No Cash Management System
Have you ever frantically asked yourself, “WHERE’S MY MONEY?” Most owners of small businesses run their companies like they run their personal finances. They live month to month or at the most, they have 2-3 months of operating expenses in the bank. Then something happens like 9/11, 2008 Great Recession, COVID-19, or even more common things like hospitalization, divorce, anxiety or depression.
Financial stress can be long term. It affects many parts of life. If you want to get on the path to breaking your financial stress, you should download Mike Michalowicz “Profit First”. It’s FREE on Audible!
You’ll always know where your money is going. From taxes, operating expenses, profit, owner’s draw, etc. You’ll learn how to systematize your finances in a way that will help you become stress free when it comes down to company finances. Your accountant may tell you that everything is going fine, but if you don’t feel that way, you should really read this book.
No Advertising Budget
Many small businesses do not have a marketing budget set aside in a dedicated checking account. Having money set aside for advertising can help a small business get out of a jam. Think about it. How many businesses go through seasonal cycles? In the wedding industry, the winter season is dead. How about shifting focus from weddings to baby showers during the winter?
A small business can advertise to its ideal target audience. Every major platform makes money via advertising. Facebook/Instagram, Google, LinkedIn, Tiktok, Snapchat, etc.
Here are 3 examples
- Grocery Store – Advertise to people within a 1-mile radius and show a special Manager’s Deal.
- Café/Restaurant – Show ads to people who have a birthday within 7 days and live in a 3-mile radius from the location.
- Medicare – Target people who are currently 64 years old, but that are turning 65 in 3 months.
Below is an image using Facebook Ads to shows Sponsored Posts and target people within a 1-mile radius.
Not Using Social Media to Spread Awareness
You don’t have to be an expert in social media. Let your customers spread the word on social media for you. If you own a café, have the cashier ask all the customers to share on social media. If you own an apparel store, give customers a 5% discount if they can share right there on the spot.
Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc., are all perfect for this. When your customers are the ones spreading the word for you, the business owner can stay focused on what really matters; running the business! Think about it. The business owner doesn’t need to be involved if the customers are the ones doing the work.
Lack of Reviews
A company with little to no reviews will almost always lose to the competition. If you use Google Ads, you’ll want to get Google Seller Ratings. If you want Google Reviews (local reviews), you’ll need to signup on Google My Business (see below).
Do you hesitate to buy products from Amazon that lack reviews? Your company is no different. People look at reviews as credibility. Leverage reviews from Google, Yelp, BBB, Facebook, etc., to help build your online reputation. Google looks at reviews as a ranking signal.
Google Maps (aka Google My Business)
Want to show on Google Maps? You’ll need to register your business on Google My Business.
If you want to turbo charge your rankings on Google Maps, read Backlinko’s guide on Local SEO. You’ll find out how to wipe out competitors, why competitors are ranking about you, and how far out your Google Maps listing shows.
Don’t forget to send your Google Review link to all your past customers so you can get a jump start or even pass your competitors.
Marketing to Past Customers
When you collect emails and phone numbers, you can easily market to your past customers. It’s the best way to increase repeat sales. There are 2 main things that a small business can use to increase repeat customers.
- Marketing Automation – These are systems designed to handle email blasts (they are called email marketing campaigns) and automations. Want to blast out a Labor Day sale announcement? Would you like to magically send an email to a past customer who just came to your website? You can do this with marketing automation.
- SMS Text Messages – Want to blast a text message for Flash Sale? If you’re using a marketing automation software, find a SMS software that fully integrates with it. Normally you can find a link in the footer of the website that says “Integrations”.
A Winner’s Mentality
Are you running your business or is your business running you? Many small business owners work too much, have too much stress, and don’t spend enough time with family. The limitations of growing a profitable company are due to the owner’s mindset. Complacency can be an enemy, especially during times like COVID-19.
Here are 3 resources to look into.
- Infix Business Coach (the owner, Andy Kemal, helped grow Qualcomm). This is for 1-to-1 business coaching.
- Digital Marketing (Elite Growth Accelerator Program). This is for group coaching.
- Joel Osteen Maybe your business & life are so messed up you need God on your side (LOL)! This guy talks a lot about having the mindset to overcome obstacles in business and in life. It’s FREE!
Here’s one thing to consider. In professional baseball, there’s a pitching coach, batting coach, strength and conditioning coach, and even a bench coach! If professional athletes have coaches, why wouldn’t you consider having a business coach? Hire a coach who has surpassed where you are.
You can have a good business mentality, but your business will not grow unless you take action. You may be asking yourself, “How do I accomplish everything above? I don’t have enough time!” The objective is to free up time so your small business doesn’t struggle financially. You’ll need to leverage your employees, customers, and maybe contractors.
If you cannot afford to hire someone near you, you can always find a part-time marketer with experience who lives overseas. Look into a company called Upwork to take all the social media marketing, marketing automation, email blasts, etc., off your plate. You don’t need to pay $50/hr for a marketer in USA when there is talent overseas at $8-$15/hr. Outsource as much work as possible, even your bookkeeping if needed.
Make a promise to yourself and become a more profitable company and work less. Marketing automation is going to take the longest from the list above. The fastest things to focus on are reading/listening to “Profit First”, starting/updating your Google My Business listing, and setting up your Facebook & Instagram company pages so your customers can spread the word. All 3 of these are free anyway!
BOUNCING BACK IN 2021: DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS NO LONGER A CHOICE AS DEPENDENCE ON 5G, IOT AND DATA INCREASES IN SOCIETY AND BUSINESS
Ivan Ericsson, Head of Quality Management, Expleo Group Limited
The global pandemic has put enormous strain on businesses and brought into sharp focus the importance of being agile, adaptable and able to increase the pace of innovation and change at short notice – catapulting technology right to the top of the agenda for many organisations.
As the economy works to get back on its feet, technology is only going to play a bigger role in our lives. At Expleo, as experts in digital transformation and the reliable implementation of technological innovations, we’ve outlined the biggest tech-driven trends that we expect to see in 2021 and beyond.
1) “Digital transformation” no longer a choice
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught businesses anything, it’s that they need to be poised to respond to abrupt market disruption at any moment, making digital transformation mandatory overnight.
With no room for delay, hugely complex corporations – that have historically been slow to adopt technology – have had to accelerate their reliance on technology just to keep afloat in recent months. Digital change, at speed, has become the norm.
Even last year, the idea of an unscheduled video conference call might put people on edge – now most of us wouldn’t think twice about calling a colleague over Teams or Zoom even for a 2-minute conversation. At the same time, social infrastructure has moved with the needs of its users, with telecoms giants strengthening and opening up networks so we can keep communicating despite social distancing.
There are now very few excuses left for operating in a non-digital way. All businesses need to be intelligent businesses that can change direction nimbly, with speed, confidence and composure. As we see more businesses putting this into practice, it’ll likely result in an increased number embracing and normalising some of the behaviours of tech-savvy giants like Apple and Amazon, who have no doubt thrived during this period.
Their success can largely be attributed to normalising an agile approach. By ensuring all applications have testing facilities built in – a “quality shadow” if you will – it allows for continuous improvements, and the ability to change direction quickly and confidently, when needed. This is particularly valuable today as the world becomes more fast-paced and increasingly unpredictable.
2) Big data/AI/predictive analytics
We’re moving into a space where big data can be extracted from the most seemingly innocuous places. In a hyper-connected world, a move as simple as a dog walk could offer huge swathes of data to the right companies. Many businesses already realise the benefits of capturing and utilising big data, but not all have taken advantage of it. The businesses that move quickest are most likely to reap the rewards in a more impactful way than their ‘data shy’ competitors. Where data used to be a side effect of business operation, it is now the driving force.
As businesses begin to rely more heavily on data to make critical decisions, independent assurance becomes increasingly important to get those decisions right. Forward-thinking, data-driven organisations must therefore assure that the data is correct in the first place, to avoid giving businesses false confidence and risk them moving in the wrong direction – something that is rarely affordable in today’s competitive and fast-paced environment. If businesses are not 100% confident in assuring the quality and accuracy of their own data, they should look to a third party for support.
A key data trend we expect to see moving further into 2021 is the increased use of predictive analytics. At the moment, businesses will often use data analytics to give us insights into our past activities, or to tell us where we are right now. However, the real value lies in knowing where we are going and how we are going to get there. Data analytics will help to identify the optional levels that can be pulled to drive change and realise business benefit.
Secondly, as intuitive technology advances and becomes more accessible, we expect over the next 12 months to see companies of all sizes begin to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) to drive intelligent analytics. In this context, AI refers to various technologies that allow machines to learn, sifting through ‘messy’ big data in order to find and unlock valuable predictive insights into future events. This allows businesses to better adapt their strategy to likely future outcomes and get a head start in the market.
However, with this ever-increasing emphasis on data and data protection, ethical AI will have a more prominent role to play in 2021 and beyond. Protected, usable Data is a by-product of good data security and privacy measures; however, the public remain wary of how their data is being used, particularly after the fallout from Cambridge Analytica’s use of data to influence an election. Businesses, therefore, must give their customers confidence that their data is secure and protected.
3) Moral relevance/corporate altruism
Research shows that young people are increasingly researching and considering the ethics of brands they’re purchasing from. And it won’t be long before this attitude starts seeping into every other aspect of their lives, with more and more people wanting to work for what they consider to be “purpose-driven” businesses.
Talent is the lifeblood of any company, so for big corporations, many of whom were born to create profit, this could put them in a tricky position. They might already be influencing society in a positive way – but this is unlikely to have ever been their main goal.
Moving forward, however, all organisations will have to start thinking about the “Triple Bottom Line”. That means considering the environmental and social impact of your business, alongside your commercial imperative.
We’ll soon see a mindset switch across businesses, from ‘competing’ to ‘advancing’. Instead of wanting to be the “best,” the question will be, how can I better serve the world around me?
In line with this, businesses will have to start thinking more about how to use tech for good, as we’ve seen with the likes of Microsoft Teams connecting tens of millions of people every day, during this very dark time.
2021 is likely to bring even more inroads when it comes to using technology to improve society, whether it’s developing bespoke problem-solving technologies or using IT to ‘eco-proof’ existing sectors, the goal for businesses is to rise to this challenge and build a better future for people and the planet through the use of technology. But all organisations will continue to need to be able to justify technology use and prove that they’re using it ethically, and in a secure manner.
4) 5G new networks – just about all big trends are driven by/reliant upon faster networks – particularly relevant for a more distributed workforce
Greater access and utilisation of 5G networks across the country will underpin and accelerate all of the key trends discussed. Everything we do on our smart devices we can expect to do at higher speed, greater capacity and with lower lag times.
As our digital footprints extend beyond simple web browsing and into our daily lives through smart technology, we are creating huge amounts of data every minute. This vast flow of data is increasingly dependent on new high bandwidth networks to facilitate it. Therefore, the merging of technology and engineering will become critical in ensuring big data is carried successfully to drive analytics and drive business.
The fact we have managed to successfully work from home during COVID is a glowing recommendation for the quality of the networks as they exist today, and they will only get better.
The telecoms industry is already working overtime to ensure that people all over the country get reliable access to the internet – and the fact that there is still inequality in this area proves just how challenging this is. But, in line with this trend toward hyper automation, which will make data extraction and analysis a part of everyday life for businesses, the consolidation of tech and engineering will be ever more important.
Forward-thinking companies will look to incorporate 5G networks into their business strategy. This could be from an internal perspective to enhance the abilities of their remote workforce. Alternatively, this could relate to their own products or offerings – developing an internet of things (IoT) strategy, improve user experience, or bring products to market faster by analysing big data and adapting quicker. Either way, with increasingly improved networks, businesses are expected to take advantage of the huge increase in accessible and usable data.
For businesses to truly reap the benefits of these new technologies, they must be developed and adopted in the right way.
Quality assurance, trust and security are three key requirements that the technology of the future depends on to succeed. Having these requirements at the heart of any digital transformation will ensure that systems perform reliably, having been tested and assured.
By prioritising a seamless customer experience combined with an ability to create, test, and scale digital solutions and operationalise at pace, businesses will be in the best possible position to take advantage of the potential being unlocked by these new technologies.
THE FUTURE OF SAVVY TECH PURCHASES IS KNOWING WHEN TO BUY
There’s no mistaking the impact technology has had in our lives. Once a novelty, technology has now infiltrated every aspect of modern society, and technological advances continue to bring new dimensions to modern living. Yet for all the good that technology brings us – and despite the costs associated with production falling year-on-year – purchasing electronics is often a significant investment.
According to new research by Carphone Warehouse, the average price of electronics in the last year is just shy of £500 at £497.70. Consumers looking to make savvy savings on big tech purchases must both understand what the industry average is for the product category they’re interested in, and learn when prices will be lowest so they can make the purchase at the right time. The electronics retailer outlined the following tips for consumers looking to take stock of technology prices.
- Know what the average price is, so you can spot the biggest savings
The first step to being able to haggle a better price is knowing what benchmarks to look out for. While you can choose to go under or over the average price – high-end models are often priced significantly higher than average, after all – it can still be useful to know what to compare prices against. The average smartphone currently retails at £527.60, laptops at £680, TVs at £712.31 and digital cameras at £782.60.
As mentioned, there are significant differences between the price of budget and top-end items. For example, while you could get a budget phone such as the Nokia 1.3 for just £65, an Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max could set you back £1,249. Similarly, while a low-end camera like the Nikon Coolpix B500 costs around £205, the camera behemoth that is the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV clocks in at a whopping £1,700.
- Before you buy, consider any upcoming sales
Once you’ve figured out what you want and the price you’re willing to pay, it can be tempting to make your purchase immediately – for fear of missing out, if nothing else. However, using the sales to your advantage could result in some nifty savings, while keeping abreast of the consumer retail industry could also help you buy at just the right time. Below is a short rundown of some key dates to keep in mind:
January: The start of the year usually sees retailers clearing their Christmas stock, with smartphones, cameras and TVs offered at sale prices. January is also when the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is held; an event in which new cameras are often announced. If you spot a gem in the CES crowd, wait a couple of months and you could see last-gen models fall in price.
February: As well as Valentine’s Day sales, February sees the Mobile World Congress (MWC) and the announcement of new Sony releases. This month is also a great time to buy the Google Pixel and other smartphones – again due to their release cycle – as well as nab yourself a bargain camera, TV or laptop.
March-April: Look out for a ton of new releases in the spring months, with Huawei, Samsung and Sony releasing their new smartphones, and LG, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic announcing their new TV ranges.
July, August, September: The summer months bring back-to-school sales that typically see student essentials at lower prices. You may be able to enjoy a wide range of deals on TVs, laptops, computers and more during this time. Keep in mind that July is also when Intel and AMD announce their new releases. Responsible for many of the processors that make up the backbone of much of our electronic products, Intel and AMD inspire many brands to lower their prices in anticipation of incorporating their new, advanced processors into their product lines.
November-December: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are undoubtedly the biggest sale events in the consumer electronics space, with deals, discounts and flash sales offered across the entire gamut of the tech world. It’s the optimum time to invest in premium brands, including Apple, Samsung and Google.
- Embrace the pre-order period for additional bonuses
If you’re an early adopter and only the latest innovations will do, you may not be keen on last-gen products. But keeping up to date with the latest gadgets needn’t mean your bank balance has to take a hefty hit. While costs will naturally be higher for new releases, ordering during the pre-order period could mean you’re able to take advantage of bundle deals or other freebie items provided by the retailer to entice uptake. Sign up to notifications on the products you’re interested in, so you’re forewarned and ready for the pre-order period.
- Learn some insider tips to beat retailers at the price game
As a final point, when it comes to saving on tech-related purchases, it can be handy to understand retailer behaviour. For example, if you’re looking to upgrade your TV at a cutthroat price, aim for the 55” models. As it’s the most popular size, retailers tend to drop prices on these first in their holiday sales.
If you’re buying tablets, waiting until a new model has been released is usually the best time to get the best prices; last-gen iPads are often discounted a couple of months after a new release. Similarly, if Android tablets are your preference, all you have to do is wait a few months for the newest release to start seeing price drops. And if Kindles are your go-to tablet, it’s probably no surprise that Amazon is the best place for bargains, and particularly so on Amazon Prime Day.
There’s vast potential in technology – and consumer electronics are seeing more and more innovations every year. But, as long as retailer behaviour stays fairly consistent, the information above can help you comfortably get the most for your money.
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