Archive for Business
We always hear about the importance of giving back, and I think it is very important, especially for thriving businesses. There are countless organizations out there that need financial assistance to carry out their good work, and as a small business owner, you have a tremendous opportunity to provide just that. Charitable giving is not just for large, multi-million dollar companies and you would be surprised how far your relatively modest donations can go, or the myriad other ways you may help that have nothing to do with money. If you have yet to jump on the philanthropicbandwagon, here are a few reasons why small business owners should be thinking about charitable donations.
Community Goodwill and Support
No matter where your business is, you are part of a larger community, a community full of people who you want to purchase your goods and service. Supporting a charity can paint your business in a positive light and net you some very valuable goodwill—both of which can boost your bottom line. A survey of over 1,600 customers at a particular restaurant found that seeing a message indicating the business donated a portion of its proceeds to a charitable cause increased brand trust, and satisfaction and would make them more likely to come back or recommend the restaurant to a friend. You can never go wrong with anything that shows you care about your community.
A Chance to Truly Contribute to a Cause
Whether you are contributing money or time, a small business can really make a big impact when this assistance is coming on a regular basis. If you are considering regular monetary donations, research charities that you think could benefit most from the amount of money you are hoping to give. For example, I donate 60 dollars a month to a Vietnamese charity I heard about while visiting there; this is all they need monthly to support one child attending a program for mentally and physically challenged children full-time. For many other charities, that 60 dollars would not go nearly as far.
Affiliation with a specific charitable cause presents numerous opportunities to market your business and bring in more customers. For example, if you recently made a sizeable monetary donation or gave away good or services, reach out to the local media with photos and a press release. Make sure your newsletters, brochures and other materials make note of your work with the charity; work on marketing directly to people that are associated with your charity, or would have an affinity for the cause. If your charity has a newsletter or magazine with advertising space, take out an ad. You could make up coupons for your business that the charity can sell, allowing them to keep a portion of the money. Designate specific products or services as specifically benefiting the charity and encourage the organization to promote them. For example, if you own a hair salon, a portion of proceeds for haircuts on Fridays will go to the charity.
About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers a range of topics related to businesses and charitable giving, from profiling specific people, such as the philanthropist and Blackstone Group Director John Studzinski — who you can learn more about by reading this Bloomberg article — to tips for picking a charity to support.
Businesses of all kinds can benefit from outsourcing certain tasks to skilled third parties. Human resources is one such area as the administrative elements can be quite time consuming, which can shift the focus away from activities that directly contribute to increased revenue. Professional employer organizations, or PEOs, specialize in taking over many of these HR tasks and can help you run your business with greater efficiency, and in many cases, reduced cost.
The Rise of the PEO
PEOs first emerged on the scene in the 1980s and really began to take off over the next 20 years; this is due to the fact that during this timeframe, the number of laws and regulations pertinent labor issues and employees increased more than two fold. Many smaller and medium-sized businesses did not have the expertise or funds to hire those who did in house, making PEO firms an attractive option.
In more recent times, PEOs have grown in popularity because they offer companies a way to remain competitive and attract top talent to their organizations. When working with a PEO, a company can gain access to better quality benefits packages that they could not secure on their own; additionally, PEOs can offer counsel on hiring the right candidates for the job. As of today, there are over 700 firms across all 50 states.
Role of PEOs
PEOs perform an array of services related to human resources and general employee management. They handle payroll, administer benefits, handle worker’s compensation claims, ensure companies are in compliance with the applicable rules and regulations, recruit employees, perform compensation surveys, tools for employee evaluation and development, develop employee handbooks and policies, and perform employee background checks and drug testing to name a few functions.
You may think that using something like a PEO would be applicable to large companies, but in reality, these service are most often utilized by smaller operations. The typical client averages about 19 employees, though some firms are equipped to handle up to 100 or more. Businesses from across all industries use these firms, from retail businesses to government agencies. Some firms may specialize in certain sectors, but most have a diverse profile of clients from a range of industries.
Using a PEO firm can offer numerous benefits. Like it was mentioned above, being part of a larger organization can give you access to more attractive benefits packages that can give you an edge in securing the top talent in your field—because the PEOs work with so many companies, they can get packages at significant savings that are passed onto its clients. PEO firms have the knowledge and tools to manage your HR with greater efficiency than you ever could and you can save money on staff, software and systems that you would need in house. There is more time to focus on activities that generate revenue. You can have greater peace knowing that the PEO firm is knowledgeable about all the laws and regulations and will make sure your company is compliant, which can protect you from lawsuits and other repercussions.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about a variety of business topics; she recommends learning more about this Chicago professional employer organization if you are currently investigating a PEO firm to partner with.
Whether you are attending a trade show or sponsoring a local community event, a promotional product can be a powerful marketing strategy when done right. It is about a lot more, however, than slapping your company name on something along with a website and phone number. You need to carefully consider a number of factors to choose items that will make maximum impact. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Carefully Consider the Target Market
This may sound obvious but something many businesses fail to give adequate thought to; they just think they can pick any old product and that putting their name on it will help drive sales because the fact that it is free will put it in a lot of people’s hands. But, it is about so much more. You need to carefully think about who you are targeting with these promotional items, who you hope to attract. This may involve making some stereotypical judgments but you are looking to appeal to a majority so this may be necessary. If you are thinking about specialty novelty items, it is extra important to do your research since these items are more expensive compared to something like mass-produced t-shirts or personalized office supplies. To maximize effectiveness and avoid wasted money, it is important to really familiarize yourself with your target audience.
Choose Items that Reflect Your Company’s Message, Values and Business Practices
There are lots of different directions you can take a promotional item and it is important to pick something that reflects your company. If you sell high-end items, a cheap trinket is not the way to go; if you are in an industry of a serious nature, a funny item is not in line with that message; on the flip side, if you own a pizzeria, a fun novelty is the right direction.
Establish a Budget and Stick with It
Figuring out how much you have to spend is crucial when picking your promotional items. One of the primary factors is figuring out exactly what you hope to accomplish marketing-wise by making a promotional item in the first place. This will guide you on the appropriate amount to spend. If you do not have enough money to produce your ideal amount of items, focus on creating a higher quality item and reduce the amount of people you hope to reach.
Choose Items that Maximize Your Reach
Whatever items you choose, you want something that will get in front of as many eyes as possible. If you are a lingerie company for example, you might think to give away something like lingerie. Apt choice, but the only people seeing it are the women wearing it and their special someone.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys sharing business marketing tips. Check out this Phoenix embroidery shop for great deals on promotional products and other personalized items.
Are you ready to engage your prospects effectively? Most people have little experience talking to individuals who might be interested in their business opportunity. This usually results in an awkward, bungled conversation which does little to grow your business. You must come from a place of posture or authority when deciding to speak with prospects. No chasing, stalking or pushing your opportunity on anybody. Your job is to be quiet and listen to the needs of your target market, and the needs of one person are likely different from the needs of another person. Each person has different problems so it is paramount for you to be quiet, calm, and open to listening to whatever these individuals are chatting about.
You learn all you need to know by simply listening. This is one idea lost on many prospectors; the successful entrepreneur knows the gold lies within the problems of any person. This is because when you listen up and tune into the problems of an individual you are more easily able to provide a product or service, most likely yours of course, which effectively matches and solves the problems of the prospect. You become a success by simply listening and providing the appropriate solution to the problem of your prospect.
Listen in Closely to Match Problems with Solutions
Your prospect has problems. This is why the individual is looking more closely into buying a product or service, or joining a business opportunity. This problem is usually obvious to people who listen closely but most people do little listening. The tendency is to shout out your opportunity or product at any chance you get, but you must resist this urge if you are to effectively tune in to individual’s problems. Your job is to listen up and select a problem, or issue, and this usually means doing plenty of listening before you can ID the problem.
This takes a great deal of self-restraint as most people are poor listeners, but the time and energy you devote to listening closely is definitely worth it. You can figure out all you need to know by simply being quiet and listening.
Have Compassion as You Listen in and Respond to Your Prospect
Few business people have compassion when holding a conversation with prospects so if you do genuinely care you will stand out from the business crowd within your niche. Imagine this: if you care and show compassion you can make an instant connection with an individual and these instant connections are what drive your business. Take the time to really listen in and feel the pain of your prospect. You have likely been in a similar situation at some time in your life. Most entrepreneurs have struggled financially, or perhaps they have struggled growing their business opportunity at one time or another, so if you can remember these times it will certainly soften your heart as you engage in discussion.
This connecting deal becomes much easier and you will attract more team members of customers if you can simply feel what your prospect is feeling. Be compassionate. Remember what you are in business for: you want to improve people’s lives with your offering. Keep this intent at the forefront of your mind to more easily connect with individuals and increase business conversions.
Practice Makes Better So Chat Up Prospects
Whether you chat offline or online, or on the telephone, practice chatting with individuals interested in your opportunity. You can become much more at ease by simply listening to the different personalities you will encounter.
Practice chatting and you will feel much more at ease connecting with prospects.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys talking all things business; if you produce video marketing materials, learn more about bluray media services for your business needs.
You want to expand your brand now. This is good as you are hungry to grow your business but you do need to realize that being patient is part of the brand building game. If you move into effective acts daily you can build your brand quite quickly but you need to adopt a clear vision of your brand. What does it stand for? What idea or phrase best embodies your brand? Impress these ideas on your mind to effectively move into brand building acts throughout the course of your day.
Decide on Why You Want to Build Your Brand
Your reason why is your primary motivating factor. It will drive you through obstacles which will arise as you set your mind on expanding your brand quickly. It is not easy to build an idea which embodies your business so developing a strong, powerful reason why behind your brand makes your job a lot easier in the long run.
Study the Big Boys and Gals to Find Out How to Build Your Brand
Think of a major player like Coca Cola. Observe how easily you see a can of Coke and visualize yourself drinking the can, and tasting the sweet cola in your mouth. You can feel the carbonation, with the bubbles effervescing, all that good stuff, and this is simply happening because you saw the name “Coca Cola” on a can. Now that is a powerhouse, other-worldly brand, because you experience what it is like to drink a Coke just by seeing a Coke can. How did the brand reach this point? Well the marketers at Coca Cola no doubt visualized the experience of taking in a Coke and did a phenomenal job of re-creating that experience as the workers built the brand.
Put Out a Fabulous Product of Offer a Stunning Service to Build Your Brand Fast
Let us go back to Coke. Unless you really hate soda you probably like Coke, and if you are a soda lover chances are you enjoy drinking a Coca Cola. It is almost addictive, even to folks like myself who rarely if ever drink soda. The product rocks and so does the brand. Think of Apple, or McDonalds. Stark raving Apple fans would never use another brand for their digital needs. People rave about this brand and for good reason: the product rocks. Same deal with Micky D’s, as fries or burgers from the Golden Arches are pretty darn tasty and again, when you see the Arches you can likely taste the fries. All of these world-renowned brands became powerhouse brands by creating a pleasant, memorable experience with their product. Do this and you can build your brand quickly.
Visualize people consuming your brand. What makes individuals love what you have to offer? If you can solve problems through your business or brand you will never lack for rabid fans and yep, your brand will grow at a geometric rate.
Hate to Be a Buzzkill Here But…
…you will likely not build a powerhouse brand in weeks or even months. Quick brand-building takes years, if that, so have patience and commit to building your brand over the long haul. If you resonate with your brand and really vibe with the idea behind your brand then you can build it over a period of years and not decades, but to become a well know, household name you must be patient. Study all of the world-changers and you will see that even building your brand quickly means spending years of your life at work. Of course this is a worthy endeavor so get going!
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about all things business; visit Premier Packaging for more information on creating customized packaging for your business.