Tag Archives for " business "

3 Ways to Think Outside the Box

Coming up with creative ideas are important to break a monotonous everyday living whether at work or at home. In most businesses, new innovations, plans and techniques are imperative to be able to compete among others. These tasks are obviously mind boggling and time consuming no wonder the first suggested step is to think outside the box. Continue reading

Instagram Tricks for Small Business

I couldn’t agree more how people literally sleep and wake up with their smart phones nowadays. With powerful built in cameras, capturing and sharing photos had never been better. Perhaps this is the reason why more and more applications related to photo sharing with photo enhancement are popping out in the market these days.

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4 Tips For Working at Home Successfully

Working from home seems like a luxurious dream job: no commute, no suits or dress codes, and absolute flexibility with your daily schedule. Stop right there. Did you realize that working from home successfully requires a lot more effort than it may appear? Absolutely. But, you can pursue this career path with a few key tips for business survival.

Diversify, Diversify, Diversify

A successful work-from-home business must constantly evolve to survive in the long run. For example, you may sell handmade dolls to local businesses. What happens if those businesses are fully stocked with inventory? Your business must have a plan B, C, and D (and preferably more) to sustain low sales periods. Begin diversifying by not only selling to local businesses, but selling to individual residents in the area. You can also research community art gatherings, such as jewelry and farmer’s markets. Swap meets are another outlet to consider for more visibility in the marketplace.

Diversification also applies to work-from-home entrepreneurs that use blogging and freelance writing as an income source. It is unlikely that a business will survive by writing or blogging for one specific website: write for a number of different websites on various topics that interest you. Passion for a subject will automatically flow through the words to the reader, allowing you to become a successful writer from home.

Networking

Every successful work-from-home entrepreneur has a network of colleagues: vendors, customers, and competitors. Strike up conversations with everyone you interact with; friendships will blossom and possible earnings can be obtained. For example, you may run low on battery inventory for a homemade product and your vendor states that they cannot get the batteries to you for several days. If you have an established networking colleague at the vendor’s business, it may be possible to call in a favor for this particular dilemma. Many times, a friend made through networking can speed your order through to keep you competitive in the marketplace.

Networking also works for the freelance writer. Writing opportunities emerge on various websites, but not everyone will be eligible. However, if a colleague sees this opportunity and you do not, he or she can notify you in time to apply for the position. Many successful freelance writers find work through forums and blogs as they become friends with many different people around the world.

Product Quality

Regardless of the product being sold, from handmade garments to the written word, the final quality of the product must be as close to perfect as possible. Handmade items should be free of defects; you should visually inspect each item for any loose parts. If the item is to be shipped, invest in sturdy cardboard boxes and bubble wrap to ensure that the item reaches the customer intact. You can show your professionalism by adding a packing list with detailed descriptions of the item or items. Quality, not price, will keep customers returning for more sales in the future.

As for the written word, quality is also key; do not plagiarize any text, whether it is online or in print. Writers pride themselves on their creativity and uniqueness. It is quite possible to fail in a work-from-home business if any work is plagiarized. Customers will not trust another written piece from you.

Research and Education

If you have any qualms about a product’s construction, such as building a printed circuit board item, you should always research the issue before releasing it to the customer. Education is key in a successful home business; you should be sure about your product and its abilities. Do not release any products that you believe to be malfunctioning just to fill an order; it can easily damage your business in the future.

Your Small Business and Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing seems to be the new direction in the world of public relations, publicity and advertising. Industry observers believe that social media marketing may one day overtake the once mighty Search Engine Optimization marketing strategy, and it may even overtake mainstream media advertising as the most effective method of promoting and selling products and services.

The greatest appeal of social media marketing stems from the transformation that many businesses have reported after having established a solid presence in the online social networking realm. Businesses that are engaged in positive and continuous interaction with customers on the major social media platforms have a lot to gain from the overall experience. Companies have an opportunity to completely turn their business reputation around with social media, but only if they play their cards right.

Too many companies often fall into the mistake of using the online social networking platforms exclusively to attract new prospects, thereby shunning existing customers. For example, a widget seller could launch an aggressive Twitter campaign to invite new customers to view their online catalog featuring widgets on sale. Meanwhile, existing customers who are also Twitter members find out about the marketing campaign and wonder: Where is my special offer? To offer widgets at deep discounts only for the benefit of new customers could actually prove disastrous, as it could only contribute to a higher attrition rate of existing customers.

Customer loyalty must be fostered at all times, especially on the major social media platforms. The most successful social media marketing efforts to date have concentrated on promoting the growth of loyalty among existing customers. It’s a lot more effective to attract and convert social media prospects with a solid reputation than with gimmicks or special bargain offers.

The way a business is perceived on Facebook or Twitter could “make or break” a company. Management must realize that every social media prospect or customer must be engaged accordingly. Requests for help and information must be answered quickly. When praise is given, it must be given thanks. A concern must be addressed immediately. And “small talk” social chatter should be reciprocated. Businesses must remember that social media is a reflection of the world, and that interaction isn’t limited to their followers on Facebook or Twitter. Every interaction can be potentially shared and scrutinized by the entire Internet community at large.

Although it is conceivable that a business could focus all its marketing efforts exclusively on social media, most companies will realistically use a variety of media outlets. Social media can play the role of promoter for a company’s marketing efforts. This is known as content marketing, whereby a business can direct their social media followers to watch television commercials, listen to radio ads, attend store events, look for ads in newspapers or magazines, or even visit their own website. Content marketing has the added advantage that it can be easily shared across social networks, thus increasing the reach of advertisements, contacting new prospects, and connecting with a larger audience.

In the end, social media marketing should always focus on these major factors–accessibility, sincerity and customer service.

Article written by Holly Adams, who writes for Coupon Croc, your small business’s best resource for savings on electronics, supplies and other expenses.

3 How To Make Working From Home A Success

The advantages of working from home are mostly self-evident. All that arbitrary rules, oversight, and restrictions that make a typical job a chore are eradicated when you work from home. You make your own hours. You can take your work outside and enjoy the weather. You wake up when your body is ready and not at the command of your alarm clock. There are no traffic jams or self-asphyxiating neckties. When you work from home, you are in control. Nevertheless, this is not always the best thing.

As your income is directly tied to how hard you work, it is important that you take advantage of your freedom but never abuse it. In order to make working from home a success, you must balance your new flexibility with the focus typical of a more demanding job.

Create a Strong Work Environment

The first step in making your home business a success is creating an environment conducive to working. This does not imply you should follow the same dress code and routine as you would with a regular job. Simply creating a separate office space away from distractions and entertainment devices will help your mind focus on business. If you don’t have a dedicated space, try taking your work to a library, many of which have free wireless internet available for use.

Utilize Mobile Technology

The modern home business is almost a misnomer, as business no longer has to be done inside the home. A laptop or tablet computer with a 4G wireless connection will allow you to access the internet and do work outside of your home office. However, make sure that any device you purchase is equipped with the proper software and peripherals.

An integrated camera combined with Skype or any other video chat program will allow you to speak to clients directly. Many open source office programs are available that let you read documents, but as a business you may need to be able to edit and write as well. For individuals who work in graphics and rendering, having the processing power and memory to handle these tasks is imperative.

Depending on your business, you may also wish to invest in a cheap fax machine and printer. Many older clients will prefer sending documents through these channels, and an all-in-one device can typically be found for cheap.

Segregate Work and Home

Keep a separate cell phone or land line for your business. It is highly unprofessional to receive a business call and have it answered by your children. Furthermore, having a separate bank account with the company name written on the checks projects an additional air of credibility with customers.

While you may lack the prestige of a business office, you can replicate that professionalism in the virtual world with a strong website. Contact a graphic designer to help create a website that is both contemporary but easy to use. Many websites make the mistake of loading their site with fancy animations that only make it more difficult to get information.

Develop Marketing Strategies

It doesn’t matter how impressive a business is if no one is aware it exists. Once you have created a website, you must attract traffic by utilizing online promotional tools, particularly social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Hashtags are an excellent way to find potential customers looking for services in your area.

Modern technology allows businesses to connect with their clients, receive direct feedback, and provide the kind of personal service that was logistically impossible before the internet. Employing these tools will help you build your customer base and use the customers to drive expansion without having to incur the expense of advertising.

Jamie Richards is a writer for EmployersLiabilityInsurance.com an online resource for business owners offering employers liability insurance quote.