How Brand Management Has a Direct Impact on Your Business

 

If your carpet cleaning business was a person, your brand would be its personality. It is would be how you introduce yourself to new customers and how you build a trusting relationship with them. Your brand is a living breathing entity and it’s your sole job and responsibility to help it grow. This is what we call brand management. Creating a brand can be a thrilling experience. As your business scales, changes, and succeeds, and so is your brand.

 

Brand Management

Brand management is the process of managing your brand reputation and improving how your audience perceives your business. It is a way of building brand awareness, equity, and loyalty. Branding is the process of building your brand while brand management is the process of monitoring and maintaining it. Your brand is a living and breathing thing which means it will be constantly changing.

 

It will also be very susceptible to external factors such as economic trends and current events. In a world mostly controlled by social media influences, brand management will be about how you take control of your business story. You will need to use your brand and brand assets to communicate value and build a loyal relationship with your followers, customers as well as fans.

Brand management will be comprised of both tangible and intangible components.

 

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness defines how familiar the general public and your target audience is with your brand. Brand awareness is very important because consumers will not be able to engage with or make purchases of your products and services from your brand if they are not aware of it.

 

Brand Equity

Brand equity defines how consumers value your brand, based on their past experiences, associations, and perceptions. This concept will go hand in hand with brand valuation. It is the commercial value of your brand as placed by the public. Brand equity is very important because a valuable brand can support higher prices and increase your merit among investors, shareholders as well as potential buyers.

 

Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty refers to how consistently your customers and followers are engaging with and purchasing your brand. While your marketing will not necessarily influence this, your customer service department will without a doubt have the influence. You need to focus on leaving your customers satisfied and building strong relationships with them. Brand loyalty is very important in helping to create brand ambassadors who can do perfect marketing for you.

Brand Recognition

Brand recognition is how well a consumer, who is ideally your target audience, can recognize your brand, either through logo, packaging, or tagline, even without seeing your brand name. This concept goes hand in hand with brand recall. It is the ability to think of a brand without seeing or hearing any brand prompts.

 

Brand Reputation

Brand reputation refers to how the general public and your target audience perceive the character, status, and quality of your brand. The reputation can be influenced by internal factors such as customer service, product quality among others as well as external factors such as customer reviews, marketing, news mentions among others. Brand reputation is the most important element in branding because it defines the first impression a customer has on your brand.

How to Open and Run an Online Business

Can you count the number of times you have come up with an idea such as opening an equipment transport business and communicated the same to your friends, only to slow down through the process and your idea died? Starting a business is always a tall order that requires a lot of careful thought and consideration. However, if you can succeed to open a business, especially an online business, you stand to benefit a lot. Online businesses continue to generate a lot of revenues and are becoming very lucrative every day.

Online shopping makes the experience much easier for customers since they do not have to leave their homes to go make a purchase. If you are looking forward to opening an online business, here is how to go about it.

 

Create a business plan

The first thing you will need to come up with is a finite business plan. A business plan will map out the details of your company and will also serve as a reference point of information on what you need to sell. A business plan will provide you with the important factors that will guide your business. It will have aspects such as financial projections, legal documentations, lease issues, and permits. It will also be very useful for stakeholders to understand the position your business is taking.

Pick your legal structure

Now that your business plan has been done and looks incredible, you will need to fill some paperwork, apply for vital licenses and complete tax forms to be legally constituted. There are different legal structures you can enjoin. You can be a sole proprietor where you will be running your business on your own. You can opt for a partnership where two or more people become owners and have shared. You can also go for a limited liability company.

Register your business

After you have decided on your business structure, you will go ahead and pick a business name that will form the basis of your brand. Additionally, go ahead and obtain your business permits and licenses. You will need to obtain a seller permit, business permit, and small business tax. For US-based businesses, you will need to obtain an Employer Identification Number that will guide you on different taxes you will be obligated to pay. Up to that point, you will be ready to start your business.

Plan how to market your business

The next step of the process is planning how to market your business. There is a lot of information on the internet on how to market your business online. You will need to work your way up to build your audience, establish an online brand identity, establish social media accounts, have a professional website, and have enhanced your online selling capabilities.

Lastly, you will need to set up and streamline your funding plan. Small businesses need funding or some sort of capital to turn profits consistently. If you can finance your business on your own, the better, as doing so gives you more control of your business and eliminates the need for seeking additional funding in exchange for share equity.

How to Market Your Local Business’ Grand Opening

Have you ever started any product or service business such as landscape maintenance and wondered what would be the best strategy to use to get the message out there while opening the business for the first time? For local and new businesses, it can be hard to get customers through the door. As a marketer, the first step is to let them know of your existence. Ultimately, the marketing tactics you put in place for your grand opening should help your business build relations and create a buzz with your audience.

When marketing your grand opening, you need to develop an all-round marketing strategy. Here are some of the places where you can market your grand opening.

Forums

Some cities have bulletins and forums where community events are advertised. You may consider taking out an ad in the local parks and see how it goes. Additionally, you can ask city officials to promote your event in their newsletters or their official communication to their citizens. It is always a good idea to develop relationships with officials.

Leverage your Network

The most obvious place you should consider when marketing your grand opening is to your network. Consider inviting your family and friends and encourage your employees to do the same as well. During such time, consider offering your friends and family discounts as incentives. You can also send a mass email about the opening to your mailing list with the use of free email marketing software.

Local Press

Another very important component of your grand opening marketing strategy involves local press. You must invite the local press to your event. The more coverage you get the better. Additionally, if the press comes to your event, you have the doubt benefit of having them promote it on their networks for those news media who can’t make it to attend, consider sending them a press release before and after the event to make it easy for them to cover it. Additionally, forging good relations with the press is always a noble idea.

Traditional Advertising

For local businesses, traditional advertising still presents a great avenue for marketing. You should consider hanging up flyers wherever you can and make good use of them with the word “opening soon”. Since not everyone knows of your existence yet, you must make use of flyers to market your brand. Additionally, consider other traditional methods such as direct mailing.

Social Media

Most likely, not everyone is going to drive by your billboard ad to see the type of flyers and signs you have put about your business opening soon. To fix this problem, consider reaching out to a local audience online. You can get started with the use of social media. You can create a Facebook event and invite everyone you know. After that, create your social media accounts so that you can run your social media ads and target a local area. The more people see your promotion, the more who will show up.

How to Retain Customers in A Remote Selling Environment

The year 2020 saw a major shift in workplace conditions and priorities in favor of remote working. In terms of sales, there has been a transition to remote selling, and salespeople have had a change in the way they engage customers. However, remote work is not a new concept and 65 percent of companies globally have now turned their attention to remote working. In remote working environments, employees are finding themselves more productive and organizations are reducing costs due to remote work.

However, if you are selling remotely, there has been a lot of changes in the customer buying experience, leading to a rough time retaining customers. Here are a couple of ways to improve customer retention while selling remotely.

Reduce turnaround time on sales

Lack of instant feedback will in most cases lead to customers not being able to find quick answers on what they need and will lead to them shunning your business. You need to set up mobile and desktop notifications for new messages from your customers. Doing so will help you respond quickly to customers and they will feel assured everything is working right.

 

Re-engineer your customer engagement

Once a lead has been nurtured in your pipeline, you would have them enrolled straight into your nurturing platform. This platform would mostly be a CRM. Be sure to have your CRM always updated and all leads followed immediately to be acted upon. Additionally, ensure you keep your leads engaged with relevant content across all your channels. Note that emails you send, especially during this time, will have fewer engagements, so there is a need to re-strategize.

 

Enable quick decision making

As a sales leader, you should empower your team with what they need to ensure they can make decisions on behalf of your company without a lot of bottleneck or sabotage.  Note that engagements and support tickets will take a little longer to get resolved. Never rob your customers the chance to serve you when you need more time to deliver on tasks. Shorten the wait time.  you are serving a global market, be keen on the differences posed by geography and time zones.

 

Always under-promise but over-deliver

At times, you may want to inflate claims and promises on a product for the sake of making a sale. While this might slightly work in a short time, eventually you will find out it is not a suitable practice. Finally, you will end up underwhelming your customers and decrease any likelihood of delighting them.  This can be largely the case especially when communicating remotely and reactions will not be well conveyed through messages.

Once you have managed to delight your customers, you should enable them to contribute towards your success. One way of going about it is by requesting them to write reviews and testimonials about the experience they have received interacting with you. Make them feel a sense of ownership in your company by appreciating them and giving them a chance to voice out how they felt doing business with you.

 

Cost-Effective and Practical Passive Recruiting Strategies

Passive recruiting is a useful method for reaching out to potential talent in different fields especially when actively looking for new positions. Because of the nature of passive recruiting, it needs to be done in a seamless way that eliminates all kinds of complications. Most of the ways businesses use when practicing passive recruiting can be capital intensive. Other methodologies may be challenging to implement.

However, there are some methods that are both affordable and practical and can be used in achieving your business goals. If you want to see success in your passive recruiting, practice the following techniques.

Maintain a great reputation

The best way to attract great talent before others have a chance to build relationships is through maintaining a great reputation. Great talent has the desire to work for companies that respect people and have an exciting vision. The best way to attract this talent is to ensure your team is sharing what you are doing and are excited about the networks you are creating.

Teach interns how to source talent

Hiring interns can present one of the great ways to save on cost, while also getting a great talent in place to help you deliver on your mandate. When you hire interns, you get the opportunity to have low cost, smart and enthusiastic people who are ready to build pipelines and play diverse roles. They are also great at nurturing candidates and making them understand what your company needs.

Create a referral program

A referral program within your organization can be a cost-effective approach when it comes to passive recruiting. Many of your employees will have extensive professional networks of candidates they can turn to, who are a great fit for your company. It can also be cost-effective because your existing engaged employees can articulate your company culture better than anyone.

Develop a targeted approach

The more targeted your approach is, the better you will be in attracting talent. You need to figure out the single most important capabilities you are after a certain role and work towards ensuring you get people who are most suited to fill that role. You can also work with experts and vendors who are most suited to deliver on your mandate.

Be visible online

Another great way of attracting talent is by being visible on online networking platforms. Platforms such as LinkedIn can help you reach hundreds of individuals without committing your funds and other resources on recruiting. work on your brand awareness and marketing to ensure you are fully visible. Afterward, work on fostering good relationships through though leadership and supporting others who connect with you.

If you have hiring managers, consider offering them sourcing training. This should be the case especially for employees who can’t afford to hire experienced sourcers. When you provide your hiring managers with sourcing training, you can also teach them the skills they need to target passive candidates. unlike active candidates, note that those not seeking employment will not respond to job ads.

Tips for Providing Excellent Customer Service

 

Excellent customer service is much needed in businesses to facilitate the creation of loyal customers who are willing to refer your business to their friends and family. To provide excellent customer service, you must start by having a genuine desire to delight your customers. Most importantly, you should think beyond selling your products and services. You need to consider the cumulative experience your customers will have, once they visit your website or store, in terms of what they think and feel, and what you can do to make the overall experience better.

Here are some sure ways to up your game when it comes to offering excellent customer service.

Know your products and services

To provide good customer service, you must know what you are selling inside and out. Ensure you and all members of staff who have to interact with customers know how your products and services work. Beware of the most common questions customers ask and have answers at your fingertips. Ensure you have a way of articulating your answers in a manner that leaves your customers satisfied.

Be friendly

Excellent customer service starts with a smile. When you are in a face to face conversation with a customer, start with a warm greeting as the first thing customer sees and hears when they ask for help. Even in situations when you are handling customer service via telephone, ensure there is a smile coming through your voice, and at all times, be friendly.

 

Say thank you

Gratitude is very memorable and can go a long way towards reminding your customers why they shopped at your store, or why they decided to do business with your company. regardless of the type of business you are operating, it is important to say thank you after every transaction, as it acts as one of the easiest ways to start a good habit of customer service.

 

Train your staff

It is very important to ensure all your employees are properly trained in customer service. Never perform training on a select number of employees and leave others pending. Your employees should understand how to interact and handle customer queries and how to present themselves in a professional manner. Provide employee training that gives your staff the tools necessary to carry out good service that leaves a positive customer experience.

Show Respect

customer service can be entangled in so many emotions. It is important to ensure you and others handling customer service can conduct themselves in the highest level of professionalism by being courteous and respectful. At any given time, you should never let your emotions overtake your desire to see a customer walk out from your store happy. Additionally, you should always ensure you attentively and actively listen to your customers. Hear out what a customer has to say, both verbally and non-verbally. Watch for any signs of information being passed through body language.

After listening to what a customer has to say, be responsive, and show a genuine desire to help. All customer issues need to be resolved amicably and in the shortest time possible.

How to Incorporate a Business

As anyone who has ever owned a business and they will tell you incorporating is a big step in any business process. Lenders, vendors, investors, and other stakeholders are more likely to take your business seriously if you are incorporated. The process of incorporating a business will slightly differ from one state to the other. It will be depended on which state you are doing business in and what type of business you will be building.

What is incorporation

Incorporation entails a process of registering your business as a corporation. Normally, corporations are controlled by three different parties – which are stakeholders, directors, and officers. Shareholders are owners of the corporation and this happens after they purchase stock. They then set up a board of directors who decide on matters of management and policy. The board of directors will be responsible for appointing CEO, CFO, secretaries, and other members who are tasked with the mandate of running the corporation daily.

There are different steps business people can use to incorporate their businesses.

Comply with licensing laws

The first step towards incorporation involves complying with licensing and zoning laws. Most businesses will not need any permits or licenses to operate, especially those in regulated industries such as food and healthcare. You only need to ensure you comply with local laws so that you don’t have to worry about your establishments being denied operating license.

Conduct a business name search

The next step is to ensure you have a unique name for your business. You will not be allowed to use the exact name as another incorporated business in your locality, to ensure there is no confusion to customers. In most cases, the state will host online name search directories to ensure members search for their preferred names.

Draft articles of incorporation

The next step is to draft articles of incorporation. Also known as certificates of incorporation, it includes documents you have to fill with the state to create a corporation. It contains business names, location, number, type of shares as well as addresses of registered agents. It can be a simple two-page document that provides an explanation of the corporation’s purpose, name, and address of the people who will serve on the board of directors, name, and address of the officers for the corporation, and how long the corporation will last.

You will then need to file articles of incorporation with the state. You will be expected to pay a filing fee of about $500 at this stage. Additionally, you can decide to go through the state’s website and follow the filling procedures that will be described there. You can also make use of online incorporation services so that they fill all those details on your behalf. These companies can be very useful in helping you draft the articles of incorporation and filling at a fee.

You will then be required to come up with corporate by-laws, in a document that lays out how your corporation is structured and managed.