How to Recognise if You Should Consider Building a Website for Your SME

How to Recognise if You Should Consider Building a Website for Your SME

Let’s face it. Not all small and medium enterprises actually need a website initially. It is not commonly what comes to mind as part of the starting line up if you want to begin a small local diner, bakery, salon, flower shop, travel agency, snack bar and more. However, with the changing times and also the probability of expanding in the near future, building a website is indeed a great idea.

In case you have been thinking about jumping into website building for your SME just recently, this article will help you make a conclusion with regards your decision. Below are a number of factors to take if you should actually consider creating a website for your business.

If your target customers shop or find services online

By the time you are prepared to make a website for your SME, you should have already marked your target market. One of the good reasons to build a website for your business is if you can chase your potential customers through it. Through market research, you will determine if your target audience goes online to shop or avail of certain services.

If you are willing to invest on a website (and possible future updates)

As you know, making a website for your business also requires some investment. Although there are free templates that are also easy to score, you definitely have a lot of sites with the same design as well. Investing on a website won’t cost you a fortune. There are many cheap domain names and web hosting providers that can give you what you need and how you actually want it done. Quality does not always have to be pricey. But you just have to search and examine every prospect provider well enough.

If the demand goes beyond your usual ‘proximity’

You will most likely feel the expansion of your SME when the demand starts to go beyond the normal scope of area that you are catering to. With that, you are also probably getting more orders or projects by now. A website with an order form will definitely help you track and record all these as easy as ABC.

If you have the capacity to deliver your goods/services beyond your initial reach

Before offering your products and services outside the scope of your usual location and building a website to support this expansion, make sure that you already have a means to actually take them to your clients.

If your customer service can handle sudden possible surge on orders and queries

Aside from all the given factors above, another thing to consider is your customer service. Having a website means being reachable most of the time.  Do you have enough capacity to accommodate all orders, requests and queries as the impending surge may come in anytime?

Once you felt most, if not all of these factors approaching, then you must really consider building a website. Until such time, just continue to grow your SME and expand your reach as it progresses. Who knows? You might even achieve global market in the long run.

A New Business’s Guide to SEO Success

A New Business’s Guide to SEO Success

Search engine optimization (SEO) is not a new tactic anymore. Indeed, companies and organizations have been looking for ways to improve their visibility on search engines for over twenty years now. Yet, that doesn’t mean achieving SEO success is easy today. The reality is that the digital landscape is more crowded and competitive than ever. With that in mind, here are four tips that all new business owners should keep in mind when rolling out a new SEO plan:

Identify Relevant Keywords

Though search engines have become more sophisticated with time, keywords still play a massive role in determining user intent and query results. As such, companies need to understand which keywords resonate with their audience. Some may be obvious; others, though, may be specific to an industry. There’s a big difference between regular plastic barricades and jersey barricades, for instance. That’s why conducting in-depth keyword research is essential to eventual SEO progress.

Create Compelling Content

There is no substitute for quality content. At the end of the day, companies that enjoy high rankings on search engine results pages have lots of excellent content on their site. Note, this includes, but is not limited to, blog posts. Yes, blog posts are still a mainstay of most SEO-based strategies. But there’s also something to be said for product or service pages that contain lots of useful information. Also, pillar pages can be an effective way to consolidate a single page around several pertinent keywords.

Expand Your Reach

SEO is all about visibility. Still, boosting your own site with on-site SEO methods isn’t the only way to attract more visitors to your company. On the contrary, writing guest posts on sites related to yours can help expand your message and allow it to reach new people. Picking up quality backlinks from respected websites in your field is one of the most efficient ways to propel your site up search-engine rankings. Just be careful not to engage in any black-hat SEO tactics if you pursue a link-building program.

Stay Patient

Choosing a path forward for a new business can be a complex decision. Sometimes, a business leader may not be certain about how to go about implementing an SEO strategy –– or if they should forego SEO entirely in favor of practices like paid advertising. However, it’s important to remember that SEO tactics are a part of a long-term strategy. It might be months before the full effects of SEO efforts are seen or appreciated. So don’t be concerned or discouraged by disappointing returns during the first few weeks of a new SEO strategy. Patience is a virtue that will serve you well here.

What You Need to Know About Small Business Security Camera Solutions

What You Need to Know About Small Business Security Camera Solutions

When most people think about security systems for businesses, they think about cameras capturing images of shoplifters in the act. While they can do this, there’s a lot more you should expect from your security system.

Security systems are an investment that every small business needs. They can help you keep an eye on your business and employees, protect your assets and yes, catch a criminal in the act. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about the solutions that security systems have to offer small businesses.

Keep an Eye on Inventory and Storage Spaces

Most business owners don’t want to think about their employees doing something to hurt the company. Especially in a small business setting, where employees can feel like family, it may feel too paranoid to worry about one of your trusted staff nabbing something from your storeroom. But the reality is that employee theft is a serious problem, costing businesses in the U.S. more than $50 billion a year.

A security system can help you prevent some of those thefts, or at the very least, help catch the crook so that you can let them go and prevent future thefts. When you’re thinking about where to place your security cameras, don’t forget your storerooms or any other areas where you keep inventory.

Monitor Employee Safety

Catching the occasional bad egg is important, but even more important is protecting your loyal and hardworking employees. Security systems in dangerous areas can help you catch dangerous actions or practices. If an accident does occur, you’ll be able to take a look at what really happened. This means being able to make changes to improve safety in the future. If the accident involved employee negligence, that security footage might just come in handy protecting your small business from legal trouble.

Watch Your Cash Flow

If you operate a storefront, the success of your business depends largely on the cash and cards being handed from customer to employee at your cash register or kiosk. So it makes sense that you’ll want to have an eye trained on these areas. Having a security camera on your cash register can help you catch crooks or even notice if your employees are making mistakes.

Protect Your Building Around the Clock

No matter how dedicated you are to your small business, you can’t be on-site 24/7. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to protect your investment around the clock.

A security system allows you to be there for your business day and night, even when you can’t physically be there. However, this only works if you choose a high-quality security system that’s equipped with night vision. Otherwise, the grainy or dark images and videos you get won’t do you much good. An Ultra HD security camera with 4K recording capabilities and remote monitoring is the best way to always keep watch over your small business and catch anything that might go wrong.

Choosing the Right Security System for Your Small Business

A security system is a great investment in the safety of your business. From protecting your business all hours of the day to watching your cash flow, monitoring employee safety and keeping an eye on your inventory, the right security system can help prevent thefts, protect you legally and give you peace of mind that your business is safe.

7 Questions to Ask to Prove if You Really Need that Domain Name in Your Life (or Not)

7 Questions to Ask to Prove if You Really Need that Domain Name in Your Life (or Not)

Once you launch it, you can never easily take it back.

Creating a website is not rocket Science anymore during these recent years. As a matter of fact, there are tutorials and seminars online that can teach you its fundamentals and even beyond it. So it is not a surprise if you are reading this because you want to build your own website, regardless if it is for personal or business use.

So if you are one of the driven ones who want to start expressing themselves or begin an online platform for their brand, start fresh and read through this article first. Below are the seven questions which can help you decide if your desired domain name is the right one for you or your brand.

1. Is it available?

Before you proceed to the rest of the questions, this first one can be considered as the most important. Make sure to check the availability of the domain name that you desire before anything else. To simply put it, if the domain name is already taken, then you cannot use it. Whois can be your aid on this first step.

2. Are there competitors with almost the same domain name?

This question also applies even for personal websites, since there are also a lot of other websites of the same niche that may sound or spell alike. But this is very significant for companies and brands. Sometimes, your almost similar domain names can give away more clients to your competitors, especially of the competing website is already long established in the industry. Whois can also help you with this in order to avoid committing this probable mistake.

3. Is it user-friendly and has a recall?

Keep in mind that your domain name has to be easy to read and pronounce. It would also be so much better if you can make it a witty word play to capture more attention and recall. Write it down, say it out loud, so you will not regret it. Once you have that brilliant idea and you have double checked its availability, register domain name at once.

4. Do people search for it?

It will also help if your domain name has an average search. Utilize the Keyword Planner to find out if users tend to search for that term specifically or something similar to it.

5. Does it speak for the branding that you portray?

As self-explanatory as the question itself, your chosen domain name has to live up to the branding that you want your audience to perceive.

6. How expensive or affordable is it?

Do you badly want it that you need to bid for it? Is it that valuable? These are just some follow up questions under this question. We know how hard it is to decide when cost is involved.

7. Is it really good for the brand or is it just someone else’s preference?

In case you need to spend extra for the domain name you want, you need to think hard and reflect if this is going to be beneficial for the brand. Never go for it just because someone shared a good opinion about the name (unless it is someone valuable to the brand itself).

These questions are just guide to help you decide. After all, choosing a domain name is just the first step. Get ready for more work soon.

5 Reasons Why Thermoplastic Road Markings Are Very Popular

5 Reasons Why Thermoplastic Road Markings Are Very Popular

In recent years, thermoplastic road markings have gained popularity. They have become more preferred thanks because of the many benefits they have compared to their traditional predecessors. It is no wonder that many companies like Geveko Markings have been at the forefront in producing these road markings. But why exactly are they so popular, and what is their use? This article addresses these questions and expounds more on the benefits of thermoplastic road markings.

Understanding Thermoplastic Road Markings

Let us first get to know what thermoplastic road markings are. They are made from synthetic resin, which is mixed with glass beads. The beads help to boost their longevity.  Thermoplastic paint is then added to the resin and beads in the form of solid powder. It is then passed through heat, which helps to melt it down before it can be applied. Color is then added with different pigmentations depending on the type of road markings. So, what makes thermoplastic road marking very popular?

1. Increased Visibility

Thermoplastic road marking is mostly used on pavements and stripes so as to make them visible enough.  On such cases, they act as a guide to drivers and auto operators. Also, thermoplastic markings on pedestrian crosswalks and bike lanes help in preventing/reducing possible collisions and injuries.

2. Easy and fast application

Thermoplastic road marking is generally done under very high temperatures. As a result, the application process is usually quick, thus taking a short duration to complete a project.  Also, thermoplastic paints are perfect for repairs, replacements, and improvement of worn-out road markings.

3. Incredible safety benefits to road users

In every road marking project, the safety of pedestrians and drivers should be paramount. Thermoplastic road markings are made in such a way that they can be highly reflective. As such, every road user can clearly see them even in the dark since they reflect any light. Whenever this feature is used on roads, it greatly enhances the safety of drivers and pedestrians alike. In other cases, the marking can be made in the form of a thick layer in the middle of a road. Drivers and other road users can feel a rumble effect when driving over the marking, thus forced to slow down.

4. Exceptional resistance to skid

Thermoplastic markings are known for their remarkable ability to resist skid after application to surfaces. Vehicles driving over thermoplastic markings experience high traction even when it is raining heavily. It is because of their ability to resist skid that they are used runways, dense traffic areas, and intersections. However, ensure you consult with your pavement contractor before deciding to use thermoplastic applications.

5. They are resilient

Thermoplastic road markings are highly durable and resistant to the weather. They are also highly resistant to gasoline oil. This characteristic makes it easy for them to be used in places of high traffic. They also have top visibility features that make it easy for drivers to c see the road.

In conclusion, thermoplastic markings are highly durable and visible. Companies like Geveko Markings are known to put these marks on the road effectively.

Business Line of Credit: How it Works

Business Line of Credit: How it Works

A business line of credit is a facility where you can borrow money up to a certain limit from a financial institution. You then pay interest only on the amount actually borrowed. You can then draw and spend money as you wish as long as you don’t go over the credit limit. It works in a similar way to a credit card. It allows you to draw against a predetermined credit limit that can be used as you need it, as opposed to receiving a full-term loan at one time.

How It Works

Since it is a revolving line, you can draw against as necessary. It is mostly used for short-term capital for funding unexpected expenses or improving cash flow. A business line of credit also helps you borrow money again after repaying a draw, thus allowing you to fund your cash flow needs. It is a great way to access cash that you can put into your business at a moment’s notice. When you pay down your business line of credit, you increase the amount available to you in the future unlike a working term capital loan. Drawing funds from an already established credit line is usually the fastest way for your business to access capital funds for quick payments or unexpected events.

Purpose

Unlike term loans which are used for a specific purpose and are lump sums of money on which you pay interest until the entire amount is settled, credit lines allow you access the funds as many times as you need. They are preferable for short-term funding needs. A business line of credit gives you more flexibility and could save you money if you have a constant financing need. Besides, an open line of credit account is a great way to build your business creditworthiness and the products are essentially the best solutions for short-term needs.

Sources and Funding

A business line of credit can be obtained from conventional lenders such as banks, credit unions or online lenders. It is important to understand your goals for the line of credit you go for. When determining what type of line of credit is best for you, consider the following: the amount you require, how soon you need the funds, if you’ve met the minimum qualifications required and if the costs will fit your budget. Normally banks will have higher qualifications requirements and some form of collateral will be needed, as opposed to online lenders who are more flexible and will approve companies once they have been in business for more than a year. Once you’ve established these, find out what to use the business line of credit for as illustrated wholesale trade lines.

Use

A business lines of credit is not intended for big capital purchases but rather for short-term working capital, unexpected costs, unique purchasing opportunities or offering credit to your customers. If not for these uses, then you will be costing your business a lot of unnecessary money.

Conclusion

A business line of credit can be an affordable solution for emergency funding or short-term working capital. To get the best rates and terms, plan your application well, provided you are using national banks or online lenders.

Your Body Language Can Make or Break Your Presentation

Your Body Language Can Make or Break Your Presentation

Source: Unsplash | Teemu Paananen

Actions can speak louder than words, which is why your body language is just as important as your speech and slides when you are delivering a presentation.

Stage presence is about confidence and commanding attention – and body language is essential to this. If you are interested in taking the steps to learn how to create stage presence, the first thing you are going to want to consider is your body language.

The first step is to take some pressure off. Have a presentation design company create your slide deck so that you can focus on your speech delivery and forming better body language habits.

Here are some body language tips to consider when presenting to ensure you are clear and exuding confidence:

Face Your Audience (Not Your Presentation)

If you’re talking to your audience, why are you facing your slides? To be honest, you shouldn’t be reading off of them anyway.

If your back is to your audience, it is harder for them to hear you and it gives the illusion of you blocking them out. Face your audience and speak directly in their direction so that they can hear you speak and see gesticulate.

Use Your Hands (Don’t Cross Your Arms)

Not moving your hands or crossing your arms can make it seem that you are unenthusiastic, uninterested or nervous.

Lifehack explains that crossing your arms is a “defensive posture” that can distance you from the audience you want to connect with. Keep your arms open so that you can use your hands while you speak. That said, when you use your hands, use smaller gestures that aren’t distracting.

Stand Up Straight (Don’t Slouch)

Standing up straight is a sign of strength, confidence and professionalism. Slouching, on the other hand, can make you appear uninterested, nervous, not confident and unprofessional.

According to HubSpot, when you stand up straight and open your arms and chest, it makes it easier to breathe. This will help you to both relax and speak clearly.

Use the Space (Don’t Confine Yourself)

The best part of going to a concert is seeing your favourite musician engage with the crowd by going to different ends of their stage. The same thing rings true when you’re delivering a presentation.

That said, moving around and pacing can be distracting – so when you move, move with purpose. Move closer to the audience to create a sense of intimacy. To avoid walking aimlessly, consider your stage space before your speech. Map out parts of the stage you want to hit at specific points in your presentation.

Make Eye Contact (With Everyone)

Failing to make eye contact with your audience by staring at the back of the room is another action that can make you seem distanced. When you give a presentation, you want every person in the room to feel connected to you and willing to listen to what you are saying. To do this, you need to form a connection. The best way to do this is to make eye contact for brief moments with different people in the audience.

Be Expressive (But Use Positive Facial Expressions)

Being expressive throughout your presentation is important, but refrain from using negative expressions like grimacing, crinkling your nose or furrowing your forehead. This can make you look stressed or upset. Instead, smile subtly, raise your eyebrows and nod for effect.

According to Entrepreneur, tilting your head to the side is a subtle movement that actually conveys that you are interested and inquisitive. This is subtle enough to incite engagement but not be distracting – and that’s the exact effect you want your body language to have when presenting.

3 Ways Your Restaurant Can Make More Money, Today

3 Ways Your Restaurant Can Make More Money, Today

Restaurants today face a steep uphill battle: it’s always been a tough industry, but it’s only getting harder. Foodies have never had more choices of where to eat between the explosion of new restaurants and food trucks, so there’s a crowded field competing for their attention and food dollar.

Here are three things you can do which will help drive profit for your restaurant today.

1. Employee Scheduling Software

New employee scheduling software creates schedules all staff will love, and in up to 80% less time than it would otherwise take. This makes a frustrating task easier to perform, but also keeps your employees focused on the tasks that are most useful to the restaurant. It also helps with labor compliance, and saves your restaurant between 1-3% in labor costs, often one of the biggest financial drains restaurants face.

Employee scheduling software lets managers receive feedback from employees after every shift, so they might suggest menu pricing tips to increase your profits or other ideas that you can incorporate right away.

It’s important to let your frontline workers tell you about their perspective; they have unique and invaluable insights nobody else in your business is positioned to see. Employee scheduling software lets your staff submit their feedback anonymously if they chose, so they feel more comfortable speaking candidly.

2. Smart Promotion

Social media has given restaurants a free and powerful tool they can use to let the neighborhood and beyond know what’s going on inside their kitchen. Every restaurant is different, and how you choose to present yourself online needs to be based on your own identity and other circumstances unique to your restaurant.

But once you have your voice, it’s an invaluable tool for gaining public exposure for your restaurant. Be sure to depict your restaurant and food accurately — you don’t want people to leave your restaurant disappointed at the mismatch between your promotion and reality. On the other hand, you want to attract the people who really will love the restaurant once they’re inside it. Give them an accurate preview, so they’re motivated to try your restaurant.

3. Create a Fitting Digital Presence

The trend now for restaurants is undeniable: people are most likely to order food if they can do so through their phone or their computer. Maybe people are just used to doing everything through their phone, but whether it’s to consult a review before dining, calling or booking a reservation through a website or app, or actually ordering the food itself to your door, any restaurant is sinfully negligent if they don’t have a strong online presence.

Be sure you have a website or app that matches the needs and wants of your clientele. If you give them a means of interacting with your restaurant in the way that suits them best, you’ll love the financial return that inevitably follows.

If your restaurant can use modern technology like the latest employee scheduling software, social media, and website or an app, you’ll get the important boost your restaurant needs to stay competitive in this notoriously difficult industry.

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Sales Team?

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Sales Team?

Source: Unsplash | Austin Distel

Sales are at the heart of what most businesses do, and without a strong sales team, even the best products in the world won’t reach their intended market. But getting the most out of your sales team is a fine art, one that requires a mix of technological savvy, emotional intelligence, and people skills.

If you want to improve the overall performance of your sales team this year, here are a few things you can do to encourage more effective engagement, better use of leads, and a more collaborative approach to sales.

Invest in Lead Management Tools

Sales is all about reaching people, which is why most sales teams have access to a significant number of sales tools to help them generate leads and cultivate them effectively. Sorting leads and determining which are the most promising is time-consuming, and it is all too common for sales reps to spend precious calling time trying to decide which lead to contact next.

When it comes to making sales more streamlined, sales engagement platforms are one of the most effective ways to ensure your sales team can focus on what it does best: talking to potential customers.

Sales engagement platforms use a variety of different time-saving tools, such as queue-based lead routing, auto-dialing, and automatic email population to ensure that your sales reps are automatically being fed the best lead possible, which means they don’t have to spend a lot of time deciding who to call next.

If you think your sales team could benefit from a more streamlined approach to lead routing, you can learn more at VanillaSoft about the benefits of integrating a sales engagement platform into your operations.

Foster a More Collaborative Approach to Sales

There is a common misunderstanding in the world of sales that you can get the most out of your team by encouraging competition between sales reps. Films like Glengarry Glen Ross portray sales as a dog-eat-dog world in which every representative is fighting for their slice of the pie, and while this might make for good cinema, it’s a terrible way to run a sales team.

When reps compete against each other, they think about personal success first, and success of the firm second. But any experienced team manager or business owner knows that it is the bottom line of the company that matters most; incentivizing your staff to withhold valuable information from each other in the hopes that it will give them an edge is a poor way to encourage overall profits.

Instead, you should encourage your team to work together by sharing information and pooling talents to maximize the total number of sales. This will not only increase the likelihood of an increase in overall business, but it will also foster a more pleasant work environment, which makes employee retention much easier.

A well-functioning sales team is one of the biggest assets a business can have. Making sure that your team is operating at the highest possible efficiency means investing in the tools and training that will unlock your staff’s full potential.

If you believe your sales team isn’t performing as well as it could, upgrading to a sales engagement platform, and encouraging a more collaborative workplace are all proven methods for taking your sales team to the next level.

Choosing a Way Forward for Your Business

Choosing a Way Forward for Your Business

Source: Unsplash

As a business owner, it’s all too easy to get mired down in micromanagement. People found their own businesses because they value independence and control and giving that up can be difficult. It’s vital though, because the most valuable role of a business owner, founder or CEO is not taking personal control of every process, it’s looking to the future and steering the business forward towards success.

This is not an easy task. For one thing, the weight of responsibility for the business’ entire workforce rests on your shoulders: if your choices don’t generate the revenue or finance to pay everyone’s wages, there’s no one else to blame.

Today we’re looking at the ways you can make decisions about the future of your business that you can feel confident in, and lower some of the stress that comes with the rewards of running a business.

Objective Decisions

Truly objective decisions are a myth: as a person, with your unique experience and insights you will always bring a degree of bias to the process, and that’s no bad thing. It’s their particular set of experiences that makes someone a good decision maker! The best decisions, though, are based on reality, rather than simply your gut instincts, and you can use data sources to get closer to the reality you’re trying to make a decision about.

You can get some of the best data by working with a market research firm. They can provide you with market intelligence, so you can pick the options that work best for your consumers, and future proof your business against the trends that are coming, and competitor intelligence, to help you avoid the pitfalls your competitors fall into, and avoid forcing your competitors to choose between your brand and another – unless you’re very confident you will win!

Accepting Feedback

As well as knowing about the market you’re relying on, you also need to know about the business you’re running. It’s a sad truth that as you focus more on the bigger picture, as you need to, you can lose some perspective on the ground-level running of your business.

The answer isn’t to plunge into direct management: you need to listen to the people who work for you. Building in feedback processes is best done at the founding of a business. If you try to impose this culture afterwards, you may find it difficult to get an honest answer – it can be hard to tell the boss they’re wrong! If you can demonstrate that you don’t take feedback personally, whether it’s negative or positive, and that you’ll act on the expert input of your team, you’ll soon build a proper understanding of the business you’re leading, and be able to make the right decisions for its future.