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5 Ways For Small Business Owners To Find More Time

5 Ways For Small Business Owners To Find More Time

Running a business can be hectic, chaotic and unpredictable — one thing most small business owners could use more of is time. And since no one has perfected the time machine yet, business owners find themselves looking to better manage the time that they do have. Try these 5 time management tips for small business owners.

Start with the priorities.

Sure, starting with the most important may be obvious advice, but what, exactly, is the most important? Before you figure out how to better manage your time, you need to first sit down and figure out your goals, both long and short term. Identify the aspects you want to work on now, as well as a larger goal for the future. With your goals in mind, only then can you decide what’s truly a priority and what’s not. And once you set those priorities, don’t feel obligated to say yes to any opportunity that comes along,  especially the ones that don’t line up with your goals.

Get — and stay — organised.

How much time do you loose looking for that spreadsheet you can’t quite place, or digging through desk drawers? Getting organised — and, most importantly, staying that way — can help open up more of your time. Create an organisation scheme that gives everything a place, both physical things and digital files. Be sure to keep that organisation up by returning everything to its proper place.

Use lists and schedules.

Organise more than just your office, but your time by using a something as simple as a list or a planner. With your priorities in mind, write out a list of what you need to accomplish today (or this week, if you prefer). But don’t just create a basic to-do list. Instead, write it in on a calendar, noting what time you’ll be working on what task. Scheduling specific tasks can help ensure those priorities aren’t forgotten. Note your own work habits — if you tend to be more alert in the morning, for example, schedule your most important tasks during that time frame. If you find yourself more energetic after lunch, schedule the big items in that time slot instead.

Delegate responsibilities.

What tasks are you regularly tackling that could be instead relegated to employees? Small business owners are often DIYers at the start, but as you grow, you need to adjust that mentality. Train an employee in the tasks that are taking up lots of time, but don’t fit with your priorities

Take advantage of software.

What tasks are you doing regularly that technology could better manage for you instead? Set up auto pay for business bills. Create templates for the types of emails you send out most and copy and paste the text instead of spending all that time composing a new email for a question you’ve answered hundreds of times. Besides allowing technology to actually cross some items off the to-do list for you, take advantage of tools like auto reminders, and, if you find yourself distracted, set screentime limits on your smartphone to lock out of certain apps after you’ve used them for a specific amount of time.

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6 Tips for Small Business Owners Hiring Their First Employee

6 Tips for Small Business Owners Hiring Their First Employee

Your small business isn’t quite so small any more and you’re ready to add to your team — but how? Adding employees is a daunting task for business owners used to going it solo, from selecting the right person to training and evaluations. Here are some tips for small business owners ready to start hiring.

Start with a goal-setting session.

What are your goals for adding an employee? You won’t be successful in adding a new employee if you don’t first figure out exactly what you want. Take a few minutes to write down your goals for the new employee. Do you just want to be able to take some time off? Do you want to expand sales? Get specific — what tasks do you want the new employee to handle? What changes would you like to see i the business as a result of that new hire?

Identify the qualities you need to obtain those goals.

To find the right fit, next figure out what qualities will help an employee reach those goals. For example, you may want to hire an employee that is adept in the areas that you aren’t.  Figure out which qualities are most important to helping you reach your goals, then, rank those qualities in order of importance. Keep that list in mind as you consider the job candidates.

Make a plan.

When will the new hire start? How will you measure the new employees performance? What kind of training will the new employee need? These are all questions that you should answer ahead of time. Take the time to outline the steps that will need to be completed in order to reach the goals from the goal-setting session.

Create an environment that allows for growth.

Hiring the right employee, and creating goals and plans is only part of the process. Environment matters. Build the type of work environment that encourages success. Create rewards for meeting goals. Make a positive work culture with simple things like bringing in doughnuts or taking employees out to lunch.

Regularly return to that goals list.

Don’t wait to analyse how those original goals are being met. Evaluate the new employee regularly and offer guidance and direction when those goals are not being met, and praise when they are. In fact, it’s a good idea when setting those goals to determine how you’ll measure the success and how often.

Assess your own performance, too.

If you’ve never had employees before, that first hire turns you into a manager. And just like that new hire needs to learn new skills, you’ll need to develop some management skills too. Take the time to consider what you could do to improve as a manager and be open to ways to improve.

The Pros and Cons of Digital Marketing Channels

The Pros and Cons of Digital Marketing Channels

Marketing no longer has to be as expensive as a television ad or as simple as a flyer — digital marketing allows many small businesses to reach target audiences effectively and efficiently. But which ones are best for your business? Breaking down the pros and cons of each option is essential to creating a successful digital marketing plan for your business. Here are some top marketing channels to consider, along with the good and not-so-good about each option.

Social media

The Pros

Social media can be incredibly cost effective — a few dollars can reach a few hundred people. Targeting tools also make it easy to reach the right audience. That low price can make it easier for even small businesses to create brand awareness by regularly taking out ads, rather than purchasing only one more expensive ad. Social media also has a whole host of tools for working with ads and many platforms offer more than one type of ad.

The Cons

While affordable, creating a social media ad or even organic post that users don’t just scroll past is an art form in itself. Crafting a clickable post can be tricky. And while social media has built-in metrics, those don’t measure factors like how much each user clicked on that ad spent.

SEO

The Pros

Ranking on major search engines is a huge boast to businesses, driving not just any traffic, but customers who are actually looking for what you have to sell. SEO can also be organic, where you don’t even pay for an ad (though buying a search ad is another option too).

The Cons

SEO is so complex that managing it is a job title for a single person. Algorithms change all the time, and while there are a few simple changes most small business owners can do, it’s hard to compete with the companies that have teams for SEO experts ensuring their company is the top result.

Email

The Pros

Email marketing can be particularly effective because it reaches out to people who are already interested in your store offering. Email is also an affordable way for you to build your brand identity by regularly putting your brand and contact points out there. Sending the emails itself isn’t terribly expensive, but hiring a trained expert to write the email can be costly.

The Cons

No one wants more junk mail — which means building up an email list can be time-consuming. Like SEO, there’s also some tricks to writing effective sales emails that may make hiring a expert a wise option.

Web ads

The Pros

Web ads mix the best of traditional print ads with digital, offering a place to create a catchy graphics, but with the perks of links, video, and analytics. Many types of web ads are pay per click — which means you don’t pay for all those people who are scrolling past without even noticing the ads. Cookies and other tech can also help show web ads to people who might actually be interested in what you are selling.

The Cons

Web ads can be tough to design and tough to stand out with. Some users even block ads from the websites they are visiting whenever possible. Customers are less likely to click on web ads than they were in the past.

As you can see there are many varying options available to you and your business. Take a moment to 1: Step Back  2: Reflect  3: Think about the customer you are trying to reach.

7 signs your business is staying on top of the competition

7 signs your business is staying on top of the competition

Sure, you know your business inside and out — but what about the competition? In the everyday heyday of running a business, it’s easy to think that you understand the competition, when you really don’t. So how do you know if your business has a good handle on the competition, or if you need to do more to stand out from the crowd? Here are seven signs that your business is staying on top of the competition.

You know who your competition is. Business that are staying on top of the competition know exactly who the competition is. Follow your competitors on social media, Sign up for their email lists. Visit their stores. Besides just knowing their name, know what their brand is about and why their customers might choose them.

You know why your customers choose you, instead of the competition. Knowing your competition goes hand-in-hand with knowing your customer. Why does the type of customer that your business caters to choose you over the others? Is it price? Brand value? Convenience? High-end service?

You know what the competition is charging. Businesses that are staying on top of the competition are aware of what the competition is charging. Sometimes, that awareness helps ensure your own prices are competitive. Other times, knowing the competition’s prices just means helps you understand why customers come to you. For example, customers may be willing to pay more for a 15 minute oil change, then to go to a cheaper shop that takes an hour.

You are marketing regularly. Businesses that are staying on top of the competition know that their competitors aren’t remaining stagnant. Advertising should be an continuous effort, otherwise, new customers may be shopping at the competition simply because they’ve never heard your name before. Even if the advertising budget is low, you should be making a continuous effort to put your name out there, even if those are budget efforts like social media posts and flyers.

You are regularly looking for ways to improve. Knowing the competition keeps businesses inspired to keep looking for ways to do more. From something as simple as painting the front door to big changes like adding a new product, keep looking for new ideas to stay fresh.

Customer service is a priority. Dissatisfied customers will quickly become the customers of your competition. Businesses with an eye on the competition know how important customer service is and have a program in place designed to assist customers and train employees to help those customers.

You regularly brainstorm ways to bring in new customers. Sometimes, the most competitive businesses are simply the most creative. When was the last time you brainstormed new ideas to bring in new customers, like an event, a contest or a special sale? Businesses that regularly get the creative wheels rolling are often ahead of the competition.

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New HP Designjet Z6810 Production Printer

 

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HP 83 supplies support for Designjet HP DJ 5500/5000 UV Series were discontinued in 2010 and service for these devices was discontinued in 2013. Effective January 1, 2020, HP Designjet HP 83 and HP 762 Ink and Printheads will be obsolete and no longer be available for purchase from HP in any sales region.

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Customer Loyalty

5 Keys to a Successful Customer Loyalty Program

Every business owner wants to keep customers coming back — and loyalty programs are a great way to do just that. But running a loyalty program can be expensive, and if not done right, may not bring in the customers you’d hoped. So what does a small business need to know before launching a customer loyalty program? Here are the essentials for a successful customer loyalty program.

Simplicity.

Can you explain how your reward program works in one or two sentences? If not, then you’re probably overdoing it. If your reward program is too complex, customers won’t take the extra time to understand it. Keep the reward program simple. For example, you can offer a coupon for every 100 dollars spent, or buy nine coffees, get the tenth one free. By making the reward program simple, you’re encouraging customers to sign up and use the program, which, after all, is the goal.

Speed.

Along those same lines, the loyalty program should be quick — both to use and to sign up for. Signing up for the loyalty program shouldn’t take more than a few minutes at the register or online. Using the loyalty program should be even faster. A loyalty program that delays checkout won’t be successful. Using the program should be as simple as scanning a card, punching a card, or tapping in a customer ID.

Security.

Customers are usually wary about sharing information like phone numbers and emails because they don’t want to be inundated with robo calls and spam emails. Don’t be another reason they don’t give away information. Keep all customer information confidential and use it only for your own marketing — which should be used sparingly. If possible, leave out unnecessary information in the sign-up process — besides making sign-up faster, they’ll feel less wary about giving their information away.

Smart.

Today, loyalty programs aren’t limited to punch cards. If your small business has the resources, smart loyalty programs can be used to track customer purchases. That allows businesses to send out reminders when it’s time to restock an item or make suggestions on other products that customer may like. That data is also helpful for understanding who your customer is and what they are looking for when making decisions on your business.

Relationship.

Yes, part of the reason loyalty programs keep a customer coming back are those rewards — but that’s not all. A loyalty program is a great way to build a long-term relationship with customers. These programs can help show customers what you value and who you are about through the rewards offered and the communication sent to those customers.

Customer loyalty programs can be great for both businesses and customers — but to make the most of a rewards program, businesses need to ensure the program offers simplicity, speed, security, smart technology, and a relationship.