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10 dirty rotten tricks the best marketers use that they don't want you to know, part two

If you missed the first five you can either read the post here => Dirty Rotten Tricks, or get up to speed via the video below. For those that are already up to speed, let's crack on. Here are the other 5 dirty rotten tricks.     Number Six Is using education based marketing because you are not tied to the fear of keeping so called “Trade Secrets”. What is a trade secret in this day and age anyway? I mean you can literally Google the recipe for Coke and the 11 secret herbs and spices KFC use. What are the chance of a bricks and mortar business owner having a trade secret that is really still secret? To me business owners that believe they have an actual trade secret, are just clinging to a figment of their own imagination. Once you understand the fact that even though a potential customer may take your valuable information and use it to purchase elsewhere. It has cost you nothing to help them out. Now I am in no way shape or form religious, but I do believe in Karma. What goes around does come around. We have a saying in construction which is: The big wheel turns All good marketers are exceptionally generous with the quality of information that they give away for free. Seven Smart marketers understand that you want to deal with them regularly and are willing to offer you a great deal up front so that you can experience how awesome their products and services are. They know that once you experience their awesome service, you will be hooked. Eight Smart marketers recognize that their products aren’t for everyone and if that person happens to be you then you shouldn't be punished for purchasing something that doesn’t really work for you. They will cover this by offering you a money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied with what they have to offer. Their products and services are created based upon what you want to buy, not what they want to sell you. They also understand that what they want in a product or service is not necessarily what you want. So they make damn sure that your desires are more important than their own. They deal only with people specifically like you, this way they can focus all of their attention on creating the products and services that are going to benefit you the most. The value of having you as a lifelong customer is their number one aim, so they prioritize providing you with fantastic service to keep you as a customer for life. Nine This dirty rotten trick is knowing that a compelling offer, is far more powerful than a convincing argument. So they make it a no brainer for you to try their services. They may do this by offering you a try before you buy deal, taking all of the risk on themselves instead of asking you to. Ten They are constantly making offers, the best way to do it is with a yearly marketing calendar. If the only offer that you make is to discount your price, then you are headed for trouble. Your marketing has to be a whole lot smarter than that. As Joe Polish said on the I love marketing podcast, “If your customer truly needs the lowest price, then you can’t afford to sell to them” By having a yearly marketing calendar you have a reason to offer a special deal without looking like a rug salesman. So there you have it. Now you know all of their dirty rotten tricks, which one will you use first?  

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10 key factors to consider when assessing your export readiness

Your decision to start export operations may be prompted by a range of factors - to increase sales and profit, establish a wider client base, diversify your market, consume excess local production capacity or enhance the domestic competitiveness of your business. However before implementing an export strategy, it’s important to assess your readiness for export. Here are ten key factors to consider prior to progressing down the export track: 1.    Domestic performance Robust domestic sales are usually a good indicator of export readiness. It gives international buyers confidence in you as a supplier as well as being sure that you have the financial capability to enter a new market. Carefully consider your current business performance before deciding whether to expand internationally. 2.    Process documentation It is important to ensure that your process documentation and standard operating procedures are well defined and in use within your current operation. Expanding into an export market adds another level of complexity to the business and robust process documentation can ensure that productivity and efficiency is maintained and that time, materials and resources are not lost or wasted due to re-work or ineffective systems. 3.    Quality accreditation It is important to assess the importance of achieving international quality accreditation prior to entering an export market as it could demonstrate to the consumer that your intention to grow the business globally is serious and that you have been prepared to invest significantly in your business to ensure its success internationally. 4.    Spare management staff Starting up an international business is no different to starting and growing a domestic operation. It is an extensive, time-consuming exercise and it can be assumed that exporting will require a significant time commitment from management across the entire business, not only from the CEO, sales and business development managers. In addition, more staff may be required to meet the operational demands of setting up a new business. These issues need to be considered prior to progressing down the export track. 5.    Spare product/service capacity When assessing your export readiness, take into consideration your product and service capabilities to ensure that there is spare capacity to maintain domestic sales as well as meet the demand from new markets. Also consider whether you would be able to expand this capacity quickly if and when you need to, to ensure customer expectations are met in terms of time and quality. 6.    Marketing documentation Cultural differences need to be considered carefully when determining an export strategy as culture can have a significant impact on people's buying habits, their reaction to different marketing messages, and even how your brand colour palette is perceived. In addition, advertising requirements vary in different countries. To export successfully, you need to be able to adapt your marketing documentation to meet the needs of the local market. 7.    International trade experience When deciding whether to move into an export market, it is important to assess your knowledge of international trade or your willingness to learn about it quickly. There are a wide range of issues that you need to be familiar with such as what documentation is required for exports, how to manage foreign currency and how foreign markets operate to ensure export success. 8.    Financial strength As mentioned previously, not only do you need a robust domestic performance, you also need strong financial resources to expand overseas. This is to ensure that you have the capability to cover the additional costs associated with exporting, such as product modifications, R&D, travel and international marketing, to name just a few. 9.    Level of passion for export The complexities involved in setting up internationally can be emotionally demanding and taxing. You need to ensure that you have the passion in the business and the tenacity to endure and overcome the challenges faced when entering a new export market. 10.  International travel Another key consideration to assess is your proclivity for international travel. You will spend a considerable amount of time in airports, using multiple modes of transport and navigating around unfamiliar places as well as communicating with different cultures. If this is not something that you find appealing, it may be a signal that international trade is not for you. By taking into consideration these ten factors, you will have determined if you are ready for the foray into a new market abroad and you will be in a better position to make a decision on whether to pursue your export strategy or focus on your domestic capabilities.

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10 questions you must ask when responding to leads if you want to succeed

Guess what? Setting up your business and telling people you exist just ain’t gonna cut it. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But there are some really important things you need to remember to ensure that you are not losing out on opportunities for your business, and instead are securing the clients you really want. How are you responding to leads? In today’s day and age, we all have access to a huge number of resources – it’s so easy to ‘google’ something, email a forum, post on social media or check with a colleague. If you need business support, you’ll get a huge number of responses. But the quality of those responses can definitely leave much to be desired. Assumptions, laziness, arrogance, and misleading are words that I would use to describe some of the responses that you can get when you call out for a resource these days. One of the main things I see people doing is responding to calls for help with a simple “yeah I want the job” type of response. Has that ever worked for you? As a visual person, I liken this to someone at the bottom of a well calling for help. [well - not obvious!] “Hello up there! I need help! Can you help me?” Say there are three people at the top of the well. One person lets the person in the well know they are there and that they could help. “Oh hello down there! I could help you!” they say as they resume reading their book on a lounge chair under an umbrella, sipping an ice cool glass of water with lemon and mint – certain that their helpless well-victim will reply with “Oh yes please! I want YOU! What else can I do to get you to help me? I’m ALL yours! Hooray!!!” The second person calls down “Hey there! I can help you out too! I have all the rope ladder building skills you need – just visit my website for more details!”. They might even throw down an ipad so the victim can do their homework. So thoughtful. The third person throws down a rope ladder as they ask questions like “Can you climb? Is it the top of the well that you wish to reach? What are you trying to achieve?” Only the third person, who has taken some initiative, asked some questions and showcased their ability to help, will find out that the person in the well is actually in need of more light so that they can keep exploring and developing this exciting well in which they’ve found themselves. Person number 3 can then develop a fabulous tailored proposal for the person in the well and inspire their new client to always come straight to them when they need some extra light. Which person are you? How can you be person number 3? If someone says they need support, ask questions. Ask YOURSELF: Does this task/job sound like something that I can and want to learn more about? Does this sound like something that I can and want to do? Can I clearly see what it is that the prospect is asking for? Ask the PROSPECT: Is my interpretation of your needs correct? Can you clarify these gaps for me so I am really clear on what you need? LISTEN – what are you hearing? Based on this extra info, does this sound like something that I can and want to do? If it is, how can I provide useful succinct information and examples to the client to make their decision making process as easy as possible? If it is not, let the client know, and consider, can I possibly suggest alternative resources for them that/who COULD assist them? Could my involvement here help me learn something or help build a relationship? Don’t look at all questions that are asked of you as dollar signs. Sometimes you can learn from this discussion with the prospect and build a relationship. Today I asked online (a Facebook group) for some support around business reporting. My question started off fairly vague but I was happy to see that some business owners contacted me directly to clarify exactly what my needs were. These business owners clearly wanted to help in some way – even if it wasn’t going to give them the job at the end of the day. They genuinely wanted to help and this instantly helps build rapport and confidence. They made useful suggestions and offered to keep an eye out for additional solutions to help ease my pain. Bingo! Alternatively, a peer of mine asked a business support question in the same arena and was only contacted by people who wanted her needs to be moulded into what they wanted to offer. She knew what the parameters were that she needed to have met, but the people responding did NOT consider the 10 points above. They only looked at point 1 and failed to address the rest. Instead their list of points looked more like: Does this task/job sound like something that I can and want to learn more about? Hmm, almost. Ask the client if they can modify their needs to meet what I’d like to offer. Suggest how and why the client should do this. The prospect found this presumptuous, as those responding did not think to ask first if she had considered the alternatives before they started trying to convince her that their solution and modification was the way to go. They wasted her time and their own so there were no winners there. They also failed to do any homework to determine who it was that they were responding to and what her background and knowledge may be. In this case, the prospect would have definitely considered the alternatives that those people suggested as those alternatives were in line with the services that she would normally offer. She needed assistance because the parameters of this task were outside those of what she normally worked within. Obviously there are times when the prospect is looking for ideas and potential scenarios – but unless they have specified that in their call for assistance, you should not assume it. If anything is unclear – ask first, suggest later. Do your homework. Don’t just show up and expect people to bend backwards and mold their needs to yours so that they can have the pleasuring of working with you. Fly above the pack and make the choice easy for your ‘prospect’, or should I say, ‘new client’.

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10 Resolutions for Business Success in 2018

2018 is supposed to be a very promising year for all businesses. But in order for success to come your way, there are a few things you, as a business owner, should consider changing up. If you want your business to succeed in the new 2018, you need to re-organise and re-plan a few aspects of your business, such as finances, cashflow management, your staff, working process, etc. Here are top 10 pieces of advice you should definitely pay attention to if you want 2018 to be successful for your business. As we enter a new year, small business owners are likely to be considering a number of resolutions to get their company into tip-top financial shape, so they can start the year off with a bang. Resolutions can get a bad rap (particularly if you’re talking about losing weight, or stopping a bad habit) - but when it comes to business, taking the time to set clear and strategic goals for the new year can only set you up for success. For a lot of small businesses, approaching the third year can be a real wake up call. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 60 per cent of businesses don’t make it past the first three years. Whether you’re in your third year or your tenth year, think about what you want to achieve - and if there are signs of trouble or financial stress, take action early. Here are 10 new year resolutions to set you on track. 1. Get organised The biggest issue, which largely affects start-ups, is lack of organisation. Use 2018 as a fresh start, think about where you’ve been, what you’ve learnt along the way, and where you want to go. A large part of being organised is simply planning. Don’t lose sight of the big picture and what you want to achieve in your business. Revisit and update your business plan. Have the objectives changed. Have you set yourself new targets for the year? What are your key priorities? And remember, you can’t achieve everything (that’s when resolutions fail) so make sure you are realistic. 2. Be budget savvy Too many small business owners just look at their bank accounts, see they have money in there and assume they’re doing well. But a formal financial model, which outlines the business's expected cashflow, is essential for all SMEs. Often business owners haven’t taken into consideration their accrued liabilities. Commonly missed are the business's statutory commitments to the ATO as well as the accrued employment costs, such as superannuation and accumulated leave entitlements. However, trade credit providers, cyclical or recurring liabilities such as utilities and insurances as well as unforeseen expenses such as repairs and maintenance should also be considered when building a financial forecast model. It’s critical to spend the time to understand the financial requirements of the business, translate that into a budget, and stick to it. 3. Plan for growth   Without planning for growth and success, a business can end up running out of money and missing opportunities. It’s important to plan for long-term growth early in your business lifecycle to give yourself the best chance to take advantage of your business success. However, growth should be considered and appropriate to the market conditions. Growing too quickly can be just as dangerous as not growing at all. Where do you want your business to be long term? And if you get there, how are you going to manage it all? Think about the resources, funds and people you would need if everything goes according to the plan. 4. Put a decision-making process in place Because SMEs often operate a small team, there may be no formal method of decision-making. This may result in too many decisions being made on the run without referring them back to the original plan to see if they’re consistent with the business's goals and strategy. Business owners need to make time each week to discuss the issues affecting the business and ensure any decision is shared with the rest of the team and related back to the business plan. 5. Re-think your cashflow strategy Struggling with a day-to-day cashflow deficit puts a strain on your entire business and limits growth. Since cashflow is the lifeblood of any business, implementing a solid billing and debt collecting system will inject much needed circulation of funds. With ‘credit clients,’ ensure you have well drafted trading terms in place to allow early and effective intervention when those terms are not adhered to. 6. Do less, but do it better   People typically approach their new year resolutions by looking to do more, not less. But the key is to not stretch yourself thin, and focus on the things that are working the hardest for you. Otherwise, the ‘non-important’ items will just be a distraction. There is a big difference between being productive and being busy. Think about how you can spend the least amount of energy to reap the most rewards. 7. Tighten the purse strings There’s been plenty of recent research showing that consumers are watching their pennies this year. The annual Christmas Spending Survey revealed that nearly a quarter of respondents want to reduce their debt in 2018. If your goal is to reduce your business debt, then start by checking interest rates and renegotiating the terms on older debt. 8. Recharge the batteries Burning out isn’t going to do you any favours, nor your employees, who are running on empty. Scheduling a bit of downtime for yourself throughout the year can do wonders. Also encourage your staff to take holidays in the quieter periods. Flexible working is often achievable, thanks to technology - so why not take advantage? Do you need to be at your desk nine to five? Can you head home early to spend time with the family, and log back on early AM? Use this time to clear your head, be creative and/or think strategically. 9. Invest in a good team You might be the expert, but that doesn’t mean you should be doing every single role within your business. By finding people who can take on some of the load (even the mundane tasks), it can allow you to focus on more important areas - like building relationships with your customers, setting strategy or growing your business – and it will also help improve your productivity, not to mention stop you from burning out. Also, not everyone is good at everything. And admitting that there are some jobs that aren’t your forte, like accounting or marketing - is often the first step. Think about what your strengths and weaknesses are, and the sort of people you need to help fill those gaps. 10. Be honest with yourself If you only seek help once the piggy bank has been cracked open and the lounge cushions flipped, you limit the options available to make effective adjustments to preserve the business. If you suspect your business is in financial difficulty, don’t put your head in the sand. It’s easy for business owners to get bogged down in operations, often missing key warning signs of failing health. Just like you should with personal resolutions, put in place regular ‘health checks’ at three months, six months, 12 months - and if you start going off track, you can seek expert advice before it’s too late, whether from your accountant, business adviser or insolvency/turnaround specialist.

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10 tips to organize a successful business meet

10 Tips to Organize a Successful Business Meet What do you do to ensure that the business meet you organized doesn’t fizzle out? As a top entrepreneur in the lead, you must take the initiative to arrange business meets to connect with others. But that isn’t all; you need to create an event that people enjoy. Not something they dread! If you create a platform where entrepreneurs share their thoughts, views, opinions and crises. It helps you earn the trust and respect of your fellow entrepreneurs. And it boosts that collegiate  feeling. You just need to make it a success. But it is easier said than done. Let’s take a look at 10 simple but effective things that can help you achieve your goal. Take Your Time to Plan Every Detail You cannot wait until the last minute to send out the invites and think everyone will turn up. Decide the time and date, select the venue and inform the business meet group members about it in advance. They have to fit it into their busy schedules too. Check Every Important Aspect In Advance How will you feel if the audio doesn’t work when someone’s making a presentation? Reach the venue and double check every detail. Make sure the space is adequate for all and the audio-visual equipment works. Make It An Exclusive Event Identify the niche you are in and create a group with a strong focus on the core concept. When you make it an invite-only event, you generate interest about it among the entrepreneurs in the niche to participate. This also encourages the aspirants to be part of the community. Make Introductions Easy With Name Tags It isn’t easy to remember the names of hundreds of entrepreneurs at an event. Create name tags. It will make introductions a breeze! You can also add their business name and relevant details to it. Adhere To Your Goals to Meet Expectations As an organizer, you need to have a clear idea about what the meet is all about. Make sure this is in keeping with the image of your business. For example, if you are into apps development for educational institutes, educational meets are more suited. Plan the meet according to the purpose. Organize Topics to Keep Everyone Engaged What do you want people to talk about? Decide the things you want to interest people in at the meet. Use the topics to initiate conversations. You can also throw in some challenges to keep things in motion. Offer Exposure for Start-ups You may also incorporate talks, events, quizzes and such other elements into the business meet. But when you let a start-up offer a demo at the meet, you add to its interest. It supplies food for thought for the entrepreneurs present and gives them an excellent topic of discussion. Give Conversations a Direction Don’t let the conversation die down. Place your contacts at opportune points to keep it going. With this simple tactic, you will create an environment where people learn new things without a hitch. Foster Relationships A business meet is all about the relations entrepreneurs create. And the community they build. It is possible to boost entrepreneurial efforts when people have the support of their peers. Don’t just keep it professional. Let entrepreneurs connect with each other on a personal level. Social hangouts can help you with this. Keep It Confidential No entrepreneur will open up unless they are sure that their secret’s safe with the attendees. This is possible only when you assure that it remains within the group. Open and frank discussions will be possible only if you do this. It isn’t difficult if you are aware of how to keep things in motion at the meet. With a little planning and effort, it is possible to organize a business meet where the group members can share their stories, offer others positive challenges, help others get back on track and create a strong community.  And what do you get out of it? Well, you become the proud organizer of a business meet that isn’t another monotonous hour of long conversations between people who don’t even connect with each other. But something that gives everyone their fair share of exposure in the community and ample food for thought.

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12 Easy Skill Set Tips to Empower Small Businesses

Small business owners need to be always learning and improving themselves. Online courses, podcasts, audio books, Ted Talk videos, Moz and Hubspot are great resources to sharpen your knowledge. Use tools such as accounting software, automation platforms and credit management tools to level up your small business.   Let’s face it. Running a small business can be exciting but hard work. You’ve implemented your big ideas and it’s working. However, you might not be in the position to be able to afford to hire extra staff yet. This means that many business essentials, like accounting and marketing, might have to be completed by you. In turn, this means working extra hours and wearing many hats. The lack of skills in some of these areas could inevitably cause delays or mistakes. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, most small businesses fail within their first three years. What if having the proper knowledge or skills in unfamiliar areas could help your business continue to grow, ensure positive cash flow and reduce costly mistakes? Here is a list of free (or affordable) handy skill improvement tools for busy, overwhelmed small business owners: 1. Free Courses  While you might not have enough revenue to hire new staff or pursue a full diploma or certificate yourself, there are alternatives. There are plenty of free or low-cost courses available. For example, General Assembly offers online courses as well as in-person courses in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Topics range from web development, data, design, business and more!   2. Automation platforms  The days of entering customer information into books and excel sheets are over. It is essential to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) software as it will help your business manage customer data, interaction and other useful information. Most platforms will provide training and support. There are also platforms to manage email marketing like Mailchimp and social media, like Hootsuite.   3. Listen to podcasts  Podcasts are a free and easy way to learn new skills or advice. The best part? You can multi-task while listening. Podcasts are available on almost any topic that you can think of. A quick Google search will reveal the best ones to listen to for digital marketing, business to business and more.   4. Audio books  Similar to podcasts, you can also listen to best-sellers on the way to work, whilst at the gym or while you run your daily errands. Apps like Audible, make it easy and affordable too.   5. HubSpot Academy  Website optimisation, landing pages and lead nurturing are must-have skills for business owners as they try to grow their business and online presence. This free certification program offers courses on all of these essential skills.   6. Moz This is a great resource for SEO – If you aren’t already aware, SEO makes the world go round when it comes to making sure that your website has visibility in searches. Moz offers a free academy, webinars, a downloadable beginner’s guide to SEO, and guides to link building.   7. EdX  The site offers over 300 free courses on a large range of topics across various industries. From financial analysis and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) accredited courses, to business management courses, there’s a course to fit whatever skill you need to acquire or improve.   8. Freelancers  Do you need graphic design work done or simply need to update your website with new copy? Sites like Airtasker, Freelancer.com and Upwork are great opportunities to find talented individuals to outsource the work to. You can also check Facebook as many communities and cities have their own groups for the purpose of posting freelance work. For example, Find-a-finder’s-fee (global) group on Facebook is a great resource.   9. Webinars & Ted Talks A quick Youtube search will provide you access to inspirational Ted Talks and webinars. If you want to learn new skills, tips, industry information or just feel empowered, these are great resources.   10. Blogs and websites  Another quick and easy way to stay on top of industry changes and skills is by subscribing to relevant blogs, newsletters and their associated social media channels. For examples, Digital Marketer is a great resource for the latest marketing tips and tricks.   11. Accounting Software  Platforms like Xero or MYOB, can make the accounting process so much easier and streamlined. Manage payroll, customer databases and more! Additionally, integrate with your CreditorWatch account and monitor your contacts to flag risks to your business.   12. Credit Management If you are managing accounts, marketing, sales and more, when do you have the time to accurately assess your customers/suppliers for risk to your business? You will not be able to monitor them regularly and as a result, adverse actions may slip through the cracks. With CreditorWatch, you can monitor your database and receive alerts for important information such as court actions or payment defaults. Additionally, you can register bad debt, run credit reports, view credit scores and take advantage of debt collection tools. *This article was first published at CreditorWatch 

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12 quick cheap marketing tips for all businesses that work

Today’s market is tough.  Competition has never been more intense and it’s getting harder to earn revenues and gain customers in today’s economy.  It’s easy to cut corners while trying to minimize costs when marketing on a budget.  Often times, these mistakes can lead into disaster.  So what can your business do if you have a tight budget? Here are some tried and tested cheap marketing tips that work: 1. Pay attention to your signage In a time where a lot of attention is being placed towards digital marketing, that humble sign in front of your store is still one of the most effective marketing tools.  Simple, attention-grabbing signs that highlight your products still work very well in gaining new business.  Keep the clutter down on your signs so that it is still readable from a distance.  You’ll spend on your store’s signs anyway so it’s best to do it right.  2. Reward your customers A loyalty program will help keep your customers coming back for more.  Using loyalty cards or QR codes to reward customers after making several purchases with discounts or freebies is a good way to start.  The same perks can be given to them when they refer your place to their friends through social networks. 3. Create a good relationship with your customers Good customer service is a must in order to keep your customers happy.  Happy customers will come back for more and will be more likely to recommend your business to their friends and contacts. 4. Improve your website A good clean design with all of the right information about your products and services and a clear call to action is important.  Make it easier for potential customers to find you by optimizing your site for search engines.  Use clear, concise language and try to answer questions your customers are likely to type in search engines when looking for a business similar to yours. Once your site is up, track its progress using free tools such as Google Analytics.  Find out how your customers are using your site, which pages they visit and how they found your site.  Make improvements and tweaks so that your site’s traffic better aligns with your goals. 5. Maintain a social network presence and cultivate the community build there Having a social network presence on Facebook and Twitter is no longer an option.  Social networks are great tools for sharing your latest promos and products and a good way to spread the word about your business.  It also serves as a great avenue to interact with your customers and improve your relationship with them. 6. Google+ pages are a must too The internet revolves around search.  With millions of web pages in the web, getting found is the hardest hurdle to overcome and the first major step in gaining a customer.  A Google+ page is a great way to get listed in one of today’s largest search engines, Google.  It’ll allow you to get into Google’s local search index and allow people visiting the vicinity of your business to find you. 7. Blog and comment on other blogs Consider writing a blog for your customers to read.  In addition to articles about your products, you can also cover common interest topics to your industry.  If you have a restaurant, you can post recipes and cooking tips for example.  Keep your blog updated frequently to keep traffic flowing. Commenting on other blogs is also a great way to bring traffic back to yours.  You can create a name for yourself and your business by interacting with the greater blogosphere (the community of blogs and bloggers) and establish yourself as a leader in that topic. 8. Guest blog for other sites Submitting articles to other sites does several things: it can draw traffic back to your site, it establishes yourself as a thought-leader in the industry and it makes your name searchable in Google as an author and allows you to show up in more search results. 9. Publish case studies Case studies help build credibility for your business.  Connect with your best customers and ask if you can write a case study about them and how they use your products.  Their testimonials would go miles in attracting new customers to come in. 10. Try to be a speaker If you can do it, landing a role as a speaker on conferences will build up your network and further establish you as a leader in the industry.  Find conferences about your industry in your area and see if you can apply as a speaker.  11. If you can’t speak, attend conferences anyway If public speaking isn’t one of your biggest talents, it’ll still pay-off to attend conferences to build a network around you. 12. Get the press to talk about you Reporters are always looking out for interesting topics to write or talk about.  Reach out to them and offer them a compelling reason to cover you in a story.  If you are successful, this would be a great way to get word out about your company. Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive.  With a little creativity and elbow-grease, you’ll find that your marketing budget can actually be stretched a long way into getting more customers into your door. 

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3 Brilliant Ways to Reduce Boring Admin Tasks in the Office

Small businesses with inefficient admin teams and processes will lose time and money. Refine your processes and use automation instead of hiring more people to do the job. Other quick fixes include improving your team’s keyboard skills, using fuel cards, consolidating receipts and migrating to online documents. Business and administration go together like tea and Tim Tams or the beach and a SPF 50 sunblock. One doesn’t work well without the other. However, for many Australian business owners, routine admin tasks that seemed simple at first can soon be a showstopper. What was pencilled in as a Monday morning task before the office coffee dash can soon stretch to Wednesday’s urgent afternoon deadline. This may sound like the status-quo for most small businesses trudging along. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways you can consolidate administration and prevent them from reducing your business’s output. The negative effects of inefficient admin processes Poor admin processes may seem like a small problem, but these smaller issues can easily snowball into bigger problems and spread to different departments. One of the most glaring issues with slow and inefficient admin processes is that they cost many business hours and a significant loss of productivity. Instead of Matt from marketing and Jenny from accounts working on an upcoming campaign, they are now rescheduling that meeting to cope with overdue invoices and filing. This inefficiency may be the worst effect of poor administration but there are many more, including but not limited to: Loss of staff morale Loss of job satisfaction among employees Uncooperative departments Inability to meet deadlines Miscommunication and communication errors What are the best ways to improve admin processes? One common knee-jerk reaction for many businesses that have identified weak administration is that they hire more personnel to deal with it. However, this is not a cost-effective solution nor the right solution. In most situations, a poor performing administration team or a slow-working department is not due to a shortage of manpower. Instead, it’s more likely that processes have not been refined. Therefore, we’ve rounded up three of the best ways to reduce admin tasks. 1. Improve your staff’s keyboard skills Strangely, many office dwellers still don’t know how to type at a decent speed. They can’t type efficiently using all ten fingers without looking at the keyboard. Some may not even know shortcuts around their keyboard on certain programmes. You’d be forgiven for thinking that millennials will be up to speed on these things. But that’s not exactly true. Most web surfing is now done on a smartphone which means those fresh grads are not always the most efficient with a desktop. If businesses can help their staff who are lagging in keyboard skills, they can save many hours on administrative tasks. Whether replying to emails or recording data on a spreadsheet, both can be done faster with excellent keyboard skills and usage of keyboard shortcuts. 2. Consolidating receipts One of the biggest admin tasks is dealing with receipts and invoices. This is one of the most important duties because they feed into other important processes such as staff reimbursements and submitting your tax forms. No matter how big or small your business is, you need to make these jobs less stressful and much more seamless. Here are some sure-fire ways to do that: Use fuel cards – fuel cards offer many diverse benefits for your business. If you own several company cars or a fleet of vehicles, you will benefit from these cards. One of the benefits is that your fuel receipts are kept online in a monthly statement similar to a credit card. If having all your fuel receipts in one online platform is the aim, then fuel cards are the name of the game. Just be sure to get the best fuel card for your business. Receipt trackers – fuel cards may be handy for some businesses, but all businesses can benefit from receipt trackers. There are many applications that will scan and record your receipts so they can be stored securely on an online platform – again freeing up desk space and consolidating your admin. Some of the best apps include Shoeboxed, Expensify and Smart Receipts Plus. Simply download them to your company phone and streamline one of the most important admin duties for your business. 3. Go green Many businesses are reducing the amount of paper they use for the benefit of the environment. Often, they will change their paper forms for online equivalents on their website. The secret is that doing this also reduces admin tasks. Swapping forms for online equivalents may not reduce your number of administrative duties but it does consolidate them. It also saves you space in the office and means many related administration tasks can be done online or even remotely. One hurdle when moving things online is that you need to scan existing hard copies into an online format. This may require more time and additional personnel in the short term, but you will reap the benefits down the line. These methods of reducing the time spent on admin duties are applicable to many businesses. Even if you implement just one of these methods, you will see the benefits over time. In doing so, you also create a better working environment for your staff which may lead to better staff retention rates and improved cooperation between your colleagues and departments.

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