Local Advertising Tips for Your Small Business

Every business owner wants his or her project to grow beyond their immediate market but getting a business model off the ground often depends upon word of mouth and how your idea grows in your immediate community.

The internet has made it easier for firms to reach out to a wider audience, but never underestimate the power of community when it comes to growing your company. After all, every entrepreneur should always be looking to fulfill a need. Checking in with those around you can help you do just that!

List on Local Directories

While time-consuming, determined business owners should first and foremost make sure that they have an entry submitted to relevant online local directories. This is the digital equivalent of making sure that your business is included in the yellow pages.

Not only will you invite local customers to your website, but you will also rise in local internet searches, making it easier for customers to find you down the road.

Do not worry about being included in every local directory, as they will not always apply to your business model. Large metropolitan areas generally provide a dizzying number of directories, but brick and mortar businesses such as restaurants and retail stores can get an early start on advertising by placing an entry into a relevant directory for free.

Help Your Customer Base Grow Itself

Referral programs can be a wonderful way to expand your client base. This is especially true for more social experiences such as businesses that offer painting or cooking classes. Encourage customers who enjoyed your services to bring a friend next time.

Offering discounts to customers who bring a friend can both ensure repeat business and attract new clients to your firm. This requires entrepreneurs to be both realistic and generous with the referral programs that they can establish, but if these programs can be properly dialed in, a burgeoning company’s reputation can spread like wildfire.

Keep a Well-Maintained Website

Once seen as a mysterious skill, web design can be done by almost anyone thanks to various architectural software. Site builders typically only cost a couple of dozen dollars per month to design and maintain your company’s online presence.

Designing a sleek website can benefit businesses of every type, and it can increase both your local and online presence if you study up and follow some basic search engine optimization techniques. Launching your website is a great springboard to taking your business to the next level.

Between taking reservations, publishing informative content, to building a subscription base, every entrepreneur should create some sort of online platform. With how easy website building has become, there is no excuse not to be reaching out to a digital audience.

Helping your small business blossom might seem daunting at first, but with some forethought and slowly putting one foot in front of the other, you can help your company explode onto the local scene and get the word out about everything your firm has to offer.

For more help with your entrepreneurial goals, CBS-CBS.com is there to help you every step of the way.

Planning Your Small Business Website

Creating a website for your small business is one of the best things you can do for your company’s future. Not only will it improve your local presence, but it can pay dividends down the road if you decide to expand your firm’s scope of operations.

This step-by-step guide to designing your company’s website can get you started for digital success.

Decide on a Provider

Designing a website used to require extensive technical knowledge, but an entire sector of services called content management systems (CMS in shorthand) has made it possible for entrepreneurs to build a website from the ground up without needing to learn how to code or hire a website architect within one’s own firm.

Most modern website providers allow business owners to design and host their websites in a bundled service package. The sheer volume of platforms within the CMS field means that most business owners won’t have to pay more than $10-$40 per month to host and constantly have editorial abilities over their firm’s website.

Registering a Domain Name

Your domain name is your digital address, very much like a street address. This can be very important for overall visibility and message branding, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

The cheapest and most straightforward way of obtaining a domain name is by going through one of the very popular website-building platforms. They often provide free domain names.

If you plan on coding your own website, most web host companies also offer free domain names. This will take more work, so it’s probably not a good option unless you are technically savvy with web coding and have a very specific idea as to how your website will look.

Registering a domain name can be very expensive depending on the field. Some individuals have made entire careers out of buying up domain names and selling them off after interest in given term sprouts up.

This makes it especially important to get a jump start on reserving your desired domain name and all social media accounts that might be associated with your business.

If your business turns out to be wildly successful, you can save thousands of dollars in the long run by being diligent about your digital identity.

Vigorously Test Your Site Before Launch

One of the great things about modern website hosting services is that they allow constant, real-time editing so the site always looks exactly how you want it to. This means that there’s no shame in launching a site that doesn’t “look” exactly how you want it, but you always need to make sure that it performs well.

There is a wealth of data showing how many seconds potential consumers are willing for a screen to load before leaving a website. Most website designing/hosting services will provide a checklist to make sure that the site is running properly, but as the captain of the ship, you need to be positive that your company’s website is ready for a global release. An inefficient loading time or messy interface can turn users into negative reviews. Due diligence is paramount before launching your company’s website on its maiden voyage.

Launching a small business website is a far less esoteric task than it was at the dawn of the information age. More than technical expertise, it now requires an entrepreneur’s vision, focus, and diligence.

If you’re willing to take your business model online, then Corporate Business Solutions Reviews can advise you every step of the way.

 

How to Sell Your Business

Owning and running a small business is often the most challenging yet rewarding event in an individual’s life. Many entrepreneurs dream of the day when they will design an operation successful enough to sell to an outside party and ride off into the sunset. What many forget is that the process of selling a business requires a great deal of preparation that should start years in advance to make sure the sale goes smoothly and there are no unforeseen legal complications.

One of the great mistakes owners make is not looking at the long-term future of their business, often leaving records and descriptions cluttered, hoping to clean it all up when it comes time to sell. The sale of a given business in America is under heavy scrutiny by the government. The most important aspect is the proof of the seller exercising his or her “due diligence”.

Due diligence for the owner means looking at and reporting your business’s information as if you were the party looking to buy it. Any inconsistencies or unclear records from the start of your business need to be cleaned up and kept immaculate. Depending on the size and complexity of your business, this can take anywhere from one to multiple years. This can be especially pertinent if your business’s infancy was disorderly and cluttered because of the challenge of simply getting your project off the ground. One of the great mistakes owners make is thinking that preparing business records for a sale is a brief period, but the process can go much smoother if overseen systematically.

One’s books and records should be extremely easy to understand. Buyers understand that business owners will seek tax write-offs every year but are the reasons clear. This is important not only for the buyer but for reporting to the government. Many novice business owners either are unclear in their write-off reporting or disingenuous. While this can lead to short-term savings, it can lead to legal/financial disaster when one is looking to sell his or her business.

While your staff may be comprised of excellent workers, you must keep their specific roles and job descriptions up to date. This does not have to be very intensive, but having clear salary, title, roles and job descriptions in place for your employees will make your business more presentable to a potential buyer. Vague or uncertain terms can leave buyers feeling nervous or confused. This is true both for finances and employee information.

Business owners who have had a future business plan in place, but never had the time or resources to implement it, can pass this on to a buyer. Sellers can discuss the generalities of a potential 5-year plan to sellers, essentially selling the potential of their business. Sellers can show buyers a lucrative future of their business that had never been previously considered.

Overall, business owners who are looking to eventually sell their businesses need to focus on three fundamental issues. The first is constantly keeping meticulous financial records throughout the life of the business, not trying to clean up years of messy finances at the point of sale. This is important not only to present a clear picture to the buyer but to avoid any repercussions from the government. Second, sellers need to realize that positioning your business for sale is a marathon, not a sprint. The process can even take multiple years, but it can be made much easier if you are thorough and clear in your business documentation.

Third, sellers should consider investing in a Certified Business Valuation by an accredited professional to aide in the ultimate negotiations for the selling price of the business.

In every step of the way from planning, financing, starting, to selling your small business Corporate Business Solutions Consultants is devoted to helping you in all aspects of your journey.

Improving the Interview Process

Many employers and employees are both finding the traditional form of job-interview outdated, especially in the modern landscape of zoom meetings and remote work arrangements. This may be the case for classic interview formats, but there are ways to reformat the interview process so that both employees and firms can find the best fit for one another.

Some firms have found success with a more structured interview process, leaving less up to the specific interviewer. This can be especially helpful at larger entities where multiple managers might be interviewing various candidates between departments. This helps to normalize interview styles depending on the role each potential employee is looking for.

This can make interview results more comparable across managerial styles and candidate results, ensuring that everyone within a department is using roughly the same interview rubric for a given position.

This approach is especially useful for more specialized or security-sensitive positions where applicants might have to send to rounds of interviews only to answer the same series of questions at each turn.

Modern HR data suggests that a shared rubric amongst each round of interviewers can make sure that with each interview the questions become more field-related or complicated as potential employees progress further along within any screening process.

This increased communication within a department might even cut the need for some interviews, thus saving a firm valuable time and labor capital.

Forward-thinking companies report the benefits of not only improving the macro-scale of the interview process but also fine-tuning things on a micro-level. Outside of very technical fields, focusing on generalized topics and work styles can prove more beneficial than stressing specific questions and data points.

Companies should focus on finding the person who thinks in a manner aligning with the requirements and responsibilities of a given position as opposed to memorizing and regurgitating a set of minute facts. Modern educational research shows that it is far easier to teach one basic information than it is to sculpt modalities of thought.

Learning how a potential employee manages inter-office conflict or works to manage multiple deadlines at once is far more telling of an individual’s long-term cultural fit than how quickly he or she can calculate how long it would take a train to travel from Chicago to Detroit.

This is not to downplay the importance of technical knowledge, as this will depend largely on the position, but employers should be aware that it is not always the most important aspect, especially when soft skills such as interpersonal negotiation or persuasive speaking are involved.

Finally, the interview process should always consider the firm’s ability to improve upon a candidate’s existing skills. A candidate might score very well on certain innate skills such as critical thinking or people skills, but he or she might not perform very well in other areas. If an employer trusts in its ability to train certain aspects of an employee, it might be worthwhile to work on an individual who is a great cultural fit otherwise.

The modern interview process is not perfect, but it can be refined for the modern workplace. Employers need to re-evaluate the needs of a given department and adjust from there. Hiring managers need to share a core rubric for a given position to reduce redundancies in the screening process, technical vs conceptual skills need to be weighted to account for each position, and firms need to consider how capable they are in training personnel up for a given position.

While this process might be time-consuming at first, it can pay long-term dividends in a business’s training and operational expenses for years to come. For further consultation on small to medium-sized business operations, CBS-CBS.com is devoted to making your hiring process as efficient as possible.

Designing a Traditional Business Model

“Business model” is an oft thrown around the term, but what is the most efficient and perfect way to go about designing one? A clear and concise business model is useful for not only the business owner, but it is also immensely helpful when searching for a line of credit and even when one is looking to sell his or her business.

The business plan is the document that will keep you grounded and on track as you plan, finance, and develop your firm moving forward. In addition to your vision, having a clear business model can be extremely helpful when looking for lines of credit such as small business loans or microloans. Investors will want to see a defined path to turning a profit, and banks will want to know that you have a, organized plan in mind before offering you any sort of financing.

Business plans can come in many forms. What’s important is that it fits the needs of your particular industry and concept. Traditional business plans will involve multiple sections, going into detail of funding, price points, supply chains, and employment planning. These pages can be multiple pages long, but a large amount of work upfront can save a great deal of trouble later.

The traditional format can be useful to individuals who are very meticulous and prefer to start with a truly clear plan of attack. This format is also preferred by potential investors and banks who need to know exactly what they are getting into.

The traditional model begins with an executive summary, briefly describing the company’s overall goals and why it is a worthy venture. Entrepreneurs will essentially want to give investors a brief description of every aspect of their business.

The company description and market analysis will describe the service or product that the company will supply and how it will help consumers. The market analysis will then show why a similar product or service is currently lacking in the market and why your business will supply something that is missing from the modern economy.

The next section should typically include a description of the organization of your company’s employees. This overview of your chain of command will make it clear which employees will cover which roles. This employment overview will make it clear to investors and financiers that you understand how best to distribute your employees to maximize their talents and efficiencies.

A section on how you plan to market or advertise your goods can prove useful. While this often varies greatly between industries, it can let others know that you have a vision for the future and are developing a plan to expand your enterprise.

Business models that are made to request funding should include a section detailing how any investment funds will be spent. Entrepreneurs who are pitching to investors should be extremely specific in how much money is necessary for their project and where it will be gave. This helps the business owner to be certain how much funds he or she needs so that they are not gaining any unnecessary debt. It also makes it clear to potential financiers that there is a definitive plan for how the money will be spent.

A business model is particularly useful for both entrepreneurs personally and as a means of attracting financiers. Potential business owners who cannot fill out a detailed business plan should think twice before diving head-first into any given project. Corporate Business Solutions is dedicated to helping you with all aspects of the business planning process to help you both in obtaining a clear vision of your business and establishing a coherent plan for potential investors.

 

Financing Your Small Business

One of the greatest hurdles entrepreneurs meets when trying to start up their small businesses is adding the first funds to break into the market. This simple but challenging problem is one of the first great trials for all but a few of the luckiest entrepreneurs.

Luckily, there is a myriad of options to choose from depending on a potential small-business owner’s risk tolerance and patience.

The easiest and direct method of financing your business is by dipping into your savings. This allows an individual the keep from taking on any debt bring a partner into your project. Of course, many could find it difficult to come up with enough funds depending on the scale of his or her business ambitions.

A total failure of the business could entirely wipe out hard-earned savings. Some recommend that people keep a separate savings account to contribute to in addition to others saved for retirement and unforeseen expenses.

Retirement accounts can be a source of these personal savings, but there are often taxes that are paid whenever one makes a withdrawal. The risks are again the potential total loss of whatever funds invested that you had planned to save for your future.

Regardless of the money you take out to finance your business, entrepreneurs should always err on the side of caution and make a solid plan on what they are willing to lose.

If individuals have supportive families and friends who believe in their business model, they can also be potential financial sources, but this often comes with emotional complications. You can offer them a structured loan on specific terms to ease their minds, and they typically won’t charge you the interest of a bank and offer more flexible terms.

If both parties can reach a supportive agreement, this can be a possibility, but emotional intelligence is paramount. Financial disagreements amongst family and friends can ruin relationships.

Home equity loans can be useful low-interest options to garner funding for a small business, but owners need to be prepared to offer their home up as collateral. Borrowers are also still responsible for the repayment of the loan even if the business project doesn’t generate adequate income, and total default can result in the loss of one’s house.

Credit cards can be a quick solution if one needs a small cash advance to cover an immediate expense. Outside of these specific conditions, credit cards are not a safe way otherwise. Both interest rates and minimum payment amounts are typically quite steep with most credit cards and expenses can cost a great deal of money in the long term.

A better solution for business models that won’t require a great deal of capital to start is a microloan. Their terms and conditions are often better than typical banks in the regular market, but there is a limit on how much money can be borrowed. Microloans will not be useful to customers who need a lot of money and/or expansive business plans.

Microloans can also be easier to obtain than a standard small business loan from the bank. These lines of credit typically have favorable conditions, but most banks have strict lending criteria. Typically, these include good personal credit, sources of collateral, and a thorough business plan.

Financing a small business is often described as the most difficult part of starting a small business. There are multiple options to consider but they all come with their benefits and follies. Starting a small business should never be started on a whim and individuals should never be embarrassed to consult an expert. Corporate Business Solutions Reviews can help you with any advice you might need in starting your entrepreneurial endeavors.

Improving Employee Relations

As a business owner, employee relations are one of the most important aspects of your company. Without good employee relations, it can be difficult to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine.

One of the best ways to enhance employee relations in your business is by preventing burnout. Stress is inevitable in any job but minimizing it in your company will help improve your employee relations and even save you some money.

The American Institute of Stress has found that job stress costs U.S. companies over $300 billion annually due to absenteeism, accidents, workers’ compensation, reduced productivity, employee turnover, and direct medical, legal, and insurance costs.

It is safe to say that reducing stress and preventing burnout is one of the best ways to improve employee relations and keep your business thriving. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways that you can reduce job-related stress for your employees.

How to Prevent Burnout

  • Implement Work/Life Balance 

One of the best ways to prevent burnout is by promoting and implementing a work-life balance for your employees. This can be done by closing around the holidays or accommodating individual schedules. Allowing employees time out of work for family, self-care, and other personal tasks that they need to do will help them show up fully when they are in the office and decrease distractions.

  • Encourage Using Vacation Time 

Numerous studies have found that a significant percentage of employees do not use their vacation time. This may be due to a fear of being able to get the time off without risking their job or putting more work onto their colleagues while they are gone. Encouraging the use of vacation time is a wonderful way to emphasize the importance of taking time off to avoid burnout. Make sure you have systems in place for coverage while an employee is gone so that they can easily get time off when needed.

  • Promote Wellness in the Workplace 

Promoting overall wellness is a fantastic way to prevent burnout and should be done inside and outside of the workplace itself. Offering calm spaces to take a break, free healthy snacks, and even workout classes within the office on certain days can help encourage overall wellness. In doing so, you may be eliminating a few extra tasks for the day such as going to the gym or grabbing a bite to eat. These simple steps can help employees avoid burnout and easily take care of themselves as an individual.

  • Introduce Remote Working Options 

Remote working is becoming increasingly popular. While some may prefer working in the office, others may find that working at home is more accessible. Working at home saves commuting time and transportation money. Even if you cannot go fully remote, offering work to complete at home can help employees feel more balanced and less overwhelmed.

  • Focus on Opportunities for Employee Growth

One reason that employees may feel burnt out in a company is if there is no room for growth. Being transparent with a company’s future growth and the employment opportunities that will come is an effective way to avoid turnover. Employees who feel they can have a career with a certain company that offers more money and opportunity as time goes on are more likely to stick around longer.

Corporate Business Solutions Reviews can help you map out your company’s future as well as your employees.

Utilizing Email Marketing

With technology at everyone’s fingertips, it is no secret that online marketing is one of the best ways to promote your business. Whether through social media, online ads, or direct contact, consumers are receiving various online promotions daily.

Email marketing is a fantastic way to reach your target audience. This audience can include past clients, potential customers, and those who have contacted your business in ways besides email.

When it comes to email marketing, there are four basic types of emails you can use to promote your business online and directly to your target audience. Finding the right type and right time to use them is the key to achieving successful email marketing.

Corporate Business Solutions Consultants can easily help you set up a schedule of which emails you should send out and when to do so.

Acquisition Emails

Acquisition emails are meant to convert those who have chosen to receive your emails into customers. They can consist of informative content and special promotional offers that help catch the eye of your potential client.

A lead who has chosen to receive your emails is interested in what your company has to offer. These acquisition emails can help encourage them to take the leap and try out the products or services that you are providing.

Acquisition emails can be a terrific way to catch the eye of your potential clients and make their transition into a customer faster and easy.

Retention Emails

Retention emails are meant to keep your customers engaged and involved even after their initial purchase from your business. These can be requests for feedback or unique offers.

Retention emails are typically sent to customers who you have recently worked with or those who have not interacted with your email campaigns much. By targeting these previous customers, you will be reminding them of all that your company has to offer and their previous experience with you.

Retention emails are a wonderful way to get repeat and referral customers who have been satisfied with their experience with your company.

Email Newsletters

Email newsletters are one of the most common types of email marketing to use. These can be used by all types of companies and help to remind consumers of your business and what you are up to.

Email newsletters typically contain useful, engaging content such as a how-to, announcements about new services or products, or an update on professionals within your company. Anything that provides insight into your business and the industry that you are in can be used in an email newsletter.

Email newsletters can be sent to email subscribers and past clients. These can be sent regularly, around the holidays, or whenever you want to connect with your potential and past customers.

Promotional Emails

If you are looking to increase sales, promotional emails are a wonderful way to do so. Promotional emails include unique offers that appeal to your target audience of potential and past customers.

These can be special sales, limited time offers, and much more. By putting these offers directly into the inbox of your potential clients, you will increase your chances of being seen and taken upon what your business has to offer.

 

Taking Control of Your Billing Systems

When it comes to focusing on the goods and services that your business has to offer, the billing process may be taking away from your priorities. Billing can be time-consuming, and in a perfect world, all customers would pay on time, though unfortunately, this is not the case.

Keeping up with billing can be tedious and time-consuming. When employees who oversee billing have other responsibilities, staying on top of billing can take away from their main priorities.

When it comes to billing, there are two ways to make sure you are doing it in the most effective ways possible. Having staff members dedicated to billing and outsourcing your billing can ensure you are on track with current and past bills you are owed and avoid negatively impacting other operations within your business.

Dedicated Billing Staff

One of the best ways to ensure that billing responsibilities do not take over time that could be dedicated to other types of tasks is by having staff members that are dedicated to billing functions.

If you have more than one secretary for your business, for example, dedicating one to overseeing billing can help ensure that there is still a strong, undistracted focus on bookkeeping. Having members of other teams may not be ideal when it comes to overseeing billing.

If you do not have a staff member that can pick up billing responsibilities, picking up a staff member solely for this purpose is an incredibly wise thing to do. They will be able to manage collections, billing reminders, new billing statements, and other tasks without taking away from areas such as marketing or operations.

One of the most important reasons to have a dedicated billing department, whether it consists of one person or many people, is to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. With staff members solely focused on billing, all loose ends will be tied up and will not burden other departments with doing their job efficiently.

Outsourcing Your Billing

For some businesses, hiring extra employees solely to oversee billing responsibilities may not be practical. When you have many different areas of operations to focus on, resolute employees to take charge of billing may be more of an inconvenience than a benefit.

If this is the case, consider outsourcing your billing to a professional billing company. Doing so will ensure that all your billing needs are fulfilled without management or other staff members having to worry about it. This will allow them to prioritize their responsibilities and not worry about things as important as billing being procrastinated due to a heavy workload.

Outsourcing billing may save you money. When billing is managed by a team of professionals, there is no need to spend money on hiring and training new employees to oversee billing. In addition, you will not have to worry about purchasing modern technology and programs just for billing. All of this will be included with your billing agency.

If you are unsure if in-house or outsourcing billing is best for you, Corporate Business Solutions can help you make the right decision.

 

5 Reasons a Co-working Space is Great for Small Businesses

Whether you’re working on a series of freelance projects or running a small business, a co-working space can benefit you greatly. As your business begins to grow beyond just yourself, it is crucial to make a space in your office to accommodate your team. Co-working spaces are a great way to positively impact your business’ growth.

Corporate Business Solutions has put together five interesting reasons that a co-working space is great for small businesses.

The Benefits of Co-working Spaces for Small Businesses

A co-working space is an ideal environment that provides people within the office with meeting spaces, desks, internet access, and other things such as coffee machines. In the co-working space, everyone can work beside one another to create a welcoming and creative space.

Now, let’s look at the benefits of these working spaces.

  1. Co-working spaces save time

As a small business owner, you can never have too much time on your hands. Saving time is so important if you already have enough on your plate. As a small business owner, you are responsible for dealing with customers, managing employees, and the day-to-day operations of your business.

These responsibilities can soon pile up which leaves you with many challenges along the way. This is where co-working spaces come into play.

  1. Co-working spaces save money

If you’re not into the idea of spending lots of money to deck out your space or hire lots of employees, a co-working space is what you need. Co-working spaces provide a cost-effective workspace for everyone to come together. Co-working spaces work for everybody from freelancers who need a quiet space to teams who are running projects.

Co-working spaces also offer small businesses a low-cost option for getting out of the house while still maintaining privacy.

  1. Co-working spaces save space

Co-working spaces easily offer both the privacy of a private office as well as the collaborative environment of an open floor plan. It also doesn’t take up too much space. It keeps your home and works life separate while adding comfort.

  1. Co-working spaces improve productivity

Small businesses can easily boost productivity with co-working spaces. If you have ever felt your creativity being stifled, co-working spaces can put the hop back in your step. If you’ve been looking for interesting ways to boost your creativity, a co-working space is a way to do it.

  1. Co-working spaces encourage collaboration

Shared spaces are the perfect way to encourage collaboration between coworkers. In these spaces, coworkers can easily bounce ideas off each other and tackle hard problems via face-to-face interaction.

Co-working spaces provide an affordable, collaborative, and easy-going space for small businesses to work in the best way possible. As small businesses grow, it is common to outgrow your co-working spaces. However, you can always find another location to level up your space again! If you’ve been looking for a space to collaborate and grow with your team, try a co-working space!