Is Your Store Looking a Little Run-Down? Here Are Some Great Ways To Make It Look New Again

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |make your store look brand-new again|Is Your Store Looking a Little Run-Down? Here Are Some Great Ways To Make It Look New AgainDepending on how long you’ve had your store open and whoever previously occupied the space, your store could end up looking a little run-down at times. There are a number of reasons for this. For instance, it could be because of general wear and tear, or it could be because your customers aren’t treating your premises with the most respect. Depending on the type of demographic you attract and the type of business you run, your store could go from looking brand-new to run-down in just a few weeks.

So what are some of the best ways to make your store look brand-new again? Here are a couple of great suggestions to get you started.

Revise the floor plan of your store

If you want to make your store look completely new then it’s worth taking a look at the floor plan. You could rearrange a lot of the display furniture to create an entirely different design. You could even throw out old displays and try out some new shelves to make things look a bit different. Your store might even benefit from a more open floor plan where you give your customers more space to browse instead of cramming all of your products into a small space. This can make your customers feel a lot more comfortable in your store and it can be a nice change of pace from what your store currently looks like. This can also make your store much easier to clean and maintain in the future.

Clean up the floors of your store

One of the most common areas of your store that might make it look run-down is the floor. You, your staff, and your customers walk all over the floor every single day, so it makes sense that it’s one area of your store that suffers the most general wear and tear. This is why it helps to invest in floor burnishers and cleaning services to make the floors shine and look brand-new again. You don’t need to do this very often, but it can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of your store. Alternatively, you might find it easier to hire a cleaning service every month.

Change the decor and try some new designs

It’s a great idea to change the decor and utilize a few new designs whenever you can. It doesn’t take a lot of money to change things like the colour of your walls or the paintings that you’re displaying. It’s a great investment to shift around furniture as well as long as it doesn’t reduce seating capacity in your store or restaurant. Try some new things and you’ll be surprised at just how different your store can look.

The idea of preparing your store for a renovation might sound really expensive, but it’s an absolute must if you want to make your store look brand-new again. Even if you have to invest a bit of time and money into it, it’s well worth it for the results.

Are You Certified?: The Benefits Of Certification In Business

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Business Certification|Are You Certified?: The Benefits Of Certification In BusinessThere are many different types of certification in business. These include food hygiene certificates, environmental certificates, fair trade certificates and financial security certificates, which are often given out by professional organizations. There are also various forms of individual certification which may be obtained by taking a course.

Some of this certification is mandatory if you want to work in a certain line of business, while other certification is voluntary. A lot of business owners can be hesitant about applying for voluntary certification – it can be expensive and may require putting in a lot of work in order to meet standards. However, such certification can often be worthwhile in the long run. Below are just some of the advantages to getting certified.

Develop your skills and knowledge

Many people become certified in a certain subject so that they can pursue a career in a specific industry. When starting your own company, you don’t have to prove to an employer that you have certain credentials – you are the boss. However, such credentials can still be important for helping you to develop necessary skills and knowledge.

For example, a course in leadership could help to earn you a leadership certificate. Such a course could help you to build valuable skills and knowledge on how to lead employees if you’re thinking of recruiting your first staff. This can help you to become a better leader.

Consider what skills and knowledge you could benefit from learning and look into courses. This could include university courses or short courses.

Give your company an improvement goal

Certification forces you to meet certain standards. It can motivate you to improve your business, making it more efficient and more ethical.

Many people want to grow and improve their business, but are unable to motivate themselves to make the necessary changes. Certification gives you something to aim for. It can often become a fun challenge for hotels to earn that extra star rating, for an investment firm to achieve GIPS compliance or for a farm to achieve organic certification.

Build trust among the people you work with

One of the biggest perks of pursuing certification is that it can improve trust among the people you work with. This can lead to more productive and successful relationships. Some of the people who may become more trusting include:

  • Customers: Many customers are more trusting of a business that is certified. Certification proves that you are able to meet certain standards and that you are therefore more likely to achieve good results than an uncertified company. Some customers will deliberately look out for trust badges, qualifications and awards before choosing a company to work with. Consequently, you could notice an increase in customers after becoming certified – it can become a valuable part of your marketing.
  • Employees: Employees are likely to be more proud working for a company that has certification. Pride in a company can lead to greater productivity. You may also find that more candidates are encouraged to apply for vacancies, helping to give you more options when hiring new staff.
  • Investors: Some investors will only put their money into a company if it is reputable and ethical. Certification can make investors more trusting of your business – it shows that you are already respected and less likely to be involved in a costly scandal.
  • Suppliers: You may even find that some suppliers are hesitant about working with a company that isn’t certified. Obtaining certification could allow you to gain the trust of more suppliers and give you more choice as to which companies you work with.

What Size Business Needs an Answering Service

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | What Size Business Needs an Answering ServiceConventional wisdom states you must have a medium to large size business in order to justify having an answering service. This truism arises primarily from the dated idea that those who answer the phone late are employees or are contracted to the company. While growing businesses with 50 employees or more by default really need to have a manned after-hours line, it is worth taking a look at the assumption that smaller businesses cannot afford an answering service. Of course, every industry is unique and no two companies within one industry are exactly the same. Despite this, you can still make some general inquiries into the need for and the cost of an answering service. The results might surprise you.

Small Business Is Helped Most by an Answering Service

Expanding large and medium businesses, as noted, seem to grasp the reality that having a real person answer the phone at all hours is not a luxury but a necessity. Research indicates, however, that the outfits which benefit most from a phone answering service are small businesses. Part of the dynamic has to do with the depersonalized manner in which business-to-consumer contact is initiated in the digital age. Statistically, most consumers believe their better chance of hearing back from a business when they have a question or an issue is by sending an email. Further, when a customer does call your business and gets an after-hours voicemail, only 20% of the time does that person leave a message. Unfortunately, studies reveal that many voicemails from customers linger for three days without being heard. Up to one in five customer voicemails are not responded to at all. The antidote for these ills is a virtual receptionist, an answering service that fosters an immediate connection between the customer and your business.

There Is a Difference Between a Call Center and Answering Service

Many business owners make no distinction between an answering service and a call center. A call center is a network of telephone agents that both receive and make calls primarily for marketing companies. Their work by definition is extremely high volume and impersonal. Should you ever reach the same person at the call center twice, it is strictly by chance. An answering service differs in that it is not a high-volume attempt to make sales on behalf of a number of businesses. The primary purpose of the answering service is to enable communication between a business and its customers as well as within the firm itself. This means the service often provides critical information that allows a sale or a business deal to be consummated. However, the answering service is not a pressurized sales unit, but rather a communication link.

Answering Services Can Offer Lots of Options

Another distinction between call centers and answering services has to do with options. Businesses that use call centers tend to be locked into a service that has limited flexibility in what it offers. A professionally managed phone answering service, on the other hand, offers a number of adaptable alternatives to its clients.

  • Payment options. The better services may give you the option of paying for their work by the individual phone call or the length of time the customer is on the phone. Since you know how long an informational call for your business usually lasts, you will immediately know which of these options is better for you.
  • Point of origin. Another plus that addresses a long-time concern of business owners is the origin point of the service. Some of the finest after-hours answering firms are based in the U.S.
  • Testing the waters. Finally, before locking your company into a contract without knowing how functional the service will be, you may want to find a service that allows a brief trial period.

An Answering Service Takes Your Business Global

Speaking of being U.S based, some businesses are concerned that an answering service will not be able to deal with international calls. After all, having 24/7 live voice support automatically suggests that people from different parts of the globe can do business with you. It is important to recognize that customers who call you will expect to be conducting business in English, which is universally regarded as the international business language.

Financial Tips For Businesses In 2021

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Financial Tips|Financial Tips For Businesses In 2021As a business owner, it is always important to be intelligent with your finances in order to maximize your bottom line. For many, 2021 is when financial intelligence and careful management are critical with many companies struggling due to COVID-19. The businesses that manage to succeed and come out the other side in a strong position will be those that are intelligent with finances during this time, so what are a few helpful financial tips for businesses that can help right now? Keep reading for a few tips that will hopefully help to improve your company’s financial health in 2021.

Go Through Regular Expenses

One of the first steps to take is to go through all of your regular expenses and to see if you could either cut out the expense or make savings by changing. Keep in mind that cuts and changes could make work harder for staff and/or impact the quality of the product/service you provide, so it is important that you make intelligent cuts and changes that won’t negatively affect the business.

Outsource To Address Staffing Issues

If you find yourself with staffing issues during COVID-19 (like many), it can be hard to know what to do. Hiring new staff can be a huge expense, so instead, a good alternative is to outsource aspects of your operation to specialists. This can lighten the load for your existing staff and ensure that the work is being completed by a specialist without paying expensive employee costs.

Embrace Remote Work

Most businesses have had to experiment with remote work during the pandemic, and many have found that it benefits all parties. One of the main ways it benefits the business is that it helps reduce costs, and you could even downsize or go without a central office once the lease expires to free up a huge amount of money.

Sell Unused Equipment/Buy Second Hand

If you have any equipment that you no longer need, you could look to sell this to raise some extra cash. Alternatively, if you need new equipment for your business but don’t want to spend a fortune on new equipment, you could look to buy second hand. This is a smart way to keep costs down while making key improvements to your business – click here to find more about selling and buying used equipment for your business.

Look Into Solar Power

The world is becoming greener, and every business should be taking action to reduce its environmental impact. One of the most effective ways that you can do this is by switching to solar power, which will not only greatly reduce your environmental impact but also help you to make huge long-term savings. The upfront costs can be high, but ultimately this will prove to be a smart financial investment and help you improve your green credentials in a time when today’s consumer is selective and eco-aware.

Take Out A Loan If You Need It

Many businesses owners are reluctant to take out a loan, but it can actually be incredibly useful and help companies to manage during challenging periods or to cover growth plans (such as the cost of solar panel installation). There are lots of different options in terms of types of loans, so it is important to research each one and find the right type for your business and needs.

Negotiate With Vendors

You might also find that now is a smart time to negotiate with vendors. The pandemic has affected every person and business in different ways, so you might find that they are willing to renegotiate terms and rates that could help you to free up costs. Additionally, if you are coming to the end of your contract, it is worth exploring your options.

Invest In The New Normal

It is also important to realize that things will not simply be “business as usual” and that some changes are here to stay. This means that it is important to invest in the new normal and to adapt your business so that you can thrive in a post-pandemic marketplace, which might include contactless technologies, remote work tools, online services, and more.

Hopefully, these financial tips will come in handy and help you to make smart financial decisions during this challenging time and come out the other side in a strong position to find post-pandemic success. It’s not going to be easy to succeed in this industry due to the effects of the ongoing pandemic, yet these tips can help make it more manageable.

How Can You Show Your Employees You Care?

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article |Care for Employees|How Can You Show Your Employees You Care?You need to take care of your best employees. Because it is difficult to find talented individuals to take over open positions, you need to make sure you keep the best employees you have. Even though you should offer them a competitive salary, this is only going to get you so far. If you really want to convince your best employees to stick around, you need to show them that you care about them as people. How can you do exactly that? There are several ways that you can show your employees just how important they are to your business.

Offer Trips on the Company Dime

The first thing you may want to think about is offering trips on the company dime. Even though your employees may end up on business trips from time to time, you should also send them on vacation. For example, you may want to run a competition where your best employees are going to compete for a free trip somewhere awesome. Or, you may want to offer multiple trips, allowing the winner to pick his or her preferred destination first before moving on to the other people in the company. This will incentivize your employees to work harder while also showing that you care about them.

Provide Your Employees With More Autonomy Over Their Schedules

You may also want to provide your employees with more autonomy over their schedules. For example, a lot of companies have given their employees unlimited vacation time as long as the work gets done. If your employees are working remotely, allow them more control over their own schedules. Let them pick one they work, when they relax, and when they go on vacation as long as they get the work done. If you show your employees that you are willing to provide them with more autonomy over their work schedules, they will be more likely to stick around. They know this is something that they are unlikely to get from other businesses.

Let Your Employees Pick Out Their Equipment

You should also consider allowing your employees to pick out their own equipment. Everyone has slightly different preferences. Therefore, some employees may prefer to work at a standing desk. Other employees may prefer to work at a sitting desk. There are other employees who may have back issues. Therefore, they may require a specific desk chair. As an employer, you should be willing to invest in these items for your employees. If your employees are comfortable, they will be more likely to get their work done on time. You may want to provide them with options for their other equipment as well. For example, you may want to consider offering them custom pencils, special coffee mugs, or even specific lights that could be helpful to them. This can make a significant difference in the overall morale of your employees.

Give Extra Sick Days and Holidays

Finally, you should also take care of your employees by providing them with extra sick days and holidays. Every employer is going to offer a competitive compensation package. If you really want to set yourself apart from the others in your industry, show your employees that you care about them by offering sick days, holidays, bereavement days, and other days off. If one of your employees has a death in the family, they should be allowed to go to the funeral without having to answer any questions. If your employees have to stay home to take care of a sick child, they should be allowed to do so. If you demonstrate to your employees that you view them as people instead of replaceable cogs in a machine, they will be more likely to stick around. Go the extra mile for your employees by giving them time off when they need it.

Take Care of Your Employees

It is important for you to take care of your employees if you really want them to stick around. It can cost a lot of money for your company to find new people, train them, and make them as productive as your current staff. Therefore, this is probably an issue that you would rather avoid. One of the ways you can stay away from this problem is to make sure you take care of your best employees. If you show your employees that you will take care of them, they will take care of you by rewarding you with their loyalty. Reach out to professionals if you want to learn more about how you can take care of your best employees.