Can Your Business Handle These 5 Common Problems?

No matter how solid a business plan you have, how organized everything is, and how much you prepare yourself, every business faces challenges. It is inevitable.

Some issues are something that you can control. Other problems, though, are out of your hands and it comes down to how you respond to them.

Don’t let the idea of challenges stop you from running your business. Corporate Business Solutions has five common problems that any business is likely to face.

Uncertainty

Every business goes through uncertainty. That is because no matter how much thought and research you put into your business plan, you cannot guarantee your business idea will take off at the start. Right there, is uncertainty.

Uncertainty is an uncomfortable feeling because it is usually out of our control. You can do what you can to help remove the unknown. However, there will always be factors that come into play that you cannot control. A strong business is one that can persevere through the uncertainty because it’s prepared for as many outcomes as possible.

Diversity

We live in a diverse world, and diversity helps to keep an open mind about many things. The challenge with diversity is that not everyone will agree with your choices, and that is a challenge for businesses.

Diversity in a company comes in multiple ways. First, it’s the diversity of your employers. It doesn’t stop there though. The diversity we’re talking about comes from keeping multiple viewpoints in mind and building an environment that allows your team to explore those different points.

Finances

At one point or another, your business will face financial struggles. From making sure you bring in enough money to keep the doors open, to wondering where you should beef up your budget, money can cause much stress for a company.

Your company’s finances should not be taken lightly. Basically, that money is what allows your business to keep moving forward. To help ease the stress, ensure that you have total control and understanding over where the money goes and comes from.

Employee Performances

If you have employees, even just one person working for you, his or her performance will always be something you think about. Most businesses will face a bad employee. Not every person is fit for every job available, and how else will someone know that unless he or she try it?

Monitoring your employee’s performances will help you stay on top of their work. When you’re monitoring them, it doesn’t mean micromanaging. Take a step back to see what their work habits are like. See how they contribute to the business and if their contributions fit their compensation.

Competition

You’ll rarely find that there is one sole business for an idea. Typically, when one company pops up with an idea, others will soon follow. There will always be competition in the business world. However, it’s all on how you handle it.

You can handle the competition in two ways. For starters, it could be the biggest challenge you face, which ultimately closes your business. Alternatively, that competition could be the driving factor towards innovation and success.

Your business is bound to face one of, if not all of these challenges. Take them in stride and use these issues as a way to further your company and its success.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

What to Do With a Late-Paying Client

If you haven’t come across this yet, prepare yourself as it’s bound to happen. You have a customer or client who just won’t pay your invoice on time.

Late payments put a strain on your business, yourself and the relationship between you and your clients. You spend quite a bit of time and effort to do the work the client needs; you expect in return that you’ll get compensated in a timely manner. Late payments are one way to burn bridges between people.

It doesn’t matter what type of work you do. You deserve to get paid and get paid on time. Although there are some circumstances beyond people’s control in which payment may get delayed (in which case, this should get communicated between all parties), for the most part though, you should get paid on time.

If you’re struggling with a late-paying client, Corporate Business Solutions Reviews has a few ways to help you get paid.

Send Out Reminders

In some cases, all that’s happened is your client forgot to send out the payment. A simple reminder may do the trick. There are a few ways to do this. You can either send a quick email or text reminding them about the invoice or resend the invoice altogether.

To prevent late payments, send out a few reminders before the due date. Send out the first reminder a week before the payment due date, the day before, on the due date, and a week after the due date.

Make a Phone Call

Sometimes, emails and text messages can get lost and forgotten about. A phone call is a form of communication that is hard to ignore. Also, a phone call seems to stress the point that much more.

If you decide to make a phone call to the client, use your best customer service skills you have. You don’t want to burn any bridges with your clients. Approach the situation in a calm manner and let them know this is a simple reminder.

Implement a Late Payment Fee

Whether or not you struggle with late payments, implementing a late payment fee is a good business practice. It helps ensure that you receive payment on time and if you don’t, you’re compensated for the days you’ve waited for payment.

If you go this route, make sure it’s well-known to every client that you have a late payment fee. You wouldn’t want to catch them off guard with additional charges and hurt your relationship with the client.

Refuse Work

Do you have a client who is late with payments every time, no matter how many reminders and phone calls you send them? It may be time to cut ties with this client. Typically, a business goes this route as a last option, unless there are other factors included.

When refusing to work with a client, you still want to do so politely and professionally. You never know if the client will say something to another person about the experience. Be confident and straightforward with your decision, and explain why you’re not going to work with them anymore.

It’s important to keep track of all invoices, when they’re paid, and how many reminders you’ve sent. That way, if you need to contact them or decide to stop working with them, you have the proof to back your claims.

5 Steps to Help Handle an Angry Employee

No workplace is perfect, no matter how hard you may try to make it. There will come a time when an employee will get upset at work, and you as the manager, must handle the situation. Whether it be from a bad day at home or a conflict at work, anger can overcome even the best of people.

When an employee becomes angry, even if it’s at you, the first step is not to take it personally and emotional yourself. One party needs to be level headed to calm the situation down. Then, you can take control and work to rectify everything.

If you have had, or currently have an upset employee on your hands, use the following five steps from Corporate Business Solutions to help resolve the situation.

Acknowledge Their Feedback

One quick way to lose control of the situation, and in turn, have an even more upset employee is not to acknowledge why they’re upset. If management brushes off an employees concern and feelings, it can make them feel like they do not matter to the company, and provide no value either.

The first step is to acknowledge the employee’s feedback and concerns, no matter how upset they may be. Let them know that you hear them, appreciate the energy, time, and courage it takes to speak to their superior about these issues. Show that you value not just their opinion, but them as an employee and as a person.

Be Empathetic

When letting an employee air out frustration, it can feel like they’re attacking you. However, if you quickly go on the defensive, you can easily lose control of the situation, and it will likely blow up even more.

Instead, be empathetic towards the employee. For starters, you may not know what’s happening in the rest of their life to make them feel this way. You, as the employer, may actually be in the wrong. Alternatively, they may just want to be ensured that their voices are heard.

Get All the Information

Before you can start making suggestions on what to do, you need all of the information. Have the employee go through, in detail, the events and what caused them to feel so upset. You need to know if you’re the problem, another employee, something to do with their job title, or maybe it’s something at home affecting their work.

Do Something

It’s one thing to listen and acknowledge the feedback of a frustrated employee. However, it’s something entirely different when management acts on it. Once you have all the information, it’s time to do something about the problem.

Discuss with the employee what you can do to help rectify the situation and prevent it from happening again. Offer a sincere apology, especially if you are the problem. Even if the issue has nothing to do with you, a simple “I’m sorry this is happening to you,” or “I’m sorry you got put into this situation,” can make a difference.

Check-In

To go one step further in rectifying the problem, check in with the employee down the road. See how your solution to the issue helped (or didn’t), and what everyone’s learned from this. The check-in is a crucial step that shouldn’t get missed.