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“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.”
Yes, there are many driving factors and the forces that act as a base for any person or a thing to reach success. These powerful forces are what helps the minute things grow to its best potential.
The corporate business works in a similar pattern, it’s not unusual if the business owners feel stuck to find a way to grow. Stagnant sales numbers, lower employee retention rate, failed small business strategies gives the clear sign that the business needs to detoxify its old patterns and need a third eye view to make some refreshing growth strategies.
Find ways to generate more customers
The first and most important sign of business growth is the growing number of customers. In order to make your business successful, exploring and finding new clients on a regular basis becomes important.
The inflow of new clients will ensure some new sources of money and will help in the growth process. This is only possible if continuous digging and approaches are made through different mediums. Try to see opportunities where others see an obstacle.
Be very active on professional websites like LinkedIn and Upwork where the chances of getting new projects are high. Make a strong online presence, such that you can influence people to contact you. Collect as much data as you can through your online platforms to use this information to market your business directly into your prospective customers’ inboxes.
Also read: The 15 Best E-Commerce Marketing Tools
Improved communication pattern
The second thing that comes down the list of 2023 business growth strategies is the way of communication.
As we all know that the way we communicate has a great effect on the work, whether it’s about talking with the clients or with the contemporaries that work together under the same roof.
Having a good way of communication will help your business become more efficient. A well-communicated team has a sense of clarity that makes them work in coordination and produce some extraordinary outputs. Plan frequent team meets, come with some innovative ideas that break the ice in the cubical to understand each other’s work process well.
Keep a check on your expenses
Money acts as the most important factor for any business to grow further to make a business big. But during the growth process, there are many factors that can strongly act negatively and disturb your cash flow.
Having a proper cash flow can only be possible if you keep a check on your expenses. Make sure you don’t spend where it is not necessary. Doing good work and making profits are must but what is more important is how you use that profit for your daily expenses and save some for your future business development.
Like if you think that the energy consumption (electricity) of your office is high, find a way to reduce it. Employee merriment is a must, but make sure you spend on those things in your budget. These small things will make all the difference.
The next thing you need for any business to do well is how eager and excited your team is to get together and implement your thoughts and make it a living reality.
Be careful while you hire new people, look for the qualities in them that release positive energy to help you dream bigger with them. Having a team that is proud to be the part of your success journey and supports you through all your odds is what will help you take your business to the next level.
Build a strong relationship with your team members, incorporate corporate team building activities that help them understand each other better and build coordination.
Make smart use of social media
The last and the most evident way in today’s day that a business could grow is through social media. But most of the business owners focus just on selling their products through social media and also promote the same throughout its page underestimating the fact that its audience might lose interest looking at the same patterned post.
Also read: Best Online Courses to get highest paid in 2023
Business growth is the most important part of any business owner in professional life. The revenue and success numbers that the company earns at the end of the year are what can build the brand image in the industry.
Adopting the above mentioned easy go techniques into your business plans will surely help elevate your business growth. Find ways to get the business, keep up with the trends, know how to communicate and just try to maintain your cash flow so that you have money to invest in the new business growth ideas.James Vargas
James Vargas is an experienced business expert, consultant, and manager at Get Everything Delivered. With the 1.5-decade corporate experience, he is now sharing his guidance to start-ups to grow with corporate team building activities and project delivery solutions.
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If there’s one commodity small businesses like yours are short of it’s time, so any tools that can help cut out the admin and allow you to focus on the important things, like revenue and profitability, are a godsend.
Take Nuance’s new business-grade voice recognition products for example. Dragon Pro Individual (for PC) and It’s likely your day-to-day tasks result in a mountain of paperwork, from client correspondence to reports, notes, documentations and proposals. When you’re a lean, hard-working company, you often need to handle this yourself, but few of us are high-speed typists. Why not dictate instead? Dragon Pro Individual (for PC) and Dragon for Mac can work as fast as you can speak, and you won’t waste time editing text, either, with both products delivering up to 99% accuracy. The end result? Speech recognition can help you work at speeds three times faster than the majority of people type. That’s not just good for word processing; it will also help you tackle that email backlog.Take the Labour out of Paperwork Work wherever and whenever
Some of our best ideas arrive when we haven’t got a laptop to hand – or even the space to get one out. Luckily, Dragon Pro Individual (for PC) and Dragon for Mac can be integrated with the separate, cloud-based Dragon Anywhere apps for iOS and Android, so that you can dictate and edit documents wherever the business takes you. The apps then sync across the cloud with the PC and Mac products, ready for polishing later. The apps will even sync preferences and custom words and commands with the desktop versions, so that as one learns more about you and your business, the other catches up. Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you can keep things moving.Software that learns your business
All industries are different and all companies within them too. The voice recognition software that’s built into Windows and Office is fine for basic, domestic use, but it won’t adapt to work better for your specific needs. Dragon Pro Individual (for PC) and Dragon for Mac will. As you use the software, you can train it to understand the industry terms and acronyms you use every day, and become even more efficient at recognizing how these work in context. The more you use it, the more the software adjusts to your personal preferences and your speaking and writing style. It becomes like working with someone who knows your business, inside out. Whether you work in IT, accountancy, engineering or marketing, this can and will save you time and effort.Trouble-free transcription
In many businesses transcription is a key part of the workflow. Whether you’re a company with office admins taking meeting notes, a consultant being briefed by clients or a firm with an endless stream of correspondence, transcription is part of the process. Speech recognition takes a whole stage out of it, freeing staff to get on with other things. Dragon Pro Individual (for PC) and Dragon for Mac turn audio from specific apps and voice recorders into accurate, editable, transcripts with minimal intervention. You can even transcribe another speaker’s voice. Don’t worry about training the software: all it needs to create a profile is a 90-second clip. Even busy consultants can handle their own correspondence without needing to tie an office admin up for hours.Build your Business
Dragon Professional Individual (for PC) or Dragon for Mac online now.
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You probably know that a marketing plan is a must for your business. After all, marketing is what helps you spread the word about your business and get new customers. And you can’t have successful marketing without a clearly defined and well-thought-out plan. But, if you’ve never created a marketing plan before, it can be difficult to know where to start.
To help small business owners who are serious about putting together a marketing plan, we’ve created a simplified six-step process that will help you achieve real results:
Assess your current business situation
Determine what you’re able to invest
Outline your marketing goals
Identify your target audience
Determine your marketing tactics
Put together an action plan that prioritizes tasks
We’ve compiled these steps into a free marketing plan template you can use to get started right now.
Let’s walk through each step in detail so you have everything you need to create a marketing plan for your small business.Step 1: Assess your current business situation
Before you get started outlining the meat of your small business marketing plan, it’s important to take stock of where you are now so you can determine the best marketing goals and objectives.
This is the ideal time for a good ole SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
A SWOT analysis is helpful when creating your small business marketing plan because it allows you to take an objective look at your business and determine areas where you’re doing well right now and areas where you might want to improve.
For example, you might already have a good social media presence, so that would be a strength, but you’re not getting as many website visits as you think you should be, which could be an opportunity.
By taking a good look at your business as well as your competitors’ businesses, you can set a solid foundation for the rest of your marketing plan.Step 2: Determine what you’re able to invest
Now that you’ve analyzed your current business situation, it’s time to figure out how much you’re going to be able to invest in a marketing plan for your small business. This will help guide and direct the remainder of your planning.Set a budget
Marketing costs money. So you need to be realistic about what you’re able to spend to invest in a successful marketing plan.
If you’re unsure how much money you should be spending on marketing, most new businesses allocate 12-20% of their gross revenue while established businesses allocate 6-12%.
It may seem like a large chunk, but the return on your investment will be worth it with the right small business marketing plan!
And even if you have little-to-no budget to spend on marketing, any little bit can help you take your business to the next level. (Plus, there are some great free and low-cost marketing ideas you can try.)Budget your time
How much time are you able to invest per week in marketing? It’s really easy to let your marketing slide as you focus on running your business but having a specific goal will help you keep track of how you are doing relative to your plan.
In terms of how far out you should plan, a year is not a bad place to start. If this is the first time you’ve put together a marketing plan for your business, you should understand that you may need to do some course corrections over time. Don’t completely flip your marketing plan every month, but you also don’t want to go an entire year without taking stock of what’s working and what’s not.Step 3: Outline your marketing goals
Now it’s time to get down to business! Once you have a solid understanding of your opportunities and weaknesses as well as your budget, you can start writing your marketing goals.
Marketing goals should be SMART. Check out this chart for details on what SMART stands for:
An example of a SMART marketing goal would be something like: Increase website visits by 5% in six months.
This goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific.
When it comes to writing your marketing goals, you might consider some broad marketing objectives that many small businesses have.
Here are some common marketing goals examples:
Building an online presence
Increasing brand awareness
Connecting and engaging with your audience
Growing your online audience
You can determine which of these make the most sense for your business and then make them SMART.Step 4: Identify your target audience
Before you can solidify your marketing plan, it’s important to know who you’re going to be targeting with your marketing. Your target audience varies based on a number of factors, including your business type, your area, and so much more.
Here are some questions to ask to help identify your target audience:
Who are your current customers? This includes general demographics such as age, gender, location, and more.
Who else would you want to reach? Is there any group that you wish you were reaching but you aren’t? You can outline this group and target them with your marketing plan.
What products/services are your customers buying from you? It’s helpful to understand what your current customers are buying from you so you can incorporate that into your marketing plan–or look for opportunities to show your other products and services a little more love.
Why are your current customers buying from you? Understanding your customers’ motivations for buying your products and services can give you a deeper glimpse into your differentiators as well as what pain points your business can address.
What information is influencing their purchasing decision? If you can pinpoint specific information, marketing channels, or people that are either getting them to buy from you or keeping them making a purchase from you, you can better tweak your marketing messaging and address areas for improvement (such as bad reviews!).
Where do your current customers spend time online? If you can understand where your customers spend time online, you can also incorporate this data into your marketing plan by investing in the channels that have the best chance of reaching them.
What do your competitors’ customers look like? It’s important to know what the competitive landscape looks like when it comes to determining your target audience. Take a look at what your competitors’ customers look like to see how you could replicate reaching a similar audience.
Get more tips for finding your target audience here.
Once you have your target audience defined, you can even create buyer personas to better understand who you’re targeting and why.Step 5: Determine your marketing tactics
Now that you have your marketing goals outlined and you know who you’re targeting, it’s time to determine what will make up your small business’s marketing plan.
Take a look at each of your marketing goals and list the marketing tactics you think you would need or want to reach those.
Let’s use our example marketing goal from above. In order to increase website visits by 5% in six months, there are a number of different tactics we can use, like:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – this will help us optimize our website to get found in search engines.
PPC – This will more immediately drive users to our website while our SEO is getting up and running.
Facebook Ads – These will help grow our audience and drive more visitors to our site.
Once you’ve completed this exercise for each marketing goal, you can revisit the budget you set in step two to determine what’s realistic and doable–both from a time standpoint and a monetary standpoint.
This is also the point in creating your marketing plan that you may want to decide whether or not you want to outsource your marketing plan by working with a marketing partner. It may require a little more budget to outsource your marketing, but it will save you time and deliver better results in the long run.Step 6: Put together an action plan that prioritizes tasks
Congratulations! You now have all the pieces to put together a marketing plan. The next task is to simply write down the tasks that you want to accomplish and prioritize them.
This may seem like an unnecessary step, but nothing could be further from the truth. You want to have a nice to-do list that you can reference any time you have a spare moment to work on your marketing.
You can fill out this chart in our free sample marketing plan!
Creating this prioritized list will make your marketing far more approachable, and it will make you far more likely to get started and stick with it. Once you create your list, put it in a highly visible spot for quick reference and share it with your employees and your marketing partner.Get started with your small business marketing plan today
No matter how great your small business idea, it won’t stay alive without a solid marketing plan. Now that you’ve created yours, make sure to measure your results and adjust your plan accordingly. Your goals may shift as changes happen in your business, the economy, and your market, but your overall marketing plan should keep you on track for success and growth.
Want more planning tips? Check out these resources:Stephanie Heitman
Stephanie is the Associate Director of Content for LocaliQ and WordStream. She has over 10 years of experience in content and social media marketing and loves writing about all things digital marketing. When she’s not researching the latest and greatest marketing news and updates, she’s probably watching reality TV with her husband, reading, or playing with her two pups.
Other posts by Stephanie Heitman
A quick guide to small business SEO
There are more than 28 million small businesses in the United States alone, and they account for 99.7% of all businesses in the country. Are you among them? If the answer is yes, you know just how challenging it is to rise to the occasion and beat your competitors in the battle for customers.
In the 21st century, the battlefield is online – between 70 and 80% of people claim they research a company before choosing to do business with them. Evidently, in order for a small business to thrive, it has to boost its online influence. Still, no more than 17% invest in SEO.
Whether they do not understand the value of this marketing channel, or simply do not understand it, the fact is – SEO is essential for business growth. Whichever the case, here is the gist of everything a young entrepreneur should know to get started.Defining SEO
Search engine optimization represents a methodology of tactics, which focus on improving a website’s ranking in organic search results. Namely, what makes organic (natural) search results more appealing to marketers is the fact that desktop users choose them over paid results 95% of the time.
It is about providing people with what they want and presenting those signals to search engines in order to rank higher. When talking about SEO, we are actually referring to a set of techniques that have to work together to form a bulletproof digital marketing strategy. Some of the techniques include:
Website architecture and optimization
Keyword research and analysis
Social media marketing and promotionThe importance of SEO
Around 8 out of 10 customers state they research a company before making a final purchase decision. If your prospects cannot find you in search results, naturally, they will go to one of your competitors who has already mastered their digital marketing tactics.
SEO is what gets you listed in the ‘modern phonebook’, to call it that. However, it does not list businesses alphabetically, but in accordance with search engine guidelines. Online marketing helps you attract and acquire new customers, and it requires your focus as soon as you set up your website.
Search engine optimization is especially relevant for startup companies and small businesses that do not have the funds to splurge on expensive marketing campaigns – SEO does come at a certain price, but a significantly more affordable one. What makes this marketing strategy ideal for small players looking for a way to swim with the big fish in the online waters.What a successful SEO strategy should integrate
On-site SEO – optimization of everything from your content to images in accordance with search engine guidelines.
Off-site SEO – optimization of the company in listings and online directories; this includes reaching out to industry influencers and anyone who might find your website resourceful and worth linking to.
You begin by building a website and move on to content optimization – that is, optimization of everything from your Home, About us and Services pages to a company blog. Still, note that keyword research precedes this process in order to determine the phrases that are best to target. These represent words and phrases your customers are most likely to type into a search engine when looking for solutions you have to offer.
To define relevant keywords, you will have to research your competitors to see what they rank for and study your customers and see what they search for. During this process, you will benefit most out of Keyword Planner, but you can always check out other keyword research tools and combine the info you collect.Most important SEO techniques to consider Content marketing
Quality content on your website provides opportunities on several levels:
Well-written and well-optimized content ranks you higher in search results
Establishes you as a knowledge leader in the industry
Acts as a relevant source of information for your target audienceLink building
To distribute your content across the web, you have to implement link building process into your strategy. Target only high authority websites, offer your website as a relevant resource and get others to link to your blogs or landing pages.Social media marketing The bottom line
SEO is not a that-one-time-thing-you-paid-for; it requires a constant investment of your resources and attention. It is an ever changing industry and you are obliged to follow updates as they occur in order to keep your business high in search results. Your business search engine optimization strategy will have to be improved based on your customer preferences, search technology and the natural growth of your business.
Do you give your employees bonuses in your small business? According to PayScale’s 2023 Compensation Top Practices Report, almost three-quarters of small businesses offer bonuses.
Companies can reward top performers with bonuses, also known as “variable pay”, without increasing fixed salaries.
PayScale reports that top-performing businesses are more likely than average businesses to offer bonuses (79% vs. 70%). According to a 2023 WorldatWork study, bonuses are increasing in popularity, particularly among small and medium-sized businesses.Employee Bonus Programs
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular employee bonus plans, and how you can make them work for your company.Annual Incentive Bonuses for Individuals and Teams
Individuals or teams who achieve the goals established at the start of a performance cycle receive an annual incentive bonus.
PayScale reports that more than half of the companies use individual incentive bonuses, while 23% use group incentive bonuses. When group effort is needed to achieve a tangible result, team incentive programs work best. Individual efforts can be difficult to quantify.
Create a motivating annual incentive bonus program:
Establish clear, consistent, and measurable goals that tie to the roles of each person or team member.
Employees need to understand the relationship between their actions and the overall goals. Problems can arise when employees aren’t working as hard as their colleagues and don’t get the same benefits from team incentives. This can be avoided by ensuring that the team works together to achieve the goal.Spot Bonuses
PayScale reports that 39% of companies use spot bonuses to reward good behavior. Spot bonuses can be given for exceptional customer service or going above and beyond.
Spot bonuses at large companies can amount to several thousand dollars. For small businesses, however, it is best to keep them modest — $25 and above will be acceptable.
Create a Motivating Spot Program:
Give out different levels of spot bonuses. For example, a $25 gift certificate for the most energetic person at the company booth. You could also give $500 for an even more extravagant action.
Establish a budget. Spot bonuses can quickly consume capital if there is no limit. You don’t have to spend all of your spot bonuses if you don’t see the right employees.
Make it count. Offer spot bonuses for exceptional behavior and not just for performing the job.
Surprise employees with surprise spot bonuses. Employees who know that two people receive one each week lose their motivation. Spot bonuses should be given irregularly to keep employees guessing.
Also read: Best Online Courses to get highest paid in 2023Referral Bonuses
PayScale reports that 39% of companies use referral bonuses. Referral bonuses are given to employees who refer job applicants who are hired and who complete a probationary period. It is believed that birds of feathers flock together, and if an employee refers someone, they are more likely to hire them.
To create a motivating referral bonus program:
Create a policy. Are you looking to offer referral bonuses for all jobs or just for specific positions? Are you looking to create a referral program or notify employees when you are hiring and ask them for referrals?
Decide how you will handle payouts. Some employers pay a portion of the referral fee when an employee is hired, while others pay the remainder after the employee has completed a probationary period that lasts three to six months.
Some companies give the whole bonus upon completion of the probationary phase. Regardless of the situation, ensure that your policy is written.
Offer higher referral bonuses to:
Referring candidates that increase diversity in the staff.
Referring candidates that are high performers.
Refer candidates with rare skills or for difficult-to-fill positions.
You could offer a small referral bonus of $25 or $25 depending on how difficult it is to find candidates.Signing up or hiring bonuses
Signing or hiring bonuses (given upon hire) can be a great way to attract and motivate new employees. 34% of respondents in PayScale’s survey used them. Small businesses are less likely to use them, but signing bonuses could be a good idea if they:
These bonuses are common in your industry. IT workers are familiar with signing bonuses.
Attracting a candidate with difficult-to-find skills is essential.
Motivate a candidate to leave another state.
A signing bonus is a great way to attract employees for small businesses with low starting salaries. Signing bonuses can backfire if the bonus is used to help job-hop.
It’s a good idea to stagger your signing bonus to prevent this. Half of the bonus might be paid at signing. Then, one-quarter of the bonus after six months.
The rest will be paid at the end. Many companies have “clawback” provisions that require employees to return a portion of their signing bonus if they quit before one year has passed.
Also read: 10 Best Chrome Extensions For 2023Profit-Sharing Plans
Profit-sharing is much more popular with small and medium businesses than it is for larger ones. 22% of the 2023 Variable Pay Playbook small companies use it.
These plans allow employees to receive a portion of the company’s annual or quarterly profits. Employees are eligible for a percentage of the company’s annual or quarterly profits if you have a better year than usual.
You can tie profit-sharing plans to your company’s 401(k), with the profits being distributed as retirement plan contributions or on a cash basis.
To create a motivating profit-sharing plan:
Profit-sharing plans are very motivating as they give employees ownership of the company. Employees should be able to understand the operation of the profit-sharing plan.
You must set parameters that limit who can participate. Employees must be employed for at least one year to participate in this program.
Particularly if the profit-sharing plan is tied to 401 (k), there are specific regulatory requirements such as maintaining certain records, reporting requirements, and setting up trust funds.
Also read: Top 10 Best Software Companies in IndiaTips for Bonus Structure
Make sure you know how much money is available for your bonus plan. This could be a dollar amount (you have $5,000 per year to put aside for discretionary or spot bonuses). This could be a percentage of income for longer-term bonuses such as incentives or profit-sharing.
The plan should be based on quantifiable and measurable results. Define the goals and describe how progress will be measured.
You might consider setting “tiered goals” so employees can achieve more difficult goals and receive different bonuses. A worker might receive $X to reach the minimum goal and $XX to achieve the maximum.
Send us your bonus plan.
Make sure that employees are aware of what they need to do to receive the bonus. The plan should be reviewed with all employees, as well as individuals in the case of an individual or team incentive bonuses.
Employees can be kept focused by setting milestones and reviewing progress quarterly to ensure they receive long-term bonuses. These checkpoints may be a good opportunity to offer small bonuses.
Until a decade ago, experts’ experience, education, and instinct were the best tools to understand their customers’ preferences and behaviors. However, all of these could be biased and lead companies to ineffective directions. Today, businesses can make data-driven decisions thanks to behavioral analytics that interpret big data. In this research, we introduce in detail the concept of behavioral analytics and the areas where it is used.
Sales teams want to find answers about who is buying a particular product and why.
Marketers want to understand how their campaigns influence customer behavior.
Financial institution professionals want to know who is making transactions to prevent fraud.
Game/mobile app makers want to understand user experience to improve overall features of the game/platform for the next versions.What is behavioral analytics?
The performance of behavioral analytics is directly related to the amount of data stored (see Figure 1). It is therefore related to big data and the rapid proliferation of smart devices such as phones, watches, homes, etc. As the actions of individuals can be tracked better thanks to such technologies, companies can better understand their customers and carry out more efficient, tailored marketing and sales activities.
Figure 1: Volume of data.1. Develop personalization and customized Offers
Other large companies such as Youtube, Netflix, and Spotify are also able to ensure customer satisfaction thanks to their recommendation engines.
The below video provides information about how Netflix implements recommendation engines to provide convenient movie/series experience for their users.2. Measure success of marketing campaigns
Thanks to behavioral analytics, companies can use detailed behavioral data to determine the success of their campaigns. For example, a cosmetics company would not rely solely on sales figures to understand the success of its new product. It can also rely on consumer responses on online platforms, such as:3.Improve fraud detection
Fraud costs about $600 billion, or 0.8% of global GDP. That makes it a significant burden on businesses and consumers. Businesses can use behavioral analytics to improve the fraud detection capabilities of their AI/ML models. Thanks to behavioral analytics, ML models can identify individually unique factors such as:
Typing speed and habits
Login history, etc.
to confirm the security of a transaction. Such improvement reduces the percentage of successful fraudulent actions.
The following video of AWS further explains how behavioral analytics can be used for fraud prevention.4. Facilitate better A/B testing
A/B testing is ideal for testing a hypothesis you have developed based on other user data or insights. For instance, if a company cannot decide on the color of the font of a custom mobile app platform, it can test the impact of different colors on customer engagement with an A/B test.
By using behavioral analytics, companies can understand how customer usage behavior changes when a parameter is changed. Do customers spend more time using the app? Do they shop more? etc. It’s worth noting that such testing and analytics are also valuable for game developers, as they can identify the “boring” parts for gamers that should be improved.
Figure 3: Example of use of behavioral analytics on A/B testing
For more information on behavioral nudging, you can check our article Internet of Behaviors.
You can also check our list of analytics platforms.
To find out more about behavioral analytics please do not hesitate to reach us:
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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