For every service business, ensuring your customers have a great experience is paramount. Whether you’re a small start-up cafe or a global hotel chain, customer satisfaction needs to be a top priority if you are to succeed.
To help you put in place the foundations for a thriving service business, we asked Michael Heppell, the author of, “5 Star Service – How to deliver exceptional customer service”, to reveal the key issues you need to get right, before you can start wowing your customers; Continue…
It’s estimated that almost one in every three small businesses maintain their own website, and with that comes a whole host of potential challenges to overcome.
Alongside the usual cost of building a new website, getting the right designer and managing your hosting prices, there are other factors which many small business owners do not consider when managing or monitoring their website.
In fact, there are a number of common mistakes which SMEs often make, but which are easy enough to overcome.
Here are the seven errors we most often see with websites designed for startups and small businesses.
The path from initial interest to confirmed sale hardly ever runs smoothly, especially in today’s tough marketplace.
When sales targets are high and prospects are scarce, it’s essential for salespeople to hone their skills and fine tune their approach for a successful close.
There are many organisational challenges facing salespeople, but most of these can be whittled down to three main root causes;
- A lack of sales staff motivation,
- Failure to maximise sales capability, and
- Inefficient management of the sales pipeline.
To help you close that sought-after sale, here are three key areas to focus on; Continue…
It’s fair to say that the digital landscape has given us all a platform to air every thought that warrants sharing, and also many that don’t!
Unfortunately for businesses, customers will often bypass customer services and immediately go online to air their views. While channels such as Facebook allow you to brush criticism under the carpet (not advised, angry customers will usually respond), reviews on sites such as Trip Advisor and Google can blemish your name on a longer-term basis.
While your customers will always have scope to poorly portray your business online, there are some simple ways to monitor and respond to criticism in a proactive and timely manner.
Here are 6 things you can do to protect your brand and enhance your business reputation on social media; Continue…
If you’re starting a business then chances are money is tight – so anything you can do to increase sales without spending a fortune is worth looking at.
It’s easy to imagine that you need to employ a crack sales team – but the truth is, if you’ve made one sale, then you already have one sales person – that customer. And more often than not, the best people to sell your products and services are your customers.
Customers have already gained benefit from you and because they are impartial, they can provide legitimate social proof. So how do you get your customers selling for you? Continue…
If you’re launching a new business, or looking to grow your existing business, then the chances are you’ll need to do some cold calling at some stage.
However, despite its importance within their business and the doors it can open, many business owners shy away from cold calling and find it extremely stressful. To help you overcome such cold-calling anxieties, here are six techniques that can help you become a more confident, far less stressed, and much more effective cold caller:
Most small business owners have an opinion on networking. For every person who enjoys and values it – you’ll find another who visibly shudders at the mere mention of the word.
But why does networking seem to polarise small business owners? Is it a massive untapped opportunity, or is it an uncomfortable evening in the company of strangers and cocktail sausages?
Apple, Netflix, Nike. Leaders in very different industries. They didn’t get there by doing what everyone else was doing.
Apple adds crafted design to desirable functionality and makes it fashionable. Netflix goes beyond being a digital LoveFilm and creates high quality, polished, original programming that goes toe-to-toe with Game of Thrones and Mad Men at the Emmys. Nike’s sponsorship deals are with athletes even your gran has heard of.
However doing something unique in an industry comes with risks: Continue…
Good public relations are essential for any business, but especially so, for small and start-up businesses. If you can persuade editors to run a story about your business, it’s worth a dozen adverts or mailshots. And there’s also the huge added benefit of it not costing you anything!
However, writing a press release isn’t as simple as dashing off a letter to the editor of your local paper. For it to work, your release needs to be carefully crafted and put together.
Here we look at how you should structure your press releases to grab editors’ attention and maximise your chances of getting that elusive, but highly-prized free press coverage.
For a small business, email marketing offers an inexpensive but effective and efficient way to engage with your customers, and attract new ones – so long as the right planning has been put in place first.
It creates and maintains communication, helping to keep your brand front of mind and build customer loyalty. Campaigns can be designed around a specific purpose, e.g. to boost sales, or to increase website traffic, and they can be targeted – you decide who receives which email.
Most importantly, and unlike many other marketing options, its results are measurable – the best email marketing platforms will even provide you with reports outlining how successful your campaign has been, and what aspects worked best.
This makes it an excellent choice for small businesses with a limited marketing budget. As long as you take the time to really think about what you want to get out of it, it is also simple – follow these 6 steps for planning and implementing your campaign, and you won’t go wrong. Continue…
No matter what business problem you have to solve right now, there’s a powerful way of finding the answer quickly and efficiently… and it’s called networking.
That’s a word that makes many people’s hearts beat faster. The idea of getting out to events and meeting a bunch of strangers is not something that seems natural!
Yet networking is a powerful marketing and business tool.
SEO has become an integral part of online marketing. If you want your business to be seen online, the general consensus is that SEO is absolutely essential.
Committing to a high quality SEO campaign can take up a lot of time and make demands on a startup’s budget that not everyone can meet. But seeking cheaper alternatives could mean you soon find yourself facing a Google penalty (the worst of which is your website being complete removed from their index), which can put your entire online presence in jeopardy.
The good news is that SEO need not always be a lengthy commitment and if you have some in-house capacity, it is possible to take on a large portion of the work yourself.
This in-depth guide explains what you can expect from a SEO campaign, and will help you determine if you can do some of the work yourself or whether you’ll be better off outsourcing everything from the start. Continue…
Negotiations are something all of us need to do every day. Whether it is securing a sale, negotiating a discount with a supplier or simply making arrangements with friends and family (children make particularly good negotiators!), the kind of questions we ask influences the final outcome for everyone.
The quality of the questions you ask will determine the quality of the answers you receive, so next time you are facing a negotiation situation, follow these 5 steps to make sure you are asking the right questions:
Any business owner is familiar with the challenge of attracting new clients and protecting relationships with existing ones. Fierce competition within many industries gives clients a wide choice of suppliers to choose from, and to make things even more difficult, some clients feel the need to change vendors periodically to avoid the common phenomenon of supplier complacency.
If your ambition is to do long-term business with a new or existing client you will need ensure that you engage as a serious partner: Well prepared, well informed, and far from complacent.
You may have attended presentations that dragged or others that gripped people throughout. Perhaps you have given talks yourself and wondered what really makes the difference.
Whatever the situation, there are numerous factors that affect your chances of success. Everything you do contributes to the overall audience experience and even small things make a big difference.
This guide gives you 9 proven, practical tips to deliver more engaging and more effective presentations. Each one makes a positive impact, and you will know best which will be most useful in your own presentations. Continue…
We live in a connected age where you can purchase pretty much anything you want at the touch of a button on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer.
With this in mind, you may find it surprising to learn that not all businesses are tapping into this, or even quite know how to.