With a constant influx of people from varying socioeconomic backgrounds residing in our communities, businesses should really begin the practice of marketing their products and services to these people for a variety of reasons. Multicultural marketing is an excellent strategy because you can communicate to your consumer base on their level, through their language, culture, traditions, religion, and many other factors. The benefits of connecting with your audience in this way is two-fold. First, you, as a business leader or owner, can expand your target audience to include people from many different walks of life. And second, the multicultural audience you attract will feel included and you can even give them a voice in the community as they make suggestions and recommendations on how your business can better serve the community or how to make a product better.
So, how can you market your business to reach these people? Maybe you should consider translating your website into another big language in the U.S., like Spanish. You should also take into consideration where in the U.S. your marketing ads reach and research the demographics of those areas. Is what you market, or rather the way you market it, offensive to other countries? For example, an issue of Sports Illustrated Magazine might feature a fit, young woman sporting a revealing bikini on the front cover. This standard of beauty, however ubiquitous and widely-accepted across the U.S. is not consistent throughout the entire world. So think of someway to redesign your ads to positively reach the maximum number of people. You should also keep in mind that ads which are successful here in the states may not work so well overseas. One of the most important things to remember is all the cultural differences that are actively present not only around the world, but also here in the U.S.
Having trouble deciding between when to use QuickBooks Online and when to use Quickbooks Desktop? Did you even know that the two exist and that there are differences? Quickbooks Online is better for service-based businesses, whereas QuickBooks Desktop Edition is recommended for businesses that sell products. Desktop has more features, but Online is continuously adding new features. Desktop has been around since the ‘90s, and you have to download and install software and periodic updates. Although it is equipped with fewer features, the Online version of QuickBooks is a more contemporary version of the software; all you need is an Internet connection, no downloading and installing updates on software that takes up space on your hard drive.
As previously stated, the Online version is geared more toward businesses which provide a service and which do not incorporate inventory tracking.
The Online version has many advantages:
- Your accountant and others may access your Online account via a user I.D. and password you provide them.
- Conduct transactions using a Mac, PC, or other mobile device.
- Automatic Updates – Online automatically saves any changes you make, similar to the auto-save feature in Google Drive.
If yours is a product-based business, then Desktop may be a better choice for your business’ financial needs and responsibilities. The Desktop version offers the following features and many more:
- Two Options for Tracking Inventory – Average Cost Method & FIFO (First In First Out), whereas the Online version only offers the FIFO Method.
- Batch Invoicing – Send the same invoice to multiple clients for whom you performed the same service at the same price.
- Industry-Specific Versions – For businesses that are one of the following: General Business, Contractor, Retail & Nonprofit, Professional Services, or Manufacturing & Wholesale, the Desktop version offers certain features depending on the category of business from the above-mentioned list.
Whatever the case, be sure to choose the right version of QuickBooks for your business.
In this day and age of ever-changing technology, incorporating podcasts and videos into your business marketing strategy is one of the best ways to expand your target audience.
The idea of podcasts has been around for over a decade now. What may have started out as a group of friends gathered in a room geeking out about their favorite sci-fi TV shows or movies to an unseen audience, has since morphed into the booming entertainment platform many of us use today. Over the years, both the sound quality and the quality of the content discussed have improved such that listeners regularly tune in to their favorite podcast series to get the latest scoop on what’s going on in the world. And what’s really good for businesses that attract new listeners to their podcast series is that if these new listeners enjoy the content you cover on one podcast, they will usually go back to the first podcast episode and binge from there. This helps you as a business build a long-standing fan base.
Similar to incorporating podcasts into your marketing strategy, videos are also a newer trend among smaller businesses looking to attract new viewers and reach their target audience. Now, while the concept of video is nothing new, using video as a marketing strategy is a fairly recent idea to promote your business and the products and/or services you offer. Video is a smart strategy, as many people tend to learn better with visual aids.
There are many benefits to incorporating videos and podcasts into your marketing strategy, including:
- Boost your Brand Awareness – Taking the time to record a podcast or film a video about your specific products or services will attract consumers to your company. Research shows that many consumers are more inclined to buy a product when they see it in action, see how to use it or interact with it, rather than deciding whether or not to buy it based on still images and product reviews from other consumers.
- Build your Online Presence – The use of podcasts and videos will facilitate in making a name for yourself and for your business on the Internet.
- Show your Face and Personality – With videos, you can show consumers that you are a real person who cares about your company and the products/services provided.
- Enhance Social Media Engagement – Uploading these podcasts and videos to your many social media accounts will garner more listeners and viewers, further expanding your audience.
Using podcasts and videos as your marketing strategy may very well be the way to go to expand and reach your target audience. Take advantage of the technology that exists, get your foot in the door early and let people know who you are and what you do.
How does your company communicate with clients? Email, text, video conferencing, snail mail, or in-person contact are a few of the ways to do it. But are you doing it right and at the proper times? Business communication specialists recommend optimizing all the ways that you communicate so that clients have a positive experience regardless of the method. Let’s take a closer look at communicating with your consumers.
- Email is a great communication tool because it allows the viewer to look at the communication when it is right for them, versus the need to reply to a phone call or instant message immediately. The urgency is lower with emails and they also allow for communication that can reach several parties, thus keeping everyone in the loop. One negative aspect of email is the vast amount of messages that most business people receive on a daily basis.
- Phone – Sometimes when an issue needs close attention and immediate feedback, it is best to just pick up the phone. It allows for human contact and tells your client that you are handling the problem as you speak.
- Newsletters – Whether done electronically or in paper form, these are still worthy of creating if you want to reach a
- broad audience and hope to keep everyone on the same page or make announcements about new products or news.
- Virtual Conferencing – Regardless of the platform you use, whether it is Google Hangout or Skype, seeing your client can take away all the guesswork of reading the mood and reception to an issue or problem. These conference calls are great with remote clients or clients in several locations.
- Texting – If you need a quick answer that can be done in a few characters this may be the way to go, especially if you have just had contact with the client and you are already on the same page.
Regardless of which method you use to optimize communication with your clients, try to be aware of the positives and negatives of each method.
According to Forbes Magazine, 9 out of 10 start ups fails! Other studies, such as the Harvard Business Study, are more optimistic in stating that only 50 percent fail in the first year. They all agree, however, that making it past five years is a milestones that may mean you are solid enough to survive the horrible stats about start up survival. What are the stumbling blocks that make new businesses so risky? Well, honestly the list could go on forever, but here are a few of the more common mistakes of starting your own business:
- Cash Problems – One of the largest mistakes new owners have in launching a successful small business is the cash issue. Running out of cash can have many causes including not understanding the market, losing investors, pricing problems, or financing issues.
- Motivation – Starting a new company is possibly one of the most time-consuming and stressful events for any human being. Keeping the motivation going can be difficult, especially if key leadership dwindles or is also not motivated.
- Product Problems – Many new companies rely on one or two services or products. If one of those fails, so does the company. New businesses need to broaden their offerings and target larger audiences to stay afloat.
- Lack of Support – New businesses need employees and leadership personnel that are versatile and can handle many roles at once. Young companies many times do not have the cash flow to hire such individuals.
- Failure to Handle Feedback – In our society and social media-crazed land, feedback on poor job performance is almost instantaneous. With numerous review sites, your company can be ruined with negative reviews or the inability to react swiftly to feedback from clients and employees.
There are numerous reasons why good companies go under. Continue to read our blog as we follow these reasons over the next few months.
Is your small business having problems with its finances – specifically with cash flow? Finding the answers to this common problem can be tough. Thankfully. there are some things that business leaders and owners can do to solve this issue and prevent it from recurring in the future. No matter your budget, there are always ways to increase your sales and grow your business. Here are a few ideas to get you started to increasing your cash flow:
- Current Clients – Talk to your current clients who already know your business and have had positive experiences with you and your company. It’s much easier to upsell a client who already is familiar with your work, the quality of your product and services, and has already incorporated aspects of your services into their business.
- Ask for Referrals – In addition to adding services or products for your current clients, ask them to provide you with client referrals. If you know that a client is satisfied and happy with your products, ask him or her for the names and contact information of other small business owners who might also benefit from working with you.
- Re-evaluate your Pricing – When was the last time you looked at the pricing of your products or services? If your pricing is too affordable, you won’t be taken seriously. But if your pricing is too expensive, you will lose some business to competitors. Complete some careful research about the prices of your products as compared to competitors and how a price change may impact your business.
- Create Incentives for Ontime Payments and penalties for late payments. Part of the problem with cash flow is the issue of clients paying late or missing payments. Create an incentive program for those who pay on-time or even early.
- Re-evaluate your Assets. Is it time to look at underperforming services or products and pull them from your business? Consider what brings in the cash and what does not.
The numbers are in and, believe it or not, Facebook is closing-in on 2 billion users! Due to this, Facebook’s unparalleled audience gives it an “insurmountable competitive advantage,” according to Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush. This competitive advantage means Facebook advertising is an excellent investment that will get your business, services, and products viewed by thousands daily, if not more!
Wondering how to get started on Facebook advertising? Here are a few things to consider:
What is the goal of your advertising campaign? Do you hope to meet new customers or hope to retarget the customers you already have? Do you plan to increase brand awareness or have consumers download your app or possibly click on an ad that brings them directly to your landing page? This decision will give your advertising campaign a goal that will be measurable.
Who do you hope to attract in the advertising? More specifically, who is the audience? With Facebook advertising you can choose: location, age, gender, or any number of demographics to target a certain group according to your campaign goals.
Decide on the location of your ads. Facebook offers different types and locations of ads that can increase traffic and bring brand awareness to your services and products.
What is your budget? Decide on a budget that is in keeping with your marketing strategy. With Facebook, your company can set a budget for daily clicks, pay-per-click, or other options. But first, decide on what you want your amount to be so that you can strictly adhere to it.
How do you want your ad to appear? Do you want one image, multiple images, or even a video that can highlight your business? Images can beautifully display your services and products, and can increase traffic to your website.
Once you have made some of these decisions log into your business page and get started on reaching your share of those 2 billion users!
American society is filled with logos that shape our buying and encourage consumers to return to the same products time and again. I bet if I asked you to envision the logo for Nike, Lego, or FedEx that you would have no problem. Therefore the logo that your company uses is extremely important because it is the first thing a consumer sees when considering your business, service or product. The logo is the face of your brand. It should be easily recognized and tell the consumer something about your business and personality. Take for example, Apple. Most people recognize the one bite out of the apple regardless of color or size. It stands for innovation and the evolution of technology. Is your company’s logo easily recognized like Apple Corporation or do you still have work to do?
Here are a few tips for creating or choosing a logo that will fit your company.
- Keep it Simple – The more detail the harder it will be to recognize. A simple concept will allow consumers to identify your brand quickly whether it is on digital media or print media.
- Be Different – Obviously some big name brand companies are doing it right if they bring brand awareness with a logo. Do not copy them. Instead be unique and true to your brand, locale, and personality.
- Be Relevant – If your business is a courier service certainly don’t pick a turtle as your logo but rather something that will tell the consumer about your speediness and accuracy.
- Avoid Trendy – You want your logo to last a long time and be recognizable over many years. Avoid font types and colors that are popular now but many look dated in a few years.
- Use Color – Many businesses are identifiable just by the color they show. For example, Coca-Cola is known for its red and white cans. Make your choice in keeping with your business.
Branding – Coca-Cola, Apple, and McDonalds know how to do it so well that consumers recognize colors and logos before they even see the product name. Branding is big business especially if you want clients to recognize your slogan, logo or color palette. Entrepreneur online states it best, “Your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors.” Here are some basics that you should consider when it comes to branding your company, service or product.
- Define – As a company define your brand. Decide on what your mission and goals are. Include a description on what your target audience is and how you plan to reach them. Define the benefits of your product/service as well as how you want people to view your business.
- Create a Voice, Logo, Tagline and Color Palette – Each of these items will make your product or service easily recognizable and create a link to consumers every time they hear, see or identify with your business.
- Build Your Brand – Key areas to consider are: your business name, the names of your products or services, any slogan you use, your logo, the style and quality of your stationery, product pricing and packaging, your premises, where and how you advertise, how you and your employees dress, how you and your employees behave and your company website.
- Do Your Research – Find out what the competition does and do something to make your company stand out from the rest. Where does your business succeed and beat the competition and where does it fall short.
- Review – Plan a regular review of how your brand is doing. Consider how consumers view your brand and how easily your service and products are recognized.
Starting your own company can be time consuming, stressful, and costly. On the other hand it can also be exhilarating! The idea of being your own boss and launching your own business can be the experience of a lifetime especially if it is something your feel passionately about. For many young entrepreneurs, starting a business is a mix of emotions. There will be hurdles to conquer and also successes to celebrate. Here are some of the more common issues that you should be aware of before you crack open the champagne for your newest business adventure.
- Financing – Whether new businesses have done their research or not sometimes financing becomes the biggest problem. The market can fluctuate and lenders and/or investors can change the terms of agreements. Financing is one of the biggest issues most startups encounter so be sure to have your homework done about what things will cost and when you hope to turn a profit.
- Marketing – If selling a product or service is your business be sure to have a solid marketing plan set before day one. This will take lots of research on the competition and what consumers really needs. Look at digital marketing and well as traditional print media.
- Doing It All – As a new business owner there is a temptation to do it all from crunching the numbers as your own accountant to being the man who replaces the ink in the printer. Rely on people who can do things for you, which means hire the right people who can take on some of the responsibilities.
- Location – Believe it or not the old adage of, “Location, Location, Location” applies to companies as well. Choose a location where your company can profit the most whether it is in a cost-effective, low rent building or on a main street where your name will be out there. Think before you chose a location.