5 Main Steps for branding a business successfully

The process of branding a business either it’s a startup “new business”, small or midsize existing business is critical for each business main goal to survive within the highly increasing competition and to gain the desired market share of loyal customers.

branding

Branding a new business process is a tougher but highly rewarding challenge as when you build the desired perception “brand positioning” about your business in consumers’ minds, your targeted customer will consider your products or services as the best available choice for their needs and desires.

Consumers are always willing to pay more for branded products mainly because brands fulfill their promises with high-quality products that suit the consumer’s desired experience which makes the decision of branding a business worth the devoted investment as you’ll gain more financial returns with establishing a reputable trustworthy brand.

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Why you should invest in business branding solutions?

Transforming your business from a local regular choice to a well-known trusted brand will lead to substantial growth for your business as you’ll gain the preapproval of targeted consumers when they experience specific needs and your products will the first choice on top of their mind based on gained positive impression and previous satisfying experiences.

Branding a business successfully through investing in cost-effective business branding solutions is essential for the success of marketing and advertising campaigns as you guarantee reaching audiences with an existing preference for what your business is offering.

Building a positive brand positioning through professional appealing visual brand identity elements, customized marketing and advertising campaigns, value-added content marketing solutions, positive consumer experience with your business products and customer service channels will drive exceptional difference in the achieved sales volume and return on investment “ROI”.

Main Steps of Branding a Business Successfully

In a world of increasing competition and many alternatives available, the price of the needed products or services is not the only factor to choose suitable products or services.

The consumer experience with anything related to the brand including purchased products, customer service & communication channels, presence on digital platforms contribute to your brand positioning in consumer minds.

Developing a tailored branding strategy

The process of building a brand with an existing market share or branding a new business is not limited to creating a professional logo, corporate printed materials and launching advertising campaigns through digital or offline channels but extends to establishing a consistently positive brand image.

Developing a tailored branding strategy is the first step to branding a business successfully and to maintain the desired brand perception in consumers’ minds.

Your business branding strategy should define main business branding aspects which are:

  • The purpose of your brand and the goals of business branding
  • The targeted audiences characteristics, interests and behavior “buyer persona”
  • Your business competitive advantages & how you’ll improve customers’ lives
  • The desire brand positioning “ex: desired lifestyle / problem-solving solutions / high-quality affordable products”

    Creating the brand identity

    Your brand identity is what makes anything related to your business recognizable by current and potential customers which also creates a connection between your brand and consumers through consistent appealing brand identity.

    The chosen brand identity can demonstrate your brand personality, nature and professionality level through many elements including:

    • Suitable consistent brand colors, fonts & typography
    • Professional elegant logo & stationary designs  
    • Creative distinguished Products’ Packaging
    • Suitable slogans & taglines to desired brand positioning
    • Stores and branches interior and exterior designs
    • Printed ads and outdoor advertising billboards
    • Social media design templates
    • Business website design

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    • Highlighting your business competitive advantages

      Branding a business is mainly about highlighting your business competitive advantages to stand out from the competition and to encourage targeted customers to choose your products or services over many alternatives available.

      Your brand positioning strategy should focus on demonstrating the distinguished value-added form dealing with your business products through all communicating options and channels including:

      • Commercial TV or Radio advertising campaigns
      • Official website & business mobile app
      • Digital advertising campaigns on search engines & social media channels
      • Email marketing campaigns & newsletters
      • Organic content marketing campaigns on social media platforms
      • Customer service channels and activities

        Improving the customer experience

        After creating the brand identity and demonstrating your brand competitive advantages, the next step is to fulfill your brand promises by improving the experiences of interacting with anything related to your business.

        Branding a business successfully will require providing the best user “consumer” experience through anything related to your business including:

        • The quality of available products compared to its prices
        • The value gained for subscription in your services
        • The navigation experience in your business website or mobile app
        • The professionalism level in customer service & communication channels
        • The guidance provided through blog posts, how-to educational or live Q&A videos and other content marketing solutions

        • Maintaining positive brand positioning

          Business branding is important but what’s more important is consistency in business branding to maintain the desired positive brand positioning throughout your business life-time.

          Consistency doesn’t mean sticking to the same branding solutions but it’s about following your brand guidelines while providing the best possible consumer experience.

Growing your business: when to hire a contractor

contractor As your business grows, you might find moments where you wish you could clone yourself to get everything done. Tasks start falling by the wayside, and those non-urgent items on your to-do list get put on the back burner.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. According to one recent survey, the average small business owner works more than 50 hours per week. While running your own business is likely a labor of love, working unreasonably long hours can have negative effects on your health—namely, burning out.

contractor

While you might have the hardest hustle in your industry, that doesn’t mean you need to do everything. You can only be so productive and there are a limited number of hours in a day. When you start hitting a wall, it might be time to consider hiring your first contractor.

But what exactly is a contractor, and what can they do to help grow your business? Here, we’ll walk you through the basics of contract workers: what contractors are, what they can do for you, and how to know when to hire one.

What are contractors?

Contractors are workers you hire to perform a specific task or service. They generally aren’t full-time, permanent employees, so you don’t have to offer healthcare benefits or a perks plan. While you aren’t required to give them these kinds of benefits, building a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with contractors certainly benefits your business.

Because contractors are independent workers, they’re often more flexible. They may be freelancers or small business owners, like yourself, with multiple clients. Small business owners can bring on full-time, part-time, or temporary contractors—depending on the workload. You can also set a fixed term for a contractor’s employment as well (think three months, six months, or a year).

You can also request contractors to work on-site at your office or co-working space or to work remotely.

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What work do contractors do?

As I mentioned, one of the many advantages of having a contractor is the flexibility. There’s likely a contractor out there who can perform almost any of the tasks you want taken off your plate.

Depending on your industry or niche, you can hire contractors to complete:

  • Administrative tasks: Whether it’s scheduling meetings, hosting client interviews, filing, completing paperwork, or answering emails, you can hire a contractor or virtual assistant to move these tedious tasks off your to-do list.
  • Creative work: From graphic design to content creation to photography, you can outsource any of these creative tasks to a contractor.
  • Accounting and bookkeeping: Assets and liabilities, or debits and credits? If you can’t stand keeping your books straight, outsource it to a financial pro.
  • Sales and marketing: Need help finding more customers to scale your business? Or maybe a social media whiz to offer customer support on your branded social channels? Get the help of a sales or marketing professional.
  • Web development and SEO: Need to refresh your company’s website or get better search engine rankings? Contract out a web developer to redesign your business site or an SEO expert to help potential customers find you online.

While this isn’t an all-encompassing list, these are just a few of the overarching task categories you can get contractors to tackle.

Four signs you need a contractor

Sure, you’ve kept things lean in your small business so far. You wear many hats and put out any fires on your own. And while you might be fine to continue as a one-person show, keep an eye out for these signs that you might need a little extra help.

1. You’re burning out

Working long hours day after day, week after week—it eventually takes its toll on even the most eager entrepreneur. The leading source of stress among workers in North America in 2017 was workload.

While there may always be something to do, stressing yourself and overworking are quick ways to reach burnout.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some typical symptoms of work burnout are:

  • Feeling cynical or critical at work
  • Feeling unmotivated to go to work and difficulty getting started once you’re there
  • Irritability or impatience with clients or co-workers
  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • Change in sleep habits or appetite
  • Unexplained headaches, backaches, or other ailments
  • Substance abuse (drugs or alcohol)
  • Lack of satisfaction with achievements or success
  • Inability to be productive

Not addressing the symptoms of burnout can lead to even more serious issues, including anxiety, depression, and heart disease.

If you’re feeling one or more of these symptoms (and have for a while), it might be time to bring on some help to lighten your workload.

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2. You’re addressing only urgent tasks

Are you consistently putting important tasks or assignments on the backburner? Or maybe you spend your entire workday just dealing with urgent queries, leaving you with no time to tackle big-picture tasks like growing your business.

If your to-do list never seems to get shorter, no matter how many hours you work, then it’s time to bring in a contractor. Not only can a contractor pick up any slack, but they can often whip through certain tasks more efficiently (just FYI, there are people who are great with spreadsheets—and actually like them).

3. You found a new revenue stream

As your business scales, you’ll likely find additional ways to boost your revenue. For example: You might be a skilled web developer, but more clients are requesting graphic design services for logos and marketing materials. You could contract that portion of a project out to a graphic designer, so that you can build a relationship with that client instead of turning them away. If you think there will be consistent work available, then it might make sense to hire a pro in that niche on a contract basis.

Leaning on a subject matter expert not only shortens your to-do list, but real pros can get through those tasks in half the time it might take you to muddle through them. So, offload the parts of your job you aren’t great at and keep doing the things you love.

4. You have steady work (and are turning customers away)

At a certain point, many solo entrepreneurs hit a productivity plateau. No matter how many productivity hacks you implement, you can only accomplish so much work in a day. And when you’re at your limit, you could find yourself turning new clients away.

How to Start a Business: 8 Critical Steps to Success

You can Success in business even without any experience and with very little money. But you need to make the best decisions on a number of critical issues. Here’s some quick advice on how to make the best choices.

How

1-Find an awesome business idea

A great business idea is going to make a difference in the success of your business. Yet many entrepreneurs go about choosing a business idea the wrong way and end up with either a bad business or a business that isn’t well suited for them. Often, they don’t even really choose a business idea. They just drift towards it. Maybe they saw that a particular business had a lot of customers. Maybe they heard that a friend of a friend was making a lot of money in a business.

Instead, you want to choose your business idea carefully. First, you should put together a big list of business ideas that appeal to you. If you don’t start out with a big list of business ideas to consider, you are not going to end up with an awesome one.

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2-Develop a competitive advantage

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs fail to truly make their business different from their competitors. They might survive, but often they end up competing on price, struggle to find customers, and suffer from low-profit margins.

It doesn’t have to be that way! A little bit of effort building a competitive advantage into your business will go a long way to making it successful.

Too many entrepreneurs try to compete head-on by being “better” than their competition. Or they simply think they will succeed by working harder and longer. That might work at school or in sports, but not in business. In business, you want to be different and avoid competing directly with the other players.

3-Carefully create your business plan

A business plan is going to help you build a better business. Even a small, part-time business should have a business plan. If you don’t have a good business plan you will likely end up running your business in a haphazard, disorganized way. A good business plan carefully evaluates all the key factors in your situation including the market, potential customers, the competition and your strengths and weaknesses. This process then leads to an optimal strategy for your business, along with a cohesive operating plan.

4-Develop compelling marketing

The big secret about marketing is that it is hard not just for new businesses, but also for existing businesses. If you try to pretend marketing isn’t hard and you decide you are going to pour all your resources into one unproven marketing direction, you could get into trouble really quickly.

So, what’s the solution? You want to try lots of very different types of marketing. And you want to spend as little money as possible on any one marketing campaign until it is proven to work.

5-Create financial statements and projections

Do you need to hire someone to do your accounting? No, you can almost certainly do it yourself. The key is to be organized. You need to record every single purchase and every single sale. You also need to create financial statements and projections. But it’s easy to learn. The most basic financial statement is the income statement. It provides a summary of your revenue, your expenses and your resulting profit over a period of time. You should also create a balance sheet and make future financial projections.

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6-Finance your business

There’s a lot of ways to finance a small business, even a startup. But especially with a startup, you are not going to get money from a traditional bank. You will need to explore alternatives.You also need to be fully prepared before approaching any potential financing source, including being able to explain how much money you need, how you are going to pay it back, and why your business is going to succeed. Your background and how you present yourself will also make a big difference.

7-Find a great name

It drives me crazy to see business after business with a lousy name! Like anything else, if you give it serious thought and you get some expert advice, you can come up with a great name.

Lots of people make the mistake of naming a business after themselves. For example, “Bob’s Painters.” It just doesn’t sound very professional and it could lead to people avoiding your business.

Other names may not lead to people avoiding your business, but they may not help attract them either. For example, “Belmont House Cleaners.”

8-Choose to learn

The more you learn about starting a running a business, the more likely you will succeed. And succeed in a big way.

I can tell you that hard work and perseverance can help. But they aren’t enough. You have to make great choices on key decisions along the way. Learning can make all the difference in making those choices.

It’s hard to find the time to learn. So here’s what I suggest. Set aside just 5 minutes every day. In about 5 minutes you could watch one video from a Business Town course and enhance your business learning in a systematic way.

Four Types of Business Analytics to know

For different stages of business analytics huge amount of data is processed at various steps. Depending on the stage of the workflow and the requirement of data analysis, there are four main kinds of analytics – descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive. These four types together answer everything a company needs to know- from what’s going on in the company to what solutions to be adopted for optimising the functions.

Types

The four types of analytics are usually implemented in stages and no one type of analytics is said to be better than the other. They are interrelated and each of these offers a different insight. With data being important to so many diverse sectors- from manufacturing to energy grids, most of the companies rely on one or all of these types of analytics. With the right choice of analytical techniques, big data can deliver richer insights for the companies

Before diving deeper into each of these, let’s define the four types of analytics:

1) Descriptive Analytics: Describing or summarising the existing data using existing business intelligence tools to better understand what is going on or what has happened.

2) Diagnostic Analytics: Focus on past performance to determine what happened and why. The result of the analysis is often an analytic dashboard.

3) Predictive Analytics: Emphasizes on predicting the possible outcome using statistical models and machine learning techniques.

4) Prescriptive Analytics: It is a type of predictive analytics that is used to recommend one or more course of action on analyzing the data.

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Let’s understand these in a bit more depth.

1. Descriptive Analytics

This can be termed as the simplest form of analytics. The mighty size of big data is beyond human comprehension and the first stage hence involves crunching the data into understandable chunks. The purpose of this analytics type is just to summarise the findings and understand what is going on.

2. Diagnostic Analytics

Diagnostic analytics is used to determine why something happened in the past. It is characterized by techniques such as drill-down, data discovery, data mining and correlations. Diagnostic analytics takes a deeper look at data to understand the root causes of the events. It is helpful in determining what factors and events contributed to the outcome. It mostly uses probabilities, likelihoods, and the distribution of outcomes for the analysis.

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3. Predictive Analytics

As mentioned above, predictive analytics is used to predict future outcomes. However, it is important to note that it cannot predict if an event will occur in the future; it merely forecasts what are the probabilities of the occurrence of the event. A predictive model builds on the preliminary descriptive analytics stage to derive the possibility of the outcomes.

4. Prescriptive Analytics

The basis of this analytics is predictive analytics but it goes beyond the three mentioned above to suggest the future solutions. It can suggest all favorable outcomes according to a specified course of action and also suggest various course of actions to get to a particular outcome. Hence, it uses a strong feedback system that constantly learns and updates the relationship between the action and the outcome.

Conclusion

The four techniques in analytics may make it seem as if they need to be implemented sequentially. However, in most scenarios, companies can jump directly to prescriptive analytics. As for most of the companies, they are aware of or are already implementing descriptive analytics but if one has identified the key area that needs to be optimised and worked upon, they must employ prescriptive analytics to reach the desired outcome.

Organization Benefits From Being a Social Business

Benefits Along with the term Big Data, Social Business has become one of the terms du jour when it comes to how organizations work.

Benefits

Several agencies and organizations have come up with their definitions of what a social business is.

  • As we begin to be able to measure the degree to which employees collaborate in helpful ways through social technology, we will be able to build improved reward mechanisms to drive the desired behaviours and break down long-standing cultural barriers. Nigel Fenwick, VP and Principal Analyst, Forrester.
  • An organization must promote a business culture of transparency and trust from senior leadership to those working in the field. It must work to encourage a culture of sharing as well, employees need to feel comfortable sharing their sentiment and collaborating across teams and departments. Sandy Carter, VP, Amazon Web Services.
  • Stop focusing on the technology and move into how people work… [in] their day-to-day tasks. Luis Suarez, Digital Transformation and Data Analytics, Panagenda.
  • A social business is something altogether different as it embraces introspection and extrospection to reevaluate internal and external processes, systems, and opportunities to transform into a living, breathing entity that adapts to market conditions and opportunities. Brian Solis, Digital Analyst.

As you can see, there are several takes on what defines a social business, yet they all have a common theme – the people behind the business.

It’s these people that both agencies and organizations alike are recognizing the need to empower with decisions and deeper interactions within the business, and to be able to do the work they’re best at and be provided with the tools – more often than not, social tools – to help them do just that.

Make that happen, and you have a far better culture, internally and externally. Achieve that culture, achieve more success.

Except, that’s not really what a social business is all about – instead, that’s more about humanizing your business through social collaboration. And there’s a difference.

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Defining a Social Business

Perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising that so many seem willing to jump onto the social business definition as the one highlighted by the above examples. After all, social media has often been a constant when it comes to definitions outside original scopes:

  • Return on anything (Relationship, Influence, Connection, Empathy, etc.) except what matters to the bottom line – Investment;
  • Explosion in marketing terms (Content, Influence, Social, Social Media, Empathy, Relationship, etc.). Even though they all have a singular goal – results through marketing.

These are just two areas where social has – forced or otherwise – changed the language while not really changing the methodology or meaning behind the new terms. Social business is a little different, though.

A true social business isn’t about using collaboration, social tools and technology to improve the culture of an organization.

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Using a Social Business Mindset to Build Loyalty and Advocacy

That’s not to say that businesses need to reconsider calling what they do today “social business”. After all, they may have a philanthropic involvement with either the local community or a need further afield.

Perhaps they allow employees time off for community projects, or they allocate their Christmas Party money to the local food bank.

For Sensei Marketing, we have a social good initiative that supports The Friendship Bench organization, offering peer-to-peer support for students around the topic of mental health.

It’s these kinds of initiatives that will continue to build loyalty from employees and customers alike, as these collective stats from Engage for Good show:

  • Nearly nine-in-10 consumers (86%) say they’re likely to purchase from purpose-driven companies.
  • 64% of consumers choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based on its stand on societal issues.
  • 86% of consumers believe that companies should take a stand for social issues.
  • Turnover dropped by 57% in employee groups most deeply connected to their companies’ giving and volunteering efforts.

As the marketing and advertising audience shifts from boomer and Gen X to Millennial and Gen Z, organizations need to shift with them.

The core values of a brand, and how they adapt to being a “true” social business, will have a large say on defining which ones succeed with this new audience, and which ones fall by the wayside.

How to choose a bank for your small business

bank got my first credit card when I was 15 years old. “You’ll want to build up some good credit history for yourself,” my mom told me.

bank

Immediately after I made a charge, I used the earnings from my part-time job at the mall to pay it off completely. So when I started to get real about my business and formed an LLC, I knew it’d be a good idea to start to build credit.

But I was overwhelmed. I had no idea where to start, which bank would be best, what services I’d need, or how to tell if rates are fair. If only I had this guide.

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Know your business goals and banking needs

There are two key pieces of information you need before you begin your search for a bank:

  1. Your short- and long-term business goals
  2. Your banking needs based on those goals

Let’s talk about goals. What are your plans for your business? How will you expand and grow, both in the near and distant future? We’re talking about not only financial goals, but overall business goals as well.

“One mistake some businesses make is choosing a bank account that’s not scalable,” says Michael Kern, CPA and founder of Talent Financial, a personal finance and business consulting firm. “A certain account may seem right at the time but if your business increases in size you may outgrow it — without the ability to upgrade to a higher account.”

Here’s an example: Right now, you sell handmade goods on Etsy and at local markets. You’re not ready for a full-on storefront yet, but you hope to grow into one within the next five years. Opening a brick-and-mortar requires a lot of capital, and one way to fund this is through a business loan. In this case, you might want to find a bank that also offers business loans.

Finding banks

If not your personal bank, then where should you start looking? Cairns recommends going local. “Building relationships with your local bank or credit union pays dividends over time,” he says. “If they have a history of working with you, you’re seen as less of a risk.” This comes into play with small business lending.

Another place is good ol’ Google. You can start broad, and then narrow down to your specific needs. “Try a search on ‘name of city + business bank + name of industry,’” says Janet Gershen-Siegel, content manager at Credit Suite. “Experiment and see what comes up. But no matter what, it should be a bank familiar with the SMB’s industry. That way, the bank will understand seasonal variances and other quirks of the business immediately.”

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Small banks vs. big banks

Many banks and credit unions offer similar products and services, so it’s worth taking the time to look at the big picture. When you’re ready to meet with an institution, check in on the sincerity and reputation of the company you may invest in, and see what their general approach is to dealing with entrepreneurs and growing businesses. It’s crucial to ask, ‘is the big box bank the fit for me?’ If it isn’t, there are several other options you could choose from.

Look for experience in your industry

We noted this before, but it’s worth reiterating: Some banks specialize, or have specific experience in different industries. This familiarity with your industry means they’ll better understand your needs and will be more proactive in advising you on an ongoing basis.

“Ask other business owners in a similar type of business where they bank and what their experiences have been,” says Diana Cox, principal relationship manager at Addition Financial. “Once you’ve done your research, walk into a branch and see how they respond.” You can ask them questions specific to your industry to gauge their expertise and better understand how they think.

9 tips by entrepreneurs on starting a business

tips Hindsight being 20/20 is especially true for business owners. No matter how successful your business may have become, it is likely there’s something you wish you’d done differently at the very start.

tips

What may seem obvious years later may not be so obvious in the initial steps of launching your business, which is why it is so imperative to listen to as much advice as possible from people who have been in the same position as you.

To help get your business started on the right foot, we asked 9 business owners to weigh in on the question: What’s the number one tip you would give to a new business owner for growing their business?

1) Sam Kawtharani – Co-founder and CEO, Corl

“The key to healthy and long-term sustainability is the data you collect from different sources, mostly from your customers and prospects. While investing time and money to improve the efficiencies of your operations ahead of growth, you should also invest in data-driven marketing or what I would call smart marketing. Paying attention to the data will help you address major issues, such as the causes of customer churn, decrease in customer life-time value or problems in your sales funnel that is impacting conversion.”

2) Stephanie Echeveste – Co-founder, Distill Creative 

“The number one tip I’d give a new business owner for growing their business is to make sure you give yourself time to learn! There is no one-stop shop, blog, or manual that will tell you everything you’ll need to know, so be prepared for a life of constant learning. If this sounds awful to you, you may want to reconsider having your own business”

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3) Danish Yusuf, ZenInsurance – Co-founder and CEO, Zensurance 

“A big learning for us was learning that building new technology rapidly is not necessarily the best way to scale. As a tech startup, it is always tempting to try to quickly build a new feature to automate something that speeds up a process. It is very easy to just throw out another feature request!

We found that using tools like Zapier and IFTTT, coupled with good old fashion manual work, allowed us to quickly test the value of the “automation” without writing a single line of code. If we ultimately thought it would be useful, we could a more robust version. Half the time we learned a tonne about the process and ultimately the feature we built was quite different than initially imagined.

4) Ryan Watkins – Head of Growth, Lending Loop 

“This statement has been echoed by many in the technology sector including Paul Graham (Co-Founder, Y Combinator), but it really does hold a lot of value. Regardless of what your business does, you need to ensure your service or product provides a solution to a real pain point in your customers’ life. This may come across as a truism but is easily overlooked in the early stages of building your business – especially when you have multiple things on the go at any given moment.

5) Robert Bond – Owner, Rocket Science Designs

Rocket Science Designs is a graphic design company based out of British Columbia. Robert founded Rocket Science Designs in 1979 and hopes to serve as visual storytellers for his clients.

“Number one piece of advice: put in the extra effort to make sure the customer feels heard, and produce work that does the same. You’re there to make their lives easier…

2nd piece of advice: know when it’s time to work on the business instead of in it. Don’t put short term savings ahead of long term growth.”

6) Jen House – Owner, First Step Nutrition 

Jen has 15+ years of experience as a dietician and has used her knowledge to help parents in their struggle to properly feed their families. She works one-on-one with her clients to figure out a proper diet plan to stay healthy.

“As a dietitian, I had no previous business training from school when starting my private practice 11 years ago. What I have found most useful in my business is hiring mentors or coaches to help guide the direction and messaging for my business. I wish I had invested in this from day 1, as it would’ve saved a lot of guess-work, time and money!”

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7) Robert Mislan – President, Versatile Grass Inc.

“You are in business to champion your own products and services. If one can’t communicate enthusiasm to a client or consumer then I suggest today’s consumers are very adept at recognizing indifference. And indifference will rapidly take down all businesses. If discretionary purchase dollars are to spent with strangers then I say consumers will always gravitate to spend with the stranger that is trying the hardest! There is no shame being enthusiastic and trying the hardest. Differentiate yourself from others, deliver more than the consumer may be expecting. Enthusiasm is contagious.

8) Audrey Kwan – Owner, AJK Consulting

“This is a big one. You must begin to believe that your self-worth isn’t defined by how “hands on” you are. How many items on your to-do list should actually be turned over to others?

Transitioning from being a doer to a delegator is closely tied to nurturing other people’s capabilities. If you never allow others to shine, they won’t grow. Your identity as “the only one who can get it done” then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When you delegate, do so in a way that sets your team up for success. Don’t just communicate your goals and expectations, and stop there. Your team is most efficient when they have a clear process to follow and a platform for accountability.

9) Andrew Graham – CEO and Co-founder, Borrowell

“Building a company can be challenging and lonely. Having the right person alongside you–someone whom you trust, who shares your vision and who will be there for the celebrations and setbacks–will increase your odds of success and make the entrepreneurial journey that much more rewarding.”

Top 7 Small Business Trends for 2020

Trends In a highly ambitious business landscape where competition can come in the form of the local business next door, or the multinational on the other side of the world, preparing for the future can be a matter of survival for an entrepreneur.

business

This year saw a range of changes and transitions that impacted nearly every small business on the planet, and 2020 is expected to be even more tumultuous. Here are seven major trends that are likely to shake up business as usual for entrepreneurs in the coming year.

1. Customer service gets even more personal

Personalization was a key trend of the last decade, and the move towards even more personal experiences is going to continue accelerating as we enter the ‘20s, largely a result of artificial intelligence. As machine learning algorithms and AI technologies get better at predicting consumer behaviour, they are expected to continue offering more personalized recommendations to consumers. According to a report by Gartner, smart personalization engines will recognize consumer intent and enable businesses to increase profits by up to 15% in the coming year.

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2. E-commerce continues to dominate

Online stores and digital services are no longer a “nice to have” for small business owners; in most industries, they’re a competitive necessity. This year, worldwide e-commerce sales amounted to 3.53 trillion US dollars, according to Statisa. It’s also predicted that e-retail revenues will reach 6.54 trillion US dollars by the year 2022. Any small business owner that is yet to market their products to online consumers is at risk of being left behind as e-commerce moves even further from an extra feature to a base level necessity.

3. Gig and freelance work become the norm

“Work” is gradually decoupling from the concept of a single employer, and moving in the direction of self-employment; in the coming year, a larger percentage of workers will take their first step into entrepreneurship than in any previous year. According to Gallup, 36% of American workers are already in the gig economy in some capacity, and 35% have freelanced in the last year, according to Upwork’s Freelancing in America report.

4. Enter Gen Z

The millennial generation entering the workforce and the consumer market in 2010 was a hot topic, and you can expect that conversation to shift to Generation Z – those born between 1996 and 2010 – in the coming months. While the youngest members of Gen Z are only in elementary school, the older cohort is reaching their early 20s, making career decisions and defining consumer market trends.

5. Don’t count out the possibility of a major recession

While many are still feeling some of the impact from the financial crisis of 2008, economists are suggesting we’re actually overdue for our next major market correction. Though the odds keep changing, experts have suggested that the likelihood of a recession in 2020 in the United States is somewhere between 20% and 30%. A dip in the economy is less than likely to happen, but there is still a distinct possibility of 2020 being a groundhog year And just like last time, the effects aren’t likely to remain within the United States either.

6. AI assistants emerge as the next major mobile platform

In recent years, consumer behaviours and habits have forced small business owners to create an online presence. With the flexibility of new mobile devices also came the desire, and the ability, to explore the internet from anywhere; social media eventually became a source for news and for community, pushing small business owners to adopt these platforms as well. In 2020, another platform is likely to emerge: voice commanded AI like Siri, Alexa and Google. Nearly a third of web browsing will be voice-activated in the coming year, and small businesses will once again be expected to offer a seamless customer experience across yet another technology platform.

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7. 5G comes online

After years of anticipation, 2020 is expected to be the year that 5G wireless networks come online with the potential to forever change how businesses operate. The jump to 5G represents a significant leap forward in digital capabilities, especially when compared to the incremental improvements we’ve seen in the last decade. Small businesses will be challenged to keep up with the range of previously inaccessible products and services that result from faster mobile internet speeds, such as virtual reality and immersive retail experiences, an explosion in connected devices, and a whole new galaxy of potential threats and privacy concerns.

What does this mean for your business?

While it may seem like things are moving pretty quickly, many of these trends have been in motion for some time. Major industry disruptions, like a recession or the launch of 5G networks, have been gradually building in the background over several years, and it will be very interesting to see just how the small business community will be impacted in the coming year. 2020 will most likely be a continuation, and perhaps an acceleration, of some of the trends we talked about, which means there’s a lot of opportunity for you to experiment and grow your business.

Small Business Guide to Google Smart Campaigns

Small business owners all know they need to be found when a searcher is looking for their products and services. I have been in paid media for over 13 years and I often get asked “what is the best way to advertise my business when I have little to no knowledge and/or budget?”. Agencies typically handle medium to large companies with larger budgets to spend on paid advertising but this is not the case for small businesses.

Small Business

Smaller local businesses typically do not have an agency or paid media expert on staff, this is where Google Ads Smart Campaigns come in handy.

Google Smart Campaigns were created with small business’s needs in mind. Let’s dive into what they are and we’ll later go into more detail on how to set up your first campaign to make the best out of your available resources and budget.

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What Are Smart Campaigns?

Google Smart Campaigns are not new to Google advertising.They are relatively new to the Google Ads platform (formerly Google Adwords). They are built on Google Adwords Express technology and replace the Google Adwords Express platform. They’re fairly easy to set up and maintain.

Smart Campaigns are designed for small local businesses that want to run paid ads but have little to no knowledge of Google ads. These campaigns are for businesses who can’t afford to hire agencies, don’t have the time to learn the intricacies of running a successful Google Ads campaign, or can’t afford an in-house marketing team.

Smart Campaigns are a great way for small, local businesses to launch into the paid search world. They’re easy to set up, but it’s critical that you set them up properly from the beginning. Here’s how:

  1. Get Started with Smart Campaigns and Create your Account

First, you must have a Google My Business account to create these campaigns. When you create your Google Ads account, make sure you use the same email address that’s associated with your Google My Business account. These two platforms will work hand in hand to address ad creation, business location, and images, so using the same email address will simplify your experience.

It’s also critical that you have high-quality, relevant images associated with your Google My Business account because they will be used for your ads and, thus, be shown to your potential customers. We all like to see before we buy, right? Quality, appealing images are often the deciding factor in a potential customer’s choice to give you their business.

2. Create Your Smart Campaign

Once you’ve created your Google Ads Account, there are two options of goals for your Smart Campaign: sales and leads. As you can see below, I have chosen leads as my goal. At the bottom of the screenshot, there is another option that opens up and asks about what action you want: calls or visits. If you choose sales as a goal, there aren’t any other options. I have chosen calls as my action.

3. Set Up Geographical Targeting

You will then be guided to the “Where are your customers?” section. This is where you’ll choose your target geography. You can choose between radius targeting and specific area targeting. I recommend you choose specific area targeting and try to be as precise as possible. It’s best to use zip codes or city names to define the targeting. You will need to include all the areas you are willing or interested in advertising to.

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4. Choose Your Products and Services to Advertise

Once you’ve chosen your geography, you reach a critical step of narrowing the audience for your ads, aka the “Define your products or service” page. Here, you can select a predefined business category based on your Google My Business information or you can choose another business category. You’ll see suggested products or services populate in relation to the business category that you choose. Be sure to select the choices most relevant to your products or services.

5. Create Your Ads

Once you click next, you will reach another step crucial to the account’s success. This is the ad creation stage. Choose descriptions and headlines that cater to the products or services you chose in the last step. This will help ensure that your ads are relevant to those searching for products like yours. Take your time to write as many ads as you can, highlighting as many products and services as possible in each ad.

Moving Your Business? You Need these Key Players.

Relocating your business is a serious undertaking, especially if you’re running a major operation. Having a strategy for your move is imperative to it’s success. Without a strategy, you’ll almost certainly end up with a move that is over budget and not completed on time.

Moving

Part of your moving strategy needs to include the proper staffing. Here are the key players you’ll need to successfully execute moving your business.

Key Player 1: Concierge

The role of the concierge is simple, but important in moving your business. This person’s objective is to direct “traffic” throughout the move, and to hold knowledge on where supplies and equipment are located.

The key responsibility for the concierge is problem resolution. Even with the right amount of planning and strategy, not everything will go according to plan when moving your business. Supplies and equipment can easily get misplaced.

This is when the concierge comes in. When Sally from Accounting needs an adding machine and a set of highlighters, she’ll talk to the concierge to find out where they are. When Joe from Sales needs to find several months worth of sales reports, the concierge can point him in the right direction to find the box.

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Key Player 2: Furniture Coordinator

The Furniture Coordinator’s role is also simple, but imperative to the success of a business relocation. After all, you can’t really have a functioning office without furniture right?

During a large scale business move, there are usually two (2) furniture coordinators. One, from the facilities team of the company that’s moving, and one from the company that was hired to execute the move.

Key Player 3: Electrical & Data Cabling

Once again, a simple but important role when moving your business. And it’s just what it sounds like. The person in charge of electrical & data cabling must ensure that every cubicle is properly connected to the network.

The “cabler” should collaborate closely with the furniture coordinator. Cabling needs to be laid down in a way that makes sense with the space plan.

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Key Player 4: Project Manager

The Project Manager is the most important role when moving your business. And their job starts even before the move itself.

Not only does the Project Manager lead the pre-move meeting, they also make sure the new space is ready to be occupied. Once the lease negotiation is complete for the new office, the Project Manager will begin their work.

They should visit the new site regularly with a check-list of items that need to be completed or repaired before the move. This check-list is extremely detailed and extensive.