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What New Entrepreneurs Should Think About Before Starting a Business

If you have been thinking about starting your own business for a while now, now may be a good time to really go for it. As you do your research to identify your product viability, make sure that you are also making adequate efforts to be prepared once you actually launch your business. With the right preparation, you can go into this new chapter with much more confidence.

Your Goals

According to Bplans, setting clear goals for your company’s growth before you start your company will help you not only be more successful when you launch, but it will also help you know how to better gauge and measure your progress.

Being able to compare how you expect your company to perform with how it actually performs will help you identify any gaps in self-expectations, helping you to better predict performance in the future.

How to Fund Your Business

Any business that has high potential to succeed will need funding to get off the ground. Finding the right funding and finding enough funding can be challenging but doing the work to get those resources will definitely pay off.

According to Franchise Gator, not being able to get a loan is a common startup fear. But don’t let it stop you from going forward—remember to do your research to find other investment options as well. There are a variety of different companies who focus on investing in startups. You might be surprised by the various companies who are willing to provide some kind of funding for your business.

Your Target Audience

Figuring out your business goals and your funding plan is an important step when preparing to launch your business. But according to Oberlo, you should also make sure that you really understand your target audience in order to be sure that your product will actually be addressing customer needs.

As you prepare to launch your business, do your research on competitor products to understand what aspects of the product result in customer loyalty. Figure out how your product compares and if its edge is significant enough to hold up in the marketplace.

Starting a business, especially if this is your first one, can be incredibly daunting. This is especially true if starting your business involves you leaving, your current job. But don’t let your fears get in the way of you having this experience—knowing how to launch a company will serve you well in future endeavors.

Read this next: Office Perks That Employees Will Appreciate

Office Perks That Employees Will Appreciate

There is a lot of important work involved in running your own business, but one of the most important things you can do is make sure your employees feel appreciated and taken care of. Having great office perks is one way to show your employees that they are valued and help them to feel more satisfied in their work. Here are a few of the best office perks you can offer to your employees so that they are excited to come to work every day.

A Stocked Fridge and Pantry

Hungry employees are not happy employees and will have a difficult time taking care of their regular tasks. Having a well-stocked fridge and pantry in your workplace makes it easier for your employees to stay fed and focus on getting their work done. When you are stocking your fridge and pantry make sure to consider any dietary restrictions your employees may have so that you can ensure that every employee has options they can actually eat. Having easy snacks available makes it possible for your employees to grab something quickly while they are on break and get back to work feeling refreshed and satisfied.  

A Fitness Center

As more and more research comes out about the dangers of working a desk job, having physical activity more readily available to your employees is an essential office perk. Having a fitness center on premises makes it easy for your employees to prioritize their health and stay active during the work week. Having exercise machines, yoga mats, and TVs is a good starting point for a fitness center. You can even host group classes for your employees to help them stay active while also building relationships within your company. Having a variety of physical recreation options available to your employees will be enticing and fun for your workplace.

Table Games

Breaks are important to the productivity of any business and having meaningful ways for your employees to decompress can help them to get the most out of those breaks. Table games like ping pong and air hockey are quick and fun and foster positive relationships between your employees. You can also set up tournaments using your table-top games to incentivize teamwork and give your employees a chance to decompress. Take a poll around the office to see which table game you should start with and build your collection as you begin to see the benefits of your improved break room.

A Lounge

Creating a lounge area for your employees gives them a space where they can relax and decompress on breaks and at the end of the day. To get the most out of your lounge space it is important to fill it with comfortable furniture that can stand up to repeated use. The kind of furniture that will work best depends on where your lounge is located and how your employees will use the space. For example, if the lounge is outside, you’ll want to avoid leaving wood furniture in the sun.

Weekly Catered Lunches

As a small business owner, it is important to foster relationships with other small businesses in your area. Hosting catered lunches for your employees each month is the perfect opportunity to build relationships with other businesses through catering contracts. That way you can feed your employees while also building relationships in the community. Your employees likely have good ideas for local restaurants, so be sure to request their opinions and switch up caterers frequently. Use this opportunity to really get to know other businesses in your area and even form partnerships.

Flexible Schedules

Helping to promote a good work-life balance for your employees is an important part of building your business’s success. One way to promote work-life balance is by offering flexible schedules and remote work. Some employers worry that offering these options will decrease productivity, but the opposite seems to be true. Giving your employees the flexibility to take care of their own needs helps them to return to work with the energy they need to be more productive. Employees often appreciate being able to work a hybrid schedule where they come into the office on certain days and work from home the rest of the week. Having regular meetings helps you to keep in touch with your employees and ensure they are satisfied with their schedule.

Parental Leave

While most businesses offer sick leave and paid time off, parental leave is becoming an essential part of any office benefits package. Having a child requires time and energy, and when parents are given the support they need early in their child’s life, they are better able to help their company succeed. A parental leave package provides that support for your employees and gives them the opportunity to bond with their child before returning full-time to the workforce. It can help to look at industry standards for parental leave, but make sure that you also take the needs of your employees into account.

On-Site Childcare

Sometimes parents can feel ignored and undervalued in the workplace, but parents make up an important part of the workforce. Offering on-site childcare, or a childcare allowance can help your employees who are parents to feel more valued and add a level of convenience to their daily life. Make sure that you hire qualified caregivers that have essential training and strong childcare skills. It is also important to talk to your employees about what they value in terms of childcare so you can make sure their needs are being met. Offering both everyday childcare and as-needed options can help you to ensure that all of your employees have the resources they need.

Providing perks to your employees is a great way to show them that they are valued and to improve the relationships you have with everyone who works for you. It’s always important that employees feel valued, and great office perks can help to make that happen. More than anything it’s essential to listen to your employees and change as necessary so they continue feeling satisfied with their work.

Read this next: Why Training Should Be a Top Priority for Your Business

Why Training Should Be a Top Priority for Your Business

Businesses take a lot of work to be successful. No single person or group within the business is typically single-handedly responsible for the level of success a business achieves. It tends to be a group effort, which means that the group needs to be on the same page and prepared for the work that needs to be done. That means that training needs to be a top priority for your business.

Improve Competency

The more competent your employees are, the better their work will be and the better off your business will be. It’s pretty normal for businesses to do some training as a part of the onboarding process, but unless job responsibilities change, that’s often the end of it. The thing is, most, if not all employees would likely do better at their jobs if they were trained on how to improve. It may help to assess employee performance so you can cater the training to their needs.

Improve Safety

Depending on the industry you work in and the type of work your business does, you may benefit greatly from regular safety training. Businesses that work with safety labels especially need to put safety first. Employees need to have a solid handle on what the different aspects of safety labels signify, the risks that they can expect to encounter during the course of their work, and how to deal with them when they do. The more familiar they are with these things, the less frequently you should see accidents and injuries in the workplace.

Improve Culture

The culture you cultivate at your business will impact how well you retain your employees and the experience your customers have with your business. If yours isn’t quite the way you want it to be, training your employees may help improve it. Training meetings give you a chance to make employees aware of your expectations. Knowing what is expected of them is the first step to delivering on those expectations. The next step is to give them the tools they need to meet those expectations, which is where additional training will come into play.

Making training a top priority for your business can provide multiple benefits. It can help improve employee competency, make the workplace safer, and improve the culture of your business. Start identifying what areas of your business would benefit from more in-depth training and setting up some training programs so you can start enjoying the benefits that come from them.

Read this next: Social Media Platforms Your Business Should Be On

Social Media Platforms Your Business Should Be On

As more and more people have constant access to the internet, it is increasingly important for businesses to develop multiple online, social media platforms. Nevertheless, you may be feeling slightly overwhelmed with so many different platforms to choose from. Here are three different social media platforms that your business should get on as soon as possible.

Facebook

Facebook is a great option, especially for newly emerging businesses: Facebook is relatively cheap for those without a large marketing budget, and it also allows new business owners to expand their outreach and gain much-needed customers. Furthermore, since Facebook posts can incorporate a variety of different types of media (i.e. videos, pictures, etc.), posting on Facebook can increase customer engagement and help customers learn more about your brand. Encourage customers to leave a positive review of your business on Facebook so that you can increase your brand’s visibility.  

Instagram

Instagram is one of the best influencer platforms because it has over one billion users around the world. It is also the perfect place to connect with the younger generations, which can be especially critical if your services and products are intended for younger populations. Instagram also allows you to embrace the visual elements of marketing. As you develop a business identity on Instagram, be sure to incorporate a lot of videos and photographs that are eye-catching to users. Lastly, Instagram offers many advanced tools for businesses who would benefit from elements such as selling products directly through their profile and auto-publishing.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn may not be the prime space for customer outreach (although it can be, depending on who your audience is), but it is a perfect place for networking and finding potential employees. The more that you expand your professional network, the more you will be given access to potential business opportunities that you may have not otherwise had. Through LinkedIn, you can also monitor your competition and learn from industry experts. Through direct messaging, you can connect with people who may be interested in what your business has to offer. Furthermore, if you need business partners or employees, there is a free job posting option.

Social media is the current best place for businesses to be. Other forms of marketing are being pushed into the past, so you will want to start transitioning your marketing and outreach tactics online as soon as possible. Doing so will provide you with opportunities to engage with your target audience more than you ever were able to before.

Read this next: How to Build a Reputation for Customer Service

How to Earn the Trust of Potential Customers

Being in business, and especially staying in business relies on your ability to build and maintain trust for all of your customers. When customers know that they can trust you, your products, and your service, they are much more likely to continue using your business and to recommend you to others. There are many things you can do to help earn your customer’s trust and here are a few.

Improve Your Customer Service

Customer service will leave a lasting impression on your customers, whether that is positive or negative. Making sure that it is always a positive experience will help your customers to trust that you and your business are invested in their well-being and stand behind their products. Through the process of your customer service, you should get to know your customers and listen to what they need. This will help you to respond appropriately to their questions and build stronger relationships. Remember your own customer service experiences when you’re working with customers so you can show them the care and empathy they deserve.

Be More Legitimate

If your business doesn’t seem legitimate, it is pretty much impossible to build trust with your customers. Legitimacy is developed through the ways that your processes work together to create a cohesive whole and show your customers what you have to offer. Things like consistent marketing and materials can help to add to that legitimacy. Quality web content can improve your reputation by providing more legitimacy. Working to ensure that everything you put out for your business is cohesive and professional will help you to establish and improve the legitimacy of your company.

Post and Respond to Customer Reviews

Reviews from other customers help to show current and future customers that you are a reliable and trustworthy company. Even negative reviews can have that effect if you respond to them carefully and work to resolve whatever issue the customer was experiencing. When you show your customers that you are listening and that you have a history of positive interactions with customers in the past, you build their trust and establish stronger relationships. Don’t forget to respond to positive reviews as well to show customers your appreciation and to give them further evidence that you are invested in their positive experience.

Your company is an important part of your life, financially, and otherwise. Earning your customers’ trust is an important step to making your dreams a reality.

Besides customers, another crucial part of a successful business is a good website. Contact us so we can help you!

Meaningful Steps to Building a Powerful Marketing Strategy

Creating a strong marketing strategy takes a lot of preparation and research. Before you can expect customers to enter your business, you have to get the word out that your business exists. Carefully presenting your brand will impact the kinds of customers you have, how you communicate with them, and how easy your product keeps them coming back.

Build Backlinks

One solid way to help people find your products is by building backlinks. Links to your business website from other peoples’ websites can help you get more exposure. Your website should have interesting content that demonstrates how worthwhile your service or product is.

Talk with other companies and see if you can strike a deal. Collaborating with another company can be messy, so you should find a great lawyer who can help you establish the business deal. Consistently refer to other peoples’ websites as a form of advertising, and they will to you as well. This is one great way you can use links in your marketing.

Increase Positive Reviews

Earning positive reviews from customers is the perfect way to expand your company’s reach. Reviews and ratings online play a significant role in your marketing strategy. If your business has a 4+ star rating, more people will be willing to give it a chance. You can also use some of these reviews in your advertisements—especially if they are public figures.

When you receive negative reviews, you shouldn’t ignore them. Instead, you should respond immediately asking what you could do better. This not only will give your business a chance to set things right, but it will also show humility to customers looking into your business.

Be Creative

Any company can make an advertisement. But making an advertisement someone will want to watch is much harder. Because digital media is all the rage, your advertisements need to be quick, informative, and entertaining all at once. It may not score you a buy instantly, but it will create a fun image of your brand.

Work with your writers to create a work environment where bad ideas can be improved. Be extreme with your advertising and tone it down if necessary. Establish an entertaining narrative that anyone could understand. Creative, daring advertisements are the best way to catch someone’s attention.

These steps will improve the marketing strategy you are considering. Building backlinks and working with other companies can increase exposure, positive reviews can build trust, and creativity can establish your brand. Each is important in its own right.

Part of a good marketing strategy is having a professional-looking website. Contact us so we can help you build one!

How Build a Reputation for Customer Service

“The customer is always right,” or so they like to say. Whether or not it’s true, delivering quality service and making your customers happy is essential for businesses who want to succeed. A business who earns a reputation for excelling in customer service is more likely to retain customers and build customer loyalty. So how do you go about doing that?

Admit Your Mistakes

It can be tough to admit when you’ve made a mistake, especially if you’re concerned about how admitting to being fallible might reflect on your business. The truth is that no person or business is perfect and all make mistakes. When you do, your customers will appreciate it far more if you admit that you made a mistake and then take steps to correct it. This shows that you are capable of recognizing your flaws and care enough to fix them. Admitting your mistakes can even lead to improvement in your business. After all, it’s hard to fix a mistake if you can’t admit one was made in the first place.

Source: https://www.peoriamagazines.com/ibi/2013/oct/five-ways-your-business-can-improve-admitting-mistakes

Answer Their Questions

Customers often contact customer service because they have problems they need solved, questions they need answered, or both. Your response time to their questions is a key factor in how satisfied they are with the service they receive. Failing to respond to questions can leave customers unhappy and cause them to drop your business. It comes across as rude, uncaring, and like you don’t have respect for their time and business. Instead, respond quickly, even if it’s just to say that you don’t have the answer just yet but that you’re working on it and will get back to them with an answer within a set timeframe.

Source: https://www.podium.com/article/real-time-messaging/

Go the Extra Mile

If you really want to earn a reputation for excellent customer service, find ways to go the extra mile. Doing so doesn’t have to include grand gestures and costly favors, though it certainly can. Instead, find small ways to show your appreciation to your customers. Even personal touches like using the customer’s name or a sincere, polite complement in personal interactions can leave a lasting impression. Doing a little extra to over deliver in your customer service will leave customers with a positive impression of your business and a desire to return for more.

Source: https://www.shopkeep.com/blog/inexpensive-customer-appreciation-ideas

Over time, consistently delivering quality customer service earns businesses a reputation for excellence in this area. Taking ownership of mistakes that happen, having the answers to questions, and going the extra mile go a long way toward engendering customer satisfaction. This, in turn, will increase customer loyalty and earn your business a strong following.

We can help you to create a website that will satisfy your customers and their needs. Contact us so we can start helping you today!

Resse Lamothe Case Study: A Classic Remake To An E-Commerce Responsive Solution

Resse Lamothe Case Study: A Classic Remake To An E-Commerce Responsive Solution

Resse Lamothe
SMN Web Services Case Study

Project Type

Reconstruct and launch website. In need of an e-commerce solution that is easy to use and edit independently.

The Request

Classic theme with a contemporary layout. Preferred colors of red, black and white. 

The Solution

Resse Lamothe is delightfully a returning client. A new e-commerce website layout was hand-crafted with an updated theme. 1 revision was made to the website and 2 revisions were made to the e-commerce core of the website as the client had the ability to try out two options of the e-commerce software, choosing the second option due to the ease of independent client use. 

Resse Lamothe

About the Client

Based out of Belmont, North Carolina, Resse Lamothe is a new 100% genuine Italian imported leather company providing women’s purses and soon accessories for men. Resse Lamothe is a returning client and bestowed upon us the opportunity to craft their new signature website with room to grow as the business does in addition to providing e-commerce and customer solutions that are easy for the client and customers in the same platform.

The Architecture

The architecture was built with a request of a simple update to a previous classic red and black theme design. The color palette consists of red, black, white and gray. The website construction and design was coordinated with the client with 2 different options presented. There were 2 revisions to the e-commerce core. The client was able to see continuous construction of the project as it was built.

The Results

A responsive and digital space connecting the clients and it’s customers with an e-commerce option was chosen by the client of which they can conveniently and independently use and access at their comfort level. The client also has the option to change or upgrade their e-commerce software at anytime. Per audit the title, headings and description are crawlable and located through the web. The description and title are at perfect length. The sitemap.xml is located and the robots.txt are well configured. No malware detected. Site is not blacklisted.

Appreciation

“It’s good to be back in business. I can’t wait to see what God has planned.” ~Resse Gowens, Owner, Resse Lamothe~

How to Prevent Marketing Missteps

Understanding how to prevent marketing missteps is essential for any business. Keeping these mistakes to a minimum allows you to maximize the reach of your company and give you an advantage over your competitors. On the other hand, always making simple marketing mistakes makes it much more difficult for your business to maintain success in the long-term. You also want to make sure you are measuring the success of your marketing efforts. Taking the time to focus on marketing is crucial for the growth of your business. Here are a few simple marketing tips to keep in mind for your business.

Do Your Research

One of the first steps in creating an effective marketing strategy is to always do your research beforehand. You should use a number of tools for customer segmentation. Taking the additional time to perform research allows you to target the needs of your audience and create a much more impactful marketing campaign. Understanding what your customers want allows you to market more effectively and help your business grow.

Measure Your Progress

The next stage in a marketing campaign is to always measure your progress. Keeping a close eye on your progress allows you to see what works and if you need to make any changes. Marketing goals should be measurable. You can use a variety of software programs to help you determine the success of your marketing outreach. Continually measuring your results allows you to find ways to improve and never stay satisfied with the status quo.

Always Invest Enough Money

Many small businesses make the simple mistake of not investing enough in marketing. However, a lack of funds for marketing makes it much more difficult to obtain new customers. Over time, this can significantly limit the growth of your business and cause you to fall behind your competitors. Always setting aside enough money for marketing is essential in reaching new levels of success for your company by maintaining a steady growth rate.

Learning how to prevent common marketing mistakes is critical for any business owner. Always doing your research, measuring your progress, and investing enough money are all critical aspects of a successful marketing strategy. Failure to focus on marketing makes it much more challenging for your business to grow and attract new clients. Today’s workplace is very competitive but focusing on these marketing tips can help you reach a wide range of customers and ensure your business maintains long-term success.

Of course one of the worst missteps is not having a well made and maintained website. Luckily, we can help! Take a look at our packages and get started on having the best website today!