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4 Critical Steps to Growing Your Small Business

Expanding your small business is no easy feat. To be honest, it is one of the hardest challenges that people face when they are looking to abandon the 9-5 grind.

Ultimately, the success of your small business depends on your ability to increase profits using a variety of methods. From employee training to marketing, every component of your business needs the proper attention.

Sure, overnight success almost never happens. However, there is a myriad of steps you should take in order to keep your business moving forward. While it takes time and effort, you’ll soon start to reap the rewards.

Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following four tips for helping your business grow.

Know Your Customers

The best way to develop successful products and services is to know what your customers want. You can achieve this through surveys and various forms of research. For example, asking them to provide honest feedback is critical. Analyzing reviews is one of the best ways to get inside the minds of your customers. As a result, you’ll be able to develop the right products and services that accurately reflect the demands of the market. Additionally, you’ll gain a better understanding as to how your company can improve.

Enhance Customer Service

Regardless of whether or not you have a superior product or service, you won’t fully satisfy your customers without a strong customer service program. Ultimately, this facet of a company is all about you taking that extra step to make your customers feel important and valued. You’ll want to address their problems immediately and also take time to answer their questions. Consider tying social media into your customer service strategy.

Exploit Social Media

There is absolutely no doubt that social media is an extremely powerful tool. Not only can it reach thousands of people at once, it keeps people engaged. Ultimately, this helps you stay relevant. Listening to your customer’s comments will help you understand how to better satisfy your audience.

Focus on Professional Development

 

It will probably come as no surprise that the success of your business largely lies in the hands of the people that you employ.

The success of your business also depends on the quality of employees that you hire. Building a successful team is the key to ensuring that your company thrives. You should always give your employees a purpose and make sure they buy into your common goal.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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7 Ways to Improve Your SEO

As a small business, improving your SEO is a critical component of your success. Having said that, not many people know how to achieve this.

So, how does it really work?

While many people focus on “beating the algorithm” to achieve high rankings, there are better ways to enhance your SEO efforts. The question becomes how can you create SEO-friendly content that lasts?

Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following tips for mastering your SEO.

Create Useful Content That is Needed

One of the best things you can do is create content that addresses and/or solves a problem. In order to do this, you’ll need to spend time conducting quality research that will help you present your content in an interesting way. Ultimately, you’ll want to make your consumers feel that they are reading the best content on that particular topic.

Connect With Your Customers, Not the Search Engine

As a small business, you want to focus on connecting with your target audience rather than search engines. Sure, your content may be optimized, but if it turns customers off, you won’t rank well.

Make Sure Your Content is Mobile Friendly

In order to keep your content SEO-friendly, ensure your website is accessible on mobile devices. Consider compressing heavy image files, removing the flash video, and/or disabling intrusive pop-ups. Lastly, your content should offer value and be easily consumable.

Keywords Are Important, But They’re Not Everything

Just because keywords are an integral part of the algorithms doesn’t mean you want to just load up your content with them. As always, focus on filling a need for your audience. Sure, keywords should be in there, but the quality of the content is what’s most important.

Create Amazing Content

Do you want to know the secret to successful SEO in today’s day and age? It’s as simple as this: just create amazing content that your audience is looking for. Don’t forget – you still have to follow the basic rules.

Link, Link, and Link

Including internal links not only shows your mastery in a specific is, but it can also lead to more posts that offer supplementary value.

Keep Your Content Fresh and Relevant

It’s important for you to create and maintain content that remains relevant and up-to-date. You’ll want to update your content on a regular basis, which is actually more important than keywords and other SEO tactics.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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4 Ways Your Store Can Adapt During The Retail Apocalypse

Sure, there are many rumors surrounding retail’s demise. Having said that, these rumors are largely exaggerated. According to Deloitte, in 2017 alone retail sales improved by more than three percent. The GDP, to compare, grew by just over two percent.

Nonetheless, there are some significant changes to which retailers need to adapt and understand.

There is both good and bad news.

The Good News

Over ninety percent of retail sales still take place in your good old-fashioned brick-and-mortar stores. Despite digital retail being projected to grow nearly twelve percent, in-store sales are also projected to grow by almost two percent. This is fantastic news!

The Bad News

Sure, traditional retail may certainly be facing a devastating apocalypse or, at the very least, a huge transformation.

Why is this?

Historically, shoppers have been split into two explicit groups: high-income consumers and then everybody else. While eight out of ten Americans’ incomes have remained the same since 2007, the cost of living has gone up significantly.

Furthermore, technology has played a huge role in increased costs.

So, what does this mean?

Well, according to a recent study, eighty percent of buyers have less money to spend on retail store items, such as clothing and accessories.

Courtesy of Corporate Business Solutions experts, let’s take a look at four proven ways that your store can succeed during the retail apocalypse.

Don’t Cater to Everyone

According to that same study by Deloitte, there are three types of retailers:

  1. Premier retailers that deliver value via premier product and experience offerings;
  2. Price-based retailers that deliver value by selling at the lowest possible prices and clearly communicating that proposition to customers
  3. Balanced retailers that deliver value via a balance of price and/or promotion.

Based on the information above, know who you are and deliver it properly.

Prepare to Go Premium

There are many opportunities for small retailers in the premium category. High-income consumers not only spend more money, they also tend to patronize more retailers. Think about this one.

Think Psychology

It’s easy to become infatuated with the differences between Gen X and Gen Z. However, shopping tendencies are based more on the income level that on generational behavior. In other words, a consumer’s economic status has a much greater impact on their shopping habits than you may think.

Establish an Online Strategy

If you don’t already have a strong digital presence, the time is now to start building one. If you’re not ready to sell online, which you should be, solidify your online marketing and advertising strategies. This will help you attract your target audience.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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Five Critical Tips to Hiring

We know. Hiring new employees can be a very time-consuming and resource-draining process for any business. However, it can be particularly challenging for small businesses with limited means. For a small company, each new hiree has a significant impact on the business, whether it be negative and positive. As a result, it’s critical for small business owners to have the right approach to hiring in order to avoid mistakes.

If you are looking to take the right steps when hiring, consider the following pointers from our Corporate Business Solutions experts.

Be Very Candid

The first step to ensuring that potential hires are truly ready to take on the duties is to be as clear as possible. You’ll want to inform them of the day-to-day tasks and share the company’s goals as well. Furthermore, it’s important to include details regarding salary and benefits. In addition, be candid about any challenges that he/she might face. Being as candid as possible about the position helps you hire the right people who will last a long time.

Use Connections

You might be able to find great candidates by contacting people you already know in your field. For example, calling or emailing business colleagues and/or creating LinkedIn posts is an effective way to let people know you’re hiring.

Establish Your Company Culture

As mentioned, each employee has a significant impact on the culture of a small business. Remember, you can teach skills, but not personality or a tireless work ethic. Take time to establish company values and the look for these qualities in your candidates. You’ll want to address your company’s values during the interview and also gear questions related to those values.

Measure Commitment

You’re really going to want to understand whether or not a potential hiree is truly committed to working for you before you put that offer on the table. Focus on little gestures during the interview and try to understand how enthusiastic the candidate really is about the job opportunity.

Implement a Trial Period

It’s important to implement a trial period prior to making a full commitment. You might want to consider having new employees sign a short-term contract or hiring them as freelancers. Ultimately, this will help you determine if he/she is the ideal candidate for the job before you make any long-term commitments. Furthermore, an effective trial period can be a great way to give both new employees and employers the right amount of time in order to make informed decisions.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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6 Tips for Bootstrapping a Startup

With any startup company, obtaining proper funding is usually the biggest challenge. Having said that, there is a myriad of routes that small businesses can take outside of venture capital.

For the best approaches to fundraising, Corporate Business Solutions experts recommend the following six tips for bootstrapping a startup. Keeping these tips in mind will put you in great standing.

Find Mentors 

Seeking out mentors that can advise you on your journey is super beneficial. In doing so, be sure not to limit yourself to where you look. A mentor can be anyone from a friend or family member to even a co-worker. Ultimately, you want to find people who have more expertise than you do.

Establish a Business Plan 

You always want to think things through and have a vision. Creating an actionable business plan and following through with it will land you in a great place. Having a business plan will allow you to reach both short and long-term goals.

Track Expenses 

When you first launch your business, you want to be as frugal as possible without cutting necessities. You won’t learn the financial ropes and understand the costs that are associated with running your business. You also want to consider re-investing the money you make to continue to grow the business.

Key In On Operations

 Getting into the nitty-gritty details of your business is essential. You want to be able to lay the groundwork in order to get to where you want to be. Take the time to focus on marketing, accounting, and human resources.

Do It Yourself (What You Can)

 Yes, of course, you’ll want to outsource when you have to. Having said that, during the onset of your startup you’ll want to complete as many tasks as you can on your own. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also learn the indispensable ins and outs of your business so you can properly train people later. Trust us when we tell you that doing things on your own (initially) will benefit you so much later on.

Assemble an All-Star Team 

As a new small business, you’re going to want to surround yourself with great employees who share a similar passion and vision. You want to hire people who buy into your mission and understand the importance of multi-tasking. Ultimately, your team is the component that will take you to the promised land. To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com

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HR Software For Your Small Business

Instead of devoting so much time, resources, and energy on time-consuming HR tasks, the savviest of small businesses use the right HR software for their venture.

HR software makes admin tasks much easier, which frees up your time to focus on running and growing your business.

Let’s take a closer look at what our Corporate Business Solutions experts consider to be the best HR software for small businesses.

Despite the fact that the HR software market is growing and, with so many products available, which HR software is right for you? Here are four of the best HR software programs out there.

BambooHR

BambooHR is HR software explicitly designed for small businesses. With this relevant and effective HR app, you will find the best candidates for your company faster with applicant tracking. You’ll obtain quick and precise HR insights through HR reporting and time tracking. You’ll also be able to create custom workflows and support employee self-onboarding.

What could be better?

If you’re truly interested in utilizing BambooHR to take care of your admin tasks, you’ll have to fill out your information online in order to get a quote.

HR Direct Smart Apps

HR Direct Smart Apps is a streamlined and smart HR software program that is not only affordable but also highly effective. This program will provide your company with a free employee record keeping app which allows you to both monitor and manage employee information.

From there, you can also decide if you want to exploit the additional features, such as software that makes it easier to complete I-9 and W-4 forms, managing employee attendance, and allowing employees to handle their PTO.

Gusto

You can simplify the chaos that comes with HR by using Gusto. Gusto makes the entire HR process easy, including managing benefits and running payroll. From sending out communications to onboarding new employees, you can make the whole HR process seamless and enjoyable with Gusto.

Furthermore, advice and support are provided by HR experts with Gusto. You’ll be able to choose the right plan for your business and budget.

What could be better?

Zoho People

Zoho People allows you to manage and track all of your HR activity from one location. Zoho makes it easy for employees to update their personal information, which saves you a great deal of time. Furthermore, it includes seamless time tracking, performance reviews, and automated workflows.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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Understanding the Intricacies of Leads

Are you on cloud nine after obtaining leads from your last event? Do you feel really good about yourself and you’re ready to take the sales world by storm? Fantastic! But don’t get ahead of yourself. The most critical aspect of attaining a lead is ensuring it becomes an opportunity. So the question becomes, how can you enhance the quality of leads?

That’s right – do your research.

Corporate Business Solutions experts understand how using marketing automation solution and a CRM can help you understand your leads and grow your business. Ultimately, you’ll want to discern the ins and outs of your leads in order to make effective business decisions. Here are three reasons as to why knowing your leads can really help.

Understand Your Customer

When you know your leads, such as where they’re located and what they’re interested in, you can ensure that leads passed down to you fit your ideal profile.

Tip: consider CRM integration.

With the right CRM, your marketing department can efficiently create newsletters, ebooks, and white papers to keep up with the demands of business. Strong marketing efforts will create a high volume of leads, where prospects can fill out forms in order to access content.

You might also want to utilize Pardot, a marketing automation solution that helps you see your leads as they progress through the prospect journey.

Grab Hold of the Right Leads

Have you ever heard of “lead grading”. If not, now’s the time.

Lead grading lets you literally “grade” your lead on a scale of A to F so you can determine who the most qualified candidates are based on the attributes of a lead’s profile. These characteristics include job title, company size, or industry.

Ultimately, you want quality leads. Lead grading allows you to access that.

Track and Nurture Your Leads

Similar to many small sales teams who wear marketing hats, it’s important to manually nurture leads. You should do this even if you’re not sure whether or not it will turn into an opportunity.

With a concrete process within your marketing automation solution, you’ll be able to nurture in an impactful way to help your sales counterpart.

It’s not necessary to play a guessing game with your leads. With the correct data and procedures, you’ll be able to understand the intricacies of your leads in no time. This will help you secure more sales and grow your business.

To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

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How Employee Perks Can Help Your Business

It’s no secret that the right employees are a business’s most valuable asset.

With attractive perks, business owners can provide their hard-working employees with the appropriate work-life balance that they so desperately need. These non-monetary benefits are a major opportunity for companies, and if you’re not taking full advantage of them, you ought to rethink your company culture.

Consider this: it is noted that roughly 50% of job-seekers put a large premium on company benefits and perks in the decision to select their next job.

According to a recent survey by Clutch, the most coveted perk amongst the workforce is flexible hours. Ultimately, this will translate to greater productivity, happiness, and engagement. With flexible work hours, employees feel trusted by their companies to get the job done.

It’s important to understand that this applies just as much to small business as it does larger corporations. Companies should do their best to make their employees feel valued. Things like complimentary coffee/snacks, company retreats, or the option the work from home show employees that their wellbeing is at the forefront.

Respondents from the survey spanned a wide range of industries and companies, including both large and small. The largest group of respondents came from small businesses. Conclusively, while just over 40% of respondents noted that they didn’t have employee perks, the [over] 50% that do have perks asserted that they are satisfied with them and that they improve their wellbeing.

As noted, flexible working hours led the group, with fitness/health perks, food/snacks, and professional development following suit.

According to Corporate Business Solutions experts, businesses can offer perks through health/wellness programs by covering gym membership costs, offering continuing education courses, and/or providing complimentary coffee and snacks throughout the work day.

Why Are Employee Perks Important?

Not only do perks increase productivity and improve the overall working environment for your employees, they also enhance wellbeing and life outside of the office. As a business owner, think of creative ways to implement employee perks that make your staff feel appreciated and valued. Ultimately, they will thank you for it in the end, and you’ll get some nice work out of them in the meantime.

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The Power of Ephemeral Content

It may be short-lived, but it’s highly effective.

Ephemeral (lasting for a very short time) content has a limited lifespan, but a lasting impact. Generally speaking, ephemeral content is accessible for up to 24 hours. While this may appear to be counter-intuitive, the growing popularity of “stories” on social media outlets such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook provides an opportunity for this golden marketing tool. While this should not replace your business’s traditional marketing efforts, you should find ways to add this to the mix.

Why Stories? 

Stories are photo/video compilations that can be either pre-recorded or live. To take it a step further, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook all provide ways to get creative through enhanced filters and artwork, in addition to adjusting speed and tempo of a video.

With the growing expenses of high-quality videography, many businesses are turning to the potency of ephemeral social media content. While this may be a far cry from yesteryear’s traditional marketing efforts where publicized content was permanent and recirculated in the future, ephemeral content is efficient, short-lived, and highly effective. Not to mention, with the short attention span of today’s younger generations and professionals, social media stories provide “quick hits” of content, whether it be a product or service that your business offers.

One of the brightest aspects of ephemeral content marketing is the notion that it doesn’t require special equipment or personnel. If you have a smartphone, you can exploit this growing trend. Furthermore, the beauty of stories is the authenticity that it provides your target audience. Your posts don’t have to be perfect. People like this.

The 5 Pillars of Ephemeral Content Marketing

As recommended by CBS Corporate Business Solutions consultants 

  • Authenticity
  • Engagement
  • Keeping the content fresh
  • Consistency
  • Relevance

If you or your business has not yet explored the benefits of ephemeral content marketing, we encourage you to not waste any more time. Get started today and sign onto this growing trend to engage your followers on a daily basis. Consult with a Corporate Business Solutions expert to find out more.

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How to Successfully Manage Millennial Employees

By 2025, roughly 75% of the labor force will be comprised of millennials. That’s right. Millennials.

What does that mean for your business?

Well, with millennials making up such a large portion of the workplace, it’s imperative for small businesses to know how to efficiently manage millennial employees.

Let’s take a look at some of the best practices.

Embrace and Exploit Their Tech-Savvy Nature

 This is a no-brainer. As products of their generation, millennials are extremely tech-savvy. As a small business owner, you ought to promote and encourage their use of technology and social media. Rather than shutting them down, use this to your advantage. Trust us when we tell you it will help you stay competitive. To learn more, visit CBS-CBS.com.

Offer Flexible Hours 

It’s no secret that millennials love balance when it comes to managing their personal and professional lives. Thus, you ought to consider promoting flexible hours with the potential to work remotely. Once you assemble the right team, you will thank yourself in the end.

Foster a Robust Company Culture

 Most millennials are looking for meaningful and purposeful work. Furthermore, many of them do not fear authority. Thus, it’s your job to create a strong company culture with meaning in order to attract and retain loyal millennial employees.

 Embrace Collaboration

For the most part, millennials are largely social people. As a small business owner, you should make it a priority to encourage collaboration as often as possible. Not sure how? Here are some starter ideas: regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, workshops, continuing education, etc. This leads to the creativity you are looking for.

Create Leaders

Rather than being told what to do, millennials love taking the lead. You should find ways to mentor this generation with the purpose of teaching them how to create, lead, and manage. Consult with a Corporate Business Solutions expert to learn more.