Go Go Go Global

You might well be thinking about taking it up a notch and considering working on a global scale once you have established yourself as a market leader in your own country. For any business, this is a huge move, particularly if you have started it from scratch, and while it is one of the most exciting times for a business, it can be extremely overwhelming as well. We have put together a few tips to help you make the transition from a small scale to a global leader. 

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Is your business ready to do this?

You need to make sure that both you and your business are ready, in both a logistical and financial context, before you start the often lengthy process of going multinational. If you are not completely sure, there is no risk in hanging on a little longer, as jumping in too soon may have some detrimental effects. Remember, just because you think that in another country your product, service, or concept will prosper doesn't mean it will. Trying to scale across borders, whatever the size of the company, will always be a difficult and costly process, and it takes time and money away from other, more local opportunities and your core business operations.

Spend some time planning ahead and tracking your market share before you jump into global expansion, and try to find out whether it will help a leap into new international markets and build more long-term growth opportunities. If you believe that there is the demand for whatever it is that you sell or provide, that you have the finances to sustain the initial investment and maintain the anticipated growth, then go for it entirely. Bear in mind, though, that success is rarely immediate, so that needs to be taken into account in your plans.

Have you considered these?

Ensure you have the right structures in place to function globally. It can be difficult to set up overseas logistically, so it is crucial that the foundations are in place and robust before you even consider starting up. First of all, you need to determine the tasks and choices that are centrally controlled and made, and which can be handled at a more local level, and make it transparent to everyone concerned. 

Secondly, it is important that you have perfectly clear communication between branches or departments, so take this into careful consideration. How are you going to handle the time difference? 

Thirdly – have you got the physical infrastructure in place? If you need to ship items in between the locations, have you looked online to compare driving loads? Have you ensured that there is a direct transport link between the two locations? These sorts of things are often overlooked in the excitement and anticipation of expanding a business. 

Being versatile and ready to adapt is the most important thing you need to do. New challenges will come with every new country you are growing into, and you need to change your business strategy to handle these.

External Factors That Impact Your Business

It’s easy to think that it’s only what we do that impacts our business, but that’s not the case. While the strength of your ideas and your execution of those ideas will, of course, be highly important, they are not the only things that can impact your company. There’s also the matter of external factors, too. These are the things that aren’t a fundamental aspect of your operations (which are internal factors) but which can play a big role in your business. Some of them you have control over, some of them you don’t! Let’s take a look at what they are. 

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Customer Needs

You might think your business exists for your benefit, but actually, it’s more about your customers. They’re an external factor in that they’re not directly linked to your business, but they do, of course, have a massive impact on your overall success or failure. To make sure that you don’t end up in a position where your customers have moved on without you, it’s important that you’re regularly engaging with them about what they like/don’t like about your business. By soliciting feedback, you’ll never be too far away from what your customers want!

Supplier Quality

It’s unlikely that you’re doing everything related to your business operations. In all likelihood, you’ll have suppliers that you need to work with in order to deliver your best. As with most things, the quality and performance of suppliers can vary significantly. You need to both ensure that they are delivering high-quality materials and that they’re reliable. If you’re not fully happy with your suppliers, then take a look at Vogueboard, a platform that can streamline the procurement process. Indeed, in virtually all senses, you’ll find that working with great suppliers allows you to keep your business running smoothly. 

Rise of Cybercrime

Crimes have always been committed against companies; that’s nothing new. In the olden days, it was reasonably easy to keep crime at bay — all you needed to do was invest in good security measures, such as a good lock and secure windows. These days, it’s a bit more complicated. Cybercrime has been growing significantly in recent years, and it’s a crime that’s only projected to grow in the future. To make sure that your business doesn’t become a victim, it’s important that you’re working with an expert IT company; they’ll be able to ensure that you have all the latest security measures in place. 

The Economy 

There are some things you just can’t influence. If the economy takes a hit, then it’s probable that your business will do too. The best you can hope for in this situation is that you have the foresight required to be adaptive to the changing conditions. Also, doing things like giving yourself a safety cushion of cash will help to take some of the pressure off. The economy usually bounces back pretty quickly, as we’ve seen with the coronavirus pandemic, so it’s just about riding out the tough months and waiting for things to recover. 

3 Creative Ways to Tell Your Compelling Business Story

3 Creative Ways to Tell Your Compelling Business Story

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The objective of telling a story is to make known how something came about. A story can be memorable or dull, depending on how it is narrated. Companies often desire to reach out to their target audience by telling a compelling story about how the company began. While some succeed at it, others fail abysmally. A US Business Analyst, Allen Hillary, believes messages delivered as stories are 22 times more impactful and memorable than mere facts. Read on to find out how to tell your compelling business story.

  1. Establish who or what the character of the story is

Every good story has the main character around whom the narrative spins. Therefore, you need to establish who or what must be your main character in telling your compelling business story. If the company began as your idea and by dint of hard work and commitment, you managed to get it off the ground, portray yourself as the protagonist. However, if you prefer to remain in the background and project the business as the main character, let your story do that.

Nonetheless, no matter who gets to be the protagonist, you must establish what kind of character they will be. For example, is your goal to project the main character as a team builder, savvy analyst, or a dream builder? No matter what you choose to go with, the rule of thumb is to remain consistent and authentic throughout the story. 

  1. Employ audio-visual means to show your audience why you care

The moving image is the new language of today and the future. Fortunately, the 2020 smartphone penetration rate in the US stood at 72.2%. This provides fertile ground for more than two-thirds of the US population to have easy access to audio-visual content every thirty seconds. Convincing your target market or audience about how much you care has to be handled tactfully without coming across as patronizing. Many business storytellers make the mistake of pulling their audience down the rabbit hole. That shouldn’t be your style.

Today, with the help of digital technology, you can tell your story via corporate video production services. Videos capture attention even more than a PowerPoint presentation would. Also known as the moving picture, videos can capture the entire essence of a compelling narrative in a matter of minutes.

With the help of social media platforms, your corporate videos will reach a wider audience than traditional media channels can. As a tip, avoid using long, winding story-telling techniques that will most likely bore your target audience. You will achieve better results with a more concise and succinct method. More companies are putting up 2 – 3 minutes’ videos on their website’s homepage to draw more people in recent times.

  1. Get Personal

Getting personal in your business storytelling requires a great deal of creativity. It is necessary to make your target audience identify with the subject matter and the theme of the entire business story. This is the one crucial part of storytelling, which makes people agree that the protagonist (as mentioned in point 1) must be a person and not the company per se.

Naturally, people identify with animate things and see themselves reflected in like characters. Therefore, highlighting challenges or struggles and how you overcame them are necessary topics to tackle. Always remember that your target market will identify with a personality and not a faceless company.

Finally, make it a point to weave truth into your story. Your audience is discerning and can quickly point out grey areas in your account. Many businesses have fallen into this trap and paid heavily to redeem their image. Others who couldn’t work through the damage went down under. Therefore, always be mindful of the points raised here.

The Importance of Cybersecurity When Running A Business

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As a business owner, you are probably aware of the fact that your cybersecurity is of great importance. It does not matter whether you are about to start a small business from home or a large international company – you need to pay close attention to your company’s cybersecurity. Here’s why. 

What is cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity refers to the systems that businesses use to protect their online data and networks from hackers. This helps keep the company in good running order but can also be used to protect the customers’ purchasing your products/services. This means you are protecting data such as: 

  • Passwords.
  • Banking details.
  • Important documents.
  • Personal information (names, addresses) 
  • Potentially sensitive information. 

What are the benefits of cybersecurity?

The benefits of cybersecurity are clear. They include: 

  • Sensitive or restricted information is stored securely, minimizing the chance of data breaches. 
  • Your company is protected against hackers and any legal repercussions that could follow data leaks. 
  • Your data is securely backed up, preventing you from accidental loss. This also means data can be easily recovered.
  • You can build a relationship with your customers and clients that is based on a foundation of trust. They know that any information they give to you will be handled with the appropriate care and discretion. 

How can I improve my cybersecurity? 

There are various different ways in which you can improve your company’s cybersecurity. Here are some examples. 

Make the most of available tools. F1networks.com provides those who deal with particularly sensitive information with enhanced cybersecurity tools. They are particularly useful for those who deal with controlled unclassified information (CUI), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), alongside other highly classified information. Each of their platforms are compatible with your usual computer software, such as Microsoft. 

Provide employees with the appropriate training. Sometimes, breaches in cybersecurity occur due to poor staff training or negligence. Therefore, you must ensure that each and every member of your team is aware of the importance of good cybersecurity. This minimizes the chance of human error leading to data breaches. 

Focus on your passwords. It goes without saying that all important information should be password protected. This helps ensure that no unauthorized personnel (both inside and outside of the company) gain access to classified folders or documents. You should take proper care to ensure your passwords are strong and encourage your employees to do the same. For example, do not use passwords that are too closely associated with you – such as your birthday. You should also ensure that you change the passwords frequently – perhaps once every few months. 

Bring in professionals. Right now, companies are racing to hire cybersecurity professionals to help manage their companies’ cybersecurity. This means that you are able to focus on running your business while a specialist team takes control of your cybersecurity on your behalf. Though this may be a considerable investment, it is definitely worth it in the long run when you consider the additional protection and peace of mind you will receive as a result. 

4 Ways To Improve Your Marketing In 2021

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Marketing is an essential part of your business and will help you spread the word about your products and what you’re selling. You risk getting lost in a sea of information if you fail to focus on the right elements.

If you missed the mark last year, then be glad to know you have the opportunity to start again and perform better in 2021. Learn about what you can do to improve your marketing and get off on a better foot this year. Now is the time to make changes that will have a positive impact on your business and help you have a successful future.

1. Create A Plan & Strategy

Improve your marketing in 2021 by creating a plan and strategy for what you want to achieve. No longer is it acceptable or helpful to wing it and simply hope for the best. Take the time to document your strategy, goals, and how you’ll achieve each one in detail. If you choose not to invest in your marketing then you’ll likely find that your competitors are successful in stealing away customers and surpassing you by making a name for themselves in the industry. Not only come up with and follow a plan but also keep a close eye on your metrics and results.

2. Use Unique & Better Product Packaging

Another way to improve your marketing in 2021 is to use unique and better product packaging. You want to ensure that people see your product first and that you’re keeping up with the latest innovations. It’ll help you to set your items apart from the rest and quickly catch the attention of shoppers as they look around for what they need. This year, consider Shrink Sleeve Labels for better aesthetics and if you need or want to sell multi-packs of an item. This type of packaging can also improve your brand and reputation because it enhances safety and makes any tampering obvious.

3. Hire A Skilled & Dedicated Team

You can improve your marketing this year by hiring a skilled and dedicated marketing team to assist you. If you were a one-person show last year then you may have found that you were very busy and didn’t reach many of your goals. However, when you have a committed team of talented employees on your side then you can meet and exceed your marketing objectives quicker and focus on ways to be more creative and innovative in the future.

4. Focus on High-Quality Content

Content continues to be king and plays a significant role in marketing. Therefore, focus your efforts on creating high-quality content that gets you noticed by customers online. Now might be the time to engage more frequently on social media or launch a business blog and release more timely and relevant articles that set you up as the experts in your field. Spend some time improving your and your employee’s writing skills so your content is always professional and well-written. Factor SEO into your online and content marketing approach and you’ll have a better chance of showing up first in the search engine results. 

Top 3 Points to Consider Before Expanding Your Small Business

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You’ve worked hard and provided key products or services to a dedicated group of clients, and your small business is booming. It’s time to expand — so what are the considerations you need to make before taking the next big step? Do you have an optimized, accessible website for your business? Do you know what your goals are, as far as numbers? Let’s take a look at a few ways you can prepare to expand your company without stressing out:

Point 1: Strategize about your KPIs.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are the backbone of any successful business. A KPI, put simply, is a value that measures progress toward achieving critical business goals. Once you have your goals mapped out, you need to make sure you are achieving them in a measurable fashion, and that’s where KPIs come in. Your KPIs should be determined based on how they contribute to one specific, strategic objective: What are your sales goals? How much money do you want to spend on marketing? After you determine these things, you can start mapping out what “performance” looks like in these categories.

For instance, you may decide you want to expand your business and fulfill overseas orders. You will first need to determine what the marketing KPIs are for breaking into international markets — how will you determine success? Make sure you do marketing research in this step because different audiences require different strategies. You can conduct informal surveys, in-person research, or collect data from national agencies. All of these things take you a step closer to writing and then achieving your KPIs.

Point 2: Get your documents in order.

As you’re making plans to take your business to the next level, you should consider forming a limited liability corporation (LLC). This basically gives your business several tax and liability benefits while keeping your management flexibility. The most well-known benefit of forming an LLC is that if your business were to be sued or go under, your personal assets would not be liable. Filing for an LLC also means less paperwork because it doesn’t require as many documents as a corporation would.

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), there are several types of businesses that cannot claim the LLC status, including banks and insurance companies. Please make sure to check what the particular regulations are in your state, as these rules vary across the country. You can even do the legwork yourself by filing online instead of investing your hard-earned money in lawyer fees.

Point 3: Invest your money (or time) in technologies.

Technology is the small-business owner’s best friend, quite literally. Tools like social media, data science solutions, and digital ads are all critical for today’s successful businesses. Utilizing these tools will improve your business acumen and give you better brand exposure, among other key metrics. Accounting programs can help you keep your budget straight; customer relationship management tools can assist with client retention and resource allocation. There are various software suites that provide out-of-the-box solutions for all of these necessities.

This doesn’t mean you have to invest just money in these kinds of tools. A time investment is sometimes all you need to delve into the technology and find use in it. For instance, starting a social media page and interacting with clients takes time and personalized care, but the return on customer relationships is worth the investment of your day.

In addition to engaging with customers on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, in today’s online-dominated business environment, a well-designed website is critical to acquiring and keeping clients — especially as you expand your business and branch out into more markets (even the aforementioned international scene). A website can allow your company to break through geographical barriers. So before you take your next step toward expanding your business, ensure you have a reliable, optimized web presence. Contact the experts at Throlson Web Design today for a consultation.

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