Is it time to grow your small business?

Sometimes success can be difficult. It brings with it all sorts of problems. They are nice to have but they are problems nonetheless. One of the difficulties with running a successful small business is that you may be so successful that you need to scale up and sets your sights on bigger things. Just the thought of it can be alarming. You’ll need to take on more staff, make sure you can juggle your new work life with your family and maybe even start delegating more. The decision to expand your business is an important one and should not be taken lightly.  

Another one of the growing pains that come with running a healthy business is that you may need to find a bigger and better office. Just the idea of moving can be stressful, but it is sometimes necessary, especially if you want your business to reach its full potential. If you’re worried about the prospect of picking up and setting off for greener pastures, then relax. Here are a few things to consider before taking the plunge:

Moving companies have come into the 21st century. You no longer have to ask a friend of a friend to come over, put your things on the back of an old van, and drive it across town. Professional movers will take care of everything from logistics, planning, and transportation to even setting up your new place. Nowadays, they will pack up all your belongings in cardboard boxes or custom made wooden crates and move it all for you. In fact, it will be like it’s your birthday when you get to unpack it all safely once your move is complete. Like delivery companies, many moving companies let you track the progress of your move online. You can always know exactly where your belongings are and you won’t need to worry that they’ve got lost along the way. Lastly, if you are planning to move further than across town, and you are overwhelmed by the idea of moving abroad and dealing with import and export offices, airlines, or ocean shipment companies, then just a get a moving company to do the work for you. They know exactly what they’re doing, which leaves you to relax and look forward to your new business venture.

Secondly, right now is a great time to own a small business and an even better time to grow one. A report published last year shows that the current environment for small business is as good now as it has been since the recession of 2009. Further, they are better able to ride out the bumps of the global economy. Right now is as great time as any to realise your ambitions.

Lastly, while success may be difficult at times, it is still success. Lots of things in life can be challenging and while owning and running a small business is one of them, it remains a worthwhile thing to do.

 

Crafty Ways To Boost Your Income

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘disposable income.’ It typically refers to the money families has left over once rent/mortgage payments, bills and household essentials such as food have all been accounted for. But how many of us actually get to enjoy this ourselves? It is typically assumed that everyone has some form of disposable income that they are free to spend on whatever they like. But once rent, bills, and debts have been paid, a lot of families are actually left with next to nothing. This can mean that a lot of children are going without vacations, days out and all the usual treats we associate with childhood. If you are currently in this position with your own kids, it can be pretty disheartening seeing all your money drained away by your responsibilities. It can also mean that you have to sacrifice your own things, such as nice clothes and going out with your friends so that your children can be treated every now and again. All this can make for a pretty mundane existence, though. Want to get out of it and start spending money on the things you really want to do? Here are a few easy ways in which you can make more money and save the money you already have, so you and your children can enjoy the finer things in life.

Get a side hustle

Whether you work part time in an office or are a full-time mom, you probably roll your eyes initially at the thought of getting another job.  After all, it already feels as though you barely have a spare moment to sit down during an average day. Why would you want to make that even worse for yourself by taking on yet more responsibility? But what a lot of people don’t realize is that a side hustle is called that for a reason; they are time efficient ways to make money on the side, while still going about your normal daily business. For example, if you normally leave the house for a walk every afternoon at 2 pm, why not combine that with doing a paid dog walk for one of your neighbors? You can also get paid for doing online surveys and even for blogging, and both of those are things you can do from the comfort of your couch (perfect for when the kids are in bed). Other easy side hustles include being a Skype English teacher and making clothing alterations if you’re a dab hand with a sewing machine. Use your imagination and see what would work best for you.

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Cut your household and grocery bills

One of the reasons why you may feel like you never have any money is because your monthly bills burn such a large hole in your pocket. So many people don’t know about the economical ways to shop, partially because we are all so brainwashed by big brand marketing campaigns and scaremongering health reports. Go back to basics and find tips for saving money on your weekly groceries. It could be something as simple as opting for store-branded products rather than the higher end option, or it could be reducing your intake of meat and fish. Household bills are no different – take a good look at your current provider compared to some others and ask yourself whether you are really getting the best deal. You can also save money by switching to alternative energy types such as solar power and by keeping your home well-insulated during the winter months.

Making your own clothes

When you have a long-awaited girls night out approaching (let’s be honest, how many of them do us moms get?), you may start feeling the pressure to don a nice outfit for the occasion. Or maybe your children are approaching their teens, and they are becoming self-conscious about their self-image. Unfortunately, clothing can be expensive, especially when it preys on whatever is on trend that season. The issue with buying items that are in fashion is that in a few week’s time, a new trend may have muscled in, leaving your old item redundant. Try your hand at breathing new life back into old clothes by accessorizing them to make them relevant again. If you have an old sewing machine you haven’t used in awhile, bring it down from the attic and see what you could create.

Sell what you don’t need

When we sit back and look at the amount of ‘stuff’ we hoard in our homes, it can be quite astonishing. Whether you would class yourself as a hoarder or not, most people would admit that it can be very easy to develop an emotional attachment to inanimate items in the home. This is where you could be missing a trick, however. You could have hundreds of dollars sat right under your very nose at home – if only you are willing to part with some of your things, that is. Of course, certain items with true sentimental value (such as a gift from a grandparent) need not be sold. But working out what you can make money from is down to two things: whether you’ll miss it, and whether it is junk or not. You can by all means try to sell some of the junk you’re hoarding in your home, perhaps in a yard sale or something. But if you want to make a healthy sum, focus on some of the more high quality items you don’t have a use for anymore. The good news is it’s never been easier to make money from your unwanted goods, and this is all down to the internet. Amazon, eBay, even Etsy – all are great online marketplaces where you can get rid of your old things and make a profit while you’re at it. More room in your house and more money in your pocket – where do we sign up?!

Don’t Make These Blogging Blunders

Blogging has surged in popularity over the past few years. Anyone can start their own blog, but for a blog to be truly successful it takes something else, nouce, knowledge, determination and the total drive to push through the hard days and nights and keep going. Your blog could be about all kinds of things. Perhaps it is a business blog on your website designed to pull more traffic in. Maybe it is an informative kind of blog about a certain aspect of life like cooking or parenthood or you could be running a giveaway style blog. Whatever kind of blog you choose, there are certain things you need to do to ensure it is not only successful, but that it stays viable in the long term so that people continue to use it not start going somewhere else for whatever you offer. There are many mistakes to make. Some are silly and easily rectifiable, whereas others are deadly in the extreme. Here are some blunders you will always want to avoid wherever possible. You have likely already thought about some of these key mistakes, especially the bigger ones. But by having a read through you can harm yourself with some of the things you should always avoid if you can.

Not Getting Some Form Of Input Or Choosing The Right Host


It all depends on what kind of blog you use. However, you will need help doing it. It will take time and dedication, but you can pull it off. Using something like wordpress can be daunting at first, but there are guides all over the place looking to help and show you the way. Getting this input can steer you down the right path. It may be that wordpress isn’t for you and you can consider something else entirely. If you are running a blog for a business you should look at some of the successful blogs out there such as the
Digitalico blog. Seeing how business manage their blogs can give you the inspiration to do the same. Whether it is research, or actually asking or paying someone for their help, you should always get a little input. This can lead to you getting the right host. If you fail to get the right host you may end up rueing it down the line and needing to change when you have already built up a huge amount of subscribers. Get it right the first time an you will never need worry about this arising.

Not Finding A Perfect Niche

If you are building a blog for your business you can skip this step as your niche will be dictated by the type of business you operate. If you are only creating a blog though you should be aware of the kind of blog you want to create. You must ensure that you get the blog right. If you have a great idea, research it. Someone may have beaten you to it. If their blog is totally small fry consider going through with it anyway. If not, then go back to the drawing board. Try and figure something else out. Something that taps into your passion of that you want to share but in a different way. People need to be able to relate to it when they are reading it, otherwise it becomes dry and without feeling. Don’t worry too much, you can do this if you put the correct thought to it. The niche can be further expanded with other categories on your blog, so don’t feel too restrained. You just need that one killer idea to set your blog up with and the rest will follow suit as time goes by.

Not Posting Often Enough

When people start subscribing they are going to want certain amounts of content to read through. People subscribing is a big deal because it means they are interested enough to trust you with their email address but they’ll expect content. Don’t be lazy and give some time to crafting more content. You know your niche, so write about it. Keep it varied too, each post doesn’t have to be huge and consisting of multiple hard researched facts. Instead keep some short and snappy. Inject humour here and there. Just make them readable. Some can be infographics too. You’ll soon settle into a routine. This could be one post a day, or if more pressed for time two a week. If you are finding it particularly difficult you can think about hiring a freelance writer to write some posts for you, just make sure they are of a certain quality before going ahead with it.  When you and the subscribers get used to the routine everything will start falling into place.

Not Allowing Guest Posts

Sometimes you can supplement your own posts with those of guest posts. When you start finding people immensely interested in what you do and write you can allow them a guest post on something similar that they may have additional expertise in. This can be a great way of pulling more people in and adding to your site. You need to be careful though, read through each post before putting it live. Check for spelling and grammar because if it is wrong in places it will hurt the reputation of your blog. It needs to be close to perfect. You don’t want people to see errors and go somewhere else. Allowing guest posts shows you are interacting with the community and allowing your fans some form of control over the blog they now love, and it also takes the onus off you in terms of getting a certain amount of blogs out a week.

Over Advertising

Sometimes you just can’t say know to the money offered. Other times you have to. Why? Because you’ll lose followers and devout supports faster than you could possibly imagine. Toe the line and don’t go overboard. Allow it in certain instances and blog posts, but not all of them. No one wants to read spammy content all the time or have to click the crosses of multiple pop ups or peer through annoying banner advertisements. Do it in fits and bouts, not all at once. Be tactful, imagine going onto your favourite site and seeing all kinds of annoying clutter and junk in the way of the posts you love. Doing some is fine, people know you need a certain degree of income from what you do. Just keep it in check and try not to overdo it.

People Not Being Able To See Your Blog

Make it visible. Use Google analytics, ensure people know your blog exists. Do some poaching. Comment on certain threads and link back to your site to garner some additional traffic. Explore other options. Social media is full of people. Post some articles on there with links back to your blog. Tell people why your blog is so good. Maybe dabble with a little bit of SEO. Speak to other blog owners who aren’t competitive and try to help each other by driving traffic to each others’ sites. This can really work. The differing types of posts you make can pull in more people through internet searches, so keep them varied and try not to keep posting about the same thing all the time. Check out what your competitors are doing and try to match them if you think they have upped their game. There are always lessons to be learnt with competitors. Match what they are doing well and don’t give your viewers a reason to jump ship.

How Suzannah started her Super Mums’ Business Club

I met Suzannah Butcher (virtually!) a few years ago now because we both blogged about being a mum with a business. Suzannah really does know her stuff, so I was really pleased to find out she’d started a website and online members club to help other mothers running their own business, both in the UK and internationally. The website is called Super Mums Business Club and Suzannah’s aim is to connect women in business online. Members can join the club to get training and support to help to grow their business on the Internet.

After searching for training online and not finding anything geared towards mums in business, Suzannah realised there was a gap in the market – “I found lots of great training and clubs, but I found it hard to engage fully. I wanted somewhere to hang out online which provided great training but also had a friendly and informal feel”.

Suzannah, who started her first business in 2008, has been running online businesses for many years and is all too familiar with the challenges this can bring, especially when women are trying to fulfil many roles as a small business owner as well as being a mother. Suzannah says“I really struggled in my first few years in business and felt overwhelmed, lonely and at times, desperate. After coming out of the challenging years, I knew I could reach out to other women in business, particularly mums, as I understand how difficult and isolating being a solopreneur can be. I’ve created a platform to provide down to earth training presented in a way that’s simple to follow and easy to slot into the life of a busy mum and business owner”.

The club, which has free and paid membership options, is an online portal where members can access a business directory, training and printable downloads, plus gain access to a Facebook support group. Suzannah said “The free element was really important to me. How can I have a business vision to connect women in business and then charge for everything I was doing? Accessibility and inclusion is key to the club, so even if someone can’t invest in the monthly club, they can still get access to some great tools and support”.

Why Super Mums? Suzannah said “I wanted to turn the whole Super mum concept on its head. I was fed up with the term ‘super mum’ because I was struggling to do everything on my own but when I really thought about it, I realised that actually we are super, just not in the way the term would generally mean. I firmly believe we all have something great within us, we just need the right mindset and support to find our Superness!”

To find out more, or to join the club, visit mumsbusiness.club

Email Marketing Strategy Challenges of the Modern Marketer

There is no magical formula you can start using, and continue to use, when it comes to marketing. To guarantee success, modern marketers need to stay on the ball as the marketing world changes, watching emerging patterns that will turn into effective marketing techniques.

Email marketing is one of the marketing channels that are most difficult to master. A survey completed by marketers showed that their number one strategic challenge was increasing engagement rates. This infographic shows that if you are struggling in this area, then a good tip is to use segmentation and personalization to achieve higher rates of engagement.

Content creation, or more specifically, creating relevant content for the target audience, is a key driver in engagement rates and should enable you to achieve better results. Survey results also showed that acquiring new customers was also a big challenge for them.

Did you know that email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than using Facebook or Twitter? That’s a pretty astonishing statistic, so if you are struggling with customer acquisition, then you know what area to dedicate your efforts to.

Email Marketing Strategy Challenges of the Modern Marketer - Infographic by Campaign Monitor

Source: Email Marketing Strategy Challenges of the Modern Marketer by Campaign Monitor

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