Practical tips you can apply now to improve retail store sales

Practical tips you can apply now to improve retail store sales

You want to increase your retail sales, that’s a given. The purpose of any business is to bring in paying clients, and the best way to accomplish this is through marketing. If sales are low, then perhaps there’s something wrong and you must figure it out fast.

In our competitive world, getting results is all that matters. Take note that successful retailers aren’t more intelligent or talented that you are, they just learned to do things effectively while making money in the process.

Check out the practical tips below that you can apply to improve your retail sales.

Start advertising more. Sometimes businesses cut on spending for their marketing when they should actually be spending more. It’s good to increase your marketing efforts during slow periods of sale since the entire industry will be looking out to get the most out of a decreased market share.

The best way to do this is through social media that’s connected to your business website. If you still don’t have social media presence, then now is the best time to create pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube – basically the channels that your business will benefit from.

As to your website, all promotions from your social media channels should directly go to a specific page on your website. Any business owner worth his or her salt knows that a website is a necessary investment. Start by doing a domain name search to help you name your businesses’ website name and address. A good domain name and hosting provider should be able to guide you throughout the entire steps of taking your business online, so don’t hesitate to ask for their assistance and to make use of their other tools and integrated guides.

Assess your pricing strategy. When buying and pricing your products or services, always consider the cost of goods and that your retail shop is constantly making a profit at the price point. Your product price must always be competitive while still making a profit for your business. At the end of the day, the appropriate price is the price that your clients are willing to pay for your products or services.

Improve your store’s looks. Consider leveraging on cross-merchandising techniques and impulse sales opportunities. Small changes like different lighting fixtures and creative displays may be added to attract passing customers. Try playing videos for product or service education, entertainment, and any other promotional or upsell tie-in. A lively store is always a customer magnet.

Aren’t we forgetting something? Of course not – it’s practising good customer service!

Great customer service has always been a major factor to increase sales regardless of the season. Be sympathetic to your customers to know their wants and needs. The next step is to educate them about your offerings. Lastly, let them know that you appreciate their loyalty or business. Consider offering value-added products and services.

Next, educate them about the products. Finally, let your customer know that you appreciate their business. Offer value-added services and products. Create a mailing list by asking for contact information from each customer. Remember, the customer is looking for an experience and not just a product.

End Note

That’s it! Apply these practical tips to retail store and watch as your sales improve. Best of luck! Have any other tips to share your fellow business owners? Share it with us.

How to Find the Right Vehicle for Your Business

How to Find the Right Vehicle for Your Business

If you are running a sizable organization, you will have to soon consider buying a vehicle solely for business purposes. This is particularly important in companies where the employees are expected to constantly be on the move. Here, having to rely on taxis is not only costly, it can be time-consuming as well. If you are on the hunt for the perfect car, you know how difficult this endeavor can be. After all, you don’t have to be a car fanatic to know just how many options there are out there for you. To help you narrow down the list, here are some guidelines to stick to:

Assess the Business’ Needs

When looking for a company car, you need to assess the needs of the company and its employees. A good starting question is, how much space do you require? For instance, do your workers travel independently or do they sometimes have to journey as a group for presentations? The other thing to consider is storage space. Just how much room is there to store pamphlets, documents, and anything else your workers may need to carry with them? If you don’t need a lot of room for people or storage, you will find that a good-sized car such as the Toyota Corolla will suit your needs perfectly.

Figure Out the Budget

Of course, you will need to determine how much you are willing to spend on transportation each month. This doesn’t just refer to the amount that you need to shell out for the loan or insurance payments. It also alludes to the maintenance as well as the fuel consumption of the car. Now, if you are looking to keep this types of costs to a minimum, you should look at the Honda Accord. This vehicle is reliable, affordable, and has a decent fuel economy as well.

Consider External Factors

When choosing a vehicle, you will need to think about the environmental factors that the car will have to withstand. For instance, does the area in question experience extremes in temperature? If so, you will need to find a car that is suited to the regional conditions. The other thing to consider is the terrain that the vehicle will have to drive over each day. Is it smooth, paved roads, or does the car have to overcome rugged terrain and uneven roads? The reason that this is such an important factor is because getting a vehicle that is suitable to the right conditions will ensure that it will last longer.

Determine the Effect

To a certain extent, your business car is more than just a way to get from one place to another. It is also a style statement and a representation of your business. So, it is a good idea trying to decide just what statement it is that you want the car to make. Do you want something comfortable and relatable or are you looking for something sleek and sophisticated?

These are the elements that you will need to look at when you want to purchase a company car.

Things to look for in a good business lawyer

Things to look for in a good business lawyer

Running and maintaining a successful business is wrought with continuous difficulties and ever-changing approaches, these difficulties and changes are what makes business both exciting and challenging. There are many areas that can be covered and observed from within a business model, but there are often areas which need outside ideas and help and one of the most important of these is in the legal sector. This is one of the most important aspects of a business no matter how big or small the business is. There are always some legal areas which will need attention and the help of a good business lawyer. These can save you head-aches in the future and help to resolve disputes that may arise throughout the life time of your business, however, choosing the wrong lawyer can be as bad as not having one at all. There are always a few things you should look out for in any lawyer but particularly in a business lawyer.

Versed in the areas where you need attention

There are many different aspects to business law and you want to ensure that the firm and lawyer you choose are versed in the areas that are most important to you. You can check this out in a number, consulting with the firm, asking businesses who have had dealings with them and by looking at their track record. Commercial lawyers should be versed in all aspects of your business from initial purchase to negotiating deals and sales.

References and experience

If you are a new business owner you want to ensure you have chosen a lawyer who has a good track record in getting the best results for his clients and who can work to the schedule that your business requires. It is best to ask other business who have worked with your chosen firm and see what they thought of the professionalism and outcome of whatever legal process was taking place. This will allow you to make and informed decision on the correct firm to approach.

Established firm

You will need a firm that can work to deadlines and take on multiple tasks when required. Your business may be dealing with an array of issues such as employee disputes, commercial purchases, tax issues and a whole host of other events. You want to choose a firm which is large enough to take on these challenges and can see it out to the end. The size of your business should also correspond to the size of the firm you task with dealing with your legal issues.

Commercial lawyers should make you feel as if your business is the most important to them. It obviously may not be true but it at least shows their involvement and professionalism in holding your business in the same high regard that you do. Looking at some of these areas in a good business lawyer will allow for a better choice in lawyer and a better legal approach to your business.

Simple Things Every Company Needs To Succeed

Simple Things Every Company Needs To Succeed

Managing a business is difficult, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. You have to have the right attitude and mindset to make it seem easier than it is in reality. Avoid over thinking it and making you sick trying to decide what to do next.

Analyze where you’re at and where you’d like to be. Step back and give your company room to breathe while you sort it all out. Prepare yourself to make changes that are going to affect your business, but not put any extra stress in on you in the process. See simple things every company needs to succeed.

Goals

It’s quite simple; you need goals and objectives to keep you moving forward. You don’t want to stay where you are forever. Your goals will keep you and your team on track for advancing and improving your business. Work won’t get done without goals and objectives in place. Have a vision and share it with everyone. Map it all out and communicate to your team what they’re working towards each day. This will motivate them to do their job better because they’ll have a purpose.

Hardworking Employees

You have to have hardworking employees in your corner if you’re going to succeed. You can’t do it all alone. Be strategic in your hiring decisions and only bring on board those who you know are fit for the role and company. Take your time and do it right the first time. Ask multiple people in your company to interview the candidate and make sure they match your list of desired qualities. You want everyone on the same page and working together toward a common goal. Lousy employees will bring you down and make more work for everyone.

Policies & Procedures

Write policies and procedures that staff is to follow to keep order in your office. You never know when an incident will arise and you’ll need to refer to your documents for guidance. Protect yourself and your business by having guidelines in place for sticky situations. For instance, employees may act out, or you could be faced with a hard drive failure. In this case, you would know who to call for an HDD repair when at your office because you were prepared. Not knowing what to do in an emergency wastes time and puts you at risk for worse consequences.

Happy Customers

Always remember to focus on your customers. Keep your clients happy, and everyone will be satisfied. Tell them how much you appreciate their business and be there to help them out when they run into issues. Work as a team to ensure clients are being heard and feel valued. Put a customer service department in place that goes above and beyond to please the customer. Losing clients is never a good feeling. Avoid this circumstance by putting in the hard work upfront to put smiles on their faces.

Conclusion

Every business needs a boost once in a while. There are ways to improve the current environment without breaking your back. These are simple things every company needs to succeed.

Board Software Transforms Your Meetings

Board Software Transforms Your Meetings

Board meetings are rarely high up on anyone’s list of favorite activities, as even the directors who sit on them complain about how long and tedious they can be. The work of the board is essential, overseeing management and providing organizations, businesses, government agencies, and financial institutions with direction and strategy. That should be compelling stuff, but director engagement remains a challenge for many.

Enter the board portal: a board software solution that digitizes board documents and puts collaborative tools in directors’ hands that they can use between meetings. Board software is the tool that can make meetings more efficient, more focused, and revive engagement by offering a few key features.

Easy Updates – At the heart of board software is an easy solution to the problem of distributing board books and other documents. Back in the days of paper board books, administrators would struggle to keep every director informed of the latest updates, especially when documents or financial reports were updated last minute. It cost a fortune to courier everything to directors who could be anywhere in the world at any given minute. Today, electronic board books are much more common, but board portal software offers superior security compared to other file sharing methods, especially as many have become popular tools for masking cybercrime attacks.

Collaboration Between Meetings – Board software should come with tools that make it easy for directors to do their job in between meetings. For example, annotation tools are used in Aprio Boardroom, a leading board software solution, that let directors mark up documents either with private notes or to share with their peers. Everyone knows that when an idea strikes, you can’t wait until the next meeting. If you want to develop a more thorough conversation, you have to be able to work in between meetings.

Another great feature of Aprio is the freedom to vote remotely with an electronic signature. It helps boards make more time for key decisions, as the freedom to vote remotely means matters like agreeing on minutes can be dealt with beforehand.

Desktop and Tablet – Flexibility is key for directors who regularly travel and split their responsibilities. Any board software you consider should be compatible on Android, Apple, and Windows tablets, as well as offer offline access to documents.

For many organizations, board portals are already standard, but if you’ve been using this transformative technology already, consider how the industry has changed over the last few years. If your board’s contract with your current board software vendor needs to be renewed, now may be a good time to reassess. In the early days of board software, portals offering better security – the kind of security required by financial institutions, health agencies, and Fortune 500 companies – came at a premium. Those security options are now no longer so expensive, though some portal vendors are still charging higher rates. You can learn more about how security has changed, and become more accessible for all, at Aprio.net and exploring their options for board software. Whether your board’s contract is up or you haven’t yet made the shift to secure electronic board books, do your due diligence, request several demos from vendors, and be sure to compare products based on customer support, security, and price.

Your Reputation Should Be Your Number One Concern

Your Reputation Should Be Your Number One Concern

If you want to be able to do business online, you have to make sure that you keep your name visible to potential customers. But you also have to make sure that what people see is positive. This is why SEO and branding is hugely important, but reputation management should be your top priority.

Building a Positive Reputation

Before any of your marketing and SEO efforts can pay off, people have to recognize your brand as a trustworthy and authority source. Once you have established that reputation, you have to make sure it is maintained as well. If you are a new business, your first step should be, therefore, to create positive content and to nurture this as much as possible. This is a lot of hard work, particularly since the world is so competitive nowadays. Customer service has to be your top priority, as this will help to build your positive reputation.

You simply cannot leave this as an afterthought. If you do, any other effort you engage in to build trust won’t work, and you will end up having to invest heavily in damage control. Hence, reputation management should be your first important action if you want your business to succeed.

You Need Positive Feedback

Every business wants to have happy, satisfied customers. Your goal should be to make them talk about that, however, thereby building your reputation. You can achieve that in a variety of different ways. Firstly, you need to list any products you sell on websites that allow for reviews, such as Amazon. Secondly, you need to have a Facebook business page with review options switched on. Thirdly, you need to make sure your website has a customer feedback form included on it. Last but not least, you should list on local directory sites, such as Yelp and Google My Business, again ensuring that people can find you and talk about you. You should also make sure that you link to all of these pages on your website, your social media accounts, and any online communication and newsletters you send out.

Stand Out with Reputation Management

You must pay very close attention to what is said about you, so you can truly benefit from it. Indeed, you can even benefit from negative comments, so long as you address them properly. If someone looks you up and sees a negative review, but then also sees that you have tried to remedy the issue, they will be far more forgiving. They old saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” continues to ring true today.

You may feel confused about choosing a marketing plan that works for you, and that is no surprise considering everything is suddenly online, competition is fierce, and changes are made on a daily basis. But if you take reputation management as your starting point, and consider that everything you do online is to give people the opportunity to see you in a positive light, you will come a long way.

What To Know About Entertaining Clients

What To Know About Entertaining Clients

Source

Entertaining clients has become standard practice for most corporations, whether those clients come to you from around the world, or you travel to them. Businesses tend to understand the value that can come with entertaining clients, including completing deals and fostering stronger relationships. At the same time, it can be tricky to master some of the ins and outs of these scenarios.

There are things to consider such as how to manage technicalities like business expense receipt submission, to what would be considered professional in an out-of-the-office situation.

The following is a general rundown of what to know about entertaining clients in any industry.

Documenting Expenses

While many large corporations do have a good deal of client entertainment and outside meals happening, they might also experience fraud or inefficiency when it comes to documenting expenses. This can be avoided with a modern expense management software solution, which will not just make it easier for employees to keep track of their expenses, but it will also simplify oversight and create visibility and transparency.

If anyone in your organization is responsible for entertaining clients, a comprehensive expense reporting solution should absolutely be in place.

This eliminates the gray area that can come with using company cards, submitting receipts and defining things such as the reason for the meeting.

It’s also important that along with using a software solution, corporations have a well-defined policy in place for managing expenses and entertaining clients.

Keep It On Track

When employees are entertaining, it’s important that they keep the conversation on track with the business at-hand. There are IRS guidelines in place stipulating that entertaining has to be directly related to business.

While this can get really murky, as an employer you have to be firm on this for your own tax-related purposes, and also to make sure you avoid fraud when your employees invite clients for meals.

In general, only 50 percent of an entertainment-based meal is deductible according to the IRS, although this might not always be the case.

Remain Professional

This might seem obvious, but all-too-often employees will start to think entertaining clients is synonymous with party time. They may be drinking too much or be too loose-lipped, and not only can that be problematic for your company’s reputation, but it can distract from the business that’s supposed to be going on, and can lead to even bigger problems for example if your employee starts to become inappropriate.

It’s important that you train employees on how to maintain a strict sense of professionalism so that lines don’t become blurred when they’re out with employees.

Above all else, your goals as a corporation when you have employees responsible for entertaining clients to ensure that a system is set up to prevent fraud and abuse, and also keep costs in check. There should be precisely defined guidelines for spending, and you should encourage employees to stick with policies through the use of expense reporting software. It’s also important that clients are well-trained on what’s appropriate and what isn’t, both regarding spending and reporting, and also behavior when they’re representing your company.

How Artificial Intelligence Benefits All Areas of Business

How Artificial Intelligence Benefits All Areas of Business

The use of artificial intelligence is on the rise, and there is no reason to fear it. Businesses of any industry and size can benefit from artificial intelligence. It can be used to monitor employee information, to implement instant compliance with local, state and federal regulations as well as track any changes.

Plus, the user interfaces are becoming even more intuitive with the utilization of cross-platform browser-based HMIs that can quickly facilitate the process of web-based IoT. In an age where driving efficiencies is the norm, your business can’t stand to operate without artificial intelligence.

Provide Virtual Assistance

Many of us have already experienced virtual assistance through our mobile devices and systems such as Amazon’s Echo. Artificial intelligence is slowly gaining more prominence into our everyday lives. And, it is available right at our fingertips.

Then, there are the chatbots popping up everywhere to provide us with 24/7 customer service and answers to our less complicated questions. In terms of customer service, your organization can save a lot of money on salaries and benefits just by implementing chatbots.

Analyze data

In a world overwhelmed with big data, it would be too difficult to get through all of that information manually. We have access to an infinite amount of data, but that data needs to be mined and analyzed to be useful.

It needs to be compressed into digestible forms. It’s hard to look at the big picture when information is not organized and categorized. Artificial intelligence is already in use that can turn raw data into power point presentations.

Moreover, you can use predictive analytics software to make sense of customer data, financial statements, health records and more, allowing you to better gauge the businesses future outlook. Now, you have something working in the background to give you a 360-degree overview of all of the types of data important for your business.

Remove Costly and Time-Consuming Manual Processes

Computers can be taught to do just about anything from driving cars to cleaning our floors. Instead of employing people to perform time-consuming and repeatable tasks, artificial intelligence can be used to automate manual processes. As a result, your company saves both time and money.

In addition, artificial intelligence can learn on its own. As you implement new processes, you won’t have to worry about spending time and resources on training.

In Conclusion

Artificial intelligence can be used for everything from automation to analytics, marketing, financial processing, customer service and more. Think of the old Star Trek movies where computers had minds of their own. This is exactly how artificial intelligence works.

It reduces human error and increases the speed for every process. Some believe that fewer than 30 percent of Americans will drive and own cars in 25 years.

As it stands, people are increasingly using shared ride services too. Artificial intelligence will make us faster, more accurate and more competitive. There is nothing to be afraid of as we can simply use it to our benefit. You no longer have to spend time training for repeatable tasks.

This is why artificial intelligence is here to stay.

The Success of Your Organization Relies on How Others See You

The Success of Your Organization Relies on How Others See You

Source

Your online reputation is your greatest asset, and it must be managed properly. This is a full-time job, and one for which you should enlist the services of an online reputation management company so that it is done right. They will ensure that you always look positive when your prospective and existing customers search for you.

What Does a Reputation Management Company Do?

An online reputation management will focus on your business, brand, or on you, making sure that you look good. They do this by highlighting the positive while at the same time pushing back the negative. Doing this offers a number of key benefits, but the greatest benefit is that you will always appear in a positive light, which in turn attracts more custom to your website.

How Does a Reputation Management Company Do This?

There is a reason why reputation management is a full-time job. The company you hire will:

  • Set up alerts so that they know whenever something new, good or bad, is posted about you.
  • Engage in SEO (search engine optimization) tactics so that all the positive postings about you are found on the first page of google.
  • Engage in reverse SEO to ensure that any negative postings are pushed back to the third page of Google or further.
  • Respond to those negative comments that cannot be pushed back so that customers continue to see you in a positive light.
  • Attempt to have libelous criticism removed or de-indexed.

As you can see, online reputation management is quite a complex technological field. This is another reason why you should bring in the professionals. Unless your own business is a reputation management business, or you have some personal skills in digital marketing, you simply won’t know what to do. And even if you do, you are likely to be too busy running your business to also take on this task.

So why not simply hire a member of staff to deal with this? There are several reasons for this, but the main one is one of cost. The internet changes at lightning speed. Did you know, for instance, that Google changes its search algorithm just over once every day? While not all of these changes are major, they do all matter. Staying up to date with that requires a significant investment in training. Not just that, but if you have a single member of staff on board to manage your reputation, what would you do if they were off sick or even went on vacation? Your reputation is not something that can wait until tomorrow, but rather something that must be monitored at all times.

By working together with a reputation management company, they ensure a highly trained individual will monitor your online position around the clock. They are responsible for their training and for their replacement should they be absent for whatever reason. Yes, you do have to pay them for this. If you don’t, however, the overall cost doesn’t come anywhere near what it would cost you to lose your business, and that is a very real possibility.

How to Change a Toxic Work Culture

How to Change a Toxic Work Culture

With the announcement that Travis Kalanick would be stepping down as the CEO of Uber, it has a lot of people once again considering toxic work cultures and the negative impact this can have on the entire organization.

Silicon Valley has been a good example of how a toxic culture can negatively impact even the most successful and promising of companies, with rumors and reports of everything from sexual harassment to discrimination floating around about Uber and other tech companies.

While there are third-party companies like SIT that develop ways to shift company culture, for example, towards more innovation, what do you do when you’re dealing with a toxic work culture? This is a situation that might also require outside help, but in general, the following are some useful tips to make a shift when necessary.

Conduct Exit Interviews

One of the big mistakes too many companies make is that they don’t conduct exit interviews. Conducting exit interviews aren’t in and of themselves going to solve problems with corporate culture, but they’re going to be one of the best ways to get a handle on the truth of what’s happening, and where potential problems exist.

It’s important to do exit interviews with both people who leave willingly for whatever reason and fired individuals.

These can also serve as a baseline measurements when you put other mechanisms of change in place, to see how you’re doing.

Cultivate Transparency

When people feel like they’re working in a negative environment, they also tend to be less productive, and that impacts the bottom line of the company.

One of the biggest reasons negativity develops and takes hold in a culture is a lack of transparency. When employees feel like everything is happening behind closed doors, that then leads to a sense that there is secrecy, which breeds gossip and animosity.

Just by being honest, upfront and transparent with employees, it can go a long way in remedying some of the toxic elements negatively impacting the organization.

Be Careful with Competition

There’s an idea that successful companies have competitive and often cutthroat employees, but this is what can foster bullying and problems in the workplace. Some competition isn’t a problem, but when it goes too far, that’s when cultures become toxic.

You need employees who strive to succeed but also who can get along with one another.

It’s important to encourage strong company values that emphasize teamwork, and when hiring, try to think about fit as much as qualifications.

Start At the Top

Finally, as is being seen with the Uber situation, sometimes changing a toxic culture requires looking at the top to see where problems exist.

Company leaders ultimately own the culture of their organization, so if you can see that your leaders or even you are fostering competition to the point that it’s negative, encouraging a sense of bullying, or do everything behind a curtain of secrecy, it’s time to make changes.

You can’t expect employees to embrace the changes necessary to eliminate a toxic culture if company leaders aren’t willing to take their own steps.