New technologies can bring a number of advantages to the workplace, which is why companies often leap at the chance to integrate them into their operations. In their rush to adapt, however, many managers forget that these advancements also carry an element of risk. By being aware of the risks and taking steps to protect against them, a company should be able to enjoy the full benefits of whatever technology it uses. For instance, cloud-based servers offer businesses flexibility and responsiveness they wouldn’t have with on-site infrastructure. They also have the potential to reduce overhead costs and increase efficiency. Nevertheless, it’s important for any organization wanting to embrace the cloud to tread carefully.Continue reading
Running a business, you know that getting the word out there is can be a hard task. In order to make the best use of small margins and few employees, strategic marketing becomes essential to the survival of your business. This means utilizing every social channel you can. As a small You already know that Facebook and instagram are essentials at this point. However, there is another social media channel with a large, engaged user-base that businesses often overlook: Pinterest.
This visual platform allows users to create virtual mood-boards with content shared by other users from websites. Since these mood boards often feature decor, products, and recipes, many Pinterest users set up a board to help make a purchase decision. This makes Pinterest the perfect platform to introduce potential customers to your product or service. Pinterest users tend to be very open to discovering new brands on their search for the perfect image, allowing smaller businesses a chance at winning a client.Continue reading
Owning a successful business is a goal that many people have. Yet, a lot goes into being an entrepreneur. It’s easy to think about the end product, but the process of making the transition from dream to reality takes a lot of planning and preparation.
Starting a business consists of many challenges and rewards. One worry is money and how to go about staying afloat in the beginning. Depending on the type of startup you pursue, you may be able to launch a venture with little cash. However, to truly grow a business, you need to give your enterprise all that it needs. For example, if you decide to work from home, you still need to pay utility bills and potentially upgrade office equipment to give your business impetus. Having a cash buffer is prudent, not only to support yourself financially but to ensure you can be adaptable to future emergencies. Do you intend to work a day job initially? You can build up cash flow to put into your business through freelancing. There are plenty of options available, from graphic design to tutoring. Rates will vary, but it offers important flexibility to let you focus on developing your business plans while accruing essential capital.
Image via Unsplash
Is entrepreneurship calling your name? Starting your own business is a rewarding way to earn a living, but it’s not as simple as hitting the market with a great idea. If you have a brilliant idea you want to turn into a profitable business, take these five steps before you launch.
A business may be a good idea, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you. Explore your interests to discover the type of business you’d like to run. Then, explore your strengths to decide how you’d like to run it.
For first-time entrepreneurs looking to save on overhead, gig economy businesses are a good choice because you don’t need a brick-and-mortar presence. For example, a dog walker can set their own prices and schedule and be selective about the animals they work with. That said, it still takes great organizational skills to operate an on-the-go business.
Complete Market Research
You have a great idea, but who is going to buy it? If your problem doesn’t meet an identifiable need, you’ll have a hard time finding paying customers. This is where market research comes in. Market research shows you what unmet need exists in your target market, how you can meet it, and how much people are willing to pay. For a step-by-step guide to completing your own market research, read the guide from Envato Tuts+.
Write a Business Plan
The business plan is where you synthesize everything you’ve learned about your business idea and market into an actionable plan. The business plan details:
- What you’ll sell (description of products or services).
- How you’ll produce it (funding, suppliers, manufacturing, and staffing).
- How you’ll sell it (pricing, sales strategy, and marketing plan).
A business plan should also outline your mission, values, business structure, and financial projections, among other components. Basically, anything you need to know to run your business should go in the business plan.
Craft a Brand
This is the fun stuff — picking a name, designing a logo, and choosing a color scheme for your brand. However, it’s serious business too. Your brand has a huge influence on how customers perceive your business. Your brand’s image and voice should be consistent across all platforms, including website copy, social media messaging, images, and in-person communication. Learn more about developing your brand at HubSpot.
Register Your Business
Before you launch your business, there are a few legal steps to attend to:
- Choose a business structure and register your business with the state.
- Apply for sales tax permits.
- Apply for a federal tax ID number.
- Apply for licenses and permits if your industry requires them.
- Apply for a zoning variance for home-based businesses.
In addition to these legally required steps, knock these administrative tasks off your list before starting up:
- Purchase a domain name and create a website.
- Create social media profiles and content calendars.
- Establish record-keeping systems.
- Order business cards.
Once you’ve finished all these steps, you’re ready to launch your business! As you operate your first small business, remember to stay disciplined so you don’t fall behind and take time for self-care so you don’t burn out. There’s a lot to do when running a business, but with focus and dedication, you can get the job done.
Free shipping has become the standard in online shopping. Proven to increase order volume and reduce cart abandonment, it is an effective tactic to generate more sales. The dilemma is that free shipping is never actually free, as businesses have to eat the costs. With shipping costs rising, offering unlimited free shipping is not sustainable for most businesses in the long run. The good news is there are alternate forms of free shipping that make this shopping perk profitable for your business.
To implement an effective strategy, you will need to evaluate your margin (how much your product sells against how much it costs you), shipping costs, product type, and your audience. Red Stag Fulfillment put together an infographic with 22 research-backed tips to create a free shipping strategy that meets customer expectations and drives profit.