StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

Business Events: Why You Need To Hold One!

Event hosting is, without a doubt, one of the very best ways to promote a business, and yet, few businesses are taking advantage of this simple method of promotion. Companies from all manner of industries, from technology to beauty businesses, are hosting events, and are reaping the rewards from doing so.

A lot of small(er) business owners are under the common misconception that event hosting is something that is made for larger businesses. However, that isn’t necessarily the case – event hosting can be beneficial for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article
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Arranging an event doesn’t require a huge budget, despite what you might have heard, so it’s a fantastic way of promoting your business regardless of its size and your budget. The events that you host don’t have to be overly lavish with hundreds of attendees, speakers, and lots of food and drink, they can be a more modest affair. Instead of hosting an event at your place of business, you can hire a venue, use event equipment rental, and outsource all of the other tasks that come with holding an event. The fact is that to be a success; an event doesn’t have to be expensive.

Now, onto the question of why you should host events in the first place. For a guide to all of the best benefits of event hosting, read on.

Brand exposure 

One of the major benefits of hosting business events is the brand exposure that comes with them. When you hold events, whether they are for other business owners or local people, they offer a fantastic opportunity to gain exposure within the local community. Your company’s name will be associated with the event that you host, promoting your business to a wider audience.

A more targeted audience 

The reason that business events can be such an effective method of increasing your customer base is because you have a more targeted audience to appeal to. The fact is that different event types attract different people, and the chances are that your business event will link to your business in some way, and will attract people with an interest in the industry that you are in. This gives you a more targeted audience to appeal to, and a better chance of boosting your customer base with relevant customers.

Chance to network 

Hosting a business event that appeals to both other business owners and the local community is a great chance to network. The fact is that these kinds of events not only allow you to get to know your customers and potential customers, but also other people within the local community who own and run businesses. You never know, one of these companies could end up being a good match for your business, and you may be able to forge a brand partnership because of it.

The fact is that hosting a business event is a great idea for a whole range of reasons, but especially because, if you take the time to plan it properly, it can be a fantastic way to network with other relevant people within the local community.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

The 6 Most Common Mistakes New Online Business Owners Make & How to Avoid Them

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Growing an online business is as much about learning what we should be doing, as it is about learning what we should not be doing. It is important to have a solid plan in place with a trusty list of your ‘to-do’s which can be satisfyingly ticked off as you go along. However as you move forward with your new business it is also just as important to be aware of the things that you should avoid and the common pitfalls involved in starting an online business. Whilst the obstacles to starting an online business are low, the potential initial mistakes, that can affect the long-term success of a business can be high. Read on for our list of the six most common mistakes that new online business owners make and our tips on how to avoid them.

A Weak Business Plan

It is all very well and good having a fantastic idea but if you don’t have a solid plan of attack then you could be on a backfoot before you’ve even gotten started. Whilst it’s not necessary to have a formal business plan, a plan of sorts is extremely necessary. In order to build an effective business plan you need to be considering the following: Who is is your target market and what do your customers look like? What is their ‘pain point’ and how will your product or service help them with their problem or issue? What are you selling and why would anyone be willing to pay for your service or product over your competitors? What makes your business different and how do you plan to position yourself to stand out alongside your competitors?

Alongside exploring the above questions you will also want to be thinking about the budget that you have available to you and how long that will last. You will want to be submerging yourself in a constant learning curve about how best to market yourself utilizing social media platforms and other avenues that will benefit your business. You will also need to be thinking about the details such as logistics, hiring staff, your accounting and your website content and strategy. You will realise that as your business develops so will your knowledge and understanding of all areas of business. You will essentially be ‘learning on the job’. However having at least a basic plan of the above will help you to avoid coming up against unexpected surprises and bumps within the initial first few months.

Becoming Obsessed with Detail

It is very natural to want everything to be perfect before we launch the fruits of our hard labour. We completely concur and agree that there are many things that need to be in place and fully functional before launch date. However becoming too hung up on the minute details of a new website has delayed many a business from launching and therefore has resulted in months of lost business revenue. You would be surprised how easy it is to fall into the routine of carefully analysing every last detail, tweaking, changing, moving, shifting, then changing it back to how it was in the first place. This process stalls the process of moving your business forward so try to be relaxed with the smaller details and keep modifying and playing with the details, as you go along in order to experiment with what works and what doesn’t.

Being a Bit Too ‘Old School’

Regardless of what generation we are from there is no denying that we are all now living in a digital age. For many of us that have been in business for a while and have different tried and tested ways of promoting and growing businesses it is easy to dismiss elements of modern technology and software as a ‘passing fad’. However there is so much technological support now available that will benefit your business that it is essential to be getting your head around the modern developments that will help you to grow your online company.

Regardless of what type of business you are planning, the bread and butter or the ‘first impression’ of your business, is going to be your website so this is always a good place to start whether you are focused on investing in software to prevent enterprise-level disasters with SEO alerts to ensure that your content is doing your business justice. Or perhaps your problem area is keeping on top of the finances in your business in which case you should be looking into the software and programmes available to support you in that area. There really is a whole world of wealth when it comes to the software, technology, apps and programmes available to you that will help you to grow your business to future and long-term success, so make sure you are taking advantage of it.

Not Focusing on Finances

One of the most common areas where businesses fail is through lack of proper financial planning. Many new online businesses fall foul of running out of money before they get to the point where they are making any and there is no other choice but to abandon the project. Therefore long-term financial projections are essential in order to plan out your time efficiently. Look into how much money you have in order to be able to run your business, how long that money will last whilst also factoring in a contingency budget that will cover you for unexpected costs and expenses along the way. Too often online business owners have to quickly try to pull funds together after realising that their budget is almost gone. By then it is probably already too late. So plan effectively in advance and keep your eye on your finances on a regular basis in order to avoid burning yourself out too quickly.

Lack of Confidence in Product or Undervaluing Your Service

It is very common for businesses in the initial months to want to just get the orders and the business rolling in and commonly that is to the detriment of a solid pricing structure. This is a big mistake however as lowering the price of your products or service is essentially devaluing your product and damaging your business. You should not be creating a business in the first place if you don’t believe in your product, so make sure that you are staying true to the proper pricing of what you are selling in order to build your business in a solid way.

Customer Service Focus as Secondary

As the sales come rolling in, a common mistake is to feel content that success is yours and that your job is done. However major value in your business is how you take care of your customers after their purchases. It is a dangerous mistake to see customer service as an afterthought for your business, as good customer service can be the make or break of any company. Living in the online age makes business easier in a lot of ways but it also makes the world of business pretty cut-throat too. Customers are savvier and more demanding than ever and if they are made to feel unimportant or unhappy, in any way, by a company, you will certainly know about it.

Dealing with customer service as a priority for your business means that you can look after your clients in a way that makes them feel valued and important to your company. That will keep them coming back and loyal to you and your business. Ignored requests, enquiries or complaints can, and very often do, lead to damaging public reviews that not only ensures they are never coming back to you again, but will also work as a huge deterrent to any new potential customers.

Recognising the above mistakes and taking great strides to avoid them will go a long way in steering your business in the right direction and keeping it on track for long-term success.

How to Pick the Best Web Hosting Company

Because a lot of thought, planning, and money goes into creating the perfect website for your business, you want to be sure it gets the traffic you are aiming for and that the website can handle everything that is thrown at it. This is where the web hosting company comes into play. The web host is the service that publishes your website so others will see it. It provides a company with the actual server space to store all its content and looks after the file maintenance involved in the site. It is easily the most important component in building your site.

So, before you just go ahead and randomly select the first web host that you find, you may want to take some time and use these tips that will help you pick the best web hosting company for your specific needs.

Keep the Three S’s in Mind

A simple way to go about picking a web host is to always keep the three S’s in mind. These S’s are security, support, and speed. Each of these plays an important role, and if even one of these is lagging, the entire site and the user experience will suffer. Each time you investigate a web host, you need to ask about the three S’s and get detailed specifics.

Of course, there is more to it than just the three S’s, these just happen to be the most important criteria to watch for.

Be Aware of Your Specific Needs

It’s also very important that you are aware of your specific needs. It’s hard to shop for a host when you don’t even know what you need. Give thought to the website you are building. If you want to use something simple like WordPress, how much web traffic you are expecting? If you need any sort of special software for the site, do you know what this is and how to get it?Certain hosts will cater to specific criteria, which will help you to narrow down your options and find that perfect fit.

How Reliable is the Server?

Web traffic is fickle in that it will only stick around and stay strong if the website performs smoothly and as it is intended. What this means is that you need a reliable server that can handle your traffic without needing to “time out”.

When speaking to a potential web host you want to ask about their “uptime”, this is the time the website will be up and running, and is reliable. When a website crashes, it’s not unusual to lose more than just traffic, you can also lose out on a large number of potential sales.

What Kind of Pricing is Offered

Budget should always be on your mind when shopping for a web host. You want to find a package that offers everything you need, doesn’t have any surprise costs built in, and fits your budget.

Picking a web hosting company isn’t something you want to rush through. It’s important to do your research, take a good look at your options, and make sure you weigh all the pros and cons before making a final decision.

How to make a business plan and actually stick to it

Whether you are a long-term small business owner or just starting in a complex market, then there’s no time like the present to start penning your latest business plan. However, writing a plan and sticking to it are two very different elements. No matter the size or nature of your business, it’s always good to get something down on paper to help drive your business decisions and check that you have all bases covered. From generating more sales, to getting those ideas off the ground, read on to find out why you should be making a business plan, and more importantly, how simple it is to stick to it.

Check out the competition

Whether you are opening a coffee shop, a new bookstore or even a consultancy, be sure to undertake a full and in-depth market analysis. Now, this doesn’t have to cost you too much – you can do the groundwork yourself if you know what you are looking for. Café owners will want to scope out competitors’ prices, unique selling points and even range of snacks and goodies on offer. Whereas if you are offering higher-end services or products, then you will want to make sure that your range has a serious wow factor. Be sure to include this step in your business plan to ensure that you are fully aware of how you want to direct the future of your company and roll with it – remember, it’s best to do your homework rather than blindly entering an established market.

Get your finances in order

Drawing up a business plan, no matter the size of your business, and actually sticking to it, is going to require having a solid financial base. Getting your application papers in order and lengthy approval times can spell disaster in today’s fast-paced market. However, times are changing. Companies such as Betterfunds offer a range of loans to meet your business requirements. Not to mention, you could be the happy recipient of some much-needed funding in a matter of hours. Having a solid cash income is key to getting your business plan off the ground – don’t cut any corners.

Marketing and sales

Be sure to include marketing and sales as key priorities for your business plan – after all, generating new leads and acquiring new clients is essential to you, and your business, to succeed. If you haven’t already considered it, then make sure to explore how digital marketing can help propel your company into the future. Social media is increasingly becoming essential to the success of companies worldwide, so don’t get left behind and do go digital. Secondly, you will want to check that your marketing and sales teams are working effectively together – just like two spokes in a wheel, these departments are key to helping you gain and keep new business opportunities. Finally, have another look at your business plan. If you’ve stuck to it – congratulations! You are well on the way to business success.

Freedom Financial Gives Five Financial Management Tips Every Successful Entrepreneur Follows

To achieve and sustain success, entrepreneurs must be skilled in a variety of areas. One of the most important of these is financial management. The lack of proper financial management is one of the primary causes of early failure for entrepreneurs. Freedom Financial provides five key areas of finance that are critical for entrepreneurs to have a greater chance at success.

Proper preparation for lean months.

Entrepreneurial income typically fluctuates from month to month and even from year to year. Income can swing from high to low in a matter of weeks, without warning. It’s important for entrepreneurs to prepare for the lean months by setting aside money during higher earning months, according to Freedom Financial. While, it’s tempting to spend money to reap the benefits of your hard work, it’s wiser to put money away while it’s plentiful. Without a reserve of cash set aside, some business cannot survive.

Keep business and personal finances separate.

Many entrepreneurs fund their startups using money from personal savings or a personal credit card to get the business going. In the early stages of entrepreneurship, it’s often simpler to conduct all your transactions from a single account. Once your business starts growing, Freedom Financial recommends separating business and personal finances, is essential. Keeping funds separate funds simplifies accounting and gives your business credibility. Keep business funds in a business account and pay yourself as though you were an employee of the company.

Diversify your assets and your efforts.

Entrepreneurs have to maintain a delicate balance between focusing on their entrepreneurship efforts and diversifying their income and time. Statistically speaking, entrepreneurship has a high risk of failing. Freedom Financial recommends entrepreneurs to hedge against that risk by putting time into other ventures, putting money into other investments, or sometimes even maintaining full-time employment.

Get professional financial advice.

You may be able to do many things on your own, but you cannot do everything on your own. When it comes to matters of finance, it’s better to seek professional council. Getting professional advice from an accountant and tax professional can ensure your business is both operating legally and taking advantage of the possible tax deductions. It’s wise to shop around for the best fit for your business, but this isn’t an area where you should cut costs.

Minimize business expenses.

As your business begins to generate more revenue, owners may increase their business spending, justifying these expenses as necessary for business growth. Remember that the more you spend, the less profit your business makes. Always aim to minimize business expenses by negotiating lower prices, seeking lower-cost alternatives, and forgoing unnecessary expenses. Freedom Financial suggests having another person who has to sign off on business spending, to help keep the owner’s spending impulses in check.

To achieve and maintain success, entrepreneurs must always plan for the financial future and be careful not to take the present circumstances for granted. Spending time reviewing the business finances and constantly seeking ways to improve are two steps entrepreneurs can take for better financial management.