4 Tips To Get Your Online Business Going

Barbara Spagnola - Friday, October 20, 2017

With the vast growth of technology and internet space, chances for small businesses have grown rapidly. Today almost everyone can start an online business, but only a small portion of them end up being successful. It’s not enough just to open your domain and think of the name for your firm, you need to know this world of technology and understand the way it functions. The online area has become so vast that there are many roads a beginner can take. But first, you need to understand the basics and guidelines that will get you on the right track.

1. Human voice behind the machine

Leading a business online doesn’t mean you don’t have to be present all the time. The computer won’t do your work for you. It is an inevitable truth that people today are addicted to their computers and customers prefer finding products or services from their comfortable chairs, but they still need the notion that there is a human voice behind the machine. That is why you need to have a great customer service and the open communication with the users all the time. And never forget that every single user hates to wait. If they don’t receive an email on their screen in a response time they think is right, they will get the feeling that they’re trying to communicate just with the piece of equipment and move on.

2. The Echo

One of the most important things is to engage your users by turning them into active participants and letting them hear the echo of their own voice.  That way you’ll definitely earn their loyalty which will inevitably increase your sales. The simplest way to achieve this is to include comment sections wherever possible, but there are also many benefits in starting a blog section. If your business is a larger one and you offer a wide range of products or services, you might want to consider adding a discussion board that allows your visitors to create their own topics. This can be very useful because these boards are places where people exchange opinions and it can serve at the same time as a free commercial.

3. Part of the family

You should always make your customers feel like family members, to make them feel they belong in your company. The best way to do that is to make yourself present on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, etc. People spend more time on Facebook communication that in conversations face to face. We live in the times when Facebook family member means even more than a real family member. But it’s not enough just to set up your page and chose an attractive cover photo. You need to keep all your social media accounts up to date and in order to do that you’ll probably need to open more workplace whose solemn purpose will be to take care of your company’s ‛social’ life.

4. The Foundation

It’s sufficient to say that every online business needs a strong foundation in the form of a professional website. But not many people know what the website needs in order to be professional. Most of the beginners make the same mistake and want to over-design their websites. But the key is actually in simplicity and precision. Functionality must always come before the aesthetics. Animations, videos, popping sounds and high graphics might attract your visitors in the first instant, but they’re not here to have fun but to find the products or services they’re looking for. Every experienced website developer knows that the main characteristic of a good website is a good organization. The trick is to make a simple website that is engaging at the same time. Making the text straight to the point, readable at first glance, knowing where and when to put a video or animation - this is the kind of art that professionals learn their whole life in order to turn your websites into an interactive playground for your customers.

From people to people - the conclusion

Even though almost everything has been moved to the realm of technology and the machines, business will always remain an interaction between people. Technology provides you with faster and more precise tools, bigger market, more connections, but they can’t make your deals and sign your contracts. In order to earn your customer’s trust, your company needs to have an identity. A human behind the machinery, with its own voice, who is ready to listen. A part of the family who’ll take care of all their needs.

 

 

Online Marketing Strategies to Generate Patient Leads for Your Practice

Barbara Spagnola - Friday, October 20, 2017

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Healthcare setups and medical practices need effective marketing strategies to accomplish their predetermined long-term and short term goals. In addition to getting an edge over competitors, increasing cash flow, advertising products and services or enhancing their reputations, medical practices also seek to generate patient leads as part of their objectives.

Generally, patients make use of the internet to search for the best medical practice closest to them. Effective online marketing strategies can therefore be employed to generate patient leads for your practice. Here are some top online market strategies you can make use of.

Make Your Website Stand Out

The first impression a prospective patients gets of your practice is more often than not communicated by your web site. Websites for health providers, just like any other business, are built to serve the same purpose. If you are trying to get chosen by possible patients as their go-to practice, you need to inspire trust and the best way to achieve that is through a great website. Your website must look modern and be updated. If it looks like something that was built a long time ago, you run the risk of portraying an equally antiquated knowledge of science and medicine.

Another important factor your website should embrace is transparency in order to provide patients and referring providers alike with the idea that they are in charge of their own care. The website should be clear and concise, offering easy access to pricing options, patient testimonials and procedures.

Learn the Art of Social Media Marketing

Social media is undoubtedly a highly effective marketing tool and it has been used severally by different businesses to increase awareness and grow their customer base. This method of marketing will continue to be relevant in how medical practices generate patient leads and market their businesses. However, it has to be used appropriately to maximize benefits. An active presence on the right social media platform is a great way to break away from the completion, stay unique and build a following for your brand. Your social network must be carefully selected, and time and resources dedicated to market your practice the right way, which will very likely drive in new patients.

Careful thought should also go into selecting the content you share on social media. The best content will include facts and recommendations that are informative and relevant to your patients.

Engaging and retaining old patients while attracting new patients is a combination of choosing the right social media platform for your business and top notch content. Sometimes, you might be too busy to take the time to plan effective social media marketing strategies for your medical practice. Orthosynetics provides a full service orthodontics marketing team that focus on providing social media management strategies that drive new patients.

Use Video Marketing

In order to generate patient leads, spend time on high quality online video marketing. Videos work better in growing trust and showing credibility because people can see a person in real life and relate to what they are saying. As previously mentioned, offer testimonials from your customers on your website, and make sure a large number of them are in video form. To make the videos as effective and as authentic as possible, ensure your patients are genuinely interested in speaking on your behalf, as an engaging and passionate testimonial is more relatable and believable. In addition to testimonials, provide high quality educative videos that offerC:\Users\Onah\Desktop\ariadna-oltra-883879_960_720.jpg
information about the services you offer in your practice.

YouTube comes highly recommended as an effective hub for video marketing. After uploading your videos to YouTube embed them throughout your website. Because YouTube is owned by Google, prospective patients can easily discover your video contents from search results.

Content on Your Website Should Educate

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You get major SEO benefits from creating educational content for your audience, because search engines would drive long-term traffic to your website overtime. In addition, the quality articles, blog posts, eBooks and white papers which you produce and distribute on your website will build trust between your patients and your practice with time.

As a guide, your content should be providing answers to questions that patients need about your field. For instance, a person looking to go to the dentist might type questions like “how much does teeth whitening cost?” or “what’s the best toothpaste for whiten my teeth?” into a search engine. By providing answers to such questions on your website, you position yourself as an expert on the topic.

Healthcare practice websites have to provide content that is completely true, addresses expectations clearly, and accommodates the differences in laws for different regions. Also, remember to keep content anonymous where patients are mentioned and to get the approval off good counsel ahead of time.

Use Google to Get Noticed

By using Google, you can attract local patients to your practice. There are lots of potential patients search Google to discover medical practices in their area. Therefore, you should ensure that when people search for the available medical practices in your area, your website is one of the first they see on the search engine result pages.

One sure way to do so is to encourage your patients to review your practice on your Google Places listing after their appointment. If you consistently get positive reviews, your practice will start to show in Google’s local search results, resulting in more patients for you.

Also, take advantage of Google My Business which is ideal if your medical practice is a brick-and-mortar one. Create and claim a business page and ensure your information is correct and consistent. Review sites such as ZocDoc, Vitals, Healthgrades and RateMDs will also help you generate patient leads and give you an edge over the competition.

These are some of the most efficient online media marketing strategies to help your medical practice grow its patient base. In addition to those discussed, sending email reminders to patients is also effective, especially when you include a personalised touch.

Online marketing strategies have worked for many and there’s no reason why yours should be an exception. The earlier you start incorporating these strategies, the earlier you can grow your patient base.


Driving Engagement With Real Stories About Real People

Barbara Spagnola - Thursday, October 19, 2017

“The Rocketeer” (1991) gave us the quote “Acting is acting like you're not acting.” If that’s true, then marketing is marketing like you’re not marketing. At least, that applies to blogs and social media. While superhero stories are great, the real heroes are the people who take your company’s goods and services and use them to transform their lives.

These people are some of the best marketing partners you could ever have; they are real-life success stories, and your business is a part of that tale. Leaving the sales lingo behind and inspiring readers is one key to creating an enchanting business blog that leaves customers wanting more.

Beyond the Testimonial

Testimonials are often bland affairs with little useful information for readers. Superlatives and empty praise sounds great on paper, but savvy readers tend to skim over these unless they contain real details and interesting stories. To make the most out of testimonials, take the reins and tell the story of your client. A few key quotes about the experience from the customer are much more valuable when placed in context alongside the trials faced and challenges overcome with a bit of help from your company’s goods and services.

Student-loan startup Earnest regularly features full-length articles on the stories of entrepreneurs and business leaders who overcame debt to rise to success. While rarely tearjerkers, these stories contain all the important elements to engage readers and show them how the company’s offerings can help without using any marketing language. This type of story, focusing on people rather than products, resonates with readers and has the ability to reach viral status as people share the information with hopes of creating their own tales of success.

Showcasing Success

Customers love a success story, whether it comes from companies they’re already engaged with or those that they’re currently considering. Reading about the successes of others reinforces the belief that an organization is a good choice and can inspire investment or business opportunities. Intuit, the global leader behind Quickbooks, advises that finding your customers’ power stories and showcasing how your company changed their lives lies at the heart of this process.

 

The elements of such power stories include:

     A description of the subject’s situation before the company’s offering was introduced.

     How the subject of the story came to be a customer of the business.

     A direct quote from the customer about the experience of working with the company.

     How the customer attained success with the assistance of the product or service.

     A second quote that serves as an endorsement of the product and inspires others.

 

Additional quotes and details are always useful, but these elements provide the basic building blocks of a great customer-driven story for your blog or social-media outlet. Remember to include photos of the customers as well as their businesses to further enhance the integrity of the piece and build reader confidence.

Creating Shareable Experiences

Getting these stories may seem daunting for new companies or those that have few direct customer contacts. Organizations just starting out should begin the outreach to customers or potential clients as soon as possible, letting them know that the company is interested in their stories as well as the situations behind why these customers chose that particular business.

There are some pitfalls to this practice. Customers don’t want to feel manipulated or that they’re being used as a tool for marketing. Empathy goes a long way as how you say things matters more than what you say. Explaining how these stories can inspire others to success and transform their lives in similar fashions is often all it takes to get a customer on board. Successful clients may also view such tales as direct marketing for their brands.

Customers who have not yet attained their goals should still be viewed as success stories in the making. The inevitable challenges and hurdles that come along the way can make reaching the ultimate goal all that much sweeter. Savvy business owners understand driving marketing with customer service and how word-of-mouth advertising and customer experiences are paramount to success. Taking the time to showcase the people who use the products in more than a few quick snippets builds confidence and rapport with readers, leading to increased engagement and creating more than a few opportunities down the line.

Big Data and Your Business Plan: Prepping for the Holidays

Barbara Spagnola - Thursday, October 05, 2017



The leaves are changing, and the air is getting crisper. We all know what that means. Fall is here and winter is just around the corner. These seasons mark the approach of some major holidays, and if you’re not prepared, your marketing campaign won’t make it on the nice list.


Although there are still a couple of months before the holidays roll around, it’s never too early to get your marketing game in gear. One way to do this is by utilizing big data.


The value of data in marketing and business cannot be overstated as our society becomes more and more integrated with technology. By focusing your big data analysis on social media, cash flow, and your business plan, your website will be all the more prepared for the holiday shopping season.

Track Social Media With Google Analytics

Social media is one of the trends that are changing the way brands market to consumers. That being said, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are a goldmine for marketers who know how to analyze it correctly.


However, according to CEO of MarketShare Wes Nichols, “Big data without the right math-based analytics is a big problem,” and that, “The ‘right’ analytics are essential to bringing big data to life for marketing organizations, thus allowing for faster insights and better decision-making.”


One of these “right” analytical tools is Google Analytics. There are three ways to measure social media success in Google Analytics. The first is to set up some goals for Google Analytics to track. One type of goal that is easily trackable is URL destination.


This task is completed when a person visits a specific page on your website. Setting up goal funnels is one tip for a successful ecommerce business since the steps potential customers take to the shopping cart page can be all tracked. These goals will make it much easier to measure how successful your holiday social media marketing campaign is.


This can be seen in the social media reporting section. Through these reports, you’ll be able to evaluate which network your business is performing best in, which landing page of your website most people visit from social media, and how many conversions your company receives from these platforms.


To get even more specific, you can employ Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters. UTM parameters are tags you can place in your URL. This will give you a better understanding of which ads and marketing campaigns work best on which social networks with each click.

Plan Long-Term Cash Flow

Cash flow can make or break a business. According to founder of Accountiful Bill Mosca, “The thing that sinks entrepreneurs again and again is conflating profit with cash flow.” One of the biggest cash flow mistakes a company can make is using fragmented data in their strategic decision-making.


When a business is small, the most basic accounting tools and spreadsheets could be all that you need to accurately track your cashflow. However, when your business grows, those spreadsheets aren’t going to cut it anymore. Time is money, and if a client or employee has a question, neither of you have the time that it would take for you to physically look for the records with the answer.


Having an integrated financial system in place will be best for you and your company in the long run, as well as having a budget to stick with. Even if you have money to spend, it’s best to wait as long as you can before making any purchases. You never know when you really might need that cash, so it’s best to hold onto it just in case.


That being said, it’s best to project your cash flow over the long term, especially with the holidays coming soon. This will make it easier to spot early warning signs that your finances are not where they should be. Keeping that extra cash on hand will make these deviations go much more smoothly.

Make a Flexible Business Plan

You can prevent many holiday hiccups by having a flexible business plan. Although most people conflate business plans with the start of a company, it’s very important that changes be made to the plan as the company grows. To put it simply, here are four components of every business plan:


  1. Objectives: You need to know what your company’s objectives are and clearly state them so they can easily be understood by everyone.


  1. Identify Your Target Audience: Your business will go nowhere if you’re targeting an audience that doesn’t resonate with your company or product. Potential customers will be much more appreciative and responsive if you do your demographic homework.


  1. Projections: Setting up realistic expectations for your company to meet is essential for progress and growth. Projections become even more important during the holiday season. With pre-holiday expenses such as shipping, production, and the inevitable post-holiday slumps, your company will come out on top when contingency plans are set in place.


  1. Marketing: If people know about your company, it’s all because of marketing. Figuring out how you will reach potential customers and how they will reach you is one of the most important things you can do for your company. Sending out customized thank you holiday postcards won’t hurt your marketing efforts either.  

The holidays will be here sooner than you think. However, by putting social media, cash flow, and a flexible business plan on your holiday wishlist, you can get ahead of the competition and have a happy new year.



Thinking Of Marketing Inside Of Your Waiting Room

Barbara Spagnola - Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Despite the current trends of online work and freelancing, the waiting room is still at the heart of most businesses today. Whatever the reason for sitting down at said waiting room, it is imperative that any customer, potential or otherwise, is entertained. It is in this window that we should consider and implement subtle marketing strategies to both improve their time spent in waiting and help give our business that extra little nudge in terms of visibility and popularity. Just because people have already stepped in does not mean the ad campaign is over, oh no, it has just begun.

Piece together a “while you’re waiting” area

First and foremost, if it’s not already present, some space should be made for the waiting area itself. It shouldn’t be too spacious but it shouldn’t be cramped either. There should be just enough space to keep people busy while they wait their turn and potentially get work done while they wait. Take into account the various needs one might have and furnish accordingly. A small desk with several charging outlets would be a welcome addition to any waiting room along with branded notepads, pens etc. This minimal amount of effort will go a long way in raising a customer’s opinion and will already plant them with merch in form of pens, notepads and sticky notes carrying the company name.

Decorate accordingly

When the area has been set up, the next logical step would be to cater to the surrounding area. A nice example would be any bank’s waiting room. If one takes a closer look, they will notice product placement all over the place, from limited time offers to yearly interest rates, everything is made visible but never too in-your-face about it. Using this approach, several of the pictures and decorations around the area could be stylized to better represent your brand and potentially inform people that have come in for option A that you have options B through Z.

Distract the kids

Although we tend to overlook the young ones, the kids that adults usually bring into waiting rooms have it worse than most. They are there without purpose and are bound to wait for an arbitrary amount of time for reasons they cannot explain. This is why setting up an area that caters to their needs is considered optimal. They are young, they are impressionable, and you’d be surprised how much pull a kid’s attitude towards something can have. If they like it there, they’re going to make sure everyone who’ll hear them out knows about it, friends, family, complete strangers – you name it.

Don’t shy away from conventional ads

Expanding on the idea of decorating your office accordingly, never be too afraid to place in an obvious ad here and there. Sometimes all you need to do is grab someone’s attention, and ads are specifically designed to do just that. Factor in a potentially long wait time and nothing to do via Wi-Fi and you’ve got the perfect mindset to ingest advertisements. This equates to reading shampoo labels in the bathroom when the phone decides to die out or wasn’t brought for some strange reason. It’s not so much about making a sale as having them come back for more.

Encourage social check-ins

And, finally, the crown jewel of waiting room marketing – social media. Encouraging people to sign into social media and make others aware of their whereabouts can have the biggest impact one can imagine. We are all well-aware of the pull a certain site has, now imagine a customer using your nicely-decorated   PhotoBoothMe photo booth, tagging friends and family alike to see where they’re at and how good a time they’re having. Couple this with your very own i.e. Facebook page getting tagged and you’ve got a surefire way to pull in more likeminded customers for a spin or two.

Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it

We’ve all heard about the benefits of SEO and UX, AdWords etc. But we often forget that all of these experiences are digital, and as such rarely carry the same amount of weight as a more personal approach. This is why marketing inside the waiting room is important, it lowers people’s guard by luring them into a sense of security and reminds them that you have much more to offer if they opt to stay. Sometimes a personal touch is all it takes.  

Everything You Need to Know Before Setting Up a Construction Business

Barbara Spagnola - Thursday, September 28, 2017

Starting a company is no easy task. Whatever your realm of business might be, it will test you and push you to places you never imagined. Construction work is no different, the hoops one has to jump through to get going are much more than having a pickup truck and a few power tools. With all the regulations, permits, insurance coverage and other paperwork, people tend to get overwhelmed. At first glance, it can look like a truly daunting task but a closer, more organized look can help immensely in figuring what to do and how to do it.

Plan it out

The first and obvious thing any future contractor should do is to plan out everything they might need. This will equate to the roadmap your business will follow and will determine important factors like financing. A fleshed out plan will help track business progress and make benchmarks to see how well it is doing compared to the plan that was set in motion. The most important areas to cover are, in no particular order: developing a cohesive marketing strategy, managing finances, coming up with a clear business description and coming up with a management summary.

Seek out funding

Financing the business is something everyone should be looking into before even considering anything else, without the proper coin for eventual problems and hindrances down the line – the business will tank before it has even started. The first logical step would be to look inside our own savings. This can be a bit of a gamble, but so is starting the business. If tapping into the savings account isn’t an option for whatever reason, there are other options out there. There are multiple platforms out there that help independent contractors find government funding to get a proper start.

Permits, permits, permits

Yeah, who would’ve guessed, there are numerous licenses involved. Despite having a business license, you’ll most probably end up requiring a permit for anything you can think of. This is both good and bad, o one hand – customers are assured that a contractor’s work is up to par. On the other, getting all of those can be a huge pain in the neck. If you’re in the States, then you’ll have to acquire special state licenses, specific to the state you’re currently operating in. It will be a pain, it will be frustrating but it is necessary so you can operate freely and not have to look over your shoulder every time you bring out the ol’ trowel.

Tackle insurance

This is more of a safety net than anything else, and what a safety net it is. Worker’s compensation is a must for any business owner, especially construction work where the chances of getting injured are substantially increased from the get-go. If any vehicles are involved, there’s auto insurance, builder’s risk is always present and, let’s not forget the crown jewel of paperwork – liability insurance. These will provide a layered defense for both your company’s well-being and its finances. You’ll also have contingencies in place should any of your workers get injured during a project, which helps both sides cope.

Don’t skimp out on surety bonds

Nowadays, most contracting jobs will require companies to obtain a certain number of surety bonds before they can do business. The folks over at Correct Constructions point out that this has become a norm and that even private customers can require specialized performance and payment bonds. The reason why this is weird is because these were almost exclusively related to government projects in the past and are now slowly seeping into the private sector. The effective three-way ensures that both parties are protected and can be reprimanded should they fail to fulfill their end of the bargain, in the end – it’s worth getting.

Get in touch

When all of these have been sorted, reach out and consult people about anything you could have possibly missed. Apart from these, there are other factors that can influence your business’ direction, they just can’t cause as much harm as these can. When considering starting your own company, look into the market, make a solid business plan and stick to it. Obtain any licenses or permits you may need early on to avoid headaches down the line and get coverage – safety first. 

How To Get Your Customer Service Team Ready For The Challenges Of Digital Service

Barbara Spagnola - Thursday, September 21, 2017

Digital technology has helped to transform the way many organisations do business, but it has also revolutionised the customer service experience as well. And while many of the changes are extremely positive, digital service does also present some significant challenges, which need to be understood and met head on.

One of the key component of any organisation offering
customer service training solutions must be exploring digital communications and understanding customer expectations. Here, we take a look at some of the ways in which you can get your customer service team ready for the challenges of digital service.

Multiple Communication Channels

One of the single biggest challenges presented by the shift towards digital service is the range of different communication channels that are potentially open to customers. In particular, it is important that your customer service training highlights the differences in etiquette and usage between these channels.

For example, the volume of tweets sent to businesses 
doubled between 2013 and 2015, because Twitter presents an extremely convenient option, with its focus on short messages. However, your team need to possess the required customer service skills to deal with issues and complaints in 140 characters or less.

By contrast, Facebook allows for more detailed responses. Both Twitter and Facebook are public platforms, meaning any response you make to customers will be there for all to see, so being polite and respectful is essential. Meanwhile, live chat functions are more private and the faster nature means staff need to be able to think quickly.

Making Effective Use of Data

The shift towards digital service has brought with it a number of potential benefits, including the ability to collect and utilise customer data to inform interactions with them. However, one drawback is that customers often have to face dealing with multiple different customer service reps, rather than a single person on a one-to-one basis.

One way to make this a non-issue is by keeping a customer database, logging important information, customer comments and any promises that have been made to that customer. Customer service training should also teach team members how to use such a tool and highlight some best practices, so there is a level of consistency.

"Moving to digital should actually improve the customer service experience," 
says Jim Marous, co-publisher of The Financial Brand. "Not only can such a database monitor commitments made, but it can also provide a reminder to internal parties who may need to help live up to commitments made by others."

Meeting Customer Expectations

Finally, in order to meet customer expectations, your team needs to be absolutely clear on what those expectations are and in the digital age, customers are arguably more demanding than ever. Nevertheless, your team must be equipped with the right customer service skills to deal with these demands, or risk falling behind competitors.

In particular, customers want quick responses to digital communications. In fact, 72 percent of people who complain on Twitter expect a reply 
within one hour. When this expectation is not met, 29 percent would tell a friend about the experience and 24 percent would consider buying less from that company in future.

Customers do not want to have to repeat their problem to multiple people, so facilitating communication between reps is essential by implementing processes that allow visibility when needed by the appropriate teams. They also expect companies to reply to them through the same channel they made contact, and in the same way. This means if you received a publicly visible message, your reply should be publicly visible too. Similarly, if the original contact was through a private message, you should not publicise your conversation.

Author Bio:

Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company. It specialises in providing exceptional sales training courses to provide organisations with sales ready solutions for their employees. She enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to develop better sales and customer service skills in sales people.

Challenges Of Starting A Garden Business

Barbara Spagnola - Friday, September 15, 2017

Setting up a garden in your backyard can be a really fulfilling hobby. After a while, you’ll see that you can produce more than you can consume, so you might end up with an idea to go professional. Making a living from gardening comes with a bunch of challenges, and the text below will pinpoint some of the most important. Go ahead and get well informed about all details before making your final decision.

You’ll need to work every day

Growing and taking care of plants looks like a simple job at the first glance. You should be aware that your customers will rely on you every day in the week. Some of them would like to get the job done in a specific time, so you’ll need to be available. Working with companies will be easier since the contract will determinate the working hours. Unfortunately, making those contracts will be hard, in the beginning, so you’ll need to work with individuals at first. Your best advertisement will be the feedback from your previous clients, so make sure to always show up on time and handle your tasks professionally.

Choosing the right location

In order to avoid transporting expenses, make sure to start working within your neighborhood. This may end up as a bad option as well. Go ahead and research your competitors to see if there’s a place for another gardener in your area. The best way to blend in is to offer services that are high in demand, but there aren’t enough people to take care of them. This is the shortest way of gaining some customers. Once you’ve met a few people and did a great job, you’ll see that your client list will expand in no time.

You’ll need specific set of skills

You may be very talented and experienced in landscaping, but being a professional gardener requires some extra skills. Besides landscaping, you’ll need to be efficient in finance related issues and you’ll need some good people skills. Before starting a new career, ask yourself if you have the following skills:

  • A creative mind set
  • The ability to communicate with different people
  • Good organization skills
  • Proficiency in planting and maintaining the garden
  • Negotiation skills which will help to maximize the profit and drive down the expenses
  • Motivation to stick to this profession for a long time
  • Basic knowledge of accounts and business
  • If you recognized yourself in the list above, feel free to start planning your first steps as a professional gardener.

Training and tools

It is illusory to speak about professionalism if you are not well trained and don’t possess the tools needed for gardening. Make sure to get yourself high-quality equipment. It may cost you a bit, but it will certainly repay in the long run. Get yourself a pair of gloves, a fancy hat, an affordable hose pipe, scissors etc. Once you’re geared, attend a few gardening courses and get certificates which will look great in your portfolio. Use every opportunity to learn and practice. That way, gardening will become your biggest passion.

The initial investment

Gardening is like any other business and it requires some initial investments as well. As you could see above, your first expenses will be made for tools and gardening certificates. Make sure to maintain good business connections with your suppliers so they’ll be willing to assist when needed. Another way to save money, in the beginning, is to buy just the small pieces of equipment and rent bigger. Try not to get into a line of credit since that can ruin the whole journey. Go around and find the best deals for equipment and supplies. At the end, get yourself a good laptop to use it for designing purposes.

What can go wrong?

Let’s say you made your decision and became a professional gardener. In order to keep this job, you’ll need to do your best in many different areas. Don’t forget to do your research considering the market and competition. If you skip this step, you’ll end up losing money on buying the wrong supplies for example. A lot of new information and tasks may affect you negatively and you can become disorganized. You’ll avoid this pitfall if remain focused and motivated at all times. At the end, avoid spending the money you earn. While your business is small it’s much smarter to reinvest your profit. That effort will most certainly repay in the long run.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are some good and some bad sides of professional gardening. If you aren’t prepared for hard work you shouldn’t go with this business. If you are, on the other hand, an enthusiast who wants to learn a lot and be creative and organized, gardening may become your dream job. Go ahead and start planning.

 

4 Simple Tips for Handling a Business Expansion

Barbara Spagnola - Friday, September 15, 2017

Your new start-up looks like a success, your sales increased and now you need to scale your business. Although this is a great news, there are some challenges you must address before start you enjoying the obvious growth. First of all, you’ll need a few new employees, and bigger office space, perhaps. Before doing anything, make sure to work through all possible issues that can show up on our path, and resolve them as soon as you can. The text below will provide you with some useful tips on how to successfully handle this turbulent period.

Prepare for bigger expenses

Keep in mind that growth in earning comes with growth in expenses, as well. Since your business is now bigger, there are additional tasks you need to take care of, and you have the same amount of time. Because of that, you will need to recruit, train and hire a few employees. All these steps will cost you some resources, and since you now have more people working in your company, you will need to move from your home office into bigger commercial space.

This new office will come with additional expenses, such as utilities, security, insurance, and don’t forget: the payroll expenses. In order to avoid unpleasant situations, go ahead and start tracking expenses from day one. Set some new sales goals, motivate your workers and continue growing. If done properly, your business won’t suffer and it will expand further.

Redefine your priorities

With more sales, new staff members, and bigger working space, your focus will shift toward different challenges and ventures. All of that will shift your time and energy as well, so your priorities must be adjusted. Feel free to share the tasks you used to take care of in the past. Be aware that you won’t be in a position to monitor everything and everyone, so think about hiring or training a manager who will take some organizing responsibilities on themselves. Go ahead, make the new schedule and accept that your company needs you somewhere else now.

Keep an eye on the office

If you want satisfied costumers and motivated employees, you will need to run your new office perfectly. That means you need to keep it spacious and clean all the time. With all that people moving around, there is a potential for clutter and your job is to fix it once in a while. Hire a few cleaners that will visit the office once a week, and get rid of all unneeded pieces of furniture and other items. The best way of saving those is to rent one of the available supercheap self storage units in your area. Another way of keeping it clean is to donate unneeded stuff to charity and those in need.

Don’t forget about your private life

The most dangerous trap entrepreneurs can fall in, is most certainly, workaholism. Don’t let this happen to you and start thinking about balancing your work and life. Yes, this may be very hard since there are so much to do and there’s more and more every day. Don’t forget that you started this business to live better and work less in the future.

Let your employees do some of your work. You shouldn’t feel bad to burden them a little bit since most of them really need more experience and that will help them to develop professionalism. Avoid work-related stress by any means since that’s not the reason why you scaled your company. Your loved ones shouldn’t be neglected because of your job. Give your best to find enough time to share your positive vibes with them, and hopefully, motivate them to become more active and successful.

Final thoughts

If you do everything properly, you won’t feel any difficulties during the scaling period. Your company will continue to grow, and the overall revenue will increase. Make sure to incorporate some of the tips mentioned above to handle all issues with ease. Remember that first five years are crucial. If you manage to keep up with the tempo, you will build healthy company prepared for all challenges appearing down the road. Keep up with a good job, take care of your employees and your loved ones, and the bright future will wait for you.

Running a Business Inside a Self Storage Unit

Barbara Spagnola - Thursday, September 14, 2017

What are self storage units used for? They are used as small storages by people who have too many things at home, or people who are currently moving houses and need a place to keep most of their things. But did you know that you can use the comfot and affordability of a storage unit to run your start up business? Here’s what you need to keep in mind if you’re thinking about actually running a start up – right from the comfort of a storage unit.

Let there be internet connection

It doesn’t matter if it’s just you or you have a team of people working for you, you will all need a good and stable phone and internet connection if you’re hoping to get any work done. Make sure you have this covered as soon as you start moving, because you will need internet from day one. If you call the providers and explain that you’re starting a small business, you might even be able to get a good internet deal meant for businesses. Phone systems are much cheaper than a decade ago, and you might even be able to get a deal which allows you to forward all calls onto your mobile phone. Talk to your staff and see if they are more comfortable working on a Mac or a PC, because you want them to work with ease.

Take a seat

It’s not just about location of your office and how good the internet connection is, it’s equally important that you have a space that’s comfortable and pleasant to work in. You don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive, luxury furniture, but you don’t want to sit on a box forever, do you? You will definitely need a kitchen and bathroom space for yourself, your employees, and all your potential clients. Make sure you have a water dispenser and a kettle so everyone can make themselves a nice cup of tea or coffee when they’re on a break. You will also need a fridge to keep your food in, and a sink to wash your coffee mugs. Depending on the kid of work you do, you will also need a printer, some stationery, a cupboard and a photocopier machine. If you’re going to have more employees, you will need chairs, as well as a meeting space. don’t forget to add some greenery and colourful details to make the space more comfortable and personal.

Business cards are overrated?

Yes, we all know that everyone uses the internet to find information, and pretty much everyone’s already on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but business cards are not yet obsolete. An ordinary card with a creative design and all your information will be a great choice. You can include your contact info, business hours, as well your address (if need be). You need to specify your job title and what exactly you do, so that people know who they’re looking for. Standard sized business cards in black ink are incredibly affordable, and if you don’t have too much money, you can use these until you run out of them. Hopefully, by the time you have to print another batch, you will have a bigger budget.

The cost of it all

So far, you’ve been running your start up from the comfort of your own home, but it’s time to expand it. On the downside, that will definitely increase your monthly outgoings, and this is something you need to consider carefully. Not only will you be paying rent for your office space, but you will have to think about heating and lighting, as well as expenses of insurance, cleaning and not to mention your internet connection. Supercheap Storage units can be found for about half the price of an ordinary office space, and that is only rent per month 

Getting an office for your growing start up is always a big step, and it’s natural that you want to consider several options before you make your final decision. If setting up an office in a storage unit sounds appealing to you, begin by getting in touch with your local storage operator. They will be able to give you useful advice, and perhaps even give you a good offer and support you and your clients.