A STEP BY STEP GUIDE ON HOW TO START A BUSINESS

Talk to any entrepreneur or small business owner and you’ll quickly learn that starting a business requires a lot of work. Generating a business idea is a great starting point, but an idea doesn’t become a business without effort. Some budding entrepreneurs understand the effort necessary to create a business, but they might not be familiar with the many steps required to launch a business venture. If you’re willing to put in the effort to build a business, you’re going to want to know the steps needed to reach your goals.

Follow this 10-step checklist to transform your business from a lightbulb above your head to a real entity.

If you’re thinking about starting a business, you likely already have an idea of what you want to sell, or at least the market you want to enter. Do a quick search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Learn what current brand leaders are doing and figure out how you can do it better. If you think your business can deliver something other companies don’t (or deliver the same thing, but faster and cheaper), you’ve got a solid idea and are ready to create a business plan.

“Many people think they have a great idea and jump into launching their business without thinking through who their customers will be, or why these people should want to buy from or hire them,” Desaulniers said. “Second, you need to clarify why you want to work with these customers – do you have a passion for making people’s lives easier? Or enjoy creating art to bring color to their world? Identifying these answers helps clarify your mission. Third, you want to define how you will provide this value to your customer and how to communicate that value in a way that they are willing to pay.”

Once you have your idea in place, you need to ask yourself a few important questions: What is the purpose of your business? Who are you selling to? What are your end goals? How will you finance your startup costs? These questions can be answered in a well-written business plan.

A lot of mistakes are made by new businesses rushing into things without pondering these aspects of the business. You need to find your target customer base. Who is going to buy your product or service? If you can’t find evidence that there’s a demand for your idea, then what would be the point?

Conducting thorough market research on your field and demographics of potential clients is an important part of crafting a business plan. This involves conducting surveys, holding focus groups and researching SEO and public data. . It’s also a good idea to consider an exit strategy as you compile your business plan. Generating some of idea of how you’ll eventually exit the business forces you to look to the future.

A business plan helps you figure out where your company is going, how it will overcome any potential difficulties and what you need to sustain it.

Starting any business has a price, so you need to determine how you’re going to cover those costs. Do you have the means to fund your startup, or will you need to borrow money? If you’re planning to leave your current job to focus on your business, do you have money put away to support yourself until you start making a profit?

Experts generally agree that startup businesses often fail because they run out of money too quickly before turning a profit. It’s never a bad idea to overestimate the amount of startup capital you need, as it can be a while before the business begins to bring in sustainable revenue. Additionally, don’t overspend when starting a business. Understand the types of purchases that make sense for your business and avoid overspending on fancy new equipment that won’t help you reach your business goals.

Before you can register your company, you need to decide what kind of entity it is. Your business structure legally affects everything from how you file your taxes to your personal liability if something goes wrong.

If you own the business entirely by yourself and plan to be responsible for all debts and obligations, you can register for a sole proprietorship. Be warned that this route can directly affect your personal credit. Alternatively, a partnership, as its name implies, means that two or more people are held personally liable as business owners. You don’t have to go it alone if you can find a business partner with complementary skills to your own. It’s usually a good idea to add someone into the mix to help your business flourish.

If you want to separate your personal liability from your company’s liability, you may want to consider forming one of several types of corporations. This makes a business a separate entity apart from its owners, and, therefore, corporations can own property, assume liability, pay taxes, enter into contracts, sue and be sued like any other individual.

To become an officially recognized business entity, you must register your business with CAC and FIRS respectfully.  After you register your business, you will need  to register for Company Income Tax (CIT) and Value Added Tax (VAT) after which you obtain your  Tax Identification Number(TIN) from FIRS. After due registration, you can start filing your VAT as long as you have commenced business and also apply to obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC).

You may also  need to file some certain forms to fulfill your federal and state income tax obligations. The forms you need are determined by your business structure.

It might slip your mind as something you’ll “get around to” eventually, but purchasing the right insurance for your business is an important step that should happen before you officially launch. Dealing with such incidents as property damage, theft or even a customer lawsuit can be costly, and you need to be sure that you’re properly protected.

If your business will have employees, you will, at a minimum, need to purchase workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. You may also need other types of coverage depending on your location and industry, but most small businesses are advised to purchase general liability (GL) insurance, or a business owner’s policy. GL covers property damage, bodily injury and personal injury to yourself or a third party.

If your business provides a service, you may also want to consider professional liability insurance. It covers you if you do something wrong or neglect to do something you should have done while operating your business.

Unless you’re planning to be your only employee, you’re going to need to hire a great team to get your company off the ground. Joe Zawadzki, CEO and founder of MediaMath, said entrepreneurs need to give the “people” element of their businesses the same attention they give their products.

Running a business can be overwhelming, and you and your team probably aren’t going to be able to do it all on your own. That’s where third-party vendors come in. Companies in every industry from HR to business phone systems exist to partner with you and help you run your business better.

When you’re searching for partners, you’ll have to choose carefully. These companies will have access to vital and potentially sensitive business data, so it’s critical to find someone you can trust.

Before you start selling your product or service, you need to build up your brand and get a following of people ready to jump when you open your literal or figurative doors for business.

Create a logo that can help people easily identify your brand, and be consistent in using it across all of your platforms, including your all-important company website. Use social media to spread the word about your new business, perhaps as a promotional tool to offer coupons and discounts to followers once you launch. Be sure to also keep these digital assets up to date with relevant, interesting content about your business and industry.

Your launch and first sales are only the beginning of your task as an entrepreneur. In order to make a profit and stay afloat, you always need to be growing your business. It’s going to take time and effort, but you’ll get out of your business what you put into it.

Collaborating with more established brands in your industry is a great way to achieve growth. Reach out to other companies or even influential bloggers and ask for some promotion in exchange for a free product sample or service. Partner with a charity organization and volunteer some of your time or products to get your name out there.

While these tips help launch your business and get you set to grow, there’s never a perfect plan. You want to make sure you prepare thoroughly for starting a business, but things will almost certainly go awry. To run a successful business, you have to adapt to changing situations.

 

Source:https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4686-how-to-start-a-business.html

12 WAYS TO PREPARE YOUR SMALL BUSINESS FOR HOLIDAY SALES

It’s easy for small businesses owners to feel overshadowed during the holidays by the extreme deals and flashy adverts offered by big box stores, but a wave of interest in shopping local and supporting home grown enterprises is helping small businesses thrive.

In fact, 94 percent of consumers value the contributions small businesses make to their communities and 83 percent plan to do at least a portion of their holiday shopping at small, independently owned retailers or restaurants, according to a recent survey.

Though there is no one-size-fits-all approach to preparing a retail operation – whether ecommerce or brick-and-mortar – for an influx of business during the holidays, a blend of time-tested, common-sense steps and innovative approaches can help small businesses take on the holiday sales rush.

Here are 12 key steps that business experts and experienced owners agree can help small businesses get the most out of the holiday season.

  1. Plan and set seasonal goals.

Planning is ongoing for every business, but preparation for the busiest shopping time of the year should include a detailed review of last year’s holiday sales performance. This information can be used to determine inventory, tailor deals, create promotional offers and set revenue goals for the season.

Make sure that the goals you set for yourself are reasonable and attainable, you don’t have to define your goals solely on revenue: Other metrics, like customer engagement and social media following, are great tools to measure your success.

Alex Tran, marketing specialist with Hollingsword, recommends using analytics to manage, distil and interpret all the information you need to shape your business goals for the holiday season.

“There is software that tracks POS, inventory, etc., and can help you forecast what your business needs to succeed,” explained Tran. “Without data, you will not be able to make informed decisions.”

Also, spend some time researching the holiday sales strategies of your top competitors and determining the marketing approaches you will use to reach your target customer.

  1. Secure sufficient working capital.

During the holidays, it may be necessary to have more funds readily available to increase inventory, hire seasonal staff or set-up holiday displays.

If pre-holiday business has been slow or you otherwise don’t have sufficient cash on-hand to give the season your very best shot, talk to your banker or local community lender about securing a line of credit or short-term loan. Be sure that you know what you’re signing up for before you agree to any loans or lines of credit.

  1. Review and upgrade technology.

You need to make sure your technology is ready and able to handle the onslaught of holiday shoppers. You don’t want to lose potential customers because your website is down or you can’t process credit card orders. This means taking the time earlier in the year to upgrade security software, test checkout and payment processes, check the usability of search functions, and make sure your website is user-friendly and able to handle an increase in traffic.

“Small businesses need to ensure that all channels – whether in-store, online or mobile – are all up to date and running smoothly,” said Chris Francis, vice president of market development at Worldplay. “They must run the necessary tests and evaluations to ensure their technology is working properly, and to avoid any bugs or malfunctions from losing sales.”

  1. Embrace Omni channel customer experiences.

One of the most prominent trends impacting holiday sales is Omni channel retailing, which is defined as an integrated sales approach that creates a seamless shopping experience for customers regardless of whether they are shopping from a desktop, mobile device or store. For example, these customers may buy online but pick up the item in the store, or they may use a smartphone app to compare prices and then make a purchase through a company’s website.

“By embracing all available sales channels, small businesses can enjoy increased sales during the holiday season,” said Francis.

According to Francis, Omni channel shoppers are more likely to return to make additional purchases and to recommend brands to family and friends, so you’ll want to not only increase contact with their customers, but increase the value of that contact, too.

  1. Stock up on holiday inventory. 

There is nothing worse than running out of the must-have gift and having to turn away customers. Therefore, make sure you are fully stocked and have plenty of your best sellers readily available.

“Stock up on your most popular items, the latest trends in your industry and specially branded or crafted gifts that make your merchandise stand out,” said Garcia. “Talk to vendors and see if you can get discounts for buying in larger quantities or extended payment terms.”

  1. Cultivate online sales.

According to Amit Mathradas, general manager and head of Small Business North America for PayPal, there has been disproportionate holiday shopping growth from online channels. According to Deloitte’s Retail Holiday Sales Forecast, overall e-commerce sales will grow by 17 to 22 percent from last year’s shopping season, with online sales accounting for 57 percent of all purchases.

Establishing an online store is imperative for all small businesses interested in capturing this ever-growing segment of the holiday market. It’s a great way to show off your holiday specials, showcase unique products and build community with your customer base. Don’t fret if you don’t have time to get your entire inventory online before the holiday rush, though.

“Make a small selection of what you feel will be hot this holiday season and offer those items up for online purchase and shipping to the customer’s front door,” said Christopher Mohs, vice president of strategy and operations at Cora + Krist.

To further capitalize on the growth of online business, Mathradas recommends merchants focus on reducing shopping-cart abandonment (adding items to a virtual shopping cart but not completing the purchase), particularly on mobile devices.

“Online sales and an emphasis on mobile are categorical imperatives,” he said. “A site not rendering properly on a mobile device, or any hiccups in payment processing, can cause a ripple effect in terms of lost sales.”

  1. Market to loyal customers.

Acquiring new customers always requires more time and money than getting repeat customers to come back, and this is especially true during the holiday season. You can encourage existing customers to make holiday purchases by engaging them with exclusive online offers, in-store events and personalized discounts and promotions.

“Based on their past buying history, you already know exactly what will appeal to them most and can create personalized campaigns that will convert them [into repeat customers], ” said Jurgen Nebelung, vice president of e-commerce and digital at Tea Forte. “Loyal customers spend on average 67 percent more than new customers.”

  1. Use social media to promote your brand.

Use tools such as search engines and social media so your customers can find you and stay informed about your products and services when they are ready to buy, Mathradas said.

Look at every way to build your digital brand, from posting on Instagram to taking out cost-effective ads on social media networks, like Facebook, that can boost online visibility and keep your business front-of-mind for target audiences.

Other opportunities for interacting with prospective customers include responding to comments and reviews of your business, developing targeted promotional campaigns, and creating Pinterest boards centered around gift giving ideas or themes.

“Investing in search terms via Google ensures that you are easily found by customers looking for similar products,” noted Mathradas. “This is especially critical for [niche] businesses … to target the right customer as they follow the path to purchase.”

  1. Provide exceptional customer service.

During this high-stress time of year, businesses should perfect the customer experience. For traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, this can be as simple as extending your hours for the holiday said Nebelung. For online brands, you’ll want to have your customer support team on-call and ready to address any customer complaints at a moment’s notice.

“Using your deep understanding of your customers, you can create an enjoyable and hassle-free customer journey, from browsing to check-out to returns,” Nebelung added.

  1. Offer competitive delivery options.

You can distinguish yourself from your competitors and win the hearts of last-minute shoppers if you can offer free shipping or quick delivery.

“Free shipping raises the perceived value of your product and simultaneously lowers buyer friction,” said Augustin Kennady, media relations director for ShipMonk.

Businesses that ship a large amount of items may want to consider outsourcing this function.

But even businesses that operate on a smaller scale can find ways to improve their delivery options. For example, some may offer a local delivery service that caters to their immediate community, or they can tap into the resources offered by e-commerce giants.

Additionally, brick-and-mortar retailers worried about online sales eclipsing their foot traffic this holiday season can offer an in-store-pickup option for online purchases. Customers save on shipping costs and retailers gain more in-store foot traffic, which may lead to additional sales. 

  1. Accentuate what makes you unique.

One of the most important ways small businesses can stand out and draw in customers during the holidays is by creating events that highlight their unique products and connection to the local community. They also can offer exclusive customer experiences that can’t be easily duplicated by large retailers.

“A fun event or pop-up shop is a sure way to draw in your customers during the holidays. You can offer a special in-store consultation from the experts, or even something as simple as wine and cheese while you shop,” said Nebelung.

A few other ways to draw in customers include offering free lessons and product workshops, curating gift boxes that highlight a variety of your products, partnering with other small businesses in the area to host joint events, and even garnering positive press by forging relationships with charities in your city.

You can also build your brand by getting involved in your local business district or Chamber of Commerce, according to Garcia.

“Take part in any Main Street shopping district special events,” she said. “Some areas also have season-long events that provide a wealth of marketing and brand-building opportunities.”

  1. Plan for post-holiday business.

How you interact with shoppers after the holidays will leave a lasting impact and help determine if they become repeat customers. Lewinger advises finding ways to maintain the momentum of the holiday season well into the new year. Use this time to streamline the process for handling returns as well as develop a strategy for encouraging customers with returns to use their time in your business to make additional purchases.

“Find ways to engage with the new customers you made over the holidays as well as reaching out to other potential customers,” said Lewinger. “Planning for the post-holiday season can be just as important to make sure you can hop right back into regular sales once the holiday rush comes to an end.”

 

Source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7450-holiday-sales-kickoff-guide.html

Sales process: A roadmap to better sales performance

What’s a sales process?

A sales process is a set of repeatable steps that a sales person takes to take a prospective buyer from the early stage of awareness to a closed sale.

Simply put, it is a potential customer’s journey from realizing they have a need for a product to making an actual purchase.

And since the sales process is a journey for a prospect, it is a roadmap for a sales person.

10 reasons you need a sales process

Of course, relying on your talents and resourcefulness is a cool way to work, but sales is not a game of intuition and creativity. Sales is a structured set of tactical steps.

So, let’s talk about the reasons you need a standardized sales process.

  1. Get rid of waste.

Having a defined process of specific chain-effect steps gives you a more accurate understanding of what things are and aren’t working in your sales. Defining what triggers (actions) cause prospects to move from one stage to the next makes it easy for you to identify the RIGHT actions and get rid of bottlenecks and those activities that yield no or little results.

  1. Always stay on course.

A sales process is often called a “sales rep’s roadmap”.

Following a roadmap does not mean that a sales person will be instructed “do this, then do that”. Instead, a sales process will serve as a GPS system with clear steps and milestones. Knowing what each step entails, helps sales people to understand where they are in the process, when it’s time to move to the next step and when to adjust your course.

  1. Utilize your sales talents in every step.

Having a sales process does not cancel creativity!

You can use your gut instincts and creative talents to get from one stage to the next, as the sales process won’t dictate how to sell on social media, how to structure your sales pitch, what to write in a sales email, or how to draft in a proposal – that’s up to your sales talent and skills!

  1. Step into your customer’s shoes.

Often companies create a sale process that reflects the way they want to sell, not the way their customers want to buy.

An effective sales process should be adaptable to suit different selling situation and customer needs. Designing a sales process with your customer in mind, will entail you asking the following questions:

  • What are my main customer groups?
  • How do they differ in terms of their buying patterns?
  • How differently do I sell to new customers and for repeat business?
  • What are my customers’ expectations in each sales stage and what can I do to meet them?
  1. Find the cause of stalled sales.

Adopting a sales process allows sales professionals to be able to identify the root cause of stalled sales. By following a set of steps, you are able to analyze whether or not your actions were sufficient, how many of them you actually needed, and what proved to be a misstep or a waste of time.

This means that if you work with a sales process you can tell not only what was and wasn’t achieved; but also, how it was or wasn’t achieved.

  1. Get more qualified leads.

Adopting a clearly defined sales process will help your sales team to tackle its biggest pain – filter out low-potential leads and identify the prospects with biggest likelihood to purchase. Making your sales cycle shorter and more targeted, a sales process helps your sales team to maximize their efforts with quality leads.

  1. Improve forecasting and revenue.

Having a clear picture of where your sales people are in the sales process helps sales managers to come up with more accurate sales forecasting. Since a sales process is a set of repeatable steps, it gives a more consistent picture of how many deals your team closes from a given number of leads. This allows you to predict your win rates and set quotas with more accuracy.

  1. Never miss a follow-up.

One of the most important aspects of winning a sale is a timely follow-up email.

During a (often lengthy) sales interaction, sales reps may forget to follow up with potential customers. This alone may send an entire sale down the drain. Follow-ups keep the desire to buy alive. A standardized sales process will always remind you when to follow up with a prospect and keep a healthy sales pipeline. It can even offer a type of a follow-up activity and even a template to use.

  1. Offer better customer experience.

Often a sales rep pushes a customer too quickly into the next stages of a sale, for which they may not be ready yet.

This can not only damage the relationship, but simply break the deal. A well-designed sales process, that focuses on the customer, can turn a haphazard and often pushy sale into a smooth sailing customer experience.

Based on your customer’s buying behaviors and expectations, a sales process will offer the steps that sell value, enhance trust and create a stronger bond with a potential customer – all at the right time.

  1. Onboard sales rookies with ease.

If, instead of proper training, your new sales people are asked to shadow (watch) their colleagues sell, then you definitely need a sales process!

A defined sales process makes it easy to train rookies and coach your sales team. Not only will it offer concrete sales steps for them to follow, but it will also highlight what behaviors and skills are required for each stage of a sale, what outcomes are expected at each step, and what individual strengths should be utilized at different sale stages.

Source: https://www.superoffice.com/blog/sales-process/

5 reasons customer complaints are good for your business

With the advancement of the internet, social media, and other new technologies, customers have become more powerful than ever. Customers are the actual ones who pay for the business. So, they should always be on top priority.

A happy customer may share his good experience with his 4 friends, but the angry customer has the capability to share the bad experience with more than 2,000 people in social media or any other place. Apart from that, some people don’t complain at all-they will simply stop doing business with your company. But don’t take all these negatively, as there are some benefits of customer complaints.

[Tweet ““96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, 91% of those will simply leave and never come back.””]

A customer complaint always highlights the issues and gives you the chance to fix them before further complexity arises. It actually works as an eye opener. Let’s discuss!

Benefits of customer complaints

  1. Helps to learn from the mistakes

The truth is you can’t make the customer forget a bad experience, it’s not in your hand. But you can always learn from that incident and make sure that your company will never repeat the same with any other customer.

This kind of mistake always makes you more mature and teaches how to deal with such situations.

  1. Turn dissatisfied customers into your brand ambassadors

Here’s the chance for you to change the mind-set of customers who are upset. Just work hard and win them back.

When customers are upset and dissatisfied, there remains a very little change that they will do business with you again. But hold on! Let’s look at it in a positive way. It actually opens a door for you to change their perspectives with your dedication and effort.

  1. Identify the gaps in your services

This is one the greatest advantages of customer complaints. You may be very much satisfied with your services and overall performance of the teams but a customer complaint always works as an eye opener. It’s the harsh truth about the quality of your services and products. The angry customer actually helps to understand the drawbacks and areas of improvement. Happy customers will always appreciate you but may not discuss about the mistakes but the dissatisfied ones will point those out for the betterment.

  1. Helps to understand customers in a better way

When customers contact you to complain, obviously they are willing to speak. By discussing with them, you will get to know their psychology, needs, their expectations from the company and so on. It helps to get a clear vision about their buying behavior, mentality and what they think about the company. All these together will help to personalize the services for them in a better way.

  1. Gives the secrets of competitors

The upset customers while talking to you, may discuss about your competitors also. Through their complaints, they will easily give you the inside stories, what extra your competitors are doing, how is their customer support, product details, advanced features and many more. Trust me, all these are much more trustworthy than what you will get from market research.

By knowing what others are doing extra can help you to make your own products and services better and stay ahead of them. You can use all the info given by the angry customers to create strong marketing campaigns and improve the overall performance of the company.

Bonus points:

  • Sharing the customer complaint stories within the organization help everyone to understand the customers in a better way.
  • Sometimes customers complain about the existing policies and procedures which are unnecessary and may not be suitable for them. You can surely re look at them.
  • Complaints from customers can be used in case studies or employee training programs.
  • Complaints help to identify the faulty products and services.

Each experience shared by the customers, whether it’s good or bad always teaches you the new things about them, business and industry. It’s up to you how will you take it: positively or negatively. A company which always takes the complaints with open mind, work harder for betterment will always shine in the long run.

Source: https://www.revechat.com/blog/5-reasons-customer-complaints-are-good-for-your-business/

These 4 Old-School Leadership Principles Still Ring True Today

The business world has certainly changed since leaders like David Ogilvy or Peter Drucker were looked to for leadership advice. But just because the workplaces of today are more inclusive, diverse and faster moving doesn’t mean that the leadership principles espoused by a previous generation of business titans don’t hold up.

To the contrary, the thoughts and practices of management expert Peter Drucker, business author Dale Carnegie, advertising genius David Ogilvy and former President Theodore Roosevelt offer nuggets of wisdom that can make it easier to navigate the modern workplace.

  1. Analytics keep people accountable.

“What gets measured gets managed.”

This phrase coined by Peter Drucker seems an obvious conclusion in our world of big data, but even today professionals fail to recognize the importance of accurately measuring the variables most related to success.

If you’re interested in seeing an improvement in the workplace or in your personal life, the easiest way to drive change is by setting a measurable goal, and monitoring performance on a regular basis.

Doing so will make it easier to associate various actions with positive or negative outcomes, which will force you and your team to hold one another accountable. This is true whether you’re trying to lose weight or increase your social media engagement.

To make things easier, consider using some sort of free or inexpensive dashboard to monitor progress. Geckoboard, Smartsheets, or Domo are all good options since they integrate with a variety of popular business tools like Hubspot, Salesforce and Google Analytics.

  1. Admit your own mistakes before others hold you accountable.

“Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes — and most fools do — but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.”

Dale Carnegie offered that advice in his famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People, published more than 80 years ago.

When you next make a mistake, take Carnegie’s advice and own up to it as soon as possible. Taking ownership and explaining why the mistake could negatively impact the organization is an effective way to position yourself as a leader. Furthermore, it will make senior managers feel as though you understand the bigger picture and are capable of responsibly comporting yourself in challenging times.

Failure and mistakes are a natural part of business and life. If you didn’t make mistakes, you probably wouldn’t be taking smart risks and thus learning new things. What matters is that you take ownership of mistakes, and make an effort to avoid repeating them in the future.

Don’t get defensive if you screw up, even if you had a good reason for doing so. Admit your failure, take ownership and learn from it.

  1. Hire people who are smarter than you.

The best businesses are often the ones that win the talent war. David Ogilvy, the founder of the prolific advertising agency by the same name, knew this when he wrote, “If you ever find a man who is smarter than you, hire him.”

Other successful entrepreneurs, Steve Jobs and Lee Iacocca among them, have said much the same. As an entrepreneur or a manager, hiring is the single best way to build a successful business or team. To do it, you often must avoid compromising on talent even if it means waiting longer than you would have liked to fill a position.

The long-term impact of making a bad hire is significant. It can hurt morale or lower your business’s standards. Similarly, a good hire produces a series of compounding results that inevitably help to make your organization stronger.

  1. Leaders must also be learners.

“As soon as any man has ceased to be able to learn, his usefulness as a teacher is at an end. When he himself can’t learn, he has reached the stage where other people can’t learn from him.”

Theodore Roosevelt was a Renaissance man of epic proportions. He was a rancher, a New York City police chief, an outdoorsman and the 26th president of the United States.

Given his impressive resume, it’s no wonder that he had a few words of wisdom to offer about leadership.

Effective leaders must be able to self-teach. Business will inevitably present unfamiliar new scenarios. To overcome these challenges, you must learn enough to make smart decisions and to manage those who are experts in their given fields.

To become an autodidact, identify the one thing that would help you be more successful if you knew more about it. Then ask peers, mentors or experts to recommend a few good resources. Build a reasonable study schedule, and you’ll be well on your way to developing this important leadership skill.

Some advice is timeless.

While the people who advocate these four leadership principles are from a different era, their advice is timeless. By measuring what matters, taking ownership of your mistakes, hiring smart people and investing in self-education, you’ll be following leadership advice put forth by some of the most successful entrepreneurs our country has ever seen. In a business world filled with so many things you can’t control, it’s highly beneficial to be aware of such reliable, sound principles.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/314799

7 Things Small Businesses Need to Know About PR

If you have a small business, it’s time to start thinking about PR. PR, or public relations, is a key part of the marketing process, and often far more cost-effective than traditional advertising. And yet, says Deanna Simonian, many small businesses are still confused about what exactly PR is and why they need it.

The founder of Mediafy Communications, Simonian spent over a decade working with large brands before starting her own PR firm. In that time, she’s found that any business can benefit from a good PR push – but many small companies don’t know how to make that happen.

Business News Daily talked to Simonian to find out seven things that all small businesses need to know about PR.

  1. Public relations and advertising are not the same thing.

Paid advertisements are the way a company represents itself. A PR campaign, on the other hand, creates unpaid, organic contact between a business and its audience to build brand awareness.

“PR is about third-party credibility,” explained Simonian. “This person is an unbiased person genuinely saying, ‘I love this brand.'”

A sponsored post on Instagram, for example, is advertising. But when a company sends a blogger a product to use, and the blogger genuinely likes it and posts about it, that is PR. Being quoted as a source in a newspaper, featured in a magazine or appearing on a talk show are other common forms of PR. Sending press releases regarding company announcements counts.

“I think PR is creating the most positive image of your company that you can then share with the public,” Simonian said. “Whether that’s through traditional media or social media … PR means getting your name out there and building your business’s image.”

  1. Good PR helps you define your brand.

“One of the most important things about starting a campaign is that having PR helps define the message of your company,” said Simonian. “The first question we ask is, ‘Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why do people care?’ … It helps fine-tune the message and keep it consistent.”

Without consistency, customers won’t understand or trust what your brand represents. A strong PR campaign creates a recognizable message across multiple media platforms. This is especially important for small businesses, which lack the name recognition of larger companies and corporations.

“When small businesses don’t have PR, things are all over the place,” Simonian cautioned. “PR keeps things consistent.”

  1. Good PR takes time.

Simonian often finds that small businesses are impatient for PR to produce instant results, rather than thinking of the campaign as part of a long-term marketing strategy.

“I think some small businesses think that results are going to be immediate,” she said. “But good PR takes time … You need to give it at least three to six months to see the benefit.”

When that benefit comes, it’s not always in the form of instant sales, she added. “Just because your company gets featured in a big newspaper doesn’t mean you’ll instantly see a jump in sales. There are two types of PR. One type increases sales; the other builds credibility. It looks good and makes you look more reliable.”

Creating credibility for your company is a long-term investment that builds brand recognition and creates trust. Eventually, it will pay off in increased sales and the long life of your company.

  1. You might need to wait a while before you start a PR campaign.

One mistake that Simonian frequently sees small businesses make is starting a big PR push before they are ready for the attention.

Coverage in a national media outlet, for example, can produce high demand for products. If you aren’t able to meet that demand, you may find yourself losing credibility or disappointing customers.

“I think you have to be ready for PR coverage,” said Simonian. “It can create a lot of demand for certain products, and sometimes a [young] company can’t keep up with that demand.”

  1. You don’t need a large budget for good PR.

Large businesses often employ a dedicated PR team or hire a PR firm to create an extended campaign. But small businesses can create effective PR even without a large budget.

Simonian suggests hiring a PR consultant to work within your budget, even if that just means you spend a few hours working together to create a plan that you will implement on your own.

If you don’t have the budget for that, it’s still possible to strike out on your own. “Invest your time in creating relationships with reporters and media contacts,” Simonian recommended. “If you’re consistent and you’re genuine, people will respond to you.”

  1. Media outlets love small businesses.

Small businesses often wonder if media outlets will be interested in covering them or mentioning their products when big brands are much better known. Many times, though, that lack of previous exposure works in their favor.

“I’ve worked on IBM, Toshiba, Coca-Cola, and I’ve worked with really small brands too,” said Simonian. “I think media outlets find small business more interesting … they’re big fans of the ‘uniquenesses.’ … For bigger clients, PR is more a matter of managing the press they’re already getting.”

Small businesses, by contrast, don’t already have a narrative or perception attached to their brand, which gives media outlets and influencers more of a story to work with.

“It’s a lot more fun to help create that image and share it,” said Simonian.

  1. PR depends on relationships.

Whether you’re working with a firm or handling your PR on your own, focus your efforts on people who are already influencing your target customer.

“PR is figuring out ways to build relationships, whether it’s with a reporter or social media influencer,” said Simonian. “Look for people who have a lot of clout and build that relationship. Help them to understand your message and how their followers can relate to you.”

Successful PR builds trust between your company and its customers. Building positive relationships with the right media outlets is essential to creating that trust. If that relationship isn’t already there, you won’t reach the right audience, no matter how many places feature you.

Source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9807-public-relations-for-small-business.html

How to Pitch Your Business Idea to Potential Investors

After you’ve drawn up your business idea and crafted your business plan, you need funding to turn your entrepreneurial dream into a reality. When your ability to secure funds comes down to a 10-to-20-minute pitch to potential investors, it’s easy to feel nervous. It’s a pressure-packed moment, and you need to be at your best.

So how can you erase your anxiety and impress potential investors?

Business News Daily spoke with a handful of experts, including a former participant on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” about how to nail a pitch to potential investors.

  1. Tell a story.

A common topic among experts was the need to be personable and create a narrative. While facts and figures go a long way, it’s important to use those numbers to tell a meaningful story. Framing your business idea as a story also helps you explain your passion for your business.

“Give investors a reason to be excited about working with you so they will buy into your business plan with certainty,” said Michael Simonetta, CEO of Kibii. “Show them why you’re working toward your goal, not just how. Tell them why you’re motivated to solve a problem and you’ll have a better chance of winning them over.”

Erin Beck, the founder and CEO of Wana Family Network, believes storytelling sets her presentations apart from those of her peers. Beck founded an online network for family-to-family babysitting exchange, and she says she frequently speaks with potential investors who aren’t parents. With her audience lacking an emotional connection to her concept, she creates emotional appeal with an engaging pitch.

“Make the story more important than what you’re selling, because once the market numbers speak for themselves, they don’t connect with you for what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it,” said Beck, who placed second at the Glendale Tech Week 2017 Pitchfest.

  1. Define the problem.

You might be head over heels about your business concept. Your prototypes for the product are all stellar and you’re thrilled about your business plan. Unfortunately, if your product doesn’t solve a problem or fill a need for customers, investors aren’t going to share your excitement.

“Start off with the problem,” said Donna Griffit, a corporate storyteller for start-ups. “Do you understand the need that’s in the market today? Do you have the facts to back that up?”

It is critical that you can answer these questions when heading into a meeting with investors. Thorough market research along with customer surveys and interviews can show if your product is needed. If you lack the data to prove that your idea addresses a problem, it’s difficult to engage the audience and even more difficult to get funding from investors.

“I’ve seen start-ups try to take shortcuts on this and end up with glazed-over eyes in their audience,” Griffit said.

  1. Practice as much as you can.

The weeks and days leading up to your pitch to potential investors is no time to be shy. Give your pitch to friends, family, neighbors or anyone else willing to listen. Not only does practicing help take the nerves off, but it also allows you to learn where you can improve your presentation.

“You’ve likely told your origin story dozens of times and have it down,” said David Ciccarelli, the founder and CEO of Voices.com. “Now, get ready to tell it possibly hundreds more. During our capital raise, I told our founding story 200 times. While it’s old news to you, it’s new for the investor, so keep it upbeat and tell it with enthusiasm.”

Don’t hesitate to pitch to multiple potential investors, either. Ciccarelli went with his team to cities across the country and meet with a few investors in each city. This gave his group practice and put his business idea in front of more eyes.

Once you’ve gotten comfortable with your pitch, start focusing on the little details.

“Use the privacy of your home or office to talk through your pitch and work on making it flow well,” Ciccarelli said. “Don’t be afraid to record your pitch, both audio and video, and review it with a critical eye to make sure you nail every sentence.”

Demonstrating proper body language and tightening up speaking mistakes can be the difference between successful and unsuccessful pitches. When you go over the minor details, Ciccarelli recommends planning your pauses. By doing this, you can make a perfectly rehearsed speech sound spontaneous.

“To make your pitch sound more natural, plan your dramatic pauses out,” he said. “The pause gives the impression that you’re coming up with the material on the fly. Plus, you’ll have a moment to collect your thoughts for what you’re going to say next.”

  1. Be realistic.

While practicing the pitch is a must, very rarely will your pitch go exactly as planned. Having realistic expectations will help when you’re preparing. Erika Ashley, a social media influencer marketing consultant and TEDx speaker, says it’s important to practice for a realistic presentation experience.

“We often hear ‘practice your pitch’ as common advice, but most investors will stop you several times during your presentation to ask for clarity or to offer their input,” Ashley said. “This can throw a presenter off their game in a presentation easily, as they’ve practiced their presentation as a smooth, uninterrupted flow. Practicing with interruptions is much more true to life.”

In addition to expecting disruptions, it’s important to view the presentation from the audience’s perspective. Brian Lim, a serial entrepreneur who owns three e-commerce businesses (EmazingLights, iHeartRaves and INTO THE AM) that collectively earn more than $20 million annually, pitched one of his businesses on Shark Tank in 2015. He received offers from all five judges on the show and made a deal for with Mark Cuban and Daymond John. Lim credits his success to proof of concept: He entered the show with $13 million in sales to date, and his ability to view his business from a different vantage point.

“I had to imagine myself as an investor and check off boxes that I would want to see if I were going to invest money into a company,” Lim said.

Source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10921-pitching-potential-investors.html

Grow Your Family Business

Family businesses are more than entrepreneurial endeavors. They are an emotional investment, creating deep personal ties with your relatives, employees, community and yourself. Is it possible to scale and expand one without losing those ties and the personal touch that made you a success in the first place? Of course it is, if you can learn to separate emotion from business and run your business like a business.

Brian Moak grew up working in his family business, HEART Certified Auto Care in Illinois, then bought it from his father when he was 27. Now 35, he is preparing to expand HEART into franchises across the country.

“I’ve always had this dream of growing the company, becoming part of multiple communities,” said Moak. “I’m looking for a way to create a legacy like what my dad created.”

Moak says anyone who wants to grow something that’s small and family can do it, as long as they don’t lose the family touch. He shared his best tips for doing just that.

  1. Make yourself redundant

For a family business to expand, things need to run smoothly without you or other family members. So build out your succession plan.

“[My] company used to revolve around me, every question, every strategy came through me,” said Moak. “To turn this into a franchise, I knew I needed to be able to step out.”

Create systems that anyone can follow for key tasks like on boarding new customers, marketing updates, building new locations and hiring employees. Then empower your existing employees to make those decisions and follow those systems. If you don’t already have a general manager, now is the time to move someone into that position.

Once your business can function without you, additional locations can open without you needing to be on the ground. This frees you to focus on big-picture decision making and expansion, rather than dealing with the everyday needs of a single store. By creating systems that everyone can follow, you create consistency for your brand and your employees, no matter where they are located.

  1. Get everyone on board

If multiple family members are owners of the business, all of them have to agree on a plan for growth. But even if a sole person is in charge, getting everyone on board will make an expansion go more smoothly.

“Explain what you’re doing and why it matters,” advised Moak. “If I was a dictator and walked in and said, this is what we’re doing, make it happen, it may happen out of fear, but it doesn’t happen because they want to. If an organization grows because they want to, you’re surrounded by an army of people who protect and grow your mission.”

Just as important as family members are any employees who have been with the business for a long time. They are as likely to feel a sense of pride and ownership as family members, and their buy-in matters just as much.

“There are people who work here who have known me since I was four years old,” Moak explained. “Their experience is valuable; their insight is critical. It’s my job to respect that and build on it.”

  1. Communicate openly with customers

When Moak began sharing news about his franchise, his customers first reacted negatively, thinking that the local business was going to lose what made it special to the community.

“We were not as communicative as we should have been,” Moak admits. “A lot of customers felt that we’d sold out or that we’d joined another franchise.”

Customers who are loyal to a family business may dislike the idea of change or worry that your business is going to lose personal touch. To reassure them, communicate as openly as possible. Use your marketing channels to explain exactly what is happening and why you decided to expand. And show them through every interaction that you will still retain the level of service that you’ve always had.

“We’ve created scripts for everyone who deals with customer service, we pounded our customers with emails to explain and reassure them,” said Moak. The end result was that local customers became incredibly supportive and proud of HEART’s success.

“Once they understood that this was a real American dream story,” he said. People really got on board.”

  1. Define your values

For many customers, the values of the owners and the personal feel of services are what lead them to support a family business. As you grow, it’s vital to define and understand what your business’ values are so you can continue those in your new endeavors.

Do you prioritize the experience of your employees? The integrity of your brand? The impact you have on your community? What emotions do you want people to experience when they interact with your brand? What compromises are acceptable and what are off-limits as you expand?

“We might fix cars, but we see it as, we’re in the hospitality business,” said Moak. “I had to train my store managers how to give the best experience to people who come in the front door and the people who clock in at the back door. They’ve got to do it in a way that fits our values.”

Your employees are responsible for creating an environment that reflects the culture of your core family business. Once you clearly define your values, they’ll be able to maintain that personal, family feel, even as your business grows.

  1. Hire thoughtfully

To grow a business, you will have to hire new employees. This may be something you are used to doing, or it may be the first time someone outside the family has worked for you.

In either case, be thoughtful and careful about who you bring on. Every new hire should represent the values that define your business.

Don’t be afraid to turn away qualified candidates who don’t feel like quite the right fit. When your names is on the business, employees do more than represent a company. They also represent your family and the history behind your work.

“If someone is going to hang my shingle in front of their store, they’ve got to be the best of the best,” said Moak. “I’ve turned people away who are interested in becoming franchisees… If they’re going to represent our values they’ve got to be like us.”

  1. Be willing to build slowly

Building a family business takes years — sometimes generations — of hard work. Once you decide to grow and expand, be prepared for that to happen slowly, too.

Whether you are opening new locations, creating a franchise or adding new services, each step of the process takes time, especially if you want to preserve the legacy of the original business.

For Moak, removing himself from the business took two years. Building up the systems to open franchises took even longer. And he is still interviewing potential franchisees — the business’ local locations are still the only ones open.

For him, though, that slow process is worth it, because it means that when the new franchises do open, they will feel like part of the business he and his father built. “We’re going to build something really special,” said Moak. “We’re going to build it slowly and methodically, and then it’s going to blow up.”

“Nothing happens overnight,” he added. “Nothing is easy, but it shouldn’t be. Nothing that’s going to survive can be easy.”

Source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/10971-grow-your-family-business.html

How to Reach Your Target Customer

Do you know who your target audience is? For most businesses, the answer is yes. Knowing who will buy your product or service is a key part of creating a business that thrives.

“At the beginning, most people have a pretty good idea of who will use their product,” said Lindsey Myers, founder of Concrete Blonde Consulting and a marketing and public relations expert.

Myers advises businesses to get specific early on when it comes to defining who their target audience is: “The more specific you can get [with your strategy], the easier it is to reach those people for less money… and also to find new audiences and grow.”

Once you know who your target audience is, though, how do you create a marketing strategy that reaches them? Myers recommends that every business, no matter its size or industry, follow seven steps to create a marketing plan that reaches your target.

  1. Have a concrete plan.

To effectively reach your target customer, you first need a definite marketing plan.

“The more specific you can be,” said Myers, “the more bang for your buck you’re going to get in your conversion rate.”

Using your target customer profile as a guide, consider where your customers they get their information, what other interests they have, their social media use, geographic region and other demographics. Having a clearly defined marketing plan allows you not only to reach your target demographic, but to do so as economically as possible.

“The more specific you can get [with your strategy], the easier it is to reach those people for less money,” Myers adds. “Don’t spend money for 10 people to hear your message when only three people are going to buy it.”

  1. Create benchmarks.

In addition to a concrete plan, Myers recommends having clearly defined benchmarks that you can use to track your performance. “Start with your goals,” she advises. “You need something to reach for and also something to benchmark against.”

Set benchmarks for how well you marketing converts leads into customers, the cost of what you’re spending and the revenue you earn as a result. Be sure to track, not just the overall results of your marketing, but how specific strategies convert. For example, if you run an ad, include a discount code that customers can use when they make an order. Otherwise, you won’t know whether they found your company through the ad or another source.

“Track where leads are coming from so you know what is and isn’t effective… so you can adjust your spend later,” said Myers. “Then, if something’s not working, you try something else.”

  1. Clarify your message.

Marketing is all about message, Myers says. But one of the most common mistakes she sees businesses make is not having a clear message.

“A lot of business owners… typically aren’t great at crafting a message because they’re so incredibly invested in [their business],” said Myers. “[You should] communicate in one sentence or less what you are selling and why someone should care.”

Giving your audience a reason to care is an essential part of creating a marketing plan that reaches them. Go to your target customer profile and use it to identify the pain points they are most sensitive to, then create a concise, clear message that focuses on the ways your business solves those problems.

  1. Bring in an outsider.

Because business owners are so personally invested and personally knowledgeable about their products, having an outsider look at your marketing plan is a key part of making sure your strategy will resonate with your intended audience.

“This is the biggest piece of advice I always give,” said Myers. “You can’t do everything yourself. Consider a marketing consultant to help you put together a strategic plan, or at least talk to an expert to help you come up with a strategy.”

“If you can’t afford a marketing consultant, ask a friend,” she added. “Bounce some ideas off someone on the outside.”

By speaking with someone who has distance for your business, you’ll get a clearer sense of how likely someone is to respond to your marketing the way you want.

  1. Consider strategic partnerships.

Part of your target customer profile should be information about where your audience can already be found: the media they consume, activities they enjoy and locations they visit. These are places where your marketing is guaranteed to be seen by your target customers.

“Think about strategic partnerships,” said Myers. “The best place to start in terms of marketing is to think about where these people are already gathered together in one place.”

To identify potential partnerships, think about what businesses or media channels have already effectively attracted your customers. “Look for businesses that aren’t competitors but already service those audiences,” Myers advised. Then, approach them with ideas for mutually beneficial partnerships, such as advertising, joint promotions or discounts.

  1. Have a realistic timeline.

Though you want to start making sales quickly, a key part of reaching your target customers is having the patience to allow your marketing to work.

“The biggest mistakes I see business make is, number one, they don’t give something enough time to work,” said Myers. “Marketing is like using a personal trainer … You’re not going to see results overnight.”

To effectively reach your audience, your marketing plan should include a timeline. Each strategy should be allowed enough time to succeed or fail before you move onto the next thing. This includes being realistic about the time of year and how seasonal changes are going to affect your customers’ needs and interests.

“If you see that something is failing terribly, okay, scrap that, move the money somewhere else,” Myers said. “But most people don’t read something about you once and then buy … there is a frequency of impressions you need to make on one person before they move to action.”

  1. Focus on relationships.

In many cases, the best way to market effectively is to think less about marketing and more about relationships. Rather than focusing on how you can sell to your target audience, create a plan that builds their trust in your business and shows that you understand them.

This process takes time, which is why Myers recommends being realistic about how long you give one part of your strategy before you move onto something else. It also takes a community, including those strategic partnerships.

“Marketing is really about building relationships … not just taking, but something you can offer them too,” said Myers.

She says the most successful companies she has worked with are ones that focus on investing in that community around them, from their customers to their colleagues.

“No one ever becomes successful on their own… if you watch the Oscars, people always have a lot of other people to thank,” she added. “Givers gain.”

Source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8714-know-target-customer.html

 

7 Ways to Improve Your Business Blog

When done right, a business blog can market your company, attract new customers and position you as an industry leader. Unfortunately, many businesses start blogging without any clear idea of what to write about or how it will market their company. As a result, business blogging often takes up time and energy without producing any benefit.

If you have a business blog that isn’t pulling its weight, follow these seven tips to create a marketing tool that promotes your business and builds relationships with customers and colleagues.

  1. Define your audience

You would never run a magazine ad or a TV commercial without knowing what type of person will see it. Similarly, you should never write a blog post without knowing who your intended readers are.

These readers should be your target customers – the people most likely to be searching for and interested in learning about your business. If you don’t yet have a defined audience, take the time to create a reader profile based on what you know of your ideal customers. In this profile, include:

  • Who your readers are
  • What they care about
  • Their related interests
  • Questions they are likely to ask
  • Problems your business can help them solve

Knowing this will help you choose topics to write about and create a blog that your customers will care about. [Interested in finding e-commerce software for your business? Check out our best picks.]

  1. Create an editorial calendar

Customers, blog readers and search engines all like predictability. If you start writing, but then don’t post for several weeks, readers are less likely to come back and see what else you’ve written. A website that publishes infrequently won’t rank as high in search engines, making it less likely that customers will find you through online search.

It’s hard to publish regularly, though, if you are struggling to think of things to write about or forgetting that your blog exists. To prevent this, create an editorial calendar that lays out a plan for what you will write and when it will be published.

The frequency of your posts doesn’t matter as much as the quality and consistency. Publishing one well-written, relevant blog post every two weeks will market your business better than publishing poor-quality posts every day or forgetting to write for months at a time.

  1. Brainstorm keywords for each post

If you want customers to find your website when they search online, your blog posts must include related phrases that customers might type into a search engine.

Before you write each post, brainstorm these phrases (known as “long-tail keywords”) so they can be included in your writing. For example, if your company provides accounting services to small and mid-size businesses, your customers may search for “small business accounting tips.” Aim for one main keyword and two or three secondary keywords that are relevant to the topic you are writing about.

  1. Optimize your posts for search

Optimizing your blog posts for online search (also known as search engine optimization or SEO) means adding signals that tell search engines what your post is about. When search engines read these signals, they can direct relevant traffic to your website.

Adding keywords in the right places optimizes your blog post for search. The main keyword that you select should be found in the post’s title, at least one heading and once or twice in the body of the blog posts. Secondary keywords should appear in headings and the body of the post.

When you include these keywords in your post, they should appear as naturally as possible. Do not add keywords randomly or in sentences where they don’t fit organically; this is known as “keyword stuffing” and signals to search engines that your site is not trustworthy.

The written post isn’t the only place where you should use keywords. They should also appear in the:

  • URL of your post
  • Blog post title
  • Image names
  • Image descriptions
  • Meta-description of your post’s content

By optimizing all these places, you send multiple signals to search engines and make it easier for them to direct customers to your blog.

  1. Tie your blog to your other marketing

Though its effect is often indirect, blogging is still a form of marketing. It should be tied in with your overall marketing strategy to have the strongest possible impact.

If you are advertising a sale on your social media or email marketing, include it on your blog as well. If your business is mentioned in the media or you appear on a TV spot or radio show, put that in a blog post and include a link so that visitors can see those appearances.

If you rebrand your business or change your website, your blog should change along with them.

Are you launching a product? Write several blog posts on related topics and publish them in the weeks leading up to the launch to generate interest and help customers understand how the new product will benefit them.

  1. Network within your industry

In addition to building relationships with customers and directing new visitors to your website, your blog can also help establish your reputation within your industry and help you network. Blog posts that create network opportunities include:

  • Interviews with industry leaders
  • Findings from customer surveys
  • Links to round-ups that share your colleagues’ (credited) posts and images
  • Information about industry-wide events
  • Relevant news stories or trending topics
  • Collaborations with other businesses

When you create and share content that is relevant to your broader industry, other businesses are likely to share it as well, creating the opportunity to build professional relationships. This also increases the reach of your blog, putting your business in front of a new audience and making it more likely that you will be noticed by the media.

  1. Blog with care and intent

Customers want to know that you care about your business. More importantly, they want to know that you care about solving their problems. This means that, no matter the topic of your business blog, your posts should communicate your investment in your business and customers.

By planning out relevant, helpful posts, you show that you understand the needs and concerns of your customers. A carefully written blog communicates that you value their time and want to help them. Sticking to a regular schedule shows that you are thoughtful and attentive. All of these are qualities that customers want to see in a business.

A poorly-written blog, however, indicates that you don’t value your readers’ time. Posts that don’t address the interests of your customers show that you haven’t thought through how your business can help them. Haphazard posting make your business look scattered or disorganized. Bad grammar or poor editing make you look unprofessional.

Not every business needs a blog. But if your business has one, it will be more effective if it is planned with intent and written with care.

Source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8630-company-blog-tips.html