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Article Contributed by Christina White

In this fast-paced tech-oriented world, more and more people are focusing their advertising efforts towards online and mobile marketing practices. This is perfectly understandable; as more than half of all internet traffic is now coming from a mobile device. However, when it comes to grabbing the people attention, it may be sometimes better to use an old-fashioned, well-thought-out graphic sign. And the design that goes into making a sign can have a substantial influence on the number of new customers your company could potentially acquire. That said, here are 5 signage tips you can use to help better promote your business.

1.      Keep it legible and visible

You’ve probably already heard the old “less is more” saying. It is an integral part of sign design process, as keeping the message clear and short makes the sign easier to see and read its content with a single glance.  Although signs come in many different shapes and sizes, choosing the appropriate one becomes fairly important once you realize that not every sign size is appropriate for every viewing distance. This is why you have to consider the location where your sign will be placed and remove any obstacles that might interfere with the sign’s visibility.

Another factor to consider when it comes to visibility is clutter. A good sign has to communicate the message concisely and efficiently. Overstuffing your sign with too much text not only makes it harder for people to read it from a distance but also moves the reader’s attention away from the message you’re trying to convey. Marketers tend to fill up any blank space on a sign in order to get the most out of their investment. What they don’t realize is that this “blank space” around words and graphics is equally important for conveying the message as the text itself.

2.      Choose the right color scheme

The right color scheme is crucial for any well-designed sign. Not only does it grab the reader’s attention, it can also be used to convey the brand’s identity. Think Coca-Cola red or Starbucks green for example. Trademark recognition has more to do with the choice of color than the actual logo representing it. Avoid using background colors which make reading the message difficult. Choose a color which contrasts well with other colors, such as black on white or black on yellow. This allows for an easier reading experience, even when viewed from a distance.

3.      Add contrast for better readability

It’s not the color scheme that determines the sign’s readability. Sure, it does play a great part, but if you wish to increase the readability, you have to think about the contrast. Most signs these days’ place graphics and text in the foreground, with the background being filled with a single, continuous color. This creates a contrast between the background and the foreground, allowing the reader to focus on the content more quickly and with ease. The bigger the contrast, the easier it is to view the text from a distance.

4.      Find the right font type

The best fonts are the ones that are clean and easy to read. And there’s a big misconception that as capital letters are “bigger” than the lower case ones, they are easier for reading from a certain distance. This is simply not true, as capital letters produce quite the opposite effect then, let’s say, using both capital and lower case letters. As nothing is ever written using only capital letters, it’s only natural to keep the text as “normal” as possible.

You can, however, use bold, italic and extended text, in order to shift the focus towards a specific part of the message. Finally, avoid using extremely small fonts for the contact information and if you insist on using two different fonts in the same design, make sure that they complement each other and make the message really stand out.

5.      Don’t forget to illuminate you sign

Whether you’re using a banner, poster, billboard or even corflute sign, don’t forget to check if they are properly illuminated, especially during the nighttime. A well-placed light source can be used to accent the sign and draw the reader’s eyes towards it. Not only does it result in a controlled and in turn, more attractive visual, but illumination increases the chance of your sign remaining effective even beyond the regular business hours.

No matter how good you make the sign look, it’s basically a pretty, but empty shell without good copywriting. The message you’re trying to convey is a direct representation of your brand and business, so make sure to write a compelling and engaging message. If you don’t have the necessary writing skills, then hiring a professional writer might be your best choice. Fortunately, they are easy to find online and usually don’t cost that much. The same can be said about graphic designers, but their services tend to be a tad more expensive when compared to hiring a writer. Never go for the cheapest option, but at the same time avoid spending your entire marketing budget on a single sign.

About the Author

Christina White is a marketing consultant from Sydney. She’s been working with different companies for 6 years now. When taking a break from making new marketing slogans, you can find her hiking with her furry four legged companion or just sharing positivity among her friends.



 
  


Bookkeeping is an integral part of your small business. If you can’t keep up with your cash flow, you’ll become another statistic about the perils of entrepreneurial startups. Clearly, you need to take control of your finances. Here are three steps for setting up a small business accounting system.

Choose an Accounting Method

The field of accounting involves many structure-based choices that will impact your cash flow and balance sheet. For this reason, the accounting method you pick is critical to your long-term success.

The choices for tracking income and expenses are the accrual method and the cash method. Most businesses use the accrual method since it’s the approved method by the generally accepted accounting principles in the United States. In this method, the business registers the sale in its books the instant the purchase occurs, even if the payment has not yet been made. For example, a furniture delivery company would document income from a sale when its employee makes the delivery. The fact that the buyer might not pay immediately is irrelevant.

The cash method prioritizes payment. When a company receives money for a product, good, or service, it notates the transaction in its books. Similarly, if the company agrees to pay for something at a later date, the expense is not recorded until the payment is made. You want to choose the process that fits your company the best. Private companies are not required to comply with GAAP, but if you plan or hope to take your company public someday, you may want to use GAAP-approved processes from the start.

Choose a Recording Method

Your next bookkeeping decision is how to keep your records. Before the age of computers, the most popular choice was by hand. Businesses would make copies of every exchange with customers and suppliers. Today, most companies use software for their record-keeping. It’s the ideal choice.

The right computer program will provide mistake-free bookkeeping. Plus, it’ll automate some of the accounting processes that would otherwise require additional labor and expense. Whether you’d outsource these processes or perform them internally, you’ll save the overhead by using software.

The most popular bookkeeping programs are Peachtree Accounting and QuickBooks Pro. Several other solutions exist, though. You should read online reviews to choose which one is best for your needs. The most important aspects to consider are whether you want cloud access and portability. Cloud access enables real-time updates from anywhere in the world, a huge asset. Portability means that you can use the programs from smart devices, which is a growing business necessity.

Pick Forms of Payment

How you pay your customers will go a long way toward determining the success of your company. You should prioritize secure payment methods that protect your interests. Some types of online payments, such as PayPal, are susceptible to data breaches. The same is true of cash that you keep in your office.

You’ll want to buy the safest payment method available, which is business checks. These documents are tamper-proof thanks to a protective coating used in their design. Even if a criminal receives one of your checks, he can’t alter the payment fields. Due to the stock used to make the checks, robbers also can’t counterfeit them. When using business checks, you can pay with confidence.

Planning your accounting is a critical part of successfully managing your business. Follow the three tips above to secure the future of your company during those difficult early years.


Article Contributed by Hannah Whittenly

Every business owner knows that not being productive hurts the entire company. When there isn’t productivity, there are some serious consequences—loss of money, lack of quality, and even the downfall of the company. That is why it’s important for every CEO and manager in the business world to check themselves and their productivity every now and then and make improvements for the betterment of the company. To help you do that, here are three things that you need to watch out for.

Bad Management

Some people might think a good manager is someone who takes command, but being a leader encompasses much more. A good manager is a coach, an empowering figure, and a person who knows how to spotlight an employee’s strengths. In essence, a leader is a people manager.

The problem is that the idea of being a boss can corrupt the person in charge. This could be signaled by many signs such as a leader who enjoys scolding employees rather than dealing with issues constructively. A bad leader seeks to blame rather than take responsibility. This person may hurt productivity and should be replaced. When hiring leaders, hire the ones who will stand up for their teams, are positive individuals, and have great communication skills.

Disorganization

Clutter is a big problem in some companies. You may not think so, but clutter can actually distract the brain, or it could make some people feel hostile about the environment. Both of these issues can hurt your overall productivity. The best thing that you can do is organize some of the clutter in your office. The best method to go about doing this is to get bins, like those that Quantum Storage has, and start making sure that everything has its place. You may even want to label every bin so that things don’t accidentally get put in the wrong place.

Not Considering Health

You might think the health of your employees is not your concern, but the truth is that it benefits you to make sure that your employees are as healthy as possible. A study shows that employees that eat five or more servings of vegetables and fruit a day are 25 percent more likely to be productive. Employees who are given the opportunity to exercise three times a week for at least 30 minutes are likely to be 15 percent more productive as well.

The problem is that most company’s expect their employees to engage in these healthy habits on their own time. Your employees spend a lot of their time with you, so it might be a good idea to promote health wellness in your office. Offer healthy snacks instead of processed foods. Try to get your employees a membership at a local gym or introduce an exercise break at work.

Productivity is not a simple thing to achieve. The first step is to recognize that you are responsible for it just as much as your employees are, so you are definitely heading down the right path.


Article Contributed by Evans Walsh

Starting a business is a major accomplishment but you need to make sure that it grows and develops by running it effectively. The way you run your business will have a significant effect on whether or not it will be successful on a long-term basis.

Guidelines for Staff

  • In order for a business to thrive it needs to have structure. You need to set up guidelines that staff can follow, create policies and ensure that your expectations are clear.
  • New employees should be aware of the company’s mission and their roles in relation to that mission.
  • Regardless of how straightforward a position at a company may be, everyone should understand the importance of the job and why they should do it. Ensure that all employees know and understand that failing to comply with standard policies will lead to consequences.
  • Train new employees and keep track of every member of the team for accountability.

Be Organized

  • Business owners and managers are expected to be organized individuals and this should be demonstrated within the workplace. Use your organization skills to improve efficiency and productivity. Identify ways to make it easier for people to do their jobs.
  • Keep your office clean and properly maintained, file paperwork effectively and ensure that the contact information you need is accessible.
  • Running a business involves making purchases, ordering products and organizing inventory. Make sure that you have all the stock you need and employees have resources for smooth business operations.
  • You should always be aware of the things that you need to fulfill customers’ needs and avoid overstocking that can lead to wastage. Check regularly to find out whether you need additional merchandise and re-order products when necessary.

Web Design and Branding

Your website gives you a chance to share your brand with the public. People use online searches to learn about individuals, companies and projects. A website showcases your image and what the user needs to know about your products or services.

You control your website and determine the message on it. The information on your website tells users about your brand. Use text and images to reflect the general tone and mood of your business. Web content answers questions pertaining to the products or services you offer through visuals and text.

Financial Management

The financial aspects of business ownership should be addressed efficiently. You may be required to schedule meetings with accountants periodically, prepare financial plans, control the payroll, handle bookkeeping, record receipts, count money, make bank deposits and deal with tax returns.

Healthy Work Environment

A good employer does more than hire staff and pay wages. You need to be a worthwhile example for all employees as you motivate them to be productive. Spend some time with employees and give them a chance to tell you about themselves. They should be comfortable enough to talk to you. Strike the ideal balance between being a figure of authority and an approachable employer.

While creating a competitive working environment can help to increase productivity and subsequent profitability, avoid situations where the workplace becomes toxic and conflict-ridden. Hire the right people for the job.

Bio

Evans walsh has worked as an editor and writer for more than 10 years. He says the highlight of his career has been mentoring upcoming writers and watching them develop their skills. To learn more about web design services, please go to Las Vegas Web Design Co.com.


LinkedIn, with its popularity only increasing, is proving to be an excellent platform for professionals. Although at first, it started out as a mere networking tool it has grown into so much more than that. LinkedIn is now used for business development, marketing, recruitments, sales and more.

LinkedIn and other social media tools are especially great for startups because it gives these small companies an opportunity to make helpful connections and meet new people who can support their journey.

Despite the professional environment present on LinkedIn, it is all-too-easy for us to make some very unprofessional blunders and for startups, this can cost dearly. Here are some such mistakes to avoid:

  1. Overdoing the profile optimization

It is definitely a good idea to optimize your LinkedIn profile with keywords. But if you take to an extreme and over-optimize, it will just backfire on you and may even lead to people blocking you or reporting you.

Optimizing is nothing but using specific words that a potential client might use to search for companies like yours, so that your startup’s name may pop-up in the search results.

For instance, let’s say you are text-expansion tool startup when creating your profile you want to use words like ‘Text expansion’, ‘productivity’ etc., words relevant to the service that your startup is aiming to provide.

The problem is when you decide that more is better and you start dumping keywords all over your profile about a dozen times.

People also make the mistake of making multiple entries for the same position hoping to be discovered better by the prospects. These below-the-knee tactics just make you look very unprofessional and untrustworthy.

A better way is to identify a set of keywords and find ways to naturally and contextually include them in your profile.

  1. Pitching sales proposals to your new connections

Every time you make a new connection, don’t make the mistake of getting ahead of yourself. That is absolutely the fastest way to get yourself removed from their connections list.

LinkedIn, before anything, is a professional networking platform. Yes, it is possible to find new business opportunities and many people have, but that is only secondary.

Imagine a complete stranger sending a business proposal to you, right after you accept their connection request. Not only will this not fetch you results, but it might build a bad reputation around your startup.

A smarter way is to send a personalized message to the person and show a keen interest in getting to know them. In fact, take a step further and observe their online behavior, the articles they are sharing etc. to understand what they like and start a conversation on that.

After you build a relationship with them, if you see a business opportunity that can benefit you both, then pitch it subtly.

When you first reach out to them, also include a link to your website and your contact details, so that they can confirm if you are a trustworthy person, before responding.

  1. Thinking that your LinkedIn network is an email opt-in list

Here’s the rule of thumb – LinkedIn is not a platform where you can send promotional messages every week to all of your connections; that is completely inappropriate.

Too many marketers think of LinkedIn connections as an email opt-in list to send their promotional messages to. Indeed as a startup, you are looking for ways to boost yourself, but don’t do it at the cost of basic manners and trust me, it won’t fetch any results.

In fact, some people go as far as adding the email contacts of their connections to their blog’s subscriber list and start sending them weekly newsletters etc. This is a great way to spoil any chance of building a relationship with your connections and you may even get removed from their list.

When experimenting with this for my own startup Hiver, here’s what worked for me – send them a personalized message after or when you connect and place a link to your website and direct them there by asking for their opinion on your product/website/service. After checking out your website, if they are interested then they will opt-in for the emails themselves.

Additionally, it is not smart to force uninterested people onto your email list. It probably won’t lead to any conversions anyway.

  1. Not sending personalized connection requests

LinkedIn is a great place to connect with people for the first time. People are usually open to connecting with strangers on this platform.

But you could go terribly wrong if you start sending generic messages to get into people’s contact lists. It gives the impression that you haven’t taken the time to view the other person’s profile and that you don’t really care about getting to know them, but just about growing your connections number.

A smart thing to do is to take the time to see who the other person is, discover some common points between both of you and then compose a personalized message touching these points.

When trying to network on LinkedIn focus on quality over quantity. Quantity is going to fetch you nothing, but quality can help you make great connections.

  1. Not having a great company page

As the founder, it sure is important to have a well-crafted profile of your own on LinkedIn, but it is also important to have a great company page for your startup.

This is important because it is one easy way for people to understand who you are and verify your credibility. For example, when you reach out to a new person, by giving them a chance to get to know what you via the company page, you are helping them make a more informed decision.

Also, people will readily connect with you when you have a legitimate company page, rather than with a lone guy who claims to be the founder of some non-existent company.

Wrapping up

Many of us are very eager to use LinkedIn as a business development tool and by avoiding unprofessional blunders we can find excellent business opportunities and make great connections via this platform.



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