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Implementing An Effective eCommerce Strategy: A Guide

You’ve done your research and decided that going branching out onto the worldwide web is the best decision for your business. But how do you actually go about implementing that? Building an online store and an eCommerce website requires a sophisticated content management system and a strategy that combines many separate elements. Not sure where to begin? Here is a guide to help you transition to the wonderful world of eCommerce.

Finding your online voice

Firstly, you will need to think about how you want to present your company online. What sort of tone do you want to have? Formal and serious or open and friendly? You will need to consider your product or service descriptions, as your online voice will play a big role in this. If you’re not sure how to go about this, looking at your competitors is a good place to start. How are they presenting themselves? How do they describe their products? Your descriptions will require keywords that online users search for in search engines, as well as being compelling enough to convince your customers to buy.

You’ll also need to take professional quality photos to accompany your inventory, as eCommerce relies heavily on visually appealing interfaces and imagery.

Setting yourself up

The second thing you will need to do is set up your website. This can be done independently, through platforms such as WordPress, or through a professional website designer. You need to ensure that your website is easy to navigate, has a clean and sharp design, and holds all the information your customers might need.

For much large organizations, especially those running ERP, eCommerce will be part of a wider strategy. This is usually outsourced to companies who can implement comprehensive product suites, such as Omnia, which ensure you offer up real time data under the secure umbrella of the ERP infrastructure.

Create a marketing plan

Doing business online comes with many benefits, including the vast array of marketing techniques and tactics for you to utilize, many of which are either free of charge or inexpensive to use.

Take social media for example. Especially due to changing algorithms on media platforms, you should strongly consider paid promotion due to the accurate targeting options on offer. However, you can do a lot for your business by simply engaging with customers on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Regular posting shows consumers you are active and involved with your customer community, and can be a good way of showing your strengths and previous customer loyalty. Many people go straight to social media when checking out a business, as it is the perfect insight into who you are. It will certainly give your brand a stronger, more personable identity.

Focus on customers

In the face of fierce online competition, remember that your strongest strategy weapon is prioritizing your customers. Social media users respond well to brands that build and nurture meaningful relationships, while Google is constantly updating its algorithm to favor those who give greater precedence to the customer experience.

Forex Strategies That Still Work in 2018

Trading isn’t an easy game to break into. Like any form of investing, it is not without risk. Most people know this going in, yet they still end up falling into the usual traps. With so much, often contradictory, advice being thrown around new investors, it’s no surprise that there is so much confusion over what the best trading strategies are.

One way that you can improve your chances of success in trading is to find a winning strategy and stick with it. As long as the strategy you settle on is one that is well-reasoned, and has produced proven results, you can be reasonably confident that it is a winning strategy that you can rely on. Having a pre-defined strategy is helpful as it encourages you to act with discipline.

Which is the Best Strategy?

The nature of Forex trading means that there is no single best strategy to use. The best Forex strategy to use will depend on you as an individual, your current circumstances, and your short and long-term financial goals. It is important to remember that just because a strategy works for someone else, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a good strategy for you.

It is important that throughout the process of establishing your preferred strategy you remain mindful of the above. You may well come across success stories from other traders who have managed to make millions using a particular trading strategy. These stories might not be true, but even if they are, the fact that a strategy has made someone else rich doesn’t mean it will make you rich.

What Are the Options

With the above advice in mind, the following are the most common trading styles. At least one of these strategies will work for most people. Just remember that there are no guarantees!

Scalping – Scalping involves making very short-lived trades, trades that resolve after just a few minutes. The idea behind scalping is for the trader to beat the spread of a bet or trade, skimming (or scalping) just a few points of profit before closing. MetaTrader is a popular piece of software for making this kind of trade.

Day trading – As the name suggests, day trades are resolved before the end of the day, when the markets close. Day traders tend to like the fact that their trades aren’t going to be affected by any large shifts during the night. That means no nasty surprises in the morning!

Swing trading – Swing traders seek to resolve their trades within a week, hoping to make a profit on short-term moves in the market.

Positional trading – This is a long-term form of trading. As the name implies, positional traders are positioning themselves according to where they think it will be advantageous to be in the future.

Choosing Your Style

When it comes to settling on a style, you should do as much research as you can beforehand on what the various options are and how they work. My Forex Chart is an excellent resource for Forex traders, with a variety of articles, news, and other information.

Having a trading strategy is a good idea. It will help you to trade in a more controlled and disciplined manner and will lead to more consistent results.

Reasons to Have a Newsletter

Although social media marketing is having its moment in the spotlight right now, email marketing is still very much a relevant and a powerful tool for your business to utilise. One way you can really take advantage of email marketing is via a newsletter, something which appears to be a dying trend.

When you consider just how many of us use email and have access to it around-the-clock through our smartphones, you start to see the raw potential of properly using email marketing to reach your customers and subscribers. Although you may be sitting on the fence, unsure whether or not to create a newsletter, we recommend that you just go ahead and do it – you have nothing to lose and it is really something that can pay off.

If you are unsure how to create a newsletter, there are plenty of guides available online which can help you from beginning to end, regardless of your skill level or experience. Creating a newsletter is very simple and you can have one ready to go in virtually no time. If you are still unsure, read on to learn just how beneficial a newsletter can be for your business or brand.

#1: Newsletters Drive Conversions & Sales

It’s very easy to understand just how email marketing and newsletters are effective when it comes to driving up sales. When a subscriber opens one of your emails, you have a golden opportunity to make the sale right there and then — you already have the recipient’s attention and you need to take advantage of this moment to describe the product or service, explain its benefits, and entice them to make a purchase.

As we all know too well, human beings are impulsive creatures and by including incentives such as a coupon, promotion or special offer in a newsletter, you can easily convince somebody to make a purchase. If statistics are anything to go by – where 7 in 10 adults make use of a coupon or discount from a marketing email or where over 40% of email recipients make at least one purchase per year based on an email – there is no doubt that newsletters can have a dramatic impact on your sales.

#2: Newsletters Create Connections

Although you may not believe so, consumers actually want to receive promotional emails from their favourite brands; many consumers go out of their way to sign up for promotional emails. By creating a newsletter which is interesting and engaging, you enable your subscribers to connect with your brand or business on a personal level.

Email marketing and newsletters are about more than just making sales, they are about providing value and utility beyond sales and profits by sending customers interesting, well-thought-out email newsletters with which they can resonate. By building bridges and connections with your customers, you establish brand loyalty, something which, in the long-term, can spur growth.

At the end of the day, your customers buy from you because they are loyal to your brand and can trust you, a trust which is established through building connections with customers.

#3: Newsletters Boost Website Traffic & Social Media Followings

In your email newsletter, you can add social sharing buttons for sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. As you are likely aware, these social media channels are vital to your overall marketing strategy yet growing them can be something of a challenge. Email newsletters are very effective at helping you build up your social media following. For the most part, merely having these social buttons there can be enticing enough to encourage people to follow your social media pages, however, drawing your newsletter to a close with a discussion involving your social media channels can be another way to entice your subscribers to like and follow your pages.

Not only this, but your email newsletter can play a major role in boosting overall traffic to your website or online store. If you want people to come and visit your website, peruse through your catalogue and, ultimately, make a purchase, you need to invite and encourage people to do just that. There are multiple ways you can go about this, including promotional incentives, calls to action and targeted emails.

Although email newsletters have become something of a dying trend with the onset of social media marketing, it is important to recognise the important role they still play for online businesses, especially small-to-medium sized ones which do not yet have much of a substantive following.

Newsletters are a simple way to engage the customers and subscribers you currently have and encourage them to share your business or brand and, ultimately, come back for more. It’s very easy to create an emotive and engaging newsletter which encourages a response from its recipient, and every business should be sending email newsletters often.

The Top 15 Shows That Every Aspiring Entrepreneur Should Watch

Whilst starting your own business is both exciting and fulfilling, it can also be exhausting. Never ending work hours and a lack of weekends can mean at times, all you fancy doing is sitting back, relaxing and watching your favorite box set on TV. If you’re interested in maximizing your downtime however, we’ve found the best TV shows that every entrepreneur should watch, to make sure that down time is not only guilt free, but invaluable.

1. Dragons Den

If pitching for investment isn’t already nerve-wracking enough, imagine doing in front of some of the countries most successful business people and on TV. That’s what the brave entrepreneurs on Dragons Den have to do. The current panel includes business greats such as Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden and Jenny Campbell.  Watching Dragon’s Den is great for getting tips on how to pitch, an insight into what kind of questions you may get asked and probably most importantly- what not to do. Think you can take on the dragons? The show is open to applicants- enter the den if you dare!

2. Girl Boss

Inspired by the bestselling book ‘#GirlBoss’ by Sophia Amoruso and based on her start-up story, this Netflix original shows how Sophia went from broke to running the multi-million dollar fashion empire, Nasty Gal. Sophia starts by selling vintage clothes, but as her business starts to grown, she learns about all the ups (and downs) of running your own business.

3. Billions

If you want a lesson in power struggles, Billions is the one of you. Set in New York, it tells the story of the U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades, who boasts the title of never having lost an insider trading case. In Billions, he is taking on Axelrod, a (corrupt) hedge fun tycoon. What follows is a battle of intelligence, ambition, influence and ultimately power.

4. I Give It a Year

In this show, Baroness Karren Brady (who you may remember as one of Lord Sugar’s advisers on ‘The Apprentice’) meets with entrepreneurs who have just taken the leap and decided to start their own business. One year later she goes back and revisits them, to see how far they may (or may not) have come. The types of businesses vary from episode to episode- one of our favorite episodes involves one entrepreneur tackling the constant battle of trying to keep your cup of tea warm. A dilemma indeed!

5. Undercover Boss

Ever felt like your previous management was a little ‘out of touch’ when it came to the day-to-day running of the company? In Undercover Boss, the company leaders go undercover in the guise of a new employee within their own company. With the change of perspective, problems are uncovered they hadn’t realised were occurring and relationships with workers are both forged and strengthened. A great programme to help you change your own perspective on how to run your company, as well as proof of why you should always maintain a working knowledge of every aspect of your business.

6. Empire

Empire is a fictional drama, focused on the company ‘Empire Entertainment’ and it’s CEO, Lucious Lyon. When Lucious learns his life may be cut short due to health issues, Lucious must pick between his sons to decide who should take over his multi-million dollar company. With an ex-wife adding more drama to the mix, Empire shows the potential consequences of mixing family and big business.

7. How It’s Made

Ever looked at something and wonder how on earth they made it? How It’s Made has the answer, by looking at how everyday items are created and manufactured, covering everything from foil to chewing gum. It gives you a great insight into what is required for different items and may help you uncover the secret as to how to take your prototype to the next level. Or perhaps you have a better idea when it comes to how something is currently made… Either way, you’ll be inspired (and sometimes in awe) of the manufacturing processes that goes into those things we take for granted everyday. This show is also great for getting to grips with supply chain management as well as the basics of product design.

8. The Profit

The Profit follows Marcus Lemonis (Camping World CEO) as he invests $2 million dollars of his money into companies that are struggling to stay afloat, with them giving him a percentage of their future profits in return. Instead of giving them the money and expecting them to go it alone, Marcus offers his experience, expertise and knowledge, to help the businesses get back onto the right track for a fruitful future. Some will thrive and some won’t survive, but you can learn valuable lessons along the way by watching their journeys.

9. Mad Men

Set in New York in the 1960’s, Mad Men follows Don Draper’s power struggles at his Madison Avenue advertising firm and how he balances his position at work with his home life. A great insight into how the advertising industry operates combined with enough fictional drama to keep you binge watching those episodes. If you’re getting stuck on finding a name for your company, you can find out more here. Investing in company branding and advertising only to find your name is already taken is a costly mistake to make!

10. Shark Tank

A spin off from Dragons Den, this American reality TV programme shows entrepreneurs pitching for cash from successful millionaire entrepreneurs in exchange for equity. The sharks do not hold back in their assessment of the contestants businesses, with their harsh questioning sometimes bordering on brutal. The sharks include Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John. However, if the sharks like the sound of the business pitching, deals can be made then and there. A dramatic cut down of a longer pitch, it still captures the intensity of pitching for investment and is a must for any entrepreneur.

11. The Apprentice

This British reality TV show follows multiple hopeful entrepreneurs competing against each other for an investment in their business idea. The contestants are given weekly business challenges in which they work in teams, with one contestant being fired each week from the losing team. The final winner gets £250,000 and Lord Sugar as a 50% owner of their new venture. The weekly challenges vary and show not only the talents of the candidates, but also the importance of team-work when striving to reach goals.

12. Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares

In this reality TV series, Gordon Ramsey takes his foul mouth and flaring temper to various restaurants that are struggling to stay afloat. After uncovering what is going wrong in the business, Gordon tries to help turn it around. From awful food and stubborn management, to shabby interiors, Gordon often ruffles a few feathers in his bid to create a viable restaurant business for the owners. Not only great dramatic viewing, it shows the importance of customer experience and being open to feedback.

13. House Hunters

House Hunters is a US show that follows the journey of people looking for a new home. With the realtor working hard to make their customers dreams comes true, this show is a lesson in knowing what your customers wants, and shows how emotional reasons can overtake financial sense when it comes to consumer purchases.

14. Silicon Valley

Despite being a fictional comedy show, Silicon Valley was influenced by the experiences of it’s co-creator (Mike Judge) during his time working in Silicon Valley. The show is the story of Richard- a computer programmer who works alongside his intelligent friends to try and tap into the booming tech industry with their start up Pied Piper. Living in the home of the leader of their start up incubator, this show will help you laugh and unwind whilst getting an insight into the lives of those living in Silicon Valley.

15. How I Made My Millions 

When you start your own business, you trade in huge risk for potentially huge reward. This programme tells the story of individuals who took exactly this risk and for whom it has paid off, creating million dollar businesses. Instead of showing the journey as all roses, this programme shows the reality and the hard work that goes behind creating a successful business. A great one to keep you inspired during those scarier moments in your entrepreneurial journey.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Key Practises You Must Get Right To Grow Your Small Business

Too many businesses fail within their initial stages, and you don’t want yours to be next. That’s why it’s crucial to optimize your business procedures right from the start. It will be much easier to implement them when you only have a few staff, rather than waiting until you have dozens or even hundreds.

Hiring

If your company is small, then every team member is crucial. For example, let’s say you have a team of five. Every person is responsible for 20% of the workload. Imagine if your new hire is simply not performing. That takes your business down to 80% effectiveness. Now imagine another staff member suddenly quits without notice. You’re suddenly down to 60%.

The smaller a company is, the greater the importance of each employee. It doesn’t matter if a large company hires a few bad apples because it will have hundreds of other workers to take up the slack. Unfortunately, you don’t have that luxury.

Make sure you develop a comprehensive hiring process to weed out lazy and unreliable workers. Have a look at qualityeducationandjobs.com to learn more about what you should be looking for.

Accounting

Make sure you hire a good accountant and make sure you document all your expenses and revenue closely. Any bookkeeping stuff ups can cause chaos throughout your company, potentially land you in tax trouble, and impair your ability to plan for the future.

Marketing

If you want your business to grow, then you need to get it seen. The best way to do this is to develop your online presence as much as possible. If you’re not familiar with social media marketing (you should be), now is the time to learn. You want to start developing posts that connect with your audience.

You should also aim to get your company site seen on Google. If you have no idea how to do this, then it may be time to learn about SEO (search engine optimization). This involves a variety of processes to get your site ranking on the highest page possible. The easiest and most efficient way is to develop content that is relevant to viewers. This could be in the form of articles or videos.

Quality Control

It’s easy to think that because your business is small, there is no need to implant major quality control procedures. Why it does depend on your industry, it usually pays to implement these procedures sooner rather than later. Imagine you send out an order that is completely wrong, all because of a simple mislabelling mistake. You may end up losing a customer who would have gone on to spend hundreds or thousands. While human error will always occur, it’s important to minimize it as much as possible.

Final Thoughts…

These practices are crucial to almost any business, regardless of their industry. If you’re a small business owner who wants to level up to a medium sized business, then you need to get your procedures perfect.