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Your employees are your most valuable asset. They are the ones who deliver the products and services that set your business apart from the competition out there. Happy workers are productive workers, and company culture is what helps promote happiness within a company!
In a sense, a good company culture is the subtle glue that keeps your business together. It guides people and motivates them to work together to help make your business goals a reality. A problematic culture can affect morale, productivity, and especially your bottom line. While a good company culture alone doesn’t make a business successful, it can take a good business and make it a great one.
Good culture comes from the top
If prospective applicants know your business takes the time to focus on workplace culture, your business will be a place that attracts motivated, hard-working, impactful employees. Word travels fast, and when people know you treat your employees as an investment, your business will be a place people will want to work at for a long time.
The marketplace is always changing, and your business needs to change with it. However, your employees want to know what’s expected from them on a day-to-day basis. Uncertainty and disorganization can breed chaos and frustration — characteristics that won’t help company culture.
Reflect your Business’s Goals and Values
Your business is unique. Your employees are unique. Identify what it is that sets you apart from the competition and build a culture that can support those differences on a day-to-day basis. Your advertisement may claim to have helpful sales people — but have you provided them with the product training they need? You may spend time listening to customer concerns — do you listen to the concerns of your employees?
Hire the People That Share Your Culture
It goes without saying that knowing who to hire and who not to hire is crucial to a successful business. However, many businesses still overlook how a potential employee fits into the culture of the business. Why is it important? Because an employee that shares the same culture as the rest of your business shows up to work for the team. As the saying goes, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Hiring people that share that mentality will serve your business well.
Think about all your favorite places to shop or spend money. Can you tell the difference when employees enjoy their jobs, work as a team, and are invested in the success of that business? Company culture matters. If you didn’t own your business, would you want to work there?
When it comes to small businesses, having a solid brand helps you stand out from the competition. To many business owners, the concept of developing a brand stops at a logo and catchy slogan; this is where they fall short. An awesome brand encompasses both your customers’ and potential customers’ collective experiences with your business. Your brand should be able to convey what your company does and why your company does it better than your competition, while affirming to your audience that your business is trustworthy and professional.
Think of your business as a person… your brand would be that person’s character and identity. So how do you develop your business’s brand with this in mind? These tips should help:
Develop a strong name and logo
Let’s start with the foundation of a good brand: your name and logo. Your name and logo should be incorporate some of the following aspects:
- It should be simple and easily recognizable: if a customer catches your logo while driving down the street, will he or she be able to read it, or is your name/logo too long to read in passing?
- It should be functional: your name and logo should be able to fit anywhere you want, from a billboard all the way down to a smartphone display.
- It should be memorable: Your design should be unique and original so that it only gets associated with your business.
Part of developing a brand for your business is figuring out what makes your business different from your competitors. You know your products, your market, and niche, now figure out how you can do business differently. Take the commercial coffee chains Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts for example. Both sell similar products, but do so in very different ways that set the two apart.
Your business should have a “Voice”
Tone and delivery count just as much as words when talking. Similarly, your business should find a way to deliver a unique experience for your customers. Do you think a barbershop and nail salon offer the same experiences to customers? To better establish your brand, focus on developing a unique experience, from your website, to customer interaction.
Define your business’s purpose
Chances are, there are thousands of different businesses that do what you do. So what can you offer to your customers that they can’t get elsewhere? Say you own a pizzeria, there are lots of pizzerias out there, but yours is unique! You deliver authentic Italian brick-oven pizza in a setting that takes your customers into the heart of Venice. Sure, you sell pizza like many others, but your purpose is to deliver an authentic Italian experience.
Provide value for your customers that goes beyond price
Providing additional value for your customers helps convince them to choose your business while also solidifying your business’s purpose and uniqueness. Can you offer customers unparalleled customer service? Maybe your business has a warranty for products that your competition doesn’t? Provide additional value for your customers and they’ll associate that value with your brand.
Developing and refining your business’s brand is a great way to make sure you stand out from your competition. A brand is a combination of elements that encompass the customer’s experience. With a unique logo, name, voice, and purpose, your brand will no doubt help put your business above the competition.
1) Borrowing for Equipment
- The owner of a pizza parlor has a broken oven. She needs funds fast!
- Or a construction company with the opportunity to lease a backhoe instead of higher-cost rentals and delays waiting for equipment delivery.
Equipment loans are a solution for businesses that need to make an upfront purchase of a computer or other piece of equipment but lack sufficient funding to get what they need to operate. Short-term financing helps businesses ramp up production to meet demand or increase efficiency – both of which support increased profitability and staying in business when things go wrong.
2) Business Expansion
- The age-old dilemma…you can’t add too much staff before the orders show up, but you can’t service orders without staff.
Short-term financing bridges the gap. Growth in customers and sales means increased demand on your staff, space and resources. When you need to hire extra workers, add additional products or services, or expand your footprint, short term financing can be a great solution.
3) Sufficient Inventory and Seasonal Fluctuations
- A retailer buys bulk discount shoes from China. He uses short-term capital to purchase stock in bulk, allowing him to take advantage of deals to increase his margins and have plenty on hand so his customers stay happy with his service delivery.
Having the right amount of inventory on hand to meet demand is challenging – overstocking means tying up scarce resources; understocking means missed sales opportunities or backorders that send unhappy customers to Amazon. Using a short-term loan or advance for inventory also allows businesses to purchase the supplies they need to prepare for a busy season, even if they don’t have the cash on hand during the slow seasons.
4) Working Capital
Often, working capital is a financial metric to determine the financial health of a business. A sufficient level of funds to support everyday operations is critical. Working capital loans or advances can help cover gaps in revenue, whether from delays in collecting receivables, or an unexpected expense that disrupts the normal level of working capital. A working capital loan is versatile and can be used for various purposes, including payroll, purchasing supplies, or repairing equipment. This “all purpose” option fits most businesses, in many situations.
If you are business in need of funds, you have two options: secure investors or obtain a business loan or advance. Business loans are the preferred option for business owners that want to maintain control and flexibility. Banks are a first choice for longer-term needs. If you have a short-term funding needs, advances and working capital loans may be the right choice!
We’re living in exciting times. If your dream has always been to own your own business, it’s well within your reach. In fact, more than 50 percent of those working are employed through small businesses. With some fantastic advancements in technology, small businesses can leverage big results. A savvy business owner who learns how to delegate tasks, budget time and expenditures, and navigate new advances can achieve amazing growth.
While wonderful technologies cater to smaller businesses who have limited time and personnel, it’s exceptionally easy to get inundated with too much information. There’s not enough time or personnel to implement every great strategy. With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of five actionable tips you can use today to improve your business presence and offer substantial ROI.
Five Cost-Effective Tips to Increase Your Professional Presence and Reputation
- Get in the Cloud. If you’re not using Google for Work, you’re missing an exceptionally beneficial resource. Google Apps allow employees to connect and share work, schedules and other pertinent communication in real-time, so any contact point can confidently speak with clients without missing any important information about their projects and preferences.
- Website. Most clients will research you online before deciding to do business with you, and a great deal of business actually comes from online organic searches. A website isn’t a wish list item; it’s a must-have for business today. The good news is that using professional website templates with expert help is easier than ever. You can also contract web designers to take care of the technological end and either update content for you or hand the reigns back to someone in your office.
- Professional Designated Email. Your work email should be a designated email from your website domain. Each individual employee should have their own email address, as well. Customers will view this as more professional than a free Gmail account or a personal account. Google for Work allows your work email to match your website URL, such as email@example.com.
- CRM. A wide variety of CRM tools are available, such as Zoho, to keep your staff up-to-date on every client’s need at the moment, as well as every contact they’ve had with the company.
- Invest in Marketing. Marketing is an essential part of growth for any business. Small businesses can use social media marketing and content marketing strategies to help draw traffic to their website for conversion. Other options include email marketing and paid advertisements. All have their place, and all will require some time and money to earn the best results. You can also find options to do it yourself, or have experts do it for you.
Your small business can offer a web presence and customer service at the highest level. While technology offers great advantages for the small business owner, realize it’s also meant an increase in small business owners. A lot of people are out there working toward similar goals. The difference between success and failure is often in best using resources and having a dedicated focus on excellence in service.