Business Essentials: Brand Cohesion

 

When it comes to creating a recognizable brand for your business, the process in and of itself is tough enough. First you have to find a name that isn’t already in use, which manages to describe your company and have a sense of “wow” about it. Then you need to figure out what your business stands for and how you want your customers to perceive you.brand cohesion

You would think, when all that is done, that you’ve mastered the branding side of a business. However, though you’re definitely close to having done so, you’re not quite there yet – there’s one essential tool that you’re missing.

Ensuring you know the secrets of brand cohesion and how to apply it to your business is the missing link in your strategy – so it’s definitely time for a catch up.

What Is Brand Cohesion?

The idea that your brand – your business, in fact – should be cohesive across all platforms is an enduring one, and for good reason. Put simply, you want your brand to have an identity, a personality, in just the same way that a human being does.

You want your company to be recognizable, identifiable by customers, associated with certain areas of business or products that you offer.

This aspect of business doesn’t just happen overnight. It has to be a concerted effort to guarantee that you’re projecting the same image of your business, no matter what the medium may be. This is something you have to strategize rather than having it evolve naturally.

Where Do You Begin With Good Brand Cohesion?

The first step is a digital one. You’re going to need everything about your online presence to relate to one another. So if your business is Amazing Things (LTD), then you’re going to want:

  • To focus on choosing the perfect domain – www.wizzhosting.co.uk has some great tools that can help you with this. You need it to be as close to “www.amazingthings.com” as possible, too. Sometimes your name might already have been taken, in which case, “www.amazingthingscompany.com” or “www.amazingthingsonline.com” are good solutions.
  • Your Twitter username should be as close to your domain as possible, so @AmazingThings or @AmazingThingsCompany
  • You Facebook vanity URL should be much the same; facebook.com/amazingthings – www.dummies.com has a great guide for setting up your vanity URL.
  • And so on and so forth, keeping to the same – or as close as possible – wording to connect all of your online presence.

How Do You Brand Cohesively Offline?

Many companies utilize color for cohesion. If you stick to the same color scheme (two or three colors works best), then all of your material and promotional items will look the same. Continuing the same font is also important.

What Is Important Both On And Offline?

By far the most important thing for brand cohesion in any sphere is the language you use. You need to decide on how you’re going to present your business through both your website and other presentation items.

Are you going to be fun and quirky, always using emoji, an engaging personality that would be considered the life and soul of the party? Or are you going to be more straightforward, businesslike, efficient?

Continuing this theme through all of your online and offline work can help make your brand more identifiable and create a perception that is definitively “you” – and it might just be the best marketing tool you have at your disposal.

Low Capital? Slash Those Startup Costs with these Tips.

It’s a myth that you need a lot of capital to start a business. Indeed, there are many ways in which you can get started in many sorts of business with virtually no capital at all.

It may mean that your business won’t have the head start you want it to, but it does mean you can get some very important foundational work completed instead of not making any progress at all!start-up

We’ve got some essential advice for startups that have a fairly limited budget.

Know your budget – and its limitations

This may seem too obvious to point out, but a failing here is what causes failure for many businesses. If you don’t have a detailed understanding of your expected incoming cash flow as well as your outgoings, then you’re going to find it difficult to come up with a good budget in order to save as much money as possible.

Calculate a budget and then stick to it. This is how you’ll best establish the limitations of your business.

Staying at home vs using an office

Starting a business doesn’t mean you need to get an office. Many businesses make the mistake of spending a lot of their budget on office rentals when they could have easily done the work tele-communicative project, at least for the time being.

If you definitely need an office, however, you need to make sure you’re smart about what sort of office you select. Even in thriving business cities, there are office options out there, such as serviced offices, that allow small businesses (or even big businesses) to save a lot of money.

Still, you must remember that getting an office is only something you should do if it will genuinely benefit your business and if you can comfortably afford to do so.

Get open source software

A lot of money goes into licensing business software. Many business owners make the mistake of assuming that all of their employees need a Microsoft Office license when everyone could have worked with open source software instead. Free alternatives to Microsoft Office can be found online.

OpenOffice, for example, is an open source software suite that can be used for free, providing you with word processing software as well as spreadsheet, database, and presentation options.

There are also web-based solutions such as Google Drive which rely on the cloud; these can be great for collaboration and multi-user document editing.

Outsource

There are, of course, several pros and cons to outsourcing. But one of the pros, if you’re smart in how you go about it, is that you can save a lot of money. Instead of hiring full-time employees for given tasks, you can go to an outsourcing agency to get the task done at a much cheaper rate.

The costs of recruitment are high, and that’s true even if you take that employee’s salary out of the equation. While, in many ways, it’s ideal to have an in-house employee for a given task, it’s not often necessary.

Things like IT support and web development, for example, can be done expertly at a fraction of the cost of recruitment.

Important Investment Advice To Make The Best Return On Your Money

business-ideaThere are many reasons that people chose to invest their money. Some folks like the thrill of the game. Others enjoy knowing their cash is working hard for them.

But everyone that invests shares one common goal, that is increasing their wealth. Which begs the question how should you invest to ensure you maximize this? Read on to find out.

Bonds

First of all, let’s look at bonds. These are when you the investor lends money to either the government or a commercial company, who will then pay it back with interest. However, they are not the same a fixed rate saving bond. As this is basically a saving account that you hold over a certain length of time.

Bonds are lower risk than stocks and share, but they are still linked to the markets. That means the return you can make on them will vary depending on the interest rate.

Also when buying bonds, it’s a good idea to look not only at how much they cost but also the yield rate. This is the percentage of the original price you paid for them that you will get back each year that you hold the bond (that the company has your money). Obviously the higher the yield rate, the better the return.

Property

The next is you may wish to consider investing in is real estate. The property you chose to put your money in could be a mountain cabin, an urban apartment, or even a commercial property.

But before you part with you hard earned cash, you must know what you plan to do with the property you invest in. This is because it may be economically sound to buy property to let as a vacation home in some areas, but not others, and you need to make sure that you will get a decent return on your money.

Stocks and Shares

Stocks and shares are probably one of the most famous ways of investing money. However, whether they become profitable for you in the long term is related to many different and complex factors.
In simple terms, a stock is when you buy a small share in the company. This can be held on to or resold as you see fit. Of course, the price that you get when you resell depend on how well the company is doing, how good their reputation is, and how stable the market in which they are operating is.

As well as many other factors such as whether they have been part of a recent merger or hostile takeover.

Most people see stocks and share high risk, but many investors have proved that as long as you invest money that you can afford to do without for a long time, you can usually play the waiting game to your advantage and come out in profit.

The exception to this rule being penny stocks which are more high risk. Although this hasn’t stopped some people making a fortune in quick time by investing their money wisely in this area.

 

Is A Rural Property A Good Investment?

When you are buying a house, you need to be ruled by your heart as well as your head. It makes sense that you want your house to be a good financial investment. It is a huge purchase and will tie up a large part of your capital.perfect-property

It is perfectly reasonable that you want this very important asset to rise in value over the years. It is true that the property market can be volatile in some areas and it has seen some major fluctuations over the last couple of decades.

However, as a long-term investment, property is still a good place to put your money. If you look ahead a few decades, it is very likely to have increased in value.

What if your heart is telling you that a move to the country is best for you? If your physical and mental health would benefit from moving out of the rat race of inner city living, you may be looking at mountain homes for sale on websites right now and dreaming of that clear mountain air.

This may be good for your soul and your spirit but what will it do for your wallet?

Investing in a rural property

You don’t often see the huge price hikes in rural properties that you see in the inner city and suburban areas. There tends to be a ripple effect. Prices fall and rise in cities and it takes a while to filter through to the country. This can give you some more stability.

There are always people who want to live in the country so you will be able to sell your home should you want to. It just may take a little longer. You are also going to get more for your money.

You could get a big 4-bedroom family home with a large garden and lots of local amenities for the same price as a downtown penthouse apartment. It is up to you to choose which appeals to you more.

Can you afford to live in the country?

If you work in the city, a move to the country is going to impact you financially. If you give up your job, you may not be able to get such a highly paid position in a rural area.

Could you take your job with you? Is there any scope for you to work from home for a few days a week and then stay over in the city for a few days as well?

The other option is to commute daily and there are pitfalls associated with this. Obviously, there is the time that it will take. You also have to factor in the cost and the inconvenience. The weather can be harsh in some rural areas and there may be occasions when you simply cannot get to work.

Country properties are often spacious, beautiful and have stunning views. If you are into hiking and outdoor sports then it could be the perfect location for you to live. You just have to work out if your finances are in place.

 

If Your First Business Fails, Try And Try Again

businessWatching your business go under is a terrible feeling. All of that hard work you put in has come to nothing and you might even be in a worse financial position than you were when you started.

When this happens to people, they’re often disheartened and  they decide that they aren’t cut out for the business world so they should just go back to work and lock those dreams away forever.

The truth is, it isn’t always as simple as that. Just because that business failed, it doesn’t mean that you are never going to succeed. There are so many business leaders out there that have had multiple failed businesses before they made it big.

For example, KFC wasn’t founded until Colonel Sanders was 65 years old, before that he’d been rejected hundreds of times and now it is one of the biggest fast food restaurants in the entire world.

While it would be nice if we could land on our feet the first time every time, life isn’t like that, so don’t give up. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge a second time, you should be a bit more careful. Think about these things before you make any drastic decisions.

Why Did You Fail?

Businesses fail for so many different reasons and identifying where you went wrong should be the first step when starting a new company. If you failed because you didn’t manage the finances properly then you know that you need to improve on that.

However, it might have been that you failed because your product simply fell out of fashion. Markets move fast and sometimes things just become obsolete. No matter how well it is run, a CD shop is going to struggle to survive in the face of digital downloads.

It could also have been that you didn’t have a good enough team around you and so you need to improve your hiring process the second time around. Whatever the reason, make sure you work out what it was and don’t make the same mistakes again.

Are You Qualified Enough?

Another reason that you might have failed is that you were not ready enough. Having a great product idea is only the first step. Maybe you got too excited and launched into a business without learning how to run one.

If that was the case, why not take a business management online degree program? It will teach you all of the skill that you need to know to handle the day to day running of a business. When you combine this knowledge with a great new idea, you stand a better chance of building a working company.

You should also seek the advice of seasoned businessmen. They were like you at one stage and they probably made all of the same mistakes that you did. Asking them about the simple mistakes that can kill a business will help you to avoid them when you start your new business.

Is The Product Right?

Without a good product, you won’t get anywhere. A solid marketing campaign can increase sales but it cannot sell a product that nobody wants or needs so if you haven’t got a product that you can put your faith in, then maybe it’s not the right time to start a new business.

If you can’t lay out in simple terms why somebody would buy your product, then you probably don’t have anything worth selling.

It’s also important to find an idea that you are passionate about. Trying to sell a product that you don’t believe in yourself is very difficult and you aren’t likely to get very far with it. Your enthusiasm about a product will carry through to every single part of your company and make it far easier to move forward.

When you’re trying to pitch to investors they will be able to tell if you’re heart’s not in it and this will put them off working for you. Your employees will also be far more productive if they see that you are invested in the product itself. If you don’t care about it, then how can you expect them to?

Put Together A Good Team

While it might be your idea, you can’t do it all on your own. The employees are one of the most important things and they can make or break a business, especially in its early stages.

When you’re hiring, you should look at people’s qualifications but also try to gauge how they would get along with you and other employees. You don’t all need to be best friends but having a good working relationship is more important than people often realize.

Don’t be disheartened by past failures, just think about things a bit more carefully this time around and you should be fine.

What Does a Smart Property Investment Look Like?

So, you’re new to the property investing game. It’s an interesting time to be getting involved, but there is still money to be made. However, that’s only the case if you find a property that clearly presents itself as a smart investment option.real-estate-investment

There are plenty of duds out there. It’s your job to seek out the investment properties that offer you a clear opportunity to pull in the cash and make some money. Here are some of the things you will need to see in your investment property.

A Location with a Future

First of all, you need to think about the location of a property. There is no sense in buying a property in a location where the house prices are currently falling. They might keep falling, and if there are no reasons why that trend might turn around, you will end up losing money on your investment property.

That’s a real rookie error, and one that you need to be very careful not to make. The location of the real estate you buy should be set in stone for you before you even start browsing properties. That way, you can be sure that you’re buying in the right area at the right time.

Something Unique

There should be something unique about your property if you want it to attract buyers. This is a difficult one to balance, though. You don’t want it to be so unique that it turns a lot of people away.

But you don’t want it to be too conventional either. There should be some key features that make it stand out and enhance its appeal. If you can make that happen, selling the home at a profit should become a lot easier for you than it would otherwise be. So, keep your eyes peeled for a home that grabs you for whatever reason.

A Clear Target Buyer Jumps Out

You should have a clear idea in your mind of who is going to buy this property from you. It’s not always clear, but if your home has a clear reason to appeal to a certain type of person, selling it will be much easier.

For example, if a home is in an area with one of the region’s best schools at the end of the road, then it’s clearly going to appeal to parents with a young family. And there are many other examples of reasons why certain homes will be appealing to certain people, so try to keep this in mind.

Room for Improvement

There should always be room for improvement in the home that you invest in. If the home is already perfect then it won’t make a very good investment property. There should always be scope for you to make improvements and increase its value in some way.

If you can make that happen, you will be able to increase the home’s overall value and make sure that you make a clear profit on the home. Make sure you keep this in mind when searching.

 

 

How to Prepare for Uncertainty in Business

We currently live in a world that seems to always be on edge. Terrorism, natural disasters, cyber crime, economic crashes – you name it, our world has dealt with it. Which each of these issues, it becomes clear that we need to tighten security for our businesses as much as we possibly can. It’s not just the security of our staff, but the actual business itself.

mistakesHow quickly your business would be able to recover from a terrorist attack, fire, flood or an economic crash is really going to make a difference to how successful you are going forward. You need to ensure that your company is adequately prepared as it not only does your company good in the event of something going wrong, but it creates a level of trust from your clients! Your company needs to be prepared – like the boy scouts – for any and every type of disaster that comes your way.

We’ve got 4 of those preparation tips for you here!

Make A Plan-

Every office should have plans for fire safety, and you probably do regular practice drills in case of a fire so every employee knows what to do. But do you have an emergency response plan in place in case of terrorism? It’s on the rise, meaning businesses in built-up city areas should be ready. Evacuation routes should be posted throughout the building so you know where to go!

Disaster Prep-

You’ve probably heard of doomsday preppers, who keep a prep bag full of flashlights, water, matches and candles handy. Having a prep bag in the office in case of electricity failure and needing to stay until emergency services can get to you. Keep a camera in there, too, so you can take photos of any damage.

Back-Up Data-

Nearly every business transaction is now electronic, and if you suffer a huge power failure, you’ll need a disaster recovery company to come in and help you to get your data back. You need your client and financial databases to keep your business going and it’s recommended that you back up your files in the cloud. Any paper files should be stored in waterproof and fireproof boxes.

Determine Communication Chain-

Your company will likely be fully trained in all aspects of safety, but making sure everyone understands to whom they should communicate in a crisis is important. There should be a known communication chain for employees to talk to someone – so you need to work out who will be responsible for talking to insurance, who will contact clients to update them, and so on.

Always have a hard copy of phone numbers to grab in a crisis, too, as this will make the difference you need when the electronics are out of action.

Companies that make a point of preparing themselves, their data and their staff in the right way will be the ones who recover quickly when things go south. Be the company that knows how to manage when things go wrong!