Business Hub

Here, you would find a wide range of resources and information to help you build and grow your business.

Rules of Social Media Marketing

With millions of active users, social media has grown to be one of the most effective form of marketing for a lot of business.

So, it’s most likely your business is utilizing it already. But it’s not about just being on social media, what matters is how you use it.

In order to enjoy the full benefits of social media offers, and build a strong brand for your business online, here are 7 social media marketing rules you should abide by:

  • Listen

On social media, it’s important to listen more then you talk.Join discussions, pay attention tot what your network is saying, look out for comments from potential clients and customers to know what’s important to them.

With this you’ll be able to create content that sparks conversation and add value.

  • Be Focused

Don’t try to be everything. It’s better to specialize than to be a jack-of-all-trades. By creating a highly-focused social media and content marketing strategy, you stand a better chance of being able to build a strong brand that has a better chance for success than a broad strategy that attempts to be all things to all people.

  • Stick to Quality

Quality is a lot better than quantity. There are too may social media accounts with 100s of followers who do not engage.

When you focus on quality content rather than chase growing your following, you attract those who would be interested in what you’re doing.

Having 1,000 online connections who read, share and talk about your content with their own audiences is better than 10,000 connections who disappear after connecting with you the first time.

  • Create Value

Don’t spend all your time on social media promoting your products and services is the wrong way to go.

People will tune off, and you’lll literally be talking to no one.

Focus less on conversions and more on creating valuable content and developing relationships with online influencers.

With this, those people will in turn become a powerful catalyst for word-of-mouth marketing for your business.

  • Acknowledge People

Just like it is offline, you wouldn’t ignore someone who reaches out to you in person so don’t ignore them online.

To accelerate your business’ growth, you need to build relationships, and this is one of the most important parts of social media marketing success.

Acknowledge every person who reaches out to you.  Don’t publish your content and then disappear. Be available to your audience.

  • Reciprocate

You can’t expect others to share your content and talk about you if you don’t do the same for them.

So, a portion of the time you spend on social media should be focused on sharing and talking about content published by others.

  • Connect with the Influencers

Spend time finding the online influencers in your market who have quality audiences and are likely to be interested in your products, services and business.

Connect with them and work to build relationships with them. If they find you as an authoritative, interesting source of useful information, they might share your content with their own followers, which could put you and your business in front of a huge new audience.

  • Be Patient

Success on social media doesn’t happen overnight. You have to have to be consistent and give it the full attention it deserves.

While it’s possible to catch lightning in a bottle, it’s far more likely that you’ll need to commit to the long haul to achieve results.

Money Management Tips for First-Time Entrepreneurs

How many times have you been told that saving money is a good thing? Financial specialists recommend that you save a bit of money every month, but that’s easier said than done. After all, it’s not uncommon for people to live paycheck to paycheck.

However, if you want to start a company, you’ll need to break away from this cycle and start budgeting and saving. At times, this will be a trying task, but it must be done if you want to invest in your future as an entrepreneur.

If you want to start managing your money more effectively and set yourself up to become an entrepreneur, follow the six tips below. With these techniques in your arsenal, you’ll start so see immediate changes, and you’ll set good behaviours in motion that’ll serve you throughout your career as an entrepreneur.

  • Prioritize organization

When you are organized, you can track every facet of your finances. Record all of your financial information in one place so you can refer to it and keep track of your progress.

When you chronicle all of your financial information, you may want to try and organize it by category. For example, when you are recording your current costs, you can categorize them as “urgent” and “future.” Not only will this system help you stay on top of your personal finances, but it’ll prepare you for entrepreneurial success because it’s a directly transferable skill.

  • Save where you can

People often cringe when they think about cutting back. Fortunately, there are several painless ways to save. Look at your daily habits and see if you have any spending trends. For example, if you spend $5 every day on lattes, you might consider cutting back and only having the expensive latte every other day. Slowly, you’ll get used to this new habit, and your bank account will reap the rewards.

  • Search for additional information

Search for personal finance blogs, videos, magazines and other resources that can help you better manage your money.

Subscribe to websites and follow podcasts that offer advice on money management. Also, keep your eyes peeled for informative outlets that speak directly about entrepreneurial finances and follow them, too.

  • Set long- and short-term goals

Have you ever noticed that people want to reach their goals in as little time as possible? If you pick up almost any given health magazine, it’ll claim that it can help you achieve extreme results in little to no time. Unfortunately, crash diets are often ineffective, and “get rich quick” money management techniques often lack substance.

It’s hard to accept that your goals will take time to accomplish, which is why you create short- and long-term goals. In either case, aim to make goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Ideally, accomplishing your short-term goals will give you the positive feedback that you need to continue striving for your long-term goals.

  • Find a mentor

If you manage your personal finances and entrepreneurial finances, one thing is certain — at times, it will feel like you can’t keep up with everything. Financial planning can be difficult, and it’s not uncommon for it to feel overwhelming.

As an individual, you can seek out mentors that can help you with personal finances. As an entrepreneur, you can continue to work with these people or seek out more established financial consultants that provide you with guidance you need to run your business.

Managing your finances is a trying and rewarding experience. It will feel messy at times, but the more you practice, the more you’ll improve your personal finances and set yourself up for entrepreneurial money management success.

How to Get Positive Word-of-Mouth for your Business

Word of mouth can be the best thing since sliced bread if you own a small business. It’s more important than ever in our online-oriented society.

Online reviews are available for everything from doctors to dog walkers, and according to a study by BrightLocal, nearly 9 in 10 consumers read online reviews of local businesses, and 72% of consumers said that they used positive reviews to determine whether a business was trustworthy.

So what can you do to get and keep that good word of mouth spreading?

Here are a few ways to grow positive word of mouth for your business:

1. Provide Good Customer Service

How important is customer service to word of mouth? According to a survey by ClickFox, more than half of disgruntled customers will tell their friends and family about poor customer service experiences, and 32% will take their business elsewhere.

Show your customers that they are important to you and treat them with the courtesy, respect and interest that you would hope for in their place. Listen to customer complaints, learn from them, and train your employees accordingly. Follow these practices consistently, whether you run a retail store or a website, and positive word of mouth is sure to follow.

2. Make it Easy for Your Customer to Contact you

Poor communication practices will drive away not only the customer that was trying to reach you but the other people he tells about his frustrating experience, too.

Business phones that just ring and ring and don’t even connect to an answering machine. Equally annoying are websites that don’t provide easily accessible contact information or the correct hours of business.

If you want positive word of mouth, your small business has to be reachable. Answer your emails promptly and get all the necessary phone services, including voice mail and call forwarding.

3. Maintain a Positive Image

For small business owners, this means remembering that you are never off and that you need to treat all people with courtesy and respect – not just the customers that are in front of you.

Don’t be one of those who cuts people off in traffic while driving a vehicle with a website and business logo emblazoned on it. People love to tell other people stories about the jerks they’ve recently encountered and your behavior will affect your small business.

4. Ask for Testimonials and Display them Prominently

Testimonials from satisfied customers – short written statements praising your service, products or both, are powerful endorsements that can really spark good word of mouth. Get in the habit of asking for them. The time that you’re asking for referrals is also an excellent time to ask a client for a testimonial.

Once you get testimonials, make sure you use them to maximum effect, posting them on your website, on your Facebook page, in your advertising, in your store… wherever they will be visible to the public and seed a positive image of your small business.

5. Engage Customers on Social Media

Remember, word of mouth is all about people saying good things about your small business. And social media is where many of them are talking now. Your small business needs to be in that space. It’s not hard to set up a Twitter account or create a business page on Facebook.

But note that word of mouth involves other people talking about your business. Your telling everyone repeatedly what great products you have or services you give is going to do absolutely nothing for your word of mouth.

Instead, develop a social media strategy that will let you engage customers and entice them into saying good things about your small business.

How to Build a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. In fact, many entrepreneurs struggle to strike a healthy work/life balance because the lines are more blurred.

Here are a few tips for achieving and maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

Prioritise your time

You may have a to-do list with 50 tasks on it, so you need to prioritize those tasks into four categories.
They are:

• Urgent and important
• Important but not urgent
• Urgent but not important
• Neither urgent nor important.

Know your peaks and troughs

Are you a morning person?
If you are, assign tough, high-concentration tasks to the mornings. Don’t leave the tough tasks until its night time and vice versa.

Plot some personal time

When personal issues arise, it can be tempting to bury yourself in your work. Don’t do it If you don’t make time for your personal life – your “me” time, including your family and your health – you won’t have a business to go back to

Have set work hours – and stick to them

Set work hours for yourself and do everything in your power to stick to them. Otherwise, before you know it, you’ll be working until midnight every night.

Find time for your finances

Whether you work for yourself or not, it’s important to feel confident about your finances. In order to do this, you need to get some accounting software in place and use it from day one.

Cash flow is one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses. You should start using accounting tools early on so you know what’s going on, financially, from day dot.

Manage your time

Create a timeline of your activities. Specific computer programs can help with this, or you can customize your own Excel spreadsheet or Word table.
Put dates across the top and activities down the side. Break each task into components.

Include family commitments – such as holidays, birthday parties, etc. – so you don’t forget that you are unavailable for work on those days.

Tap into technology

Instead of driving to a meeting, use Skype or conferencing technologies like GoToMeeting. But remember to switch them off.

Know and nurture your network

Prioritise growing your network and have a structured lead/conversion system in place so you can track the time/cost involved to grow your network.
Set the benchmarks early on and learn the lessons early.

Be realistic

At the end of each working day, perform a little self-analysis. Ask yourself what worked today, what didn’t, what went wrong and how the issue can be fixed.

Remember there are thousands of businesses just like yours learning the same lessons every day. Don’t forget to tap into the valuable resources around you for help.

Get a business coach

Find the cash for a business coach. That way, you can find out sooner rather than later how to get rid of bad habits and implement good ones.

Take a break

Remember to take time out throughout your day.
Some tasks are easier than others, so if you find yourself with an hour up your sleeve, be realistic about whether you can “afford” to rest or not.

You might not have time every day to simply sit and “be”, but do your best to give yourself a lunch break.
Also, make a point of getting up and stretching every 15 minutes. It will help you become clearer, more focused and more productive.

Bust These Myths if You Want to Build a Successful Business

Myth: I need investors funding if my startup is going to be successful

The truth is, you don’t necessarily need them. For a new business, you have to focus on the needs of your loyal customers, but with investors around, you will have to answer to their demands. Investors only care about their ROI, so when you take investments from them, you’re likely to be pursuing their goals instead of that of your business.

Bootstrapping, is the way to go for new businesses. It give you freedom to run your business the way you feel is best. You’re able to focus solely on doing what you love , making a products with value that improves your customers’ lives.

Myth: Following my passion is the only way to be successful

Following your passion is good, but it doesn’t guarantee success. You can pursue a problem instead. When you create a solution people are desperately seeking for, it’s harder to fail.

It’s not possible to build a successful startup overnight. You can only build a successful startup over time when you listen to people’s needs and solve their problems. Passion alone, cannot guarantee you success in business.

Myth: I have to focus 100 percent on my startup from the day it’s founded

You can go on with your day job, and view your business as a side project. Plenty of successful startups have began as side projects that individuals developed to solve their day-to-day struggles.

When you view your startup or business as a side project, you are not under any form of pressure which makes it easier to scale. You can quit your day job, and focus fully on the business, when you realize it is sustainable.

Myth: To be successful, I have to reach millions of users quickly

Truth be told, profit is the only metric that actually matter. Metrics like daily users, site visits and downloads can only tell you if a product is popular. They can’t tell you much about the product value. This kind of metrics are only necessary when you are trying to impress investors.

But when you aren’t under pressure to grow these surface-level metrics, you’ll have enough time to monitor the progress of your business and discover areas where you can inject more values. Starting small and building your clients base over time, will guarantee you success and sustainability.

Success does not happen overnight. It requires hardwork, patience and consistency. If you’re committed to making life of the people who use what you build better, you will not think of overnight success story.

Organic vs Paid Marketing – which is Better for your Brand?

Of course, any social media marketing campaign you run is paid-for, because you need to put the resources in place to manage your presence. However, if you get it right, either paid social ads or organic social media marketing can certainly be well worth the investment.

Paid social ads
Paid social ads are sponsored content or adverts such as sponsored Facebook posts, promoted tweets on Twitter or sponsored posts on instagram that is used to increase your brand’s presence.

The benefits of paid social ads

It’s cost effective – In terms of the audience you attract from what you spent, paid social media ads tend to be more cost effective than organic social marketing;

It’s incredibly targeted – You can make sure your brand gets in front of your target audience by targeting them through a range of factors like age, gender, location and job title.

It’s flexible – You can stop and start your marketing campaigns when you like.
If the campaigns are not giving you the results you want, you can stop the campaign and move the budget elsewhere.

The results are immediate – Paid ads ensure that your brand will appear on the newsfeeds of your target market as soon as you turn them on, interested audience will click immediately they see it.

Organic Social Media Marketing

Organic social media is basically building a following and gaining massive visibility across different social media platforms by sharing helpful and entertaining content with your target market.

If it is done well, it can improve your brand’s recognition and help build trust with customers.

The benefits of organic social media marketing

Increase brand awareness – With millions of users on social media platforms, the potential reach of your campaign is unlimited.

Improve brand loyalty – Engaging with your target audience on a regular basis can help to build brand trust and loyalty.

Open line of communication – Social media provides a two-way form of communication, this is important because, it allows you to react quickly to complains, queries and ideas from your audience.

Which is better?

If you want to drive traffic quickly and you have enough money available, then paid social ads can provide a quick result. However, if your main focus is to build a customer relationship, then organic social media marketing would be a better investment.

The truth is, both options can be usefull for your brand. You could start by gaining initial traction with paid social ads, followed by organic social media marketing to build a relationship with those customers.

This is the best way to keep your customers coming back for more.

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