How To Really Grow, Market and Promote Your Business

So, your business is going well, everything’s ticking along nicely, you’re feeling comfortable, you know what you’re doing, and your customers are happy with you…so what now? Now it’s really time to grow your business, market it, promote it, raise awareness, spread the word, whatever you want to call it, it’s time to rechallenge yourself and get to the next level. Like most businesses, you’ll probably have a limited marketing budget, but don’t let that deter you, here are a few ideas to get your mind whirling and get you excited…

Guerilla Marketing

Guerilla marketing is a great way to get noticed and get people talking. While business owners often want to see the direct conversion from marketing activity to sales, sometimes you need to look at the bigger picture, have some fun and use your creativity, imagination and originality – it doesn’t have to be expensive. Creating some eye-catching artwork on your office building, organise a flash mob or create a Youtube video. There are loads of great ideas online so do some research and get creative.

Make the Most of Social Media

Whether you use it in your personal life, like it, or don’t like it. Social media is fantastic for business, and yours needs to be on there. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn, Google Plus or Snapchat, each of these social media platforms are unique in their own right and require novel ways of engagement. Rather than try to master it all at once, choose a few you like and try to learn those first.

Meet People

Networking is key, and customers love a personal touch and love to see the faces behind a company. Get out to exhibitions and events, get yourself a 10×10 exhibit booth, get some promotional materials and have a chat with people. You’ll be surprised how many people you meet and the opportunities and learnings that come from being at an exhibition or networking event.

Make the Most of the Media

It’s free marketing, so all you need is a good story, a reason for the press to want to feature you. Try creating a publicity stunt, or do something for the community, and send out a press release before the event. For example, some innovative hairdressers have offered free haircuts to the homeless. You could also sponsor an event by donating your products or services as giveaways or prizes or host a contest or nominate yourself for a business contest or award. If you win, even better! Introduce yourself to the media and offer yourself as the expert in your field. If they ever need someone to interview or quote, make sure it’s you who they come to. There are ways you can seek out opportunities like this by signing up to an email list like Help A Reporter Out.

Content, Content, Content

Potential customers love great content and even better, so does Google. There are many ways to share information — blogging, creating videos, hosting podcasts, designing infographics or submitting articles to online authority sites. If you create great content for your business, you will gain authority as an expert and as well as that you’ll get free traffic. You don’t have to produce the content yourself as there are plenty of options for hiring freelance writers, graphic designers and personal assistants through websites like Upwork.

Competitions and Prizes

Everyone loves a free gift, so if you can give away desirable or fun items, it will get you noticed, it will get your posts and links shared, it will build brand awareness and enable you to connect with potential customers as well as gathering data. They don’t need to be expensive prizes, online ebooks, white papers and checklists don’t cost you anything but your time. You could also promote your products through Facebook groups where members agree to try your product for free or a discounted price in exchange for an honest review. Physical gifts with your advertising on it such as balloons, smartphone wipes, key chains, fridge magnets, pens and notepads are always a favourite too.

Make sure that all of your marketing should is of some use to your audience. Make sure you provide them with useful information, assistance by being available to answer questions posted on forums and websites like Quora and direct your audience to your site for more information; then finally entertain your audience. Make them laugh or cry. Think of the funny and touching ads that you see and how quickly they are shared

How To Improve Efficiency In The Workplace

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When building a successful business, you might have learned the importance of listening to your customers. However, you might not yet have learned that it is equally important to listen to your employees. You might be the one running your company, but they are the ones who make everything work. As such, you want to make sure they are doing their job efficiently; you don’t want to be paying them to slack off on your time. If you’re getting reports that some aspects of the business aren’t running as smoothly as they should, assess how you’re running your company and see if there are things that could be done better.

Communication

Open door policies are a great start, but they often they end up being hollow, rarely-used entries in employee handbooks. To create a true environment of open communication, you should encourage collaboration and feedback between departments, as well as between management and staff. Productivity will improve as a result of a more positive office morale.

Clear and up to date business goals

Sometimes efficiency can drop because employees haven’t been updated about new company goals, or the communication about new business goals weren’t clear. As the boss, you have a clear idea of what is organizational design of your company, but you need to accurately communicate it to your employees if you expect productivity to remain high. If emails aren’t clear enough, arrange a meeting and encourage your employees to ask questions. It will go a long way to preventing further confusion.

Use technology wherever possible

Technology has done a lot to improve productivity and communication in the workplace, so you should take advantage of it in you business. Up to date machines will increase the speed at which your employees work, letting them do their job more efficiently. A company social networking tool such as Slack is faster than email, but doesn’t have all the distractions of actual social media sites.

Take time to train

Forcing employees to learn on the job can be extremely inefficient and overwhelming for your new worker. If it doesn’t encourage them to quit, you may eventually have to make that decision for them. Instead of expecting them to effectively accomplish a task with little to no instruction, take the extra day to teach them the necessary skills to do their job. Make it clear that it is okay to ask questions, and they don’t have to present themselves as an expert. In the long run, you will have an employee who knows how to do their job well, and you won’t have to read more applications for a while.

Incentivize

People work better if they’re rewarded with more than just a paycheck. Recognizing their efforts and contributions will make them feel appreciated and they will continue to be productive workers. Make sure you take into account their individual needs or preferences when thinking of a suitable reward. One employee might appreciate public recognition, while another would prefer a private “thank you.”

Are stringent lending measures in the buy-to-let market indicative of a potential recession?

Back in 2007, the global housing market was riding on the crest of wave while experiencing significant and seeming unstoppable growth. This came to a shuddering halt with the subprime mortgage collapse in the U.S, however, where reckless lending and borrowing triggered a raft of defaults and altered the nature of the market forever.

This led to the formation of the quick house sale market, while also forcing lenders to implement extremely stringent measures on applicants with a desire to borrow funds. While the markets has eased considerably as it has recovered, the portents for a further global recession in 2016 have forced the Bank of England (BoE) to consider implementing more robust measures in the buy-to-let marketplace.

According to Property Rescue, the BoE is considering making a raft of lending controls in a bid to consolidate the growth of the buy-to-let market and minimise damage in the event of a worldwide recession. While some believe that this simply a response to spiralling price points, rental premiums and relentless growth, others believe that a global economic collapse would hit the buy-to-let market hardest and trigger a catastrophic outcome.

In this regard, the actions of the BoE would appear to be more of a damage limitation exercise than a progressive economic plan. By restricting lending and managing growth, it could limit the losses that were made in the face of an economic collapse. This is undoubtedly a plan that has been made with the previous recession in mind, as the sheer impact of the 2008 collapse has created a legacy and sense of fear that remains tangible to this day.

While there is some logic in this approach, it may not be the best course of action given the fact that the extent of any potential recession cannot be determined at this stage. With the BoE’s latest Financial Stability Report also confirming that they buy-to-let market remains a central driver of the British property market (and the economy as a whole) an overly aggressive approach to regulating lending could damage the sector irreparably in the long-term.

In this regard, it may be pertinent for the BoE to think carefully before making any dramatic changes to the criteria for lending. This will have a huge impact on the future growth of the market and the economy as a whole.