Make a difference with your corporate donations

Make a difference with your corporate donations

These days it’s increasingly important for businesses to be seen as socially and environmentally responsible, by donating time or money (or both) to meaningful campaigns and institutions. Not only can these financial gifts be advantageous in the business to which you’re donating, but they can also be beneficial to your own business by raising your profile or the perceptions of the work you do. Next time you go to make a corporate donation, consider if there’s a charity or worthwhile cause whose values, ethos or ambitions match your own.

If you work in education: donate to a school

Education is fundamental to success, and if you work within the field of education few people will respect that more than you. That’s why, when looking for a beneficiary for your corporate donation, finding a school who could make use of your money would be a great place to start.

Reach out to schools in your local area; it maybe you can donate to a collection of schools across the country or indeed the world. For example, Cognita Schools has a portfolio of educational establishments in three continents including Clifton Lodge School based in London and encourages students to strive academically.

If you work in manufacturing: invest in a product of the future

As a company at the forefront of modern solutions, using your CSR budget to invest in small, trailblazing innovations could be a savvy move on your behalf; it will reflect well on you and help push the industry forward. Of course, you should ensure that the product you’re funding isn’t a competitor, or threat, to your own manufacturing first!

If you work in the medical world: sponsor a fitness event

Corporate sponsorship can be big business, offering a magnitude of publicity opportunities. There are many organized fitness events, such as marathons or triathlons, often looking for sponsors. Generally speaking, you’ll need to put some money in for finishers’ packs and some other branded merchandise, but the pack in terms of visibility can be enormous. Additionally, you’ll be promoting a healthy lifestyle, which is likely important for your brand. 

If you work in hospitality and events: fund care for the homeless

Modern cities are often an image of polarization, such as makeshift tents lining the world-famous Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. As such, organizers of high-end events would do well to donate money towards homeless shelters and other charities looking to help those on the streets. Beyond financial aid, there’s often a large amount of food remaining at the end of an event, which doesn’t need to be thrown in the garbage if there’s somewhere that will make better use of it.

Meaningful donations: a ‘win-win’ for your business

It’s time to be smarter about where you spend your corporate donations. If planned properly, corporate sponsorship or funding can be a strong strategic tool for your business; look for beneficiaries with whom you share a common goal, or team up with a company in a parallel field. It may be the start of a long-lasting, mutually advantageous arrangement.

How Upgrading Your Company’s Tech Can SAVE You Money

How Upgrading Your Company’s Tech Can SAVE You Money

It may sound counterintuitive at first blush, but in practice, you can actually save money by upgrading your company’s tech. Indeed, many businesses soldier onward with outdated or outmoded technologies at their own detriment. And while it may be understandable that business owners are reticent to shell out hard-earned savings on new technologies, it will actually prove more expensive to hold out in the long run.

Make Productivity a Priority

More so than ever before, the modern worker relies upon their cell phone and their laptop to get their assignments done. That’s partially because the contemporary workspace has shifted from the office to –– well, anywhere and everywhere. So you need to be mindful that your employees need the technology to allow them to work remotely. In terms of tech that could mean anything from purchasing new smartphones, to replacing old monitors, or even installing a cloud-based phone system. The good news is, according to Votacall, a Hosted VoIP system can prove more cost-effective than traditional landline options anyway.

Perception is Reality

Whether it’s fair or not, the harsh truth is that people believe that older technologies and ways of doing things are less effective than modern methods. Though that might not always be the case, you need to recognize that holding onto archaic tech is going to make you look bad –– not only to clients, but also to potential hires and partners.

Cut Out Repair Costs

Even if you’re no longer paying off your current tech products, they still might be costing you money. If you’ve had to dip into your business capital to cover repairs to old modems or monitors –– or if you have to pay an exorbitant amount for IT support –– you’re really not saving any money. Rather, you’re creating a problem by ignoring it.

Competition Never Sleeps

The corporate world can be a ruthless environment, but the reality is if you don’t spring to find the newest and best solutions to your problems, someone else in your industry will. So there’s little sense in continuing with ineffective resources simply because it helps balance the books. (Which makes loans all the more important for companies to explore.) Without a boost in tech-power from time-to-time, you won’t have any books left to balance. In the end, it all goes back to a tried-and-true business axiom: you have to spend money to make money. Keep that in mind when it comes to making important purchases around the office and you’ll be on the path of success soon enough.

Why Embracing Technology is Critical to Sales Success

Why Embracing Technology is Critical to Sales Success

(Image Credit: everythingpossible / 123RF Stock Photo)

For most people, sales are considered more a game of knowing how to read people, and how to convince them to buy what you’ve got. It’s an art that only the best “people person” can master. But the best salesperson understands that certain scientific tools can help when it comes to this art. Technology has become more and more critical to sales in the modern age. In fact, over 82% of top-selling salespeople cite sales software as critical to their jobs, according to a LinkedIn survey in 2016.

Evaluate and Decide with Data

One of the biggest uses of technology in sales today is gathering data to help sales teams make better decisions. Data on what customers want, what they buy, when they buy it, how often they buy, and much more, is vital for sales development. And what’s more, the use of data collection in sales has changed the way customers expect to be treated. Now, with so many sales teams relying on personal data to better sell to individuals, customers expect to be treated with personal touches. Emails with a name included, sales triggered by GPS location, and much more are all a part of the way customers now expect to interact with businesses.

According to Activayte, there are four main benefits to using technology to collect data on your customers:

  • It helps you maintain consistency. Your customers will always know exactly what to expect because your relationship with them will be standardized based on the data you’ve collected. For example, you won’t be asking the same repeat customer over and over to sign up for a new customer deal when they visit your website – the website will automatically recognize that they’ve been there before.
  • It helps you develop organized contacts and accounts that can be classified into profiles. This allows you to build email campaigns and message templates directly to targeted members of your audience.
  • It helps you integrate the many points of sale into a single experience for the consumer. This means that they can seamlessly switch between mobile, desktop, and in-person shopping at their convenience.
  • It helps you better understand what your target market is, and how you serve them. That allows you to set better goals and measure your success.

The Future of Sales Technology is AI

Wondering what the wave of the future will bring for sales professionals? Artificial intelligence is the next thing on the horizon that will change the way we sell to consumers. AI in sales can make administrative tasks, like sending out automated emails and categorizing data, much simpler. AI can also help you determine what deals should be invested in, and which should be passed up, by analyzing market data, predicting outcomes, and more. For sales teams, this means you could, for example, accurately predict the outcome of potential promotions based on your customer history.

Together, both present-day and future technology are working to make sales even more effective and easy.

Why Your Business Needs a Management Analyst

Why Your Business Needs a Management Analyst

Every business can be analyzed using common marketing metrics to determine the efficiency of current operations and the outlook for the future. However, many small to medium-sized companies are not yet implementing a high level of analysis to steer their brand in the right direction. Instead, conventional managers will typically focus their attention towards making sure everything is done right in real-time, versus the more retrospective approach of reviewing everything after it’s done to see if it was done right. If not, they will help you find ways to ensure the process is enhanced going forward. Now that you have a basic understanding of the importance of business analysis, consider the following reasons why every company should consider obtaining the assistance of a management analyst:

1. Addressing Faults Based on Experience and Expertise

Someone who has earned an online business management degree will be much more knowledgeable about the use of advanced tools and methods to analyze and discover areas worth working on within your business. Thus, it’s always best to hire an analyst who can show that they’ve graduated from a prestigious management analyst degree program, such as the increasingly popular ASU Online platform. By hiring a professional with this kind of educational credential, you can be confident that your company is always being examined and reviewed for better results and profits.

2. Creating More Proficient Workflow Strategies

Once you have an expert analyst on board, it will be easier to discover the subtle and easily overlooked stumbling blocks or deficiencies that are currently hindering workflow. Although this is something that should be addressed by the management team as a whole, taking a stats-based approach and heeding the input of a management analyst will ensure that your weekly and monthly board meetings produce desirable outcomes in terms of the production of generating new strategies and short-term agendas. Building a solid workflow that completely eliminates all possible source of time-wasting should be on the top of every burgeoning company’s list of priorities.

3. Promoting Expansion via the Identification of New Opportunities

Finally, business management analysts don’t just study and comment on the past, they also help create new routes for future growth via activities like competitive analysis and metrics-based suggestions. In fact, learning how to deliver relatively accurate projections and act accordingly is part of the curriculum taught to students at the aforementioned Arizona State University online degree program for business management analysts.

Ensuring Your Company is Prepared Facilitate Optimal Performance

In closing, the primary reason why hiring a business management analyst is so important for any company that truly wants to break through their historical boundaries and set new fiscal records is the amount of insight they bring to the table. Every company needs someone that can look at the data and quickly recognize inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement. After all, a company can only perform as optimally as the employees who are tasked with running it on a regular basis, so it makes sense to have someone who can review that performance and the results of it to determine which areas need to be worked on first.

The Big Business Benefits of Compliance

The Big Business Benefits of Compliance

Just the word compliance is enough to have corporate leaders and employees groaning.

The idea of compliance is one that seems arduous, tedious and often unnecessary, but is that the reality?

There are real, significant business benefits for organizations that focus on compliance, and it’s a lot simpler to maintain a culture of compliance thanks to technology and security solutions like Reciprocity Labs.

When an organization can embrace the business benefits of compliance, they’re likely to see it as a worthwhile, valuable venture, so what are some of those advantages for compliant companies?

More Confidence Means More Innovation

When your organization is working within a strong framework of compliance, it can improve confidence at every level.

When a sense of confidence is pervasive, it prevents hesitation which in turn lets all team members move forward with innovation and new ideas without unnecessary limitations.

When you have a culture of compliance enforced through technology, there’s not that sense that people don’t know how to operate or that worry that they could be doing something wrong.

Reputation

When a business in any industry isn’t able to adhere to regulatory guidelines and meet compliance requirements, it can cause big problems not just internally, but externally as well.

We’re at a time when customer loyalty is based on trust, and trustworthy organizations are ones that avoid compliance-based scandals.

One example of this is what happens with a data breach. A data breach can be caused by issues of non-compliance, and if that does happen, it can tarnish the reputation of a business for a long time, or maybe even forever.

When you have a strong foundation of compliance, you’re also more likely to adhere to higher levels of social, ethical and environmental sustainability. That’s good in the eyes of customers, and therefore good for business.

Modern customers want to work with companies that share their values on every level, and this starts with a focus on compliance.

More Transparency and Available Data

Organization transparency is important to break down silos and reduce inefficiencies, and the use of big data is important to drive smart decision-making.

Both of these areas can relate to compliance as well.

First, a compliant organization is one that’s going to have more transparency inherently, and then when with compliance comes strong record-keeping, which translates to more available data that can be used to drive information-based decision-making.

Distractions

When a company is busy dealing with issues related to non-compliance, such as legal costs, or lost productivity, they’re not focusing on what they’re there to do which is make money.

Being compliant can allow for the elimination of unnecessary distractions within an organization, and there are more resources available to put toward increasing the bottom line.

Compliance is no easy feat, particularly in the face of growing regulatory environments, but luckily for businesses, there are evolving technological tools available to help them maintain compliance and improve their efficiency, transparency, reputation, and productivity. Being compliant isn’t just an unnecessary headache—it makes good business sense.

Importance of loans in modern world

Importance of loans in modern world

With a good use of credit, a large number of situations in the personal, family and business economy of these times can be solved. A bad use of credit can lead us to have an economic problem. The loan is therefore useful and the problems are caused by us, when we make an inappropriate use such as: contracting a debt greater than our ability to pay.

The loans can be for individuals or for companies or even legal persons. To borrow properly it is important to take the credit indicated for our case, for example, to know exactly the amounts of capital and interest payments. A promissory note is a one-year loan, which requires quarterly payments of 25% of the capital, it is very likely that this type of instrument is not suitable for a natural person and it would be better to look for a loan by installments, for example to three years.

The credits for natural persons are generally those of consumption (purchase of vehicles or credit cards). You can also borrow to set up a business or purchase an asset. The credits can be short, medium and long term, look for the option that suits you and remember, that you should not get into debt if you have doubts or do not understand exactly the obligations assumed.

Obviously, the recommendation that we are going to give you is that you should get into debt with the bank of your preference, but always go to formal markets, to go to lenders you will pay usury rates, hence the importance of being banked. You can also consider getting cashfloat as long as it is provided by a legal company.

Do not place money in institutions, companies or with people who are not banks or regulated and supervised institutions. Another aspect of interest when it comes to borrowing is that the rates are attractive, even the highest credit cards are at 29%, since all rates are below inflation, is therefore a good opportunity to borrow and buy an asset or make an investment. If you also qualify for an activity that has regulated rates such as agriculture, tourism, manufacturing or housing, the recommendation to borrow becomes more important. It is a good business to get into debt, as long as you have the ability to pay.

In the case of companies, I am going to refer to the main modalities: They represent the money received from a financial institution and the net creditor balance of the current accounts that are in the books of the banks. Bank loans are requested for different reasons, among which the following can be cited: (1) financing of working capital; (2) purchase of inventories; (3) acquisition of fixed assets; (4) cancellation of debts.

A loan is received for financing working capital, when a company requires cash to pay off short-term debts or to acquire a property that is quickly realizable. When this type of financing is requested, there must be reasonable assurance in obtaining sources of income for the cancellation of the debt.

The second option for which a loan may be required from a financial institution is for the purchase of inventories, which are goods that are made in the short term. The third reason is the acquisition of fixed assets, which aims to take a debt that will be invested in the acquisition of a long-term asset that must be used to generate operating income.

4 Reasons Why Every Startup Needs a Website

4 Reasons Why Every Startup Needs a Website

When starting a new business, there are some things you can go without and some things which are an absolute necessity. Unless you have access to unlimited funding, which is doubtful in most cases, you need to prioritize spending, but the one thing which you should never do without is a website. Every startup needs a web presence, even if you will not be doing business online. Why? Here are 4 good reasons why you cannot go without a website.

1. This Is How You Will Be Found

As far back as 2012, Search Engine Land conducted a survey on how people find local businesses. At that time, the statistics were already staggering. Of those surveyed, 85 percent stated that they conducted an online search for local businesses.

Since then, Google has made major changes to their search algorithms and it is now even more important to have a website, but more importantly, a responsive website. Since most of those searching for new businesses will be conducting mobile searches, make sure your website is responsive so that Google will rank you highly in the mobile SERPs. If you want to be found quickly as a new business, a website is a must!

2. A Website Helps Build Brand Awareness

When someone finds your website, you have the perfect opportunity to tell them who you are, what you do, and why you are better than the competition. What do you have to offer in your market that no one else has? Here is where you can set yourself up in a position of authority.

A blog is a great way to establish trust in your brand because you are giving your visitors tangible information they can use. Brand awareness is something many startups fail to achieve but with the right website and reliable hosting, you can be the go-to expert in your niche.

3. A Place to Offer the Ultimate in Customer Service

Great customer service will be high on the list, so remember that accessibility is a key factor. There is a general lack of great customer service and one of the major complaints among consumers is not being able to contact anyone who can help with questions or address complaints. Keep in mind that you will need web hosting that is online at least 97 percent of the time.

Check out reviews on sites like hostingkingdom.com to see what other startups and customers are saying about reliable hosting. If you can’t be reached, how can you expect to satisfy customers? Therefore, your website must offer more than one way to contact you. Fillable forms are great as are chat features, email addresses and at least one phone number where your customer service team can be reached.

4. A Way to Own Your Market

Until you’ve watched the competition pass you by, you’ll never truly understand the importance of a website for your local business. Remember, this is how people find you and how you tell them who you are. Give them a way to ask all the questions they need answered and you’ll have a customer for life. A website will help you establish your presence, build brand, and with the right strategies, you can literally own your market.

How to Make Your Business More Likeable

How to Make Your Business More Likeable

Brand loyalty and brand recognition are arguably the hardest parts of constructing a business image. That means starting from scratch and reaching out to customers that have yet to form an emotional connection with your brand. After all, brands that allow an emotional connection to form with their customers are twice as likely to keep them.

Easier said than done, because not every brand and company has an image that is ingrained in to our daily life, and those that do have cultivated and nurtured that image for a long time.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for a new brand to instantly connect to its customers. There are plenty of example of brands that have done just that, and have made it seem as if they were here since forever. It’s possible for every brand to achieve this while following a few tips and tricks.

Social media

Being active on social media is a must. Hiring a social media specialist is definitely worth it, and if your budget allows it, then definitely hire one, because social media is highly important in gaining a foothold in the market. Companies that are active on social media platforms consistently perform better than companies that do not, especially smaller ones.

Be constantly available

Not only on social media, but through live voice and video chat. This means to be available to people either for customer support or simply to bring them up to speed on the latest development of your brand and company. This can either be done through the website of the company or through a service an app. Customers always like it more when a company has a direct interest in what they have to say, especially if a human face is the one showing an interest.

Personify your brand

Be always in control of what your brand is where it’s shown, and then present it in the best light possible. The most important thing is to never forget the distinct identity your brand has, and to always know what your customers need from it.

Consistency

As it is with many aspects of life, it’s the same with branding – consistency is key. That means to only be constantly available, but to keep your word as a brand and your quality standards to a high level. Communicating this consistency is an important factor as well, and there are plenty of channels for that.

Reaching out

Reaching out can take many forms. It’s the basis of online advertising, whether it’s a standard marketing strategy, gmail advertising, social media marketing, or simply traditional marketing methods, it doesn’t matter. It’s important to make the extra mile and connect with customers to find out more about their preferences, needs, and wants.

After your business grows and becomes liked and respected, of course your sales numbers will grow, but that means that no matter the growth, efforts have to be genuine. Only then, the customers will come to a realisation that your brand is worthwhile, and they will find themselves loyal customers that will elevate your brand head and shoulders above the rest.

Basic Online Marketing Strategies to Know

Basic Online Marketing Strategies to Know

The greatest opportunity the Internet has given is levelling the playing field that even start-up companies can compete with big corporations without shelling out money for billboards, flyers, or posters. But digital marketing is a feeble thing; one minute algorithm says long tail keywords work, the next minute, it doesn’t. So as business owners, not only do we have to supervise operations, but we have to be on top of trends.

Creating digital marketing strategies start with setting goals. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website? Do you have a new product to promote? Do you want customers to share their experiences with your product through a hashtag? And so on. But this assumes that you already know what you are lacking in terms of strengthening your online presence – what if you don’t?

Honestly, if this is your first real foray in online marketing, being confused is a natural reaction. So in this article, we will explore some best practices that will form the basis for some of your online efforts.

Website creation

Start-ups don’t usually have a team yet specifically for online efforts. If this applies to you, don’t worry about not knowing website codes, CSS, Java or any development language. When you purchase a domain from an Internet registry like Crazy Domains, you will be given an option to create a website using the website builder. A website builder is basically a template in which you can drag and drop elements you want on your website.

Creating a website is almost an imperative because it solidifies your online identity. Yes, your Facebook page may already have all the likes and engagement, but your website adds value to your social media page and tells Google that you are a legitimate business.

Always do tests when making changes

A/B testing is a key practice all digital marketers should know. Basically, if you want to know how responsive your audience is going to be when it comes to button colors, call-to-actions, or even website navigation — A/B testing can run the experiment and show you which gets people to interact with your page more. If you are going to make explicit changes like relocating certain tabs or CTA buttons, always do tests first before finalizing.

Learn how to study the analytics

Another way to make sure you are making the right decision is to check analytics. This is data that records visitor behavior on your web page, and by studying it, you are getting a glimpse of how your customers use the Internet. You will see search words where your website appears, demographics, common interests your visitors share, and so on. This will help guide you if you plan on taking out a product or introducing a new one into the market. You can anticipate their reaction and then create strategies that will further good reactions and dampen bad ones.

Be creative with content

The problem with some of the online creators right now is they are pandering to their audience, incessantly using trends and memes in their content. Be bold, don’t succumb to it. Always prioritize relevant and good content. If your online identity is someone who is witty, then be funny and creative. If you are an expert in a certain field and would like to maintain that reputation, then produce informative content.

The most important online marketing best practice is being patient. Yeah, a little on the cheesy side but it bears repeating. Results from your strategies will vacillate between really well to astonishingly bad, and sometimes it is because of the season. Maybe people are just not into the product that you are offering now, but they will be in the next month. So always give yourself 3 to 6 months before making a final change.

Social Media Marketing: A Beginner’s Walkthrough

Social Media Marketing: A Beginner’s Walkthrough

As a society, we’re on a social media platform of some kind, all the time. It’s become second-nature to most people, and it’s not surprising then that businesses of all types have taken the plunge into social media marketing. No matter what you do, there’s an obvious benefit to getting your product exposure from the huge numbers of people using social media platforms. But if you haven’t got into social media marketing yet, it can seem like an uphill battle at this point. Where should you start? The good news is, because the way we interact with content is changing, it’s a great time to get into the game. And these simple steps can help you get started today!

Strategize First

Before you can delve into social media marketing, you need to first understand where your target audience will most likely see your posts –– and when they’ll see them, too. Creating a great social media campaign will go to waste if you don’t identify what platform your audience views most.

Play it Niche

It can be tempting to want to try and share your business with all seven billion people on the planet. However, the best way to advertise yourself on social media is to find your niche supporters, and cater to them. Whether your company sells inoculation loops or barbecue-flavored chips, there’s a market waiting for your posts. You just need to find them.

Write Good Content –– Consistently

One good Facebook post or tweet isn’t likely to transform your company’s social media image overnight. Instead, it takes many cogent and timely pieces to create an effective brand on social media. This is where the hard work comes in, but stay diligent; it’s worth the effort. And remember, creativity is always welcome. 

Never Stop Learning

Track the metrics on your social media campaigns. Which ones are working and which ones aren’t? Don’t be satisfied with having only reached a portion of your target audience. The brilliant aspect of social media is the potential to connect us with people anywhere at anytime. That’s why a good social media marketing strategy is always introspective, and constantly looking to improve. If your content stagnates, you’re headed in the wrong direction.

Reap the Benefits

The last, and best part of any good social media marketing campaign is converting the leads you generated on social media into clients and customers. A good social media marketing strategy can drive solid leads to your website in droves. From there, it’s just a matter of closing the deal!