I have a lady who will be taking over my clients during the 4-6 months i am having off, what should i be putting in place to ensure everything is how it should be when i return?
Erin Kilpatrick, Managing Director at Impact Marketing Services (AU/NZ)
Hi Nitty, preparation is key in this situation. Make sure you invest time in creating comprehensive hand-over documents before you go, covering everything to do with the client accounts, your systems and processes, client communication expectations and service delivery standards, along with the general admin and record keeping you need for your own business. If you have any specific requirements, make sure you include templates in your hand-over documents so they are easy to refer to. It might seem like a bit of overkill, however I'd recommend a "more is more" approach, and not assume that your lady will "know" what to do if a situation arises, and by having it all in one easy manual/folder, your lady will be able to refer to it while you are away and not have to rely solely on remembering what you told her in the hand-over meeting. Also, the most important but easily overlooked piece of information to include is a master sheet of contact details for your clients, along with a master file of passwords for any software you use in your business - make sure you include these also.
Externally, it would be good to introduce your clients to the lady taking over, and explain the transition before you go, as this will put the client's mind at ease, knowing they will have a go-to person in your absence.
All the best. Erin
Do you know anyone you could introduce me too, or how I might go about find them?
How often do you review all of your vendors your business uses? I think reviewing things annually makes a lot of sense, but perhaps in some industries that is not often enough.
Interested in feedback on who is using personal branding well and who's not, and what the future holds for the personal branding space?
Content writing is always going to be important, but simply creating content isn't enough. As we move into the new year, what areas are you focusing on most to get more out of your content creation? Answers to this question should be focused more on content promotion and audience targeting, versus just content creation tips.
Karen Bowness, Marketing Consultant at Demand Generator
Understanding what content and topic will engage your audience is key. In order to build an audience, content creators need to deliver information that will help the reader not just promote their business. Once you have content that has performed well in terms of engagement and shares, then promote that content. To get the best value from paid promotion I always suggest targetting your advertisements and post boosts to your target market.
Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown
Something I've used several times is what appears to be a generic survey. Actually, most of the questions have a "perferred answer" known only to me. Any user that chooses answers other than the perferred are not followed up on because they simply don't fit my target users and personas.
I've also partnered / aligned with other brands that share a similar audience and we've talked about what was working and what didn't seem to be working with connecting to our audience. Remember, anyone who shares your audience but isn't your direct competitor is usually willing to help and give advice.
I'm guest curious here. Typically I see the most engagement on static text posts (with relevant hashtags) and with video. However, depending on the topic, my posts with links to blog articles perform reliably as well.
So, what performs best for you?
If you use anything not in the list, I'd also be interested to know what up and coming types of sharing people are doing.
Disha Dinesh, Content Writer at Godot Media
Posts with most clicks for me are usually ones with pictures AND links to other content. Surprisingly infographics haven't increased clicks for me.
Like you, we get most engagement from social media from blog post updates, either by linking to the blog post on Twitter, etc, or in some cases by re-publishing the post in full (like here for example). Relevant images definitely help with engagement we have found, but internal or external links don't seem to have too much effect.
We haven't tried embedding videos or audio much, but I have heard from others that it does improve engagement. Definitely worth a try at some stage, I would say.
Asked this question - Entrepreneurship
I've read that some businesses actually lose money due to heavy discounts and people don't come back. Have you had any positive experience? Or bad experience? Does it help a small new business?
Jef Lippiatt, Owner at Startup Chucktown
I also have heard many small to medium sized businesses lost money by participating in these social deal sites. I think many bank on the fact that these "new" guests will return several or many more times in the future, but that doesn't always happen.
One issues is that people that try these deal sites may always be looking for the "next deal" and hop to a competing business the next time.
Another potential issue is that you need to prepare your staff for these promotions so they know what to expect (be it a coupon or a code or something). Also, you really need to ensure that youre staff is following their training (good customer service matters here in trying to retain new guests - if they have a bad experience, they aren't coming back).
Also, you must weigh whether this will create the best retun on your investment compared to other marketing and advertising activities.If it isn't the best use of your time and money, apply that effort in another area of your venture.
If you are still pumped to give social deal sites a try, I suggest you form an actual game plan to retain as many new customers as possible. This could be giving the new guest a percent (%) off their next purchase, give them a loyalty card with several of the punches already started so they feel clsoer to getting a complimentary item. The main goal is staying engaged with customers long-term. Be creative and if you pursue using this type of deal remember it is part of a larger picture.
Greg Rogers, Founder and CEO at REthink HQ
Good responses from Jef.
For me the single biggest challenge with this is, congruency.
You do the deal.
Are you going to attract from your niche?
Are you simply cutting margin and setting a price point mentality.
Are you sacrificing quality of service/product/staff/systems
Sure, there are benefits to be had, don't get me wrong but too often I don't see this as the game plan from the get go.
As Jef says above, what is the strategy (and benefits) from participating?
If you are sacrifcing margin and service (and believe me, more often than not you will), what's the strategy to slowly peel that back.
You have to turn a percentage of those 'new' customers (people who buy from you once) into clients (repeat sales).
If you are using it as a branding/awareness exercise what are you going to do to then position your business back to where you want it to be?
In most instances you actually don't want to be seen as the high volume, low price point, shove 'em through the system type of business in your market segment.
As always, have the end goal in mind. How are you going to use this legitimate, but oh so dangerous, marketing and sales strategy to best advantage.
To your business growth.
Asked this question - Accounting
Do I need to hire an accountant with a CPA? What difference does it make and what other benefits do they offer?
While you do not NEED to hire an accountant with a CPA, I would strongly recommended it. let me put it this way, you do not NEED to send your car to qualified mechanic to get fixed, you could get your friend to do it and they may or may not have the skill to do the job properly, it is hit and miss
CPA qualification is additional qualification beyond simply completing an accounting degree. Even once a candidate has gained CPA certification, they must complete ongoing development to maintain there certification. This will ensure your accountant is up to date with the last thinking, accounting policies etc. Further more from my experience CPA qualified accountants tend to be able to provide a more holistic view of your business and are able to look beyond you balance sheet. Personally i would not use, or employ an accountant without CPA qualifications
I agree with Neil's response, however, what he has failed to mention is that there are two major accounting designations in Australia - CPA and CA. These days they are both similar in their capabilities and qualifications with both required to undertake post University training to get the designation and both require ongoing professional development.
What that means to you is that you will be dealing with an accountant who has up-to-date training and knowledge as well as the ethical and professional requirements of their relevant association. You should be able to rely on the quality of a CPA or CA, although like all industries there are the good ones and the not so good ones.
Amazon may be open for business by Christmas in Australia. For a lot of online businesses, how should they improve to compete with the looming giant that' has already killed a lot of other businesses in the US?
My best advice would be to not try and fight this Gorilla but instead find ways to work with it.
The best way for a small business to do so is join their FBA program (Fulfillment By Amazon) which no doubt will be available either at launch or shortly after.
As a matter of fact, they are already accepting EOIs from Australian businesses through this form.
Another option is the new marketplace which was opened recently by the Catch group (formerly catch of the day).
Aishah, Amazon has already started in Australia, Kindle has been here for close to twelve months already.
My advice is to just ignore them and go about building your own brand. Amazon are all about low prices and quick sales. You can't compete with them on that arena so don't even try.
Find your own differentiator and promote that instead.