Finding Extra Funds to Accelerate Growth

Finding Extra Funds to Accelerate Growth

While the Holiday Season means people might need to scrimp, save, and seek out extra funds hidden down the side of sofas, you can say the same of small businesses, too. It’s a time for overindulgence and merriment, but with one thing seemingly always after the other, the costs pile up too quickly for your liking.

You don’t want to go overboard with your spending, but you do need to look for some extra funds and cash to help you get through the rest of the year and into the new decade. If you’re a small business owner who wants to treat their staff, throw a party, or feel a little more comfortable heading into 2020, here is how to find extra funds to help accelerate growth.

Invoice Finance
If you sell wholesale goods and services and are always waiting for clients to pay up, you should take a look at what is Invoice Finance and how it can help you. With invoice finance, you can borrow money from the invoice while it is still owed.

This saves you waiting around for payments that are late or may not even come at all without risking your business growth because a client is negligent with paying you on time. It prevents any payday panics and ensures that you can continue business operations as usual.

Outsourcing Tasks
Even though outsourcing still costs you money, the difference in cost between a full in-office team and one that works remotely is staggering. If you’re looking to save some cash to put towards further growth either now or in the New Year, it could be worth investigating your options.

The great thing about outsourcing is that you can apply it to most of your business operations, but the most common include payroll, IT management services, and marketing. Using these services does not mean you must put your current staff out of a job, though. Instead, you can reposition them within the company and give them a more significant role that can make them feel more valued as an employee.

Savings Account
Your business savings account is something that you are keeping separate for a rainy day. However, when it comes to growth, dipping into the account here and there could prove highly beneficial for your business.

If you’re currently struggling for funding to take that next big step, a small withdrawal from your savings account to push you over the finish line could be useful. You can focus these extra funds on processes and plans you’ve had your eye on for a while, and then pay the profits back in once it proves fruitful. However, you must be responsible and ensure you do not make a habit of doing this whenever money seems tight.

Uncovering Hidden Cash
Okay, so it’s not technically hidden, but this cash is something that you can easily forget about when running a business. You mustn’t rely on this hidden cash too often, but using it for things that will benefit the company, your employees, or customers rather than yourself (like buying a yacht) means you will reap the benefits.


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Great Reasons To Give Promotional Gifts

Great Reasons To Give Promotional Gifts

Promotional gifts are a very popular way to market your brand and gain exposure in the wider world. Many companies create and send out free or paid for gifts to promote a myriad of things. For example, Aldi sells Kevin the carrot toys every year as a celebration of their famous Christmas adverts. If you are thinking about branching into promotional gift giving and aren’t sure if you are making the right decision, let us try and persuade you…

1. Invoke brand loyalty

When building a business and trying to make it successful it is important to think about building an arsenal of loyal followers. This is one of the benefits of sending out promotional gifts from Dynamic Gift as people appreciate companies who invest in items for their audience. By giving a gift to your customer you will make them happy and they will in turn be much more likely to choose you over one of your competitors. It might seem fickle however people are people and this is one of the easiest ways to win over your audience.

2. Build a connection

Offering promotional items can do much more than get your logo out into the world, it can allow you to build a real relationship with your audience. Let’s take an example of this such as KFC. To celebrate the summer KFC created an inflatable pool float shaped like the colonel, and this came complete with a holder for a bucket of chicken. By knowing their audience and what they want, KFC built a clever item that many of their customers will use and enjoy, and therefore build fond memories associated with the brand. By being clever with the items you send, you can build a real life relationship with those who buy from you. This in turn will ensure that they always come to you when in need.

3. Use it to build passion

Another way to make sure that your customers continue to buy from you is to offer products that send a positive message. There are many pressing issues in the world which can be treated, and by creating a product to solve a problem or show that you care, your customers will develop and emotional connection to you and feel passionate about supporting your brand over others. For example, Butterfly Conservation is a trust to support butterflies and moths in the UK, and when they send out monthly magazines, the plastic wrapping is made from biodegradable starches. Instead of throwing away excess plastic you can instead use it to store peelings before placing in the compost bin. This small change to packaging shows the ethical stance of the organisation and will help form an emotional connection to the audience.

4. Reward customers for buying from you

A sure fire way to make sure customers buy your products is to offer them the chance to win something if they shop with you. Mountain Dew is a prime example of this, where back in 2004 they offered customers a chance to collect ‘dew points’ with every purchase, where 500 would allow the customer to receive a limited edition green Xbox. Rewarding your customers by providing tokens or points towards a free product is a great idea and will ensure that people want to buy from you again and again.


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The Emotional Challenges Of Business Management

The Emotional Challenges Of Business Management

Business management is stressful, especially if you’re new to the management world. When you’re in the process of launching your own company, you face a long and twisted path of self-doubt, anxiety, and mood swings. It is the journey of every entrepreneur. While you’ve – hopefully – prepared a strategic plan to guide you through your progress, the strategy is no help to your mental health. Indeed, building your first company is an emotional rollercoaster that can make you feel inappropriate. Creating the foundation for your business is a labor of love that takes a lot of dedication and effort. But, more importantly, it’s a path that exposes your vulnerabilities. As an entrepreneur, you have no choice but to go through and try to keep a cool head. Thankfully, you don’t need to let emotional challenges distract you. There is plenty of practical support available to take your worries away.

You wish you had more time at hand
As a solo entrepreneur or the owner of a business with a small team, time is your most valuable asset. It is also the asset that is the most likely to slip in between your fingers. Indeed, you can’t afford to waste your time. However, the resource is limited. You need to prioritize income-generating operations over other time-demanding tasks. As a result, you are likely to fall into the habit of working long hours to catch up with your to-do list. Working against deadlines is stressful, but it’s a lot worse when you try to do everything simultaneously. Outsourcing is the best solution to maintain your sanity: You can’t keep your productivity and concentration for an extended period. More importantly, you are not a superhero. Your days have only 24 hours, and no, regardless of how hard you try, you can’t do everything. Accept your limitations and find an outsourced partner for support.

You wish you were more creative
Bringing a new brand to the market is demanding. Getting noticed doesn’t happen overnight. More importantly, unless you are a professional marketer who understands the challenges of creative visibility strategies, you’re unlikely to make it work. Indeed, as an entrepreneur, you can feel you have to be the creative force within your business. However, unless you are specially trained, you are likely to build unimaginative campaigns that won’t appeal to your audience. There’s an essential question about in-house vs. agency: When should you outsource your marketing? As a rule of thumb, outsourcing is the best solution for companies that struggle to attract their audience.

You wish you knew what to do next
Things change all the time. The market is a moving force that doesn’t stay still for long. In other words, the observations that have driven your strategy may not be accurate anymore. Entrepreneurs need to inject flexibility and adaptability in their day-to-day routines. However, when you’re new to the business world, making sense of a constantly evolving environment is not easy. But don’t let your fear of the unknown handicap your movements. When planning doesn’t show the way forward, knowing, and understanding your audience offers support. You can keep in touch with industry data through Google stats and Census data information to figure out your next move. Additionally, a supportive network of contacts can prove helpful in times of doubt!

Anxiety and stress can drive you to extreme mood swings when you’re launching your company. Nothing can preserve your sanity more than surrounding yourself with dedicated professional support on your way to success.

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Tips To Connect With Your Customers Online

Tips To Connect With Your Customers Online

There’s a need as a business to be connected with your customers more now than ever before. With so much competition to look out for, a customer could change their minds and go with a different supplier or company without even batting an eyelid. So with that in mind, here are some tips for connecting with your customers online.

Use Social Media 
With social media, there’s a lot that you can be doing to interact with your customers. Most people now have a digital presence, and most of those people with a digital footprint will also have at least one social media platform. Every social media platform performs differently, and therefore, you want to find out where most of your customers are. You can tell this by how much interaction it might already be getting on those social feeds, regardless of whether you are currently on those platforms or not. When creating your social media profiles, make sure the brand logo is being shown off so that your customers know that it’s you. You can use social media to have a more in-depth and personal interaction than you usually would with more traditional formats of communication like e-mailing, or phoning. So find out what social media platform is most popular for your company and then work on improving that platform to get more followers and more interest in your brand. Welcome every person that follows you and provides a mixture of professional and more relaxed content. Be consistent, and always respond to your followers.

Know Your Audience With Data
There are plenty of software platforms available nowadays where you can find out information about your audience. Like user research software, this way of finding your audience data can be extremely beneficial. Audience data is like a gold mine for any business because what can be done with it has the potential to help tailor content and products or services that the business creates. By knowing exactly what your audience likes and doesn’t like will help you, in theory, to sell more of what you’re selling. There are plenty of ways that you can access this data, but be wary that you’ll need to have the right disclaimers in place to ensure that the customer is happy for their data to be used. Data is a powerful thing, so if you can understand it, this will help you become more familiar with your audience, and it can help build relationships. That’s something you really want to achieve when it comes to connecting with your customers online. You want to be able to build relationships so that customers become loyal not just to the business but to the products or services that they’re buying. If you have the perfect product, then why waste your time going anywhere else?

Respond To Concerns Directly
When a customer complains, a business may have ignored some complaints, but now that the online world is here, that’s not possible anymore. Why? Well, because if a customer is going to complain and they’ve not heard back from you over email or phone, then they’re going to express their dislike for your company in the public domain of social media. It’s a space where you can speak freely, and it’s not something that others can delete unless it’s going against the rules of the social media platform. When you do receive complaints or a clear message directed to your company, respond to them directly. Not only does this show to others that’s your responsive, but it also tells the customer what the protocol is when it comes to a complaint. A lot of people like to complain for the sake of it, and this approach might whittle down those who are just doing it to try and get something to those who have been genuinely messed around.

The more you can do for your customers, the better. It’s important to go that extra mile for them when you can and have the ability to do so. It shows commitment to your customers and that you care for them which will be seen by everyone else who’s watching it via the public nature of social media.

Make Your Interactions Less Scripted
It’s important that when you’re interacting with customers online, you’re doing it in a more conversational manner, rather than something that’s scripted. No one likes talking to an automated robot, and the same goes for those who are clearly working from a rehearsed script. So with that in mind, when you’re responding to people via social media or you’re commenting on things that are said about a product or a company, be personable in your response. Make it more about having fun with the conversation, rather than it having to be too professional.

Throw out the script and bring in something more loose and fluid. Obviously you want that professional manner of what needs including, but in regards to what is said exactly, this can be down to the individual who is responding on behalf of the business.

Have Plenty Of Communication Options Available
No customers will like the fact that you only have an email to get in touch with or just the one avenue of communication. It puts out the feeling that you’re not a company that likes communicating with customers or has any decent customer service. That’s probably not the case but you’re not doing yourself any favors by being unapproachable. So provide as many communication options as possible. From email to phone, postal to online webchat. There are many ways you can offer customer service, so use as many of the above as you possibly can. Don’t forget direct messages on your social media handles too!

Connecting with your customers online is what’s going to make them stick around and to spread the word about your company, hopefully. So create those social media profiles, work on customer communication options, and don’t forget to be personable in your approach to talking to customers online.

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Reasons You Should Always Perform Background Checks

Reasons You Should Always Perform Background Checks

Hiring a new member of a team is always a challenge and it can be an exciting part of running a business. If you are looking to hire a new team member for your business this year there are a lot of tips and tricks to take on board. 

One of the most important things you can do during the recruitment process is to perform certain background checks on candidates. Background checks are a great way to check important information such as social security number (SSN trace), criminal convictions, and drugs.

Today we are going to run through some of the top reasons why you should perform some background checks on all candidates this year.

Criminal Convictions
One of the most popular background checks that is performed is a criminal record check. As an employer it is important to trust the person you hire, as once they work for you they will have access to your business data as well as acting as a representative of your brand. In order to trust an employee, it is crucial that they don’t have a criminal record that could impact either you directly or your reputation if found out. Of course, some companies will give convicts a second chance to change their ways, but it is still important that you make an informed decision.

Reduce Your Liability Risk
Think of your business like a child that you must protect from harm. As a ‘parent’, you would never leave someone you don’t know in charge of your child or allow them to interact with your child. You should apply the same principle to your business and perform background checks to get to know who your candidates are. Building a picture of the person you look to hire can sway your decision one way or the other and it is crucial to do this. For example, a social media check may uncover that a candidate is abusive, rude, or racist online and this makes them a huge risk to your business’ reputation.

Protect Your Employees
Another important reason to consider performing background checks on your employees is to protect those who already work for you. It is your responsibility as a business owner to protect everyone who works under your roof, and this will likely include performing checks to understand what a candidate is really like.

Verify Education
It is a simple fact that everyone lies a little bit on their CV. A white lie such as being able to play the piano or knowing two languages can often be overlooked, but if a candidate lies about having a degree that is relevant to the role this can be a big red flag. Ensure that you perform a background check on candidates to verify the education they have received and this will make a huge difference to your business.

Peace of Mind
Honestly? The best reason to perform background checks is to give you some peace of mind. Hiring is a tough process, and it may help you to have that extra confirmation to show you that your decisions are the right ones.

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Balancing The Fuel Costs In Your Business

Balancing The Fuel Costs In Your Business

In business, there is an ever-shifting balance between income and expenditure. For everything that comes in, there will be supplier costs, business-related fees, premises running costs, employee costs, and so much more. The price of these items may change considerably throughout the year. Suppliers need more money, the cost of living forces wages up, and then there is the cost of fuel.

If you are in the agriculture or construction industry, then you will rely heavily upon your vehicles and machinery in your work. These will need to be running much of the time, and as such, can be expensive to fuel. But when it comes to fuel costs, you often cannot predict them. There is a vast fluctuation when it comes to fuel costs, and by the time you take an extra couple of pennies per litre and multiply that by the amount of fuel that you use in a week, you will often find that a minor price change can be quite costly when it hits your bank balance.

With this in mind, your business should look at ways of saving fuel and reducing the cost to the company.

Use Gas Oil
Gas oil is often commonly known as red diesel. There is only one real difference between gas oil and regular diesel and that is that it is coloured with a red dye. Red diesel is available from companies like Fuel Box and can save your business a considerable amount of money. Red diesel is subject to a different set of tax regulations than regular diesel, making it a great deal cheaper for the end-user. It is only permitted for use in specific industries though; you are also not allowed to use gas oil on vehicles that are being used on the road either. Authorities have the power to be able to check vehicles to see if the red dye has been left in the fuel tank to ensure that this fuel has not been misused

Replace Your Fleet
Your company’s vehicles will need replacing from time-to-time, and when it comes time, you should look at finding models with a greater fuel economy. With environmental issues taking the forefront in our lives, many companies are creating more efficient vehicles, making this one of the major contributing factors when it comes to deciding which model of machine or vehicle to buy. It will not only help you to reduce your carbon footprint, it will save you a considerable amount of money over the lifespan of the vehicle.

Create A Less Wasteful Working Culture
The way that your employees use your machinery and vehicles will affect fuel consumption. Leaving motors running when they are not needed will mean that you are burning through more fuel and costing yourself a considerable amount more. Retraining your staff so that they are being more efficient in their use of company vehicles and machinery will mean that you can get people to start thinking about the costs and environmental impact of their actions.

This is a contributed post