistance and $5.8 million loan portions of France’s new fund will be available starting in 2019. On implementation, AFD is still “reviewing several options…such as relying on local actors through [France’s] Digital Africa platform,” said Ha. President Macron followed up the Africa fund announcement with a trip to Nigeria last month.

Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 was accepted into Y Combinator’s 2018 class and gained some working capital in the form of $1.2 million in pre-seed funding led by Western Technology Investment.

The startup — with an Uber like app that connects Nigerian truckers to companies with freight needs — will use the funds to pay drivers online immediately after successful hauls.

Kobo360 is also launching the Kobo Wealth Investment Network, or KoboWIN — a crowd-invest, vehicle financing program. Through it, Kobo drivers can finance new trucks through citizen investors and pay them back directly (with interest) over a 60-month period.

On Kobo360’s utility, “We give drivers the demand and technology to power their businesses,” CEO Obi Ozor told TechCrunch. “An average trucker will make $3,500 a month with our app. That’s middle class territory in Nigeria.”

Kobo360 has served 324 businesses, aggregated a fleet of 5480 drivers and moved 37.6 million kilograms of cargo since 2017, per company stats. Top clients include Honeywell, Olam, Unilever, and DHL.

Ozor thinks the startup’s asset-free, digital platform and business model can outpace traditional long-haul 3PL providers in Nigeria by handling more volume at cheaper prices.

“Logistics in Nigeria have been priced based on the assumption drivers are going to run empty on the way back…When we now match freight with return trips, prices crash.”

Kobo360 will expand in Togo, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Senegal.

[PHOTO: BFX.LAGOS] And finally, applications are open for TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Africa, to be held in Lagos, Nigeria, December 11. Early-stage African startups have until September 3 to apply here.

More Africa Related Stories @TechCrunch

More Africa Related Stories @TechCrunch

·         CowryWise micro-savings service opens high-yield government bonds to everyday Nigerians


African Tech Around the Net

·         More Than Half of Sub-Saharan Africa to Be Connected to Mobile by 2025, Finds New GSMA Study
·         Ethiopia’s Gebeya acquires Coders4Africa to accelerate its growth
·         Rwanda, Andela partner to launch pan-African tech hub in Kigali
·         Google’s free public Wi-Fi initiative expanded to Africa
·         Accounteer wins 2018 MEST Entrepreneur challenge
·         SafeBoda completes expansion to Kenya, now live in Nairobi
·         Uganda government sued over social media tax

5 Habits Of Successful People You Should Be Following Today

Ever wonder how successful people are so successful?

Habits play a crucial role in shaping our lives. According to a psychology study at Duke University, 45% of everything we do on a daily basis factors in daily habits.

We all know that bad habits can be detrimental to your mental and physical well-being. They can hinder your road to achievement and success. Good habits, on the other hand, can help you rise above others and be at your best.

The concept of success differs with each person. To some, it may mean earning more money. To others, it can mean happy relationships or a simple sense of achievement.

So, what are the common habits of successful persons that set them apart from the rest of us?

Let’s try to dig deeper to find the answers.

Reading as a habit
reading habit

Billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett reportedly once said that reading is the most important habit he’s picked up.

Tom Corley works as a financial planner and accountant. He conducted a survey that involved 233 participants with most of them being self-made millionaires. The results of the survey depicted interesting patterns.

Among the participants, 88% claimed to spend half an hour or more each day to reading. Most of them prefer reading non-fiction pieces that include history, self-help books, and biographies.

P.J. Worsfold, head of product for FTSY (“footsy”), an artificial intelligence platform for matching people to shoes, claims to read one hour mostly about his industry and other events related to his niche. Plus, whenever possible, he shares useful articles and a small piece of his opinion.

That helps him remember the significant sections of a piece and gives him the opportunity to explore and use them to view other things.

See Also: Best Business Books: The First-Time Entrepreneur’s Reading List

Be an early bird

About 50% of the participants Corly interviewed stated that they get up around 3 hours before their actual workday starts. It gives them ample time to get additional things done, which may include finishing side projects, working out, or just planning ahead.

Other examples of early risers include Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who is known for getting into the office at 7 a.m. Anna Wintour, Vogue Editor-in-Chief heads out to playing an hour-long tennis match on a daily basis as early as 5:45 a.m.

This shows that although getting enough sleep is very important, you might want to schedule your sleep cycle so you don’t have to keep hitting snooze until the last minute.

After all, the early bird catches the worm.

Work out and stay fit

We have all grown up knowing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, especially working out and staying physically fit.

James Parrelly is the managing partner of Paw Pods that provide eco-friendly pet caskets and urns made from 100% biodegradable materials. According to Parrelly, successful entrepreneurs require mental and physical fitness. He further adds that clearing your mind and challenging yourself physically with a tough workout daily helps you stay ready for the daily challenges of a business.

To sum it up, a strong body carries a strong mind.

Work on communication skills

communication skills

Communication plays a key role in building constructive interpersonal relationships on a personal as well as on a professional level. Working with data, facts, and figures is important. However, if you are unable to convey the right information and message in a timely manner, you are less likely to achieve your objectives.

As Richard Branson, one of the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders states: “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.

As with other skills, it is important to continuously work on improving communication to help you stay more efficient while interacting with anyone on any level. Emphasizing the value of proper communication further, Branson once shared a quote from the popular author Brian Tracy who said this:

“If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”

Use technology

Whether you are a professional just starting a career or a CEO, it is important to keep yourself organized especially when it comes to daily tasks. Especially for people who have a lot on their plate, be it running multiple businesses or trying to balance work-life routine, a to-do list is highly mandatory.

Kris Snyder is the CEO of Vox Mobile, a Cleveland-based organization that provides enterprise mobility solutions. The company has an annual growth that trends above 30% and enjoys consistent inclusion in Gartner’s MMS Magic Quadrant. Snyder also happens to be the founder of the Global Enterprise Mobility Alliance (GEMA).

Snyder advocates for using technology to attain strategic objectives and initiatives. For instance, scheduling a weekly agenda with important clients through a PRM tool. This allows for real-time prioritization of relationships and interactions on a daily basis.

See Also: 5 Top Technology Trends That Will Shape 2018

What’s your take on success and how do you manage to achieve it? Share your ideas in the comments below.

The post 5 Habits Of Successful People You Should Be Following Today appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The Top 4 Best Alternatives to Paypal for Business

Paypal is the biggest payment gateway out there and there’s no doubt about that. It is the most famous online payment system in the world to the point that people associate the word “payment gateway” with Paypal. It offers a nice, clean and very comfortable service within a click and makes everything possible. You know the score.

However, Paypal is not the only payment gateway out there and it is not even the best of the bunch. Sure, it dominates the market but it doesn’t mean that the competition is just slacking around. There are competitors and they rapidly evolve and try to outplay the big guy.

Before we get to the best alternatives to Paypal for business, let’s explain its problem first.

Paypal is a victim of its own marketing. Over the years, Paypal was hyped as the one and only super payment gateway and people believed in that idea. However, the reality is not exactly like that.

Paypal is good for basic transactions. It is serviceable for slightly larger sums but when it comes to a commercial operation with diverse payments and schedules, it gets clumsy and barely usable.

Another thing that raises concerns is security. Paypal is not very good at it. There are holes in its security systems that enable account hijacking and account blocking and that is not something you want to experience. Imagine the consequences of such glitches in your business.

Who are Paypal’s Competitors?

Diversity is the key to success in eCommerce operation. You need to have a set of options for your business and you need to give your customers several options to perform payments.

By using only one payment gateway, you are seriously limiting not just yourself but your customers, too.

With that, here are the best alternatives to Paypal for business you should consider.

Stripe

stripe payment

Stripe is a heavy hitter. It came late to the party and turned the tide on its side simply by being handsome and charming. Jokes aside, it is one of the biggest competitors to Paypal because of its smoothness of operation and security.

Stripe is really easy to integrate into any kind of website. In addition, it avoids redirects and performs the entirety of operation on your website. It gives a larger degree of control over the operation and that is particularly calming for a businessman.

Stripe’s greatest asset is its fraud detection system. It consists of thorough credibility checks, comparison with blacklist databases, and analysis of activity. It guarantees that no one ever will succeed in wrecking your account.

Stripe’s fees are standard but chargebacks are lower than Paypals.

The challenge comes with operating it. In order to make Stripe work, you need to know a thing or two about programming. That isn’t that much of a problem if you think about it for a moment.

Square

square-official-payment

Square is probably the most radical payment gateway out there. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t skew the principles of the economy. Instead, it offers services that feel absolutely different from any other payment gateway available.

For the lack of a better word, Square is “Stripped-down” or “no-nonsense” payment gateway. That is what makes it so attractive to an ever-growing audience.

From the user experience perspective, Square is very similar to Paypal if it was cleaned-up and dropped weight. It is faster, smoother, and more elegant to use.

In terms of service, it is a reliable and trustworthy gateway. If there is something wrong, don’t worry as its customer support service will be the ones to handle it.

Authorize.Net

authorize net

Authorize.Net was there from the very beginning of eCommerce on The Internet. It saw it all and it knows a couple of tricks. As one of the oldest payment gateways active today, Authorize.Net has the benefit of having the time-tested trust.

One of its major assets is security measures. Authorize.Net is a perfect gateway for those who have a paranoia about online transactions.

In terms of UX, it is really user-friendly. You can do whatever you need if its legal. The tools for structuring payments are easy to handle and there are many additional settings that help with nuances and scheduling.

However, Authorize.Net is not cheap and that is a major turn off.

Braintree

braintree

Braintree is a division of Paypal that is a much better fit for eCommerce payments.
The best thing about it is how easy it is to handle very different types of payment. Just a couple of clicks and you can get your thing done.

Another great thing is integration. Unlike Paypal that needs some tweaks in order to fit the website, Braintree fits every type of site like a glove.

Fees are standard but in exchange, you get more features to play with so this is definitely a win. However, there might be some complication regarding technical adjustments.

Conclusion

Paypal still stands tall in the payment gateway segment, but there are worthy competitors who have something else to offer. For business owners, that is a good thing.

The nature of the competition in the payment gateway segment is beneficial for every involved party. It jumpstarted rapid evolution, increased the overall quality of services, and deepened sets of available features.

As such, the variety of options available is inspiring.

The post The Top 4 Best Alternatives to Paypal for Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

How to Finance A Startup Business

After telling your boss to go to – well, you know where – and coming home to explain to your wife what you had just done, you sat in your man cave and processed both reactions: your boss was shocked and your wife was seriously mad.

You’ve got this, so you assured her. But, is that really the case?

Yes, you have a wonderful business idea that will surely take off, but she brought up a very important point:

How are you going to finance it?

Don’t fret as we share with you the best tips on financing your business.

Business Investors

business inventors People invest in businesses every day when they purchase stocks, but you aren’t ready for your initial public offering just yet. You need somebody who is willing to put his or her money into your idea, which is an entirely different beast.

Your first step is to write a business plan that details your idea. You will be asking people to give up their cash, so you must keep this in mind when you write your plan. Think back to your business courses in college.

You likely learned that there are many sections of a business plan and all are important. You must include an executive summary first that briefly encapsulates all aspects of your vision. Next is your company description which should include your corporate set up and business goals.

After that, describe in detail your product and/or services and how they will make money. The fourth section is your marketing analysis. Section five should explain your business startup and growth strategy and how you plan to implement it. Sections six and seven, meanwhile, are your management and financial structures, respectively.

Investor options include angel investors, crowd funders, and – believe it or not – your competition.

Angel investors are wealthy people willing to put their own money into business ventures. Some will put a ton of cash into a new venture while others will invest just a tiny sum. You can have one or many angel investors banding together and forming a group.

Angel investors do more than just give you moolah; they can also take a stake in your company which means they will expect investment returns. Many will take a management role, too. They can give you crucial advice while you’re still starting out.

Crowd Funders

For the independent entrepreneur who doesn’t want anyone else involved in managing his startup, crowd funders are another option. It leaves you 100% in charge.

Just like GoFundMe, there are a lot of available online crowdfunding websites for businesses. You will need to find a website the best one that can help you raise money. Remember to be realistic about this financing option.

While there are success stories about people reaching their funding goals, they don’t mean you’ll surely experience the same thing. For you to be successful, your plan must be full proof and others must become impassioned by your idea.

The benefit is this money is yours to keep with no strings attached. This is another reason why so many business startups try crowdfunding.

It doesn’t hurt to try. Even if you don’t reach your goal, you may still receive donations which you can use for your startup and for networking with others in your niche. This can bring you to investment by your competitors.

That isn’t as far-fetched as it might sound. Many people in your industry might be interested in giving you a helping hand. Competition is healthy and when you’re on your feet, you can divest out and be on your own. Don’t forget about microloans and grants, either.

Growing Your Entity

Once you are up, running, and turning a profit, think about venture capital to grow your business to greater heights. Venture capitalists are people who invest in existing entities to give them the boost they need to reach their next plateau and then go beyond it.

Many people think that venture capitalists only invest in technology companies, but this isn’t the case.

Many businesses receive funding from VCs, as they’re called, including biotechnology and other science companies, food service, retail, and beyond. Companies such as Amazon, Starbucks, and Uber have taken advantage of VC financing in the past, too. amazonChris Sacca is one venture capitalist who helped put Instagram and Twitter (among others) on the map. Born in Lockport, New York, Sacca founded Lowercase Capital which has had its hand in financing and managing numerous businesses.

Experts in business growth, Sacca and his team helped owners design and implement growth plans. And when you look at Sacca’s record, you’ll realize VC is a wonderful tool once you’re established. It’s full of visions which are usually successful.

Your wife will calm down eventually and you don’t ever need to worry about your boss again. In the meantime, write a comprehensive business plan and seek out the money you need to get your venture off the ground. There are plenty of financing options available whether you are just starting out or planning your growth. So, keep your mind open and good luck to you!

See Also: Tips for New Entrepreneurs: What You Need to Know Before Starting A Business

The post How to Finance A Startup Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

The Best Tips to Boost Pinterest Conversion

Pinterest has emerged as an important marketing platform to drive conversion for businesses. But how exactly can it drive sales and generate leads?

To understand the potential of Pinterest, it is important to know how it stands apart from others. Let us explain first its key attributes.

Visual Content: Most researchers agree that visual elements generate more interest in reading content. Do you want some statistics in favor of it? Just have a look at the following stats:

  • Visual content enhances 94% more page views.
  • It makes at least 37% more engagement.
  • Visual impressions are processed by our brain six billion times faster compared to text.

Easier sharing: Visual content gets better sharing compared to text. A visual in Pinterest gets around 10 repins compared to text.

Driving traffic: Pinterest can generate a good volume of traffic in a quicker time if you can make a solid visual campaign on it. Here are some tips:

  • Do not pin any image without website link.
  • Pin tutorials in greater number to get more clicks than others.
  • Offer pins on trending topics to gain more clicks.
  • Use appropriate Call-to-action buttons like, ‘Repin this’, ‘Comment below’,  and ‘Click here’ to push clicks and conversion.
  • Make all your posts easily pinnable by using a Pin App.

Pinterest is less competitive: The competition on Pinterest is significantly lower as compared to the major social media sites. Facebook has 1.40 billion users while Instagram has over 400 million. Pinterest only has 100 million active users in a month as of now.

More discoverability: The posts on its homepage stay much longer, allowing more views.

Pinterest is ideal for shopping: A 2014 statistics revealed by Pinterest says that 93% of pinners, comprising both men and women, shopped through the platform in the last six months.

So, you have got the mandate loud and clear.

Pinterest conversion is better than other social media platforms. If you are ready to apply it to your business, here are the 5 most effective tips you can use.

Understanding the users

pinterest social media

Every platform has a typical user mindset. The same person while using Facebook has a different mindset than the one using Pinterest.

A recent study by Digitas and Curalate revealed that 70% of brand engagement on this platform is created by the users only, not by the business brands.

What are the basic experiences people refer when using Pinterest? Here’s a quick look:

  • Just having a glimpse.
  • Wish I could do it.
  • Taking a closer look.
  • I am definite of what I want from it.

These four reactions happen on the basis of user needs, context, and time. You should have a solid grasp of the target user preferences, contexts, and the way they prefer content. A unique look and feel coupled up with staying relevant to your audience will be the key to prompt action from them.

Promotional campaigns

On Pinterest, coupons and contests are very popular. Terms like “free”, “discount,” “best offers” will surely get your users’ attention. Seeing the products and reading their data in details can also increase engagement and conversion.

To set up coupons on Pinterest, you can easily take help from a third-party coupon creation app like Wishpond. You can run the campaign through the business website.

There are also free third-party coupon apps. Some of these apps also provide tools, like real-time analytics of campaigns to spot opportunities.

When running a photo contest on Pinterest, make your strategy based on social-proofs and allow only user-created content for the contest. This will enhance credibility and enhance engagement to the contest.

Such contests should allow sharing the content across all social channels, generating fresh traffic for your website and opening new avenues of engagement.

SEO for better discoverability

How can you make your content easy to discover on Pinterest? Well, this requires some maneuvers that we would refer to as Pinterest SEO.

First of all, begin your pins with the username of your company. In Pinterest, just as it is allowed on Facebook, you can create custom URL.

Secondly, always use some target keywords in the About section and then let those keywords appear in the Pinboard names. To make it further optimized, you can also use backlinks to your website or use hashtags within the pin description.

A Pinning Strategy

pinterest

You should have a pinning strategy in place. There are various aspects to it but the most important of them include wise targeting, quality images, and enriching pins.

Let us have a look at these:

  • Pinterest offers robust analytics to know your audience and accordingly fixes your pinning strategy with relevant keywords, image strategy, promoted pins, etc.
  • High-quality images have no alternative to boost your pins for better user engagement. Besides professional quality photos, make use of graphics, infographics, and posters to offer a varied mix of visual content.
  • Rich pins consisting of various types of texts and images can engage audience better.

Using pins to allow direct purchase

There is not a better way to push Pinterest conversion than allowing people to make purchases directly from pins. Pinterest pins can be used to make such direct purchase and they are called buyable pins. At present, they are only available for iOS and Android users only in the U.S. Anytime soon, it will be extended to other parts of the globe and across other platforms.

See Also: Use Pinterest to Plan Your Next Vacation — Here’s How

The post The Best Tips to Boost Pinterest Conversion appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Digital Marketing for Business: Is It A Must?

Why is content going digital?

There are plenty of people who prefer going to movie theaters to see new movies. There are still lots of folks who enjoy a live musical performance over listening to the radio.

But more and more people are choosing to download digital copies instead of standing in line to buy physical copies of books, music, and movies. And that’s not even the most seismic shift to digital content we are seeing at this point in time.

There is a ton of data out there that is finally starting to be used for something and they are going to change everything about our lives.

How Much Digital Content Is Out There?

90% of today’s data were generated in the last two years and that’s really not surprising. Smartphones have only been around just over a decade. Users have only recently embraced their ability to generate data pertaining to their everyday lives.

Two and a half quintillion bytes of data are created every single day worldwide. Considering that internet usage worldwide is only at 50%, that figure is going to continue growing exponentially in the future.

What Else Is Going Digital?

One major example is currency.

We see this a lot with cryptocurrency. Even though news of cryptocurrency’s volatility, carbon footprint problems, and security problems are making headlines daily, digital currency is still getting more popular. In fact, it increased 43 times in just one year.

That speaks volumes about the trust people put on digital currencies and content.

See Also: Cryptocurrency Is On The Rise: Are You Prepared?

Businesses Are Leveraging All That Digital Content To Innovate

digital business marketing

Think about all the data generated about you when you go online and interact with people there. That’s the same way companies get an idea of who their target audience is.

Think of it this way:

When you call a call center with a complaint or customer service issues, the other party asks for your details. That includes who you are, where you live, how much money you make, your education level, and more.

Those data can tell a company a lot about who its target audience is. They can also provide valuable insights on how its employees and products are doing in terms of customer satisfaction and retention.

Some of the ways that big data is being leveraged to improve businesses include:

  • Cost-benefit analysis and decreasing expenses
  • Making decisions based on data
  • Discovering new avenues for innovation
  • Speeding up current innovation efforts
  • Launching new products and services based on what customers want
  • Adding revenue
  • Transforming business into a sustainable model that will work in the future

See Also: Know Your Customers In The Digital Age

Potential Downsides To Going Digital

We’ve seen places like Puerto Rico get slammed with hurricanes that have wiped out the entire power grid. Replacing that power grid is slow and costly.

Of course, in that situation, you wouldn’t be worried about accessing your digital movies, books, and music.

But what if you’re relying completely on digital currency and there’s no electricity to connect you to the Internet? How can you use it?

Digital Marketing for Businesses

At this point, it no longer makes sense for your business not to adopt and utilize digital marketing. It’s the hottest thing right now and it’s what can give your business the boost it needs to improve its sale.

Here’s a list of what you need to do:

  • Post videos of special events and see how the public will react to them.
  • Post photos regularly on Instagram and see which ones get the most interaction. This is often where you will find your next big idea.
  • Use social media as a means to interact and build relationships with your customers.

Learn more about leveraging digital content from this infographic!

Infographic by MerlinOne

The post Digital Marketing for Business: Is It A Must? appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Creative Ways to Establish Business Credibility

Big companies like Coca-Cola, Nestle, and McDonald’s are brands well-known throughout the world. When you go to those companies or buy their products, you get a certain feeling of authority and trust as a customer.

Why?

Because they are huge and established multinational companies.

Now, if you are just starting out with your business, you’re probably hoping to trigger the same feelings in your customers. In this article, we’ll share with you the best tips on how to establish business credibility.

Configure your auto attendant creatively

An auto attendant is a collection of voice menus and actions defined by the caller’s behavior. Depending on what you set it to, you can connect the caller to an extension, send them to a voicemail, play announcements, and more.

For instance, you can assign a voice menu that says, “To reach our sales department, press 1. For technical support, press 2. To talk directly to our receptionist, press 3.”

Even if you’re just a two-person business, you can assign yourself multiple extensions so that you can handle incoming calls for both sales and reception. This will impress callers and make them think that your company is bigger than it actually is.

Make your website more appealing

Being stuck with an outdated website design won’t do your business any good. Since your website is a reflection of your business, you have to make sure that it’s impressive.

Work on the following when trying to make your website more appealing:

  • Fantastic UI. Customers should be able to navigate your site with ease. If they don’t know where to go after they visit your homepage, you can easily lose them to your competitors.
  • Attractive color schemes. Some business owners are prone to using unpopular colors on their website while some are just basing their colors on their personal preferences. It’s good to remember that it’s not always about you but about the audience you’re trying to attract. If you don’t know where to get started, you can get inspiration from tons of online resources.
  • Effective and readable content. Readability is important to make sure that visitors are getting the most out of the stuff they read on your site. Put some effort in ensuring that your content is targeted and friendly to the readers.

See Also: 4 Ways to Make Your Website an Effective Business Tool

Improve your customer interactions

Remember that you have control over how you deal with your patrons. Make sure to turn every interaction into a positive and memorable one for them.

Here are a few strategies you can use:

  • Cover all of your bases. Customers will be getting in touch using all forms of communication imaginable. They will email you, call you, record voicemails, send faxes or fill up a form on your website. Make sure that you track all of those forms and see to it that you respond to them in a timely manner. If you can afford it, find a good CRM platform that will allow you to centralize and simplify all types of customer engagement.
  • Try to see things from the customer’s perspective. Treat your patrons the way you want to be treated.
  • Be transparent with handling feedback. Be appreciative of the feedback that you get whether they’re positive or negative. By doing this, you’ll be able to find the things that you’re doing right and discover the things you still need to work on. Large companies aren’t fazed by negative feedback; they quickly work on making improvements.

Engage in corporate social responsibility

Businesses shouldn’t always be entirely about what the customers buy. Several studies have already proven that modern consumers are more likely to patronize companies committed to advocacies or those that support causes.

Well-known brands such as TOMS and Warby Parker have understood this perfectly. While they don’t exactly have the best products on the market, they sell items like pancakes because of their business model.

“Traditional marketing, where savings is the main message, is no longer as appealing as it was before,” says this social responsibility article on the RingCentral Small Business blog.

Because of this, you need to keep up not just because it’s trendy but because it pays to have a purpose. Also, you have to make sure that the cause you’re supporting is relevant to your business.

Become a leader in your niche

It would be best to score speaking engagements at industry forums. This way, you’ll get to share your knowledge, generate awareness about your brand, and become a leader in your space. You also get the chance to learn from others when you do this.

Spend time building relationships with your audience and with like-minded individuals in your niche. Participate in meet-ups if you can and be active when attending such events.

Be part of associations or organizations that are niche-specific. These will add to your “seal of approval”. They will help you gain the credibility and trust of the people around you.

The bottom line is that you should get your name and your brand out there. You want to be seen and be heard at this point.

These are just some of the things you can do establish business credibility. If you’ve already tried out some of these tactics, let us know how they’re working out for you.

See Also: 8 Top Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

The post 5 Creative Ways to Establish Business Credibility appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

4 Simple Ways To Increase Your Customer Base

So, you’ve been in business for some time now. Do you know how to increase your customer base?

When you started out, you’re probably not so bothered about having little or no customer. After all, it’s normal for new businesses. But now, you’re probably thinking why you can’t keep your business on a steady ride.

What will be the fate of a business without customers?

I’m no prophet of doom but it’s quite obvious that it’ll be a disaster. And that’s because customers are the sustaining factor of a business.

It’s no exaggeration when they say that customer is king. Their patronage provides the revenue that businesses thrive on. Simply put, they are the reason why you are in business.

So, how do you deal with the problem of little or no customers? Unless you want to go out of business soon, you have to be worried about your lack of customers.

Here are four simple ways to increase your customer base.

Provide excellent customer service

customer support

Charity begins at home.

A good way to increase your customer base is to work on putting customers at your disposal. When you don’t give these customers a reason to stay, they’ll run into the open arms of the next available competition. The first contact a customer makes with you is worth more than a million dollars.

You know why?

If such a customer is satisfied with your delivery, he/she could transact businesses worth more than a million dollar with you subsequently. A satisfied customer is likely to tell their friends, family, and associates about your services, referring more clients to you even without you asking.

See Also: Live Chat for Business: The Best Investment?

Understand your target market

Needs can only be met when they are understood.

It’s impossible to provide a solution to a problem you know little or nothing about. You could end up spending so much time and resources doing the wrong things.

Identifying prospective customers’ needs gives you better insights on how to provide products or services that are tailor-made for them. When you have the answers to customers’ problems, they’ll naturally be drawn to you. And if you live up to their expectations, you’re likely to keep them around for a very long time.

At the end of the day, every customer wants to be satisfied. If you tick that box, you’ll have their full attention.

Utilize your network

In this digital age, we are bombarded with different modern marketing strategies with the promise of great results. While some of these techniques are efficient, they are still a far cry from the good old proven word of mouth marketing technique.

You see, your social capital isn’t just there for socializing; it can be of great help in growing your business, too.

Your network consists of people who know you personally. While they may not be able to vouch for you on matters of life and death, they trust you enough to give you the benefit of the doubt in trying out your products or services. Don’t be shy to tell them about what you do.

Remember, you are your best marketer. Talk to people in your network about your business. You’ll be surprised at the number of new customers you’ll get from that.

Explore social media

social media marketing

If everyone is gushing about the benefits of social media in business, there’s a chance that there’s something in it for you as well. It’s okay to be a doubting Thomas but sometimes, you have to give the benefit of the doubt.

Look at it this way:

With social media, you can reach people that you may not be able to reach normally. When you do it right, you are likely to generate leads from your social media marketing strategies.

See Also: 4 Good Reasons For Marketing With Facebook

Technology makes it easier for you to streamline your campaigns to consumers who are in need of what you are selling. You can get your products or services right in front of people who are looking for exactly what you are offering.

There’s no such thing as too many customers; the more the merrier. If you made it a point of duty to increase your customer base on a regular basis, you’d have more revenue in your bank account. You get to meet your business goals and even expand. In the end, you stand to lose nothing. So, wouldn’t you rather give it a try?

The post 4 Simple Ways To Increase Your Customer Base appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

4 Simple Ways To Increase Your Customer Base

So, you’ve been in business for some time now. Do you know how to increase your customer base?

When you started out, you’re probably not so bothered about having little or no customer. After all, it’s normal for new businesses. But now, you’re probably thinking why you can’t keep your business on a steady ride.

What will be the fate of a business without customers?

I’m no prophet of doom but it’s quite obvious that it’ll be a disaster. And that’s because customers are the sustaining factor of a business.

It’s no exaggeration when they say that customer is king. Their patronage provides the revenue that businesses thrive on. Simply put, they are the reason why you are in business.

So, how do you deal with the problem of little or no customers? Unless you want to go out of business soon, you have to be worried about your lack of customers.

Here are four simple ways to increase your customer base.

Provide excellent customer service

customer support

Charity begins at home.

A good way to increase your customer base is to work on putting customers at your disposal. When you don’t give these customers a reason to stay, they’ll run into the open arms of the next available competition. The first contact a customer makes with you is worth more than a million dollars.

You know why?

If such a customer is satisfied with your delivery, he/she could transact businesses worth more than a million dollar with you subsequently. A satisfied customer is likely to tell their friends, family, and associates about your services, referring more clients to you even without you asking.

See Also: Live Chat for Business: The Best Investment?

Understand your target market

Needs can only be met when they are understood.

It’s impossible to provide a solution to a problem you know little or nothing about. You could end up spending so much time and resources doing the wrong things.

Identifying prospective customers’ needs gives you better insights on how to provide products or services that are tailor-made for them. When you have the answers to customers’ problems, they’ll naturally be drawn to you. And if you live up to their expectations, you’re likely to keep them around for a very long time.

At the end of the day, every customer wants to be satisfied. If you tick that box, you’ll have their full attention.

Utilize your network

In this digital age, we are bombarded with different modern marketing strategies with the promise of great results. While some of these techniques are efficient, they are still a far cry from the good old proven word of mouth marketing technique.

You see, your social capital isn’t just there for socializing; it can be of great help in growing your business, too.

Your network consists of people who know you personally. While they may not be able to vouch for you on matters of life and death, they trust you enough to give you the benefit of the doubt in trying out your products or services. Don’t be shy to tell them about what you do.

Remember, you are your best marketer. Talk to people in your network about your business. You’ll be surprised at the number of new customers you’ll get from that.

Explore social media

social media marketing

If everyone is gushing about the benefits of social media in business, there’s a chance that there’s something in it for you as well. It’s okay to be a doubting Thomas but sometimes, you have to give the benefit of the doubt.

Look at it this way:

With social media, you can reach people that you may not be able to reach normally. When you do it right, you are likely to generate leads from your social media marketing strategies.

See Also: 4 Good Reasons For Marketing With Facebook

Technology makes it easier for you to streamline your campaigns to consumers who are in need of what you are selling. You can get your products or services right in front of people who are looking for exactly what you are offering.

There’s no such thing as too many customers; the more the merrier. If you made it a point of duty to increase your customer base on a regular basis, you’d have more revenue in your bank account. You get to meet your business goals and even expand. In the end, you stand to lose nothing. So, wouldn’t you rather give it a try?

The post 4 Simple Ways To Increase Your Customer Base appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

5 Things You Need To Know About Shared Web Hosting

With technology evolving, customers have more options than ever before. They are surrounded by streams of brands- millions of them. People are agog over searching things they want over the internet, so if you do not exist online, you are probably losing a multitude of your potential customers.

Having a website is a must!

Whether you own a large corporation or a small cafe, you will need an influential web presence where your customers can connect with you, discover about your business, and eventually buy your products online. Taken together, an appealing, user-friendly, and informative website can magnetize new customers and prospects.

Businesses that still don’t have a website may be considered as outdated or even unreliable. Obviously, you wouldn’t want your business to have the same impression.

Since a majority of small and big businesses get their own website, they need to choose between different hosting solutions at some point. If your website does not attract much traffic and you have a tight budget, then shared web hosting service is the best option for you.

The Most Affordable Hosting Option

web host

Shared hosting is the most classic and widely chosen hosting plan across the globe. The key reason is its affordability as you don’t have to burn holes in your wallet.

Shared hosting is more like sharing an apartment where you share different facilities, like parking lot, kitchen, internet provider, and so on. When it comes to hosting, you have to share your resources with other hosting mates, like CPU time, memory, data, and disk space.

The Drawbacks

Shared hosting comes with some drawbacks. Potential website instability is one of them.

Take note that your website will be sharing server CPU resources with different other websites. When any of the websites sharing your server experiences an upsurge in traffic, your site might load slowly.

More Things to Consider

Hosting providers offer different plans for shared hosting. They may ask you to pay monthly, quarterly or yearly depending on your chosen plan.

Apart from payment options, you also have to be clear about the features you should be able to get from your plan. Storing files on the server is essential and so is the volume of data transfers and storage limits. If the basic features aren’t enough, you can always get an upgrade but be prepared to pay more.

Many shared hosting providers offer unlimited monthly data transfers to their customers. This may not be a catch, but you have to be sure that there are no hidden prices involved and that your definition of unlimited is same as theirs.

Now comes the OS. Check if you need Windows servers or Linux servers. Most common OS available for servers is Linux, but there are some web hosts that will allow you to choose between Linux or Windows hosting. For server-side apps that require Windows, let’s say SQL Server or a customized software coded in .NET, then Windows hosting will be the right option.

Make sure that your prospective web host offers a user-friendly control panel to streamline server administration and website management. Rather than typing a command line manually, the user can click the icons they recognize.

Another thing is customer support. You need to be certain that your host offers responsive 24/7 customer support. Some useful tools are forums, tutorials, and knowledge bases, but there’s nothing like having a human at your disposal.

customer support

See Also: 5 Effective Ways To Sound More Human Over A Customer Support Live Chat

Hosting For Bloggers

WordPress hosting is an effective and affordable solution, just like shared web hosting. This sort of hosting is the best solution for people planning to create a website powered by WordPress CMS (content management system), but don’t want to be troubled with things like updating CMS and the apps. Managed WordPress plans is mostly comprised of security features aimed at protecting CMS from layabouts.

Some managed WordPress hosts restrict certain plugins. Therefore, if your website demands certain plugins, then you might have to search for other hosting options. Please note that only WordPress CMS can run on managed WordPress hosting.

See Also: How to Choose a Web Host for Your Website

 

To wrap up

Selecting the right hosting option is no rocket-science; it truly depends upon your unique needs and budget. Most of the time shared web hosting is more than enough to cover your hosting needs as it is affordable, practical, and uncomplicated.

The post 5 Things You Need To Know About Shared Web Hosting appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Client Refusing To Pay Invoice? 5 Ways To Deal With Non-Paying Clients

One downside of being an entrepreneur is clients who pay late or not at all. Small business owners are most likely to face this problem. It’s usually because they are unsure about how to pursue these clients.

Are you a small business owner tired of having your invoices ignored? These tips can help you deal with a client refusing to pay an invoice.

Contact the Client

email clients

Email your clients and remind them that you haven’t received payment. If they don’t respond within a week, then send a follow-up. The person responsible for invoices might have been out of town, had an emergency or accidentally deleted the message. You can also try contacting them via social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).

However, if these methods yield no results, then it’s time to place a phone call.

Talk to the client. You may need to call every day for a month and act like an absolute pest, but hey, you need the money. Make sure to leave a voicemail each time, explaining that the invoice is past due and you want to resolve the issue. This is a good time to ask if there was a problem with the service or product you provided. If the answer is no, then they should have no problem paying.

Offer Options

Sometimes, clients put off paying their invoices because (1) the payment method is inconvenient or (2) they’re having trouble with the payment system. In this case, often all they need is a friendly person to reach out and guide them through the process. If there is a problem with the system itself, offer another way they can pay you.

The client may also put off paying their bills because they’re having financial trouble. Be flexible in this scenario by working out a payment plan (a certain amount per month over a certain time period) or requesting a good faith payment now and the rest later. When you’re understanding with your clients, they’re more likely to stick around.

Settle for Less

If worst comes to worst, you can discount the bill. They’re likely to jump at the chance to pay less for the service and you’ll get money in your pocket sooner than the alternative. You may want to avoid potential future invoicing headaches by dropping the client, though.

Hire a Collection Agency

Emails, phone calls, and reminders have gone unanswered. In this case, business to business collections is a possible solution. A professional collection agency could contact the client and attempt to get your payment. This type of agency deals exclusively with business debts.

As long as your debt is business-related, then this type of agency can be your next best option. If you’re hesitant to go that far, a warning letter from a lawyer generally elicits a speedy reply.

Small Claims Court

small claims court

Small claims court allows you to present your case directly to a judge. Some states, such as Michigan and Nebraska, don’t allow lawyers in small claims court. If you live in one of those states, then it’s mandatory for you to represent yourself. But, in most states, legal representation is an option.

The cost of hiring a lawyer for small claims court is usually not cost efficient, so most people choose to represent themselves. However, using an attorney instead of a debt collection agency can result in a quicker resolution to the outstanding debt and the preservation of your business relationship.

Each state sets its own limit for the maximum amount you can request. The limit can be anywhere from $2,000 up to $10,000. Check with your state to see if your claim is eligible. If your claim exceeds state limits, then you need to file your case in another court.

See Also: How to Sue in Small Claims Court

Moving Forward with Problem Clients

Once the client has finally made the payment, you may want to make some adjustments to how you bill them in the future. For example:

  • Ask for a pre-payment or retainer, especially for larger projects.
  • Make them sign a contract before getting started. That way, if they go AWOL, you have a more straightforward route in place to go after them.
  • Ask for payment based on project milestones rather than dates. This makes sure you’re paid in full before the project is finished.

Conclusion

In a perfect world, you’d get every invoice paid in full and on time. in reality, however, you have to take action against a non-paying client. So, don’t hesitate to ask for the money you’re owed; you’ve already earned it.

The post Client Refusing To Pay Invoice? 5 Ways To Deal With Non-Paying Clients appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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7 Cross-Border Dropshipping Tips Winners Use

Thinking of scaling or taking your dropshipping business overseas? Today is the best time to do that!

E-commerce’s global consumer base continues to expand exponentially and with this type of demand, supply must also rise.

BigCommerce reports that 96% of Americans shop online with 8% of millennials shopping daily. Studies show that more firms, including B2B companies, are now considering dropshipping. In 2011 alone, a Forrester report showed that dropshipping accounted for 34% of products sold on Amazon. That equates to $14.2 billion.

Increased consumer confidence, internet accessibility, multi/omnichannel options, technology, competition and innovation are some major drivers of this upbeat trend.

The Big Question

Is dropshipping for you?

Wisdom says if it is too good to be true, then it probably is. However, just like any business, dropshipping requires time and effort.

Dropshipping is an e-commerce order fulfillment model where a facilitator (dropshipper) receives orders from buyers (shoppers), passes it on to manufacturers or suppliers and delivers those orders direct to customers (D2C).

In other words, you order from a wholesaler or manufacturer only when your customers order from you. There’s no need for you to stock inventory. All you ever have to worry about is marketing and sales as your entire supply chain and logistics are handled for you.

Unfortunately, dropshipping isn’t for everyone. It could be for you if you love to work remotely and independently and if you hate:

  • Warehousing
  • Managing CRM/WMS/OMS
  • Buying and stocking inventory
  • Packaging
  • Printing labels
  • Shipping
  • Handling returns
  • Paper work

If you are looking for some inspiration, here are some of the top-rated dropshipping companies today:

  • Oberlo
  • SaleHoo
  • Worldwide Brands
  • Wholesale2B
  • Inventory Source
  • Vista Wholesale
  • Dropshipping Design
  • Doba
  • Drop Ship Access
  • Sunrise Wholesale
  • Megagoods
  • Dropship Direct

You could start a self-hosted dropshipping store. However, for someone who’s just starting out, you’ll be better off with platforms or companies that already have solutions that seamlessly integrate dropshipping with e-commerce like Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce etc. You can skip this tip if you have the men and means to build one from scratch.

Cross-Border Dropshipping

Cross-border dropshipping is basically you (dropshipper) dropshipping orders to customers beyond your borders. Take a look at the following model to understand the concept better.

Local vs Global Dropshipping

The following highlights some key differences between local and global dropshipping:

1 No customs duties, taxes, levies Custom duties, taxes, levies
2 Known regulated products Different from country to country
3 Single currency Multi-currency considerations
4 Monolingual Multilingual considerations
5 Single time zone Different time zones
6 Cheaper More expensive
7 Limited reach Unlimited opportunities

7 Tips For Better Cross-Border Dropshipping

Now that you know the differences, here are 7 tips to help you nail cross-border dropshipping:

Investigate Your Target Market

You need not become or hire a Sherlock Holmes. Simply look into existing research before you make the leap. Worth over $672 billion, China is the largest e-commerce market. However, issues like distance, customs procedures, government regulation and payment processing are major pain points for non-Chinese businesses.

Do your due diligence and risk assessment before commencing.

Know Your Target Customers

BigCommerce, in a recent report, similarly revealed that 43% of US shoppers shop while in bed. If this group form part or the core of your consumer base, you need to adjust your marketing efforts accordingly.

You need consumer behavior insight when dropshipping abroad.

Some key questions to ask include:

  • What are their age, gender, income level, location?
  • What hours do they shop online most?
  • Who are they?
  • What is their time zone?
  • Which social media or search engine do they frequently use?
  • What products sell more?
  • What device is mostly used?

Answers to these questions will help you streamline your dropshipping services for more efficiency.

Know International Trade Regulations

It is easy to cross the line with cross-border dropshipping if you are ignorant of relevant international trade laws. This is why you need to familiarize yourself with the current business laws before you actually start with your project.

Take, for example, Kenya.

Recently, Kenya banned the production, selling and use of plastic bags, targeting manufacturers and sellers first. This information can help you decide whether to expand into Kenya, considering your product packaging practice.

Follow the Leaders

Follow industry leaders in cross-border dropshipping and not leads. Most e-commerce marketers spend their ad-earned currency chasing and hoping to convert and keep leads. Instead of being like them, you should study dropshippers like Irwin Dominguez who went from zero to over $1 million in one year.

irwin dominguez dropshipping
Via zacjohnson

That’s the kind of guy you should follow and leads will follow you back soon. Follow their strategies on blogs, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and any other places where they hang out.

Optimize Your Dropshipping Website

It is critical to get your dropshipping website right. It is your major opportunity to attract, convince and convert leads.

Retail Dive reports that more than 65% of shoppers browse online before buying offline.

As they interact with your website, online shoppers form opinions about your business. They assess your site’s loading speed, landing pages, ease of navigation, design, UX, forms, product photography/description, and checkout to payment.

If you are unsure how to create one, you can hire freelancers to design one for you on a budget that won’t break the bank.

See Also: A Practical Guide to Hiring and Managing Freelancers

Offer Multilingual, Multi-Currency Support

Language is a core component of social identity and culture. Offering your services in languages local to your international audience is a great way to connect with them.

Currency conversion calculations is another pain point for many cross-border shoppers. E-commerce stores that support multi-currency payments take that stress off of shoppers. It allows them to pay in their local currency while you receive payments in your own currency.

Consider Marketplaces

dropshipping marketplace

Brand recognition and awareness take time to build. It is okay to sign up to popular marketplaces like Amazon or eBay when you are just starting out. They are platforms that support hundreds of thousands of stores. You can gain experience and share valuable insights from forums and community support such platforms provide.

See Also: The 5 Internet Marketing Trends That Will Dominate in 2017

As you cut your teeth and become more successful, you can start considering other options. If you’re on Shopify, apps like Oberlo can make dropshipping simpler by automating everything from product importation to order fulfillment.

What winning tips have you used in your dropshipping business?

 

The post 7 Cross-Border Dropshipping Tips Winners Use appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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9 Smart Investments to Improve Your Rental Properties

Owning a rental property can be a lot of work but wise management can keep it profitable for years to come. Whether you’re new to the game or an old veteran, these 6 modern features can increase property value as well as make it more comfortable for residents.

1. Wi-Fi

If your rental property doesn’t have Wi-Fi yet, better install it quick. Wi-Fi has become the standard for homes and businesses and if you want to stay marketable, a strong Wi-Fi signal is a must.

However, partnering with a low-quality Internet service can actually hurt, rather than help, your marketability.

Here are the top 10 service providers of 2017, according to Top Ten Reviews:Top Ten Reviews:

1. Comcast
2. Time Warner Cable
3. Verizon
4. AT&T
5. Cox
6. Charter
7. Suddenlink
8. Cable One
9. CenturyLink
10. Frontier

2. Solar-Powered Water Heater

Conventional natural gas or electric water heaters can be a substantial monthly expense. More importantly, they can make up a big part of your carbon footprint, too. Investing in a solar-powered heater is a one-time outlay that saves on both money and pollutant emissions.

Photo credit: thegreenmanproject.com

3. Home Automation

If you’re installing a solar-powered water heater, why not go one step further with home automation? Home automation devices like smart thermostats, smart lighting and smart HVAC can save energy, reduce a home’s carbon footprint and boost property value.

4. Home Surveillance

Home security systems, like those offered by ADT, Frontpoint and Armorax, should be next on your list of value-boosting property enhancements. With features like cameras, motion sensors, alarms, 24-hour surveillance and easy-to-use controls, they can protect your buyer and your reputation.

As you compare companies, keep in mind that although quality comes with a price, it pays in the long run.

See Also: 8 Sharp-witted Ways To Protect Your Rental Homes

5. Smart Doorbell

A doorbell may not be the first investment that comes to your mind, but have you heard of smart doorbells?

They’re the new peephole, allowing residents to discreetly view visitors while remaining hidden. Some smart doorbells also offer a monitoring feature so you can see a visitor before they even reach the door. Although small, these nifty devices can also boost property value.

Photo credit: securitysales.com

6. Central Air Conditioning

If your property does not already have central air, it’s time to get that installed. This will not only make your tenants’ lives more comfortable but it can also save energy costs in the long run.

Central air systems cost roughly $0.30 to $0.50 per hour at $0.10 kWh. For comparison, one window unit costs $0.11 to $0.75 per hour, depending on the size of the room being cooled. Keep in mind that most properties need more than one window unit to stay cool.

7. Water Softener

If your property is in an area with hard water, invest in a water softener. Hard water can create mineral buildups in pipes and appliances, like washing machines, dishwashers, and hot water heaters. Eventually, this can substantially reduce performance and lifespan in these appliances, forcing you to pay for repairs or even replacement sooner than necessary.

Having a water softener improves your property’s appraisal value and, as an added benefit, can prevent unsightly deposits on faucets, shower doors, etc.

8. Landscaping

If yard maintenance is not part of your tenant’s rental contract, then the responsibility of keeping the place looking nice falls to you as the landlord. Rental properties with curb appeal are worth more as well as they are better able to attract tenants when you have a vacancy.

Key areas to pay attention include:

  • Weeding flower beds/around shrubs
  • Mowing and watering the lawn
  • Trimming trees and shrubs
  • Raking fallen leaves in fall
  • Clearing snow from driveway/sidewalks

revamp garden

 

Landscaping is one area that can trap you into wasting money. Take care not to go overboard. Additions like ponds, fountains, and even swimming pools cost more than they are worth.

9. Renovations

Are your rental’s appliances getting old? Are the carpets looking shabby? Has the paint lost its pristine glow?

A renovation is an old trick of the trade, but not one to be forgotten. Updating the kitchens and bathrooms is a big one and it can provide about 80% ROI. The right changes can’t only improve property value but also attract higher-income tenants.

Conclusion

As you manage your rental properties, don’t forget that your renters always come first. Take care of them and you will have stable profits for years to come.

The post 9 Smart Investments to Improve Your Rental Properties appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Five Easy Ways To Make Money From Social Media

Making money with social media is no longer a myth. In fact, you can even do it without breaking a sweat. There a lot of opportunities for those who are actively online, but to give you specific ideas on how you can actually earn, here are five good ways you can try.

Social Media Manager

social media manager

This wouldn’t make you eye-boggling sums but it will make you some cool side cash if you find the right gig. If you have had real success in getting people to notice, like, comment on or share your posts across social media platforms, then you already have the basic requirements.

Companies that know how social media is no longer an option in the 21st century can hire you to manage their social media marketing campaigns, design social media strategy and manage their platforms. What you just have to do is to know what these companies are. Most of the time, these are private contractor’s jobs that can be done remotely.

Make Money Off Of Your Videos

Not everyone can swing this admittedly, so I guess it may not be an “easy tip” for everyone. But, if you have an engaging personality, sense of humor, a unique perspective and considerable knowledge of a particular subject, then you can do a lot of things with social media.

You can monetize your YouTube Channel, for instance, by being a vlogger and posting videos. Once they go viral, you can get a reasonable side income. Apart from virality, you can also earn revenue by joining the Youtube Partner Program which basically allows Google to install ads at the start of your videos.

Take, for example, Grace Helbig. She creates fun Youtube videos and shares them on her other social media accounts.

You could also coach someone remotely. With the engagement that social media has brought about, you can do almost anything that can be done personally through a video tutorial, Skype or even over e-mail.

If you have an area of expertise and reasonable knowledge to help someone with, you can offer your services via social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Charge a fee for your services and make that cash.

You can even use a YouTube channel to upload your tutorials on a general basis and then promote them via other social media platforms.

Make Money Off Of Your Photos

make money of your photos

If you are an avid Instagram user and post various original photos across social media, you can turn that into a paying gig. However, before this gig can fly, you would probably have to have built a following and made people reasonably aware of your work and the quality of your work.

You can promote your work with platforms like Flickr or you can offer your work so people can use them for free on their websites. Once you are able to increase the number of people who are aware of your work, you can join paying sites like Shutterstock or iStockphoto. If someone takes interest in your work, he’ll be required to pay for your pictures before using them on his blogs.

Utilize Your Instagram Account

I can safely say that Instagram has a proven track record of conversion for businesses than most platforms. Its visual and captivating nature make it a great ground to start from.

You probably didn’t know that you could monetize your Instagram account, did you? Well, you can!

While you can’t make purchases from Instagram yet, its unique features make it a great place for showcasing your work. With platforms like Like2b.uy, which is designed to allow your followers to buy what they’ve seen in your feed with just a few clicks, you’ll be earning good cash in no time.

For you to experience this, you may need to add a third-party app. “Shop Instagram” or ” As Seen on Instagram” are great choices since they only need to be added to a part of your homepage. You can also link them in your Instagram bio or your website so you can drive traffic there

JennieKwonDesigns is one of those people who has had great success with this trick.

 

See Also: How to Increase Your Instagram Followers in 2017

Sell Your Art And Songs

Instagram and Tumblr are great means to test the waters with your artwork. When you get great responses, you can then utilize them to sell prints and other merchandise through online stores, like Etsy or Big Cartel.

If you can make great beats, jingles and good music, places like Soundcloud are one of the best and easiest to use platform that can help you get your work noticed. You can share the SoundCloud link to all your social media platforms and get instant downloads. Who knows who will hear your work?

See Also: 3 Things You Should Know Before Pursuing A Songwriting Career

There are a lot more options like Freelance writing, selling an e-book, and you can even come up with one! The opportunity to make money from social media is relatively endless. You just have to figure out what will work best for you.

Go make some money!

The post Five Easy Ways To Make Money From Social Media appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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The Average Joe’s Guide To Setting Up An Online Business

E-commerce can be a minefield to the average Joe. Many big decisions need to be made, from deciding what to sell to how you can start setting up an online business. But, don’t let the online world scare you. With the following tips, you will be well on your way to creating your own successful business.

Refining, Designing And Sourcing Your Product

There are lots of options when embarking on a career in e-commerce these days. You can design your product, employ a third-party company to do this for you or source stock and mark up the price to make a profit.

It doesn’t matter how you go about obtaining your product. What’s more important is that you take your time to make the right decisions.

The D.I.Y. Approach

Product design can be a long and arduous process. But, if you want to offer a unique and valuable product or service to your customers and succeed with your online business, then you need to be ready to do your homework.

Pro tip: To launch an online business with a self-designed and prototyped product, your product needs to be refined to meet the needs of your audience. This should involve rigorous product testing.

GoldieBlox is one good example. It has taken the children’s toy industry by storm with products designed to encourage young girls to pursue an interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

These construction toys were designed to overcome the societal obstacles that can afflict girls in early childhood development and make them believe that STEM subjects are off limits to them.

GoldieBlox craftstruction

Shopify entrepreneur and founder Debbie Sterling divulged that, to get her product right, she embarked on a long process of prototype testing and tweaking with focus groups to test on small children. Sterling created crude prototypes of her early designs and she employed children of differing age groups to play with them, observing them as they did.

Each focus group revealed new things to change about her products. One of her discoveries was that female children get frustrated with asymmetrical construction toys. As a result, she tweaked her designs to feature only symmetrical slots.

Debbie’s experiences teach us that all products need multiple levels of refinement and testing to ensure that they successfully fill a niche in the market and meet a customer’s needs.

Third Party Design

Third party design can be a great way to get your product ready to prototype or manufacture quickly. This method of design can speed up the process of getting your product ready to market in your online store and allow you to focus solely on marketing it and making sales.

Services, such as Viral Style, enable you to design your unique, personalized garments online, set your price and use their services to market the product through email placements and social media.

Here’s how it works:

  • You need to create your garment with the online design suite
  • Set a price at which you wish to sell your product online
  • Utilize Viral Style’s marketing services to gain exposure for your product
  • Collect a percentage of each design’s sales as a profit

However, this kind of design model is not without its drawbacks. For example, Viral Style takes a percentage of each sale for their service.

Despite this, by speeding up the product design process, third party designing services is still a good tool, especially since it can make your business more accessible to people.

Buying In Your Product

Is creating or designing a product not so appealing? If this is your concern, you should consider becoming an online merchant.

Being a merchant requires spending time doing a lot of research to ensure that you find the best quality products at the lowest price and then mark them up to make a profit.

Here are some ways you could source products and set up an online business:

Find a simple accessory niche – Merchants make most of their profits on the accompanying accessories to their products. These accessories, such as HDMI cables and phone cases, are less price-sensitive. Despite this, merchants can still make the same profit on an HDMI cable as they would do on a TV.

Consumable/ disposable and subscription products – These products often lead to repeat business, which is great for any merchant. If your product is regularly ordered, you could be on your way to generating a sustainable profit. Consider running a subscription service for guaranteed periodic sales.

Gaps in the online shelves – Perusing the online stock levels of products on Amazon or Ebay is often a good idea. Products which are consistently out of stock are a great business opportunity for you.

Be relentless: test your product, or do your research until you get it right. See our previous article on why your business ideas most likely need a little work.

Setting Up Shop

setting up shop

So, now that you’ve made or found your niche product, how do you get the ball rolling?

Here are some important points to consider when you are selecting which method to adopt in selling your product online:

The ability to showcase your products and brand through attractive imagery: Promote your products and brand with unique imagery, including crisp, high definition photos or infographics.

A clearly designed buyer’s journey: An easy to use online interface is required to convert your page visits into sales and avoid shopping cart abandonment

Communications with customers are key: Make the most of the online world by using calls-to-action to capture email addresses and click-through buttons to gain social media follows. You can then use social media and newsletters to advertise your products and get your brand heard.

Content value exchange is important: Linking your online store to your brand’s social media and offering other content, such as a blog, can be very useful. Your customers will be more likely to give you their contact details or business if you inform or entertain them.

Strategize your platform: Ebay, Amazon or Etsy are all fantastic ways to sell products online. However, if you want more control over the buyer’s journey, you should consider an all-in e-commerce platform.

See Also: How Online Blogging Is Influencing Business Trends

Marketing Your brand: Authenticity Is Key

A brand story is the foundation of any growth strategy.

Making your brand story clear and engaging with your customers is a great way to make your online business stand out from the crowd. You can also try giving your products and services a human face.

Invest In Your Brand Story

Your brand story should include:

  • The reason your company came to be
  • What motivates you and your team to come to work each day
  • An inside look at your company

High Brew Coffee, for example, engage their customers with an excellent brand story of their online store. The coffee retailer’s website boasts the story of how the founders first came to conceptualize the brand.

Their website even hosts a short animated video which transforms their story into stylized visual content. This is in keeping with their brand image and creates an emotional connection with the consumer.

The experience of buying from them is not like buying from a stranger as their brand story has put a face to the name High Brew Coffee.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness 

Take Aways

Setting up an online business has never been easier but there are a few things you need to do before you set up your shop:

Refine your product: Whether it has been handcrafted or purchased online, make sure that your product fills a niche in the online market that guarantees sales.

Sell your products the right way for you: With so many options out there, it is worth doing your research to find the right way to sell your products online. Consider an e-commerce platform for greater control.

Be authentic: Let your customers know what’s special about your company by expressing your brand story and offering a face to your brand’s name.

Are you considering setting up your own online business? What lessons will you take away from it? Let us know in the comments.

The post The Average Joe’s Guide To Setting Up An Online Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Ways Business Investment Loans Can Help Your Start-Up

As a business owner, you know your business inside out and are the best judge of its potential. While naysayers will always warn you against taking a business investment loan, it is sometimes nevertheless necessary in order to help your business achieve growth.

Listed below are 5 ways in which a business investment loan can help to expand your start-up.

Finance New Technology or Equipment

new technology investment

As in any business, productivity levels depend on the current level of technology being used. Chances are that when you were first establishing your business, you weren’t able to get the latest or most efficient tech.

Now may be the time to get a small business development loan to get up to date on current technology for your start-up. This may just fuel your business and help it gear up for the next level.

Re-Energize the Face of your Business

Most customers subconsciously judge a business by the office or retail space that it operates from or the kind of branding and advertising it does. Once the start-up is established, it is time to entice new customers with an appealing in-store display, a well-lit interior, easy to identify signage, and other features.

A small business development loan is a great way to fund this renovation or even get ahead in your branding endeavours. A new office, a new logo and allied stationary, or a revamped store may help to attract new talent and new customers since as it shows that your start-up is confident about its growth.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness

Fund the Next Product Development

Have your initial services and products been well accepted by your target audience? It is now time to innovate and add to your existing offerings or develop new products for which you see potential.

Any kind of new development requires capital. With all your capital used up in setting up your start-up, a small business development loan can be just the push your business needs to expand and add more value to its offerings.

Strengthen your Working Capital

Organising and maintaining inventory is one of the largest business expenses. With a working capital business loan, you can make your start-up more agile. Free capital previously invested in inventory can be focused on the growth of the business.

Help with Getting the Right Talent and Retaining Them Too

right people

Every business needs the right people to keep it functioning smoothly and efficiently. As your business grows, it will need more people to keep pace with the increase in demand. Also, the start-up will demand more experienced talent to help the business plough through to the next phase of growth.

Human resources aren’t just tools, but people who need to be respected, nurtured and well compensated for their hard work and talent. A small business development loan will help to ensure that their salary payments are made on time irrespective of revenue income. And this will ensure that your business stays profitable in the future.

See Also: How to Save Your Startup by Hiring the Right People

While these are typical uses of a business loan, lenders understand that every business is unique and capital needs diverse. With this in mind, lenders provides business loans designed to cater to every business need on low interest rates and various other advantages.

 

The post 5 Ways Business Investment Loans Can Help Your Start-Up appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Ways Business Investment Loans Can Help Your Start-Up

As a business owner, you know your business inside out and are the best judge of its potential. While naysayers will always warn you against taking a business investment loan, it is sometimes nevertheless necessary in order to help your business achieve growth.

Listed below are 5 ways in which a business investment loan can help to expand your start-up.

Finance New Technology or Equipment

new technology investment

As in any business, productivity levels depend on the current level of technology being used. Chances are that when you were first establishing your business, you weren’t able to get the latest or most efficient tech.

Now may be the time to get a small business development loan to get up to date on current technology for your start-up. This may just fuel your business and help it gear up for the next level.

Re-Energize the Face of your Business

Most customers subconsciously judge a business by the office or retail space that it operates from or the kind of branding and advertising it does. Once the start-up is established, it is time to entice new customers with an appealing in-store display, a well-lit interior, easy to identify signage, and other features.

A small business development loan is a great way to fund this renovation or even get ahead in your branding endeavours. A new office, a new logo and allied stationary, or a revamped store may help to attract new talent and new customers since as it shows that your start-up is confident about its growth.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness

Fund the Next Product Development

Have your initial services and products been well accepted by your target audience? It is now time to innovate and add to your existing offerings or develop new products for which you see potential.

Any kind of new development requires capital. With all your capital used up in setting up your start-up, a small business development loan can be just the push your business needs to expand and add more value to its offerings.

Strengthen your Working Capital

Organising and maintaining inventory is one of the largest business expenses. With a working capital business loan, you can make your start-up more agile. Free capital previously invested in inventory can be focused on the growth of the business.

Help with Getting the Right Talent and Retaining Them Too

right people

Every business needs the right people to keep it functioning smoothly and efficiently. As your business grows, it will need more people to keep pace with the increase in demand. Also, the start-up will demand more experienced talent to help the business plough through to the next phase of growth.

Human resources aren’t just tools, but people who need to be respected, nurtured and well compensated for their hard work and talent. A small business development loan will help to ensure that their salary payments are made on time irrespective of revenue income. And this will ensure that your business stays profitable in the future.

See Also: How to Save Your Startup by Hiring the Right People

While these are typical uses of a business loan, lenders understand that every business is unique and capital needs diverse. With this in mind, lenders provides business loans designed to cater to every business need on low interest rates and various other advantages.

 

The post 5 Ways Business Investment Loans Can Help Your Start-Up appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Ways Business Investment Loans Can Help Your Start-Up

As a business owner, you know your business inside out and are the best judge of its potential. While naysayers will always warn you against taking a business investment loan, it is sometimes nevertheless necessary in order to help your business achieve growth.

Listed below are 5 ways in which a business investment loan can help to expand your start-up.

Finance New Technology or Equipment

new technology investment

As in any business, productivity levels depend on the current level of technology being used. Chances are that when you were first establishing your business, you weren’t able to get the latest or most efficient tech.

Now may be the time to get a small business development loan to get up to date on current technology for your start-up. This may just fuel your business and help it gear up for the next level.

Re-Energize the Face of your Business

Most customers subconsciously judge a business by the office or retail space that it operates from or the kind of branding and advertising it does. Once the start-up is established, it is time to entice new customers with an appealing in-store display, a well-lit interior, easy to identify signage, and other features.

A small business development loan is a great way to fund this renovation or even get ahead in your branding endeavours. A new office, a new logo and allied stationary, or a revamped store may help to attract new talent and new customers since as it shows that your start-up is confident about its growth.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness

Fund the Next Product Development

Have your initial services and products been well accepted by your target audience? It is now time to innovate and add to your existing offerings or develop new products for which you see potential.

Any kind of new development requires capital. With all your capital used up in setting up your start-up, a small business development loan can be just the push your business needs to expand and add more value to its offerings.

Strengthen your Working Capital

Organising and maintaining inventory is one of the largest business expenses. With a working capital business loan, you can make your start-up more agile. Free capital previously invested in inventory can be focused on the growth of the business.

Help with Getting the Right Talent and Retaining Them Too

right people

Every business needs the right people to keep it functioning smoothly and efficiently. As your business grows, it will need more people to keep pace with the increase in demand. Also, the start-up will demand more experienced talent to help the business plough through to the next phase of growth.

Human resources aren’t just tools, but people who need to be respected, nurtured and well compensated for their hard work and talent. A small business development loan will help to ensure that their salary payments are made on time irrespective of revenue income. And this will ensure that your business stays profitable in the future.

See Also: How to Save Your Startup by Hiring the Right People

While these are typical uses of a business loan, lenders understand that every business is unique and capital needs diverse. With this in mind, lenders provides business loans designed to cater to every business need on low interest rates and various other advantages.

 

The post 5 Ways Business Investment Loans Can Help Your Start-Up appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Ways to Legitimately Start Making Money Online in Your Spare Time

Have you ever wanted to make money online but weren’t sure how to get started? The good news is that tons of people are already making money online and many of them have done this by turning their expertise, passion, or hobby into profits.

To help with this process, today I wanted to share a list of five great ways you can start making money online. Each method is unique in their own way but also generating millions of dollars in revenue daily for people around the world.

Start a Blog

start a blog

Blogging is one of the most popular ways to start a website or a place of your own on the internet. Ever since the creation of WordPress, it’s never been easier to get started with a website or blog without the need to know anything about web hosting, programming or even content creation.

Many blogs start out as hobbies or personal sites, then as their readership builds up, different forms of monetization and potential revenue come into play. To learn more about how to start a blog and even make some money in the process, be sure to check out this blogging resource guide.

See Also: 5 Simple Ways to Transform a Blog to a Money Making Machine

Freelance Writing

Many people are great at writing but never really get to put this to good use. At the same time, many people have a lot of free time during their day and could start making a few dollars in the process by completing articles for websites, marketing agencies and different brands around the world.

Through the use of sites like Fiverr, TextBroker, and iWriter, anyone can create an account, look up the latest article jobs, then complete them at their leisure or even create a new freelance writing business in the process.

See Also: How To Find Great Ideas For Writing A Story 

Create an Etsy Store

Creativity is something many people possess but it’s not something many people can successfully make money with. Thanks to sites like Etsy.com, anyone can create an online store of their own and start selling crafts, paper products, art work, t-shirts or anything else you can think of.

When starting an Etsy store, try to provide the highest quality products and build a brand around your business. The start-up costs for Etsy are quite minimal and many of their users are earning over five-figures per month selling through their site.

Affiliate Marketing

If you have a passion for business or know how to sell products, the world of affiliate marketing might just be what you were looking for. The concept of affiliate marketing is quite simple.

Many web sites and brands will pay out a commission to site owners and partners who promote their website. Every time a new customer or lead is referred, an affiliate would then receive a commission for the transaction that takes place.

Some of the many benefits of affiliate marketing include not needing to hold any inventory, never needing to handle a transaction and there is also unlimited earning potential.

Sell Stuff on Amazon and eBay

sell stuff on amazon

We all use sites like Amazon and eBay on a daily basis as a customer, but not enough of us are using these online stores to their full advantage. eBay is one of the best sites for selling junk or unwanted products you might currently have in your house. What many people don’t know is that Amazon has a program of their own for selling content through their site as well. This can be done with individual products, or even with bulk products that you might already create and sell elsewhere.

Now that you’ve seen some of the best ways to start making money online, it’s time for you to get in on the action. Each of the methods are unique in their own way, and can make more or less depending on the time, work and effort you put into them.

 

The post 5 Ways to Legitimately Start Making Money Online in Your Spare Time appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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5 Ways to Legitimately Start Making Money Online in Your Spare Time

Have you ever wanted to make money online but weren’t sure how to get started? The good news is that tons of people are already making money online and many of them have done this by turning their expertise, passion, or hobby into profits.

To help with this process, today I wanted to share a list of five great ways you can start making money online. Each method is unique in their own way but also generating millions of dollars in revenue daily for people around the world.

Start a Blog

start a blog

Blogging is one of the most popular ways to start a website or a place of your own on the internet. Ever since the creation of WordPress, it’s never been easier to get started with a website or blog without the need to know anything about web hosting, programming or even content creation.

Many blogs start out as hobbies or personal sites, then as their readership builds up, different forms of monetization and potential revenue come into play. To learn more about how to start a blog and even make some money in the process, be sure to check out this blogging resource guide.

See Also: 5 Simple Ways to Transform a Blog to a Money Making Machine

Freelance Writing

Many people are great at writing but never really get to put this to good use. At the same time, many people have a lot of free time during their day and could start making a few dollars in the process by completing articles for websites, marketing agencies and different brands around the world.

Through the use of sites like Fiverr, TextBroker, and iWriter, anyone can create an account, look up the latest article jobs, then complete them at their leisure or even create a new freelance writing business in the process.

See Also: How To Find Great Ideas For Writing A Story 

Create an Etsy Store

Creativity is something many people possess but it’s not something many people can successfully make money with. Thanks to sites like Etsy.com, anyone can create an online store of their own and start selling crafts, paper products, art work, t-shirts or anything else you can think of.

When starting an Etsy store, try to provide the highest quality products and build a brand around your business. The start-up costs for Etsy are quite minimal and many of their users are earning over five-figures per month selling through their site.

Affiliate Marketing

If you have a passion for business or know how to sell products, the world of affiliate marketing might just be what you were looking for. The concept of affiliate marketing is quite simple.

Many web sites and brands will pay out a commission to site owners and partners who promote their website. Every time a new customer or lead is referred, an affiliate would then receive a commission for the transaction that takes place.

Some of the many benefits of affiliate marketing include not needing to hold any inventory, never needing to handle a transaction and there is also unlimited earning potential.

Sell Stuff on Amazon and eBay

sell stuff on amazon

We all use sites like Amazon and eBay on a daily basis as a customer, but not enough of us are using these online stores to their full advantage. eBay is one of the best sites for selling junk or unwanted products you might currently have in your house. What many people don’t know is that Amazon has a program of their own for selling content through their site as well. This can be done with individual products, or even with bulk products that you might already create and sell elsewhere.

Now that you’ve seen some of the best ways to start making money online, it’s time for you to get in on the action. Each of the methods are unique in their own way, and can make more or less depending on the time, work and effort you put into them.

 

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5 Ways to Legitimately Start Making Money Online in Your Spare Time

Have you ever wanted to make money online but weren’t sure how to get started? The good news is that tons of people are already making money online and many of them have done this by turning their expertise, passion, or hobby into profits.

To help with this process, today I wanted to share a list of five great ways you can start making money online. Each method is unique in their own way but also generating millions of dollars in revenue daily for people around the world.

Start a Blog

start a blog

Blogging is one of the most popular ways to start a website or a place of your own on the internet. Ever since the creation of WordPress, it’s never been easier to get started with a website or blog without the need to know anything about web hosting, programming or even content creation.

Many blogs start out as hobbies or personal sites, then as their readership builds up, different forms of monetization and potential revenue come into play. To learn more about how to start a blog and even make some money in the process, be sure to check out this blogging resource guide.

See Also: 5 Simple Ways to Transform a Blog to a Money Making Machine

Freelance Writing

Many people are great at writing but never really get to put this to good use. At the same time, many people have a lot of free time during their day and could start making a few dollars in the process by completing articles for websites, marketing agencies and different brands around the world.

Through the use of sites like Fiverr, TextBroker, and iWriter, anyone can create an account, look up the latest article jobs, then complete them at their leisure or even create a new freelance writing business in the process.

See Also: How To Find Great Ideas For Writing A Story 

Create an Etsy Store

Creativity is something many people possess but it’s not something many people can successfully make money with. Thanks to sites like Etsy.com, anyone can create an online store of their own and start selling crafts, paper products, art work, t-shirts or anything else you can think of.

When starting an Etsy store, try to provide the highest quality products and build a brand around your business. The start-up costs for Etsy are quite minimal and many of their users are earning over five-figures per month selling through their site.

Affiliate Marketing

If you have a passion for business or know how to sell products, the world of affiliate marketing might just be what you were looking for. The concept of affiliate marketing is quite simple.

Many web sites and brands will pay out a commission to site owners and partners who promote their website. Every time a new customer or lead is referred, an affiliate would then receive a commission for the transaction that takes place.

Some of the many benefits of affiliate marketing include not needing to hold any inventory, never needing to handle a transaction and there is also unlimited earning potential.

Sell Stuff on Amazon and eBay

sell stuff on amazon

We all use sites like Amazon and eBay on a daily basis as a customer, but not enough of us are using these online stores to their full advantage. eBay is one of the best sites for selling junk or unwanted products you might currently have in your house. What many people don’t know is that Amazon has a program of their own for selling content through their site as well. This can be done with individual products, or even with bulk products that you might already create and sell elsewhere.

Now that you’ve seen some of the best ways to start making money online, it’s time for you to get in on the action. Each of the methods are unique in their own way, and can make more or less depending on the time, work and effort you put into them.

 

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5 Reasons Your Business Idea Is Rubbish

I got a message this morning from a guy in London who wanted my advice on setting up a peer-to-peer taxi service to rival Uber and Lyft. He reckoned he had a USP, but I was already walking away from this assignment.

I explained that he’d broken one of the basic rules of goal-setting. The one about reality.

Uber raised over $12bn to get where they are, Lyft around $2bn so far. My loner in his home office might manage that, but chances are he won’t. Ever.

Of course, he also might win the lottery. All he has to do is buy a ticket, right?

I like to be brutally honest with my clients. More to redirect than demoralize of course, so here are 5 ways to test if your well-meaning idea might never create a successful business.

Reason 1: Barriers to entry

business barriers

Many industries require big investment in machinery, technology and people just to get started. That’s a barrier to entry if you’ve got limited access to funds.

Other barriers could be the need to obtain licences, authorisation or qualifications before you’re able to trade. The most common barrier though, is the cost of being heard.

Do you have a viable route to market at a price you can afford?

If you don’t, then find a different idea.

Reason 2: Misaligned skills

You’re an accounts assistant looking to escape the grind of the company you’re working for. Setting up your own bookkeeping firm might be a realistic goal.

On the other hand, deciding to launch a children’s nursery just because you have a child of your own isn’t an indicator of success by itself. Learning ABOUT your business whilst also learning how to run it might just be a stretch too far.

Think “I am able to do this” rather than a loose “I would like to do this”.

Reason 3: Poor goal-setting

It’s been said many times, many ways that goals need to be specific, measurable and realistic. Beyond that, your goals need to inspire you.

Goals are not just about numbers. You have to really WANT to achieve them. You have to live and breathe your goals. Missing them has to feel like dying.

Can you quantify goals that mean the world to you?

You should.

See Also: Gardeners Have the Secret Sauce for Goal-Setting 

Reason 4: Me-too!

business competition

It’s tempting and even inspiring to look at a successful business and think “I could do that”. Maybe you could, but here’s the news: they already did it.

The market for anything can only take a certain supply before it’s saturated. New entrants then face an uphill struggle to be heard, and a downhill race to the bottom as they attempt to compete on price.

Try this instead: do something new and better.

Reason 5: No market

I had a friend who had a hunch. Actually, more an itch he had to scratch.

Based on his experience of fixing his mother’s washing machine (and thereby saving her the perceived cost of replacement), he reckoned he could start his own domestic appliance repair business.

He had a van and some tools, right?

Wrong. Nobody fixes their white goods anymore, as he found out too late.

Cost of replacement is low, products are generally reliable and extended warranties abound. As the TV Dragons might say: Congratulations, you’ve found a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist!

Brain Tattoo:

Don’t waste your precious life trying to polish a poo.
Every successful business starts with a great idea.
Find yours, and connect to it.

See Also: Five Steps To Turn Doing What You Love Into A Successful Business

 

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Staying Motivated as an Entrepreneur – Top Tips from Some of the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs

Staying motivated is one of the most difficult things for entrepreneurs. It is the lack of motivation that causes many entrepreneurs to quit.

Below are some tips on how some of the world’s successful entrepreneurs stayed motivated despite the ups and downs in the business.

Joe Martin, President of Merchandize Liquidators, LLC

Joe Martin, an Israeli-born, founded Merchandize Liquidators while pursuing a Business Administration degree at Florida International University. Hardworking and persistent to finish college, he opened Merchandise Liquidators to pay his way through college. Although faced with different challenges during the start of his business such as time and money for capital, it didn’t stop him from reaching his goal.

He was an international student during that period, which means he had to stay as a full-time student for legal reasons. The main issue he faced regarding his business was to convince major chain stores that he could get their closeouts on a consistent basis regardless of the lack of capital to buy goods and space to place it.

According to Joe Martin, socializing with the most successful people is the key to staying motivated. He says that when you socialize with people who are at a higher level of success than you, you get a mental push that will help you break the barriers that are stopping you from making millions.

See Also: 7 Power Habits of Great Leaders, Business Icons and Inspirational Achievers

Chase Jarvis, CEO at CreativeLive

chase jarvis

Chase Jarvis, along with Craig Swanson, founded CreativeLive. Chase, a leader and a renowned creative himself, dedicated his company to providing an online space for visionary instructors to connect with creative professionals. He was not just the present CEO at CeativeLive, but also a director, an award winning photographer, and media maven. Furthermore, he created campaigns for Starbucks, RedBull, Nike, Apple, and other companies. He is also known for creating Best Camera, the world’s first photo application that lets the user share images to social networks.

Chase Jarvis first took the spotlight when he became the world’s best photographer at a young age. He went ahead to create CreativeLive which is the world’s biggest live-streaming education company.

Chase says that much of his success and motivation was from following his passions. He says that you should go after something that is dear to you and not random market opportunities. If you go for random opportunities, you will only be doing it for the dollars and thus you will not have the passion to stay with it.

Juanita Hines, Regional Consulting

juanita hines

Juanita Hines, passionate about helping people succeed, founded Regional Consulting. Because of her ability to help craft perfect resumes for her clients, she was known to be the “Resume Whisperer.” Her passion for helping has led her to start her company dedicated to professional empowerment by providing interview coaching and training in communities where no such opportunities were previously available.

Juanita also does a lot of speaking engagements at youth camps and schools. She also works with other non-profit organizations in encouraging students to start planning for their futures and assist professionals with insights on how to heighten their careers.

Juanita says that you should surround yourself with people who are striving to pursue their own success. This will encourage you to succeed in your own life as well.

See Also: 5 Women Entrepreneurs Who Failed Before Becoming Millionaires 

Tim Ferriss, best-selling author and CreativeLive instructor

tim ferris

Tim Ferriss, considered as one of “Most Innovative Business People, is also an author. He wrote “The 4-Hour Workweek, the 4-Hour Body, and the 4-Hour Chef”, considered as Wall Street Journal and #1 New York Times bestsellers. Furthermore, he is an investor and consultant in Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, Uber, Duolingo and much more. His podcast was also recognized as the “Best of 2015” by Apple and the #1 business podcast on iTunes.

Tim’s key to success and staying motivated is to choose your friends wisely. He says that the best advice he ever received and still keeps him going is that you become an average of the 5 people who you associate with most.

Will Curran, President of Endless Entertainment

will curran

Will Curran, who was only 17 during that time, started his interest in DJing. He found a need missing in the entertaining industry and went head-first into satisfying such need.

Due to his passion for putting on events, each mistake he made became building blocks to grow his company further. One of his discoveries during the journey towards his goal was how customers would start coming to him if he provided excellent customer service after which everything would fall into place.

Will says that you succeed by fighting the small battles. He says he finds joy in overcoming obstacles and celebrating even small wins. He rewards himself after all the jobs are well done. According to Will, you can get overwhelmed if you focus too much on the bigger picture.

Justin Palmer, Founder & CEO of MedSaverCard

Justin gets his motivation by thinking about his future freedom. He says that entrepreneurship requires a lot of hard work but if you concentrate on your business now, it will give you the freedom and resources for the years to come.

 

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4 Key Ideas To Help Your Passion-fuelled Business Take Off Fast!

I love passion! I love purpose! I love making money doing what you love! I love all of that stuff and I do believe that everyone can do exactly that. However, finding the thing that you want to build your life around, that is passion-fuelled, that is purpose-driven, and that you love, is just the first step.

You also have to make this passion make you money.

And guess how you do that?! – PEOPLE! People are how you get from having a great big dream of what you want to happen to actually making it happen. Let me explain as I go through these 4 points.

What is the problem

So, you have taken the first step. You decided to make money doing what you love. You wake up with a spring in your step knowing that you have finally found the thing you want to drop dead doing.

Well, it will not be long before you realize that you cannot live on happy feelings alone – You have to bring some money in. And you bring some money in by solving problems for someone else.

You know what you want to do, great. But how does it solve a problem or meet someone else’s need? Why will they buy it from you? Do they know that they have a need for it?

Take a moment here to see how your thing aligns with their needs. If you can find an urgent, pressing need that they have, even better.

Listen, this does not mean giving up your ideas of how you want to spend your life. This means getting VERY creative on how you position what you want to deliver as a solution to a problem that they have.

If you have something completely novel, then you may need to spend some time trialing different ways to position your self in the marketplace – BE COMMITTED to this process and in time, you will get clear on how what you have solves their problem.

If you choose to put stuff out there that’s already in the market, then check your competition’s strategies. Notice any gaps in the way they deliver and also remember that you are unique and the way you do things will never be the same as anyone else.

Allow your novelty to shine through. Go to Amazon, see reviews, see what people complain about if your product or service is talked about online, go to forums, do the research. Decide how to position yourself as solving the problem.

This is one major key to making money doing what you love – YOU NEED TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM. As mentioned, this may take trial and error to figure out how to solve the problem but DO THE WORK! And please do not give up hope even when it seems long and tedious.

Communication

business communication

OK, so now you need to start communicating with people, online, offline, anywhere and everywhere. You need to express yourself and how you can help them in as many different ways as possible.

Brainstorm different ways to tell people about you. Guest blog, write articles, get active on social media, go to networking events, get featured on the radio, be on magazine fronts. Do not hold back. When you get an idea for how to spread the word about you, follow through! Don’t give yourself too much time to think about it. You can refine your approach later.

For now, just go all out. When you get ideas of results, you can then decide to change tactics as you see what is working and what is not. But for right now, simply go all out! Be everywhere, doing something.

And if you are just getting started, do not underestimate how much effort it is going to take you to get seen everywhere. Do not think it is too much and people will get fed up of you – It is not the truth! It is just your fear talking. You need to keep getting out there in as many ways as you can think of!

See Also: How Online Blogging Is Influencing Business Trends 

Capture

Ok, now that people start to notice you, your next point of business is to start to capture people into your world. You need to have a social media platform of your own – A business page or a group that you run and that you can invite people into. This is a safe starting point for more people.

And then you want to get them onto a mailing list of your own. As much as we live in a very social media-driven world, you have no idea which platform will still be here next year. If you have spent lots of time and money getting people onto the one platform that closes down, you lose your audience and honey, you need an audience.

You need to start building an audience from point zero so please do not read any of these points in a sequential fashion and think that you do this stuff one after the other. NO!!! You do it all at once. You start to build an audience even when you are not completely sure what solution you provide.

Yes, I know it seems contrary to what you thought but that, my honey, is why lots of people do not succeed in business. They think that it all needs to go along with the way we were all trained in school. No! In school, you were trained to be an employee and now you are an entrepreneur. Everything is somewhat contrary to what you learnt.

Start building that mailing list now.

Close

business marketing

Every day, in some way, you need to be mentioning your product, service, art, books, music, whatever! EVERY SINGLE DAY!

I am appalled and horrified by the numbers of entrepreneurs, particularly online ones, who do not tell people how they can solve problems and then take it one step further and tell people exactly what to do to BUY something. Never assume that people will read through the lines and know what to do next, they will not. They will just assume you are entertaining, inspiring educating for no reason. They will love you but they will not buy from you.

And remember that people are very distracted! Life today is very busy. If you are not specifically telling them what to do next to buy from you, then they will simply not buy. You will, however, have created space for the next savvy entrepreneur who is offering what you are but has the wisdom to mention it repeatedly. You would have warmed the customer up!

And again, do not be disheartened by how much of an audience you have to build to start making consistent sales. Just simply get on with following all these key ways and get on with creating wealth for you and yours slowly but surely and consistently.

See Also: How to Ensure Growth in Small Business 

Yes, you can create a life making money doing what you love but it will take some hard, committed, focused activity from you. But hey, if you love doing it, is it really work?

Fight for, deliberately design the life you are born to live. Because you want to.

 

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Is No One Paying Attention to Your Brand?

Regardless of the nature of business one engages in, there’s no downplaying the importance of branding. The success of any entrepreneurial endeavor depends on the way it’s packaged and presented to the general public. There’s so much at stake with reputation that it’s of great advantage to put good effort into maintaining a positive public image.

When you are working and no one is looking, it’s an indication that something is off. You may write this off as a down-time period in business, but without rapid action, not only will you lose the few customers patronizing you to your competition, you’ll also lose any competitive edge you previously had over your competitors.

Five Reasons Why Your Brand Isn’t Getting Attention from Anyone

In any venture, there’s usually more than one causative factor that results to a problem. There are several possible reasons why you are recording low attention from your audience. Before you decide on a course of action to take, it’s imperative that you examine every observable flaw in order to effectively troubleshoot the problem.

Too much information

This should be the first point of call as most Entrepreneurs, in a bid to outclass the competition, churn out loads of information without considering how relevant it is to the receiving audience.

Before engaging on a marketing mission, you must keep in mind that the average audience has a limited attention span. In order to deliver your message across effectively, you need to get to the point while you still have their ears. As your business grows to a higher level, lesser effort will be required on your part as your brand begins to capture the audience on its own. But before then, you should stick the basics.

Inconsistency

Many Entrepreneurs are guilty of being inconsistent. One day, they are singing a particular song, and the next, they are on to another due to impatience. Sometimes, the audience needs time to assimilate your message before making a favorable decision.

When you change your message and tone too often, you leave your audience confused, making them lose confidence in your brand.

Customers need to understand that, not only can they trust you with their time and money, they can also depend on you to deliver exactly what you promised. If your business messages are fluctuating, there’ll be little or no room for trust, making you lose the attention of even the most dedicated patrons.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness 

Lack of proper outreach

marketing commercials

Having the best product(s) along with a killer marketing plan will have absolutely no effect if you fail to properly reach out to your audience. It should come as no surprise that people will pay no attention to your brand if they have no interest in what you are selling. To fix this, endeavor to reach out to your target clients and watch as you reel them in one after another.

The most popular media might look great but they may not necessarily be most suitable to reach your target audience. Before choosing to advertise on TV, ask yourself, do members of my target audience watch TV often? Perhaps they read newspapers more.

Poor reputation

It goes without saying that reputation is a key player in business. When your brand is known for quality services, more people will want to associate themselves with your business. Not only will a great reputation garner more attention for your services, it helps to improve your company’s profile.

With bad reputation, no one will be interested in what you are selling even if it beats the price of your competition. And that’s because people consider the bearer of a message just as much as the message itself. In such a situation, it’s important that you put a hold on your promotional campaigns and implement crises management strategies to cleanse your brand of the negativity surrounding it.

Lack of uniqueness

brand uniqueness

It’s not your fault that so many people are doing what you do. But, rather than follow the crowd, you need to add a little touch of uniqueness to yours, and carve a niche for yourself.

If you are going to be doing exactly the same thing that other brands are doing, you’ll probably have no audience. Ask yourself “What are those things that others aren’t doing?” Put on your creative cap and implement some exciting ideas that are hard to ignore.

In business, attention translates to sales or patronage in the long run. When people are interested, it’ll take very little or no effort to convince them to patronize you. It’s better to do little and get well deserved recognition, than do it all and have no one giving you a second look. Don’t just wait for people to give you their attention; sometimes, you need to command it.

See Also: 6 Tips for Designing the Perfect Logo for Your Brand

 

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Stop Talking Sh*t and Start Taking Action

This blog post covers the one thing I hate the most: People who claim to be entrepreneurs but who aren’t doing any of the shit they constantly talk about. There are way too many individuals who express their next big idea or their future investment of some kind in some type of company that is actually, physically doing absolutely nothing. It’s sad – but it’s a fact, and it’s true.

Let’s face it:

plan your dream

An idea without execution revolves around nothing. I honestly believe that a successful business is 10% Idea and 90% Execution. In other words, if you think have a good, thriving business idea – then you should put your idea into action, and start working on the reality of it. Don’t bore us all by discussing it for years to come.

Starting your own business pushes a person through an enormous range of emotions. It is one of the most thrilling and exciting experiences, as much as it can also be a rather scary situation for many. Perhaps fear or simple inertia is what keeps some people from taking the first step. In the end, talking is easy as f*ck – what’s hard is taking action.

If you are reading this and feel like I am talking about you – then I just want you to realize that you should start moving, taking action, and do what you say will. If your mind is stewing over a strong business idea, then you already have some kind of entrepreneurial mindset.

Don’t let obstacles get in your way! If you don’t have anybody in your entourage that is already an entrepreneur or that can help you get where you want, keep pushing and work harder! Don’t stop to take the time to listen to anyone’s negative comments. Just keep doing what you have to in order to attain your dreams – if that’s what you truly want. However cliché it may sound, you’ve only got one life so make the best out of it!

Again, let’s face it:

move forward

Everyone on Earth is going to come to an end in the same way, so why stop yourself from doing what you love most? What matters is what you are doing while you are alive.

Nobody is ever really 100% ready to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on your way down in order to stay alive.

The important thing is taking that first step towards the start of your dreams right now! There will never be a better time, let alone the “right” time to start a business. It’s only up to you to create the right time.

See Also: Five Steps To Turn Doing What You Love Into A Successful Business

Here is some advice that I received when starting my first business:

Find someone that is already doing what you dream of and ask them questions on how to get started

You actually have to take the first step

Plan your long term AND your short term goals in order to stay motivated

The road to success is a long one so keep yourself pumped up – or the difficulties and obstacles along the way will literally knock the shit out of you.

Follow your heart

Do what you think is right for you and don’t stop to listen to anybody who tries to convince you that your dreams are crazy or impossible. This person is only limited by their own thoughts and you are only limited by yours. If you think that you can achieve something, don’t stop at excuses and make it happen instead.

Work you ass off!

These are the “rules” that I am following myself and that have helped me in moving forward even when I felt like losing faith. If you only remember one thing about this post, remember that you’ve got what it takes to start following your dreams. Stop Talking and Start Doing!

When it comes to attaining your dreams, there is no time to deal with sentiments and feelings. Too many feelings in business and you’re literally out of business. Forget everything else. Put everything aside and let your burning desire and passion take over instead.

Do you know what time it is?

IT’S TIME TO MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE!

See Also: 3 Things You Need To Stop Doing To Live The Life Of Your Dreams

 

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6 Tips for Designing the Perfect Logo for Your Brand

Some people are under the impression that logo designing is easy, and all you need to do is mix some colors, throw in a few different fonts, and you’re all set and ready to go. This way of thinking is more myth than reality, and if you follow the bandwagon that believes that logo creation is simple and that it can be done in minutes, you need to rethink all of that right away.

Logo designing is, in fact, a complex process which might take days just to get it right and get it good. Sure you can just make a logo while sitting with your friends at a coffee table, but chances are, it would be nothing more than a dull image lacking in meaning or value.

Have you heard of the phrase, “the good, the bad and the ugly”? Hypothetically, you can classify logos into these categories as well. You can clearly identify an ugly logo when you see one, but there is a fine line between a bad logo and a good logo.

A bad logo will add negative value to your brand due to an unprofessional or clearly amateur design. A good logo, on the other hand, is easily recognizable and meaningful as well. Consumers would associate positive feelings or emotions when seeing a well-crafted logo.

How does one make that perfect logo? There is a lot to take into consideration when you are designing the perfect logo, but if you follow some simple guidelines, you are sure to achieve that perfect design that your customer would find meaningful.

Scale

You have to be proactive when you are designing a logo. Although you may need a logo so that you can print it on your stationary or your letterhead, think about the future. You may design a 10mm logo which looks great on your business card at the moment, but what if you want to print it on a newspaper, or worse, what if you want to print it on a 10-meter board?

A perfect logo looks great, irrespective of its size, so it needs to be scalable. You just can’t keep on changing your logos every now and then.

Furthermore, since social media is at its peak, make sure that your logo can fit perfectly in a square without losing its meaning.

Context

logo context

Most people consider their target audience when they are designing their logo, but I think that it’s a bad approach. They need to consider their target audience and their potential audience simultaneously.

For example, if your target audience is from the United States and you design a logo thinking about the culture and acceptability of the people in the US, it may fail if you decide to grow your business in the Middle East. Why? Because people in the Middle East have a different culture, and some symbols are likely to have different meanings across different cultures and countries.

Uniqueness

Be unique. Yes. Everyone gives out this advice, yet no one follows.

A logo is a persona of a brand, therefore you have to be unique to be easily identifiable among the masses. You have to capitalize on the JND (just noticeable difference). JND, in simple terms, is the difference between something and nothing. You have to be something unique and to achieve this, you have to think out-of-the-box. Don’t hesitate to experiment and remember you can be simple yet unique. HINT: Apple.

Typography& Fonts

typography and fonts

Typography is another aspect which often gets ignored. However, just like colors, different types of fonts convey different messages.

To begin with, you can get thousands of fonts for few dollars. You can even get thousands of free fonts as well if you willing to sort them out. Not only are there a gazillion fonts out there, they have thousands of fonts within their family as well.

It’s really not about options but rather about where to begin. Choose fonts wisely, and then convey your message with the help of adequate typography.

For example, if you want to convey a warm message, don’t select a jagged font.

Explore Different marks

In theory, there are 5 different types of logos namely; WordMarks (Google’s logo), Letterform (Volkswagen’s logo), Emblems (StarBucks’s logo), Pictorial (Apple’s logo) and Abstract (Addidas logo). It is completely up to the designer how he wants to create his logo. But before you move on, you need to make sure that you select that medium which will convey your message clearly. If it is a startup, it is better to start with a WordMark so that it is easy to recognize and it can also help you capitalize on word of mouth publicity as well.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness 

The consumer black box

This is the hardest code to decipher. It is nearly impossible to decode how a human brain works, but we can always take chances. Right?

Based on various researches, it can be summed that a brain recognizes different shapes and that a human brain takes more time to process a language than a symbol.

Furthermore, a brain also associates different things to different colors and this is why some companies virtually own a color. All you need to do is try to decode your consumers’ black box as much as you can and design a logo which will last for centuries.

A perfect logo isn’t something which can be designed overnight. It’s all about refining and refining until you get what you want. Remember these simple tips the next time you are designing a logo and I am sure that you will create a master artwork.

See Also: 4 Branding Secrets from Eminem

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