It can be tough to know what the best way to gather and sort customer information is, but given the fact that the more you know about your customers, the better you are able to make sales, it’s an important area for small business owners to work on. What can they do in order to keep track of who they are working with? Here are a few ideas for gathering and cataloging information on who is driving your sales numbers. Create a follow up to your lead forms. A lead form should really only collect the essentials, since the longer and more complicated that it is to fill out, the harder it is going to be to get visitors to the site to take the time to fill it out at all. One solution to this issue is to make extraneous fields non-required, but even the site of a long and daunting lead form can deter people from taking the time to fill it out. You

Design work in a business context can often get pretty pricey, and when you have a set amount of time within which you need a project completed, you may want to take steps to make the process of getting a design you can settle on expedited. All business owners should agree on a rate and a pricing plan that they feel comfortable with before allowing the designer to begin doing work for them, and once they have begun a relationship, ask for a clear invoice after each completed job, possibly itemized if there are multiple components that go into getting the job done. Before even approaching a designer, however, there are a few things that you might want to take care of on your end before you start the clock, especially if you are going to be managing them on a remote basis. Have an idea of what you want them to create. While business owners don’t always know exactly what they want to have done

One of the main challenges of managing projects with remote employees and contractors is the fact that face to face communication is not always an option, yet it is through face time that many breakthroughs are able to happen. Often, a project will be broken up between people who communicate with a project manager, but rarely with each other. Unfortunately, that can often lead to a slower rate of progress due to a need for revisiting and tweaking results. Imagine assigning a team to assemble a puzzle. Each team member is given a number of pieces and told to meet up again when they have finished putting their share together. The problem is that each team member is both removed from the insights of the other people on the project and they also will have a harder time envisioning what the fully assembled picture will look like. The metaphor of separate rooms with puzzle pieces represents the challenges faced by a team of remote workers.

In an article on Business Insider by Martin Zwilling, the idea of travel being essential to the growth of a small business was discussed, with the conclusion that business owners should both expect and be willing to hit the road in order to grow their companies. Some of the points made in favor of traveling as a small business owner included the fact that, thanks to the reach of the internet business owners can successfully win contracts from clients that are physically very far from their actual locations. Traveling to meet these clients and affirm relationships can be a good use of time and resources if the potential for a long and productive relationship is there. Another thing to note is that business owners can often benefit from attending industry specific events in order to speak as experts or simply to present their wares and create connections. In order to determine the importance of travel for your business, think realistically about the relative value. While you

A growing small business needs new clients like a plant needs water, but business owners should think of their repeat customers and loyal referrers as the stable ground from which that plant grows upwards. Digital marketing has vastly opened up the audiences that small business owners are able to reach, and their marketing can make a huge difference in how fast they are able to tackle larger and larger projects, but in order to ensure that their business is ready to accelerate, business owners should use the strength of their word of mouth referrals as a barometer. If you are not getting word of mouth referrals, that could be a sign something is wrong. People will generally tell others about when they have a good experience, which is why checking on how much business is being sent to you from satisfied customers is so important for gauging satisfaction with your business. An apparent lack of customer referrals could be an indicator that part of your business

Smaller businesses often don’t have wellness programs in place, citing costs or the time it takes to put them together as their main issues. However, the benefits of wellness programs are manifold, from improving the health of employees, reducing the number of sick days that they take and even contributing in higher morale and reduced turnover within your organization. What is wellness, exactly? Wellness programs take many forms, but most commonly they refer to programs that are put in place in order to improve the health and quality of life of workers in a business. They can be perks, like healthy snacks in the break room, or they can be active programs such as communal yoga classes or a post work day stretch. In some companies, there are educational resources available to employees, such as classes on healthy eating or how to improve posture after sitting for days in an office chair. If you have an idea of how to make a positive impact in the

Summertime is a season that brings along warm memories, as well as the promise of new ones yet to be made. For small business owners, some of these memories might include the rush of the busy season along with longer daylight hours and sudden influxes of beach-goers. In order to make the most of this time, business owners should create a strategy allowing them to plan marketing, inventory and sales so that things go without a hitch. Planning ahead is also an essential component of getting ready to take a well deserved vacation, as leaving your employees with a road map will allow them to remain on track and you to remain sane while away instead of worrying about what’s going on. Review your historical data. A good indicator of what is going to sell is what sold last year, so dust off your records and look for trends indicating which months are going to be your most busy. If you have not already made collecting

The main purpose of a small business is to create revenues, and then to grow in order to make even more, however under the general umbrella of “growth” there are many distinct ways to expand a small business. Here is a look at a few of the most common and some of their benefits. Purchasing equipment or inventory. Financing new equipment or the acquisition of new inventory allows a business to grow thanks to the added potential to create revenues contributed by the purchased items. Depending on the size of the items, the complexity of their use, and how time consuming they are to manage, you may need to hire new staff in order to operate your new machinery or keep track of the inventory. This type of business expansion is generally a response to already present demand, and since costs can only be recouped by additional business, it may be better to avoid investing in too much inventory or production capacity unless there is a clear

In a recent article on Eweek, the concept of providing free Wifi to customers in a small business location was explored, with business owners reporting that the addition of free internet connectivity for their customers created a slew of positive effects, including 65% saying free internet has contributed to repeat business and 55% also stating that their Wifi policy has brought brand new business through the door. When considering what kind of perks to offer, think about what you can afford in your budget over the possibility of creating more sales. How many sales do you have make to account for the cost of the perks you are offering? Some things, such as new decor or an additional seating area, can be a one time cost, whereas Wifi is a monthly cost. Either way, if your investment is not able to be recouped, it is not gong to be worth the effort to put out there. The cost of Wifi is relatively  cheap, however. If you

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is an essential part of running any business, no matter what industry. How business owners approach their relationship management will of course vary greatly from industry to industry, and even on the basis of one business to the next. That being said, after growth, especially rapid growth that leaves your business in a dramatically different position than it was even a few months ago, taking the steps needed to create some standard, safe procedures for recording data and satisfying customer requests is in your best interest and can help you maintain and continue on an upward trajectory. After a tipping point in sales volume, handling the information manually can be tough. CRM tools can help your business to manage the data you record related to consumer interactions, giving you a clearer and more easy to reference picture of what it is that your business is doing. This is an important part of managing customer service requests, since the faster and more reliably

TOP css.php