Archive | March 2017

Secrets That Will Get You On The Corporate Event Honour Roll

Craftworld Events

Yep, there are plenty of ways to market a brand these days, and it is never easy to choose which one is best. A technique which is becoming more popular is a corporate event, and it is one a lot of businesses like to use to their advantage.

Whereas affiliate marketing and SEO used to be the kings, corporate events are starting to take over, and it isn’t hard to see why. After all, they are fun, get important people in the vicinity, and are much more casual than a business meeting.

Still, events aren’t a piece of cake, and it’s imperative to follow these rules to pull off the perfect event.

What Is Your Goal?

One of the biggest mistakes any business can make is to put on an event just because they think it is cool. Sure, watching a band and getting drunk is fun, and it might even build a relationship or two, but it is a long shot.

The big wigs aren’t impressed by a fancy party because they see them all of the time. Instead, they want an event which offers them something they didn’t have before. Only then will you get their attention, and only then will this technique work. With that in mind, it is essential that you flesh out the aim of the event.

Is it to show off a new piece of software? What about a service that you think is off help to the audience? Whatever it is, make sure it is the central theme.

Get The Guest List Right

You will have to make a few concessions with the guest list because businessmen and women are sensitive. If they hear you didn’t invite them, they will hold a grudge, and they have a memory like an elephant. But, for the most part, everyone in the room should have some potential value to the firm.

They might be other businesspersons that you want to invest, or they might be potential customers. Hell, they might even be journalists that you think can spread the word, but they have to be present. It is too easy to create a guest list that has no value. Don’t make that mistake or else the event will tank.

guest list

Hit The Market

Corporate events don’t advertise themselves, yet you think they would with the way some businesses act. It is amazing how many firms put on an event and then proceed to understate its value.

They don’t do it on purpose, but they do it which makes it a problem. Events should have a buzz because you want the phone ringing off the hook asking for an invite. However, that won’t happen without the correct hospitality marketing tips and tricks.

Build a site, print off flyers, even buy advertising space on the TV and radio – it doesn’t matter as long as you let everyone know when and where it is happening.

Treat the event like you would any other marketing strategy and don’t get lazy. Corporate events are fantastic, but only when you cover every base.

Get That Tech: Promoting Your Business Online

onk 5Not all of us are good with technology. It can be stressful and complicated, and frankly, if it isn’t something that you’ve grown up with, chances are you might be a little flummoxed. But using technology to promote yourself has become an increasingly important part of business – it’s how people communicate and it’s how you can make your brand known across the world. Here are some tips on how to use the world wide web to promote your business…

Create A Website

First and foremost it’s time to create a website. A domain name will help people to know where to find you and it will also help you to be able to direct people to one page where all of your information is listed so that they can find out what exactly you do, how to use your services and any other information that might help anyone get in touch with your company.

A lot of people will use your website as their first point of contact with you so it’s important to make sure that it’s easy to use – hire a company who specializes in that area to set up the site for you, and make sure that you’ve enlisted plenty of people to help check it, to make sure that it’s user friendly. Remember that what’s obvious to you might not be obvious to everyone else.

Use Social Media

Social media can be a crucial tool in making sure that your business has a good online presence. Make sure that you have the same name on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram so that there isn’t any confusion and so that people don’t end up following the wrong accounts!

Hiring someone who understands social media to run your accounts is probably the best option – you don’t want to have too many technology hiccups that are visible to everybody because that can get a little awkward and make you look unprofessional. You could use a site like Tweetdeck to run searches on Twitter to make sure you pick up everything that’s relevant to you and so that you can schedule tweets for different times of the day.

Use SEO

The question on a lot of people’s lips these days is: What is SEO? Search engine optimization will help your website to be more visible in search engine results – which means that if someone searches for what you do on Google, your site will move up the listings which will make them more likely to click on it and thereby use your company.

If you’re not completely sussed on how to make SEO work for you, then why not hire a marketing expert who can help out? They’ll know what people search for and they’ll help to drop useful phrases onto your site so that it’s easy to find.

Develop A Company Voice

Finally, it’s important to make sure that your company develops its own voice online. Decide how you want to sound, whether that’s professional, chatty or funny. A lot of small companies rely on customer service to stop them being pushed out by bigger corporations and you should remember that the personal touch is just as important on social media.

4 Ways of Tackling Employees With Sticky Fingers

No one likes to address the issue because it isn’t very nice, but it does happen and it needs to stop. Employees do steal, and it’s a fact. It’s important to note that most employees are trustworthy and honest, and it’s the few that ruin it for the many.

However, regardless of their size, they are a problem. Not only do they not respect you or the business, but they also inhibit a firm’s success. How can a business possibly grow if their employees are taking liberties?

Hopefully, you never have to experience it because it is sad. For those of you that do, here’s how to make it stop.

Install Cameras

You want to trust your workforce, but there is only so much you can take. If no one is willing to come forward and admit their discretions, it is time to put them on tape. Cameras work in two ways.

camera

First, there are the conspicuous cams which ensure people know monitoring is taking place. Then, there are the small hidden cams that no one knows exists.

If you want to catch someone in the act, these are perfect because they aren’t easy to spot.

Whatever you need regarding spyware, you can find it at Spy Centre or any decent electronic store. All you have to do then is install it and watch it back to locate the thief.

Check The Register

Cash registers are not hard to fool, especially when the person in question has experience. To make the register add up, they simply have to avoid the transaction and pocket the cash. They walk away with the money while the business suffers.

The good news is it is easy to spot if you are on the ball. If you think an employee is stealing, check their register for void transactions. Usually, this is a good sign they are the culprit, but you will also need video evidence to be sure.

Biometric Time Clocks

Businesses might think one theft is bigger than another, but they’d be wrong. The truth is that all theft is the same because you lose out no matter how small it might seem. Take clocking in and out as an example.

fingerprint

Close friends might clock in for other workers so they aren’t late. The average person won’t see anything wrong with this, yet the truth is it is fraud. You are paying them for an amount of time they didn’t spend at work, and they are deliberately deceiving in the process. A biometric time clock will ensure no one tries to steal time and money again.

Password Protection

Physical theft isn’t as popular nowadays as everything revolves around the internet. The most valuable assets are on the server, so electronic theft is a huge deal. Thankfully, it is easy to stop.

To do so, you have to control the number of people that can access the server. A strong and ever-changing password prevents a lot of internal cyber theft as only those with the password have access to sensitive data.

When the signs start to show, you have to act for the sake of your company.

Proven Tactics To Help You Find Better Staff For Your Business

 

hiringCan’t find the right talent for your business? If so, you are amongst fantastic company – the vast majority of employers out there struggle to fill vacancies with the right candidates. While it would be something of a stretch to suggest there is a complete talent vacuum in the UK right now, it’s certainly a competitive environment.

And, it’s important that you hire quality people – as studies show, the better talent you employ in your business, the better chance you have of success.

So, if you are struggling to find the right quality of employee, read on. We have put together a few ideas for you to ensure that you are in with a shot for attracting new talent, and remain a step ahead of your competitors. Let’s take a closer look at some of your options.

Write better job descriptions

Do you still copy and paste dull job descriptions and posting them on career sites like Indeed? If so, it’s time to make a change. Put yourself in a candidate’s shoes, and it will soon become apparent why none of the good people are applying to work for your business.

Keep your descriptions simple, inspiring, and encouraging. Excellent candidates are looking for a great company to serve, and it all starts with your job ads – get them wrong, and you will get overlooked.

Look online

There are two places to look when seeking out talent online. The first is one of the many online communities that exist out there. Places like Reddit, Dribbble, and Github, for example, might be perfect for hiring a web developer.

So, think about where your ideal candidate might hang out, and go directly to the source. Secondly, online job boards can help you narrow down your search, too. But, again, make sure that you are focussing on a particular niche, which will result in better qualified, better-positioned people for the role.

Hire from abroad

The Brexit vote has shown that ‘British jobs for British people’ is a popular viewpoint. But the simple truth is that much of the economic growth over the last few years has been down to the work of immigrants.

And there is plenty of evidence to suggest that if you want exceptional talent, you should turn your eye towards the continent – and beyond. However, hiring people from abroad – and outside of the EU – can be incredibly complicated.

The chances are that you will need immigration solicitors to assist you in getting a sponsorship license. It’s also important to remember that it is an ongoing process, too, and you have to be wary that you are following the rules on UKBA compliance.

Use employment agencies

Employment agencies are a little like Marmite – you’ll either love them or hate them. Recruitment consultants can help, however, when it comes to headhunting talent for your business.

Not only will they have a contacts list as long as your arm, but they will also act as a screening process. That means you won’t have to read through hundreds of unsuitable CVs, interview dozens of unsuitable candidates, and can focus on preparing some killer interview questions.

 

Entrepreneur Tips: Investing In Real Estate

real-estate-investmentIf your business is doing well and you have excess cash flowing into your bank account, then you’ll most likely be looking at the best places to put that money to ensure it’s just as lucrative in thirty years as it is today.

Of all the options you have, none are as stable as real estate. While markets can come and go, a healthy real estate portfolio can become a gift that keeps on giving.

However, investing in real estate isn’t just a matter of buying a house and waiting for the monthly check to land on your door before selling for a big profit. It takes hard work. But put the time in and you’ll be keeping your money safe while also topping it up.

Knowing the Area

The first key to buying a property is: know the area in which you’re buying. This cannot be stressed enough. If you’re new to the area and don’t do enough research about the area in which you’re buying your property, you’re asking for troubles that will be difficult to untangle later on down the line.

It’s not enough to just know the property – you also have to a good knowledge of the neighborhood’s pros and cons and beyond.

Get the Help You Need

You’re an entrepreneur, not a real estate guru. Even if you have an eye for finding a deal and an intuition strong enough to make any purchase you make a success, you’re unlikely to have the in-depth knowledge required to make a real estate venture as prosperous as you like.

The world is full of people who rush into real estate deals, and they’re usually the first ones to end up losing their money. Don’t add your name to the list. Speak to the experts and you’ll be in safe hands.

Where to Invest

If you’re not interested in investing in individual properties, you can always look at investing in real estate development. This limits your risk while also ensuring you get a vital grounding in real estate education. There are usually additional costs involved, however, as you’ll be maintaining multiple homes. Additionally, there is usually many more admit tasks to take care of, though there is help available:

There are usually additional costs involved, however, as you’ll be maintaining multiple homes. Additionally, there is usually many more admit tasks to take care of, though there is help available: view website to learn about HOA management. In all, real estate projects offer entrepreneurs an opportunity to make a greater investment; with, of course, similarly high-profit margins.

Set the Bar Low

With that being said, in the early stages, it’s best to follow the general rule of setting the bar low. There’s much to learn in real estate, and it can take years to acquire the knowledge that’ll enable you to strike out into the real estate world confidently. When you’re just getting started, talk to all the right people and be ready to follow the

When you’re just getting started, talk to all the right people and be ready to follow the tried and tested methods of real estate success. Also, as with every other big investment you make, only sign the check if you feel 100% secure in the agreement you’re entering into. If it doesn’t feel right from word go, it won’t ever feel right!

 

4 Tips For Better Branding

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Good branding is a subject that comes up a lot in business blogs, but a lot of small business owners remain confused about what it actually means. Far past a flashy logo and a memorable slogan, your brand is the summary of how customers perceive your products, your degree of customer service, and the values your business stands for. Here are some of the most important ways a strong brand can help your business…

Better Recognition

Though it’s not the whole story, your logo is a big component in your company’s brand. Think about how quickly you recognise the calligraphic name of Coca-Cola, or the UPS shield. As the universal symbol of a brand, the design of a logo is very important, as it will appear on every little piece of advertising and correspondence. A well-designed logo, or even a distinct colour scheme, can be enough to make your brand instantly recognisable with just a little exposure to your target market. Although it may not be measurable or tangible, this degree of recognition can have a massive positive impact on your future branding.

A Higher Degree of Trust

By honing your professional appearance, you’ll be able to build a lot more credibility and trust with whatever market you’re targeting. Everyone is much more likely to buy from a company that seems to be more polished and legitimate, even if they’ve been in business for far shorter than more tacky, thrown-together brands. The trust a company establishes with good branding is so valuable that there are even companies like Ten Intelligence that have whole services for investigating counterfeiters. Your customer’s emotional prompts are very real influencers, so make sure you’re not neglecting them with bad branding!

Stronger Advertising

Advertising is another major factor which will dictate the strength of your brand, influenced by both the demographic you’re targeting with your marketing and the format of the ads. If you make your focus too narrow, your company will stand a serious risk of being boxed in, and losing its ability to spread its wings and explore new markets. If the focus is too broad, on the other hand, it will be much harder to establish a clear impression of the company in the minds of prospective customers.

Rally your Employees

The majority of employees want more than just a job – they want something that they can work towards. When you go out of your way to broadcast the company mission – its reason for existing in the first place, your employees are much more likely to take pride in working for the company, work towards the same goals, and achieve the milestones that you and the higher-ups have set. By establishing a stronger brand, you’ll turn everything your company is into a flag which you can use to rally your employees around. Again, this isn’t the most tangible or measurable benefit which you can go after. However, there’s a massive range of benefits in making your employees more proud of the company they work for.

 

The Bones Of Any Good Online Business

onk 5A good business needs more than three things, make no doubt about that. But we’re not going to be looking at the fact you need a space in the market, a good selling proposition, or any of the other generic business must-haves. We’re looking specifically at what you need to get that business off to a good start and an even better end on the internet. Without these three ingredients, you may as well hang up your hat before you even get started.

A reliable site

First and foremost, you need a site that people can actually use. This breaks down into two elements. It’s structural reliability and the user experience. For the former, you need to go above and beyond when it comes to ensuring that the web hosting provider of the website can handle not only the hosting needs of your content (especially if you’re using multimedia). You need things like server-side caching so that your site is able to handle traffic spikes. Otherwise, an increase in visitors won’t be something to celebrate, it will be something that kills the site. As for usability, it’s all about web design. The best tip to follow in that arena is to keep it simple. Dedicate pages to a single purpose that’s understood at a glance and have a site navigation system that makes sense. Minimalism always wins out over clogging it up.

Frequent visibility

Unlike a brick and mortar business, you don’t have the luxury of a storefront with a big logo and nice kerb appeal. You need to work, and often, at making your website visible. Real life networking and attending trade events will give it some much-needed validity in the eyes of the consumer. People need to see that there are real people in the business and that some measure of accountability and trust is in place. But you need to look at online visibility first and foremost. This means competing for prominence in search engines through the use of keywords in the metadata and link building. It can also be helped by having regular content produced to keep your social media channels and the site updating regularly. You want your site to look like a living, ongoing project, not a tomb.

A community

Better than a living thing is a whole environment of them. Without building a community, you are a single username amongst millions, sending out a message amongst millions. Focus on building a community through social media, through increased customer engagement, and through networking with others and the industry as well as tastemakers. Then your message is more than one in a million. It’s a messaged getting pinged around, supported, and added to by a whole host of voices. That does a lot more for your business than all the marketing budget in the world.

Without these three key elements, it doesn’t matter how good an idea you have or how professional your services are. Your site will be too broken to bother with if people can even find it, and you won’t have anyone to vouch for the business. That doesn’t sound like success.

 

How To Formulate A Great Blogging Schedule

When a lot of business owners first start a blog, they’re usually full of excitement and ideas and will be able to pump out post after post without ever slowing down. Soon after, it’s common for them to lose their momentum when they realize how much time and effort it takes to maintain a good blog.startup

One of the most challenging parts of starting and maintaining a strong blog is setting out a good blogging schedule. Here’s a deeper look into this.

Why You Need a Schedule

A lot of people and business owners who start a blog will simply write content whenever the mood strikes them. While it’s certainly possible to build a strong blog like this, the people who manage it are usually very talented writers, and even so, a lot of them find it’s far from the most effective blogging strategy there is.

Once you get through that initial burst of creative energy, it’s going to become much more difficult to come up with fresh ideas on a regular basis, which in turn can lead to a clunky, unprofessional stream of content. By creating and then sticking to a schedule, you’ll be able to mitigate writer’s block and add a firm sense of structure to your blog.

Take it One Day at a Time

Most of us don’t like to work on the weekends, so we’ll cut Saturday and Sunday out of the picture for now. Yes, it can help with your productivity to work over the weekends, but you’re not going to be all that effective if you burn yourself out with effort!

One of the most popular and effective blogging schedules people can use is one that’s based on days of the week. This will help you get into a weekly routine for different tones of writing on different days, and make it easier to fit your blogging in with a scheduling tool such as Website Rocket.

While you’ll naturally begin to tweak and re-arrange your schedule depending on the specific needs of your content marketing, here’s an example that you may find helpful:

Monday: Focus on something that typically bothers your target market and how they can overcome it. People are already irritable on Monday, so give them something to vent against!

Tuesday: Focus on social media, finding pages and accounts that would be useful to your target audience, with a little bio on what they should use them for.

Wednesday: Go a little out of the box, focussing on something weird and wacky, though still linked to your niche in some way.

Thursday: Give back to your readers with a tutorial on how to do something your product or service would help them with. Just don’t make yourself obsolete!

Friday: Do a traditional piece of journalism, covering an interesting and recent story to do with your industry.

I hope that this post has helped you form a blogging schedule that will allow you to create a stronger, more structured blog. Content is king, and it all starts with a good plan!

4 Ways To Sell Real Estate

 

real estate

Got a property you’d like to sell? There are multiple ways to flog real estate that investors, in particular, ought to be aware of. Here are some of those methods – along with the pros and cons.

Go through an agent

Most people selling their property will go through an agent. The pros of this are that you’ll receive professional marketing for your property, exposing it to a far greater audience than if you were to sell via any other method. Real estate agents, however, do charge an agency fee to the seller, which can make the price of moving that extra bit more expensive.

So, which agency should I choose to help sell my house? If you’re going down the agency route it’s worth noting that there are all kinds of agencies to fit all kinds of properties. Some may specialize in commercial buildings, some may specialize in low-end properties and others may focus on the luxury end of the spectrum.

There are also real estate agencies that work exclusively online, whilst others have a high street store. Do your research first by looking at the other property they deal with on their site or social media page.

There are also real estate agencies that work exclusively online, whilst others have a high street store. Do your research first by looking at the other property they deal with on their site or social media page.

Sell directly

Cutting out the middleman and selling directly is the second favorite approach. Here, you won’t have to pay that extra agency fee, although you will have to handle all of your own marketing. Not opting for an agent also means that you have to host all your own viewings, which may mean booking time off work or only accepting viewings at certain times.

Selling directly is ultimately a lot more work, but if you have experience in marketing you may not have much problem with it. You’re worth using a listing site – some of which require payment but won’t be anything as expensive as an agent.

Go to an auction

Property auctions are a great way of getting rid of those hard-to-sell properties. Once the hammer falls, the buyer is also in a legally binding contract which means they must pay the deposit there and then and cannot pull out – whilst buyers may have more freedom to pull out via an agent or selling directly.

However, auctions do have a lot of financial cons. For one, you have to pay commission, which is often 2.5% of the property’s value, regardless of whether the property sells or not. Secondly, you’re unlikely to make much of a profit, with many properties selling for 40% under their market value (people do go to auctions for a deal after all). This method should only be taken if you really need to shift a property quick.

Swap your property

A method that’s still relatively new but is increasingly becoming more popular is swapping your property directly for another one. This can limit your options, as you need to find someone else who is happy to do the swap, but can cut out most of the fees of other property selling methods.

Experienced real estate investors may be able to use this technique to buy a property for a bargain price and then flip it at a much higher price, making a tidy profit.

Work Experience: Viewing Your Company Differently

There are a lot of prerequisites in the world of running firms. There are so many people that swoop in and take over the operation without any prior knowledge of the industry they are heading into. It may sound like a far-fetched notion, but it happens a lot now.

There are dying industries that need a cash injection from somewhere, and it falls to someone who fancies a go and changes a huge amount of the heart of the operation in the process. It happens a lot with soccer teams, but the allegory in this rings true to the notion of business and industry.

work experience

So what is the key ingredient of running an industry or a business at the beginning? It’s a very simple answer, experience. If you are looking to naturally boost your own skills before starting your own company, be it a haulage firm or a pet store, the importance of having valuable experience in that industry gives you more than a flavor of what to expect, it can help you transform the state of your business.

The fundamental of any business is the degree of transparency it has. In other words, the quality of all the departments, from the lowest rank to the highest, is working together in a state of harmony.

There is a lot of talk about the holistic approaches to running a company in the 21st century instead of older methods where it is the standard “do what I say” method. This is a structure that tends to not have any home in the 21st century, and if you look at the way a business is run from the bottom up, you will see what needs to be done.

It’s a manner of perspective and one which you cannot get unless you see it from the “factory floor” point of view.

Take a haulage firm, for example. The complexities of doing the job of a truck driver means long hours, the stress of driving, and knowledge that you wouldn’t need if you were at the top of the ladder.

Why would you need to know about Gas Oil when you are sat at the top of the chain? As a fuel, Gas Oil is used for excavators and construction equipment and is a product that could be vital to a service provided. You need to have an acute understanding of products and processes from all angles, and this is not achievable unless you spend time in the barracks.

How can you achieve this when you are running a business? Very simple. Spend time there. Or if this is completely not feasible, then getting an honest opinion from the workers themselves, which is not an easy task.

They won’t want to upset the boss. Market research is a handy method, or having someone feedback the information they get from the workers. As much as people don’t view the notion of experience as an essential in many industries anymore, it is something that gives us a major dose of perspective on how to run your own company.

Many people work up the ranks, and that gives them the best ideas on how to improve the industry when they reach the pinnacle. This is much harder if you are running a business for the sake of being a boss!