How to spot a successful business

Aside from profit, there are a number of features that a thriving business will have. If you’re considering purchasing one whether it’s a bar, a café or a childcare centre for sale, there are a few tell-tale indicators that you should keep an eye out for. Read below for the signs you should look for when you are trying to spot a successful business.

Prosperous businesses are not accidents. Even if there is a sense of a company striking it lucky with an ingenious product or opportunity, they well seldom remain so buoyant unless they’re managed properly and sufficiently plan for the future. A big part of this process is the ability to self-reflect and review current ways of doing things to foster a continuous cycle of improvement. This can refer to change as a response to an issue or situation, but can also include the willingness of a business to engage in proactive renewal.

An indicator of this is an ability to deal with failure. In reality, failures of varying degrees with be inevitable in business, but rather than simply trying to rectify an often innocent mistake, a well-run business will have the ability and framework in place to dissect ‘what went wrong.’ This need not be a hugely formal process, but at the least it should mean that the workplace is able to identify the conditions that lead to the failure and determine if there’s an area of incompetency that may need addressing.

A successful business will often has a strong online following and user friendly website. Some smaller businesses may not have the IT infrastructure that corporations enjoy, but in general you should still be able to find some mentions of them online in forums, reviews, or marketplaces such as Etsy, Ebay or other sales platforms. Simple things like spelling mistakes or clunky websites that don’t quite calibrate to all screen sizes may not indicate that a business is unsuccessful, but are a window into the ability of staff, or more importantly, the ability of the management who would ultimately sign off on public communications.

Of course, depending on the industry and also their location, thriving businesses may not have a website at all, and in this instance it can pay to do some word of mouth research or begin an online thread on a local community page or Facebook group for people’s opinions of a specific company.

A final way to get an indication of a business’s success is to refer to the basic principles of supply and demand. There is a degree of risk taking when predicting whether something will resonate with potential customers, but a company with a sound risk management plan in place should have ways to mitigate exposure. If a business is providing a niche product or service which the market does not sufficiently cater to, chances are that it’s a winner. However, the caveat on this is whether or not there is adequate demand for the item or service in question.

Image credit: PourquoiPas

 

Customer Pleasing Secrets WAHMs Need To Know

Are you a working at home mom (WAHM)? Do you have to juggle your businesses needs with taking care of, and spending proper time with the kids? If so, then it can be pretty tough to have the time to ensure your customers are happy all of the time. So, to help you with the mammoth task here are a few tips on how to please your customers. Something that is, of course, essential to making sales and building a good brand.

Customer service

The number one thing that you have to get right if you want your customers to be happy is customer service. OK, this may sound a little counter-intuitive because most people only go to customer service when they are not happy to get help or have a moan. But bare with me, however, because I am about to show you how it plays a role in the satisfaction of your customers, and so the reviews they leave, as well as the likelihood that they will purchase from you again.

ZeroTolerance

In the real world of business, things go wrong. Orders are shipped incorrectly, websites overcharge people, products get damaged in the mail. You cannot avoid this, but what you can do is ensure that you are available and empathetic when this does happen. As well acting quickly to rectify the situation. That is why customer service, whether it’s by phone, email, or chat box is vital to pleasing your customers. As it’s an excellent way of solving any issues and recovering your customers’ good favour.

Target marketing

Target marketing is another way of pleasing your customers because it’s all about appealing directly to them. That means your advertising and product are all designed with a specific audience in mind.

By specialising in this way, you are much more likely to create a positive association for your customers with your product, as well as grab the attention of the specific group you are attempting to get to buy it.

To use target marketing to its best advantage; get some specific advice from posts such as six effective target marketing strategies from theprauthority.com. Remember too, that it all rests on identifying who your product is for, then tailoring your message and that platform on which you promote it to them.

Fast delivery

Something that can make customers super happy is offering fast delivery at no extra cost. We are all part of the instant gratification generation, where we can download products like books, music, and games in a few seconds.

To keep pace with this, if you are shipping a physical product ensure that you use an expedited shipping service like the one available at dhl.com. Customers will love that they don’t have to pay extra for this serve and that they can expect their product in a short time.

Easy Returns

Likewise, allowing for easy returns is something that is bound to please your customers. You can find out how to do this at entrepreneur.com. This is because they know if they purchase a product and change their mind, or buy the wrong thing they can easily send it back and get a refund.

Of course, this also helps you close the deal as well. As customers will worry less about making a purchase beforehand.

 

Why You Should Consider a Minimalist Approach in Business and How to Do It

Image: Pexels

Are you attracted to the minimalist lifestyle? Want to start but don’t know where to begin? Perhaps you are about to launch a new business and you wonder how a “less is more” mindset holds up as a business model?

If any of these questions strike a chord, then read on. Here are ways the pursuit of minimalism can help you in your business life.

Declutter your sphere.

Minimalism is a mindset, but that mindset is most often translated into actions. When your space is cluttered with non-essentials, the result is living and working in a non-streamlined space. You may find yourself taking more time than necessary to complete tasks because of this.

Kickstart your minimalist lifestyle by decluttering all the items in your universe. Donate those unused items to charity or get cash for junk cars. You will feel lighter at the end of the day and readier to take on what’s up ahead.

Focus on the important.

Do you often find yourself fiddling with busy work because you don’t want to tackle an important project? Take a minimalist approach and ask yourself what is the one task that you absolutely must complete by the end of the day. Do that thing first. You might even be able to get away with not doing the time-filler work. By eliminating the non-essential things, you can get more done.

Offer only the best.

Offering a multitude of services might be a nice bonus, but sometimes, this array of services can be a time and money drain. You may want to ask yourself: What is the one main reason customers come to me and not to my competitors? Focus on honing that aspect to where it can stand on its own, without needing the prop of additional hype or service to gain new clients or ring up more sales. The old adage rings true in business: Do one thing and do it well.

Do only what you can do.

Are you a micro-manager? Do you feel that you are the only person in the world who can fill out a form in the correct way? Stated like this, it sounds silly. Yet many small business owners and entrepreneurs fall prey to this mindset. However, if you have hired a team to help you, allow them to earn their paychecks. If you don’t have a team, consider getting one so you can outsource the nonessentials. This should free you up to focus on the heart and core of moving your business forward.

Re-evaluate priorities.

Often, where business and minimalism diverge is in how both fields view success. Businesses see growth in profits as their measure of success. Whereas, minimalism evaluates whether one has “enough.” This thinking might be hard to swallow for those entrenched in the corporate world. But it might be good to evaluate whether “more” for you will truly equal more of the things that you want in life. Aspects such as happiness and quality of life have been shown to taper off after a certain income threshold. So pursuing money for an investment in happiness makes sense only to a certain point.

In fact, trying to achieve more in business could hurt your health or relationships. Ask yourself how much business success is enough for happiness, retirement, and the fulfillment of your goals. Pursue enduring success and realize that success metrics are not rigid.

At first glance, it might seem that minimalism and the pursuit of less stuff can’t possibly overlap with one’s business pursuits. You might be tempted to think that you can keep to your minimalist ways at home, but at work it’s a different story. You’ll be happy to hear that the minimalist lifestyle’s key tenets are those of striving for simplicity over complexity. And this way of thinking can benefit you—no matter the sphere of life.

Getting The Time Off You Deserve

Photo: Concord90

Let’s face it. The American workplace values dedication, but it often takes things too far, while not reciprocating what it demands every time. As a result, if you feel a bit of guilt about taking time off, don’t. Whether it’s to be used for an emergency, vacation, or even a break to unwind, time off is valuable. In fact, not only can using your time off make you a better employee but even lead to a healthier lifestyle. More productivity while you’re at work, less stress and work at home, there’s plenty to use. Yet only 77% of people in America are fully using their time off. In addition, vacation days are approaching a historical low.

Why this is the case is an article in and of itself, but we can surmise is that even with opportunities to take time away from work, people won’t use it. This article will cover the two main components of time off from work:

  1. Keeping abreast of what you’ve earned.
  2. Making sure you don’t cause issues with work when you get back.

The Lay Of The Land

Note that technically, most organizations are not required to provide vacation, paid or unpaid, for their employees. At the same time, most employers will put together some sort of vacation package. After all, you need to appeal to potential talent if you want a business to grow. The same applies to sick leave, with the exception of a few jurisdictions. What this does mean, though, is that each company’s approach to time off will be different. The best thing you can do is speak to your human resources department or whoever is responsible for your duties. They will let you know how much time off (paid or unpaid) you have, as well as how it is earned. Some companies let you accrue it, while others provide you with a flat amount for a certain period of time. Know the policies inside and out to make sure that you’re not missing out on time you may have earned.

There are also a few things to keep in mind regarding how your employer responds to your request. For example, there are no laws regulating how much your employer contacts you on vacation. In addition, they can also revoke said time off anytime, even if you get formally approved. With this said, there’s a common thread at work here. Many employers have the option to do so but often would avoid it in hopes of retaining talent and keeping them happy. Still, emergencies may happen.

Working With Your Employer

We mentioned before that there is little legal control regarding employers and how they handle your time off requests. In general, this means you may need to do a little clever talking to get your requests approved.  For the most part, especially if you are taking a day off for a mental health day or something similar, vagueness is the way to go. All you need to do is cite personal business. Mentioning something like a family illness can sound like a good idea, but what if you bring said relative to the Christmas party and get confronted with your lie?

Some people may recommend using various tools if you’re stuck against the wall, like a doctors note. Finding a doctors note template to put together isn’t difficult, but if you want to go this route, keep these things in mind.

A: Be sure you find one that fits both your needs and your medical history.

B: Don’t go to this well too often, as the more you use it, the less effective it is.

C: In general, treat these as a last resort if you need a mental health day with little notice or something similar. Time off when you need it makes you a better employee, but don’t jeopardize your job.

At the end of the day, when it comes to your time off, the best thing you can keep in your mind is that you deserve it. Like any other perk or benefit of your job, you’ve earned it. Putting it into practice may take a little bit of work, but you will ultimately be a better, more relaxed worker in the end. This is something anyone in any field can appreciate.

 

Prevent disaster with business continuity planning

A Business Continuity Plan is essential to any business. Its main function is to highlight all potential risks that may face your business and make you think about how you’d react and survive if something major were to happen, such as a natural disaster or an IT failure.

Take a look at this infographic for an overview of what your business continuity plan should include.

Credit: Flexispace

 

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