How Do Small Businesses Compete in Competitive Niches?

Having your business isn’t just tough, it’s also extremely competitive — no matter what niche market you might find yourself falling into. This is especially true for small businesses breaking into major industries that find themselves up against some tough competition, in both offline and online markets. Without a large following or backing, it can be difficult to penetrate the market.

However, there are ways you can put your business’s best foot forward set yourself apart from your competitors. Just because you don’t have a multimillion dollar budget (yet) doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the white flag. If you’re passionate about creating great products and services and putting in the work to see your brand grow, you’re already on the right path.

Here’s how small businesses like yours can compete in competitive niches:

Work With Micro Influencers

On average, a business will see a $6.50 ROI for every dollar they invest in influencer marketing. Micro influencers typically have anywhere between 1,000 to 50K followers, compared to the 500,000K+ that macro influencers tend to have. But there are key differences between these groups.

There are several reasons micro influencer strategies are particularly beneficial for small businesses. For starters, studies have shown that micro influencers have a much higher engagement, because they are able to better manage their follower base through genuine connections. And according to Collective Bias, non-celebrity influencers are 10x more likely to drive in-store purchases than their celeb counterparts.

The report also went on to state the following:

  • Nearly 60% of survey respondents have taken a blog review or social media post viewed on a smartphone or tablet into consideration while shopping in-store.
  • One in five men (18.3%) have had blog reviews influence in-store purchases, compared to only one in 10 women (9.2%) who have done the same.
  • U.S. male consumers (34.4%) have purchased consumer electronics in-store about twice as often as women (15.4%) as a result of reading a blog review or social media post.
  • Only 2% of respondents checked Twitter first when researching products, and less than 2% said Twitter had the most influence on their decision to complete an in-store purchase.
  • About 19% of consumers Find Facebook to influence their purchasing decision most, with YouTube coming in second at nearly 18%. YouTube is especially popular with men (22.8%) compared to women (13.9%).

And it’s not just genuine connections and high engagement rates you’re after: micro influencers are pretty cost-effective, too. Many micro influencers will publish curated content for the cost of a free product or service, while others charge in the low-hundreds range.

Leverage SEO and Reach New Audiences

Many business owners understand the benefits of search engine optimization, but don’t know how to accurately implement it. The truth is, there’s much more to SEO than incorporating keywords into meta tags, titles, and content. To stay competitive, your business needs a strategy that starts before you even begin putting copy onto the page. Thorough industry and competitor keyword research is needed, and it should be exclusive to your niche.

For example, if you owned plastic surgery practice, you’d want to hire an agency that specializes in plastic surgeon SEO. A niche agency would be able to create copy that’s most relevant and proven in your field. As a plastic surgeon, you wouldn’t want to hire an SEO contractor whose roster of past clients includes a long list of fashion retailers.

As referenced eWebResults, these are optimal goals when focusing on SEO and organic reach:

  • Reach the first page of search results for “Plastic Surgery Houston”
  • Generate 10 new client leads each month
  • Identify the best channels suited for your business audience

In order to get as close as possible to your target market, you’ll need to get as close as possible to curating a strategy centered around them. Always talk to your potential agency about how they’ll work within your niche before signing any contracts.  

Stellar Customer Service

One of the biggest benefits of being a small business is that you can take advantage of the ability to offer a much more personalized level of customer service. Unlike larger corporations, you don’t have to deal with the complex processes and bottlenecks between you and your end consumer. Instead, you can exceed customer service by by delivering stellar experiences. Send handwritten “thank you” notes, design ultra-targeted emails, and go above and beyond to resolve issues and make customers happy. These are just a few of the things small business owners can excel at. This should be your top priority.

Speaking of customer service, one of the most well known brands in the world today for going online and building a real business through stellar customer service, is Zappos. Today they are a massively huge company and have banked a ton of customers simply due to their outstanding social media and customer support efforts.

To learn more about Zappos and how they’ve built their brand, click here.

Define Your Brand With Laser Precision

Branding is a crucial component of any business. After all, you build brand loyalty through shared values with your consumers, and the best branding efforts can improve customer loyalty, retention, and help you create a relatable identity. Marketing plays a major role here, and you’ll have to hone in on your ideal customer with laser point precision.

Create a mood board with an actual image of what your target customer looks like. What do their Instagram pages and Pinterest boards feature? What are their hobbies and lifestyle choices? If you want to thrive in a niche market, you have to craft your messaging around a niche “person.” This person becomes the foundation of all your marketing collateral.

It helps to take a look at how other small businesses—both in and outside of your industry—are using branding to get closer to their own markets.

For instance, Tentsile is a small company with a big vision for their product lineup of lightweight suspension hammocks. First and foremost, its logo is a clear demonstration of what you can expect from the product. And like most successful branding campaigns, it uses high-quality imagery to convey a highly specific lifestyle aesthetic to their target segments: outdoor and camping enthusiasts, adventurous travelers, the growing “glamping” crowd.

And speaking of customer service, all you need to do is scroll down on the main site to see how highly rated the product and service is, and how the company uses that as one of their branding tools and selling points.

How to Compete in Very Tough Niche Markets

With more websites and blogs on the internet today than ever before, nearly all niche markets are getting more saturated over time.

The businesses and brands that will continue to see the best results, at the ones that follow these actionable tips and actually become more than just another content site or ecommerce store. This is often done by paying more attention to each new customer and making them feel appreciated.

Yes, this will take more time — but it also works.

If you are looking to improve your business growth and reach, while also taking up more ownership within your niche, be sure to start implementing these tips and best practices today.

How to Create an Electronics Niche Review Blog in 5 Steps: A Complete Guide

Are you planning to start a review blog in 2019? There are hundreds of niches that you can proceed with. For the sake of simplicity, this article will focus on one of the most lucrative niches at the moment – consumer electronics.

The reason is, consumer electronics products have turned into an essential part of consumers’ daily life routines. And whether it is a smartphone, laptop, digital camera or smart TV, people like to read online reviews before buying any product. It’s also a great industry to start making money with affiliate marketing.

It’s not just about selling digital products or reaching your target audience, it’s also about streamlining the process to create content, promote it, and monetize your audience in the process. With some dedicated time and focus, this is something that can be fully outsourced.

Even several studies and researches claim that online reviews influence a purchasing decision to a great extent. According to Search Engine Land, 84% of the people trust online reviews as much as friends. It simply shows that if you create an electronics niche review blog you can make a good amount of money.

This blog will guide you on how you can set up a review blog, what resources you will be required and what options you have to monetize your blog. But before that, let’s have a look at the growth rate of the consumer electronics market over the years. It will give you an idea of whether or not you should go with this niche for blogging.

Electronics Industry Over The Year

Today, the consumer electronics industry has reached to the peak. And according to different market researches, it is going to retain its dominance in the coming decades.

According to very popular market research and business intelligence portal Statista, the growth rate of the consumers’ electronics industry in the United States is projected to grow by 3.9 percent from 2018 to 2019. It will reach approximately 398 billion USD in retail revenue.

This research shows that in the coming years more and more people are going to invest in consumer electronics. If you can come with genuine reviews for consumer electronics, you can see your electronics niche review blog successful.

5 Steps to Create an Electronics Niche Review Blog with WordPress

Why WordPress? Your blog will require a lot content. According to W3techs, WordPress holds roughly 60% market share of the whole CMS market and it is best known platform for blogging. The industry around WordPress is mature. Whether it is themes, plugins, hosting or other tools – you will find more options to choose from than with any other platform.

1. Choose the Right Domain, Host, & Install WordPress

When it comes to starting an electronics niche review blog, the first step is to choose a reliable hosting company. There are a number of options to choose from. However, it is recommended that you read their reviews before making the final decision.

Hostinger, inMotion, SiteGround Bluehost, A2Hosting, etc. are a few popular names in the industry that are serving thousands of people across the globe. According to your needs, you may go with any of them.

Speaking of a domain name, it will be beneficial if you buy your domain name from your hosting provider. Some hosting providers offer free domain name with their hosting plan. When buying a domain also take care of domain age, domain authority, extension, etc.

Nowadays, most hosting providers offer a single-click installation option for WordPress. You just need to log into the control panel of your provider, and search for “WordPress”, select the domain name you want to install into and hit the “Install” button. It is as simple as that.

2. Pick A Review Site Theme

The entire appearance of your site depends on the theme you choose. Therefore, you should be extra careful when making the selection. Feel free to explore Google by searching ‘best themes for review websites’. As stated previously, there are A LOT WordPress themes to choose from.

Don’t worry, most of the review themes are easily customizable. So, anytime you can make changes to them according to your needs. With most review themes, you will be able to transform your simple blog into a stylish electronic niche review website.

If you don’t like above-mentioned themes, you can choose from a free WordPress theme repository. Make sure the theme you chose better represents your blog’s niche and is optimized for search engines.

Installing a WordPress theme is like a piece of cake. You simply need to go to your WordPress dashboard. There click on the option Appearance->Themes-> Add New. Next, click on the option “Upload” (available at the top of the screen) and then “Browse”. Now, you will be able to select your downloaded themes’ .zip file extension.

For in-depth information on WordPress theme manual installation, you may go through their official documentation.

3. Installation of the Essential WordPress Plugins

After installing a relevant theme your blog might be looking pretty now. But there are a few more important steps you will have to take to make your electronics niche review blog a fully functional, feature-rich and protected. And this can be done by installing essential plugins.

Some of the popular plugins you should definitely consider installing on your review blog include:

WP Product Review

The plugin comes with a setting section which allows you to choose how you want to manage and display reviews on your site. WP plugins make it easy to add a product review. You just need to choose the “Product Review” option when writing a blog. The plugin will automatically show you all the settings to write your review.

All in One Schema Rich Snippets

If you want your review posts to rank in search engine results, you should ensure that all your posts are in a proper SEO-friendly format. All in One Schema Rich Snippets plugin helps you write posts using the rich snippets format.

Rich Reviews

It is a free plugin that lets you add reviews of your own products, services, and website. Moreover, you can also ask your users to submit reviews. The plugins use shortcodes to display reviews – you can display your reviews anywhere on your site including on pages, posts, and sidebar.

Installing a plugin is as simple as installing a theme, you will hardly have an issue when installing these plugins.

4. Create the Essential Pages

There are a few essential pages you should create before you start publishing your reviews. Pages like About Us, Contact Page, Disclaimer, Getting Started etc. help you make your blog more trustworthy to your target audience.

If you want your readers to take your review posts seriously and follow your advice, your blog must have all the information your readers expecting to find. By providing essential pages on your site, you help your readers to get to know more about you and your website.

5. Start Publishing Relevant & Valuable Content

Always try to come with relevant and quality content for your audience. If you want to demonstrate to your readers that reviews you have presented are reliable, conduct as much research as possible before you start writing.

Good knowledge of the product, its features, evolution, and competition, help you write an approachable and expert review.

Here are some tips to create an effective review post for an electronics niche blog.

  • Read out the manufacturer’s website of product you are reviewing.
  • Conduct good research about the pros and cons of products. If possible compare them with their competitors.
  • Since people are looking for genuine experience with a product, it would be better if you can personally use that product.

Make sure your review posts are covering most of the concern of users. Common questions most people would like answered are:

  • Is the product user-friendly?
  • Is it of good quality?
  • Have other users a good experience with the product?
  • Is the product worth my money?

Try to write a review blog includes answers to these questions. Bonus tip – Google the brand or model that you will be reviewing and carefully check what other websites are talking about. First positions on organic Google are usually there for a reason. Check your competitors’ headings in the text. These are usually juicy keywords that users are searching for.

Top Ways to Monetize Your Electronics Niche

Once you have set up your electronics niche review blog, you need to find a convenient way to monetize it. Well, there are plenty of options out there that can get you a good amount of money. Some of the popular ones are mentioned below. You can choose anyone you find ideal.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is one of the most popular ways to make money through blogging. Indeed, it is a kind of marketing in which you refer your readers to products and when your readers buy those products based on your recommendation, you get a commission.

Look for an affiliate program in your niche. You would definitely find so many consumer electronics firms that will be willing to pay you to review their products.

Google AdSense

If you don’t find a convenient affiliate program, you can go for this second option. Google AdSense is a program from Google that lets publishers display text, image, and video-based ads on their blog and in lieu they get a commission when a user goes through those ads.

There are two ways you can start earning money from Google AdSense:

Based on the Impression: In this type, revenue depends on page views. For example, for every 1000 page views, you earn a fixed amount.

Based on Click: When a user clicks on the ad on your site, you get a certain cut of the ad revenue. It may range anywhere from $0.01 to a couple of dollars.

Sponsored Reviews & Banner Option

If your blog receives a decent amount of traffic, consumer electronics companies may approach you to promote their products. You may get two types of requests in this case.

Banner Ads: These ads are just they sound like. You will have to place a product banner ad in your relevant review post. The business sponsoring the ad will pay you for keeping the ad up on your site.

Sponsored Reviews: When a business sends you their product and pays you to write a review about it, it is called sponsored reviews. Just don’t forget to follow Google Webmaster guidelines!

In addition to these primary methods to monetize an electronics niche review blog, you can look for other options as well.

What Makes a Good Review Blog

Creating a review blog and monetizing is not sufficient. If you want to beat your competition and make your blog popular, then you really need to make some efforts. Here are some tips that can help you create a good electronics niche review blog. You can also take a look at any of these top technology sites and see how they are creating valuable content for their audiences.

Know Your Targeted Product’s Features Inside and Out

Before you start writing a review, take your time to research every feature of the products. Try to explain to your users why these features are great.

Add Both Positive & Negative Reactions

A pros and cons section is an important feature of any good review blog. A review which is only positive or only negative may alert your audience and give them a wrong impression. Always be honest with your reviews.

Talk to the Manufacturers

If you want to stay one step ahead of your competition, don’t hesitate to talk to the manufacturers. It can be a good way to know more about a product. Sometimes, it can be difficult to contact manufacturers. In that case, you can refer their press releases on their product launch.

Put Yourself in Your Readers’ Shoes

Most bloggers make this mistake. It is good to present your own perspective when reviewing a product, you should think about your readership as well. Remember that, all your readers are not the same, they may have different points of views. So, always take this into account when you write a product review.

Tips to Promote Your Blog

Lack of right promotion is one of the reasons most blogs fail. Have a look at below tips to do it rightly.

Focus On SEO

From the day you start writing a review post, you should make sure you’re optimizing your content for search engines. Along with designing good content, you should focus on embedding the relevant keywords. However, you shouldn’t overdo it. Similarly, you should choose the relevant title for your blog that gives an idea to your audience what they are going to read.

Take Advantage of Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. can be a good source to get traffic on your blog. Share your posts on these platforms regularly.

It will be more beneficial if you can create a community of people who are particularly interested in your niche. For example, on Facebook, you can look for a group/page where people talks about consumer goods. Those people will be more interested in reading your posts.

Niche Bookmarking Websites

When you share your content in niche-specific sites, your blog generates more relevant shares and traffic. Reddit, Slashdot, Digg, Pinterest are a few bookmarking websites that you may find useful.

In addition to these methods, there are numerous other ways that you can try out. Conduct deep research and find out the one that is relevant for you.

Final Words

So, here is what you need to make your electronics niche blog successful. Remember that, it may take some time to get good earnings out of your blog. You will need to continue writing good content and promoting it on the right platform.

What Every SMBs Need to Know About Debt and Growing their Business

Starting a business in the world might seem easy, thanks to the power of the internet, automation, and lowered costs — but that isn’t to say it’s easy to find success and profitability with that same business. With more businesses starting daily, this leads to a larger increase in competition, and a great number of SMBs who aren’t potentially ready for the fierce competition, compiling costs, and debt that might be right around the corner.

While most aspiring small business owners would love to launch a passion venture and not worry about how to pay for it, this is not the reality. According to the Small Business Administration, there are 27.9 million small businesses in the United States compared to 18,500 firms with over 500 employees. Those small businesses took out a combined $600 billion in business loans in 2015, and another $593 million from alternative means like finance companies and peer-to-peer lending platforms.

At the same time, it’s also important to take a look at the number of startups and closures, and survival rates for businesses in the world today.

But despite the various loan options that exist, securing enough of the right debt is challenging. Yet, as the old adage says, ‘you need to spend money to make money,’ and without borrowing, it’s difficult for any business to grow their operation.

To ensure your business borrows for long-term success without jeopardizing long-term cash flow, here are six things to know about debt.

Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

Generally speaking, good debt refers to debt that can yield long-term income or growth in value whereas bad debt will not. For consumers, good debt might be a mortgage where bad debt would be a revolving credit card balance. In the business landscape, it’s a little more nuanced and dependent on the specific company. You can learn more about the differences between these two here.

An example of good debt might be a company taking on debt to invest in certain employee programs, as the implementation of the program could lead to improved morale and better retention. It could also be debt used to do research and development for a new product since a new product line would generate more future income. A bad-debt scenario could be the result of a business taking out a loan for a larger business space that they don’t end up filling or using adequately. Or a double whammy: paying for nice office space in a prime location when clients never see the office.

These situations can go on and on, and really hinge on the execution that does or does not take place after a loan is taken.

Healthy Debt-to-Income Ratios

Every business—even two competitors—have differences that affect what a healthy debt-to-income (DIY) ratio should be. Businesses might need different levels of debt depending on a multitude of factors.

So, while not a hard-and-fast guideline, generally speaking, businesses with DTIs under 1 have more stable debt levels while a ratio above 1 indicates that a company is more reliant on their debt. Calculate your business’ DTI at any time by taking your monthly recurring debt payments and dividing it by your monthly gross income.

You Have More Leeway with Creditors Than You Think

Many business owners and individual debtors never try to improve on their existing terms or ask their creditors for any kind of compromise, even if it means falling behind on loan payments. But at the end of the day, banks want to see you succeed, if for no other reason than it means they’re getting their money back. If you’re proactive about needing aspects of your loan modified before you encounter difficulty paying it, you’ll stand a much better chance of striking an agreement.

It’s important to remember that creditor negotiations are a case-by-case basis. Whether you’re trying to lower your interest rate, get a one-time payment grace period, or extend the repayment cycle, communicate how changing the loan will impact your business positively.

You Can Consolidate Your Debts

Even if you’re keeping pace with your loans, juggling too many of them can be taxing, not to mention increase the chances you miss a payment date or don’t have the cash flow you need at a certain time of month. Debt consolidation loans condense your monthly payments, due dates, and potentially, can net you a lower overall interest rate.

To learn more about this, also see my article on line of credit vs taking out loans.

Small business owners can attempt debt consolidation by taking out a private loan (though, a high credit score will be needed for favorable interest rates), opening a balance transfer card with interest-friendly (possibly free) introductory period, or seeking assistance through companies like Andrew Housser’s Consolidation Plus, part of the Freedom Financial Network.

Layoffs Are Always a Consequence

Small businesses are like tight-knit families. Limited bandwidth and resources mean that employees develop a sense of pride and camaraderie in working together (at least, when a business does well). And unlike a large company where turnover is rampant, employees tend to work for small businesses much longer.

Of the 5.6 million employer firms in the United States in 2016, organizations with fewer than 100 workers accounted for over 98 percent of the workforce. When small businesses take on debt to scale the operation, they need to understand that they’ll need to cut costs if the investment doesn’t pay off. Layoffs are a realistic consequence. And when a SMB starts laying people off, company morale will take a dive and could lead to lost productivity and even further turnover.

According to data from the Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, there were 5.6 million employer firms in the United States in 2016.

  • Firms with fewer than 500 workers accounted for 99.7 percent of those businesses.
  • Firms with fewer than 100 workers accounted for 98.2 percent.
  • Firms with fewer than 20 workers made up 89.0 percent.

This also isn’t just limited to small and medium sized businesses. Statista just recently had a report on big name companies like Tesla, eBay, Paypal, and more — all of which are leaving their employees hanging on whether or not they might have a long term relationship with the company.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Is a Last Resort

The thought of your hopes and dreams culminating in a bankruptcy court proceeding is certainly disheartening. However, chapter 11 becomes a viable strategy for business owners whose personal possessions are entwined in their business as it aims to restructure business debts to make repayments more manageable going forward without it sinking their business.

Just because taking debt is a necessary evil the majority of small businesses must face doesn’t mean it should be done so lightly. Leave no stone unturned in your search for a small business loan and consider these things above as you do so.

The Best Ways to Approach Debt Loss and Management for Your Company

No matter what position you might find your business in today, it’s important to realize that the first step in cleaning up an potential messes, is to ask for help.

This can be from people within your company, outside advisors, and of course — financial and legal institutions.

To learn more about managing company funds and debt, be sure to check out my other resource guide on paying off company debt.

Project Management Software 101: A Guide for New Project Managers

Project management software is the ultimate solution for businesses looking to stay organized. The program allows you to collaborate on tasks with your team members. You can share progress reports and documents too.

The project management tools help you delegate assignments to your employees.

It’s evident that project management goes beyond collaborating on tasks. This guide focuses on answering one question: What is project management software?

What is Project Management Software?

Project management software definition can be extracted from the following questions: Is your company looking for a tool for organizing assets? Do you want a solution that facilitates smooth communication between your vendors, clients or team members? Are you looking for a solution for budget tracking or scheduling?

New project managers may find it overwhelming to manage several project components at once. Project management software programs allow them to scale up their processes for productivity.

Project management software examples include Microsoft Project and the Zoho Office Suite.

Types of Project Management Software

Software used in project management varies on factors such as company size and intended use. You can find one as either desktop or cloud-based software. Some are developed for specific work obligations or industries.

They’re as follows:

Desktop Project Management Software

Desktop project management software programs allow you to organize your tasks from a PC. All changes made on your project are saved on the PC’s hard drive.

Such programs are available on the market as either free or paid versions with different features included. They require an Internet connection to allow you to collaborate on or share a project.

Cloud-based Project Management Software

The cloud-based ones require a reliable Internet connection since they’re hosted on a web server.

They allow for more security and control since your project will be saved on the cloud. You can even access your project or share files with colleagues regardless of your location.

Cloud-based project management tools are ideal for teams with an active online presence.

What Are the Features in Project Management Software Programs?

Software programs should foster your ability to be efficient and productive at work.

Program management software programs evolved over the years to include several incredible features. Your goal is to care about their impact on the productivity of your team.

Here are some of the features your teams need for project management.

Progress Tracker

Tracking your milestones helps you identify both strong and weak points for improvement. Get a solution that enables you to map your work and monitor significant strides.

A progress tracker allows you to correct identified issues before delving deeper into the project.

Scalable Task Manager

A scalable task manager allows you to define workflows based on the roles of your team members. This feature gives you control over your task delegation process.

Relying on it helps you become flexible when prioritizing tasks and setting deadlines. Find expert assistance on scaling your tasks from this website.

Typical task manager solutions and services offered through third-party solutions usually include:

  • Agile Transformation
  • Agile Workshops
  • Business Agility
  • Project Management
  • The Scrum Kickstart Package

Team Communication Tools

Your project can only run well if your teams communicate with each other. Using different apps for communication can be tiring and time-consuming.

Your team members need an all-in-one tool with impressive communication options. The solution should allow you to engage in productive conversations without disrupting your workflow.

Tools for Setting Role Permissions

Your project management software should cater to the needs of every team member. You need a solution that sets role permissions on tasks that require individuals with particular knowledge.

Such a feature helps you prevent data loss caused by team members that aren’t knowledgeable in a given field.

Each platform and software is going to be different, but each should also come with their own tutorials and guidance videos. This is something Hubspot has done really well with, as they have thousands of customers and teams using their software.

Easy-to-Use Navigation Features

The program should make it easy to access files and documents. Its user interface should include intuitive features for easier navigation. Choose one that’s compatible with your teammates’ devices.

Time Tracking and Reporting Tools

Reporting allows your teams to stay accountable for their actions. Reporting tools give you data on the timeline for executing tasks, the current project stage and the achieved milestones.

The software should feature time tracking tools to provide a real-time update on your work progress.

Why Project Management Software Programs are Essential to Your Work

Your goal when handling tasks and meeting deadlines is to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency entails allowing processes to flow as you focus on essential assignments.

Project management software programs enable you to create a self-sustaining model for your teams.

Here are other advantages they can add to your line of work.

Ability to Prioritize Tasks

Projects come with different deadlines, specifications, and tasks. The role of a project manager is to track and organize tasks based on priority.

Project management tools help you accomplish essential tasks first without compromising your ability to tackle the rest.

Optimize Business Processes

You can make your workflow smoother by optimizing your business processes. The optimization process involves examining achievements, failures and redundant tasks.

Count on this activity to identify problems and recommend appropriate solutions. Project management software programs make such a process simple to execute.

Easy Integration

Project management solutions are designed to work with other applications and systems. You can use them with social media sites to share snippets of your work.

They work well with customer relationship management tools too.

Higher Level of Organization and Standardization

Your teams can use project management solutions when working on multiple projects for similar customers. Such solutions help them standardize the process and reduce the time needed to track progress.

They feature several templates you can use to customize each client’s assignment.

Improved Information Sharing and Collaboration

Your team members should aim for transparency when working on the same project. With the right project management tools, they can share ideas for productivity.

You can even assign specific tasks to each one of them and track the status of the work.

How Technology Is Reinventing Project Management Software

Technology is changing how people meet their job responsibilities and manage work.

Digital innovations including smart devices are allowing more people to work far apart. New enterprise software programs are offering limitless opportunities for executing tasks.

Project managers can succeed by relying on a solution that fosters transparency. Project management solutions offer seamless user experiences to both small and large businesses.

Here are some of the market trends on project management software you can learn.

Team Members Are Operating Far from Each Other

The project management industry continues to record an increase in remote users.

Team members are collaborating on projects with large distances between them.

Software developers continue to release new cloud-based solutions as a reaction to this trend. Such updates focus on social networking and collaboration tools.

Project Managers Relying on Big Data Analytics

Previous versions of project management software only allowed for simple data tracking. The modern ones enable project managers to find insights from large data sets.

They come embedded with business intelligence tools for efficiency. You can use them to incorporate data from a recent project into an existing one.

Compatibility with Mobile Devices

Software developers are making project management solutions more adaptable on mobile devices.

Mobile users nearly account for more than half of the traffic generated on websites hosting the software. You can run the software as a mobile app or from your phone’s Internet browser.

What to Consider When Buying Project Management Software

Besides focusing on price, you should look for a solution that can meet your project’s needs.

Register for the trial versions to establish whether a program is worth your cash. Being savvy and keen can also help you get a better deal.

Use the following factors to guide your purchasing decisions, or refer to this complete review on Write — which has applications and securities in place that make it easy for anyone to control users, projects, and data across a wide range of platforms.

Your Implementation Plan

The software program can get your tasks organized. An implementation plan helps you decide on how you’ll use the software to meet your goals. Enlist your team members’ help to map ways for integrating it into your workflow.

Ask Your Teams for Suggestions

Project management solutions are only helpful if you consider your teams’ needs. Encourage them to share suggestions about features they’d love to use.

Base your purchasing decision on their feedback. Consider the program’s application and adoption in your project.

Sample the Trial Versions

Software demos allow you to use a particular program before purchasing it. Trial versions help you determine whether a solution is adequate for your needs.

Pose questions to the software vendors about the product. Pay attention to the means they use to respond to your queries.

Compare and Justify Costs

Determine whether the program’s benefits match the time and cash required to use it.

Find a software program that scales up your business. Compare costs across different vendors too.

Get one that’s suited for both your budget and project needs.

Get the Best Value Out of Your Project Management Software

I hope this guide has answered your “what is project management software” question.

Your upcoming project should be executed with the best tools you’ll ever find. You have to look for a solution that can improve your teams’ input in the project. Focus on getting project management software with the powerful tools you need.

As with all content and services offered through this site, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have. I’m looking forward to hearing from you so we can partner up.

Freelancer and Employee Payments: 7 Methods that Work Best

Owning a small business is like herding cats. There are tons of details to keep track of and never enough hours in the day to get everything done. And one of the most important parts of any business is payroll.

After all, everyone wants to get paid! That’s why making sure employee payments get made on time should be a major priority for every business owner.

Let’s take a look at some types of payments you can use to keep your business running efficiently and keep everyone happy!

6 Types of Employee Payments to Consider

When you’re planning your business strategy, don’t forget one important thing: Your workers need money!

Employee payments extend further than just the traditional paycheck. Here are 4 types of payments that you can offer your employees.

1. Issuing Paychecks

This is traditionally the most universal method for making payroll payments. With paychecks, you don’t have to hand out cash, and employees don’t have to have a bank account.

For small businesses, providing a paycheck for each employee can be time-consuming, or you’ll need to outsource the process to a payroll service.

However, with more businesses using cheaper and automated digital solutions for payments, Paychecks are quickly finding themselves an ‘old world’ method for payments.

This is especially the case when being compared to other methods like Paypal and Payoneer.

2. Direct Deposit Payments

Each year more and more employees are choosing direct deposit as their payment type of choice. After all, they don’t have to do anything or worry about running a paper check to the bank on payday. The money goes directly to their bank account and is immediately available.

This is by far the fastest and most efficient way to get paid. The only thing that’s required of the employee is to be able to provide the employer their checking account number and the bank’s routing number.

Online payroll software like a fake paystub generator can streamline the process, and keep in mind that if you don’t have this kind of specialized software you’ll likely have to pay a small fee for each direct deposit. These methods are often used to verify income statements when setting up a new account or applying for a loan.

Overall, this process is simple, fast, and convenient.

2. Cash Payments

Paying your employees in cash is another option, but you’ll need to keep very good records because this can make the IRS suspicion about your taxes.

Many employees prefer being paid in cash because they don’t have to deal with a bank, and yet you are still required to take out taxes and maintain records of each payroll payment. There are really very few instances where paying employees with cash is the best option.

We all know cash is king, but when collecting payments online, this just isn’t a viable solution. This is especially the case when looking to hire freelancers or designers.

However, cash is still one of the most common ways to make or receive payments in smaller localized markets and 9-5 side jobs.

4. Paypal

For online businesses, SaaS platforms, and freelancers, Paypal is still one of the best ways to send and receive payments online.

The reason why Paypal is so widely accepted and loved, is that it makes the process of getting paid so easy.

With Paypal being the backbone for many global payments through platforms like eBay, Etsy, and millions of others — it’s a standard that is now accepted across all platforms.

For employees and businesses, making payments through Paypal is great for many reasons, such as being able to pay with a credit card, connecting payments to a bank account, and also using the Paypal Working Capital as a way to fund the company should it need a loan for growth or excessive spending.

Other benefits of using Paypal (for businesses, or as an employee) include:

  • Scale: A payments partner that can support your growing business and help you sell across multiple markets and platforms.
  • Conversion: PayPal is the most-used digital wallet. Shoppers complete their checkout 88% of the time on average, helping you close more sales.
  • Security and Confidence: Get the products that work for your business from a partner that offers Seller Protection and fraud monitoring.
  • Live Customer Support: You can speak with a live representative if you need help with the merchant services your business depends on.

Many of these benefits will also come in handy for freelancers and employees as well. Paypal offers a debit card and for payments to be deposit right into user’s bank accounts as well.

5. Payroll Cards

Payroll cards have become increasingly popular in recent years because you don’t have to keep up with cash, or print new paychecks during every pay period, and employees don’t need bank accounts to make the deposit.

The setup costs are similar to using direct deposit, but there are also advantages. Payroll cards allow an employer to simply load the money onto an employee’s card each pay period. This saves you money on the cost of supplies.

It also saves your employees from having to go to the bank, and the employee can withdraw money at any ATM at their convenience.

6. Payoneer

Similar to Paypal, Payoneer is another payments solution that is quickly being accepted by freelancers and employees around the world.

Some of the most common reasons and benefits why employers and freelancer enjoy using Payoneer as their financial platform include:

  • No bank account required for an account
  • Super fast platform for receiving payments
  • Withdraw payment to any local currency
  • Send money to friends and family without fees
  • High-quality customer support and user friendly

Payoneer is also very friendly towards affiliate marketing partners and companies that are working directly with site owners, affiliates, and bloggers. You can see some of their top payment partners listed below.

6. Venmo

With digital employee payments and transactions on the rise, Venmo is another name you are probably hearing a lot more in daily life.

Similar to Payoneer and Paypal, Venmo acts as a digital wallet that makes online payments easy, and also include the following benefits.

  • Pay from a bank account, major debit cards, or your Venmo balance.
  • Free to receive money.
  • Free to send money when using certain debit cards.
  • Freelancers can get money to their bank accounts within one business day.
  • Sign up with Facebook or email.

You can learn more about their platform by visiting their site and seeing if their terms and conditions align with yours as an employee, or a business.

Dolla Dolla Bill Y’all!

At the end of the day, we all want to be paid what we are owed — and at the time we are supposed to receive payment.

Employee payments are an essential part of doing business. These different ways to pay employees offer business owners plenty of flexibility. After all, every business has different needs.

Click here to see 5 effective methods to goal setting for business growth and success.

5 Proven Lead Generation Strategies that Won’t Ruin Your Budget

Every business has to secure new customers, but finding ways to do this on a tight budget can be tricky. Thanks to the internet, this is now easier and more effective than ever before.

In the past, if you were to buy billboard advertising or even place ads in flyers or magazines, it’s always a guess on the type of ROI you were going to see. In fact, it was more like playing the casino and the odds usually weren’t in your favor. For the most part, this type of advertising would usually fall under ‘branding‘.

On the internet, it’s a whole different ball game, and everything is trackable, down to the finest penny, click, or impression!

Whether it’s online or offline, acquiring a new customer isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s reported that acquiring a new buyer is five to 25 times pricier than retaining an existing one, but you can generate leads successfully with limited resources if you approach it the right way.

What does this involve? Well, for every business it’s different — but there are clearly winning strategies that continue to work across all platforms and markets.

If you are willing to put in the time, work, and effort… here are five powerful strategies you have to try.

1. Automating Your Marketing Process

An effective marketing process puts your brand in front of new customers and makes it appear so utterly tantalizing they just can’t say no.

But, as you probably know by now, achieving such amazing results takes time, money and energy — and having enough of all three to go around isn’t always easy.

Automating your marketing process is a valuable solution.

Multiple tools (some free, some not) are designed for this: you’ll send a marketing email the prospect signed up for and, if they choose to act on it, they’ll end up directed to the relevant landing page. Follow-up emails can be sent according to specific criteria as well, such as if the recipient has read a preceding message (ideal for consistency).

Automating your marketing is a real time-saver, won’t break the bank and frees your employees up for additional lead generation, so give it some thought.

2. Growing Your Email Subscriber List

Actually building a list of prospects to contact via email is crucial, though — after all, who’s going to receive your marketing messages if your subscriber list is blank?

You have to make enough of an impact on visitors to your site that signing up for emails feels like a natural next step. Make sure your website’s visually-impressive, easy to use and offers real value — why should anyone want to hear more from you if you seem to have nothing to say?

Offer the opportunity to subscribe on each page of your site and give a good incentive to submit their email address. A discount on an upcoming purchase or a freebie (such as an ebook or podcast) can help to sweeten the deal.

3. Up Your Content Marketing Game — Blog Often and Create Videos

Blogging is still a solid part of a great marketing game. First and foremost, you’ll add fresh content and more keywords to your website on a regular basis — both key for a good SEO campaign.

Secondly, you can share these across social media to increase engagement and target different demographics within your audience. Blogging is cost-effective too, especially if you build a good relationship with a quality freelancer: the more work you put their way, the better their deal is likely to be.

Videos can be useful in generating leads as well. 90 percent of users cite product videos as major aids to their purchase decisions and 64 percent are more likely to order an item online. Watching videos is more convenient than reading a blog post, more visually stimulating and actually give you a chance to show your products or services off in motion.

Again, producing videos doesn’t have to be expensive: once you have a dedicated ‘studio’ set up and the necessary equipment, you can use them as often as you need.

4. Be Accessible and Organized

When people receive your marketing emails, read your blogs or watch your videos, what will they do if they have questions?

While some will head to your site in search of an FAQ, others will come to you directly. You need to offer multiple communication channels that are convenient and accessible to customers, including live chat, telephone and social media (which we’ll touch on more below).

Live chat software has become one of the most popular interaction methods for businesses, enabling website visitors to engage with support agents in real-time via mobile or computer. They can get the assistance they need in-browser without having to dial a number or draft an email.

The best live chat software makes staying organized and responsive easy, while providing you with helpful data to understand your audience better.

Best of all: it’s free for the customer — making it a risk-free choice on their part.  

Give your prospects multiple ways to reach you, ideally 24/7, when working to generate leads.

5. Fully Embrace Social Media to Drive Sales

Sixty-six percent of marketers using social media for lead generation see real benefits, even on just six hours per week.

Social media has given brands a free, simple, direct way to engage customers at any time, any place. They can reach out to you through their browser or an app in a matter of moments, and an organized company will respond just as fast.

Being accessible is crucial for businesses of all sizes: customers want to feel valued and respected — and letting messages go unresponded to for weeks certainly doesn’t help. A good social-media strategy lets you demonstrate your expertise, build a rapport, show your human side and ultimately convey why prospects need your products in their life.

You can invest in ads on social media too if you can afford it, which make a great complement to organic lead-generation techniques.  

Networks offer various tools for targeting people similar to existing and ideal customers, based on interests etc.

Either monitor social media activity yourself if you’re particularly low on resources, or hire someone to do it for you.

You also might want to consider affiliate software for your social media outreach, as this incentivizes sharing on social networks.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Lead Generation Efforts in 2019

Lead generation is crucial for brands of all sizes, across all industries. The five strategies explored above will help you capture leads in a budget-friendly way, expanding your reach without devouring too much of your finances. Focus on efficiency and productivity to streamline the entire process, leaving your team the time they need for other essential tasks.

With time, you’ll grow your customer-base, increase your brand visibility and identify the lead-generation techniques that work best for you.

Discover How to Sell More with Omnisend eCommerce Marketing Automation

With the continued progress of the internet and it’s ever expanding reach, the way business is done has basically changed and business marketing has become much more efficient and effective in the process.

Email marketing is a digital marketing tool that has been tried, tested and has been a great way to reach out to potential and existing customers of a business. Email marketing isn’t just a way to simply get “the word out there” about business but it has managed to retain its personal touch and so it has managed to outlast other marketing techniques.

Be that as it may, just simply reaching out to a current or potential customer base might no longer be just what is required to get more workflow on your business page or getting a deal beyond the goal post, this is because more and more businesses are using email marketing and thus it is simply becoming generic. This is why as a smart marketer you need to be more adaptable, you need to discover and exploit smarter and more versatile solutions that will keep you ahead of the competition or even blow them of the water.

If you are looking to do this, then Omnisend is the way to go because this platform will totally up the ante on your email marketing strategy.

E-commerce Marketing Automation

The biggest reason for applying any marketing technique or tool to reach out to customers is to improve on the sales of a business’ product(s) or service(s), this, of course, is no secret. So what else could you do after attracting visitors to your e-commerce site? What can you actually do to convert this visits to your site to actual sales and tangible numbers? Well, Omnisend provides these solutions by giving you access to various Omnichannel tools that should boost sales and cater to marketers that aren’t satisfied with what generic email marketing platforms offer. Although Omnisend still makes available the standard email marketing tools for creating and distributing email newsletters, the difference is it gives a personal touch that is meant to better sales.

People usually are more trusting of businesses that take the time and initiative to understand them better and find out the things they want. This could entail paying attention to the customers shopping pattern, tracking their activities while they are on your site, what are the things they like? And so on.  Doing this should improve your sales figure and conversions (i.e. converting visitors to paying customers). Omnisend helps you obtain these data and use them to better your marketing.

To the untrained eye data showing the uniqueness of people poses a marketing problem, when actually it is an advantage in more ways than one. Understanding that each customer could be different is the first step to understanding how to better serve them, then gain their interest and then convert this interest into continuous patronage. With Omnisend you are able to better target your customers and customize the messages sent to them so that they are much more relevant to each individual customer. Omnisend allows you send email or SMS or even both to subscribers.

Carrying Out an A/B Test Campaign

With Omnisend you can set up an email marketing campaign that marketers use to send out newsletters about new offers and deals available on their e-commerce site. You can also set up a campaign that is SMS based.

The Omnisend A/B split test is a feature that enables you to send two different versions of an email so that you can test which of them would work best for your campaign. When you select this feature you find that it is really easy to use, because there is a setup wizard available to work you through the setup.

While setting up the split test you are provided with options that enable you to base your split test on the email subject or on sender’s name. You can further customize your messages by choosing either one of the templates made available, which can be previewed before selection.

You can further fill in your contents by using the drag-and-drop visual editor. By simply clicking on any of the element, you can add your images, product name, prices, and even product description.

The best way to experience the full features and settings of what Omnisend has to offer, is to create an account or walk through their on-site demo.

Automation and Workflow

The automation service feature of Omnisend is one of the most powerful tools available that can be organized into workflows and customized to fit your preference. The workflow includes the email welcome drip, abandoned the cart, browse abandonment, a birthday email and a custom workflow you can create on your own.

The cart recovery workflow is a great way to increase your sales number because often times people visit an e-commerce site, add items to their cart but end up leaving without completing the buy. Using the automated workflow, when the cart is abandoned the process is triggered then after a specified period of time email reminders are sent.

As you can see through the screenshot above, a path is created that walks the user through a specific process within your site or marketing funnel. This can be set up to notify a user about an abandoned cart they may have left and never completed, then followed-up through email.

A great benefit here is that you can see exactly how many customers have entered the workflow, are currently in the workflow, and have exited the workflow at any given time. An “exit” is defined as making a purchase or receiving the final follow-up email.

All of this can be monitored and tweaked within the “Track Your Automation” and “Reports” section of your Omnisend account.

The more you familiarize yourself with the platform, the easier it will be for you to log into the members are and create, customize, and track your many processes and customer data in place. To get a live view of activity on your site, all you need to do is access your campaign stats and see what users are doing in real-time while they are navigating through your site.

Free Demo, Free Trail, and Pricing Plans

Omnisend offers a free demo mode to help new users to understand and get a hang of how to works. Using free demo, you can access a full product work through and to gives the opportunity to ask questions about Omnisend. There is also a 14-day trial that gives you access to all the features without providing your credit card information.

After sign up, there are pricing plans that start from $8 per month for 500 subscribers. On the standard plan, you can pay $12, $24, $40 per month for 1000, 2500 and 5000 subscribers respectively. There is a 20% discount offered for when you opt for the annual billing system.

With Omnisend you can see the activities of your users on your e-commerce site in real time and they provide customer data that can be analyzed to optimize your marketing campaigns. Omnisend is a great marketing tool that should better the fortune of your business.

12 Essential Digital Marketing Tools Guaranteed to Grow Your Business

A craftsperson is only as good as their tools. Companies deploying growth strategies using digital marketing tools need to make sure they are investing the right time and money.

But with the digital economy changing so fast it can be difficult to know where to invest your time and money. There are new companies and new tools springing up every day.

Each one promises huge returns and low cost. Make sure you have the right investment or the competition could leave you behind.

You need these 10 tools today:

1. Feedly

It isn’t enough to have great content. Your content strategy needs to be curated, scheduled, and tracked.

Feedly will help you curate your content calendar across platforms.

2. CRM Software

What is CRM Software? CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a must for companies that need to make use of valuable data across all departments.

This means you! Without CRM you aren’t able to target the right people, turn insights into conversions, or avoid redundancies.

3. LeadPages

Your bounce rate could be killing your SEO. Even worse, all those bounces could be symbols of your business going elsewhere.

Leadpages is the answer. You can test new landing pages and deploy for success with Leadpages.

4. Splice

If you aren’t using video content, you should be. And if you aren’t optimizing your video content for social media you are missing a huge opportunity.

Splice, from the makers of GoPro, is the tool for your video content.

5. Google Analytics

There is no replacement. You need this.

From within your Google Webmaster Account, you can manage all aspects of your site when it comes to SEO and making sure you are good in the eyes of Google.

Not sure if your site was affected by one of the latest penalties, or if it’s indexed in Google? All of this and more is tracked from Webmaster Tools.

6. Yoast

If you are using WordPress and struggling with SEO, Yoast is the tool for you. Yoast comes in a free version and offers insight into your text.

Yoast will scan your content and rate all of it, traffic light style, for SEO.

Best of all, this tool is extremely easy to use, and free!

7. LiveChat

Customers want support in real time. Make sure you are on the cutting edge of user experience with LiveChat.

The next time you visit a website or ecommerce site and see a little chat popup window appear, this is exactly how LiveChat works.

There are plenty of alternatives out there, and many of them are powered with artificial intelligence.

Take a look at the different options available and how other brands are using these chatbots to grow their business — then think about how you could do the same.

8. WooCommerce of Shopify

If you want to start selling products online, you need to have a great ecommerce platform.

Two of the most popular and best solutions out there are WooCommerce and Shopify.

Discover how to boost ecommerce sales with either of these platforms, while also improving your SEO and revenue in the process.

9. Social Shark

With over 1 billion users worldwide, there’s never been a better time to make the most of Instagram. But for marketers new to the social media platform the results can be disappointing without the right tools.

Social Shark is the right tool to grow your Instagram presence.

10. Ahrefs and DA/PA Checkers

All those SEO hunters out there already know about Ahrefs. The tool will track your rankings as well as link-building campaigns.

The tool also helps you improve local SEO.

Another useful tool to add into this section, is TheHoth’s DA/PA checker.

It’s free to use and if you are looking up other solutions, be sure to run through this list of the best SEO tools reviews.

11. MailChimp

Email marketing represents the highest return on investment in terms of digital marketing. But if your company is only dabbling in the email marketing field you are missing out.

Email marketing needs to be targeted, managed and tracked to be effective. MailChimp is a great tool for small businesses.

12. Famoid

Everyone is obsessed with social media and making sure they reach as many people as possible. This can clearly be seen by how much the top influencers are getting paid when posting content and showing brands and products within their updates.

While everyone starts at ZERO, there are ways to speed up this process.

Famoid is a social media marketing platform that allows people to grow their following fast — no matter if it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.

In addition to growing your follower, they also have options for increase shares, likes, and views as well.

Moving Beyond Digital Marketing Tools

Remember, digital marketing tools are only a means to an end. Many business owners and marketing professionals feel that once they have the right tools the rest will take care of itself.

Not so. You need to lead your company into growth.

Now that you have the 10 essential tools covered, make sure you are headed in the right direction.

Learn more now about the hacks that will make your company grow faster.

5 Effective Methods to Goal Setting for Business Growth and Success

Have you made resolutions to get your business to the next level?

Are your goals SMART enough?

Are they inspiring your employees to take action?

Goals are the observable results of achievement. Goal setting is the process of deciding what you want to achieve, identifying the required resources, and developing an action plan.

If you have yet to set your business goals, consider the benefits of goal setting below.

Five Top Benefits of Goal Setting

As an entrepreneur or business owner, you shouldn’t ignore the importance of goals setting to your business. Goals are important in providing direction and focus to grow of your business.

This is especially true for anyone who might be working from home or stuck in a cubicle all day. When you are working on your own and not told exactly what to do, you need to be setting your own goals and the determination to get things done.

Whether it’s writing down such goals on a piece of paper and then checking them off, or using a mobile or online application, it’s all about getting your actions into motion to simply get more done.

Other benefits and methods to accomplishing this include:

1. Inspire and Sustain Progress

The importance of goals setting lies in the ability of goals to inspire and sustain focus. When your business sets SMART goals, your employees know what to do and they can gauge their performance.

As they achieve the smaller steps, they grow in confidence to work towards achieving bigger results. This results in the constant growth of your business. Your employees will grow in their skills and get motivated to keep improving as they see results.

2. Using Video to Increase Productivity

With so many different productivity tools and applications on the market today, it’s important to know where your strengths lie when trying to increase productivity or motivating others.

Through the use of an online creation tool like mysimpleshow, the ability is there to create interactive and engaging whiteboard animation videos to better portray your message.

You can see a clear example of this in the video example below.

At the same time, there are many personal benefits for creating your own whiteboard video to accomplish more and hit your goals.

As mentioned on the simpleshow website, creating such animation and explainer videos aren’t just for marketing and teaching others, they are also great for inspiration, mind-mapping, and hitting your own goals as well. In addition to goal setting, they’ve also seen massive engagement improvement with school students and professionals when delivering information in an audio and visual platform.

Their site went on to say, “Our illustration-style simpleshow explainer videos are most effective if you”:

  • need to tackle complex tasks
  • want to explain difficult topics in a simple and digestible way
  • have to explain almost inexplicable information

Before taking on your next big project, be sure to consider your options with laying everything out in video form, and them working your way through it and sharing it with team members along the way.

3. Increase Productivity and Profitability

When setting goals for your business, you’re aiming at getting more work done and increasing your earnings. Setting goals defines what exactly you want to achieve, and how you’ll get there.

The process also includes identifying the needed resources, skills, and competencies. With this knowledge, you can train your employees or hire skills, which keep your business on track for consistent growth.

Setting goals also improves the decision-making abilities of the organization. The information you collect during the goal-setting process helps you identify where the business is at and chart out a path for the future. Informed decisions will eventually result in business growth.

4. Measure Progress

Your business can’t ignore the importance of goals in measuring progress. Good goals are measurable both in the time it takes to achieve them and the results achieved.

Monitoring is a crucial part of goals setting through which your business measures how far it is at achieving its goals.

Here, the business identifies areas for improvement as well as weaknesses. This way, your business can adjust accordingly to fit into the changing economic times, and you can set bigger goals if you have achieved the previous ones.

This same task can also be accomplished by using the Seinfeld Strategy as well.

To measure progress in your achievement of goals, you need to build a monitoring system such as recording the progress of a task.

5. Collaboration Among Employees

Your employees will work together more when they have a common goal. They can share resources, expertise, and insights. Eventually, your business grows from the harmonious working of the employees.

Goal setting should be a regular practice for your business. You can learn more about how goal setting can improve your business’ performance on this blog.

Six tips that were laid out in this article for improving productivity and collaboration with other employees are:

  1. Stretch your outlook.
  2. Know the key steps of the goal-setting process.
  3. Create a nimble goal development team.
  4. Gain buy-in.
  5. Communicate, communicate, then communicate some more.
  6. Remember to celebrate achievements.

Grow Your Business In 2019

Goal setting builds the foundation of your business, which employees refer to for inspiration and direction. The above benefits of goal setting should provide you with enough reasons to set goals for your business.

However, the most important task in this whole process is making sure you have a goal in place and are taking action to achieve it.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have. I’d love to hear from you and see how we can start working together.

Top Business Expenses (and Deductions) Entrepreneurs Need to Know

The internet has made us all potential entrepreneurs.

And the dream and reality of owning a business is one of the most liberating feelings that you can have. After all, there’s a reason why 27 million people are entrepreneurs.

While there are many benefits to owning your own company, there’s also plenty of crucial information you need to keep in mind. This is especially true when it comes to finances.

Every business is different, and so are the many ways they can save money, write off expenses, and funnel money into different companies or investments. The best way to approach any of these topics of concepts, is to first consult with a financial advisor or attorney. However, there are many resources out there to learn from before you next legal and accounting meeting.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we got you covered.

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about common types of business expenses (and deductions). Be sure to read through the list below, take a few notes, and also have some questions in mind for the next time you meet with your financial and legal consultant.

Expenses

Whether your company has one employee or a whole team at your disposal, your business is going to have ongoing expenses. Here are some you need to keep an eye on that many people forget to consider.

Utilities

Just like when living in a home, it’s impossible to avoid utility expenses when running your business. While all of us are accustomed to paying our utility bills, business owners sometimes focus too much on tangible costs (equipment, rent, etc.).

Gas, electric, and sewage expenses are all staples when it comes to budgeting for business utilities. Additionally, you’ll need to consider your Internet service expenses, including Internet service and server hosting (if necessary).

Advertising/Marketing

You could have a product or service that shakes the foundation of your industry. But, it won’t mean much if nobody knows about your business. Whether it’s through Facebook ads or an extensive multimedia campaign, you’re going to have to allocate money for marketing as an entrepreneur.

Even if you’re a smaller, local business that doesn’t have the need for large-scale advertising, you still may need to employ the services of an SEO specialist to help get your name on the front page of Google.

If you forego including this in your budget, most of your other work will go unrewarded.

Office Supplies

As previously mentioned, entrepreneurs often focus on tangible expenses when conducting their financial planning. But, these often include larger purchases, such as furniture, computers, and company vehicles.

Office supplies, however, are a necessity that can quickly add up to hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars.

Common items that can add to the cost include:

  • Filing cabinets
  • Office chairs
  • Printers/printer ink
  • Staplers
  • Pens/pencils
  • USB thumb drives

Necessary office products can include intangible goods, as well, such as software or monthly fees for necessary applications.

Insurance

To avoid going bankrupt in the event of a catastrophe, it’s imperative as an entrepreneur to have the proper insurance coverage.

In general, liability insurance and property insurance are vital policies to budget for. For example, liability insurance will help protect you financially if someone (an employee or non-employee) experiences bodily harm on your property.

If a fire/natural disaster were to occur or if someone steals property from your business, your insurance coverage will help you cover the costs.

Deductions

Luckily, with expenses come deductions. While they vary depending on the type of company that you run, there are many most entrepreneurs can take advantage of.

For anyone running a business online, purchasing a domain name and web hosting are two examples of common deductions.

Legal Fees

When many people think of the term “legal fees”, they often picture the inside of the courtroom. They may even imagine a consultation with a lawyer.

But, legal fees can stem from many more scenarios, including accounting, bookkeeping, and consultations.

Fortunately, however, you’re able to deduct these expenses as a business owner.

But, the cost must be reasonable for the supplied service. For example, you can’t overpay a friend for their legal services and then expect to write off the entire expense.

Home Office

If you happen to run your business from home, you’ll be able to secure a significant tax deduction. This is calculated by determining what percentage of the property in square footage is used for business.

There is a catch, however: this space must be used exclusively for business.

In other words, if you have a desk in your bedroom that you use for your company, you won’t be able to claim this space as your home office.

Furthermore, there needs to be a legitimate reason to have this designated space other than as an area for productivity. Thus, if you’re not meeting with clients or conducting administrative tasks, you may not be able to get the deduction you want.

Travel

For business-related trips that require an overnight stay, you’ll be able to deduct various expenses when filing your taxes.

These can include:

  • Housing
  • Airfare
  • Meals
  • Auto expenses
  • Luggage and shipping

This is especially useful when traveling over long distances or for an extended period of time. When it comes to international travel, though, there are different rules to keep in mind.

Entertainment + Meals

This is perhaps one of the most popular deductions that entrepreneurs file for. But, this doesn’t mean that every meal or outing can result in a tax deduction.

The expenses must be necessary and business-related, and there must be a chance of an actual payoff. In other words, going to a casual lunch with friends is not a deductible expense.

Going to a bar for food and drinks with a client, however, often is. You can also deduct meals/entertainment that you provide for clients or employees on your own property.

Understanding Types of Business Expenses Can Seem Difficult

But it doesn’t have to be.

With the above information about the different types of business expenses in mind, you’ll be well on your way to making sure that you can scale your business as fast as possible.

Want to learn more about how to run your business efficiently? Make sure to check out this article.