The connection between messy systems and business growth

The connection between messy systems and business growth

Everyone wants their business to grow. They want to see progress in revenue, reach, impact, and more. To an extent, that’s the whole point of business! That makes it both frustrating and discouraging when—no matter the amount of hard work and effort you pour in your business refuses to scale. In the case of lackluster business growth, you might begin to doubt your product, services, or work ethic when you really might just need to tidy up your systems!

​Have you ever heard the term “messy systems don’t scale”? If you find yourself and your business in a place of constant work, dedication, and planning, but no forward progress, then it could be time to look into your business’s operation for solutions. A solid foundation is critical to business growth. It’s important you check your systems to be sure things are in proper order before you, A) allow the discouragement to swallow you, or B) quit on all y†our hard work.

Here are 3 foundational aspects of business you should check on to be sure they’re set up well and operating properly for your business to succeed. If you find they’re not well organized or running smoothly, then you might have a messy system and that could be what’s holding you back from reaching your fullest potential.

3 Things That Could Be Keeping Your Business From Scaling

1. Accounting

This might be one of the most complicated (and also boring) aspects of business, unless you’re an experienced accountant who enjoys paperwork and comparing numbers.That being said, making sure that all of your accounting is in order is key to a successful business. Without keeping track of the money coming in and and the money going out, you have no way to determine what’s successful, what needs tweaking, and what’s simply not working. You don’t know where to invest or where to stop investing. You don’t know what you can afford and what’s losing you money.

If you have little to no idea what’s up in the accounting department, then it’s best to get some systems in place as soon as possible. That could mean hiring an accountant or getting better at balancing your own checkbook. Be sure you know all of your expenses as well as all of your revenue!

2. Targeted Marketing

It’s important that you truly know who your business is, what your business is offering, and who your business is offering things to. Without these things, it’s harder for you to sell products and services, but it’s also harder for your desired audience to find (and therefore buy from) you! While you most likely know what you do, you might find that you don’t know what problem you solve for your customers or clients. While you most likely know some people who purchase from you, you might not know who your target market is. Take some time to truly get to know your business and your client base in order to develop a better plan for moving forward.

3. Other Systems and Procedures

Every business has its own unique way of operation. While it’s great to be able to find procedures that work for you and your business best, it’s important that these procedures actually do work for you and don’t create work for you. Look into the way your business operates as a whole and also all the nitty gritty pipelines and flows. Keep an eye out for outdated systems, procedures that take longer than necessary, or any way you can save time and money without compromising your business success or value. Do you need to hire someone to help projects not fall through the cracks? Do you need to get rid of standard steps just clogging up business flow? Do you need to update your programs or technology? Efficiency is critical.

If you need help identifying aspects of your business that are operating improperly and holding back your business growth, then schedule a call with me and get a clear perspective of your business and operations.

Have a great week!

Robyn

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Are you confused about SEO and how to use it in your business?

Are you confused about SEO and how to use it in your business?

For most seasoned website administrators, SEO remains the holy grail of any viable marketing strategy. It’s the key to Google’s treasured vault of 1.52 billion search engine users and by extension the definite trail to unlocking leads and creating conversions.

For you, a small business owner; however, it probably is just ‘Search Engine Optimization,’ the only route you know to reaching a bigger audience.  And if you look at it pragmatically, there’s really no need for it to get more complex than this.

While SEO can indeed become the anchor of a broader marketing strategy or the cornerstone on which a whole brand is built, for a small business without a mega marketing team and deep pockets, it’s usually better off being just a means to meet a clearly defined and simplified end.

If your goal, for starters, is to get things up and running with your website, and reaching a wider audience is your primal target, here’s how to get SEO to do just that for you.

Google (and your users) remember fast websites

A few decades ago a page load time of say 5 seconds was by no means out of the ordinary. In fact, a handful of major news publishing websites had load times that averaged more than 5 seconds. It wasn’t a big deal, and search engines weren’t making a fuss about it.

Today, however, on the backdrop of an internet space predominated by ‘impatient’ users, speed and faster page load times matter, a lot! Per eConsultancy, no less than 40% of visitors abandon a website with a page load time of more than three seconds. 80% of these visitors won’t return to that site, ever again. It comes as no surprise then when search engines blacklist slow websites, placing them foot side of organic search engine rankings in preference for better performing websites. Google implemented the protocol to do this way back in 2010.

The key takeaway for you as a small business owner is that fast websites are a must, not a negotiable luxury. Assess your site, make sure its returning content to users in lighting fast speed. If this is not the case, make conscious efforts to optimize it for better performance

Quality content is still king, forget what anyone says

When developing content for your site, it’s easy to get caught up in a keyword and content optimizing frenzy that borders on intentionally fine-tuning everything for web scripts and Google crawl bots. While this approach was at one time effective, SEO has long gone past that phase. We’re in an era where quality content, the kind that attracts real-life users and drives engagement rules over that created to essentially tick all the checkboxes of Google bots.

Don’t get me wrong, keywords still matter. But rather than base the content of your website on emphasizing a specific tranche of keywords, it’s usually a better strategy to develop content that appeals to users. Search engines have a way of compounding several metrics to see if the content on your site is actually value-creating as opposed to merely keyword-harvesting.
The first step to developing quality content is understanding the needs of your target audience (consumers). Will they love visual cues more than text-based material? Are you better off writing in a professional, friendly or conversational tone? What topics in your niche pulls the crowd? These are the sort of questions you need to start answering.

Inbound linking is still the undisputed Queen

Inbound links, i.e. links of your website on other websites remain one of the most surefire ways to gain accelerated visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). And no, we’re not encouraging you to go on a link farming spree, that’s black hat SEO, and even though it might deliver some results in the first instance, it’s almost always tailgated by a backlash of punitive measures from search engines.

Instead practice link building the right way, the way it was intended to be practiced. Focus on creating high-quality content that engages the audience and attracts other content curators. If you don’t relent in this game of churning out killer content, other sites will in time start incorporating bits of your work, before invariably proceeding to give you credit by way of inbound links.

The best part is this process is more of a positive feedback mechanism – the more quality inbound links, the better your reputation and authority; and the more other sites feel inclined to link more web pages to your site.

Make use of all the tools you can lay your hands on

One good thing about SEO today is that unlike in the past, it’s no longer a game of hide and seek. You can proactively monitor, track and micromanage every aspect of your SEO drive with a growing selection of SEO tools.

Need to know how your site is performing on Google search, Google Search Console, Google Analytics and a slew of other analytics software are just a click of the button away. Confused on what keywords need to be integrated into your content, take your pick from apps like SEMrush, Google planner and Google AdWords. If you need to know what visitors are doing on your website when they come online; there are apps for that too.

One app we’d certainly recommend over and above is Yoast SEO. It’s a lightweight and intuitive content moderation solution that keeps you on top of your SEO game, content-wise. Yoast SEO allows you to specify everything from your Meta description, slug, title and alt SEO text with consummate ease and in line with current industry best practices. Best of all there’s a free version for users who are on a budget.

Don’t underestimate social media and other traffic sources

With a heightened (and justifiable) focus on search engine traffic, it’s easy for small business owners to sideline other valuable traffic sources. Don’t place all your eggs in one basket. Cultivate a social media following and improve your brand image – together these two work to deliver a steady supply of both new and old visitors to your site.

It, however, goes past just ushering in new web visitors, aside from guaranteeing more predictable and less volatile traffic volume, social signals - the way people interact (likes, pins, shares, views, votes and everything else) with your social media content - play a big role in your overall search engine performance. It’s on the record that SEO experts Moz.com moved to the top of SERPs for the key phrase ‘Beginner’s guide’ only after their guide was tweeted out by The Smashing Magazine.

Finally, if you don’t have a Google My Business account, now is the best time to get one

How do you easily outrank the so-called authority websites for broad, established and competitive search queries? I’ll give you a hint; the answer is not related to link building, onsite SEO optimization, fast webpages or quality content. Yes, you guessed it right, it’s the rather simple easy-to-effectuate solution you’ve been ignoring for too long – your Google Business Account.

In its last few search engine updates, Google has increasingly placed a heightened emphasis on local businesses. By virtue of this, registered businesses have a higher SERP priority especially in local searches for keywords related to the service they offer. Simply register your business and get a part of the SERP juice you deserve.

I hope these tips have helped you understand how to better use SEO in your small online business.

If you’re looking for more great resources for your business click here and access my subscriber hub

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Small Business Solutions (Don’t Let These Issues Hold You Back)

Small Business Solutions (Don’t Let These Issues Hold You Back)

There has never been a better time to start up your own small business, but that doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed to succeed. In fact, there are many problems big and small that your company could run into that can hold you back. Luckily, some of the most common are dealt with in the post below, so read on to ensure your small business is solution focused.

Payroll problems

Businesses rely on their employees in a significant way, and in a smaller company, this can be amplified as you only have a few people to get everything done. Unfortunately, a substantial issue that small business can encounter is paying their employees on time especially if they are having problems with payroll or cash flow.

Luckily, there are some solutions can work here, such as taking out a small business loan like the ones variable from kabbage loans to cover the cost of a month’s wages. Then you can be sure that everyone will get paid, remain motivated, and they don’t even have to know that things are tight financially!


Picture source

Of course, if it’s a payroll administration issue things can be a bit more difficult, but that isn’t to say that they can’t be rectified. In fact, in many cases getting some advice from your accounting system provider can help. An action you that you may even be able to do over live chat, something that can help you to resolve your issue efficiently.

Customers

Customers are of course vital for the success of a small business, but they can also create issues as well. One of the most significant issues is when they have outstanding invoices that they are not paying, as this can create a cash flow crisis!

Your options here are to chase them for payment, and if things did get bad, you can freeze their account so they can’t order any more products until they have settled their bill. In some cases, it may even be necessary to take them to a small claims court to pay an invoice that has gone unpaid over a long time.

Also, another issue to be aware of with your customers is that you can end up in a dependent business relationship. What this means is that you need them to survive because they are your most important accounts. This then mean they have an advantage over you because you will not want them to go elsewhere. Something they can use to leverage better deals and discounts that will not be good for your business.

To that end, you always need to be looking for additional customers, and markets for your products. What this means investing in marketing and even research and development from time to time, so you avoid relying on any particular customers for your continuing success.

Data management


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Lastly, data management can be a huge problem, especially if IT is not your forte. This is because the data that you are collecting regarding personalization preferences and warm leads are crucial to the success of your business.

In this case, it can be helpful to employ a professional to set up a data management system for you. One that allows you to draw out and use information that your needs, or adapt a pre-made system to solve the problem of data management.  

*This is a contributed post

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How Technology Can Be Used To Your Advantage

How Technology Can Be Used To Your Advantage


Pxhere Image Source: Photo of an electrical chip component board

Technology is an incredible thing that seems to keep getting better and better over time. It is becoming more and more advanced and the doors of opportunities that it opens are outstanding. All you need to do is look in hospitals to see how far we’ve come. We are able to do the impossible now because of tools and machinery that have been made to be noninvasive while doing an extremely difficult procedure, and the number of lives that are now being saved because of it just keep increasing. Technology doesn’t just help medicine though, it helps us in our everyday lives too, regardless of who we are and what we do for a living, and the more help that you know exists out there, the simpler you can make things for yourself and others.

Managing money

We are always trying to find new ways of saving money so that we can have the things in life we enjoy, but it’s no secret that living is an awfully expensive thing. Almost everything has a price, and however sad that thought may be, there’s no point dwelling on it too much since it really won’t change anything, with the right attitude and actions, the easier things will become. Let’s take buying a car for example, this is a huge moment for some if they’re doing this for the first time, but as we know it is also expensive too - along with buying a home. This is why the common thing to do is to take out a loan, but sometimes it can be very hard to know how much money you actually need for that car or home because there are so many different fees and hidden costs involved. Thanks to technology though, you can now have the answers you need by using a car finance calculator that will do the math for you and give you an overall cost of how much money you will likely need.

Managing business

If you own a business, then you’ll know the constant struggles that you will be faced with in order to be successful and start making a living doing what you love. That’s doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try just because it might be difficult, it just means that you’ll need to build a tough exterior and be driven and focused on your goals. One of the most important things in your business are your customers and the feedback they provide you, but one way you can take things even further and get as much helpful knowledge as you can, is with data. Data analysis is a type of technology that has been designed to collect everything that happens within your business, and then feed it back to you. From this, you will be able to source out any underlying problems or issues that may be going on that you would have never noticed otherwise. You can also learn the ins and outs of your sales and buyers, and adjust anything when need be - improving as you go with the information you accumulate.

*This is a contributed post.

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