This is default featured slide 1 title
This is default featured slide 2 title
This is default featured slide 4 title
This is default featured slide 5 title
 

Category Archives: Business

How to Secure a Working Capital Loan

Working capital refers to the cash existing for the daily costs of running a company and is a measure of both a business’ competence and short-term monetary performance. It is important to ensure cash flow to help you cover inventory, marketing operations, payroll, and any other financial costs that occur within day-to-day activities.

As a small business, maintaining enough operating capital should be your top priority so as to keep on growing. Net Working Capital is the result of your current assets minus your current liabilities. For small businesses, obtaining a working capital loan is a major challenging especially from traditional lenders because they often ask for extensive collateral or other guarantees that you will repay the money. Additionally, more and more traditional lenders are in the habit of asking for substantial personal guarantees like the business owner’s house or other collateral of high value.

A working capital loan will allow you to carry on your day to day operations in spite of its inability to cover ongoing operating expenses. This loan gives you the ample time you need to generate income based on available funds and resources.

Types of working capital loans available for your business

Below are most common working capital loan options for you.

  • Accounts receivable loans: One way to gain access to working capital is by applying for loans that are based on the value of confirmed sales order your company. However, your application may be rejected if you don’t have a record for clearing debts.
  • Factoring or advances: The value of such a loan depends on future credit card receipts. This kind of working capital loan is a perfect fit for businesses that process credit card payments.
  • Trade creditor: A supplier may offer you a trade credit facility that is if you have a history of large orders. The trade creditor will first have a careful check of your business’ credit history.
  • Credit line or Bank overdraft facility: If you borrow from a credit line, you will only pay for the interest valid to the amount of cash in debt – typically 1 to 2% over a bank’s prime rate.
  • Short-term loans: They are offered by lenders e.g. First American Merchant. These loans carry a payment period and fixed interest rates. This type of small loan is secured, and you eligible to a short-term debt devoid of collateral if your credit history with the bank works to your favor.

Now you know where to begin when looking to secure a working capital loan for your small business, pick the ideal lender for you in line with the above guidelines.

About Email Writing

With regards to email, everybody has their own arrangement of do’s and don’ts and their own particular outstanding irritations. Whether we utilize it at work or at home, the vast majority of us use email to complete things. In spite of the fact that it’s anything but difficult to go on programmed pilot when you open your inbox, you can essentially enhance your efficiency and accomplishment by giving careful consideration to how you compose your email messages.

These do’s and don’ts can make your reader’s experience more pleasant and your messages more effective:

Don’ts of Email Marketing

  • Don’t send an e-mail when a phone call would be more appropriate. Don’t engage in rounds of e-mail when a quick phone call could resolve the question.
  • Don’t write anything private, confidential or potentially incriminating in an e-mail. (Yes, I know I said the same thing in the section above; I’m saying again here.)
  • Don’t introduce a new topic in the middle of an e-mail thread. If you’re changing the subject, create a new message with a different subject line.
  • Don’t copy people on an e-mail unless there’s a good reason for it. Our inboxes are full enough without e-mails we really don’t need to see.
  • Don’t forget to proofread. Of course you’re in a hurry, but taking a moment to proofread before you hit the send button can save lots of time in the long run.

Do’s of Email Writing

  • Keep your message as brief as possible. It shows respect for your reader, and you have a better chance of being read and responded to:
  • State right up front why you’re writing, within the first two lines of the message. Don’t count on recipients to read to the end to figure out what you want.
  • Use a concise and specific subject line. A good subject line helps readers prioritize messages and find them later. If your message is especially important, consider putting “important” or “response needed” in the subject line.
  • Limit your e-mail to one topic only. When you cover multiple topics in a single message, you risk burying important information.
  • Be courteous. We’re all in a hurry, but it doesn’t take long to type “please” and “thank you,” and you’ll get better results.
  • Remember that e-mail isn’t private, and be discreet about the content. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times people hear this advice; there’s always someone in the news learning the hard way by having their e-mails subpoenaed or plastered all over the front page of the newspaper. Don’t ever put anything in an e-mail that you would be uncomfortable sharing with the entire world.

Successful Email Marketing, Here Its Tips

Successful Email MarketingEmail marketing has turned into an essential showcasing channel for organizations. It is a quick, generally reasonable, and simple approach to draw in with clients, hold them returning to your site, and produce deals. Here are tips on the best way to successfully utilize email advertising for your business:

# Send your emails consistently and regularly.

Predictability in email marketing is a virtue: recipients expect your email in the timeframe you specified when they signed up to receive it. If you say you are going to send a weekly newsletter every Monday, make sure that you actually deliver and send a newsletter every Monday, not once a month or Fridays. Otherwise, your subscribers will lose their interest, and even forget that they signed up to receive your email. Plus, they may flag your email as spam.

# Determine what you want to accomplish in using email marketing.

The first step is to set your objectives. This will help you craft your messages in the emails, and what you want to impart to the recipients. It is important that you make it clear to the audiences why you’re emailing them, why they should care about your emails, and what they need to do next. Your success in email marketing will depend on how your emails provide value to your target audiences.

# Develop a strong message.

Email recipients now know what kinds of email they want in their inboxes, what they don’t want – and they will do whatever it takes to keep unwanted email away. Email marketing has evolved to what the users want to receive, and not about what the marketer wants to send. The key to email marketing success is sending relevant and targeted messages to recipients. Doing so entices your recipients to actually welcome your emails, but also anticipate you. As a result, they are more likely to open your emails and do the action you want them to do.

# Understand your audience.

It is important to know who will receive your emails, and what they expect to get from your emails. They may be looking for the latest information and news about the industry, or they may have signed up expecting to get some good deals and discounts from your messages. Also consider how your audiences will be reading your email – whether they will read it at work where images are most likely blocked, or whether they will read the email from their mobile phones. Your message content, design and style, as well as rending of the email should consider how your intended audiences will read and use your email.

# Improve Deliverability of Your Emails.

The biggest challenge facing email marketers today is deliverability of their messages. You need to look at ways to ensure that your opt-in messages are able to pass through the spam filters of Internet Service Providers (ISP) and delivered into your recipients’ inboxes. Some of the steps include making sure that you never send a commercial email to someone who has never agreed to receive it. Also, practice good list hygiene by removing hard bounces, and email addresses that have not opened any of your emails for a long period of time.

Avoid These Bad Attitudes of Small Business Owner

A smaller business is in a superior position to give higher nature of administration to its clients. Alternately so they say. However numerous little entrepreneurs commit the deplorable error of setting up barricades amongst them and their clients. While they may offer extraordinary items, they unwittingly disrupt their organizations with poor client administration and inability to make it simple for individuals to manage them. What’s more, some simply have plain terrible demeanors. No big surprise their organizations go no place. Bad attitudes and habits can make you or break you. Many a hapless business has been broken by the habits and attitudes of its owners. Below are some attitudes that are sure to drive customers away and hamper the growth of your business :

1. “This is my business; I’ll do what I want to do with it.”

This is the anti-customer thinking that should be purged from the minds of every entrepreneur. You put your needs first instead of finding out what your customers want. You operate your business in a way that is convenient for you. Sure, you are the lord and master of your own business. After all, this business started with your blood, sweat and tears.

However, your business is not about your ego. Customers do not patronize your business to pay homage to you and what you have produced and accomplished. Rather, they buy your products or service because you provide for their needs.

2. “I can’t say ‘no.’”

The ability to say “no” is crucial to your success as an entrepreneur. However, many entrepreneurs find that saying “no” to somebody, whether a client, supplier, or business associate, can be very difficult. However, saying “no” is often needed to help protect the interests of your business.

When sales people approach you, no matter how nice or convincing they are, hold steadfast and buy only what you need. If a client asks you to extend them credit and your policy is cash upfront, stick to your guns unless there is a strong justification for changing your policies for this client.

Customers will demand the lowest possible price, even baiting you by saying that your competitors are offering lower prices. If you follow your customer’s request without determining the impact to your bottom line and overall financial health of your business, you might find yourself in the throes of bankruptcy. Other customers will demand a million and one concessions: from free samples, free delivery, free installation, free service, and any other free stuff that they could get from you.

Remember, though: customer service is not the same as giving away the store. Learn to say “no” if the request is not in the best interests of your business.

3. “My way or the highway.”

In business, inflexibility can be fatal. Some entrepreneurs want to do their business through one way alone: their way. They do not listen to their customers’ needs and wants. They ignore customers’ repeated suggestions – whether they want to see new ways to improve the product’s packaging or additional service that can be provided. These entrepreneurs see these suggestions as nuisance at best, even interference. What they fail to realize is that these suggestions can be a golden opportunity for their businesses. A business can thrive if it gives customers what they want. Fail this basic business principle and their business will close faster than they can say to their customers “Wait!”

4. “I want to take it reeeeaaaaal slow.”

The slow-but-sure strategy for small businesses growth is good, but not if you are missing out on almost every opportunity that comes your way. You resist growth, and you hide in your little corner of the world. You may be afraid of taking risks, or simply do not know what to do. You have self-created doubt and an, “oh, it’ll never work,” or “oh, it won’t happen to me,” attitude.

Or you want to know everything first before you act. Well here’s reality for you: you will never know everything you wished you knew before undertaking anything. You will not know how your new business will go if you don’t launch it. You will not know if you can get that financing if you don’t apply for it. You will not know how putting up a web site can contribute to your bottom line if you don’t create it. You just can’t know these things, so don’t make knowing all the answers a criteria for taking action.

How do you know if you are dragging your feet to the detriment of your business? You may have a great offering, yet you remain passive about marketing your business and wait for customers to drop like manna from heaven. You reject any publicity efforts; even if media people contact you to share your story with their audience because you think you are not yet ready for the “big time.” In the end, you’ll lose out because more aggressive entrepreneurs can beat you to the punches.

5. “Playing not to lose.”

This is the antithesis of “playing to win” attitude. Instead of moving boldly forward, you adopt a defensive stance about your business. You adopt a reactionary mindset when times begin to get tough. You stop taking risks and cut back on costs including (erroneously) sales, marketing, and advertising. You even make the classic error of cutting prices, at the time when you need most to maintain your profits given the difficulty of achieving a greater volume of gross sales.

To see your business grow and prosper, you need to adopt a “go for it” attitude at all times. Whether you are operating in a good or bad economy, you should always be prepared to adopt any changes in your business, restructure it if needed to gain greater productivity, develop new products and services, find ways to serve their customers better, and sell more aggressively. Your attitude will spell the difference between your success and failure.

Small Budget Advertising, Here Its Tips

In the event that there is one oversight residential community organizations make more frequently than some other it’s, “What ever is left over, we’ll use for publicizing.”

Showcasing and promoting is a speculation, not a cost. I know it beyond any doubt appears like a cost to me when I’m composing the check, yet believe me it’s definitely not.

Without enough cash set aside to advertise your deals can go down and you abruptly have less and less for advancement.

At the point when do you publicize the most? For most organizations it’s the principal day of business. Don’t you have a Grand Opening, inflatables, flyers, promotions, on location radio stations, challenges, and prizes? Did the wage from deals pay for that? No, it didn’t. You promote most when you require business. You promote progressively when you don’t.

A small-budget advertiser doesn’t have the ”deep pockets” to develop big advertising campaigns. Some time you need to break the rules to be noticed. Avis did it by admitting they were “Number 2” in the car rental business and that campaign took them from 6th place to second place. When they stopped that campaign they dropped back to 6th again. In the past year they have gone back to it.

Budget conscious advertisers must achieve top results for their advertising dollar. Expand your dollars by adopting some creative techniques.

  1. Radio, newspapers and magazine specialists will frequently give free help in developing an advertising strategy. Things like demographic information, money-saving ways to produce your ads etc.
  2. Place your ads in off hours or in unusual locations for less. Many times you can still reach your target market with these spots.
  3. Instead of a one-time big splash ad, be consistent with frequent small ads that work.
  4. Monthly magazines sometimes have unsold ad space at the end of the month they will sell at a discount.
  5. If you have an 800 number, put it in every ad for immediate response and feedback.
  6. Try advertising consistently in the classifieds. These ads may draw more customers than more expensive display ads.
  7. Can you barter for the cost of ad production? Maybe the newspaper needs painting in exchange for an ad about your paint store.
  8. Piggyback advertising are the ads you receive with your Mastercard bill. Is there someone in your town that sends out a lot of bills? Can you put a small flyer in with their bills and split the postage? Or pay a small fee?
  9. Split advertising costs with the people who sell to you. Vendors and manufactures are always looking for exposure. Let people know you carry their products and have the vendor pick up part of the ad cost.
  10. Are there up front advertising discounts for cash?
  11. Consider advertising in regional issues of national magazines. The costs are lower and you can still reach your target market. TV Guide is a good choice. It stays around for at least a week. Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report may stay in local doctors offices for years.
  12. Share ad costs with neighbor business. Video stores and Pizza parlors are natural partners. Have coupons to each others stores or share the cost of flyers.
  13. Try reducing the size of your ad (not in the Yellow Pages) or length of your radio spots. A 60 second spot is not twice as much as a 30 second spot but you won’t get twice as many customers for a 60 over a 30. Going with small ads or shorter spots will allow you to do more ads which normally pulls more customers. It’s better to be there every day with small ads than every month with one big one.
  14. Develop tight production controls to minimize the need to reject finished ads. The message is more important than the messenger. Don’t try to produce ads that win awards, produce ads that sell.
  15. Who are your very best customers? Aim your ads to talk directly to people like them.
  16. What will suppliers give you in the way of point-of-purchase materials. Posters, stand ups, handouts, etc. Some have excellent display racks you can use.
  17. Some national chains like Coke and Pepsi provide outdoor signs for businesses. There are also indoor lighted signs you write on with special markers to advertise your special offers.
  18. Can you sponsor a community event? A fun-run, golf tournament, or other event that will be well publicized in the community. Your name may not be prominently displayed but sometimes the positive exposure in the community will bring in new customers.
  19. Small businesses can seldom afford saturation advertising. You must be selective in the media that reaches your customers. Pin your ad reps down and make them show you exactly how their media reaches your target audience.
  20. Exploit the media you choose to the fullest. If your message is verbal, you don’t need TV. Use radio, billboards and newspapers to the fullest.
  21. Consider direct mail. A letter and brochure before customer contact can increase business. An IBM study concluded that selling time can be reduced from 9.3 to 1.3 total hours with direct mail advertising. A Sales and Marketing Executives International Study showed salespeople went from eight orders per 100 cold calls to 38 orders per 100 when direct mail was used.
  22. Try an editorial style ad. These are ads that look like actual stories in the newspaper. They will have “advertisement” at the top of the article. Develop a good headline, and 50% more people will read the article than would read an ad of the same size.
  23. You can’t match larger competitors dollar-for-dollar but, you can use unusual approaches (like the Avis idea above), color, music, slogans, humor (be careful here), or media selection to win your market away from the big guys.
  24. Due to the high costs of conventional advertising on, radio, TV, newspapers, many cost conscious business have been forced to look for lower cost methods. Can you advertise on parking meters, taxi boards, balloons, blimps, and grocery shopping carts. Community bulletin boards, movie ads, and weekly newspaper shoppers.
  25. Key your ads. Put something in the ad that will let you know which media it came from. On coupons, put a code that will record the paper and date of the ad. In radio or TV, have them mention the ad to get the discount. Ask every customer how they found you.
  26. Plan for a rainy day. During the year put a small amount aside each month for emergencies. You never know when you’ll need to react quickly to whatever the competition is doing. You must be able to capitalize on breaking national events or news regarding your industry. If negative things happen in your industry you may need to respond quickly to make sure the right message is presented.
  27. Always give the customer more than you promised and more than they expected. This is tip number 27 of the 25 we advertised. Maybe this last one is the one you needed.

I hope these tips will help your business grow. Not all may be relevant to your particular situation. Hopefully, they will illustrate the importance to plan and control your advertising budget.

Secrets of Successful Company

At the point when Irene Gillespie initially fiddled with importing from her local South Africa in the mid 1990s, she depended on a fax machine in her lounge room and an enthusiasm for excellent things.

Today, she and her group look over the world for her handpicked line of items, extending from vases to plated casings and mixed drink cutlery, for her Vancouver Island wholesale organization—Indaba Trading Ltd., which takes into account homeware retailers.

Gillespie has possessed the capacity to keep her business fit as a fiddle with a thorough administration approach.

Reach out for advice

“When things were going well before the 2008 recession, I took the opportunity to trim costs and expenses,” Gillespie says. “When my sales figures then dropped by 20% during the peak of the recession, I was better prepared to take the hit. I had tight control of our operations and could handle it.”

In times past, when the company was “bleakly undercapitalized,” she went to BDC to take advantage of the bank’s flexible financing. As well, Gillespie has periodically sought the advice of a business coach to help her manage her company through rougher periods.

“I realized that my passion for my business wasn’t enough to sustain it. I had to get a better handle on the numbers. A part of that coaching was doing a crash course in reading financial statements. Now I understand cash flow and carefully watch my finances.”

Make the online transition

While a team of sales representatives continued to cover the national and U.S. territories, Gillespie’s company made the transition to selling online.

“We designed our website to be live and fully interactive. If retailers see a product on our site, it means it’s actually available. We upload data to our server every day to make sure that they are getting real-time information.”

As well, Indaba built up the company’s brand recognition by launching a dedicated Internet page for direct consumers.

Create a buying plan

With increasingly savvy and budget-conscious consumers, Gillespie also attributes much of Indaba’s staying power to focused buying strategies.

“Before we go on buying trips, we first develop ‘stories’ for our collections based on current themes, colours and trends,” says Gillespie, who buys in China, Vietnam, Thailand and India. “By doing this, we’re better able to identify exactly where we’re going and not waver from our buying plan.”

To better manage inventory, Indaba also pre-sells to retailers a season in advance. “That means we don’t invest in the inventory until we have gauged market response. That sales model has definitely enabled us to manage purchasing and inventories and free up cash in our business.”

Keep the focus on customer service

With high pressure from retailers to get products on shelves in time for seasonal sales, Indaba has also focused on keeping customer service at the top of its agenda.

“It’s not enough to just be personable. We also keep our promises. If we say we’re going to deliver, we do,” Gillespie says. “It may seem like a very basic premise, but I do take care of my customers and employees, and it shows in their loyalty to my company.”

To motivate her team, she offers annual bonuses to employees who meet their targets.

“They’re motivated to sell and our customers feel that positive energy.”

Gillespie is not actively planning her succession, but she is focused on the future of the company. “This business will definitely be my retirement. Right now, I’m working on building my company’s assets and value. When I do sell, I’ll get what I’ve worked all these years to build.”

Lessons learned

  1. Be proactive and get your company in financial shape when times are good
  2. Get a business coach to help strengthen your financial management skills
  3. Invest in your business
  4. Continually identify creative ways to reach your customers
  5. Make sure your business is inventory-light to maintain cash flow
  6. If you’re selling online, keep your website updated regularly
  7. Keep customer-service promises to reinforce your credibility with clients

Know More about Social Entrepreneurship

Numerous business people in Canada and around the world are taking another way to deal with business that puts the accentuation on having a constructive outcome on the planet.

These organizations have exercises that are socially or ecologically valuable as a vital piece of their plan of action. They as a rule measure results regarding a “twofold primary concern” or even a “triple main concern”— following benefits, social worth and/or ecological effects.

For instance, it could make employments for individuals with handicaps, collaborating with espresso cultivators in creating nations or encouraging the utilization of renewable vitality.

Idea catching on

Hard numbers for the sector are hard to come by partly because of differing definitions of what is social entrepreneurship. But the idea seems to be catching on.

“It’s a global movement that has real traction,” says Craig Ryan, BDC’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. “Many social enterprises are for‑profit businesses, but the concept also encompasses non‑profits and co‑ops.”

“People are using these enterprises in creative ways to make more than just money. They’re competing to be the best, not just in the world, but for the world.”

Many seek B Corp status

Many for‑profit social enterprises seek certification as a B Corp, a rigorous standard for businesses in the sector. The number of B Corp businesses has reached nearly 1,300 in 41 countries, up from about 500 in 2012.

Companies that obtain B Corp certification (the “B” stands for beneficial) have demonstrated they meet exacting standards of accountability, transparency and social, workplace and environmental responsibility.

A non‑profit called B Lab, based in Wayne, Pennsylvania, grants the certification. (BDC became a certified B Corp in 2014, the first and only Canadian financial institution to do so.)

A growing phenomenon in Britain

In Britain, where social enterprises have grown rapidly in recent years, the sector represented 7% of all small and medium‑sized businesses in 2010—up from 4% four years before. Social enterprises were as likely as conventional businesses to turn a profit, a British government study found.

A PBS series on social entrepreneurship, hosted by actor Robert Redford, called the movement a “revolution” that “is fundamentally changing the way society organizes itself and the way we approach social problems.”

BDC lends to for‑profit social enterprises, including those that have obtained B Corp certification, Ryan says. BDC account managers treat them like any other business and don’t offer them preferential terms.

Creating solid businesses

“The companies in our portfolio are proof these are solid businesses,” Ryan says.

Examples of successful social purpose companies are multiplying. African Bronze Honey is an award‑winning B Corp that has trained 6,000 beekeepers in Zambia and uses fair‑trade principles to market their organic honey.

Started in Ottawa by Canadians with African roots, the business also partners with Canadian schools to educate children about development issues in Africa. The schools can also sell the honey to raise funds.

The company’s motto: “Changing the world… one bottle of honey at a time.”

Of the sector, Ryan said: “These are purpose‑driven, innovative entrepreneurs who use companies to improve the world. It’s exciting to see them succeed.”

Setting Goals for Your Business Plan, Here Its Tips

Setting Goals for Your Business PlanIt’s never an awful time to take a seat with your group to set objectives. A key arrangement with eager targets will help you develop, stand up to difficulties and make acclimations to evolving conditions. Here a few tips on the best way to arrange and set objectives for the year ahead.

1. Set quantifiable goals

Setting money related and operational targets permits you to screen your business’ advancement as the year progressed. They urge you to consider yourself and your group responsible for your execution and push to achieve your objectives as the months unfurl.

2. Plan your investments

Map out when, where and how you will invest to achieve your growth and efficiency goals. One important area to consider is boosting your commitment to technology. That’s an area where many Canadian businesses aren’t investing enough.

3. Target financing

Companies with ambitious goals often run into a roadblock when it comes to obtaining the money they need to grow, Joncas says. Plan now for how you’re going to finance projects such as adding technology, machinery or real estate so as not to exhaust your working capital. It’s never too early to meet with your banker to discuss your plans.

4. Look at your HR needs

Growing companies also often have trouble finding skilled labour. This is a good time to plan your staffing needs so you can get a head start on finding the best people. Also, take a hard look at whether you currently have the right people in the right positions. It’s not easy, but the beginning of the year is a good time to make necessary personnel changes.

5. Check your radar

Gather as much information as you can about the external environment: The outlook for the economy, changes in customer needs and tastes and your competitors’ strategic direction. “You want to both protect your market position and be in a position to seize opportunities as they present themselves,” says Joncas, who advises businesses in eastern Quebec, including the Quebec City area.

6. Look to improve

What projects can you plan for the coming year that will improve your performance and efficiency in such areas as financial management, operations, sales and marketing, HR and customer service? “You have to challenge yourself to examine how you are doing things,” Joncas says. “As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

7. Work with your partners

One way to improve your products, processes and management practices is to seek the help of your partners—business associates, customers and suppliers.

“Growing companies often want to do everything by themselves,” Joncas says. “But you can often get further by partnering and collaborating with others.”

While rigorous annual planning is essential for building a healthy business, Joncas cautions that entrepreneurs should guard against becoming too rigid.

“You have to maintain the flexibility to adjust to changing conditions and seize business opportunities as they arise during the year.”

Simple Tips to Start Your Own Business

In spite of the fact that anybody can begin a business, numerous individuals come up short due to a terrible item or uncalled for examination. On the off chance that you need to begin your own business, you can enhance your odds for accomplishment before you even start. To make your business effective, begin solid and ensure that your thought will wait for the whole deal.

Research Local Businesses

Research local companies before starting up your own business. This will not only give you an idea of the amount of competition you will have, but it will also help you price your product or service. If you’re looking to start a wedding photography business, you may find during your research that the market is over-saturated in your area. If not over-saturated, you should contact each business and ask them for a price list. Alter your prices so you can stay competitive with the competition in town. Researching similar local businesses will also help you decide where to locate your business location. Try not to start up a store or office close to another business of your type. If your small business is located away from similar business types, this will cause locals to choose you over businesses that are farther away from where they live.

Have a Good Product

Ensure that you plan to sell something useful. Although you may think that your product is important or special, that doesn’t mean the general public will agree. Ask friends, family and strangers what they think of your product. If they don’t seem that interested, ask them why. With their suggestions, you can either improve the product or scrap the idea completely. According to Brad Sugars of Entrepreneur magazine, most small businesses fail because they sold a product that didn’t have an adequate market. This also applies to small businesses that provide a service. A lawn-care business might be useful for part of the year in a northern state, but it is in-demand year-round in the south. Consider whether people will actually want to use your service and get constructive advice from those not afraid to give their opinion.

Get Professional Advice

You may know someone who has started their own successful business. Ask him for advice and listen to his stories of how he started his company. You may gain useful advice on the good and bad ways to start a business. Local entrepreneurs can also introduce you to local product providers or advertisers that you may not have met without their help. Accept any advice with open arms, especially if the advice is coming from someone successful in the area.

Get Your Customer Return, Here Its Tips

# Encourage mobile shopping

Customers who touch and feel the products they’re buying feel a stronger sense of ownership than those who don’t get that opportunity before they make the purchase, Ferrier says.

“This even extends to customers who purchase via an iPad and touch the item rather than shop on a PC, where they don’t touch the screen. The iPad shoppers feel ownership over the purchase because they’ve touched in via the screen, zoomed in and touched the product. Even if that’s in a virtual sense, it adds to their love of your business.”

# Create a sense of ownership

Customers made to feel like they’re on your growth journey will always value your product or service far more, according to consumer psychologist and global chief strategy officer of creative media agency, Cummins&Partners, Adam Ferrier.

“Ikea asks its customers to assemble the product at home, and that process of co-creation is shown to increase the value people place on that product quite significantly,” Ferrier says.

# Involve your customers

Exodus Wear actively encourages and facilitates customers to be part of the product design process.

Founder and director Elyse Daniels says all their products are custom designed by customers, which means they feel a stronger affinity with the products and the broader business.

The days of telling customers what they want or what is cool are over, Daniels says.

“If you don’t offer custom products, let them be part of the process of designing the next range, vote for colours and features they want included,” she says.

Social media is a great way to facilitate this process as you can get instant feedback, she adds.

# Listen

Any healthy relationship needs open lines of communication, and it’s no different with customers and a brand, says Mitchell Taylor, co-founder of Koala Mattress, which offers four-hour deliveries in some metropolitan areas.

“Whether it’s the ability to live-track a delivery, or being able to speak to someone on live chat, letting your customers know that you’re listening is key to earning their trust,” Taylor says.

# Make the purchase easy

Another technique to improve customer love is to throw in a free hanging accessory on sites like eBay, meaning customers don’t have to purchase anything additional to hang and use their purchase, according to Brady, of Heavenly Hammocks.

Regular hammocks are tough to sell on eBay due to the high number of cheap overseas competitor brands given he’s not the cheapest on the market.

“Despite this, it actually costs us very little to include it, though we do lose the opportunity to cross-sell the accessory, so we don’t give the freebie everywhere.”

# Rethink the value of your customers

You don’t need lots of sales to prove that customers love your business, according to Heavenly Hammocks’ Daniel Brady.

Sometimes, it’s about the recommendations they pass on to others that are a bonus for you, Brady says.

“We sell hammocks which are usually sold as a one-time purchase with few repeat customers. However, sometimes, customers return to buy another, maybe as a gift because they are so impressed with the quality,” Brady says.

# Be authentic

Wanting to be liked can actually devalue your trust currency, according to personal branding specialist Lauren Clemett.

The first step in building a trustworthy brand is authenticity. This means knowing exactly how you are and being prepared to stop trying to appeal to everyone and focus on those you know will enjoy achieving extraordinary success.

“Wanting to be liked is nowhere near as important as knowing exactly who it is you like dealing with,” Clemett, of Ultimate Business Propellor, says.

# Start a conversation

Content is king, so make sure you’re producing web content, blogs, email marketing, social media and external content to get your brand top of mind and improve SEO, suggests Julie Mathers, founder of 100% vegan online beauty boutique.

Content creation needs careful attention and can be time-heavy, but look for efficiencies, such as outsourcing, Mathers says.

“In my experience, content-driven traffic delivers you a far stickier, engaged, loyal customer,” she says.

# Tell your stories

Don’t just bombard people with “buy my product” messages on social media. Instead, include entertaining posts on your social media channels, offers Katrina Fox, founder and editor of Vegan Business Media, which works with ethical businesses run on vegan principles.

“Instead of seeing your brand as a faceless entity only interested in taking money from them, you become a fun, interesting and engaging business,” Fox says.