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6 Instagram Tips Every Business Owner Needs

Instagram has turned into a powerful tool that businesses can take advantage of. It’s one of the most popular social media platforms around, and many users enjoy scrolling through their feed to see what’s happening around the world.

For businesses, Instagram is a way to connect with its customers and clients. You can show behind the scenes photos and videos of what goes on in the day, showcase employees, or give your followers a sneak peek of something new.

If you do not have an Instagram account for your business, you should start one right away. To help you out, Corporate Business Solutions has six tips for your business Instagram account.

Follow People in Your Industry

Those who work within your industry, it’s a good idea to follow them. There are a few reasons behind it (and it’s not to copy what other people are doing). To start, when you follow someone, chances are they’ll take a look at your profile. They may even follow you back.

Another reason to follow people in your industry is to see the latest trends, and whether or not you’re keeping up with your competition. If you’re wondering why your clientele is slow, low or sales are slow, take a peek at your competition and see what you’re missing.

Follow People Who Follow Your Competition

Not only do you want to follow those in your industry, the ones who follow your competition, but you should also add them to your list too. Those clients are following your competition for a reason – for what they sell. Since you’re in the same industry, they are likely more inclined to follow you back since they’ll be interested in what you have to offer.

Have a Target Audience

If you’re posting for the sake of posting with no plan in mind, your account will only grow so much. Before you begin anything, determine who your target audience is. Once you know that, you can start to tailor your posts to them.

Create Engaging Content

After you set your target audience, you want to create content that will engage them. If you’re trying to reach to women in their early 20s, you wouldn’t want to post pictures and videos that are more appealing to men in their 50s.

Are you running out of creative and original content? Post-behind-the-scenes photos and videos and upcoming products or events with your business. Ask questions in your post to get your followers to interact with you.

Interact With Your Followers

If you want people to interact with you, you need to interact with them back. There is something to be said when a company replies to a comment from a customer. To them, it shows that you’re listening and taking the time to read what they’re saying.

Don’t Sacrifice Quality for Quantity

Many think you need to be constantly posting throughout the week. You can, but there is a good chance you’ll end up boring your customers. Cluttered feeds don’t get much attention.

Instead, focus on the quality of the post rather than how often. Although you do want to be consistent, you don’t need to post five photos in one day (unless you have a reason to).

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Starting Up a Business? 5 Tips to Find the Perfect Location

Are you in the process of starting up a business? You’ve gone through all the details, including outline everything in your business plan. The funding came in, and all that is left is to figure out where you’ll set up shop.

Finding the perfect location for your business isn’t an easy decision. You have many factors to consider, all of which can either make or break your start-up.

To help you find the best location for your new business, Corporate Business Solutions Reviews has a few tips to help you out.

Do Some Research

Before you even begin looking, you want to do some research to come up with a few options. When you research, you want to look at different areas of your city. Consider the main demographic around to what your target audience is. You wouldn’t want to set your business up in a retirement neighborhood when your target audience is young adults.

Consider Other Companies in the Area

If you want to be in a popular area, there will be other businesses around you, and that’s okay. Being around those that compliment your service or product can actually work in your favor. A customer may be at one store and realize that they could use something from yours.

Look at Your Competitors

As you look around, make a note of where your competitors are. There are a few reasons behind this. To start, if you and your competitor are side-by-side, it could be hard to grow your customer base, especially if your competitor already has many loyal customers.

Secondly, if you’re setting up your business in a larger city, going to a different area from where your competitors are could open up more customers for you. If people have the option to go to a store closer to where they live, they’ll likely choose yours over your competitors.

Think of Growth

Although you want to find a spot that works for you right now, you do want to consider what the future looks like too. This is when your business plan comes in hand.

Do you plan to expand your business as it grows? If so, do the locations you’re looking at allow you to expand, or would you have to move to a new spot? Your company will likely look a lot different five years down the road than what it is now.

Do You Buy or Rent?

A question to ask yourself is whether you should rent a building or buy. Each option has its perks and downfall. When you rent, you have less responsibility for the building. The landlord typically takes care of a lot of the maintenance, freeing up time and even money on your end. However, you have to go through your landlord for any changes you want to do.

Buying a building is a more expensive option. If you end up moving or shutting down, you’ll have to sell the place. When you buy though, the building is yours to do with however you please.

Where you set up shop is important, especially for a start-up. You want to go to an area that you’ll be noticed, without breaking the bank though. Do the research ahead of time so that you can find the best location for your new business.

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Have a Home Office? 6 Ways to Update It On a Budget

If you work from home, you need to have an office that is functional for your job. Improving your work environment has many benefits that will not only boost your productivity, but it will also keep you relaxed and focused.

The difficult part of renovating or updating an office typically comes down to the budget. Doing any enhancements to any part of a home is not always cheap. However, if done smartly, you can do many updates on a budget.

Your Corporate Business Solutions consultants have a few ways that you can update your home office on a budget.

Add a Coat of Paint

Paints the walls in your office can do wonders. Changing the color can make an old office feel brand-new. You can also go the route of using wallpaper for unique styles and added texture.

If you paint the walls, try to stay within colors that promote productivity and staying focused. Blue tones help if you need to focus, while yellow can help keep your creative juices flowing.

Reorganize Your Desk

Your desk is likely the main focus in your office because it’s where you do your work. Having a cluttered desk doesn’t benefit anyone.

Take some time to reorganize your desk. Go through all of the papers lying around and either file or destroy them. Organizing a desk can give your home office the update it deserves.

Bring in Natural Light

We know how beneficial natural light is. So, try to let in as much as you can in your office. You don’t have to do a full renovation and cut new windows in. Instead, utilize what you have first.

Give your window a good clean. When dust and fingerprints build up, it takes away from the natural light. Change out your blinds so that they allow more light in. Another trick is to install a mirror opposite of the window. That way, when the sun shines in, it bounces off the mirror and back into the room.

Get a New Office Chair

Your office chair should be of high priority if you’re working from home. An uncomfortable chair will only cause you issues down the road. Look for chairs that have good padding and give you the back support for good posture.

Bring in Some Green

You can decorate your office at a decent price with green plants. Try to incorporate a balance of indoor living plants and fake ones. Just like with daylight and the colors on the walls, the type of plant you have around you can also benefit your productivity.

Indoor plants also help to purify the air. If you’re in a small area all hours of the day, you’ll want to breathe in the clean, fresh air. If you can’t get outside, a plant is the next best thing.

Add a Personal Touch

The joys of a home office are that you can design it however you want. Don’t be afraid to add a personal touch to space. Decorate with items that you like (but won’t distract you). If you have a favorite painting, hang it up in your office.

Updating an office doesn’t have to cost you much money. Even the smallest changes can go a long way in making your office feel brand new.

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6 Golden Rules for Writing a Business Plan

Any business expert will tell you that you need a solid business plan before moving forward with your idea. A business plan helps you visualize what the company would look like, the costs to start it, and if your idea is feasible or not.

Business plans are an essential part of any company, no matter what stage it is at. The question, though, is how do you write a good business plan?

At CBS-CBS.com, we have six golden rules that will help you write a solid business plan.

Don’t Be Scared

Writing a business plan can get intimidating very quickly. However, don’t let that happen.

Not every business owner is an expert, but many owners started at the same point you’re at – getting a plan. You’ll likely learn as you go, so don’t shy away from the challenge.

In the beginning, you can have a more basic business plan to get the ball rolling. A simple, single-page plan is enough to get you started. Then, as you move forward, continue adding more to your plan.

Keep it Short and To the Point

A business plan needs to be straight to the point. You’re not writing an essay or novel that requires a colorful description. If someone has to read page after page that could have been summarized in one paragraph, you’ll likely lose their attention.

Your business plan is something you carry with you as you grow your business. That means you’ll need to revise it many times. Having to change a hundred-page business plan will take you quite a long time that you’ll likely neglect it.

Define Your Audience

Unless you’re opening up a general store, your business plan should have a designated audience you want to target. Your audience is a group of people that your company should attract.

Another audience to think of is for who is looking at your business plan. If you’re submitting it to a bank, you’ll want to put more emphasis on the numbers. Maybe you have a partner joining you, in which case you’d likely tailor your business plan a bit differently.

Know Your Competition

Basically, every business out there has competition. The business world is competitive, and you need to be able to identify who your competition is. You should clearly state this in your business plan, along with any research about the competition. Also, make a note of why your idea is different and what makes you stand out from them.

Provide Evidence for Every Claim

You can’t expect to make unrealistic claims on your business plan and have an investor take it seriously. Every claim you make needs to have evidence to support it. By getting in this habit, not only will it educate you more in your field, but it will also help you out as a leader.

Be Realistic

When presenting a business plan, you want your idea to look good. However, you need to do so realistically. For things like the timeline, budget, employees, and supplies, you don’t want to exaggerate anything just to make your idea look better.

Take these six golden points into consideration when writing your business plan. The more prepared you are, the better chance you have of your idea succeeding.

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Looking for a Product Manager? Hire Someone With These 4 Traits

The product manager is an essential role in a business. He or she does more than simply manage products. There is also coordinating with sales and procurement, working alongside the marketing team, and taking on a leadership role beside the owner of the company.

Because of how important this role is to an organization, it is not something you want to give to just anyone. You need to be able to trust this person not only to get the job done, but to get the job done correctly and efficiently.

If you’re looking to hire a product manager, Corporate Business Solutions consultants have four traits you should look for.

Trustworthy

As mentioned, your product manager needs to be something that you can trust completely. If you have any doubt in their abilities at all, it will not only harm the relationship between the two of you, but it will be hard for anyone to get any work done.

You need to trust your product manager, but he or she also needs to trust the team. The product manager won’t have time to micromanage the team, and nor should he or she be. There should be trust between the product manager and the team so that everyone can efficiently do their job.

Communication

Another important trait to look for is communication. Your product manager talks to everyone within the company and knows basically everything happening with the business. If he or she cannot communicate tasks and information to the correct person, there will be a disconnect that can negatively affect the company.

A good product manager should have his or her own method of reliable communication. Whether it be through meetings, emails, texts, or simply checking in now and then with the team, the product manager should always be in constant communication.

Proactive, Not Reactive

There is a major difference between being proactive and being reactive. Your product manager should be proactive for the most part, but know how to react to a situation properly.

When looking for a product manager, see how he or she would react to a situation, and what he or she would do to prevent that from happening in the first place. By being proactive, he or she can see the bigger picture and know what to do and whom to speak with to ensure the company runs smoothly.

A Bit of Skepticism

Although being optimistic is still a good trait to have, your product manager should be a little skeptic. It’s not that he or she expects something to go wrong, or only looks at the negative side of things. Instead, the product manager takes previous mistakes as a learning curve and will ask the hard questions about assumptions, budgets, timelines, and the why.

A skeptical product manager likely has more than one answer to every question, because he or she is not satisfied with only one response. They go into great detail about questions, and will even challenge answers sent from managers above him or her.

A product manager plays a vital role in any business. Ensure you have one that you can trust and rely on to keep the company running smoothly.

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9 Business Lessons You Should Follow

Every entrepreneur goes through a moment where they think, “I wish I would have done things differently.” Having this thought is normal. When you’re an entrepreneur, you can do all the research in the world to prepare you. However, there will still be lessons you learn along your way.

Corporate Business Solutions Reviews came up with a list of nine business lessons that are common, and something you should follow.

Learn to Market, It’s Essential

Marketing is something you can’t ignore, especially in today’s world. If you want your business to grow and get the word out there, you need to have a solid marketing plan. Don’t put this on the backburner. Spend some time thinking about what would grab your audience’s attention.

Stop Waiting

How often do you find yourself saying that you’ll do something when the time is right? In the business world, you won’t find the “right” time very often. Instead of waiting (and procrastinating), take on a challenge right now.

Honor Your Commitments

If you made a commitment, honor it. Don’t make excuses as to why you can’t make a meeting or why your payment is late. When you honor your commitment, you become known as a person of your word, which means everything in the business world.

Be Honest

Honesty can slip through the cracks in the business world. However, we shouldn’t let that happen. If you miss something important or a payment, be honest with the person as to why. If people find out that you lie, that will haunt you while you run your business.

Customer Service is Extremely Important

Customer service means everything for a business. You could have the best product or service in the world, but if your customer service is poor, people will go to your competitors. Keep your clientele around by having the best customer service on the market.

The Customer Isn’t Always Right

With that being said, as important as customer service is, it’s important to remember that the customer isn’t always right (contrary to what people like to say). Each situation is different. Sometimes you’ll have to swallow your pride and acknowledge that the customer is right. Other times though, you will need to stand your ground and back up your company or an employee.

Be Nice to Everyone

Niceness is another characteristic that can get lost in the business world. Because of how competitive some industries are, we get into that competitive mode and lose what it means to be nice to people. When you’re nice to people, they will likely be nice back to you, which can make your life a little easier.

Work Hard

Never stop working hard. That isn’t to say don’t take breaks. You should take those breaks when you know you need them. When it’s time to work, though, work hard. Be dedicated to your business so that it will flourish.

Take Care of Yourself

As important as it is for your business to succeed, it shouldn’t come at the cost of your health. If you can’t stay healthy enough to run your business, how will it succeed then? Take care of your health, both mentally and physically.

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6 Tips for Keeping Your Work Computer Secured

At work, you have tons of important data on your computer, just like you have personal information on your computer at home. If that device or its data got into the wrong hands, it could be detrimental to the business.

Keeping your computer and everything stored on it secured is essential to the safety and privacy of everyone involved in your company. From employee’s information for payroll to client contact and banking data, you’re responsible for all of that information and to keep it safe.

Here at CBS-CBS.com, we know how essential security is for any business. So, we came up with six points to help keep your work computer secured.

Physically Lock Your Computer

Chances are, you have a laptop for your work. They’re great in the sense that they’re portable and you can take them anywhere. However, if you can move your laptop to wherever you want, so can somebody else.

You can get cable locks that will secure your computer to wherever it’s sitting. That way, if you’re not around, you don’t have to worry about someone sneaking in and stealing the device. These cable locks can also be useful for monitors as well.

Always Log Out

If you have to step away from your computer, always log out of what you’re doing. Even if it is only for a few minutes, put your computer to sleep so that if anyone tries to access it, they have to enter in your password.

Logging out will hide any personal information you may have open on your computer. It’s one of the best ways to add additional security from anyone walking by.

Have Strong Passwords

If you don’t have passwords, you should add some right now. Passwords are a way to lock out unwanted users from your device. However, passwords are only useful if you’re the only person that knows them, and you make them strong.

Make a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters for your passwords. Try to use different combinations for all the passwords you need, and get in the habit of regularly updating them.

Keep Your Computer Updated

If you’re more concerned about an online breach, then one step to take is to keep your computer updated. Each update your device has will likely have useful upgrades for protecting it against online threats. Falling behind on those updates could leave your computer vulnerable to an attack.

Install Additional Security Software

Depending on how strong your computer’s internal security is, you may want to consider installing additional protection. Use software that regularly scans your computer, warns you of suspicious online activity, and blocks you from accessing threatening websites and emails.

Use a VPN

If you’re ever on a public network and doing remote work, it’s a good idea to install a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This software creates a tunnel for your data to travel through once you connect to a network. It makes your information virtually impossible to look at or attack while connected. That way, you can work from any network safely and securely, without putting your main office network at risk.

Take security seriously for your work computer. You wouldn’t want to have all of that stored information taken by someone who is not authorized.

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Need to Let an Employee Go? 5 Tips to Help You Out

It’s a process that business owners will likely face at one point or another. It’s not an enjoyable conversation to have, but sometimes it’s needed. We’re talking about letting go of an employee.

If the time comes to lay off a worker, you have many things to consider, including their emotional and mental wellbeing. Being laid off is not something that a person wants to experience, so the better you can approach the situation, the less likely you have to worry about it escalating.

To help you go through the unfortunate event of letting go of an employee, Corporate Business Solutions has five tips to help you out.

Don’t Catch Them Off Guard

Depending on the reasoning for the layoff, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise to the employee. If you catch him or her off guard, it could turn into a situation that you wanted to prevent.

If you’re letting go of an employee due to poor performance, he or she should have an idea that this was coming. By doing regular performance reviews and speaking with the employee about his or her performance, it allows you to set the grounds so that no one is surprised.

However, that isn’t always the case, and sometimes it’s necessary to keep the firing quiet until that moment. Each situation will be different.

Speak Face to Face

Laying off someone is not something you should do over the phone, through email, or by text message. Even having someone else fire an employee for you, it’s better for yourself as the owner to do it, and speak face to face.

When you’re speaking to someone in front of you, you can watch their body language and get a feel of how what the energy is like in the room. That can help you approach the topic in different ways.

Keep Your Feelings in Check

It’s going to have your own emotions during a layoff, as it’s not something that people enjoy doing. However, you’ll want to keep your emotions in check. If you start to express sadness, it will only make the other person more emotional. If you’re upset with the performance of the employee, getting mad will only escalate the situation into something much worse.

Be Compassionate and Empathetic

Put yourself in the employee’s shoes. How would you want the conversation to go if you were the one being fired? Most likely you would want to see empathy from the other person, and that he or she shows compassion in how you feel.

Being compassionate and empathetic towards the employee will help the process go smoothly. When someone loses his or her job, it can affect their entire life, so that’s something to keep in mind.

Be Honest

You don’t want to be blunt and rude about it, but you also don’t want to sugar coat why you’re letting someone go. Honesty is essential in these situations.

If the reason is out of your control due to the economy or a chain shutting down, make sure you keep employees in the loop. When employees get the feeling of a layoff, rumours start to float around that will only make the situation worse.

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5 Common Customer Complaints You’ll Hear

If your business requires you to work with customers at one point or another, you know that there will be customer complaints at one point or another. No matter how excellent of a business model you have, you cannot make every customer happy.

What you can do, though, is rectify the situation to keep the customer around. Although every case is different, there are a few customer complaints that are quite common. To help you prepare for any complains, Corporate Business Solutions consultants have five common customer complaints you’re likely to hear.

Waiting for Too Long

Everyone thinks that their time is precious, and to them, it likely is. That is why when a customer has to wait for an extended amount of time, they can become irritated, frustrated, and ultimately let it out on you.

Long wait times can be for any reason. Sometimes the wait is beyond your control, and you have to simply apologize and explain the situation. In other circumstances though, the wait time is an issue within the company. With that case, you would again apologize and figure out how you can reduce customer wait times.

What I Bought Isn’t What I Expected

Whether it be a service or a product, sometimes the expectations a customer has does not equal reality. When this happens, the customer is disappointed and will have a complaint to the business.

If you come across this complaint, spend time speaking with the customer to see what they were hoping for, if they need help with the product or service, or it needs replacing.

Haven’t Heard From Anyone

If a customer feels ignored, it will only make things worse. A common complaint is when a business doesn’t respond to a customer comment or complaint promptly.

Obviously, the best way to avoid this is to respond to everyone as soon as possible. However, that isn’t always feasible. If you have this complaint, explain to the customer what the holdup is and that you value their opinion.

Your Competitor Can Do/Sell This

The competitor complaint or statement is another common one, and one that can be frustrating. There are two ways to take this complaint. The first is to toss it to the side and tell the customer there is nothing you can do. That will likely end with the customer going to the competitor.

However, if you want to come out on top, try and match what the competitor is doing. You can use this as a learning curve to see why you’re behind your competitors.

Getting Shuffled to Different People

When a customer has a concern, they want to talk to the right person the first time. Having to explain yourself multiple times to different people gets annoying very quickly.

One way to avoid this complaint is for the person who answers customer complaints, make sure they know exactly whom to direct the complaint to. If not and this complaint occurs, the manager should take over and try to rectify the situation.

Even though these are common complaints, they will still be different depending on the business and the customer. However, you can use these examples as a way to help prepare your customer service team for any complaint thrown their way.

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Want a Pay Raise? 5 Tips to Help You Ask

Do you believe you deserve more money to compensate for the work that you do? If that’s the case, you’ve likely stressed about the idea of asking your boss for more money, especially if there isn’t any being handed out.

Asking for a pay raise is not an easy conversation to have. How do you ask for more money and what would happen if your boss says no? You don’t want to have that uncomfortable conversation.

If you deserve to have a bigger paycheque for the work you do, then you want to take charge of the situation. A manager is more likely to respect the fact that you took the time and courage to come and talk with him or her, rather than sitting back and doing nothing.

To help you get past the nerves and ask your boss for a raise, CBS-CBS.com has a few tips to help you out.

Know Your Worth

If you’re going into a meeting to talk about money and your value to the company, you should know what you’re worth. If you cannot back up your request for more money, it will be hard for your manager to agree with you. Do the research beforehand to prepare yourself so that you can confidently say what you’re worth to the company.

Have a Number in Mind

Don’t leave it up to your manager to tell you how much your pay should increase. That should come from you. After your research, you should have a number in mind as to what you want to make hourly or yearly. Be fair to yourself and the organization though.

Practice Negotiating

There is a good chance you’ll have to do a bit of negotiating with your boss. If he or she doesn’t want to give you your exact number, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not worth that to the company. It could be that the company can only afford so much. However, don’t let that stop you from negotiating a fair price. So, practice ahead of time with someone who can ask the tough questions.

Express How You Feel Working There

Want to help your case out more? Explain to your boss while you genuinely enjoy the company and are happy to come to work every day. By letting your boss know that you’re satisfied with your job, it can reassure them that you’re a valuable employee that is loyal to the company.

State Your Case Confidently

Be confident when approaching the topic of money. If you’ve done your research beforehand, you should have a valid reason as to why you deserve a pay raise.

Explain to your boss the situation clearly. It could be that your workload increased as the company continues to grow. Maybe you’re struggling financially at home and the extra dollar an hour will help you pay your bills on time.

Although you should be honest with your boss, don’t guilt him or her into giving you a raise. That could make the situation worse in the end.

Asking for a pay raise is not an easy conversation to have. However, if you can gather the information, be confident in your decision, and thoroughly explain why you deserve the increase, you have a better chance of being successful.