Social Media for Small Businesses

Social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Businesses of all size and shapes have started making the most of available mediums. Today we will try to anatomize tips on social media for small businesses. There are a plethora of small businesses eyeing social medium to promote their business/services. However, majorly these small businesses are failing or not being able to make optimum use of social media for their business growth. There are many theories and strategies on how to effectively use social media for established brands, but the topic social media for small businesses is seldom addressed. According to Digital state of eMarketing India 2017 Octane Research:

60% small businesses promote their business on social media. 50% focus on SEO and 35% use multichannel marketing funnel.
70% small businesses consider content strategy as their primary business loan marketing activity.
52% business owners are using social media as to efficiently address customer engagement.
More than 20% of business owners said that they are making 50% plus profit using social media.

The primary reasons for the low turnout are uncertainty on an application of social media, calculating return on investment and persuade employees/stakeholders to clinch social media. Hence it is important to address the elephant in the room and analyze how beneficial is Social media for small businesses.

Social media for small businesses is a great way for emerging businesses to generate lead and build a reputation. If regularly updated, social media can deliver more results as compared to traditional mediums. Social media for small businesses gives brands an edge of control over the content that they want to post. Also, since social media is a two-way dialogue process, it helps businesses to instantly identify what is benefitting them. Social media for small businesses also helps generate Word of Mouth, which is one of the best tools for emerging businesses.

Social Media for small businesses | 10 Tips to effectively use Social Media

Define your Target Audience
The first and foremost important part that small businesses should focus on is to define their target audience. This helps small businesses to device their social media strategy accordingly. The target audience should be defined basis age group, sex, location, users’ online behaviors, their likes, interests, and preferences. For niche products, business owners can even target users based on their birthdays, anniversaries and important milestone. Audience targeting plays a very crucial role in the outcome of the results. For e.g.: a local shop selling footwear should not target users with interest in entertainment. The shop definitely won’t get the desired results.

Set achievable goals
Overnight success is a myth. Small businesses must understand this basic fact. Generally, when a new business starts selling on social media, there is palpable excitement is achieving more than set targeted sales. Businesses need to set goals which are upwards and forward. To achieve enormous goals, small businesses start updating social feed with multiple updates in shorter duration. This leads to user’s disinterest in the product/service. The set goals should be in sync with brand’s core capabilities and expertise. For e.g.: if a business is into selling shoes, they shouldn’t set a goal to repair maximum shoes in their area.

Choose the right medium
By now everyone knows, social media is for free. Even paid campaigns can be conducted at a relatively low cost as compared to traditional mediums. It is in this scenario, that we often see small businesses jumping the bandwagon and creating profiles on all the available platforms. Creating social profile doesn’t hamper brand image, but aggressively promoting a brand on wrong platforms can lead to brand losing its potential customers. Hence it is advisable for SME’s to first identify the right platform through which they can maximize their business. For e.g.: If a shoe selling brand tries to aggressively sell on LinkedIn, they won’t get a plausible response as compared to promotions on Facebook/Instagram.

Promote your core product/services
Since each and every business is riding in the social media wave, it is important for a them to promote their core product/services. Nowadays, we see a lot of businesses promoting their services as well as promoting peripheral products/services, which revolves around their core product/services. Majority of the times, this SME’s doesn’t have capabilities to fulfill a requirement, which can lead to a bad word of mouth for their business on social media platforms. Let us go back to our example; if a shoe seller is trying to aggressively promote socks instead of shoes, it is not going to benefit the business in the long run.

Create quality content
Now that we have covered the topics of identifying the target audience, setting achievable goals, choosing the right medium and promoting the right product/services let us now take a look at the type of content a business should promote on their social pages. A business should always focus on creating good quality content rather than not-good quantity content. Even if the business updates their page once in a day as long as it is relevant to their business, advocates about its core products send across a clear message it is considered as a good quality content. Antagonistically, if a business posts multiple updates which aren’t even relevant to the business’s products and services leads to users considering the business as fake/spam. Also, new businesses should try and refrain from promoting other businesses on their social platforms initially.

Create a content calendar
Making a small business successful on social platforms is no small task. It takes a lot of efforts for the businesses to keep up their conversion ratio. One such effort is to create a content calendar. Small businesses must anticipate important events and create a content calendar accordingly. Ideally, a content calendar must be planned a month in advance but an even weekly content calendar is highly recommended. This helps businesses to avoid any last minute hassles, strategize much more effectively and it also helps in creating curiosity amongst its loyal fans/customers.

Test and re-test
Social media is highly unpredictable. The content a business posts today, might not work for tomorrow. Hence, small businesses must always test their content before publishing it on their pages. Testing content also applies to the platform a small business chooses to promote. Small business owners must always don the consumer’s hat before posting about any product feature, updates, schemes or offers. A consumer’s perspective is the key when testing the content that has to be uploaded.

Look for inspiration
Small businesses must always look for inspiration from a competitor who is successful in the same category. Copy pasting competitors idea or content is not the answer. Small businesses must look for the kind of content its competitors are putting up and derive their own strategies subsequently. Inspiring content/stories always make a business to strive to create their own content that is appreciated by one and all. It helps in increasing brand consideration, brand visibility thereby increasing conversions for the business.

Calculate ROI
Even a small promotional budget is not justifiable if there is no mechanism to calculate its return on investment. It is more important in case of small businesses. It is very important for a small business to keep a tab on the budgets allocated to any promotions and the subsequent ROI related to it. If a certain promotion is not doing well or the business is not getting desired results, the brand custodian can always look for other platforms to generate quality conversions.

Analyze and Re-strategize
There can be umpteen instances where a particular campaign/promotion might not work for a business. That doesn’t mean that the promotion is wrong or the product/service is not good. Doing an analysis of the campaign is as important as setting the objective. This helps the business to formulate their upcoming strategies in more effective ways. At the end of every campaign, brands must note down the learning’s from that campaign and identify if the content/idea was appreciated by their fans or not. This helps businesses to skip the non-performing updates from future communications.

Who Should Pay For Our Health Care?

The debate goes on, should the government be responsible for providing our health care?

There are many arguments for and against national healthcare.

At one time, everyone was responsible for their own health, there was no insurance. In that day and age, medical care was a lot less expensive than it is today, even taking into benefits account the rate of inflation over the years.

The rise in cost has in part is because of all the new technology available today, but to a large degree, the rising cost is due to increased demand.

Because of the change in our national mentality, in a large part due to negotiated union contracts, everyone thinks their health care is free. Most have come to believe it is a right, a right no one pays for.

I’m a firm believer that affordable healthcare should be available to everyone.

However, because of the present system, very few people realize the cost of health care, and because it is presumably free to them, they go to the doctor for every little sniffle they get. Many visits are unnecessary and costly. People go to the emergency room for a skinned knee, or a splinter in their hand, these emergencies could be taken care of at home.

It has become “fashionable” to go to the emergency room.

Health insurance should be paid for by the individual. If each individual was benefits responsible for their healthcare, they would become more knowledgeable on what “works” and what doesn’t.

Most companies that provide health insurance allocate a certain amount of wages for the payment of benefits including health insurance, whether they tell the employee or not.

The individual employee should be made aware of this, that money should be allocated to the individual so they can purchase their health care on an individual basis.

Thereby eliminating any corporate influence the company could exert on the insurance company, and it would open the insurance industry to more competition, that is always a good thing.

That would enable the individual to have more control over his health care and ensure his right to have or not have insurance.

In some cases, when both spouses work and are covered by their individual company insurance, both companies are providing and paying for health insurance and only one health plan is needed.

Therefore, money is wasted by the couple because they don’t use the insurance provided by one company. If the money was allocated to the employee, he or she could decide how to best use the money in a way that would benefit the couple instead of the money being flushed down the drain.

It would make the individual more responsible for his own health and welfare, and it would be his choice to have or not have health care.

If he chooses not to have health insurance, then he would be responsible for any charges incurred, and pay the consequences for not having insurance.

By cutting down on the demand by eliminating people going to a doctor or emergency room unless necessary, then the cost would naturally come down, and people would find the alternative, less expensive, better forms of treatment.

Of course, there will always be an element of society who are unable to care for themselves and they should be provided for, but there are far too many people abusing the system.

The only way to prevent that is for people to be in charge of their own health. Regardless of what you believe, no one, including the government will look after you like you will.

This is America, our country was founded on the idea of the individual being able to make his or her own choices concerning how to run their lives, it’s time we returned to those ideals and get government out of life management.

Good News Or Bad News – And The Difference Is?

Ever had someone give you bad news? How about good news? What’s the difference or is there a difference?

Good news – stuff or information that makes us happy, content, reassured, secure and validated.

Bad news – the opposite.

So, it would appear that there is a difference between good and bad news – read on.

Have you ever gotten bad news but in the end things turned out well or better than you anticipated? Have you ever received good news and over time what you thought was good news ended up being not so good?

From personal experience I can tell you that I have experienced all four –

Good news that was good.

Bad news that was bad.

Good news that I thought was good but ended up being bad.

Bad news that I thought was bad and ended up being good.

Confused yet? Well I know that over time I was often confused about the difference between these two apparent opposite messages. But then I learned that sometimes bad news for one person can be perceived as good news for someone else and that good news to one person over time can be perceived as bad.

Confused? Let me explain.

In the end it’s just news and what makes it bad or good or even neutral is not the news itself but how we perceive it, judge it, evaluate it or react because of it.

How can someone perceive bad news as good you might ask? Or the opposite, how could someone perceive good news as bad?

In brief – each of us has a unique history, experiences, beliefs and values and as a result none of us ever see the same thing or circumstance in the same way.

Someone who is a worrier, negative, pessimistic or impatient might see a delay as bad when another person who understands the concept of there are things we can control and there are things we can’t control so why get all upset about something you can’t control or if you can control it get busy.

In the end everything that happens – just happens and what we do is interpret it all based on our expectations, goals, needs or mindsets and all of these are unique for each of us.

Let me give you a couple of personal examples. And if you will consider the explanation even though you may not have had exactly the same circumstances, if you will think about it I’ll be you can relate.

Prior to staring my speaking news and training career I was a national sales manager for an international organization. Long story but the short side is I had an issue with my boss, the president and as a result he fired me. Bad news, right? Well that was all I needed to decide it was time to begin a career that has lasted over 40 years and has allowed me to see the world (25 countries to date) and work with some tremendous clients and audiences. So in the end this bad news was really good news.

Here’s another quick one.

Years ago I proposed to my wife and she said yes. Good news right? (No judgments here please). Well over time after doing my best for more than fifteen years I decided that it was time to end it and why? Well, without the gruesome details, the relationship was gradually eroding my self-esteem, confidence and optimistic mindset and I decided that I didn’t like who I was becoming in that relationship. We parted, amicably – but we parted. Good news as I was able – over time – to regain all I had lost – emotionally and spiritually.

We all have our stories and we all can create lists of good news and bad news we have received but in the end it’s all just news.

During some of my corporate programs I share this simple concept – stop asking your employees for good news or bad news – just ask them for the news and then you decide which it is. Because their definition could be completely different than yours.

And vice versa – as an executive or manager don’t broadcast – I have some good or bad news – just tell your employees you’ve got some news and let each of them interpret it as they see fit based on their personal viewpoints, attitudes, mindsets, experience, expectations and how it might impact them personally.

Travel Insurance – Avoid Becoming a Statistic

We have all seen and read media reports and statistics about the perils of not taking out travel insurance. There is certainly plenty of information on the internet for travellers regarding the importance of insurance. Despite this, however, recent research by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) indicates that one in five British travellers still neglect to take out travel insurance for their trips and holidays.

The British Foreign Office and their ‘Know Before You Go’ service provides excellent and free travel advice and country information to assist travellers before they set off. They also warn of the potentially dire financial consequences for those who risk setting off without travel insurance.

It appears that despite all the warnings many holidaymakers are traveller still either unaware of the risk they are taking, or prepared to take a chance. This is a case of false economy as the cost of travel insurance is very cheap compared to the bills that could mount up over problems that arise while travelling overseas.

The ABTA research has shown that younger travellers, mainly the 15-24 age group, are the most uninformed as they believe that if anything bad happens to them while abroad the government will pick up the cost and take care of it for them. This could not be further from the truth. Many young travellers go abroad with friends, or on adventure holidays, or for Hen or Stag parties so are at particular risk. However, it is important to remember that if intoxication or rowdy behaviour result in injury, fines, or arrest your consulate or embassy cannot pay the bills for you or secure your release.

The sad reality for the families or parents of young travellers who get into trouble abroad is that they are going to receive a desperate telephone call for help and will have no option but to come up with the needed funds. The British Embassy or Consulate will go as far as making calls and contacting friends and relatives for them and advise on the transfer of funds, but that is about the extent of their assistance. The government does not cover payments for hospital treatment, nor does it pay to fly anyone home (repatriate them) or provide funds if they run out of money, get arrested, or have all their money and possessions stolen.

If a traveller is seriously injured or ill and needs to be flown home by air ambulance the costs are truly frightening – running into thousands of pounds for those who do not have adequate travel insurance.

Single Trip travel insurance can be surprisingly cheap, and even the minimum amount of cover it provides can be vital. For young travellers Backpacker policies are very affordable and still provide the necessary cover for medical treatment, liability and legal expenses. There are, of course, terms and conditions as with any type of insurance and policies differ from company to company so it is important to check. Having that insurance policy tucked in your pocket or hand luggage is not a license to act irresponsibly, or put yourself in harm’s way. It is unlikely to cover incidents that are found to be related to the excessive consumption of alcohol or drug use.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides a level of cover for emergency medical treatment in participating member countries, and it is important to carry this (free) card, along with comprehensive travel insurance – but never instead of insurance. The EHIC does not cover anything much other than emergency medical expenses, and does not cover non-urgent or follow-up care. It also does not cover the cost of medical repatriation by air ambulance, if this should become necessary.

Repatriation costs can amount to as much as £45,000 from the East Coast of the USA, up to £16,000 from destinations like Tenerife, and up to £20,000 from destinations ‘down under’. Consider whether you have that sort of disposable money lying around? Most people do not!

Imagine suddenly finding yourself responsible for debt of this kind, either for yourself or for a travelling dependent. In these harsh economical times unexpected expenses of this kind would be totally devastating. Why take such a risk?

For the relatively small cost of insurance you are purchasing peace of mind and, with any luck, you may never need to use it. Consider that most travel insurance will cover costs for common and expensive travel mishaps, including:

  • Emergency medical treatment for injury or illness
  • Repatriation by air ambulance
  • Lost luggage or stolen money, credit cards and possessions
  • Personal liability (in case of a lawsuit for damage to property or persons)
  • Cover for Legal Expenses
  • Cancellation of your trip (for covered reasons)
  • Curtailment of your trip (cutting short your trip)
  • Scheduled Airline failure
  • Personal accident cover for death or disability

 

It is all too easy to spend a lot of time surfing the internet looking for cheap holidays or travel deals, but forget that it is equally important to take time to purchase travel insurance, and to check what it does and does not include. If unsure, always call and ask – don’t leave it to chance.

If you are not sure whether you might decide to go river rafting, bungee jumping or skiing on your holiday it is important to ensure that you will be covered for these activities and, if necessary, purchase additional cover.

Avoid being tempted to opt for the cheapest policy that you find on a comparison site. Take the time to check that you are getting adequate levels of cover for your money and that all your planned activities are covered. A very cheap policy may have cut the levels of cover where you most need it, or raised ‘excess’ levels (the amount that you contribute towards a claim) in order to tempt you with a cheap quote.

If you plan to make more than one trip in a year it is sensible to save money by opting for the Annual Multi-trip policy as this will work out cheaper in the long run.

Upcoming Zombie Movies

The latest Zombie Movies of 2013-14

Zombies have of late gained a large amount of interest in pop culture. The reasons might be myriad – a morbid fascination with apocalypse situations, a metaphor for the way that most people allow themselves to be herded like sheep, a growing fear stemming from recent virulent diseases that have wreaked havoc on populations. Whatever the reasons may be, Zombies now have their own genre despite seeming mindless, no pun intended.

Though first featured in White Zombie (1932), it wasn’t until the premier of Night of the Living Dead (1968) that Zombies in movies really garnered attention from the majority of the viewing public. A slew of Resident Evil movies later, Zombie movies were regarded as a completely action and horror oriented subject. With the release of Shaun of the Dead (2004) though, Zombie movies have been explored for their comic value, thus bursting the dam on what can be done with thousands of mindless, smelly creatures all intent on eating those still alive. The success of AMC’s The Walking Dead, a zombie apocalypse survival television series, has promptly brought on the year of the zombie, with more than a dozen films and ventures that attempt to cash in on the success that these undead freaks of nature have achieved. Here we take a look at some of the Zombie movies set to be released soon:

World War Z – One of the biggest zombie movies to be released yet, WWZ stars Brad Pitt in the leading role as Gerry Lane, a United Nations worker whose task is to coordinate resistance and help stop the global Zombie epidemic that threatens to tear down human civilization. Based on the eponymous book by Max Brooks, the director, Marc Forester portrays the Zombie cadres like a colony of ants whose strength is in numbers. With a budget in excess of $200 million, Paramount Pictures is set to release the film in June of this year. This is likely to set a record as the highest grosser of Zombie movies 2013-14.

Warm Bodies – Based on a book by Isaac Marion, Warm Bodies is a Zombie romantic comedy that explores Zombie love. Jonathan Levine, who wrote the screenplay and also directed the movie, ventures into the untested by providing a Zombie’s perspective. Nicholas Hoult stars as Zombie who shows signs of human emotions towards Teresa Palmer’s character and the movie explores the possibility of humans and zombies living in a harmonious environment. Released early February of this year, this Zombie movie has already grossed over $100 million, making this a must watch for any Zombie movies lover.

The 4th Reich – Combining the two greatest villainous entities in Hollywood, this Sean Bean starrer terrifies movie goers with Nazi Zombies. Directed and written by Shaun Robert Smith, this World War 2 era movie portrays an elite team of a British Infantry Division as they go about killing Nazis and eliminating the threat of Zombies created by Nazi scientists during their experiments to create a superior human race. Set to be released late this year, The 4th Reich is another in a long list of WW2 movies, but with a slightly undead twist.

Invasion of the Not Quite Dead – A dark comedy thriller about the inhabitants of a small island off the coast of England that is turned into Zombie death trap by a deadly virus, this is one of the more entertaining Zombie movies, written and directed by Anthony Lane is not one to miss. Starring relatively well known Andrew Ellis and Ajay Nayyar, the movie promises a unique look at how a small group of survivors face the rigors and challenges of escaping Zombies.

Wyrmwood: This is an Australian movie set to be released in late 2013, with post-production work going on. The movie is styled after the Will Smith starrer I AM LEGEND, and falls in the action category of Zombie Movies 2013-14. Written and directed by Kiah Roache-Turner, the movie stars Jay Gallagher, Bianca Bradey and Leon Burchill. The story revolves around Jay Gallagher, whose character loses his family on the eve of a zombie attack. He teams up with a friend and together movie they drive through the Australian Bush to the safer interiors, battling the undead on the way from the comfort of a fortified van. This movie seems to have a better storyline when compared to many of the other Zombie movies 2013-14 has to offer.

R.I.P.D – Also known as Rest In Peace Department, is a Zombie action comedy that has a star studded cast. Ryan Reynolds plays a recently murdered cop and joins the likes of Kevin Bacon, Jeff Bridges and Mary-Louise Parker who along with others and forms a team of undead police officers. With a release date in mid July 2013, this Zombie film portrays the undead as the good guys who use their undeadness to fight crime. Directed by Robert Schwentke who has blockbusters like Red (2010) and The Time Traveler’s Wife (2009) under his belt, this is one of the better Zombie movies 2013-14 and is sure to exceed all expectations.

The Harvard Zombie Massacre – Another Zombie movie that is presently in pre production, it is set in a Harvard University campus overrun with Zombies. The twist that sets this movie apart from the rest of the Zombie movies is that these particular Zombies aren’t as mindless as one might suspect. Produced by Warren Zide of American Pie and Final Destination fame, the film chronicles how America’s most brilliant minds can survive an onslaught from the most brilliant Zombies. This horror comedy written by Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit will be released late 2013 or early 2014.

Movies set for release in 2014:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – An adaptation of the classic Jane Austen story of a woman’s quest for independence and love, the screenplay has been reworked to include her fight to eradicate a growing Zombie threat. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are provided with zombie flavored distractions from their pristine 19th century English manors and questions of morality and marriage are superseded by the need to survive. Though the film is still in its planning stage, its unique twist ensures that it will generate a great deal of interest, and not just with zombie movies lovers.

Travel Lightly: 5 Ways to Minimise Your Global Footprint While Travelling

By it’s very nature, travel undeniably impacts on the environment and the people and cultures who are part of the travel process. You can’t get from one side of the world to the other without leaving some form of footprint and so as responsible global citizens, there is plenty of room for us to learn how to travel “lighter” and minimise our global footprint. There are loads of buzzwords being thrown around on this topic – from eco travel to green travel and responsible travel to sustainable travel – but what travellers really want to know is how can we implement simple but effective changes to the way we travel in order to really make a difference.

We hear you! That’s why we have come up with this list of things you can do to start travelling lightly.

1. Reduce your carbon emissions. There is no denying that plane travel emits a heck of a lot of carbon. So by travelling internationally we have a lot of ground to make up if we want to go “green”. So start out right by offsetting your flight emissions and flying carbon neutral. Most major airlines have an option to offset your emissions and you can use an online emissions calculator to work out how much you will need to contribute to fly carbon neutral. The airline then usually passes on this contribution to environmental and social projects. Check out Qantas’ Carbon Neutral program to see how it works.

2. Rethink how you consume water. You might be great at avoiding plastic bottled water at home but travel seems to be one of the last bastions when it comes to ditching the unnecessary plastic. We get it. It’s practical. It’s safe. And when you’re travelling in developing countries the last thing you want is a case of violent vomiting and diarrhea from that water you just knew you should have avoided! BUT! There are achievable alternatives. You can fill reusable bottles with boiled or filtered water. Or you can invest in a nifty product like LifeStraw that literally makes contaminated water safe to drink. AMAZING!

3. Buy local. Wherever possible it is always advisable to buy local when you’re travelling. Whether it’s using a local tour operator, staying in locally owned accommodation, buying souvenirs that are ethically produced by local artisans (we know all about this – check out some of our artisan-produced treasures in the online store) or patronizing restaurants that serve locally grown produce. The best way for a country to see real benefits from the influx of tourism dollars is to ensure the money we are spending is directly filtering through to the local economy. If you stay in massive chain hotels and shop for cheap souvenirs purchased in Vietnam but made in China, chances are you could make some easy improvements here.

4. Be culturally sensitive. To me this is plain common sense, but it’s also the one that you see violated most while travelling. The number of times I’ve seen travellers wearing inappropriate clothing or draping themselves over important cultural sites for photographs, I can’t even bear to count! It’s very simple to do a little bit of research to make sure you don’t inadvertently cause cultural offense while you’re travelling. For example in some Muslim countries it is forbidden for women to show any skin. In others, tourists must cover their hair to enter important religious sites. Some cultures don’t allow photographs to be taken of any military or religious sites. The list is endless! But what it boils down to? DO YOUR RESEARCH!

5. Think about sustainability in everything you do. The World Commission on Environment and Development defines sustainable travel as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. How beautiful is that? If you can make this statement your own personal travel mantra, you will absolutely minimise your global travel footprint every day. Lots of famous tourist destinations have really bad reputations for having hugely negative impacts on the environment and the local culture. We’ve all experienced restaurants that cater only to foreign tourists, world heritage landmarks strewn with rubbish and tacky souvenirs peddled at busy cultural sites. If we can all become better at questioning our behaviour while we travel and having a discussion about the potential negative impacts, we can go a long way to becoming more intentional, sustainable travellers.

How To Achieve Massive Business Growth

What is your ultimate business plan? Do you want to increase sales, improve profit, grow your business and create wealth? Let me outline how you might go about achieving massive growth in your business – no matter what business you are in.

Twenty five years as a business advisor across most industry groups has shown me that while most owners are fantastic at running their day to day business operations, they never spend enough time working on improving the performance of their business.

Sadly, most business owners I have worked with are just so busy working to keep the wheels turning that they never make the money they deserve. Many struggle to draw commercial wages for their efforts, many never reach their profit potential, and most never sell their business for what it could really be worth.

My question to you is – are you making enough money right now? Do you even know how much profit your business is capable of making? Perhaps even more importantly, do you have a plan of how to grow your business profit and business value into the future?

I think you will be amazed at how easy it is to achieve massive business growth if you simply focus on what is important. In fact, let me cut to the chase and show you how easy it can be – let me show you an example of a business that grew its profit by 75% after making 5% improvements in each of its 5 key profit drivers.

Before implementing a business improvement plan, this manufacturing business had 800 customers purchasing from them 6 times a year and spending on average $500 each time. This gave the business a sales turnover of $2,400,000. With a gross margin of 50%, their gross profit was $1,200,000. After paying $800,000 in overheads, their net profit was $400,000.

By understanding the 5 underlying profit drivers in this business, this business introduced various strategies aimed at improving the results of each profit driver by at least 5%:

They increased the number of customers business buying from them from 800 to 840 – a 5% increase;

They increased the number of times the customers purchased goods from them from 6 times a year to an average of 6.3 times a year – a 5% increase;

They increased the average amount of money each customer spent during their sales visits from $500 to $525 – a 5% increase;

They increased the average gross profit margin on each sale from 50% to 52.5% – an increase of 5%, and,

They decreased overheads from $800,000 to $760,000 – a decrease of 5%.

As a result of these improvements turnover increased from $2.4M to $2.8M and the underlying business profit increased from $400,000 to nearly $700,000 – that is an increase of $300,000 or 75%!

Even more amazing was that the value of the business (based on a sale multiple of 3 times net profit) also increased by 75% – increasing from $1.2M to a massive $2.1M!

Can you imagine what your business would look like if you were able to increase your profits by 75% year on year? Can you imagine how much better your family life would be with that result?

Now I know what you are probably saying to yourself just now – great story, but I could never achieve that result in my business. Well I am here to say that the above 5 step growth strategy will definitely work in your business.

I know it will work for you because I have seen this 5 step growth model used successfully on all sorts of businesses, in all kinds of industries and through all economic cycles over the past 25 years as a business advisor in Australia.

If you apply the 5 step system I guarantee that you will achieve massive growth in your business. Of course not everyone will achieve a 75% improvement in their profit result – some will achieve less, and some will achieve much, much more!

The results you can achieve in your business will depend on your particular profit drivers, the opportunities to improve these drivers, and most importantly, your ability and commitment to implement the 5 step system in your business.

How To Start a Business You Can Afford Right Now

Are you sure that you are ready to open a business? Do you know what businesses to start? Some things are the same about any business. You need a business license, inventory, advertising budget and customers. You also need to rent a place where your business will be located. This all cost money and lots of it. It normally takes thousands of dollars to open a business. We have all heard that it takes money to make money. If you have money to gamble with, you can proceed with starting a business that requires lots of money. For the rest of us there is a great alternative and one you should consider.

It’s a janitorial cleaning service of your own. How big you can grow the office cleaning business is up to you. The sky is the limit because in the janitorial service business you can duplicate yourself. You can replace yourself with labor that you employ. This way, more than one office or building can be getting cleaned at the same time. This is the ultimate business to business idea. Every customer is a repeat business customer and will be paying every month for your service.

For this reason, when starting a business, you should consider the janitorial service. Before you dismiss this opportunity, consider this. When it comes to business to business ideas, this is one of the best. You don’t need to pay rent for an office as you can use your kitchen table to get started. Customers have no reason to come to your home office so you can avoid paying rent to do business. You can even take advantage of the tax deduction of a home based office. You can get started this way and avoid the big start-up cost associated with normally starting a business. In the janitorial service you can line up your first customer before you need to spend any money on anything.

You can start a business this way and eliminate the financial risk of getting started that is so common with other types of businesses. Instead of going out and spending money right away because you are going open a business. You can put the cart before the horse.

In the cleaning business you can acuumulate things and do so only as you need them. If you have ever wondered about starting a business of your own, you should know that no other business offers you so much opportunity for growth and financial rewards. You can start your own janitorial service business on a shoestring budget. When you compare the low start-up costs of starting a cleaning business to the start-up costs for any other kind of business it’s really no contest.

You can always employ people to help you get the cleaning done. Needing help should not stop you from starting your own cleaning business. Many people would love to have a part- time job and clean for you. Many entrepreneurs spend large sums of money to start a new business and risk it all in the process. The fact is, most businesses end up going out of business after the first year but not in the cleaning business. It is a great service business and the opportunity is open to all. Ask anyone to name you a cleaning business and they would have to think about that one because no company dominates the cleaning business. It is wide open, so when your thinking about starting a business, consider the ultimate business to business idea of your own janitorial service. Commercial cleaning takes place everywhere and cleaning is here to stay.

What Travel Agents Need to Know About Corporate Travel Today

This is rightly named as the age of traveler-centricity and with the evolution of the new era of personalized travel; it is leading to research and development of a host of new so-called intelligent services. The command-and-control perspectives of traveling have changed a lot from the past and the focus has shifted more on the traveler and the productivity of each trip. It has become essential to maintain that the travelers have the greatest return on investment on each trip. New generations of young employees and managers, who have been growing up and dwelling in a digital age, are moving up the ranks as travelers. It has become essential to recognize the need for greater flexibility acknowledging that the employees who travel on corporate trips also consider a percentage of their trip to be a leisure outlet. With increasing globalization and rise in companies sending their staff overseas to network and connect with their offshore prospects/customers/suppliers, corporate travel is a highly profitable tourism segment. Before we talk about how tourism companies can better cater to business travelers, let us first look at why they prefer to use specialized corporate agencies over traditional agents

Why do businesses use Corporate Travel Agencies?

This might be the most basic question for a travel agency as to why they need to use agencies specializing in corporate travel when there are plenty of regular travel agents in the market. Here is the importance of corporate travel agencies who have online systems which allow business travelers access to their complete itinerary.

The following information is at the fingertips of the CTAs:-

 

  • full business itinerary details
  • up-to-date tracking details of flights (including delays or rescheduling)
  • transparent details about additional costs such as baggage fees or in-flight fees
  • travel alerts, if any, in the destined area
  • complete and up-to-date details about the visa procurement policies and identification required
  • currency requirement and conversion rates

 

What do corporate clients expect from Corporate Travel Agencies?

Negotiated Fares

The Corporate Agencies tend to have tie-ups with hotels, car rentals, flights etc. giving them access to lower fares which can be used only by the frequent business travelers. Discounted prices are not the only advantage though as they also offer flight upgrades, room upgrades, and VIP check-in lines as required.

In-depth information about the travel industry

Corporate travel agents have access to many travel resources and most importantly, quickly, than any other leisure travel agent. Additional information helps to make the business trips convenient and comfortable.

Changes in Itinerary

When an airline ticket needs to get rescheduled or cancelled, chances are the airline or the online service provider will charge lofty fees. When booking with a corporate travel agent, most of the times schedule changes can be done at zero or minimal extra charges.

Viable emergency contacts

It is important for the business travelers to reach the correct person at the need of trouble. Corporate travel agents have the experience and professionalism to relieve stress for both the traveler and the company.

What you need to consider as corporate travel increases?

Business Travel Barometer reported that corporate travel is witnessing an accelerated growth. However, when poorly managed, it may be no longer an advantage to companies and may, in fact become a burden. There are some factors which the corporations and CTAs must consider to get the best out of the time spent traveling.

Adopting a travel policy

The corporate must define a travel policy which is applicable to and respected by travelers at all levels. This policy should be used to establish the standards which will help to track the improvement of business travel. It will eventually help to reduce the costs of the entire package.

Do not limit the traveler’s autonomy

The management is responsible for budgeting the travel policy which helps to improve cost management however, it is also essential to give a degree of autonomy to the traveler. The policy should be flexible enough to allow the employee to adapt the trip as per the situation.

Traveler’s security should be a major concern

Business travelers need to have security in place. The company needs to stick to its definition of standards to ensure the employee’s integrity. The CTAs should have reliable partners (travel insurance, airlines, hotel chains etc.).

Mobility and automation

To optimize time and ease the processes, the administration of management platforms should have automated processes. This means they should adopt mobile solutions where search options, travel alerts, ticket reservations etc. can be accessed quickly, easily and on the go.

Corporate Travel Trends in 2016

Corporate travel trends tend to change regularly. 2016 has also not been any different and the travel management companies (TMCs) and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) are quite focused to provide steady if not strong axis all over. A growing MICE sector, investments in mobile and big data and enhanced focus on duty of care are some of their areas of focus.

Rising prices

The consolidated buzzword among global suppliers, airfares, hotel rates etc. is the rising fares. It is sometimes the move of the suppliers to generate discounts which encourage travel if there is a strong decline in demand. A positive 2016 world economy has been bringing an increase in air fares of a few percentage points, hotels are expected to see 4%-6% rise in average global rates and the competition will remain moderate in the car rental services.

Duty of care

Risk management is one of the major points of emphasis for corporations. Corporate customers are allowing new policies and improved technologies to monitor employees’ location in case of an emergency, especially when they are travelling to foreign destinations. For instance, Concur Risk Messaging helps to identify the travelers moving around in the world and alerts them with alternate travel arrangement as and when needed.

Focusing on MICE

Meetings industry is a major growing sector and the corporate travel trend is developing on it. The corporate travel agencies should better start aligning the various meeting procurement methodologies with its transient travel sourcing. One of the ways could be to broaden the variety of meeting services by incorporating incentive trips within it.

Investing in technology

A sharper focus on increasing value and becoming more traveler-centric can be done by bringing in mobile friendly technologies. Mobile and big data are definitely the two most significant technological investments which any corporate travel agency must focus to make their platform more appealing.

Business travel analysis after Brexit

Following Brexit, ACTE and CAPA shared their speculations. According to them, the greatest short-term effects on the travel industry will come from the weakening of the pound against other world currencies. Greeley Koch, executive director for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives said that the business travel industry will trend on currency fluctuations; with some companies taking advantage of the weaker pound and traveling more, while others may withhold business travel until world markets find their own level.

Impact of terrorism on corporate travelers

Travel policy makers and administrators need to be guided by rising terrorism scare. For executives and staff undertaking travel on behalf of businesses, the travel agents and corporate travel agencies (CTAs) should prove the reassurance for their safety through the travel policies. It is more than likely that the surveys conducted over corporate travelers reflect the general concern of the global business travelers about the spate of terrorism. However, there is no denying the fact that terrorist threat is changing the patterns of business travel. The key impact of this is to keep in mind that the companies providing travel services for business travelers need to enhance their focus on security and the associated risks in delivering the services to corporate clients. According to a recent finding, travel managers have higher estimation of their policy’s effectiveness in addressing risk compared to skeptical business travelers.

Free Slot Games – What You Need to Enjoy This Option

If you have ever been to an actual casino, you would probably know as to just how exciting this place really tends to be. In fact, you might be surprised to know that people normally go in for the option to enjoy slot games in the casinos. Now, if there was a way to play the games for free, you would most probably want to take advantage of it. This is not really such a farfetched request and you might perhaps want to know more about how it is possible to do so. Read on further to see how else you could engage in free slot games. Visit Online https://plutus666.com for more details.

Before getting to the free slots part, you should know that you can engage in online casinos today and actually play your favorite casino games on the internet. It is strongly recommended that you check this option out, whether or not you like to play in real casinos. In fact, you might be amazed to know that the experience in these online casinos is quite close to that of a real casino. Hence, when you are looking for free slot games, you are most probably going to land up in a real casino of this kind.

But, the other thing that you might perhaps want to consider carefully would be choosing the right kind of online casino. For this process, you will ideally need a computer and a connection to the internet. Although online casinos tend to minimize on their dependency of latest hardware and software, it is recommended that you have a fairly decent computer that is capable of showing at least some level of graphics. It is recommended that you take your time and check out the option thoroughly just to be sure about the free slot games.

The other thing is that with a good computer at hand, you are probably going to be able to check out much more pitons than you might have initially expected. Hence, if you really are keen on enjoying free slot games, you should take the effort and invest in a good machine for your home. Some basic computer skills is necessary to navigate to the online casino page. Don’t be alarmed here, as knowing how to check your mail alone is sufficient in getting you to play these games. Consequently, this is something that you would perhaps want to think carefully about in order to be sure that the online gaming option is something that you are going to like.