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Business

7 Ways You Should Be Keeping Your Customers Happy

Keeping your customers happy isn’t as difficult as it may sound, and it’s absolutely essential if you want to build a successful business from the ground up. You can take a look at many businesses that have failed and you will likely spot things that they could have done much better when it comes to customer service and interaction with their audience.

If you don’t want to fall into the same traps as these kinds of businesses, below you’ll find 7 ways you should be keeping your customers happy. Take a look and see what you can implement today:

  1. Giving Your Staff Consistent Training

Training your staff is a benefit to both your business and your customers. Staff who are better trained provide a higher quality of work and service, and feel more confident when interacting with customers. You can then give them more power and flexibility to rectify any customer issues, which can leave your customers feeling like they have had all their needs met.

  1. Keeping Your Website Up And Running

Your website is your 24/7 storefront, so keeping it up and running is key to keeping your customers happy. However, it simply isn’t enough for it to be there. It needs to look good, be easy to use, contain relevant information, and more. You should have a simple check out process, and monitor the way your audience uses your site so you can make any appropriate changes. Having IT Consulting and Strategy talks with a reputable company will ensure you can avoid any downtime. Speaking to a marketing company with happy customers and experience should help you to ensure your audience can actually find you when they are looking for you.

  1. Going Above And Beyond To Fix Their Issues

Always go above and beyond to fix your customer’s issues. You don’t just want them to just be content, you want them to be ecstatic with the service they have received from you. One bad experience can stop a customer from ever coming back, so if they do come back and tell you about it, make sure you’re willing to do what it takes to keep them as a customer.

  1. Giving Them Incentives To Come Back

Make sure you’re giving your audience incentives to come back and work with you again and again. Not just by offering a great service, by by giving them things like loyalty points and discounts.

  1. Being Consistent With Your Service

Make sure you’re treating all of your customers fairly and equally. This is why consistent training for your staff is a must!

  1. Asking Them For Their Feedback

Ask your customers for their feedback and really listen to what they tell you. They will feel valued and like you truly care about what they think. If something is mentioned multiple times, you know it’s a trend you need to pay attention to.

  1. Providing Fantastic Communication

Communication is key. Keep your customers updated when they have made a successful order, when the order is on its way, if there are any delays, and even if you make a mistake. Admitting your mistakes makes you a much more trustworthy company than a company that attempts to shirk the blame.

What steps have you taken to make you customers happy? Maybe a better question is what more could you be doing to take your customers from content to loyal brand ambassadors for your business? Share your ideas – and questions by leaving comment below!

Why Employee Happiness Should Be One Of Your Number 1 Concerns

In recent years, it has become more and more evident that paying attention to the happiness of your staff can be one of the most important things you’ll ever do. Years ago, this isn’t something that company directors would have really given as much thought to. However, these days, we are more aware that the mindset of the people within a company can have a huge overall effect on the success of the company itself.

If you’re still unsure of why employee happiness should be one of your number one concerns or what you should be doing about it, read on.

How Do You Know If Your Employees Aren’t Happy At Work?

It’s unlikely most of your employees will come out and simply tell you that they are not happy. Don’t assume that this means they are. Instead, you need to ask yourself a few questions to get a more accurate idea of whether they are happy or not. For instance; how likely are they to go above and beyond in their role when you need them to? How willingly do they help you to come up with a new strategy? How do they engage with your customers? Answering these questions should give you a good idea of whether your employees feel engaged in their roles.

Getting To Know Your Employees

Getting to know your employees is key if you’re going to figure out whether they are truly happy or not. You should learn their names, ask them questions, and remember things about them so you can start conversations later on. Making your employees feel seen and heard is one of the best ways to make them feel valued and like an important part of the company.

Going Out Of Your Way To Help Them

If you can, go out of your way to help your employees. If they come to you with an issue, try your best to solve it. It doesn’t always have to be related to work, but if something outside of the workplace is affecting their work, it only makes sense that it will be in your best interest to help them. For example, it isn’t unheard of for bosses to help their employees secure a place to live by speaking to a landlord and giving a reference, as this almost directly affects their work.

Creating A Safe, Happy Space To Work In

Creating a safe, happy space to work in is another important factor of keeping your employees engaged and satisfied. They should feel physically and emotionally safe at work. If you’re not giving them safe equipment to use, for instance, you’ll likely be getting a call from someone like Alpert Schreyer Injury Attorneys sooner than you think. You must make sure checks are carried out and that the space inspires some creativity – you really don’t want your employees to dread coming in to work.

Acknowledging Employee Efforts And Achievements

Make sure you acknowledge your employees efforts and achievements both individually and as a group. If they have worked particularly hard one week/month, you could consider treating them to lunch or giving them a bonus for the added effort.

Ask For Feedback

Finally and most importantly, be open to receiving feedback. There’s nothing quite as powerful as asking for (even anonymous) feedback to get an idea of what you could improve upon. When you encourage your employees to share their onions, you’re making them feel heard and appreciated. Better yet, when you take their feedback and use to to make changes within your organization you are demonstrating that you value their happiness. 

How does your business tend to the happiness of its employees? Are there ways you can improve? Take time this week to really reflect on whether you’re adequately fostering happiness in your workplace and some changes you can make to do a better job. 

The Construction Of Trusting Workplace Communications

As a manager for a new business, you may find it harder than expected to build trusting and open communications with staff. You might find that some of your employees distrust or rally against the people in charge. In part, this comes down to human nature. It can also come about as a result of negative experiences in the past. Either way, it can building morale and company culture feel near impossible.

The fact is that staff will be far more efficient when they feel they are working for an employer they can trust and talk to. By comparison, closed doors and a lack of respect could lead to sub-standard work. Still, finding success here isn’t easy. Despite your best efforts, you may not know how to construct good communications. The good news is, this is a lot like any other construction task you set your sights on. Read on to find out how building yourself up here isn’t all that different from adding an extension onto your house.

The resources

Before getting started, it’s crucial to have the right resources to hand. In the building world, that means things like bricks and mortar. With working relationships, it means providing your team with the right resources to get the job done. In a fundamental sense, that could mean putting an HR team in place. That way, your staff will see that you have their best interests in mind. You may even want to provide worker handbooks which state things like employment bureau numbers, and outline how a lawyer can help in the case of workplace injury. While you can only hope staff don’t need to use all of these resources, providing them proves you have nothing to hide. Again, this shows you have staff’s best interests at heart.

The foundations

Any building project must start with a solid foundation. Without this, your efforts will crumble before you get to the top finishes. By laying a foundation, you ensure that you’re building on stable ground. And, that can ensure your efforts here last in the long-term. Of course, a concrete base doesn’t help with communications. Instead, this involves getting to know every member of your team. Don’t just employ them and send them out into the world. Take time to talk with them – daily is possible. Go for lunch together and chat on a general sense. That way, you’ll start developing a relationship. And, guess what? Trust and relationships come hand in hand.

The structural work

Even once you think the building work is finished, you need to keep coming back to check on any structural work. Otherwise, even the best building will fall into disrepair. As will your communications. An initial relationship will soon fizzle if you don’t nurture it. As such, you need to keep in contact with every member of your team. This means asking them how they are and meaning it. It means keeping up with what’s happening in their lives and doing what you can to help. This is when real bonds will form, and your workers will begin to love working for you. From there, trust will be your employment oyster.

How do you work to build a trusting company culture? What steps do you take to invest in your employees’ morale? Share your ideas or questions by leaving a comment below!

How to Stay Focused While Working from Home

How to Stay Focused While Working from Home

It’s becoming more and more common for people to work from home, either full-time or even just a few days per week. If your career allows you to work virtually, it’s likely you’ve found yourself trying to be productive at home only to be derailed by a myriad of different distractions.

For the last seven years, I’ve grown my public relations business while working exclusively from home. During different periods of time, that included juggling work with infant babies at home and trying to schedule conference calls around nap times. The good news is, I survived! And throughout my experience working from home, I’ve developed quite a few tips and tricks to that have helped me to stay focused and productive.

Here are my go-to tips for staying focused and making the most of your time when working from home. Take a look!

Make a Mental Commute

When you work from home you don’t have the benefit of a commute. Maybe you’ve never viewed a commute as a benefit, but think about it for a moment. Physically moving from one place to another gives you the mental separation of work and home. During your commute you can get yourself in a “work” mindset. When you work from home, however, you have to make a conscious effort to change from your “home” mindset to your work one.

One tip I highly recommend is having a dedicated office space that feels separate from the rest of your house. This allows you to “commute” to your office and on that commute you can clear your mental space and walk into your office ready to work.

Stick to a Routine

Sure, working from home gives you extreme flexibility in your schedule, but this can also be a trap. To be effective when working from home, it’s so important to stick to a routine. There will certainly be days where this routine will be disrupted, but for the most part you must establish a core routine and stick to whenever you can.

Pick a routine that fits your personality and workload. Are you more effective in the early morning or do you thrive in the afternoons? Unlike a traditional office environment with a strict 9-5 schedule, you get to set your own schedule. However, once you set one, let it give your day structure and stability.

Set Your Work Hours

Along with setting a routine, you also need to establish your work hours. When working from home, it’s easy for work and personal life to blend together. If you’re not careful, you’ll find that you’re never fully present in either space, because you can’t separate the two. By setting work hours, you’ll know that from 7am until 3pm (or whatever you choose) is the time to focus exclusively on work-related tasks. Outside of that time, you must train yourself to put work aside, stop checking emails and shift your focus to friends, family and yourself.

Resist Chores and Errands

During your set work hours, resist any and all temptations to dive into tasks that are not directly related to work. I’ll admit that when working from home, I’ll throw in a load of laundry, put away dishes and tidy up some rooms as I walk through. These are small and necessary tasks that shouldn’t divert you from more than a few minutes of work time. The tasks I’m addressing here are the ones that can sabotage your work productivity for hours. Tasks like sorting out your closet, reorganizing a room or running personal errands can steal hours away from your day and can reasonably wait until the evening or weekend.

Give Yourself Small Breaks

Although you want to squeeze the most you can out of every work day, you can only accomplish this by giving yourself small breaks. Why? Because no one can be productive 100% of the work day. We all need mental and physical breaks in order to return back to a task and be even more productive than we would be otherwise. Trust me on this one. Allow yourself short, timed breaks where you can get some fresh air, stretch your legs, get a snack or cup of coffee and then return to your desk ready to work again.

Close Up Shop!

Finally and most importantly, when you’re done for the day – be done! Don’t linger around refreshing your inbox and fishing around for people to ask you for something. Disconnect, go offline and enjoy your time off. After all, you’ve earned it! The best part of having a productive work day is that you can close up shop knowing the most important tasks are taken care of and everything else can wait until tomorrow.

Do you work from a home office? How do you stay focused throughout the day? Share your tips and best practices by leaving a comment below!

The Biggest Legal Battles That Companies Face

Looking in from the outside, you might think that it’s fairly straight forward to run a business. You just need to continually look for new clients while ensuring your products and services are kept to a high standard, right? Well, that isn’t always the case. In fact, there are often a lot of problems happening behind the scenes of which many clients and customers are unaware. For instance, if a company is in a legal dispute with another party, they don’t usually want anyone finding out, as it could damage their reputation.

In fact, there are quite a few common legal cases that companies face. It doesn’t mean they’re a “bad” business, per se. But they are something that must be dealt with swiftly and professionally in order to resolve the issue and save face. Here are some of the common cases you, as a business owner, should be aware of.

Employee Injury Compensation Cases

Any business that operates in a potentially dangerous environment, such as a factory or warehouse, will need to have adequate insurance coverage in case any of their employees end up hurt in an accident. In fact, it’s even worth it for office-based companies to take out plenty of insurance too as the compensation and legal fees could be extensive. It can be difficult to fight a great worker’s comp lawyer on your own. So, your company might want to hire a legal expert in this field just in case you are unexpectedly taken to court!

Immigration Audits

Whenever you hire an employee from a different country, you need to make sure that they have the right to work in the country. You will have to carry out a lot of background checks in order to try to find any potentially forged paperwork. It is necessary to be really thorough with these checks or else you could end up in a lot of trouble when you undergo your immigration audits. If you are found to have employed anyone who should not be working, then you will be the one that ends up prosecuted.

Angry Clients

Did you know that clients can file lawsuits if they are ever disgruntled with bad work from a contractor? It’s true, and these cases often end up coming out in the client’s favor. This can be especially troublesome for your company if a number of clients come together to fight your company. So, it’s always important to stay on top of your company’s output to make sure that the quality never dives. If you do ever get any complaints, be sure to deal with them as soon as possible in a very professional manner to prevent them from escalating.

Discrimination Cases

Discrimination is a huge legal offence, whether it is on race, gender, or age. It is of paramount importance that this never occurs within your company and that you never use any discrimination in your recruitment process. If you do, you will likely find yourself in court at some point in time. Not only that, though, but discrimination cases often attract a huge amount of publicity, which could spell the end for your business’s good reputation.

Hopefully, you and your business will never be affected by any of these big legal battles, but if you do find yourself facing a challenging case, be sure to seek professionalism representation first. Beyond legal representation, brand reputation is also important. An experience Public Relations professional can ensure your brand is not negatively impacted by what may transpire during your case.

Four Ways To NOT Drown When Starting A Business

Starting a business is no easy feat. From getting the finance that you need for your company to putting together a business plan, the work doesn’t stop from the moment you begin. If you’re ready to embrace that, you can stand up against the unnecessary, and often redundant paperwork and busy work that people mistakenly think they have to do to keep their business floating. Coping with a heavy workload is one thing when it’s not your business, but when the future of the company is on your shoulders, you have to do everything possible to keep your head above water and simplify your task list. Be a swan: paddle hard beneath the surface but glide just above it. The trick? Keeping on paddling, and know the direction you’re headed!

Trying to juggle priority tasks that are always changing can make you feel overwhelmed, like you’re struggling to keep going in your work. Stress at work is very real, but the stress level goes up exponentially when the future of the business is down to you. Recognizing the stress that you are in at work is important, because once you recognize it, you can learn to manage it. Here are some of the ways that you can manage your workload so that you aren’t overcome by it:

Outsource. There is nothing better than realizing that you can’t be everything to everyone. It’s always better to be the master of your trade, than a jack of all, but master of none. Using managed IT services for your cloud and a graphic design company for your branding alongside the cleaning company that you use for your physical office space is just smart! You are choosing not to do a good job badly, but to pass it to an expert who can do it better. There’s no shame in knowing that there are people out there that can do a job better than you.

Understand. Next, you have to look at what you want to achieve with your company, and match up those objectives to the team that you’ve put together. Be bold with your objectives and map out how those tasks align. Share it with the team and make a plan so that the work is evenly distributed among the management team. Less stress equals a healthier and happier workforce.

Break. Drowning under deadlines means pressure, which means you don’t leave the office for days at a time. While the logical thing to do is push on and get the work done, the best thing that you can do is to step back and take a break. When the pressure is on, you can forget what you’re doing next, which leads to mistakes. Take a break, collect yourself and go back to it with fresh eyes.

Communicate. No one is going to know that you’re struggling unless you tell them! Speak to your colleagues and set up a plan so that work is balanced and easier to handle.

You do not have to drown under the pressure of your business; think smart and take control!

Simple Ways To Refresh Your Brand

When it comes to updating your business to fit with the times and to fit with your taste, you might think that you need to completely overhaul your branding and start again. However, a complete rebranding effort can be a big task and you will always run the risk of losing followers due to them not realizing recognizing or resonating with your new brand. If you feel as if you need some fun and life injected back into your business, here are a few simple ways to refresh your brand.

Makeover your website

The easiest and one of the most effective ways of adding a bit of panache to your brand is to take some time to redo your website and make it a better place to visit. For example you can completely redesign the theme for better navigation, play with the colors and even add a blog section to create content which will pull even more people into your brand and to your website.

Create a new logo

Logos are a huge part of a successful business and they are like a little nugget of information which seems to get stuck in everyone’s heads as soon as they see it. This is why companies with the big M and that infamous swirl C design  can be pictured by people all over the world with a simple thought. You can make a big impression with a good logo and therefore it is always worth trying out new things and seeing if you can make it iconic. You can look at https://www.tailorbrands.com/logo-maker to make your own logo and stand out from the crowd. Though keep in mind, there is immense value in working with an experienced and professional public relations firm and graphic designer to determine the look and feel of your new brand. Not every job is best tackled as a DIY!

Create a fun branding event

When it comes to either rebranding or refreshing your brand, there are differences. You can read here https://www.templafy.com/blog/rebranding-vs-brand-refresh/ and see what it takes to rebrand entirely rather than refreshing which is much easier and carries less risk. For a branding event, you can create a giveaway on social media and invite people to share to enter. You could hold a competitor for designing your next logo or simply just post a few “teaser” messages to let your followers know you are about to update a few things. All of these things will get them involved in your refresh and it will make it much less risky for you to change because your followers will already know you are going to.

Get influencers to sell you

Influencers such as bloggers and celebrities are the perfect tool to use for your marketing, especially if you are looking to rebrand and change things up. If you are looking to change a logo, it can be easier to keep your following by asking an influencer to review something of yours. Make sure the product has the new logo on it and this will be seen by many and they will likely come to find out more about you and your business. It can be just the boost you need to set you up for rebranding success!

5 Things To Think About When Setting Up Shop

When you want to go into business for yourself, you’ll often think about just how great your future will be. Because many believe that the flexibility and income possibilities of an entrepreneur are often quite glamorous – and it’s very much glorified right now. But the reality is that taking the entrepreneurial leap is quite serious and you have to be really practical about things, especially in the beginning.

If you choose the entrepreneurial path, you’re going to want to make sure that you know exactly what you’re doing and that you have a great foundation to build from. But at the same time, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself and end up putting things off because you feel like it’s too much of a big job for you to take on. So let’s break things down and work out what top five things you should focus on when you first “set up shop.”

  1. Where

The very first thing that you should think about here is where you want your business to be located. Do you want to have a physical shop or do you want to work virtually? If you want to be in a traditional brick and mortar space, then where will that be? Will it be in your own town or will it be somewhere else? And you need to choose well here. You’ll want to make sure that your target customer base is going to be able to find and interact with your business wherever you set up.

  1. Marketing

The next thing that you should do, is think about your marketing because there are a ton of marketing ideas for small businesses that you can work on. So you should think about what options are going to work for you, and what will be the best ways to promote your company so that you get in front of the people that want to buy from you. Spend some time here! It will be the most important strategy you can focus on right now.

  1. Equipment

Then you will want to make sure that you have all of the equipment that you need to run and operate your company. This could be technology like a laptop and phone, or it could be uniforms where you look at a catalog to choose them, or it could even be software or machinery. You need to make sure that you’re finding suppliers that you like, and who can get you the equipment you need while staying within your budget.

  1. Sales

It’s also important for you to be able to close a sale. You’ll either want to be confident enough to push sales for yourself, or you will want to make sure that you hire someone that can drive this for you. Because without driving sales, you simply won’t have a thriving business.

  1. Growth

And finally, you need to make sure that you’re thinking about how you plan to grow. This is often the most important part of all. Because if you only ever focus on the four things above, you may not be able to make the business work – or you’ll just get stuck. Instead, you really need to know where you’re going and how you can scale your product or services. You’ll want to figure out what you’re planning for and where you want to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, etc.  so that you can start putting the plans in place to make it happen.

Are You Really Ready For A PR Campaign?

A good PR campaign can be the making of your business. But as with many other things in life, timing is crucial. Many small business and startup owners look for help with their marketing and PR as soon as possible, in the belief that the earlier they get the word out on the street, the better.

The trouble is, there are a few things you need in place before you even contemplate PR, marketing and advertising campaigns for your business. But what are they, exactly? Read on to find out more about how to know you are ready…

Can you prove it?

No PR campaign can take a product that no one has ever seen before and make it sell like hotcakes. You need to ensure you have a grassroots movement on your product at the very least to prevent yourself from throwing money at something that simply doesn’t capture the public’s imagination. Feedback, prototype reviews, customer surveys – all these things need to be in place before you can start scaling out and finding your success.

Do you have the capabilities?

Let’s say you are a small company that hopes to double your sales over the course of 6 months, taking you from 500 units per month to 1,000, for example. You hire a PR professional to help you with your strategy and spread the word far and wide. It’s successful – wildly so, and your sales go through the roof. But you don’t have the products to sell immediately due to lack of finances and resource, your new customers get angry, and you never see them again. Don’t let this happen, as it can be tricky to pull yourself back. Sort out your cash flow, look for a business loan(s), and make sure you have the ability to scale if need be. Many businesses have crashed when they are overwhelmed, so don’t let yourself add to that number.  

Do you have something to say?

A good PR campaign can be explosive when the company it promotes has an awesome story to tell. But unless you are lucky, the chances are that even the best PR agency in the country will be unable to make a dent in your market if you don’t have a compelling message. And make no mistake about it – it needs to be compelling. The reality is that there are somewhere in the region of 11,000 startups created every single hour of every single day around the world. If you haven’t got a story, why do you think journalists will care? Or anyone else for that matter? While a PR expert can undoubtedly help you refine your story, flesh it out, and make it compelling – you need at least the kernel of an idea to base it on.

Are you in a race?

None of this is to say that you should wait until everything is perfect. If you are in a competitive industry, for example, there may be a necessity to get your name out there as soon as possible. If you need to scale fast – and have the capability to do so – then hiring an agency or PR professional could be critical to your success, not to mention your survival!

Do you feel your business is ready to implement a comprehensive public relations campaign? Or do you need to get some other items in line first before you hit the ground running?

Boosting Your Self-Confidence When Pursuing a New Career Path

When it comes to careers, the majority of us tend to stick with what we know. We land our first job and do our best to remain within it. Maybe we’ll receive a promotion some day, maybe we won’t – the main worry on our minds is staying gainfully employed. If something isn’t broke, why try to fix it?

Now, this is a relatively safe way to play things. But it’s not likely to be the most enjoyable or profitable way to go about your life, and taking on this mindset is the very way that people end up stuck in dead end jobs for their entire career. It’s also important to bear in mind that even the most seemingly stable company could go bust at some point down the line, or your position could be rendered redundant. So, you might want to consider branching out a little and pursuing something that you actually enjoy and that earns you the salary you want. Sure, this can be extremely daunting. But luckily, there are a few ways to boost your self confidence in order to achieve your goals. Here are just a few to consider!

Establish Exactly What You Want to Do

Many people lack self confidence in their career progression, as they don’t actually know how they want their career to progress. It’s important that you take the time to figure out exactly what it is that you want to do. Once you’ve found something that you’re invested in, you’ll find that you have a much easier time dedicating yourself to it and making active steps towards achieving it.

Engage With Inspirational Figures

Take a look at some inspirational individuals in the field you intend to enter. If you want to succeed in a tech business, engage with a Tech Entrepreneur. When you communicate and network with individuals who have done well in your chosen field, you’ll see that success can be achieved. You may even be able to gain a few sage pieces of advice from them along the way!

Learn from Rejection

You might not land the first job that you apply for in your chosen field. In fact, few people do. But you shouldn’t let rejection knock you down. Instead, you should learn from it. A positive lesson can be taken from any interview or trial period that hasn’t quite gone to plan. You can then rectify your mistakes and put in a better performance next time.

Take Short Courses

If you feel that you need more specialist knowledge in your area of interest, you can always look out for short courses on the subject. Sign up to these! They will help you to get to grips with the basics, and will mean that you feel more self-assured when you do start your new role.

These are just a few steps that you should try out for yourself. They really will have a profoundly positive impact on your self-confidence, encouraging you to achieve your goals and dreams!

Are you in a transitional period with your career? What steps have you taken to boost your self-confidence? Share your advice or ask a question by leaving a comment below!