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StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Fix These Potential Failings To Save Your Business!

As a company owner, you of course want your business to succeed and get ahead, but this can be difficult in such a competitive market. There are so many things to consider, and so many details that need to be right- any of the following things could be letting you down (even to the point where they cause your business to fail!) For this reason, make sure you’re not overlooking these essential elements.

Invest in An App

The world’s largest companies might have been first to get on board when it comes to mobile apps, but it’s definitely not something you should disregard for your own medium sized or smaller business. An effective mobile strategy isn’t just about a mobile friendly website, mobile apps do so much more than this. They allow customers to have all your information at the click of a button and can result in better interaction and more sales for you. It can help you gain new customers, and all in all is an excellent tool to increase your company’s profits. An app for your business will help to improve your brand and increase brand awareness. This is important as customers are more likely to choose brands they know simply because they are seen as safer and more reliable. When you have an app that your customers can download to their phone, it means your website is just a click away. This also means you can send things like offers and coupons directly to their smartphone even when they’re not using the app. These days mobile apps from small businesses are still rare, and this is where you can take a leap ahead of your competition. In the next few years every business will have one, and so take the chance to get involved while it’s still early days and it will set you apart. Anything that can make your company stand out in a good way will have a positive effect on it. Since mobiles and tablets have replaced more traditional desktops and laptops in being the most used devices- the future of your business depends on your ability to get your business onto the phones of your potential customers.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
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Use Good Business Software

Keeping good accounts is vital when you run a business. You will of course have an accountant to tackle the difficult things. However, you will still need to keep efficient records day to day. Good accounting software can allow you to do this and means either you’re able to do your books yourself, or at least tackle a  lot of the work, so you don’t have to spend as much money paying an accountant for more hours. Old methods of accounting such as paper records or Excel can slow or even jeopardise your business. As well as the risk of mistakes, you also have to pay someone to trawl through and take care the tedious task- more efficient methods are the best way to go. They’re more accurate, will save you time and can be saved to cloud based backup services which protect your day. Another type of software you will need if you sell products is presentation software. Your first thought might be Microsoft Powerpoint, but there are a whole range of other programmes out there, many which will likely suit the needs of your business more. Some are relatively simple, others give you the ability to create more complex presentations so find one that’s right for your business. Employee scheduling software will  show you how to create the perfect work schedule for your team. No more manually swapping things over or spending time working it all out, the right software will do all of that in seconds. Email marketing software is another useful one to consider for your business. It can attract new customers as well as maintains relationships with loyal customers- plus it has a large reach and has been shown to lead to more conversions in the form of leads and sales. Unlike social networks, email will always be around and is an efficient way to deliver a message to all of your customers.

Write A Business Blog

There are numerous benefits of running a business blog. It helps drive traffic to your website, plus it means more pages are being indexed by search engines boosting your PageRank. It establishes authority about your brand and also helps to spread the word about your website through social media shares. Write regular engaging content in order to draw in potential customers in and boost business. Each piece of content you produce is another way your blog can be found in organic search. I t’s a free and a straightforward way to promote your business and something any business owner can get on board with. You don’t even have to write it yourself, employ a writer, or pay a writer online to create posts for you.

Create A Social Media Marketing Strategy

Regardless of what your product is and who you sell it to, you need to be using social media as a marketing tool. This can help you grow your brand awareness no end, and these days it’s not just an added extra. It really is something that needs to be an integral part of your company’s digital marketing approach. It’s free to use, and according to research is twice as effective at leading to sales than other traditional outbound marketing techniques. Plus, a good social following makes you look reliable to customers, and provides them with another point of contact should anything go wrong with the transaction. It provides a unique way to have more interaction with your customer base, and you get to find out what makes them tick- this is all information that could even give you ideas for your marketing strategy.  All of your accounts should be run efficiently, get a social media manager on board your team if you’re not an expert. It’s an excellent investment into your business in today’s digital age.

Use An Ecommerce Platform

If your business sells products, you will need to find a good ecommerce platform. Don’t try listing things just on your website, at the very least you need an online storefront with payment processing capabilities. It looks professional and will make life easier for you too. Different platforms will have different customizations and themes on offer so you have the opportunity to really personalize it to your business. There are plenty of comparisons to read online, so spend some time working out exactly what’s right for your business. For many businesses, this will be the main thing that the customer sees when interacting with the company so be sure to get this right.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
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Take On Board Customer Feedback

Any feedback you can gain from customers is useful – good or bad. If and when you do receive complaints or negative feedback, make sure this is carefully looked into and is a way to improve. It’s easy to get defensive over your company but the old adage ‘the customer is always right’ is true- these are the people buying from you and keeping you in business.  Whether it was long shipping times or items arriving in bad condition, incorrect sizes or colours sent out or poor quality items it shows you where you’re going wrong. Whatever it is, focus on what the problem is to come up with a suitable solution. And of course, positive feedback is always good and lets you know what you’re doing is working.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Ways to Improve Your Website’s Navigation

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

There’s no point taking the time to create a website for your business if you don’t also take the time to ensure that the site is easy for your visitors to find their way around.

Good web design answers the important questions about your business and what it’s about, and that means that your website’s navigation needs to be spot on if you’re going to convince visitors to become customers. Unfortunately, so many businesses, of all shapes and sizes, get it wrong.

Here are some simple things you can do to improve the navigation of your website and make it a whole lot easier for visitors to access the information they require, make purchases, and get in touch:

Plan, Plan, Plan

Before you even think about working on your company website, sit down and plan its content and navigation. Create a flowchart that shows the direction you want visitors to take through your website and the main areas that you’d like to draw their attention to. Pay particular attention to your website’s main navigation and the categories you want to include.

Check Out the Competition

It makes sense to see what the competition is doing if you want to get your website’s navigation right. Make a list of the 20 biggest competitors you have and make a point of going through their website like a customer. This should give you some valuable insights into good and bad navigation, which h you can then use to make your website one of the best in your niche.

Pare it Down

Ideally, if you want to make your website as simple and informative as possible, paring down the number of navigation options on offer is a good idea. The fewer options there are, the less cluttered the site will feel and the easier it will be for visitors to find exactly what they want.

Keep it Clean

Keeping your website as free of animations, auto playing videos, and sizeable images will ensure that your website loads more quickly. It will also keep distractions to a minimum so that the focus of your customers is on your content, products and services. There is nothing worse than a slow loading website to make things difficult and send potential customers away, so avoid temptation and leave those unnecessary elements out.

Make it Static

Your website’s navigation menu should stay in the same place from page to page. It shouldn’t be at the top of the homepage and the side on the about me section.

Text-Based Links

You might think that image-based links look more interesting, but they’re also more difficult for some users to find, and they don’t work as well when it comes to search engine optimization and boosting your website’s position on Google.

Use Basic Language

A lot of companies are tempted to use flowery technical language because they think it makes them look more professional, and this might well be the case, but it also makes it more confusing for their users. So, at least when it comes to menu headings and page titles keep things short and simple.

Be Very Specific

Instead of making your navigation labels general, like saying ‘services’ make them more specific like ‘divorce’ and ‘criminal law’ This will ensure your visitors find exactly what they want quickly and give you another handy SEO boost.

Avoid Drop Down Menus

If you really want to include drop down menus on your website, go ahead and do so, but be aware that a lot of users find them annoying because they can start to move around, and thus cause people to click the wrong link, and get in the way. They’re also a lot more difficult for the likes of Google to crawl, which means your website might not be as easy to find in the first place.

Include a Search Box

Including a search box right at the top of your website is a great way to help your visitors out. If despite your best efforts, they still find your website tougher to navigate than they would like, they can simply type that they’re looking for into the box and a list of options will appear.

Excellent website navigation, which enables visitors to move through your website quickly and without issue is a proven way of increasing conversion rate and boosting your website’s performance. It is vital that you take the above steps, and any others that you can think of to ensure that this is a reality for your website.

Good Luck!

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

How to Prepare the Launch of Your First Ecommerce Company

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Branding & Company Name

Before you can even think about launching your business you will need to make sure that all your branding is air tight. You will need a solid business name, that makes your company recognisable and that effectively communicates who you are and what you do. You business name, logo and branding will need to be memorable and unique. So make sure you are researching online, beforehand, to make sure that your business name is not already in use and that your branding is not too similar to that of any of your competitors.

You will then need to register that company name and the domain of your site and if you are wanting to do business internationally, or even just outside of your local community, then you will certainly want to consider trademarking your logo and creating a copyright for your business.

Understand Logistics

Ensuring the success of an ecommerce site is not just knowing your website and your products. A huge chunk of your business is going to be logistics, so it’s essential that you get your head around how it all works and that you have all the logistics in place, prepared and ready to go for when the orders start rolling in.

You are going to need to to look into local warehouses and logistical partners. You will need to get all of your inventory sorted and organised and get all the necessary items in place, such as shipping labels, boxes and central Carolina scales. Making sure that everything is ready in the warehouse, that you have a logistics team in place and all your inventory and shipping materials are ready to go, means that you can really hit the ground running when the orders come in.

Employer Identification Number

Once your business and website are registered and you have researched how to properly trademark your new brand you will then need to think about how to get your employment identification number. You will need this number to open a bank account for your business and so that you are able to do all your paperwork, like invoicing and taxes. Every business need an employment identification number, whether you are employing staff or not, so this needs to be in place before you launch your ecommerce site.

Business Permits & Licenses

Another very important task for anyone launching their first ecommerce company is to ensure that all the correct business licenses and permits are properly organised and in place. These may differ depending on the location of your business, therefore you should check with your local city council in order to understand what sort of tax licenses, business licenses and permits you need in order to be legally trading from your home or office address.

Choose the Best Vendors

The bread and butter of any ecommerce site is the products. Therefore you are going to need to make sure that you are working with the best vendors and that your products are of the best possible quality. You will want to be negotiating for the best price and be building solid relationships with the best vendors that you want to go into business with.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

Talking Shop – What Your Ecommerce Site Can’t Do Without

If you’re reading this then you know that the future of shopping is well-and-truly online. But not every shop is created equal. The ecommerce businesses that keep the tips below in mind are going to see much more success with their customers.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article
Photo courtesy of Pexels

Focus on the user experience first and foremost

This should be a given for any site but in the world of ecommerce, it’s actually easier to lose customers. Beyond categorization for products that makes sense and smart advanced search options, take an in-depth look through the whole process of buying items on your store. Think about where you can trim the fat, where another page or another click might not necessarily be needed. Putting customers through too long a process puts you at real risk of shopping cart abandonment. Another way of fighting it is by using breadcrumb navigation that shows customers at what stage they’re at through every part of the process. User friendliness must be your first and last concern.

Work to your product

No two ecommerce systems should work alike. In fact, if they have different products and different target markets, they should be wildly different. Beyond good navigation, you need a focus on the value proposition of the site and the individual products. For instance, the front page should be loud and clear with the deals on some of the most popular product types on the site. A front page that says nothing about the products is going to result in a lot of confused visitors. But attention to detail should go deeper than that. For instance, writing great product descriptions depends wildly from product to product. Lifestyle and fashion products, for instance, rely more on greater visual detail. Meanwhile, tech like computers and TVs need the technical details up-front. We’re talking resolutions, gigabytes, and compatibilities. You can’t sell two different kinds of products on the same selling points.

Have a site that works with you

Even worse than a site that’s confusing to customers is one that’s confusing to you. Not just in terms of design but management. Nowadays, there a lot of ecommerce hosting options that make it a lot easier for site owners to choose a platform built specifically for hosting ecommerce pages, with all the various sub-pages that go with it. Continuous, never-ending testing of the site is essential, too. Not just to make sure all pages are working. Methods like A/B testing also help you better understand how to make the site much easier to use for the customer.

Watch and learn

One of the best things about running a shop online as opposed to in the physical world is how much easier it is to store data on not just your customer base, but individual customers, too. Measuring the whole gives you a finger on the pulse of the market, seeing the trends from the customer’s’ point of view that can help you decide on which new stock might work best for the business. Building individual customer profiles, however, lets you go even further. You can specialize offers and create a bespoke browsing experience for each user that makes them a lot more likely to see something they’re tempted to buy.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

Take Your Business Online

A strong presence in the world of the Internet is a necessity for the businesses of today. As a business owner, you probably already know that. You’ve probably created your business a website, and all the social media handles to match. You’ve probably liked a few photos, ran a few competitions and uploaded a few videos. But there’s so much more your business can do online. In fact, there’s a world wide web of opportunities out there. Below are just some of the things you should consider when it comes to taking your business online.

As a business owner you want to make profit from the goods you sell, right? Well then, there’s no better place to start than with e-commerce. Setting up a stall in the Internet marketplace is an online option that all manner of business owners are taking to in this day and age. And it’s no wonder they are when you consider how easy it is. All you need to do is find a service that will cater to your e-commerce needs and help you create your own marketplace and you’re up and running. An example of such a service is Shopify. They can help when it comes to building your site, ensuring that is is mobile friendly and making it as easy to customise as possible. And once you’ve set up your marketplace it’s time to decide upon the most important aspect: what you are selling. When it comes to this you should most certainly have a snoop at your competition. To find your competition simply search for the keywords linked to your marketplace on a search engine and, voila! They’ll appear. Once you find them take a look at what they’re selling, how much they are selling and how much they are selling it all for. And you should also take notes on a host of other things on your competitor’s site too. This includes taking notes on the overall theme of the site in order to figure out how to make your store as user-friendly as possible. Scribbling down information on how they are linking back to their parent website. And jotting down anything that you think contributes to their USP (unique selling point). You need to come up with a USP of your own, but there’s nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from the USPs of others.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article
Photo courtesy of Max Pixel

And if you haven’t dipped your business’s toe into the pool of blogging yet, then you should most certainly do so. Blogs have turned into big business in recent times. So big in fact that some businesses have taken to hiring somebody that is known as a webmaster in order to keep their blog active. Blogs allow consumers to access and interact with like minded people. They allow consumers to see the development of a business in real-time. They allow them to feel close to the business. If you want to induce a healthy and incredibly modern relationship with your customers, then starting a blog should be at the forefront of your plans.

So, if you want to increase your business’s ROI and it’s relationship with it’s customers, make sure to take heed of the advice above! The Internet offers a plethora of opportunities for a business to thrive upon it, you just have to be brave enough to embrace the digital age to take them.