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7 Tips to Make Your Small Business to Succeed Online

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You’re now an online business owner, congratulations! Now what? Every business owner wishes that a steady stream of traffic will begin parading in and out of their website. However, the sad reality is that maintaining a steady flow of business right after you open your doors can be challenging. Aside from competition from other businesses, small businesses do not have the luxury of deep funding.The good news is that there are ways to make sure your small business succeeds online. Check out our tips.

Don’t Overlook The Target Market

Your products and services should be tailor made for your target audience. This is crucial for small businesses because you can’t expect to slay big businesses on your first year online or even in your physical location. Without knowing who your target market is or if your audience exists, you can’t realistically expect your business to succeed.Knowing who your target market is will give you clear focus as to your purpose, marketing tactics, web design, SEO and many more. Adopting a general approach is no longer feasible because if you plan to court potential customers you need to know their age, gender, lifestyle and the like. Catering to every possible niche is a good path to failure. Knowing who your target market is will tell you who your product is made for, why they need it and why they should buy it from you.

Make Customers Your First Priority

There's no point in running a business if you don’t have customers. They keep you in business therefore they should be your priority. Considering the importance of your customers in all stages of marketing can help your business ensure greater consumer satisfaction and encourage long-term relationships and repeat purchase.Aside from keeping your company afloat, customers can also help you improve your products and services by providing feedback and suggestions. They are a valuable asset when you want to compare your services with your competitor. They can tell you where you can improve so that you can serve them better and even attract new customers.

Don’t Do It Alone

You don’t have to do it all alone even if you’re a small business. Great businessmen succeed because they listen to the advice of the experts. When you run a business, you aren’t expected to know everything. All of us have our own specialties and approaching people who are experts in fields that you need help shows maturity on your part and can help your business tremendously.Advisors are not only good for advice; they are also good for bouncing ideas with. They can help inspect what you're doing, push you towards success and even hold you accountable for what you have committed to do. Remember this is not about you, it’s about the business.

Delegate

Nobody is expecting you to do everything in your business. This is what employees are for, so delegate tasks and avoid micromanaging them. Remember that you hired certain employees to do a job, therefore you should leave them to do it. All you have to do is to supervise them, trust in their training and watch your employees shine as they soar with you and take your business to new heights.This is why you need to choose employees carefully. There are people that only see their jobs as a means to an end, to put meals on the table or to pay bills. These are the kinds of people you want to avoid. Try to pick somebody who shares your vision and somebody who is willing to work hard for you. To find these people you need to take your time during the hiring process. Rushing will leave you with flighty unmotivated employees and make you miss opportunities to hire people you can depend on.

Don’t Stop Learning

Online businesses are there to make shopping easier for consumers. If you have an online business but don’t have enough knowledge on how to leverage it to its maximum potential, then learn. This is not only with regards to running a business online. If you feel that you need more skills and training to make you a good businessman or leader then take the opportunity. Being knowledgeable is like arming yourself with information that can help your business succeed online.

Write Down Your Plan

It doesn’t have to be a novel, a few pages will do. Businesses need to have a written plan as to its goals, strategies, financing, sales and marketing plan and objectives. Remember that without a plan, it’s just a dream. A plan will can serve as a roadmap to where you want to go and keep you focused.Now that you have a plan, don’t marry it. A good general knows that even the best plans can sometimes backfire. Be flexible. Confront and then conquer.

Financing

Business can be unpredictable which is why you need lots of money. Even if you make good money, you’re still going to need more at some point to meet demands, upgrade, buy new equipment, etc. seeking out investors is always a good way to keep your online business dreams afloat. Equity crowdfunding is a good money source for small online business.Small business owners must do things differently in order to survive the business world. New strategies are always required and businessmen need to be fluid and adaptable in order to run their business and cater to clients properly.
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Business

How this successful entrepreneur spent his 35th birthday

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Over the weekend I was going through my Twitter feed. Rather than seeing a ton of political "artistry" and random gifs, I stumbled across this incredible set of non-obvious business strategies (or better known as tweets) that may be some of the largest pieces of gold someone can read when they want to start a business.Twitter has received it's fair share of opinions within the past year, but it's safe to say that if used correctly; it's the most powerful social network on the planet.Scott Gerber, a New York based entrepreneur, best selling author, father, and straight up bad ass, celebrated his birthday in an unconventional way. The "Super Connector" took to Twitter to grace us with 35 "non-obvious business strategies and lessons" that he has learned over the past decade in business. Below are his tweets directly quoted from his Twitter feed. If you care to follow Scott, you can do so at @scottgerber.

Lessons From Scott Gerber

1. Beware of "boss metrics"

Macro trends are great IF they are based on the right micro trends. Macro trends can easily be manipulated to show a rosy picture while making major micro issues seem smaller or irrelevant. Ensure your KPIs align with your true performance.

2. Optionality is your life blood

Your job is to maximize optionality everyday in everything you do. There should never only be one path. In fact, try never to only have two potential paths. Always have a variety of obvious and non-obvious traditional and non-traditional options.

3. Bad Decisions

Bad decisions are due to failures to ask the right people the right questions. Don’t be “surface level”. Ask follow up questions. Don’t mistakenly believe what you want to hear. Instead probe deeper on what you actually hear.

4. Two rules

Two rules if your goal is to one day sell your business. 1) Be a revenue multiple company. 2) If you aren’t a revenue multiple company, see rule #1.

5. Anecdotal evidence

Never allow your team to use “anecdotal evidence”. First, anecdotes are not evidence of anything nor are they based in facts, science or statistical relevance. It's simply opinions on top of gut feelings and emotions. Poor decisions come from this sort of “evidence”.

6. Train with fake fires.

Train with fake fires. Your company needs a good fire drill once in a while. What happens if you don't raise money? What happens if your biggest client fires you? Get smart people in the room. Figure out how you would disrupt your own business and solve the issue.

7. Never give a “definitive yes”...

Never give a “definitive yes” to a contractual term without reviewing it in its proper context. A one line term can easily become 100 lines or be defined by 100 terms that you never agreed to. It can also mess up other terms if everything is not contemplated as a whole

8. Don't just listen

Don't just listen to what's being said--listen to what is not being said. More importantly, listen to what’s not being said on purpose. People that try to sell you something are often expert in the art of mindful editing.

9. Automating

Automating humans out of a process still takes lots of humans. Don’t be fooled by the concept of “automating a system”. It often takes more man-hours, money, time and technologies than the task itself is worth. Look at the full picture before you invest time or treasure.

10. Follow the bonus.

Follow the bonus. If you help others hit their financial goals, they are more likely to become an ambassador of your BD efforts with their colleagues. Building a partnership with someone who is top line revenue based versus quota based is different. Align incentives.

11. Never partner with adulterers or known cheaters.

11. Never partner with adulterers or known cheaters. If they are willing to screw over their spouse, they will have no problem screwing you ten fold if it suits their needs.

12. Sell with a “2-for-1” mentality.

Sell with a “2-for-1” mentality. Many companies get one big client name and are happy with that. BUT they forget the big client has dozens of divisions. One client could actually become 2 or 3 clients once you open the right doors. Don’t stop after the hardest one!

13. The 3rd party

Don’t let a 3rd party control your destiny, cash flow or your decisions. Whether you need an investment, a platform or a vendor, if a 3rd party becomes a vital piece of your plan you are taking a bet. Calculated bets can be smart, but don’t kid yourself. You’re making a bet.

14. Don’t be a conventional scheduler.

Don’t be a conventional scheduler. We’ve been taught to think in blocks of time (ie 30 minutes). Why have a 12 minute meeting, then burn 18? Think in smaller chucks like 2 or 5 minutes. When you adapt to this, you're capacity and efficiency will dramatically increase.

15. The Final Offer

Know the final offer you’d take before the first offer. Before you do any deal, know your absolute last stand deal--the absolute worst terms you are willing to accept. Having that thought out beforehand will stop you from making bad deals that aren't in your best interests.

16. About Acceptance

Don't ram your model into new industries and assume the other side will understand it (or accept it). Engineer your model to adapt to the lingo, structures and terms of the industry. Make the numbers work using the financial standards of that industry.

17. Always be the first salesperson.

Always be the first salesperson. If you don't know how to sell your product, no one will! Even if you aren't a professionally trained salesperson—or the tech guy!!—you need to learn to articulate your value proposition and see what people really need.

18. About Department Heads

Have your department heads always do every task in their department before they are allowed to assign it to anyone else. This will ensure that they know what success and failure look like beforehand.

19. About Sales Meetings

In sales meetings, always ask more questions than you answer. Answer questions with follow up questions until you have the most amount of detail possible before you fully answer. Most prospects will TELL YOU what they need and how they want it. You just need to ask and listen

20. Know your team’s real capacity.

Know your team’s real capacity. Break down your staff's tasks into units and total task costs. You would be shocked to see how “busyness” and real time communication gives the false impression of full capacity.

21. “Layer”

“Layer” your business over time, not all at once. Layering new revenue centers is certainly smart, just don’t try to do it all today.

22. Buying into passion and enthusiasm can be a disaster.

Buying into passion and enthusiasm can be a disaster. Don’t get caught up in hype and sexiness (or a good salesperson's spin!). Never make instant yes decisions no matter how good you feel. Even if they feel right, you should still do your diligence.

23. Train your brain

Train your brain to think about what is wrong, not right. What could go badly, not well. And why something won't work, not will. Your love for your idea, your process or your product can be your worst enemies.

24. Invest in the right systems BEFORE you scale.

Invest in the right systems BEFORE you scale. Failing to create the processes and systems needed when things are manageable will become incredibly costly longer term—and more time consuming and tedious.

25. Rules of the DM

Expect that anything you send via email or send via DM to anyone about anything will get out there and will be made public at some point. It will. Don’t be an idiot.

26. Surprise Yourself

No matter how “conservative” you believe your internal projections or goals are—LOWER THEM AGAIN. Surprise yourself, don’t be surprised.

27. Sell your way out of financial trouble

Sell your way out of financial trouble. The idea of “raising money” or “raising debt” is not a good mindset to be in if you find your company in a cash crunched position. You might end up getting financing, but relying on it is a fool’s errand. Sell! Sell! Sell!

28. Are your customers asking the same question twice?

If customers ask you the same question twice, you've failed them. When customers ask a new question, write it down, formalize an answer, and find ways to promote that answer (eg FAQs, call center scripts, website, etc.) so that another customer will never need to ask again.

29. Never blindly listen

Never blindly listen to someone who doesn't have to live with the consequences of the decision. Advisors are great but you must make final decisions. Getting an "I'm sorry it didn't work out" from an advisor without any downside won’t won't make you feel better in the end.

30. Unlock your entrepreneurial mind.

Unlock your entrepreneurial mind With everything that happens around you, go beyond the surface and ask "why", "how", "is it the best", "what's better", and "how would I do it." Feed on curiosity and your ability to ask great questions will be sharp when you need it.

31. User adoption isn't simple or guaranteed.

User adoption isn't simple or guaranteed. Changing user behavior is not easy. Remember: everyone is busy (life, family, work) and you want to add yet another thing. Remove as much friction as you can. Save as much time as you can.

32. Shut up after yes

Once you've got a 'yes' shut up and stop trying to further sell. You can't go further than a win, so shut up. I’ve met more than my fair share of people that lost deals because they kept selling past the ‘yes’.

33. Everyone always has an angle.

Everyone always has an angle. Know the angle before you react to the situation. Don't end up a pawn on someone else’s chess board.

34. Community is crucial.

Community is crucial. The power of association and coalition is more powerful than being a lone wolf. Build one. Be a big part of many. Give more than you take (and don’t be a taker or a sleepy networker!).

35. A Quote to End Them All

Live by this quote from one of my mentors and you’ll be better for it: “You can’t cheat real time. And real relationships take real time.” With my addition: “But your job is to find ways to cheat your time to create more real time.”Here's to liven out that last quote. Thanks for the free advice Scott and Happy Birthday.
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Growth Hacking

Leading Ladies In Tech: Alisha Miranda

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Alisha Miranda
Alisha Miranda is a digital media strategist who helps CEOs, small business owners, media and technology brands develop their marketing and revenue opportunities. You can find ​her cited on HuffPo Business, Bit.ly, Bio.com, All Digitocracy, Fast Company, Time Out New York, AMEX OPEN Forum, PR Week and Mashable - to name a few. When not working on media campaigns, she writes food and travel stories that inspire young people to see the world.
In the past years, she has managed her own digital consultancy, alishainthebiz, which oversaw content, marketing and community engagement campaigns for start-ups in food, travel, and lifestyle. This led to partnerships with Social Media Week, Skillshare and many others which led her to being hired as a contractor for select projects by Thrillist, 2U, Astrsk PR, Digital Undivided among others. She has also written for a strong list of companies as a contributing writer, such as Time Out New York, New York Times, and New York Observer.Alisha Miranda spent about a decade in New York gaining experience in the digital space. She later moved to Philadelphia and started #RadGirlsInTech with Leah R. Kauffman, Director of Marketing and Communications at Red Spark. Their goal is to empower women working in the Philadelphia tech industry as well as help those looking for guidance in fields like coding, marketing, programming, content creation, and more. They have been able to connect technologists with digital creatives through their meetups throughout the city.In this interview, Alisha Miranda ties in all the four C's of Casual, Chic, Candid and Confident. She leads us through the various decisions she has made in her career and her passions in life, while talking about where she sees herself in the coming years. She ties that up with some great insight and advice for the millennials, start-ups and small businesses. Alisha manages to strike the magical balance of being both strong and endearing.
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Growth Hacking

20 Habits Of Billionaires That You Can Do

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billionaires
According to billionaires, money is a byproduct of their daily habits. If this is true, they must have some amazing habits! Lucky for us, most billionaires today are self-made. They worked hard to get to where they are today. If so, there must be some things we can do to gain financial success. Here are some things billionaires do every day that you can do too.

1. Avoid Death

If you want to enjoy your money, avoid things that are bad for you. People do not become billionaires by spending all their money on junk food. According to studies, 70% of the rich eat less than 300 junk food calories per day compared to 97% of needy people who eat more than 300 junk food calories. 76% of the wealthy also exercise aerobically four days a week compared to 23% of the needy.

2. Practice Gratitude

When you're stressed or angry, find things to be thankful for. This can be very hard but sometimes it’s best to see the silver lining.

3. 10 Ideas Per Day

Get into the habit of 10 ideas per day. Not all of them will come to fruition but some of them might. You never know unless you try it.

4. Plant Seeds

We're not talking about a garden here but a seed that will turn into ideas, relationships or products someday. Write a thank you note, start an exercise routine, send ideas, eat well – you get the picture.

5. Learn To Say No

This can be hard for some people but if you learn how to say "No" you will have more time to read, learn, explore, sleep, spend time with family, work on ideas and many more.

6. No Excuses

Nothing ever good comes from blaming, complaining and explaining. Excuses take time and sometimes its action that you need.

7. Follow Warren Buffet's 5/25 Rule

Write down 25 things you want to do with your life. When you’re done, go do the top 5. Forget about the other 20 because who has time to do all that? Focusing on the 5 will give you time to spotlight things that are important to you.

8. Don’t Rush

Success takes time; you can’t be an overnight success. It can take years to become a billionaire so be patient and celebrate small successes on the way.

9. Read

Read not only for learning but for relaxing too. Make it a habit to read at least 30 minutes a day every day.

10. Wake Up Early

Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Richard Branson are all early risers. Getting up early lets them work without disturbance or to exercise before they tackle everyday things.

11. Make Mistakes

You don’t need to be scared to make mistakes. They can be good teachers or serve as inspiration.

12. Sleep

Ever notice that you're cranky when you’re sleep deprived? Sleep rejuvenates the brain and repairs brain cells and the body. Sleeping the appropriate number of hours per night and getting to a regular sleep pattern can boost productivity and make you happier.

13. Surround Yourself With People You Love

Surround yourself with family and friends. People that you love can help boost your confidence and inspire you to do better.

14. 1% a Day

1% a day is 3800% a year compounded. If you want to get better at something, do it 1% better each day. It's a win-win situation.

15. Ask Questions

Brian Grazer, the producer behind Apollo 13 and Arrested Development liked to ask people questions. He would call up the Dalai Lama or Steve Jobs and have “curiousity conversations.” This is how he met Ron Howard and how they started Image Films which created the famous TV show Empire.

16. Stand Next To The Smartest Person In The Room

Steve Jobs did this by standing next to Steve Wozniak and Harold Raims did it by standing next to Bill Murray. The next is true with Kanye West (Jay-z). Stand next to the smartest person in the room and watch what they do.

17. Follow-Up

This is a habit that's hard for shy people. Don’t be afraid to email and follow-up on that idea or nice to meet you email.

18. Be Single Minded.

80% of successful people are focused on accomplishing one single goal. Only 12% of less successful people do this.

19. To-Do List

If you want to accomplish your goals make a to-do list to keep track of things. Be like 81% of successful people and get into this habit.

20. Do 1 Thing You Loved As A Kid

Do 1 thing you loved to do as a kid every day. If you loved biking or playing with your dog, this can be the one thing that fuels your life.
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