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Finnegan Pierson - Blog Page 7

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Skills Every Employee Should Have

No matter what industry you work in, as an employee, you want to equip yourself with the best skillset possible so that you can benefit your company. Prepare yourself by choosing a useful major in college and taking practical courses. However, once you have graduated and are working for your company, you should continue to improve the following skills.

Public Speaking

Talking to large groups of people is a valuable skill for any company, whether your business sells paper or cars. You need to be able to deliver a convincing sales presentation to potential investors, but you also must know how to talk to your coworkers about mutual goals. Community colleges offer classes in public speaking nearly every semester, and depending on how old you are, you may qualify for free classes. If taking a class is not an option, ask a more experienced sales representative for tips. You could also look for online classes.


Not everyone wants to be the boss. However, leadership exists at every level of a company. Taking a leadership seminar will give you valuable insights into guiding your teams and will boost your resume. Volunteering for extra responsibilities will also give you hands-on leadership training. For example, by taking the lead on a sales project, you will learn how to effectively guide a group to complete a goal, even though you will not learn about official strategies.

Conflict Resolution

Knowing how to carry out conflict resolution is applicable to any workplace setting. Many outside organizations offer training in conflict resolution, or your human resources department may have a company-specific one. In these courses, you will learn how to mediate between two people who have either a personal or professional issue. Then, you can help them with strategies such as active listening and I-statements, which are when people use “I” to explain their emotions rather than “you.”

First Aid

Companies that specialize in emergency response require their employees to have certifications for skills such as first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. However, emergencies can occur in any environment, and having knowledge about emergencies could save the lives of your clients and coworkers. You can take courses from the Red Cross or your local police department. Not only do these courses give you the skills you need, but they also provide equipment such as a CPR mask.

Digital Literacy

Most companies are at least partially digital. You probably have to email clients and coworkers, and you may also have online recording systems for sales. However, having more than a basic knowledge of computers is always a plus. Take classes to become certified in the use of a specific kind of word processing software. You can also take more advanced courses to learn about HTML and other programming languages so that you can help develop your company’s website. Other digital literacy certifications involve social media usage and marketing.

Time Management 

Time management is a hard skill to teach, but if you can master it, you will save your company lots of money and work more efficiently. Ask your supervisor for feedback about your time management, and pay attention to instances when you seem to be running late or when you miss deadlines. Then, find strategies that will help you reclaim your time. Log out of all social media accounts while you are at work. Set alarms for the ends of breaks so that you remember to go back to work. Every time you set a meeting, write it down in your calendar and make sure to budget enough time for it. After every major project, analyze your progress and see if you are getting better at managing your time.

Customer Service

You may not officially be a customer service representative, but you probably still have to work with customers. Learning how to speak to customers honestly and helpfully will prevent misunderstandings between you and your clients.


Take the time to master these skills, and you will save your company money and become a more valuable employee.

Publish Date: February 7, 2020 8:01 PM

5 Essential Software Solutions That Every Small Business Needs

If you plan to run a successful new business, you are going to need the tools to operate effectively. While there are many pieces of equipment and software that are industry-specific, there are also some tools that you need no matter what field you are in. The following five types of software are must-haves no matter whether you run a marketing agency or manufacture plumbing parts.

1) Bookkeeping

Keeping your books can be time-consuming and difficult to master, especially when you are new to it. Using accounting software can help you run your business more smoothly. You don’t want to have errors in your books. The right tool can ensure that you are error-free. That is especially important come tax season.

Your software can help you keep track of your sales and expenses, send out invoices, track your cash flow and much more. Whenever you go to apply for a financial account, you will likely need to provide your books. Plus, reports such as your balance sheet and income statement can help you make better decisions.

2) Customer Management

No matter what industry you are in, selling to your customers is the most important activity for your business. If you can’t convince people to buy your product or service, you don’t have much of a company. Keeping track of your current and potential customers can help you to increase your sales and improve conversion rates.

The right small business CRM software makes it easy to keep track of all that contact information. This can be helpful even if you are selling B2C. For example, you could capture the email of every customer and organize them to track how often they buy, send out emails and more.

3) Project Management

If your team is like most teams, you likely need to get things done as a group. To do this successfully and consistently, you need the right project management toolset. Like a great project manager, the right software can wear different hats. It can work well with your other software and remind you whenever something needs to get done.

Consider how your team works. You may employ a very formal project management style or a more casual one. Similarly, you may be more of an agile methodology or a waterfall one. Finding the tool that best fits your approach to managing projects will help your team integrate it better.

4) Collaboration

Communication is at the heart of every business. Your people need to work with each other to get things done. They can’t do that if they have a hard time communicating and collaborating. Tools like instant messaging and document collaboration will help you operate more smoothly and productively.

It is growing increasingly popular to have work-from-home team members and outsourced freelancers. These people outside of the office need tools to help them work with people in the office and each other. Every small business should find the right software to allow easy, remote communication and superior collaboration. Although everyone needs this type of software, the right product for you depends on your style of work.

5) Creative Tools

Marketing your business is essential to enjoying lasting success. You will need creative tools that let you bring together amazing marketing collateral. This may be a brochure, flyer, business cards or any other types of promotional materials. While you may want to hire a designer to do these for you, having some basic tools to let you create items in-house will help you get more done.

Most people are not experienced at creating these types of documents. So, finding a tool that does a lot of the work for you is a must. Fortunately, there are a number of free options that you can try out until you find the right one for you.

Finding the right software from a CRM to collaborative tools can help you run a better small business. Start exploring your options today.

Publish Date: February 7, 2020 2:58 AM

Important Factors in Gaining Customers for A Wedding Planner

Creative Strategies Wedding Planners Use to Attract Customers

Many engaged couples have decided that wedding planners are the way to go as it relates to organizing their ceremonies. These are some of the most skilled and experienced workers when it comes to event planning activities. IBIS World reports that there are currently 1.2+M wedding industry workers in the US, which includes planners. Wedding planners provide such complex services, that they are sought out in most instances. There are creative strategies that these professionals use to attract their customers.

Responding to Market Needs

There are wedding planning businesses of different types and sizes that offer services that this market needs. Some of these because of their location receives a lot of traffic from customers and utilize help desk resources. There are others that couples find it easy to book services with planners for weddings.

Fundera reports that in 2018 the average wedding cost couples $44+K. This pricing includes everything from venue reservations to decorations and reception entertainment. Hiring wedding planners is one way to keep the costs at manageable levels. Keeping this in mind helps businesses to show that they are providing services that manage the planning activities. Business owners should also be familiar with the competition so that they can offer services that are essential to these events.

Selecting the Perfect Business Name

It is true that a name can serve as a marketing tool no matter how long you have been in business. Wedding planners often use some of the most common terms associated with the work that they do. This will certainly attract many couples to these services, in many instances. Being creative is yet another strategy that could steer your business to succeed in this popular industry.

The name of the business will eventually be the brand itself, so taking some time to consider this is important. It may even be necessary to conduct your own research, before incorporating your wedding planner business. Checking with the state that you are in is another critical step in this process. This ensures that the name you want is not already being used by another business owner. Be sure that the name is catchy and easy to understand because it will be used long-term to attract your customers. If this is going to be a niche offering, such as theme weddings find a way to incorporate this detail, too.

Along with marketing your physical location, the business name will also be used in another realm, as well. This will be your online branding name, so thinking about search engines and websites is just as important to the business. Names will be seen on signage, posters, flyers, business cards, and webpages. When you select the wedding planner business name, you should also choose a font design to use both online and offline. This consistency is critical to connecting with customers through name recognition.

Attending Networking Events

According to Entrepreneur, one of the best ways that event business owners can attract customers is to attend networking events. These may not be associated specifically with wedding planning theme events but could make critical connections with potential clients. These activities could lead to referrals and your meeting contacts with hotels, caterers, florists, and even musicians to enhance your services.

Planning Your Marketing Campaign

As a wedding planner, your creativity matters a lot and will likely make your services stand out. The way that you market what you offer to customers is paramount to getting business. It is critical to consider your marketing campaign as an investment that goes back to the business and towards its success.

The Balance Small Business encourages wedding planners to allocate marketing dollars in strategic ways. If you are an expert at planning ethnic weddings, destination weddings, or even green weddings, this needs to be included in your marketing goals. There are traditional ways to market, which can be done at your brick-and-mortar location. These utilize flyers, brochures, and postcards that are visually appealing and informative.

Websites deserve just as much attention in these marketing plans. The possibility of catching most people consistently will typically be through online marketing. This means being creative in terms of search engine optimization and the written content the internet provides about your services. Videos, photos, and blog posts are useful and trendy ways to market that don’t have to impact your budget significantly. Be sure to not use marketing funds to attend wedding theme conferences and tradeshows. These are often expensive and don’t provide planners with the rate of return that is needed.

When you start a wedding planner business, it is important to set financial goals realistically. Making connections with customers must be essential and the quality of services you provide. These work to grow businesses incrementally and set the foundation for future growth in this industry.

Publish Date: February 7, 2020 2:02 AM

Marketing Tactics for Increasing Sales

Your company’s marketing strategy holds the key to your financial success, as your strategy puts your product in front of the consumers and identifies all the reasons why it should be purchased. With technology opening new doors in getting your message out and raising public awareness, you don’t have to spend hours on the phone making cold calls, although this avenue still holds valuable potential in increasing your sales. Consider the following ways of updating your marketing strategies to keep up with consumer trends and boost your bottom line.

Utilize Data-Driven Marketing

Consumers saturate the internet with their search requests, company contact efforts, comparison shopping and social exchanges, creating a practically endless bank of data and information. A data-driven marketing strategy captures the importance of harvesting the data in order to improve the customer’s marketing experience. This could be through reports leveraging customer preferences in order to develop more specific lead generation for your product, or through carefully crafting a marketing message that attracts a unique or specific demographic. With data-driven decisions, your company won’t waste money on products or marketing media that will be ineffective with the consumer you are trying to reach.

Gauge Customer Loyalty

Consumers may be loyal to your company or a specific product while they are in need of the product, but how do you continue to reel them back in for more when they feel they no longer need it? You need to proactively identify what your customer needs and the obstacles that may come into play with realizing these needs. Price points are often a sticky subject for most consumers, but showing the quality and productivity that accompanies a decision to purchase with your company can help overcome that obstacle. Keep your benefits and service features at the top of your list in your marketing approach. Secure loyalty to a brand and not necessarily the product itself.

Incorporate Multi-Media Strategies

The newest wave of marketing success is video content. Consumers are constantly using their social media feeds to share their stores and their lives, and your company should follow suits. Turn old blog content into videos and come up with creative presentations and topics to garner more attention. Be careful that whatever content you upload is well-suited for mobile viewing, as over 70% of consumers will use their mobile devices to research a product or make an online purchase.

Improve Your Social Media Presence

Social media marketing is one of the most cost-efficient but highly effective strategies that will put your product in front of consumers. If you are going to optimize your online presence, focus on developing current, SEO driven content. Create a connection to your target market with daily updates of behind-the-scenes activities, interviewing employees or hosting Q&A sessions. Establish your brand and personnel as relatable, creating a more emotional draw to the products and services that you offer. Create polls or have contests that your followers can get involved in, bringing the customer experience beyond just the final sale. Have someone on your marketing team dedicated to responding to all questions or feedback, but make sure you can trust the individual to carry your brand’s vision with each response or interaction. You don’t want one poorly worded comment destroying your customer service reputation.  

Rely on Technology

There are several ways you can use trends in tech to bolster consumer engagement and convert leads into sales. SEO is an affordable marketing tactic that takes your existing content and reworks the information to rank keywords and synonyms higher up in search engine results. Additionally, the use of chatbots on your website or landing page can give consumers the answers they want before they know to ask the questions. Rather than typing up phone lines or waiting in email exchanges, chatbots can engage with prospective customers and answer their questions in real-time.

Take to the Streets

Even though a lot of marketing strategies seem to be moving online, there is still something to be said about good old-fashioned word-of-mouth referrals, cold calling and setting up a booth at a local fair or exhibition. Developing customer loyalty programs can keep your existing consumer base engaged with your product, but offering customer referrals incentives can help expand your base. Direct mailers, such as postcards, as still effective, although many companies prefer the less-costly email blast. Don’t abandon your marketing roots in your quest to grow your sales.

Being creative in your marketing approach will keep your brand fresh and relevant even though consumer trends are changing. Don’t be afraid to expand your marketing strategy, as the results should also expand your financial success.

Publish Date: February 7, 2020 1:30 AM

Tips on How to Achieve a Better Experience for Your Customers

In these extremely competitive times, offering the best customer experience has increasingly been used to etch an advantage over rivals. Products and services no longer offer the much-needed advantage to enable one’s business to compete favorably with its competitors. Focus has shifted from what the product has to offer towards the experience delivered by the brand to clients across the client’s entire journey. There are quite a few businesses that find it difficult to improve their customer experience despite its current trend. Here is a guide on how to make a better experience for your customers.


Understand Your Clients


When learning how to make a better experience for your clients, you happen to discover that knowing them is key. It essentially enables you to have a better understanding of their needs and which allows you to establish ways of fulfilling them. For your organization to really understand your customer's wants, it needs to be able to empathize and establish a connection with the situations faced by your customers. You may achieve this by segmenting your customers and establishing personas. In each segment, try to allocate a persona name and personality. Through such personas, your customer support team may be able to easily recognize who they are dealing with and have a better understanding of them. This is considered a major step towards being customer-centered.


Through Lead Nurturing


Lead Nurturing is essentially intended to assist potential clients throughout their purchasing experience. It not only converts leads into qualifying for the market but also helps along the way to achieve more sales for a business. Effective lead nurturing can be consistently used to deliver a meaningful message to potential clients irrespective of their timing to make a purchase. It is not a simple follow up strategy that you use every few months to inquire from your clients if they are ready to make another purchase. It may be a long and winding process, but along the way, you may be able to build trust-filled and meaningful relationships with the right people in your target market.


Establish a Customer Experience Management Program


Customer Experience Management (CEM) is an established way of controlling, tracking and developing customer interactions. It enables you to increase your customer’s loyalty and interaction through positive word-mouth advertising. By developing an active CEM, your business may be able to proactively improve the client’s experience at every stage of their journey.


Capture Real-Time Customer Feedback


By capturing your customer’s feedback in real-time, you will be able to tell if you are delivering excellent customer experience. You can achieve this by using live chat platforms to have real-time chats with your clients. Afterward, you can send follow-up emails to every client, which should contain post-interaction surveys. You may also decide to male outbound calls to clients in an effort to obtain more comprehensive feedback. It is crucial for you to tie a specific customer support agent to the customer feedback. This adds a personal touch to the whole interactive process. 


Engage Customers on Social Media and Reward Them


Social media offers an inexpensive platform for interacting with your clients. If your clients follow you or engage with you, it is likely that you have something to offer them or they value you. You may, for example, decide to develop your social media brand in such a way that it engages with its followers in an amusing way. This may be achieved by sharing humorous posts or tweets that are guaranteed to make your clients smile. In addition, you may decide to reward engaging clients with incentives such as discounts and prizes. This enables you to spread your brand in a positive way and establish loyalty with your valuable clients.


By understanding your clients, lead nurturing, establishing a customer experience management system, capturing real-time feedback and rewarding clients that engage with you, then you are on the right track to improving customer experience. 


Publish Date: February 5, 2020 9:35 PM

5 Ways Businesses Can Optimize Productivity

Enhanced productivity can allow businesses to enjoy increased revenue and greater profitability. From finding ways to improve morale around the office to acquiring the resources needed to automate and design more efficient workflow processes, there are plenty of ways that business owners can help to optimize the productivity of their workers and staff. Finding new ways to ensure more efficient day-to-day operations can be of tremendous benefit is often well worth the efforts, time and financial resources that may be involved.


  1. Set Clear Goals


Creating a more efficient organization begins with establishing clearly-defined goals. While benchmarks are important for tracking productivity or measuring potential improvements, muddled goals or aspirations that workers can't be expected to attain under realistic circumstances can actually be detrimental to efficiency. Learning how to set the right goals is an issue of great importance and business owners, department heads and management professionals would do well to spend some time thinking about what it is they wish to accomplish before deciding to set a goal. Concise and attainable goals can be a powerful motivational tool, one that businesses would do well to fully utilize.


  1. Recognize Success and Reward Accomplishments


Pushing workers to new heights can boost productivity, but it can also lead to burn out, plummeting morale or a toxic workplace environment. Businesses that expect their staff to give it their all without bothering to recognize and reward their efforts are more likely to have problems with high turnover. Bonuses, extra perks or even just the recognition for having gone the extra mile with their efforts can all be essential for ensuring that productivity and efficiency levels can be increased in a more sustainable way.


  1. Making Organization a Priority


Poor organization can make increasing productivity a real uphill battle. Oversight, duplicated efforts and other issues caused by poor organization within the workplace can often be disastrous in terms of worker and department efficiency levels. Resources like project management software, scheduling applications or a time card calculator that can help to reduce or eliminate many of the issues that a lack of organization may be causing can make quite a difference. Creating and maintaining a higher level of organization throughout the workplace is often an essential step towards boosting productivity and enhancing operational efficiency.


  1. Investing in the Right Resources


Organizational tools may not be the only resources that may be needed in order to create a more efficient and productive staff. Workplace automation is a term that business owners may be hearing a whole lot more of in the days ahead. Automating various aspects of workflow can allow one employee to do the work of many, while also helping to ensure that errors and inaccuracies are less likely to creep into the process. Software, smart-devices and the other equipment options that make workplace automation a reality could end up playing a pivotal role in boosting productivity.


  1. Updating Key Workflow Processes


A process is able to provide adequate results is one that may be in need of further refinement. New ways of doing things and processes that are able to incorporate the latest range of tools and resources can often outperform an existing process in ways that businesses can't afford to overlook. Even the most efficient workflow processes may begin to deliver diminishing results over time, especially in situations where businesses fail to make changes, updates or to fine-tune their efforts.


An unproductive staff can be a costly liability. Finding new ways to improve performance and to boost productivity means that businesses will be better positioned to deal with any challenges that may be lurking just around the corner. A motivated, engaged and focused staff is an asset that no organization should look upon lightly. Tools, such as learning how to set better goals for their employees or automating specific aspects of their operation often play a big role in helping businesses to create and maintain the most productive staff possible.

Publish Date: February 5, 2020 12:32 AM

How to Write to Different Collegues Depending on Level

Communication continues to be a very important part of overall business success. Today, one of the most common forms of communication is to send an email. This is often beneficial as it leaves a record of the conversation and can help you to communicate with multiple people at once. For those that work for a larger corporation, it is important to understand how to properly communicate. There are several tips to be followed that can help you to write an appropriate email based on the recipient.

Accurate Subject Line

The first impression that anyone will have about your email is the subject line. While a subject line may only be a few words long, you need to give it careful attention and thought. This line needs to be concise and properly summarize the content of the email. This will also make it easier to keep the chain organized in the future.

Alter Level of Detail

One of the most important factors to think about when you are sending out an email is the level of detail that you want to provide. If you are going to be sending an email that requires detailed instructions, you should provide those details. However, if you are sending an email to someone that will not be completing the daily work and tasks, the scope of the email can be reduced dramatically. For those that are higher up, sending a summary email with key point outlined will be much more efficient. This will also help to retain their attention, which will make the email more effective.

Be Polite and Courteous

No matter who you intend to send the email to, it is also very important that you are always polite and courteous. One disadvantage that can come with an email versus a phone call or live conversation is that there is no way to read body language or hear a voice tone. Due to this, you need to be sensitive about how an email is written. For the avoidance of doubt, you should avoid using sarcasm of writing in a direction that could be considered rude or insulting to others.

Know the Chain of Command

If you are planning on sending an email to someone that is more than one level above you in authority, particularly if it is not someone that you have regular interactions with, you should follow the chain of command. If you are trying to address a problem or concern, you always need to consult with your manager first. Based on the initial discussion, you should then send an email to the intended audience while always copying your direct manager on the email before it gets sent out.

Follow Up

Just as it is very important to follow proper protocol when you send the original email, you also need to make sure that you are polite when following up. When wondering when and how to follow up on an email, the way that you follow up will be dictated largely by the original email that you sent. If your email had any deadlines in it, you should make sure that you start to follow up at an appropriate time before the end of that time period. You may also consider recapping the original email for those that may have forgotten the prior content.

Sending an email to someone that you do not already have a working relationship with will always create a first impression. The way you should communicate with someone will be based on their level of authority. By following these tips, you can be assured that you will be polite and communicate in an appropriate manner.

Publish Date: February 4, 2020 1:02 AM

Guide to Improving Your Online Business

Becoming the best is the primary goal of countless online businesses. When competing against other well-established businesses, you are often at a disadvantage as there are things they may be doing right while you are not. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways that you can improve your online business. This may include specific strategies that you can implement. Here is a guide on ways to improve your online business. 

Be Truthful in Your Sales Copy

This may seem to be an obvious tip, but there are a lot of online businesses that err in not being honest. Not only is being honest in your sales copy critical to your reputation, but it also encourages your prospective clients to trust in your brand. You should strive to offer what you can deliver. Do not make claims you are unable to substantiate and may also misguide your clients. Today’s online consumers are often sceptics of marketing hyperboles, so try to be straightforward, approachable and truthful in all your sales copies, ranging from your email campaigns to your homepage. You should also know how to position yourself as a company. If you are a small company, take pride in that by being upfront with your prospects. Some consumers preferably seek out these smaller enterprises due to the individualized services they offer.

Monitoring Your Network

You should consider network monitoring as one of the ways to improve your online business. It is disheartening to get calls that your network is down. Information Technology often lacks the visibility needed to pre-empt performance glitches. This means that you may be in the dark until a user calls complaining that your system or website is lagging. Once an outage occurs, the more time it takes you to resolve it, the more losses you are likely to incur in staff time, end-user satisfaction and productivity loss. Your routers, virtual servers, applications and wireless devices require a constant network monitoring solution. Therefore, understanding what is network monitoring is vital for your business. Checking on your critical network technology ensures that you fix your issues quickly and run your online business smoothly.

Showcase Customer Testimonials

Customer feedback is an asset by itself in today’s social media environment. It can be used to show how your business satisfies its customers. Having a lot of satisfied clients is considered to be even more influential than having the best-written sales copy. They offer the most genuine opinions, reviews and testimonials that are often more appealing to prospects since it is in the client’s own words and perspective. You can post these testimonials on your product pages, pricing page, landing page or even home page. You can also include trust signals to establish a more pleasing perception of your brand in your prospect's mind. This may help in overcoming any hesitations or doubts they may have.

Provide a Reliable Money-Back Guarantee

In some instances, consumers decide not to make purchases from your online business to avoid a potential loss. Questions like why someone should buy your product or what, if it does not work, run through some of your clients’ minds just before clicking the purchase button. Even the smaller variety of purchases carry a certain level of the buyer’s remorse. You can simply overcome this doubt or objection by providing a bulletproof reimbursement guarantee. By striving to relieve your client from risk, you likely encourage them to buy more.

Respond to Client’s Questions or Objections

Making assumptions about prospective client’s knowledge concerning your business is a major pitfall among most online businesses. This often results in unanswered objections or questions that you often fail to address and may likely lose good standing with your clients. Consider every possible question your client may have about your product or business and provide its answer on your website. Do the same for the potential objections your client might have. It may seem impractical, but remember this additional information is also intended to help your client make an informed decision. 

By being honest in your sales copy, monitoring your network, showcasing testimonials, providing a money-back guarantee and responding to client’s questions, your online business stands the chance of significantly improving.

Publish Date: February 3, 2020 8:51 PM

Want to Start a Business? Here are Five Things to Address Upfront

Most new businesses fail. The founders often aren't really ready to be in business. They have some half-baked idea or they heard of some get-rich-quick scheme or they hate their job and think that working for themselves will be easier.

If you really want to succeed, you need to be doing the right things for the right reasons and in the right order. It's incredibly rare for successful businesses to happen without doing some legwork first. Do these first:

1. Pick Something You Like

You don't necessarily have to absolutely love it or even be passionate about it, but don't take on something that will soon have you dreading going to work. People who like their work are more successful.

You don't have to think about this for long at all to conclude it makes perfect sense. You will get more done if you are enthusiastic about the work instead of dreading it. You will have more energy for it and spend less time in avoidance tactics.

2. Line Ups Paying Customers Ahead of Time

If you don't have paying customers, you don't actually have a business. Without paying customers, you have the trappings of a business or maybe even an expensive hobby. It may look a lot like a business, but it's a mirage.

It's fine to do beta testing, but the best test of all is "Will people actually pay you for it?" There's only one real way to answer that question: Find people willing to pay you for it. It's as simple as that and it's about offering people something they value rather than about sales tactics.

3. Ask "What's The Bottom Line?"

While you need to make money, making money shouldn't really be the goal per se. There should be something you are trying to accomplish that has value in its own right, such as providing a particular service.

So, on the one hand, you want to make sure to keep the bottom line -- profit -- where it belongs: In last place, in some sense. You should have other priorities, like making people healthier or helping them be more efficient or serving them the best ice cream they have ever tasted.

On the other hand, you still need to crunch some numbers and make sure it makes financial sense. Because if it doesn't turn a profit, you won't be in business for long. So address such issues early and know what it will take to be profitable enough to survive.

4. Don't Quit Your Day Job

You may think that quitting your day job will give you more time and energy to build the business and make it successful that much faster, but it probably won't. The most important element of success at the early stage is the length of your runway. In other words, how much time do you have before you run out of money completely?

Quitting your day job means you desperately need cash flow immediately and this tends to lead to poor decisions. Keep your day job until the business is able to support you. You will be much more likely to succeed if you are building the business on the side while still making enough money to cover rent and other essentials.

5. Research The Legal Details

Certain terms have specific legal meaning. You can call yourself "The Rug Doctor" without getting into trouble, but if you use the title Doctor in a way that makes people think you are a licensed physician when you are not, this can land you in jail.

There are myriad other potential pitfalls that may be less obvious. Once you have some idea of what you wish to do, make sure to research the legal pieces of it. Maybe even run it past a lawyer if you aren't sure and ask if you've missed something.

Publish Date: February 3, 2020 6:05 PM

6 Tips on How To Lead Your Small Startup Team

People start new businesses for a wide range of reasons. One of the most common is a desire to be your own boss. However, once you get to the point of having to lead your team, this can seem daunting. Fortunately, there are some tried and true strategies you can use to ensure you are guiding your team in the direction of success.

1) Have a Clear Vision

Consistency is important for a small business. A common mistake that people make is to jump around too much between ideas. Their visions for their companies are not sufficiently defined. Having a clear vision gives people focus and purpose.

You may consider writing a vision statement for your business. Alternatively, you may create a more formal, complete business plan. In either case, it is valuable to make it clear what you are hoping to achieve. It is okay to change your vision from time to time as circumstances change, but you should try to be consistent and focused.

2) Put People First

The people on your team are your most valuable asset. They can be the difference between your business thriving or failing. Put them first. Whether you have a team of full-time employees or a few part-time freelancers, they should be a top priority.

When you are making decisions for your business, always think about how your choices will affect the people. When you have a people-centric mentality, your business culture will be more positive, and you will have a more dedicated and happier team.

3) Be Rigorous and Organized

Running a small business is hard work. You need to be thoughtful and organized about how you approach running your company. Be mindful of how you manage your business start up costs and operating expenses.

When you are rigorous and organized, your team members will see the effort you put into making the business a success. If you combine this with putting people first, you will be in very good shape for achieving your goals.

4) Lead By Example

Always ask others to do only as you do. Leaders who expect others to hold themselves to a higher standard are rarely successful. After all, who wants to listen to someone who can’t follow his or her own instructions.

Whether you realize it or not, you are likely already leading by example. The only question you need to ask is what example are you setting. If you are always stressed out, your people will be too. Similarly, if you neglect your responsibilities, don’t expect anyone else to be diligent.

5) Admit Mistakes

In a similar vein, it is important to admit to your mistakes. This sets a good example for your people and shows them that it is okay to be wrong sometimes.

This is especially important in a startup environment. Many small businesses are supposed to be innovative. It is hard to think outside the box if you are not willing to make mistakes. Some of the best inventions have come about due to trying something and failing. Be ready to admit your mistakes and others will also.

6) Delegate

You have people on your team to support you and the business. Delegate to them. You likely aren’t hiring people to be worker drones. Instead, you are probably trying to find talented and motivated individuals. It is impossible to make your business a success all by yourself. Trust your people and delegate real responsibilities to them.

This is important for two reasons. First, delegating shows your people that you trust them and will give them interesting things to work on. Second, it offloads some of your work. That means you can focus on strategy and growing your business.

These guidelines will help you be a better leader of your new startup business. If you follow them carefully, you will be primed for success. Learn more about small business leadership and get working on growing your business.


Publish Date: February 1, 2020 12:37 AM

How the Business World Has Changed Over the Years

With constantly advancing technology and new business tactics, the business world is always changing. What used to be effective even ten years ago may be considered obsolete today. Next year begins a new decade, and with that comes a lot of promising changes. Here are a few of the trends you will see continue into next year.

Robots Doing More Jobs

From a self checkout lane in the grocery store to heavy labor, robots can perform a great variety of tasks. There are several reasons why robots can be an appealing choice for business owners. It reduces the number of employees, some companies are required to have for certain tasks, which helps with the budget. Robots can often perform tasks that might be considered too dangerous or risky for a human. An example of this would be a robot who goes into a building to check for a possible bomb. A robot also doesn't have emotions, which means that they are less likely to get bored of repetitive tasks, and their quality of work won't be influenced by how they are feeling that day. In the future, robotic machines will continue to advance, which will increase the list of jobs they can perform.

The Age of the Internet

These days, you can do just about anything from the comfort of your own home, thanks to the internet. You can find out the daily news events via an online newspaper or your local news' website. Because of this, many consider newspapers obsolete, and there's a good chance that they will soon become a thing of the past. Home delivery is also a very popular option for many people. Instacart Headquarters is an example of a company who will deliver groceries and other necessities right to your door, which can be helpful for those with small children, someone without a working vehicle, or someone who simply decides it's too cold to leave the house that day. Many businesses use the internet for advertising, selling, and posting new job opportunities.

Social Media

Along with the internet comes the use of social media. Most major companies in the US have a Facebook page, Twitter account, and/or Instagram page. This is a great tool to advertise deals, products, or services. You can pay for ads on social media as well, and since the average person spends nearly two and a half hours a day on social media, you can imagine how much this can benefit a business.

With social media also comes a difference in customer service. People can now easily publicly express grievances online for the world to see. Oftentimes, these complaints will become viral, and this can lead to a huge headache for the business owner. Some small businesses have shut down due to a simple complaint on their social media page.

3D Printing

One of the newer business trends is the use of 3D printing. This is a process that uses a printer to recreate a 3D image of a product, by printing it one layer at a time. Many of these processes are in their beginning stages, but researchers are hopeful that one day, 3D printing can be used to create human tissue, bones, or muscles for a patient in need. In addition, 3D printing will likely one day be used for things like the manufacturing of shoes, bike parts, and even prescription drugs. With the hope of prescription drugs being manufactured with 3D printing, it may be easier to find the perfect dosage of a medication for a patient, and provide that dose for them with the use of a 3D printer.

As you can see, technology has taken us a long way in the business world. There are many promises for an improved quality of life for people, but it also means that robots can slowly take over jobs that humans currently perform. Either way, it is likely that these trends will continue, and by the end of the next decade, the business tactics used in the past will seem completely obsolete.


Publish Date: January 31, 2020 7:02 PM

How Useful Negotiation Skills Can Be In Business

Entrepreneurs often face an uphill task as they launch their startups. However, this isn’t a surprise given that only a few startups often make it past the first five years. Research claims that the inability to negotiate could be one of the greatest threats facing startups. However, entrepreneurs with excellent negotiation skills can defy these odds and thrive in a competitive market. Learning to negotiate can help an entrepreneur gain a good reputation and close lucrative deals. While not everyone is born an avid negotiator, virtually every entrepreneur can perfect his or her negotiation abilities. Entrepreneurs may have to deal with various questions and inquiries, so preparing ahead of a negotiation with a customer can be extremely important. Here is how negotiation skills can be useful in today’s business world.


Keeping Emotions Under Control

Negotiating with customers can sometimes be stressful. It may even seem impossible for an entrepreneur to control his or her emotions when dealing with a loyal client. However, you may need to learn to control your emotions to succeed in the business world. Customers may not notice that you are anxious, but anxiety is a weakness that entrepreneurs often struggle with during negotiations.


Evaluating Your Goals

An entrepreneur can encounter many situations that call for negotiation. One way to approach such cases can be to identify the needs of the other parties. Negotiation training also can enable you to find mutually beneficial solutions. Auto dealerships can be an excellent example of why negotiation skills are essential. Car dealerships may not only have to persuade their clients to purchase vehicles but also convince them that cars from their showroom are the best option. The next goal after a salesman convinces you to buy from his or her dealership would probably be to obtain the highest commission. As an entrepreneur, tailoring your objectives to the needs of your customers would probably be the most effective way to ensure that both parties are satisfied.


Gaining Knowledge

Knowledge can make you powerful and confident during negotiations. Knowledgeable entrepreneurs often showcase their products with confidence and can clarify any uncertainty that may arise.


Managing Negotiations

Circumstances often compel entrepreneurs to be thorough planners. You may be required to organize your documents attentively and back up every affirmation you make with solid evidence. Closing lucrative deals can prove impossible for an entrepreneur who isn’t meticulous. Making mistakes can be humane, but entrepreneurs should try to learn from their past. Making the same mistakes could water down your dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur.


Making Compromises

Successful entrepreneurs rarely invest in an idea that doesn’t promise something in return. Your business discussions may need to be proactive to allow both parties to voice their opinion about what is being negotiated. Concessions can be vital during a negotiation, but both parties ought to be allowed to contribute. Entrepreneurs should not forget that their position in a negotiation could be an added advantage. Compromising and being valuable to your opponent can sometimes turn into a win-win situation. Whether you are an established or a budding entrepreneur, learning to negotiate can be a game-changer in any business domain. Entrepreneurs that are not an avid mediator may not be able to build solid partnerships, keep workers under control, and close deals. The ultimate goal of virtually every business is to increase its sales. That can be achieved by being principled, honest, open to communication, and excellent in mediation.


Being a pro in negotiation can make you successful in business. It can not only help you close deals but build your reputation. Entrepreneurs can differ in their negotiation abilities, but they can all hone their negotiation skills. Successful entrepreneurs often use their negotiation skills to keep their emotions under control during negotiations. Being anxious is a weakness that successful entrepreneurs often deal with during negotiations. However, these attributes can help them get organized, manage their negotiation, boost their confidence, and avoid repeating their mistakes.


Publish Date: January 31, 2020 4:50 PM

Must-Have Tools for Small Businesses

When you're starting a small business, you need to rely on help to get things off the ground and help you succeed. Whether you rely on a staff a great employees or leverage technology to streamline your operations and improve efficiencies, having the right resources in your corner can make all the difference during those first days when your business is open. Here are some helpful tools you should consider using to walk your business down the path toward success. 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 

Having a proper CRM system in place can help your business interact with current and potential customers. With a small business crm system, you can analyze data about your customer's journey with your organization, which you can use to make product or service recommendations and encourage repeat business to help drive sales growth. 


Having a polished website can make a huge difference in today's digital world where people often thoroughly research companies and their offering to help them make informed buying decisions. You don't need web design or coding experience to build a website thanks to automated systems which can spin up beautifully simple sites with little effort. 

Email System

If your business employs people, having an email system can be an effective way to communicate with your employees about important company information. Depending on the email service you use, you can also use it to manage calendars and schedule meetings if necessary. If you're looking to streamline your communications with your employees, using an email system is a great way to do this. 

POS Systems

Your business likely exists to bring in money through sales, which means you need to have a system in place to process customer payments smoothly and efficiently. If your business takes payments online, you'll need to link up with a payment system so customers can go through the purchase process. You'll also want to provide customers with options if they make purchases in person. With today's technological-driven world, that means you may want to consider alternative payment methods such as mobile pay, which can make purchases easier. 

Budgeting and Accounting Tools

In addition to offering payment options for your customers, you should also have a system in place to handle your own bills. There are several budgeting and payment options that you can use to handle your operational expenses and have a visual picture of your cash flow each month. Some may be more robust than others, so determine your level of need to find the solution that will work best for you and your organization. 

Filing and Organization

No business can get away from having some type of paperwork that needs filed at the end of the day. However, things have come a long way in recent years with how you can file information. There are now systems that allow you to keep electronic paperwork to cut back on the clutter you have in your office and allow you to save the environment and money on paper purchases. 


Every business owner needs to have a safe place to keep their money and help manage their cash flow. You should find a bank that has low fees and can offer you services that will help your business manage its finances efficiently. A good bank will have services in place, such as automatic bill pay, which can help you streamline payments so you can set them and forget them to save time each month. Talk to different banks to see which services they offer and choose one that's going to offer the most for your business at the lowest cost.

Inventory Management

If your business sells a product, then you should have an inventory management system in place to help you keep track of your stock. With an inventory management system, you have better control over what you have available so you know when you need to replenish. 

Every small business owner has tips and tricks to help them manage their business efficiently, and it often starts with having the right resources available. Using these tips, your business should be on the path towards success in no time. 

Publish Date: January 30, 2020 10:59 PM

The Economy of Solar Panels


In today's present economical and environmental climate, it is evident that both are not performing as well as they could be. With this being said, it's crucial that alternative methods to the ones we have now are discussed, in hopes of turning declining trends around. Among these methods are the various power sources we use as a whole, and concepts we can use to make the switch from the damaging use of fossil fuels, to renewable energy sources. The use of solar panels is one that many people are debating, and some already are implementing. While there is some controversy around the topic and concerns, further inspection of the methodology allows members to see that the use of solar panels serves many benefits to the nation, both environmentally, and economically.

The Positives and Negatives

The use of solar panels provides many benefits, the most obvious one being the fact that it is a renewable energy source, one that is a lot better for the environment than the burning of fossil fuels. Indirectly, because of this, the air quality and the health of humans improves as well, since the air we are consuming is more clean.

Some concerns people express is the notion that since solar panels use the sun's energy, they will only work in the morning, which leads to inconveniences. However, contrary to popular belief, solar panels can be used to power things at all times of the day, because of the ability to take the suns energy in the morning, and store it for use later in the day. Other "negatives" people express in regards to solar panel use, is the fact that they don't like the way it looks on their house, however, once normalized, everyone will become used to it, and finding it visually unappealing could cease.


When it comes to how many solar panels to power a house, answers can vary, but a typical sized house in America needs about sixteen solar panels to function normally. This rounds out 10-16 thousand dollars to purchase and install the panels initially. While this amount seems costly, and may turn individuals off to the idea, it should be noted that this can in many cases be a sort of one time payment. Maintenance for solar panels is very insignificant, meaning most can go years before needing an additional work done. On average, a family will save $3000 a year from electrical bills, by the use of solar panels.

Other Economic Impacts

With normalization of solar panels also comes many other benefits to the economy. This can be seen most evidently in the number of jobs it will create. Solar panel installation and maintenance is a growing market, and depending on what level of work one may be in, workers can get paid anywhere from sixteen to thirty dollars an hour. After obtaining a license online, one can start the work, so this career is one that is easy for people without college education to get into.

In addition to installation, many careers revolving around studying and improving solar energy are created as well. In 2010, 93,000 people were employed in the solar panel energy, and that number jumped to 340,000 as of 2019. Solar panel use not only improves the environment, but helps put more money in the hands of the general public as well.


Overall, the implementation of solar energy in the daily life of humans serves many benefits. While it is a completely renewable energy source, it can also save people lots of money in the long run. Though the first time payments may be a bit costly, in the end, the use of solar energy proves to be more cost effective, and beneficial in totality.

Publish Date: January 30, 2020 10:30 PM

5 Things You Must Do After Getting In a Car Accident


Getting involved in a car crash is often among the scariest things you can experience. You might be too scared or shocked to make sober decisions. However, the actions you take after an accident are often essential. You can easily make the right moves if you are informed and avoid making costly mistakes. You can prevent losing your compensation benefits or taking the fault by making use of these five guidelines after being involved in a car accident.

Call An Attorney

Consider hiring an experienced car accident lawyer after a crash. Sometimes the insurance companies handle the case and come to an agreement. However, it’s still wise to hire car accident attorneys so that you can get a fair settlement with the insurance company. 

When the case goes to court, it’s prevalent to hire an attorney for legal representation. It would also pay to contact your insurance company while at the scene. You can get advice from your insurer on what to do and start the claim filing process. It would help if you did not admit fault. 

Get Medical Attention

It’s wise that you first check yourself or the car’s occupants for any injuries. It would also be wise to check the physical health of the occupants of the other vehicle. If there are serious injuries, it would be prudent to call emergency care or an ambulance to take the injured to the hospital. 

Some injuries after a car accident may not be obvious. It’s advisable to visit a doctor or small business for a check-up even if you look okay from the outside. You could be experiencing internal bleeding or other internal injuries. Seeking medical treatment is also essential for your compensation claim. It’s wise that you get medical treatment from your doctor so that you may present them during the car accident claim process.

Call The Police 

It’s wise to pull out of traffic after a car crash, and not escape from the accident scene. After stopping, it’s wise to turn off your engine to avoid a fire accident if you have a gasoline leak. After that, you can then turn on your hazards to notify other drivers to be cautious and ease traffic. It would be wise to put up signs to prevent another accident. 

After that, you can call the police. It’s always advisable to call the police even if the injuries or car damage is minor. Calling the police can help you if you plan to file a car accident claim. Once the police arrive and inspect the scene and talk to the parties involved, it’s wise to get a copy of the police report.

Exchange Driver’s Information

While the police will collect information, it’s also wise that you obtain information for your records. Most police reports are often available after a few weeks. Some vital information that you may need to collect includes the name and contacts of the drivers, car license plates, driver’s license, insurance company and policy numbers. You can also obtain the names and contacts of all eyewitnesses. It would also be wise to document the car model, make and year.

Document The Accident

Some simple documentation can go a long way. It’s wise to document the accident from when it happened and the events before the crash. The information needs to be accurate for enforcement purposes. You can use your smartphone to take pictures of the scene. You can start by taking photos of the cars involved, as you take close shots of the car damages and your injuries. 

It’s good to take clear pictures of the general area and anything that contributed to the crash. You may also want to document the accident location, time of the crash, the weather conditions and the direction you were headed to before the crash. You can also record testimonies of eyewitnesses.

It’s essential to do these five things after a car crash. You may need to involve your insurer, especially if you want to file for compensation. As mentioned above, it’s advisable to get in touch with an attorney.

Publish Date: January 30, 2020 10:05 PM

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