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Article Contributed by Hannah Whittenly

Being a new entrepreneur can be a difficult and time-consuming endeavor. While you might have a great idea and vision for your business, if you lack the credibility and hard-earned trust of your target market, it can be hard to get anywhere. That’s why it’s so important to show potential customers and business partners that you’re serious, trustworthy, and knowledgeable. This is especially true when you’re just starting out and trying to prove yourself to be a competent, successful entrepreneur. Luckily, there are many ways you can get yourself taken more seriously as you start your business.

Have a Great Elevator Pitch

Elevator pitches are a powerful tool. Having a strong 30-second pitch will help potential business investors decide whether or not to put capital into your new business. It will also give potential customers an idea of what to expect from your company. If you want to be taken seriously, you will need to build trust, and having a great pitch will help you achieve that. A clear, well-articulated vision will inspire confidence in your customers and prove to them that you have a solid business plan. Remember to deliver your pitch with a sense of confidence and authority for maximized results.

Create Seamless Branding

One of the most important things you can do for your new business is designing cohesive branding. Your logo, font choices, and color scheme should all represent your business and the message you want to convey. Having consistent branding across your products, advertising, and website copy will make your company seem more professional and trustworthy. Potential customers will see the branding and get a sense not only of your businesses mission and identity, but also of your commitment to excellence. Having seamless branding shows the world that you take pride in your company and are serious about providing customers with superior service. For an idea of what your branding should look like, research other successful businesses in your field.

Distribute Business Collateral

Something that all businesses struggle with when they are just starting out is visibility. As a new entrepreneur, if you want to build your brand and get your business taken seriously, you’ll need to share business collateral far and wide. Advertising pamphlets, event fliers, and business cards are all great ways to get your name out there and find potential customers. For example, you should choose a business card design in Chicago or wherever you may be located that matches the rest of your branding and distribute it to businesses, friends, and new people you meet. You can even give business cards, fliers, or other marketing collateral to family and friends to help distribute further. The more people see your business name out in the community, the more likely they are to trust you and remember your company when they need your services.

Ask for Reviews

If you want people to take you and your business seriously, you’ll need to be knowledgeable, confident, and provide excellent products or services. However, it can be hard for potential patrons to know this about you and your business when you’re first starting out. It can be beneficial to ask your first customers to review your company on online sites like Yelp. Since word of mouth can be a great marketing tool, getting customer reviews can help build your credibility as an entrepreneur. If you’re having trouble getting enough reviews, consider running a testing program, where you offer interested customers free or reduced-priced goods or services in exchange for their honest opinions online.

Being a new entrepreneur comes with no shortage of challenges, not least of which is getting yourself seen as a legitimate business owner. In order to be taken seriously as an aspiring entrepreneur, you’ll need to build confidence and inspire trust in your business. Once your new customers view you as the legitimate entrepreneur you are, your business is sure to take off.


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Article Contributed by Usman Raza

Reaching potential customers is very important if you want your product or set of services to be successful. For effective and successful marketing, it is highly important that you have a high standard marketing plan in place. Along with that, it is also important that you have a well-defined budget to promote your services.  A lot of companies go over their budget and do not realize it. Here are 11 of the countless tips which can be used to reduce your marketing plan budget.

  1. Have a clearly defined budget

A marketing plan comprises of several tasks and each one of them needs to have a clear financial limit. Do not be hasty with spending money. Every product requires time to create an impression in the mind of the potential customer. Thus, spending more money than your financial range for promotional purposes and expecting the product to be an instant thinking is not the correct way to go about it. If you have a financial limit for each marketing activity, the chances of overspending are quite less

  1. Rely more on social media marketing

There is no doubt that social media is the best form of marketing in the technology dominated time. Although the conventional marketing methods including above the line marketing (ATL) below the line marketing (BTL) marketing are still used but social media marketing certainly has a stronger impact. A high percentage of people all around the world use free social media marketing platforms including Facebook and Instagram. Thus, you can use them to promote your product or services.

  1. Avoid the provision of too much information

Providing lengthy descriptions or too much information about the product simply creates a negative impression instead of a positive one. Various companies market their products through commercials where there are lengthy descriptions delivered in such a rush that people even fail to understand them. This practice simply creates a cluttered impression in front of the customer. Thus, to market your product in the most effective manner, ensure that the presented information is short, crisp and to the point.

  1. Correct Search Engine Optimization techniques

There is no doubt that search engine optimization is a very productive and cost effective marketing method if it is followed with the correct guidelines. By using few easy techniques, you can get your website among the top online search results. One of these techniques is content marketing. For quality SEO content, it is important that the most result oriented keywords are used in the correct density. There are various SEO plugs as well which help you in optimizing your content including Word press. These plugs provide suitable suggestions for meta descriptions and headings so that the pages can be ranked highly. As compared to conventional marketing methods including television and print media, SEO costs a much smaller sum.

  1. Getting an expert opinion

If you are new to marketing methods and product promotion planning, it is very important to get a professional advice from an expert. Marketing experts can help you in cutting down on your budget and choosing product specific promotion methods. Thus, before you make a marketing plan, sit down with an expert and share your thoughts. Certain marketing experts do not charge anything for a piece of advice. Having a professional opinion can help you in starting positively.

  1. Hiring an expert is better than the “Do It Yourself” option

There is nothing bad about doing the marketing work yourself particularly if you want to work with a higher level of creativity. However, on a comparative scale, an expert would produce faster and better results because product marketing would be his domain. On the other, you as a business owner would have to go through a lengthy learning process. Marketing your own product is not only about reading books and digging deep into theoretical principles. Hence, if you want your product or set of services to start on a flying note, there is nothing bad about spending money on a marketing expert.

  1. Cut down on the number of pages

There is no point in turning your website into a thesis paper because this practice does not work. Today, most visitors do not even go beyond the home page. Hence, try to keep the number of website pages to a minimum. This would help the customer in grasping the presented information in a better way.

  1. Do not initiate multiple campaigns together

As a business owner, if you are running multiple campaigns at a time or focusing on more than one product, there is every chance that things would get messed up. Thus, plan the marketing activities and ensure that you are using techniques that would help the product grow and get recognized. These days, it is not necessary to spend large sums of money to get your product known. Through social media, you can use the correct techniques and get your product known in an easy manner.

  1. Initial planning and risk management

Starting a marketing campaign without any prior planning can be a big problem. In other words, there is every chance that you would lose your investment without any results. Before you invest any money, ensure that you have done your homework. Distribute your marketing strategy into smaller tasks and identify the potential risks that each one of them has. You can also get a free expert advice and see where you are going wrong.

  1. Get involved

You can never achieve the best results from your marketing campaign until you are heavily involved. Whether you are doing things yourself or hiring a professional consultant, you should be sure about each stage of the marketing process. Leaving everything on the marketing consultant without getting involved can result in not achieving any positive results after spending your hard earned money.

  1. Consider in-house professionals for product marketing

There is no doubt that outsourcing the entire marketing campaign and getting the plan developed by an expert saves a lot of time and energy. On the other hand, this also expands your financial budget. Thus, it is better to accomplish the tasks yourself and hire an in house team for this purpose.

Author bio: Usman Raza is a marketing specialist at Zen Sleep and Keeva Organics. Aside from doing digital marketing and helping clients get new customers, when not working there is a 95% chance he is praying with his family. Follow him on Facebook @usmanraza40 and Twitter @usmanintrotech

Article Contributed by Noah Rue

If you’re beginning a journey into the business world for the first time, I imagine you are feeling a whole combination of emotions, including anxiety, stress, fear, excitement and joy. You are going to be the boss for maybe the first time in your life and you’re nervous about that — it’s understandable. But making sure you have the necessary resources to help grow your business into a shining success will help alleviate some of those negative emotions associated with running your own business.

Workplace culture can be a really easy thing to maintain, but it can be a very challenging thing to create, especially for an up-and-coming business. Where does all company culture grow from? The individuals who work there and people vary in nearly every way. We have different views, different backgrounds and different values. Sure, these differences are what make the world so diverse and rich, but if there isn’t a clearcut understanding of the values of a company, it can be difficult to hire people who fit the mold you’ve established.

Before the Grand Opening

The hiring process is the best place to begin to sift through the available candidates to find the one who matches your company culture. Be sure to angle your interview questions so that the answers you receive help you gain better insight into who the interviewee is on the inside. Try to avoid vague or irrelevant questions and focus on the questions that you want to know the answers to.

An easy way to achieve this is by putting your interviewee in metaphorical scenarios. For example, ask them questions like, “what would do if you were shrunk down to the size of a nickel and dropped in the bottom of a blender?” Or, “if you could choose one superpower, what would it be and why?” Asking these types of questions helps you discover more about a person’s character than simply having them tell you their strengths and weaknesses.

Leadership Is Key

Company employees are not the only element necessary to establish company culture. Strong leadership is a critical aspect to running any business as well. If you want to be a CEO, you have to maintain a certain level of professionalism, kindness, ferocity and innovation. Leaders are the people in a company who set the expectations for everyone around them. Make sure you’re maintaining high expectations and terrific employees will follow.

There is a common phrase which says, “work harder, not smarter.” In this case, it couldn’t be more true, especially for the leaders of a business. The leaders must be the ones planning ahead, setting schedules, establishing expectations, and setting the business up for the highest amounts of achievement that you can. If instructions are not made clear, deadlines are not set and goals are not reached, it forces all the employees to work much harder to gain success.

Establishing Engagement & Having a Purpose

Human beings are interesting in that we need to have some kind of purpose in order to complete our best work. If we don’t have some kind of internal desire to do something, often it leads to lack of energy or efficiency. Employees are the same way. Establishing a company purpose for everyone really helps create high levels of engagement from your team.

If you have fully engaged employees, work quality goes up and the general sense of positivity around the office is visceral. Unengaged employees tend to waste more time, submit poor quality work and represent a poor image of the company. Engagement is crucial to the success of any business because it opens the floor for frequent and valuable communication, it provides employees with necessary resources and tools for accomplishment, and it rewards quality behavior and production.

Respect, In All Ways

Whenever you put 100 people in a building together to create some final product, you can be assured that at some point in the creation, an argument or disagreement will unfurl. This cannot be changed. Disagreements will happen for all time as long as people are independent and critical thinkers and willing to stand up for their own opinions, which is a great thing. If everyone thought exactly the same, the world would be a far less interesting place.

However, in the workplace this can lead to unproductivity and resentment among employees. There are a few things as leaders that you can do to ensure these kinds of arguments don’t unfurl into something especially disruptive. Setting company rules and expectations for following these rules is critical. For example, if you have made a rule that smoking is not allowed in your business, it’s important to uphold the expectation that those who vape at work need to also follow the same guidelines for cigarette smokers and take their vaping outside.

Respect plays a big role in the rule setting of businesses. Rules must not be discriminatory; they must be inclusive and everyone must be upheld to the same standards for following these rules. I know, rules seems a little juvenile, but you can refer to them as guidelines if the jargon is too serious for your style of leadership.

Article Contributed by Dan Razak

Regardless of what you do or sell offline and online, retaining customers should be on top of your priority list. According to the Bain & Company’s study, it’s 6-7 times more expensive for companies to acquire new clients/customers than to keep the current ones. That’s why most businesses today develop all sorts of client retention strategies to ensure their clientele’s satisfaction and engagement.

Nurturing your existing customers and stimulating them to come back and do more business with you, or recommend your brand to their friends and work associates, is probably one of the most efficient ways to grow your company in this day and age.

Even though this may be true, getting someone to become your regular and loyal client/customer is no easy task. Especially if you operate in the SaaS or marketing industry. A lot of different factors come into play here.

No matter the quality of your work, products, and services, it’s imperative to have in mind that we live in a highly competitive world where every single one of your clients is faced with an unlimited number of options.

There are literally dozens and dozens of companies out there that probably offer the same products or services as you do.

Some of them are maybe a bit cheaper, others more expensive, but nonetheless – all of them are basically threats for your business. They want to steal your clients away from you, which automatically requires that you to come up with bulletproof client/customer retention strategies that will surely keep your clients satisfied and impervious to everything that your direct or indirect competitors have to offer.

Looking back at some of the most common causes for client dissatisfaction, I have created a list of 3 crucial business elements that you need to optimize if you want to influence your client retention numbers for the better:

1. Excellent Support and Customer Experiences

Quality support plays a key role in customer/client satisfaction. It’s highly unlikely that people, regardless in which niche or industry they operate in, will continue to do business with a company that treats them poorly. Providing fair support and great customer experiences is a big deal today. According to Gartner’s predictions, more than 50 percent of today’s businesses are changing their customer experience priorities. They believe that by 2018, most currently active organizations will allocate bigger chunks of their budget to customer experience innovations. Kampyle’s study concurred that, shining the light on the fact that above 80 percent of customers believe that companies need to put more effort into providing pleasant shopper/client/customer experiences.

In their big research, the people behind Accenture found out that almost 90 percent of questioned customers get frustrated when they have to repeat their issues to different company representatives.

But what can you do to improve your user, shopper or client experiences? – Many things, actually. First and foremost, you should work on reducing the amount of effort your clients or customers need to invest in order to get to their desired answer. If you want to make sure that your clients and customers are satisfied with how you do business, make sure that you make it simple and easy for them to get what they need from you.

Make yourself and your business accessible on social media. Respond quickly to your client’s or customer’s questions through the platform that suit them best. Speed and efficiency – these are the two factors that really influence your client retention numbers for the better.

2. Impressive Reporting Game

If you work in an industry such as marketing, then you probably know that nothing influences your business like reporting. Quality client reporting plays a key role in your client satisfaction and retention game. It’s the only thing that ensures that both parties are on the same page with what has been done so far and what needs to be done in order to drive better results for your client’s business.

Even though most clients only glance at their reports, they still demand tight feedback from companies that handle their business. If your reports aren’t really good or clear enough, your clients will almost immediately take their business to some of your direct or indirect competitors. This is quite normal when you really think about, because they’re entrusting you with the faith of their business.

So, what can you do here to ensure that your reports are up to their liking?

The same thing as with everything else – find a great tool to help you optimize the process and take the quality and efficiency of this game to the next level. There are basically dozens of quality reporting utilities out there. I personally use Reportz. It suits me best. This software helps me produce amazing, detail-oriented reports in record time. Thanks to its kpi marketing dashboard, I can easily integrate all the data from my favorite tools and present them in a fashion that will surely impress my recipients, and thus – stimulate them to continue doing business with me.

3. Content Marketing

Content marketing isn’t only for reaching out to new audiences. It can be a great client and customer retention tool, if leveraged right. Everyone knows that quality content has the power to influence decisions and stimulate people to take action, so it can easily be used for building up client and customer loyalty and strengthening the relationships with people who do business with your company.

There are numerous examples of organizations that use content marketing for providing value to their clients, users, or customers. Evernote does a great job of feeding their existing users via their blog with quick tips and community stories, designed specifically to get their clientele to use the app more frequently. Evernote’s blog is basically there to help the user better understand their software, and thus – become more dependent on it.

The goal here is to deliver useful and entertaining content that keeps the value of your brand, products, and services, constantly in front of the mind of your users, clients, or customers. If you do a good job of demonstrating your expertise, worth, and overall importance in the industry – people won’t have the need to look for additional solutions online.

About the Author

Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is a coauthor on several websites and regular contributor to BizzMark Blog. Currently, he is working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies.

Top performing managers and business owners understand the importance of employee morale. When morale is high, employees are motivated and firing on all cylinders. They enjoy coming into work and feel more fulfilled when they leave.

Many workforce experts will argue that if you have productivity problems, morale is most likely at the center of the issue. It could be isolated to a single department or widespread across the entire office. Either way, boosting office morale has to be a top priority.

The more you invest in employee happiness and satisfaction, the higher the morale will be. The good news is there are easy ways to do just that by making a few managerial decisions.

Gourmet Coffee Service

There are a fair number of people who don’t fully feel like themselves until they’ve got that first cup of coffee in hand. A gourmet coffee service is one break room investment that will really pay off. Given that a cup of java puts a pep in people’s step, it’s worth spending a few more dollars for high-quality coffee and machines.

Workout Room

Another invigorating perk that’s showing up in more offices is workout rooms. It can be a space for stretching and yoga, a studio with resistance machines or a cardio cinema room. The point is that employees are given a place where they can beat the sitting syndrome and boost their endorphins.

A residual benefit of this perk is healthier employees. Healthy employees take fewer sick days and help keep health care costs in check. So encourage your employees to get up and get moving during short breaks.

Encourage Philanthropy

Corporate philanthropy is a win all-around. A worthy cause gets help, your employees feel the reward of volunteerism and it helps your company connect with the community.

Giving back as a company and allowing employees time to volunteer is a powerful sign to job applicants. If you want to recruit the top applicants and retain employees actively encourage philanthropy.

Find Ways to Infuse Fun

It’s hard not to like working at a fun office, but fun doesn’t have to mean unproductive. As long as you make it clear the office isn’t a playground and deadlines are serious business, a bit of fun will have a big morale boost.

For example, instead of having a company email, a gregarious employee can make a regular podcast to keep co-workers up-to-date on company information. Or you could knock off an hour early one Friday of the month so everyone can enjoy a fun outing.

Preach Positivity

High morale creates a positive vibe around the office. It also works the other way around. Maintaining a positive mindset helps keep morale high. Preach positivity from the top down to make it a part of your company culture.

Give Employees More Control

Autonomy is an immediate morale booster for employees. It shows that managers trust them to make sound decisions and want them to grow in their job role. You can go a step further by handing an employee the reigns on a project.

But projects are just one way to give employees more control at work. Flex schedules are becoming more common because it allows employees to gain a better work/life balance. Instead of being focused on how many hours are clocked at the office, the emphasis is put on meeting deadlines and hitting goals.

Micro-Management – The Morale Killer

Nothing kills office morale quicker than a helicopter manager. Employees will always be on edge and creative thinking will fall off the radar when micro-management is the norm. When managers can step back and be leaders rather than the person handling every detail things run more efficiently and office morale gets a lift.

It doesn’t take much to make employees more motivated to do their very best at the office. Trying the ideas above is a good start to creating an office environment that boosts morale.

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