Two simple ways to build your small business brand

Branding is important. Your brand is what helps people to remember that your company exists. When you get your branding right, yours is one of the firms a potential client will think of the next time, they need a product or service that you sell.

An awful lot of small business owners do not fully appreciate the importance of branding. Even those that do recognise its importance often believe that building a strong brand is an expense that they cannot afford. In reality, as you will see, you do not necessarily have to spend a lot of money or time on branding. Here are a couple of simple ways to get your brand out there.

Give out branded gifts

This first suggestion sounds a bit old-fashioned, which it is. But virtually every large firm still does it for the simple reason that it is a highly effective way of raising brand awareness. For more than a hundred years, firms have been giving their customers gifts that feature their logo and business names. You can do the same. But try to make those gifts useful items that people will use. For example,  branded UK face masks are not expensive to buy and there is a strong possibility that they will be worn. That is great because it gets your brand out there more. It also casts your company in a positive light. The fact that you are giving away face masks is a strong indication that you care about your community.

Advertise in different places

Advertising is important for any business. The more you do it, the stronger your brand will be. You should focus your advertising on those mediums that you know your potential clients will see. For example, if your service is aimed at busy mums, you could advertise in the cafes that you know they frequent. The owner may let you leave some discount leaflets on the counter. Or, perhaps, for a fee, add your advert to their menu.

This is great, but it is also always worth advertising in other places too, especially if you can place your ad for free. Placing an ad in the classifieds is a good example.

Most free papers do not charge for small ads, nor do many online classified ads platforms or social media groups. Whilst the busy mums who are your potential clients may not see those particular ads, there is a good chance that their parents will. It is another way for your target audience to learn about you.

Use this list of 40 free ways to get free advertising to identify the best opportunities for your business. Then read this short article to learn how to write an effective classified advert.

If you do decide to put either of these ideas into action just remember to be consistent and professional. Stick to the same logo and colours. Make sure that you only give out good quality products and that your advertising copy reads well and looks professional.

 

 

 

Run Your Small Business Like a Big Enterprise

It really doesn’t matter if you’re a big business or a small home company- your aim is the same. You want to provide your customers with excellent products or services and make a profit as you do. For this reason, it’s important not to see yourself as a different entity from bigger businesses and especially your competition. Here’s how you can go about running your small company in the same way as a big enterprise.

Take it seriously

Customers don’t expect a lesser service because they’re buying from a smaller business so be sure that you’re stepping up to the mark. Take your venture seriously, put the hours and effort in and treat is as you would if you were something much bigger. You have to work to build up that level of trust with customers and clients, and then run things professionally so you’re able to keep it.

Have a professional design

Again, just because you’re a smaller business doesn’t mean you can or should come across as amateur. A professional design helps to give the impression that you’re a professional business- which you are. A web designer is needed to give you a smart looking website- don’t try designing it yourself unless you have experience as it will be obvious to customers that it’s a DIY job. If you can afford it, invest in an app too. Since this is something that many smaller businesses don’t bother with, it’s an easy way to overtake your competition. Since most customers prefer to shop using an app (rather than a phones’ browser, laptop or computer) you won’t be missing out on any potential sales. If you send out things like emails and paper letters, you’ll need to make sure your logo is incorporated, this can be created by a graphic designer. You can find talented individuals to do this for you on sites like Etsy, and if you go down this route it isn’t as expensive as you think.

Outsource

Speaking of enlisting the help of professionals, this is something you can do on a regular basis. Not just for one off jobs like web design or logo creation, but on an ongoing basis. You can outsource entire departments meaning your company is able to grow but without you having to personally hire staff. Outsourcing is common with big businesses, but smaller companies don’t always realise it’s something they can take advantage of too. It can make your small venture more efficient, as you’re able to grow without having to spread yourself too thin by trying to do everything. If you know nothing about marketing for example, it would make sense to outsource your marketing to a third party company so that it’s all taken care of, and then use the time you would have spent on this getting on with jobs that you can do. Have a think about what your role is within your company, it shouldn’t be doing a little bit of everything. From there, you can work out where you need the extra help, and outsource companies to tackle these tasks for you.

Protect yourself

It’s easy to think that because you’re a smaller business that you’re unlikely to be targeted by criminals, but that’s just not the case. In fact, lots of criminals actually prefer smaller businesses, unlike large enterprises they don’t have a corporate firewall that’s impossible to crack, or strong security measures. Some are so lax they have easy to guess passwords and very little cybersecurity at all, making it easy to rinse accounts, steal data and much more. Make sure you’re protecting yourself online, not only could money be stolen but customer details could be taken and used in fraudulent activities. This of course is going to severely damage your reputation and could even lead to lawsuits being taken out against you. Protect yourself, use the right online security and complex passwords. Get insured so your back is covered if the worst were to happen.

As a small business owner, your venture really is personal. Chances are you started out because you wanted something rewarding to work on, something that means something to you instead of being stuck in the rat race. So success is crucial, start valuing your small business as it’s just as important as any other!

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

How to Include Your Mother in Your Wedding Planning

Moms can be your best friends and the best person who can help you in streamlining and outlining things to fall in the right place. You can always count on your mother to help you out when you feel her need. Starting from your childhood days to your wedding day, mothers are someone who will be happier to be there when you need her. She can stand out as a hero and take charge of things as a pro. So here is how you can include your mother for planning out your wedding day essentials:

1. Budget Making:

Budget making is one of the things that your mother may master at. She has been managing her home as a home minister for years, and she may have all the hacks to chop down the wedding costs. Ranging from hiring the wedding planners to making the arrangements and even to walking into JJ’s House and doing the shopping chores, she can be a perfectionist to show up to her being in the budget talent. You can sit down with your mother and chalk out the things that you can splurge on and the things that you won’t mind eliminating from your wedding planning list. She may be the best person to provide you with counseling for the same.

2. The Venue Hunt:

You can also think of taking your mom while picking on a venue. You can take her along and share your views and ideas for a particular place that you like and take her suggestions for the same. She out of her experience may have more knowledge and throw some questions to the owner which you may not have even popped up in your mind. Both of you may have a different taste for the reception, but you can streamline the best wedding arrangement layout using each other’s opinion.

3. Wedding Dress Shopping:

You might have grown up asking your mom that how does this dress looks on me, Am I looking good in this dress, isn’t it? So why not take your mom along when you are going to buy a dress for your big day? Not only can your mother help you out with the purchase and tell you what looks great, but you can have some memorable moments doing the shopping errands. It is always good to shop and dress up together. You can also pick on mother of the bride dresses at the same time and create some matching – matching mother-daughter goals on the wedding day. She can help you out to find your dream dress and make things more special and memorable.

4. Dealing with the Vendors:

Though you may have made the arrangements but still dealing with all the vendors, especially when your wedding date is nearing can be a cumbersome task. You can ask your mom to help you out with it; she can plan and figure out the right ways to deal with the vendors, the time they have to reach, the things that they have to do and a lot more. Your mother can take up the responsibilities and shell things in the right way.

Conclusion:

So these were a few areas where your mother can be your unsung hero and can help you with the planning process. There can be many more things where she can show her talents and help her pretty girl when she walks down the aisle on her big day.

Image: NDGphotoworks

5 Cross-Contamination Prevention Strategies Every Pharmacy or Restaurant Owner Should Know

Cross-contamination involves the movement or transfer of harmful pathogens from one individual, object or space to another. Bacteria can be spread from food to prep areas or to other food in a restaurant, and from a counting tray to other prescriptions in a pharmacy. It is essential to prevent cross-contamination since it can lead to serious illness. There are steps that a pharmacy or restaurant owner can take to prevent cross-contamination.

 1. Establish a Personal Hygiene Program

When it comes to food and prescription handling, personal hygiene is an essential part of preventing cross-contamination. According to an article in Pharmacy Times, unclean hands often introduce contamination, causing 30% to 40% of acquired infections. Pharmacy staff members should practice proper hand hygiene, using antiseptic handwashing every time they enter or reenter the aseptic area. To minimize the possibility of cross-contamination in your restaurant, institute policies addressing important hand practices, including proper handwashing, hand care, and glove use to ensure food handlers limit the risk of cross-contamination.

2. Keep Equipment Sterile

In compounding pharmacy cleanrooms, all materials of previous product manufactured should be removed and no residual cleaning agent should linger. All toxic solvents and active compounds should be removed from the equipment and must be verified. Visual inspection and swabbing should be used to analyze the surface of equipment, which should be wrapped with polythene bags until use. In a restaurant, each type of food should be prepared and handled with a separate piece of equipment. For instance, the cutting board that you use for raw poultry should not be used for produce during the same prep time. It’s best to prep food at different times and clean and sanitize equipment between each product.

3. Train Personnel

Be it in a pharmacy or restaurant, employees must be trained and should be able to identify a potential cross-contamination situation and prevent it from happening. Personnel should wear appropriate, clean body coverings that are required for their job. Food workers, for example,  should always follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) to prevent the transfer of microorganisms and allergens to the food. Pharmacy staff should change clothing after every product change or breaks and should not be contaminated by cleaning agents.

4. Practice Correct Storage

Safe food storage in a restaurant is crucial, while proper storage of pharmaceuticals is vital. In a restaurant, it’s extremely important to protect both food quality and food safety to prevent foodborne illness. Each item of food should be kept at a specific temperature and the food storage areas need to be kept clean and free from bacteria and other pathogens. In a pharmacy, proper temperature, light, humidity, conditions of sanitation and ventilation are important aspects of the total drug control system wherever drugs and supplies are stored.

5. Clean and Sanitize All Work Surfaces

The work surfaces in a restaurant and a pharmacy should be cleaned regularly. All surfaces that come into contact with a food item must be effectively cleaned and sanitized to ensure food safety and the prevention of foodborne illness. In a pharmacy, the need for vigilant cleaning and sanitizing practices should be reinforced, while the surfaces of the sterile compounding areas should be cleaned frequently.

 It is vital to prevent cross-contamination in a pharmacy or restaurant. The health and safety of your customers should be a priority. The cross-contamination prevention strategies can help you, your business and your customers.

Image: AndreaEgger

Win up to £30k of R&D expertise to develop your product

Have you got an idea for a brilliant gadget? Budding inventors are being offered £30,000 worth of Research & Development expertise to get their products to market – but they need to act fast.

There is just a week to go until entries close on 5 November for the Morgan Innovation & Technology Prize.

It will go to the entry with real commercial potential to change people’s lives for the better.

First prize is £30,000 of R&D expertise from a team of invention specialists who will help the winner develop their amazing idea. Second prize is R&D to the value of £10,000.

The prize was launched this year by Morgan Innovation & Technology (MIAT) to celebrate its 30th Anniversary. The family-run company based in Petersfield, Hampshire, designs, develops and manufactures new products and invests 20% of its turnover every year into helping inventors turn their ideas into reality.

Funding for new products

CEO Nigel Clarke said: “We know from our own experiences that practical help and support can often be more valuable to an early stage inventor than cash, so we decided the prize should be made up of R&D and manufacturing services to ensure we deliver a tangible benefit to the winner.”

Entries will be judged by TV presenter Jon Bentley of Gadget Show fame. He said: “I’m excited to help judge an award that fosters innovation and harnesses creativity to generate ground-breaking visionary products.”

Entry to the Morgan Innovation & Technology Prize 2017 is free, for more info visit www.miatprize.co.uk. The winners will be announced in January.

Image: Designed by Freepik