Category Archive Business

Are you unsure how to design your business cards?

A business card can be very useful and as a business owner you should always try to carry a few on you at all times as you never know when you may need one.

Business cards are perfect for handing out at networking groups, leaving with your clients or potential customers or even handing out when you do cold calling. A business card  needs to be clear so that your information can be easily read but you should also try and stand out a little bit. You will need to include all of your contact details such as name, office address (if required) phone number, email as a minimum, maybe even your social media profile names etc.   

When it comes to designing a business card you should try and keep in line with the rest of your print design for example, your logo and colourways should all be consistent across every platform. You may want to be a little quirky with your business cards, possibly by making them a slightly different shape or texture. Even subtle changes like this can make a big difference and if done correctly and can you noticed for the right reasons.

Creating a professional looking flyer

With 2020 nearly upon us many companies are thinking about how they can kick start their marketing in the new year to give their business the best chance. Many companies spend a lot of their marketing budget online, which often makes sense, but some companies still invest in offline marketing such as leaflet dropping. For certain types of businesses leaflet dropping works very well. This may be for a business that offers their services to the local community such as a florist, butchers or window cleaner.

If you can offer people a discount such as a money off voucher on the flyer then this will often increase the response that you have from the advertisement. It is very important when creating a flyer that it looks professional. If you are a small business you may be tempted to skimp on print or even print your own. If you are going to do this you need to make sure that the paper is of high quality and the images used are not pixelated. Always print off one or two test flyers before you print the rest and double check for spelling errors or issues with the layout which can often slip through.

Branding for small businesses

Recent surveys show that although small business owners understand that branding is important, they often don’t really understand what a brand is and how they should be growing theirs.

A brand is not just a logo or a strap line but it is the whole ethos of the business. It covers everything from logos, designs, premises to staff attitude to customers, customer service and values. To have a successful brand you need to have consistency in order for people to start to recognise your business branding. Before trying to market your brand it is vital to ensure that all internal and external procedures are working as they should and that all members of staff understand the business and how it works.

When building your brand it may be useful to think of it as a person with its own beliefs, values and purpose. What are your businesses values? What does the company believe in and what is the whole purpose of your company. Every bit of marketing you do needs to reiterate this in some way and allow your customers to start to understand the story behind your business.

Branding and business to business marketing

A brand is the whole identity of a business and not just a logo or your colourways. The more recognised your brand is the more chance to have of securing deals and making sales. Marketing can be a very confusing world to get in to. There are so many different ways in which you can market your business that you may not know where’s best to invest your time and money.

If you are a business that sells to other businesses then you will need to have a different marketing strategy to a business that sells direct to the public. Some parts may overlap but your overall focus will probably be quite different.  The buying cycle is usually longer for business to business sales, the requirements are better defined, more people are involved and the stakes are typically higher.

When dealing with other businesses you need to make it feel like you are a partner of theirs, working together towards a goal rather than a sales person trying to get them to buy your product. When you’re easier to do business with, your customers feel it. It makes their work more efficient and predictable. You may need to spend more time with business customers and expect a slower process than if you were selling to a member of the public but the rewards are often greater.

Where to get advice as a start up business

Starting up a business can be stressful and you may worry about exactly how you go about it. You will want to know that you have all the legal requirements covered as well as your business strategy and marketing in place.

England has a very supportive environment for startups, with a flourishing wealth of networks, groups and organisations for all types and style of new business. There are many places you can go for help and advice and much of it is free, so before you go forking out a lot of money, see what information you can find yourself.

When it comes to marketing your startup business you need to have a clear plan of action. Unless you have a very large budget it is always worth starting small and then investing more into your marketing as you start to see a return on your investment.

If you think you will need a loan to get your startup business off the ground, then make sure you have a good business plan that you can take with you to apply for the money as this is definitely something they would want to see.

Are you disciplined enough to run your own business?

Many people say that it is their dream to have their own business and be their own boss but it is not always as easy as it sounds. To be your own boss you need to be able to be focused and to be disciplined to work as much as you need to. This is especially true if you are going to be working from home as you will often find a hundred and one distractions which can easily take you off task. It is a good idea to have a space in your home which is only used for work and which you can go to when your working day starts. You can then give yourself a lunch break and come away from the room and return after. This will mean that you can get all your work done when needed without having to try and work late at night or weekends if you don’t wish to.

You will also have to be responsible for keeping an eye on your finances, your incomings and outgoings and unless you are going to pay a bookkeeper or an accountant, all of your tax paperwork too.

Help with setting up a new business

When setting up a new business there are many things to consider. Firstly you need to decide which type of business you are looking to set up. You should consider points such as how much time can you afford to commit and how much money would you ideally like to earn from the business? It is important that you are honest and realistic as otherwise, you are only fooling yourself. Answering these fundamental questions will help you to decide whether you need to start a full-time, part-time, spare-time or possibly even a seasonal business. If for example, you want to open a business that sells Christmas decorations then you may only run it from August through to February. You also need to consider if you are going to have a physical location for your business or if it is going to be online purely. Next, you need to decide when you are going to launch your business.

You might want to get your business up and running quickly, but if you don’t sort out the main key points prior to starting the business you may end up failing. You need to be realistic you’re your expectations and understand that many businesses take time to start turning a profit.

Management styles – being an effective leader

What makes a good manager? As a manager yourself, or moving up in to a management role you have probably already asked yourself this time and time again. There are so many different ways to manage a team or another member of staff that it can be hard to put your finger on exactly what works and what doesn’t.

Research shows that what makes is a good manager is often linked to how flexible they are and how they can adapt to different situations. As a manager you will have to often make decision quickly but also fairly. You need to be assertive but also know how to listen and know when you need to be firm.

Different management methods are used at different times and even some that seem harsh, can be effective if used at the right time. For example, a manager who is very controlling and likes things done in a certain way, who is very strict and shows their authority can be great in a crisis and in situations when order is needed quickly.

A manager who allows everyone to have their say, often compromises and can seem as a bit of a push over may be good in a situation that is getting out of hand and needs calming down a bit.

 

Business consulting – Competition analysis

If you choose to hire a business consultant to help you with your company then part of what they will do is analyse your competitors. Many business owners forget to find out what their competitors are doing and often do not think it matters as long as they are doing well, but not seeing what other businesses are offering can lead to missed opportunities.

The business consultant will be able to look at your competitors and evaluate the products and/or services they are offering, the prices they charge, the times they are open and their branding. From this they may then make suggestions to you about how you may want to adapt your business. For example, if your competitors are charge a lot less than you for the same or very similar products then you may need to decrease your prices in order to compete. It may be that your competitors have a website where customers can buy directly from, meaning that they can reach out to a wider audience. The consultant will be able to advise you on what they believe will have the most positive impact for your business and often the costs associated with those changes.

 

Effectively managing a team of workers

If you are responsible for managing a team of workers then you may sometimes struggle to get them to all do what they should be at the correct time. Managing a team of people with different strengths and weaknesses can be tricky especially if you do not have a lot of experience in a management role.

Firstly you need to be able to assess each person and find out what motivates them. Research has proven that when someone is motivated and happy they work better. Each of us react different to situations and are attracted by different incentives. For some, a pay rise or chance of a bonus is what motivates them to work hard. For others it’s the chance of being given more responsibility that makes them work harder.

When in a management role, it is important to maintain control of your workers without being too bossy and making enemies. You need to get the right balance between both and make sure that all of your workers know that they can come to you with any issues or concerns they may have. Remember a happy work place is a productive work place.