E Commerce: Setting Your Small Business Up Online

 

Long gone are the days when opening up a small business meant simply renting a store and selling your wares to people who happened to come inside. Nowadays, e-commerce is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of the market. It’s not surprising. There are endless benefits to selling your stock online. Firstly, it allows your products to reach a large audience. When you sell online, your goods become available to a worldwide market. International shipping is at an all time high, as people are showing higher interest in goods that can only be attained abroad. Secondly, people can access your business twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This means there are more hours in the day for people to buy from you. This results in increasing impulse buys, which would otherwise have been cast aside by the time you’d usually open up shop in the morning. So, if this all sounds good to you and you’ve decided it’s high time that you set up an online store, here are some top tips to getting things moving in the right direction.

Choose a Platform

There are plenty of casual sites out there that have sales options that can be added. However, these are better for individuals selling personal items through their blogs. When it comes to business, Web Hosting is the most effective and professional looking option for your sales. You gain the option of purchasing and using a domain name, allowing people to find your business more easily. You also have the option of creating a business email, which gives a much better impression to buyers than contacting you on a personal email address will. This also allows you to effectively separate your work and home life.

Choose a Design

When you set your site up, it is probably best to bring in a professional web designer. You may have already collaborated with a graphic designer in the past to create a logo and brand name font. Ask this individual to send you the original files of the designs, for you to transfer to a web designer who will be able to incorporate them into the layout of your web page. You will be able to work with the web designer to ensure that the final product is everything you wished it to be. From color palettes to font and pop-up windows. You will be able to have everything exactly as you’d imagined.

Choose Payment Methods

When people pay online, they will want to ensure that they are using secure payment methods. Paypal is a great option and one of the most commonly used online payment methods. You could use this in conjunction with accepting payments from all big card names, such as Visa, Delta, and American Express. The more options that you offer your customer base, the more profit you will make. If you don’t take a customer’s preferred payment method, they may be tempted to purchase the product elsewhere from one of your competitors and this could also result in future lost sales.

Keeping Your Business Safe from Techno Turmoil

As a business owner you should be doing everything you can to keep your business safe from any sort of turmoil. But, today, one of the biggest turmoils you should seek to safeguard your business from are those that are technologically induced. There are a host of ways in which your business can be compromised and attacked when it comes to technology. But there are also a host of ways to keep your business safe from such compromised positions and such attacks. Read on to find out just how.

 

Invest in Anti Spam Software

 

The best way to keep your business safe from technological turmoil is to invest in anti spam software. This is the single most effective way to protect against the plights that are trojans and viruses. And these are plights that are very common and very easy to subject your business to, which is why this kind of protective software is imperative. Your business can be easily subjected to these plights because of the fact that they can be hidden in emails. In fact, emails are the most common carriers of all the bad things that can infect the devices your business uses. They are the most common gateways through which your devices, and your business, can be subjected to techno turmoil. They are common because they are used so frequently, and cyber criminals know this. They also know that emails can be made to look as if they don’t pose any danger at all, when in actual fact they do. So, enlist the help of anti spam software in order to protect yourself fully, but choose wisely when it comes to this enlisting. You must choose a software that not only offers anti-spam solutions, but one that can differentiate between genuine emails and bogus, trojan and virus carrying ones. One such software can be found if you visit ATB Technologies for services and information on the services they offer. By choosing them, or another service that offers similarly clever modes of protection, you will be doing all you can to protect your business from the techno turmoil that are trojans and viruses.

 

Provide your employees with security awareness training

Providing your employees with security awareness training is a must in the business world of today. This is because of the simple fact that they probably come into a lot of contact with a online technology. And because they are in such frequent contact with it, they make themselves susceptible to being inflicted with turmoil induced by it. On this type of training they would be able to learn all about spyware; just how it can contact them and the damage it can do to them and your business. It would teach them how to deal with unwanted emails when they surface in their inboxes. It would teach them how to spot any suspicious and dangerous emails if they do manage to slip by the anti spam software you do in fact choose to use. And it would teach them how to manage their inboxes in the correct fashion.

 

But you shouldn’t just seek to teach your employees how to spot any dangers that come their way. No, you should also ensure that they aren’t bringing any potential technological dangers to work with them. In the business world of today the enemy could lie within when it comes to techno turmoil. The enemy could lie within because of the fact that each of your employees will have their own mobile phone which connects to the Internet. Therefore, whenever they step foot in your business’s premises they open up an online gateway to it. And potential dangers can use this open gateway at their will. This is because each phone connects to your business’s network. This then means that any apps that your employees have on their phone may be able to also access this network. For example, when Pokemon Go was the go-to mobile game for most in the summer of 2016, the app’s creators Ninantic were being granted access to the users Gmail accounts. And if an employee of yours was using this game during working hours at the office, they could have been granting this company access to your business data. This doesn’t mean that Niantic themselves posed a danger, but if they were to ever be hacked themselves then the hackers would then have access to your business too. So, it’s imperative that your employees are not accessing any third party apps when they are in the vicinity of your business’s technological network. And it’s down to you to inform them of this.

 

Seek the services of an uptime operator

 

But even when you have a strong anti spam software. And even when your employees are fully aware of everything they need to be doing when it comes to their usage of your business’s online network. You still need to ensure your business’s use of online technology is always up and running. When, say, your business’s website is down, this most certainly constitutes as techno turmoil. It does so because you are going to lose potential customer if a potential customer cannot access your site. This is because they will become impatient with your site if it is down and then proceed to take their custom elsewhere. Therefore, you should enlist the help of an uptime operating service such as UptimeRobot. This kind of service would monitor your site at all times — come rain or shine, at both night and day. It would then alert you via email or SMS to the fact that it is down, if it does in fact go down. It would then be your job to get your site back up and running again; but knowing that it is down as soon as possible helps you to do this quicker. And finding a quick solution to such a turmoil is pivotal. Monitoring your business is pivotal if you want it to be a success. But monitoring your website at all times personally is just not a feasible or realistic venture for you, or any other human, to take. Therefore, you should always seek the services of an uptime operator.

Technological turmoil can strike any business, which is why you need to both plan for it and protect against it. By taking heed of the advice above, you would be going a long way to doing just that.

 

3 Things That Need Polishing To Make Your Business Shine

Keeping your business running smoothly is no small feat. However, you didn’t get into it expecting an easy ride, and you’re capable of dealing with the obstacles, twists, and, sometimes hurricanes, that the market throws at you. There are some key elements of your company that you need to keep to a high standard to ensure that your business runs as smooth as possible; the following are the areas to take a look at and to keep polishing.

 

Employees

Any people that you have working for you not only need to be properly trained and qualified but, also happy and enthusiastic about their job role. No matter how hectic the week gets at work, there needs to be a set time to catch up for formal and informal meetings. If you care about your staff and show that by keeping an eye on their well-being within the business; their trust and loyalty to you will strengthen, and their work ethic for your company will continually improve.

It’s a smart idea to invest in their career development also; any employee that feels stagnant within the business is likely to lose motivation, and start looking elsewhere for work. If you have got the means to train and develop people in-house, then there are an array of courses and businesses events that you should consider involving them with. You want your employees to be an asset to you and your brand, and bring in skills and knowledge that you don’t necessarily have, so investing in the right training is a wise idea.

 

Content

When your potential clients or consumers arrive on your website; you want them to be impressed by what they’re reading and attracted to your brand. However, if your content is of poor quality, they’ll leave your site, move on to the next and are unlikely to return. So, make sure whatever content you’re putting out there, it’s of high quality and engaging.

For your business to pop up in Google searches and appear where it deserves to on the web; you’ll need your content to be working hard for you. You might need to consider using an SEO company to ensure that keywords and links are all where they should be, and your online presence evolves and strengthens regularly. Remember that your content is likely to be the first thing new customers see, so they need to get a sense of your business’s identity and leave with a positive impression.

 

Marketing

If you’ve been using the same marketing strategy for a long time, and there’s been no recent boost to traffic to your business, then it will need looking into and rethinking. Marketing often favors the bold; so be brave and try new things. Look into what the big guys have been doing recently and how successful their strategies have been; learning from other company’s mistakes and successes with help to guide you in which direction to take. Take a look at some smarter ways to spend your marketing budget here: http://benmartin.pro/smarter-ways-to-spend-your-marketing-budget/.

Until you’ve looked into each crucial area of your business, and made the changes needed; you’ll be coasting along, and any advancement will be a struggle. So take the time and regularly invest in the parts of the business that will help it flourish and overtake the competition.

 

 

Staying On Track: How Well Are You Monitoring Your Business?

It’s never easy being a business owner. For one thing, you’re under a great deal of pressure from just about everyone. Not only that but you’re expected to be able to handle just about every problem that comes up. The other main thing that many business owners struggle with is the feeling that they need to be everywhere at once. It can often feel as though because you have something of a bird’s eye view of your business, you should be aware of absolutely everything all at once. It hardly takes a genius to realize that this is a massive overstatement of what a business owner is actually capable of. After all, you’re only human and have all of the same limitations as anyone else. However, there are things that always need your attention, not to mention things that can make it a whole lot easier to manage those things.

 

Your IT

 

IT is something that has been slowly becoming more and more important for just about every business over the last two decades. It’s now reached the point that, if your business doesn’t have some kind of digital component then it’s probably incredibly outdated and doomed to fail. Of course, when something is as important and multifaceted as it, it can be very hard to make sense of and manage. A dedicated piece of IT asset management software can make the entire process a whole lot easier. Rather than having to deal with everything personally, having a piece of software handle it can free up your time to cover other, equally important things.

 

Your Employees

If there’s one mistake that a lot of business owners make over just about any other, it’s the fact that they don’t pay close enough attention to their employees. They assume that just because they get a steady paycheck at the end of the month, that that’s enough to keep them happy and motivated. However, this simply isn’t the case. You should be paying more attention to the condition of your employees as well as their levels of motivation and engagement with their work. Not only that but you should be willing to adjust elements of your business in order to help them feel more closely connected to both you and the business as a whole.

 

Your Bottom Line

Let’s face it when it comes to business, money matters. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that it’s the most important aspect of any business no matter what. Whether or not this is true is somewhat irrelevant. The important thing is that you never fail to pay close attention to your bottom line and to make sure that your business is actually making the kind of money that you want it to. If you have the means to do it, you may even want to hire an accountant to take care of some of that stuff for you, allowing you to focus your energy on parts of the company where you may have more interest and experience overall.

Pitch Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse

The sales pitch is enough to strike fear into the heart of many professionals, but it it does play an essential role in the sales cycle, and therefore it simply cannot be avoided.

If you have been tasked with presenting a sales pitch in the near future, and you want it to be one of the best yet, you need to pitch them an offer they can’t refuse, and here’s how you do that:

 

Don’t Make It Too Sale-speaky

Making it really obvious that you’re trying to sell someone something, even when they know that’s why you’re there really, is a big no-no. Sales talk is a bigger turnoff than showing up to a first date wearing nothing but a lime green Mankini – it just doesn’t work – which is why you should avoid being pushy or overselling the product. Just make a brief introduction and let the client lead with the questions. That way, any information you give will be welcome, and you won’t look like a bullying double-glazing salesman.

 

Drop a Killer Hook

Every sales pitch should lead with a killer hook, whether you’re pitching in person, on social media or via email. This should be one sentence that sums up the benefits of the product or service you’re selling, using language that fires the client up and leaves them wanting more. It has to be an attention grabber, or they’ll be bored and uninterested before you ever really get started.

 

Bling Up Your Presentation

 

PowerPoint presentations are undeniably useful in getting information across quickly, but they’re often very dull. So, if you must use one, you should consider paying for professional presentation design, which will make your PowerPoint show look good, which in turn will keep the client’s attention and make a great first impression. It might not be fair, but boring pitches, no matter how solid the product they’re selling are rejected much more than interesting ones, even when the products are comparable.

 

Offer a Solution

If there’s one thing that will make clients sit up and pay attention, it’s offering them a solution to a problem they’ve been struggling with. That’s why it’s never a bad idea to focus your pitch on what the product can to help a company on a daily basis. This adds value and therefore is a better bet than something which may or may not make a difference.

 

Have the Figures to Hand

 

If dragon’s Den has taught us anything, it’s that you need to be able to back up your claims with figures, particularly when you’re pitching for B2B sales. If a client isn’t absolutely sure that what you’re telling them has some basis in fact, they’re not going to buy, no matter how good the rest of your pitch was. They need reliability, and they won’t get that from you if you come empty-handed.

 

Follow Up

Finally, you should always follow up with your client after making a pitch. Business men and women are busy, so even if they’re interested in something, they might not get around to signing a deal for some time. If you don’t get back in touch, they could forget about you completely, and all your work would be for naught! Give them a call or send an email and you may be pleasantly surprised.

 

Tactics That Will Help You Dominate Google

For years, Google has dominated the online marketing industry without as much as a backward glance. Even in 2017, the search engine giant is making changes to its functions to monopolise more power. Although this fact might make you think Google is going to have more power over you, that isn’t the case. Indeed, you can use the new modifications to dominate Google and become a marketing master. It isn’t easy, but it is possible thanks to the following tips. Implement these into your strategy, and you’ll be all over the electronic front pages.

Play The Long Game

The irony of becoming a Google master in the here and now is that it takes decades. There isn’t a quick fix, and the reason is simple: Google ranks age over beauty. Sure, you can tweak your site so that it is aesthetically astounding, but the G-dawg doesn’t care. What it does care about is the quality of your links, content, and the indexed age. Without these three components, your strategy won’t gather any traction whatsoever. The bad news is that it takes years to come to fruition, but if you start now you will get there quicker.

Content Is King

Scratch that because it should read ‘content is and always will be king.’ Some things evolve over time, as you would expect, and content is no different. However, what won’t change for a very long time is its importance in SERP. Simply put, Google trusts content more than anything else, and trust is a major player in its current algorithm. Now, the written word might not have the same impact as it once did, but they are other forms of content. Online video is the current king and one you should use to your advantage with short vines and social media links.

Experts Over Beginners

When all’s said and done, the algorithm that searches ranks sites wants quality over quantity. Obviously, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise because quality has always been the main man. However, some people don’t do the right things when it comes to producing quality throughout their site. What does this mean? It means you opt for beginners over professionals. Whether you need search engine optimisation experts or web design experts, you shouldn’t compromise. Okay, they are more expensive, but they the tricks of the trade. You, on the other hand, are only guessing and hoping you get it right.

Keywords, But Not Too Many

To rank highly, you will find it tempting to stuff your content with keywords. Although this seems like a valid option, it isn’t because of Penguin. Penguin is Google’s spam filter that finds sites with too many keywords and phrases and penalises SERP. Instead, you want to use them sparingly along with LSIs. That stands for Latent Semantic Indexing, and it ranks content which uses words and phrases that have close matches.

In layman’s terms, it’s a loophole in the system. But, it is something that Google doesn’t punish, so it’s fair game.

 

The Top 8 B2B Customer Marketing Trends in 2017 (Infographic)

In a survey of 202 respondents, primarily composing of B2B and hybrid B2B companies, Influtive and Konye Marketing discovered that customer marketing has become an integral marketing strategy and that it is on the rise. Businesses are no longer solely focused on bringing new customers – they are trying to retain existing consumers of their business.

Their research report “The State of Customer Marketing 2017” states that 93% of these organizations expect that their customer marketing efforts will take on greater importance, and 62% will increase their staff or budgets in the area for 2017. With only 61% of them satisfied with the results of their current customer marketing efforts, there is a great chance of growth in the customer marketing arena.

Here are 8 customer marketing trends that are likely to transpire in 2017, and in the coming years.

Download this infographic.

Original Post

Why You Need To Create A Business Plan ASAP

Not every business needs a business plan. Many successful businesses have started and thrived without one. However, if you can take the time to create one, you can enjoy many benefits. Here’s why you need to create a business plan ASAP:

Stay Focused On Your Goals
A business plan will help you to stay more focused on your goals, as you outline everything here to do with your business, including plans for the future. Things will be chaotic in the beginning, which is why having something like this can be really helpful.

Agree On A Vision With Your Business Partner
You’re going to need to make sure you and your business partner agree on a vision for the company. After all, having different visions for your company is only going to cause problems in the long run. Having things like things written down can help you to avoid conflict later on.

Have All Of Your Important Information In One Place
Having all of your business information in one place will be really helpful, not only to you but to investors. You should have everything in here, from how you plan to secure funding, to paying that funding back and even exit strategies.

europeana_business_plan_2017_workshop___europeana_business_p___flickr

Find It Easier To Secure Funding
Whether you need lots of money or a small business loan, having a business plan can help with this. It won’t only be helpful to you, but to investors. When investors see that you have your head wrapped around your business and know exactly what you’re doing, they’ll have far more confidence in you.

Sell Your Business Later On If You Want To
There may come a time later on where you want to sell your business. You might not think it now, but it does happen. Having a detailed business plan can help you to do this.

Balance Out Your Emotions
As things are going to be pretty chaotic and stressful, especially at the beginning, your business plan can help you to take a step back and regroup. You’ll be able to see that everything you’re doing really does make sense. Of course you can also have a great network of family and friends around you, but a business plan will have all of the facts to keep you going.

Avoid Big Mistakes
Avoiding big mistakes is crucial. How would you feel if you started your business, only to realize you were pretty much doomed from the start? This does happen sometimes! A business plan allows you to iron things out and get a better handle on things, so big mistakes can be avoided. Of course you can’t expect your entire entrepreneurial life to be mistake free. As long as they’re not too serious, just learn from them and move on!

Now you should see why it’s crucial you make a business plan ASAP. It really will help you to stay focused, keep moving forward, and secure the things for your business that you really need. If you have any thoughts and comments you’d like to add, make sure you leave them below. See you again soon!

Social Sellers VS. Non-Social Sellers [Infographic] – New Research

Original Post – Sales For Life 

We asked over 500 sales, marketing and sales enablement professionals: who gets the better ROI when it comes to volume of new customers and hitting revenue goals—social sellers or non-social sellers?

The results from our State of Digital Sales Survey 2017 gave some unique insight into some of the priorities and challenges of sales leaders today, as well as some of the benefits of implementing a long-term social strategy.

Here are what sales executives in small and large companies are saying:

  • The majority of sales leaders (71%) said their top priority in the next 12 months was converting contacts/leads into customers.
  • The top challenge for sales leaders today was a close tie between lead generation (55%), and conversion rates/speed (54%).
  • Companies that consistently do social selling see 65% faster volume of leads, compared to 47% of those companies that do random, or inconsistent, acts of social.

How to make #SocialSelling work for your organisation

I recently had the opportunity to work with Network Sunday and spent some time talking with Tim Bond, the companies CEO, resulting in a white paper that will guide organisations to the benefits of social selling.

Here are some highlights, followed by the white paper in full, hosted on slideshare.

In 2015 the questions being raised were:

What is social selling? Why aren’t more sales people selling this way? How do we implement it?

Today (October 2016) there is a general consensus that the buyer / seller dynamic has changed and sales people who practice social selling outperform their peers. Clearly organisations now face a new hurdle: ADOPTION

Social selling for Organisations from Ben Martin Social_Ben