branding 668x430 668x380 - The 6 best strategies for sustainable business growth

The 6 best strategies for sustainable business growth

If you’ve got a startup venture off the ground you probably thought you were past the tough bit of owning a business – but then there’s the need to grow your business!

Growth isn’t easy – if it were, we’d all be at the helm of billion pound organisations.

That said, with some solid foundations in place you’re likely to find growing your operations far easier. We’ll look at what those foundations are and how they can be used as part of a sustainable growth strategy…


  1. Work with solid principles

When it comes to running a business you’re either going to forge your own path or get swept in various different directions with the changing needs of your business, your finances, customer requirements and so forth.

While some business agility is a good thing, if you want to create sustainable growth you’re going to need a roadmap – and not just one that charts your projections and goals.

Instead, think about doubling-down on the principles that underpin exactly what it is that you do. Maybe offering exceptional content is the thing that make your business who you are? If so, create more, delve into what people are looking for and answer their needs. Maybe the materials you use are ethically sourced? Shout about it, get accreditations that rubber stamp what you’re doing or write a book about how other people can follow in your footsteps.

Passionate principles are contagious – pursue them and watch customers become passionate about what you’re doing too.


  1. Create a solid and powerful brand

There are many local and small companies doing branding really well, for example, Atlas Ceramics – but they’re only doing the same fundamentals that you can also do with your brand.

Let’s take Apple as an example:

When you see that symbol you know what to expect from the product or material it’s attached to; simplicity, exceptional usability, style, innovation – to name just a few. It’s well documented that Apple have done this by sticking to their solid principles and using them as checkmarks against which EVERYTHING they do is measured.

Have you ever seen an Apple product that doesn’t tick all of the above boxes? Unlikely – and you can do the same with your brand. Consider the most important principles at the core of your business and make sure they’re communicated in everything you do – not least your actions.


  1. Find people you can rely on

When you’re recruiting or looking for partnership companies, you might put experience and knowledge at the top of your list – and to some degree that’s understandable. However, when it comes to having the right people to help you grow your business, there could be a better way.

Next time you’re talking to a job candidate or subcontracting company, talk to them about the service you want to deliver – and about the values you’ve built your business on. When you find people that respond to your questions with the passion that you have for those subjects – those people are likely to fit in well to the environment you’ll need to grow in the right direction.

That’s not to say that should ignore experience completely – but understand that it’s a lot easier to teach skills than it is to reshape a person’s attitude.


  1. Hold on tight to your current customers

When you talk about growth in business most people envisage some kind of graph with an upward arrow and ‘sales’ somewhere on the page. Selling more of your product is one idea – but there’s another that’s easier to deliver:

Retain your current customers.

When it comes to easy business wins, it makes absolute sense to make your current customers feel valued and loved – thus repeating the repeat business rewards of doing so – than it is to go out and find more people who’ll order with you.

Instead of focusing your salespeople on getting more business from new sources, consider an incentive that encourages them to cement and maximise the relationships you have with your current customers.


  1. Build around your current products

If you’ve got a solid brand and a great team who are keeping your customers onboard, it might be time to think about diversifying your product somewhat.

Now, which direction you move in is totally up to you – but we can almost guarantee that there’s scope for taking your brand somewhere new and doing another service or product just as well as you are your current business focus.

Let’s carry on with the Apple example:

Were Apple to create an office chair – would it sell?

You’re absolutely right it would, by the truckload – because the principles of design and function that Apple has become synonymous with would give office workers the world over the impression that their aching back was about to be gone forever.

Understand what people expect from your brand – and which products that it would give you a head-start with were you to expand your offering.

  1. Be ready to truly lead

There are a lot of distinctions between someone who just manages and someone who truly leads – not least the impact that the two approaches have on your company’s ability to grow.

You’re one mind – and while you might have some great ideas, there’s a chance that you employ people who get a very real understanding of what your particular coalface is like every day they show up.

If you want to know what your customers want – do less guessing and more listening to the people who are talking to them each day. There’s an old adage about the customer being king – and frankly, it’s wrong. If you make your team the most important thing in your business, your customers will feel that automatically, owing to the new levels of expertise, support and care they receive at the hands of a valued group of people.

Unfortunately for you, being a decision maker and empowering your team means you’re going to have to start taking a lot less credit when things go well – and potentially supporting them by absorbing the flak when things don’t go to plan – but that’s all part of being a leader and having a team that’ll help your business grow.

Will online media be the death of printed news 720x380 - Will online media be the death of printed news?

Will online media be the death of printed news?

Last year, the Independent surrendered to the weight of its ever-shrinking print readership and turned off the printers for good, trusting the future of the publication with its online audience.

In the past, newspapers were known to hold companies and indeed governments to account. Today, their numbers are vastly depleted. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over half of the jobs within the news industry have disappeared in the last 15 years.

There’s been a steady decline of 2% for print newspapers for a rather long time, so what has changed? What has caused the breakneck speed of print publications losing their readers? What one thing has grown so exponentially in the past 15 years to become an intrinsic part of everyone’s life? It’s the internet, and online subscriptions such as https://proefabonnementkrant.com/telegraaf/of course.

 

Where’s the evidence?

The effects of the internet on printed publications can be further seen when we look to other pieces of evidence. You see, it isn’t just the rich world newspapers that have suffered the change. Across the western world, newspapers and magazines alike have felt the shift towards online media.

Celebrity gossip mags like Hello and Closer have seen their readership fall and fall, while music reviewing mag NME has also suffered the changing winds. Meanwhile, in the developing world, where a steady internet connection is more a luxury than an expected right, the newspaper still reigns supreme over digital news. In fact, readership figures for print publications in India are booming.

 

The Effects of Advertising

Most revenue generated by a magazine comes from its advertising. This is especially true for the free dailies, who rely solely on advertising revenues to finance their business.

For the publishers, this only doubles the pressure. They no longer have to focus on holding onto their readership for dear life, they’ve also got to worry about financing their efforts.

But the advertisers are too busy chasing readers out to the door. According to the Pew Research Center, this is an inevitable truth for the news industry. In 2005, advertising revenues generated by printed papers in the US topped $50bn.

Ten years later, figures had fallen to $20bn. In contrast, the revenues created from newspaper websites grew from $2bn to $3.5bn. It’s a sharp decrease for print and a small victory for the web, but the numbers are indeed there.

So why have advertisers chosen to throw in their lot with digital media? The first reason that springs to mind is consumer matching. For an advertiser, the internet is bursting with information about customers.

That’s because everything we do on the internet is recorded. Google will kindly track your browser history for you, recording the sites that you’ve visited, how often you’ve done so and how long you’ve spent on each site per session.

Creating user profiles on news websites (and indeed other sites) provides data about your age, your location and perhaps your interests. Advertisers are then able to collate all of this data to find out:

  1. The demographics of the people who normally purchase their products.
  2. Where to find more of these people so they can be tempted to buy their products.

Web users have become so accustomed to this personalised form of advertising that it’s almost expected. For an advertiser, this is the holy grail. They no longer need to place expensive adverts in newspapers and presume their efforts are making a difference. Now, sellers and buyers can be brought together, and every checkout completion can be traced.

 

What do the readers want?

Simply put, they want to the news and they want it now. The internet is full of real-time action. You can stream videos live, update people on your location and fight with strangers in 140 characters or less. With everything being so readily available at everyone’s fingertips, it stands to reason that the news should follow suit.

No longer are we waiting for days to find out about a sign being stolen for the village hall or that there was an accident on the motorway last week. Everything is available as it’s happening. In turn, this has led to an increase in journalism.

Well, sort of. Now, everyone with a keyboard can share the news. It causes a lot of slander and bias to leak into reporting, but newspapers are often associated with political parties or owned by conglomerates, so the bias is hardly something new.

Readers also want their news for free. Millennials in particular, it seems, have grown accustomed to having access to so much information, that they no longer deem the news worthy of being paid for. Some printed publications have cottoned onto this trend, and have changed their business model to centre around the free dailies.

These have remained popular, with 22 million copies distributed worldwide and read by 45 million people every day. However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for these print papers, with a string of lawsuits filed against them in Europe. Covering everything from littering concerns to the right for the Metro to be distributed through public transport, the attack on print is ceaseless.

 

What is the future of news reporting?

Although print newspapers are on the decline, it is hard to imagine that they will disappear completely. Some believe it’s simply impossible, with the likes of John S. Carroll, former editor of the Los Angeles Times reporting “Newspapers are doing the reporting. George and Yahoo! Aren’t those people putting reporters on the street in any number.

Blogs can’t afford it.” Simply put, the decline in newspapers means a decline in reliable and researched news. Although newspapers may suffer from a dwindling readership, it is other mediums of news reporting that rely on these companies for their facts and figures. So how do we finance the people putting in the hard graft? “It is the fundamental problem facing the industry” says newspaper analyst, Moreton. Hopefully we will have an answer soon.

The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino 720x380 - The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

Starting a new business or entering a new industry can create many issues that perhaps were not thought of initially. Most new businesses will begin with a business plan that they believe possesses the Midas touch and see profits instantly soar through the roof.

As any industry veterans know, the business plan gets thrown out the window and it’s often a game of calculated trial and error on the steps you take to success. Today we are going to take a deeper look into the online gambling industry and look into a market that is often greeted by authorities as being an unwelcomed necessity, an advocate of addiction, and by the public, a general misunderstood area.

For operators, the online gambling scene is a competition for web traffic and players and this is a merry dance that can be won through a number of different ‘proven’ strategies. Some of the main marketing methods of the industry are embedded in a finely tuned SEO strategy, pay-per-click advertising and the use of affiliate marketing.

To gain a greater insight into the industry and some of the pressures faced by an unknown name in the gambling world, we spoke to Scott Manford, CEO of Easy Slots “When we initially decided to start an online platform we were heavily invested in our SEO strategy being the main driving force for our web-traffic and marketing technique. That is still very much the case but we have needed to make necessary tweaks along the way.”

“At this moment in time we seemed to have found an SEO and marketing strategy that suits both our requirements and matches nicely with the ever-changing Google algorithms. In respect of this we have also engaged in methods such as pay-per-click advertising and affiliate marketing. I have a number of years’ experience working across both land-based and online casinos and wanted to take the next step and build a platform that brought together the best of both worlds.” Click here to view his website.

It’s perhaps only with time, experience and error that you can come across the correct ingredients that will aid your success. Outlined below are just a few of the ingredients that can be used and manipulated within the online gambling industry. It explains both some of their pros and cons and real life industry expectations of each.

 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing - The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

Affiliate marketing is one way of externally generating customers and the resulting traffic to your platform. This operates as a branch effect where a business will have an army of affiliates who will each go out in search of drawing in new customers to the brand. What’s it in for you? You have more customers who are going to be depositing more money onto your site. What’s in it for them? Often the case with affiliate partnerships there’s always some sort of hybrid deal in place that is based on revenue share and something else. However affiliate customer generation can often be temperamental and the quality of the traffic is never guaranteed.

 

Pay-Per-Click

Pay Per Click - The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

For anyone who didn’t know, the online gambling industry is met with fierce competition and the volatility of the first page rankings of google for popular keyword terms is often a situation that needs to be monitored constantly. Pay per click is a fast way to shortcut this and pay your way to the top which is a good method to use by the big names in the industry.

 

SEO

SEO - The Trials and Tribulations of Opening an Online Casino

Search Engine Optimisation is often something that many people overlook because they see it as an intangible expenditure. However, SEO is vital to success in the online gambling industry. Where the first two methods could be argued to be short-term stop gaps for success, SEO can create a lot more stabilised and considered method of marketing. It allows you to create an understanding of your place in the market through intense keyword analysis and research. 

While all three of these marketing strategies have proven to be successful in securing some first-class rankings in the gambling industry they are not exhaustive. To succeed in the gambling industry and the specific niches that exist within it careful consideration must be placed into the keywords you want to rank for and the quality of traffic you want to drive to your site. With Google algorithms constantly changing the market is just as volatile as the 5 reel slot games that exist within the platforms that house them.

 

 

How to start your own online business 720x380 - How to start your own online business

How to start your own online business

Setting up a business for yourself has never been easier. This is all thanks to the internet and the introduction of ecommerce and online stores. Some people use it as a way to make sure extra money on the side, along with their current employment. Others may decide that they want to put all their time and effort into running that one business.

No matter what path you are taking, one thing is for sure, you are going to need to set everything up ready to start selling. This may not be the easiest of things to do, particularly if you are not too tech aware, but there are some simple steps to follow in order to have your own online business.

Here to help, we have put together our very own guide to how to start your own online business, and in no time at all be selling and hopefully making some money too.

 

Figure out who you want your market to be

Figure out - How to start your own online business
Before you can even start to set up your online business, you need to know who you are trying to target. What will your target market want? What do they need? How can you reach them? These are all questions that you are going to need to think about. The better that you know the market, then the more success that you will have when it comes to marketing your products or services.

Some budding entrepreneurs might worry that they are entering a crowded marketplace, but if there are plenty of other businesses all offering the same type of thing, then it is clearly a good market. All you need to remember is that you have to stand out.

 

Pick your domain name and register it

Pick your - How to start your own online business
A domain name is a unique address, a space on the internet. Just like a patent or a trademark it is all yours. There are ae variety of online domain name registration companies where you can purchase your domain name of choice. You may even be lucky enough to find a company that will also help you with hosting packages. But it is important that you ensure that this is legitimate otherwise you may be left with a domain name that isn’t even yours!

But what name to go with? Some will choice their own name, if their online store will be personal to them. Others will have a domain name that will be reflective of what they can offer. These are often better than trying to think of something that sounds nice, but that gives no clue to what you can offer as a company.

 

Find somewhere to host your website

Find somewhere - How to start your own online business
As we have already covered, some domain registration companies will offer free hosting, but there are also those that don’t. A hosting service will give you a rented space on their server, which will be to run your website. There are a variety of things to think about when choosing a hosting site for your store.  You will need to think about storage capacity, whether you get a domain based email, is the server secure and how often do they have any downtime.

You will also want to make sure that you have access to customer support, as there are likely to be times when things go wrong and you are going to need help.

 

Start to design your online store

Start to design - How to start your own online business
One of the things that those setting up an online store will be anxious about is designing their website. If you are feeling creative, or you have access to website building tools, you might want to do this yourself.  However, if you are really not sure on where to start, or what will be best for your own vision for an online store, then it is a good idea to hire a website designer to help you, such as Think Zap who are some of the best web design agencies in Glasgow . They can advise you on the things to think about, the areas to focus on and what will make for the very best website.

 

Figure out how you will accept payments

Figure out how - How to start your own online business
People want to pay online, this is a simple fact. So, this means that you need to make sure that you have a method to accept online payments. There are a few different ways that you can accept payments and process transactions and the main thing to think about is that they are secure. PayPal has to be the most commonplace online payment option, and this is for good reason. It is easy to use, well recognized and a place that plenty of people trust.

 

Get yourself some traffic

Get yourself - How to start your own online business
Once your website is up and running, the time has come to think about how you are going to get people to visit it. After all, there is no point designing an amazing website if there is no-one to see it. You are going to need to think about how best to get traffic to your store and then hopefully buying from you.

It is a good idea to register with all the major search engines as a starting point, as at least this will get you on their radar. Next you need to think about things such as social media advertising, direct mailing and maybe setting up a blog to add in a touch of keyword rich content.

 

Keep an eye on how you are doing

Keep an - How to start your own online business
One of the key factors to a successful online store is one that can be improved and change. You need to keep a track of how your online store is performing. Things to consider include, what are the most popular pages? Where is your traffic coming from? What are the most popular keywords? This information is going to prove vital for the continual success of your online store as well as how you can improve your conversions and draw in more and more customers.

Setting up an online store might not be something that comes naturally to you, but it is definitely something that you should persevere with. After all that hard work and effort, to make your first sale and send out your first order, there really is no better feeling than that!

 

grow your business online infograph dragonsearch 1 - How to start your own online business

Infographic by: www.asianentrepreneur.com

 

20150901161625 man facebook laptop online marketing - How To Drive More Business Using Online Channels

How To Drive More Business Using Online Channels

Especially a new or small business. In order to make a difference, it is important to invest some time into digital marketing. Online marketing is the present and it is the future, it is the way to jump forward in reaching out to new customers and gaining new revenue. In the current digital climate, you don’t want your business to fall behind and start losing out to competitors. The manufacturing industry can benefit largely from online marketing, and here is how.

Gone are the days of looking up the Yellow Pages to gain or look for business, now you can do it all without having to leave your desk. Most searches now take place online, and you need to ensure that you are the first choice for your customers. Online marketing is a must for companies who want to grow and become successful.

Online marketing can offer exciting challenges for manufacturing companies, for example Reid Brother UK who are one of the worlds biggest supplier of steel banding, these companies are willing to put in the work and take advantage of the opportunities that are lying in front of them.

 

Website

Website - How To Drive More Business Using Online Channels
Basically, your main selling tool. So you need to make it appealing. Keep it modern. Make it responsive. Keep it user friendly, so it is easy for the user to move around and find what they are looking for. Including this makes it engaging and keeps people on your website. More people on your website means more traffic, and more traffic means more sales, and a greater interest people will gain in your business. Ensure your contact information is clear so it is easy enough for a customer to pick up the phone and call straight away.

 

Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation - How To Drive More Business Using Online Channels
Want your website to do well and create more results? Invest some time into SEO. Research the phrases that your target customer base are searching. Keywords are essential, so you are speaking the language of your audience. Optimising your keywords for search engines allows your website to appear higher on the rankings, then you are more likely to connect with those who need your services. It allows your brand to be found quicker, giving you advantage over your competitors.

 

Social Media

Website - How To Drive More Business Using Online Channels
A benefit of online marketing. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or YouTube, each channel will represent you and your business. Social media for manufacturing may not be as easy as it sounds, it involves building relationships and sharing information about your company, but it can still be beneficial.

LinkedIn proves to be the best platform for manufacturing organisations. It gives you the opportunity to engage with potential customers in a more professional manner. It allows you to blog and interact with other business owners, your profile represents your business and what you’re about.

Twitter and Facebook prove to be the more conversational forms of social media. Again, allowing you to build up followings from all over the world. Each platform also has the paid ad feature within, which allows you to create an advert which then reaches a wider targeted audience, meeting potential customers and leading them to your website.

 

Content Marketing

Content Marketing - How To Drive More Business Using Online Channels
Creativity. Creating interesting content about the products and services you are selling, keeps people intrigued, and reels them in. Write a blog, create videos, capture images that can be shared across your social media and website. This will not only involve your customers in your latest company news and events, but also entice new customers to your business. This also helps with SEO as it shows the search engines that you are active online. Email marketing is also another tool that is at your disposal if you already have a database of customer email addresses.

 

Creativity

Creativity - How To Drive More Business Using Online Channels
Innovative ideas. They are essential. New and exciting designs will go far in an online marketing scheme. You don’t want to have a bland, robotic promoting structure. No-one wants automated posts. The key is connecting with potential customers on a personal basis. Conversation stands out. Even if you sell similar products to your competitors, you should emphasise your assets and show why you are unique. Plastic Strapping Business? Show your audience why you are passionate about it. Keep your followers engaged and keep them wanting more.

 

24/7

247 - How To Drive More Business Using Online Channels
The amazing thing about the internet is you are not constrained. Be there 24/7, because the internet never sleeps. You can reach people all over the world at any time. You are not restricted to usual 9-5 structure. Before you may have placed an advert in the paper and reached a few people in your city, now from your desktop, you can gain a high customer reach, for a lesser cost. But it is all about putting the work in to achieve the results, you need to sell yourself to potential customers and tell them why they should choose you.

Your online footprint is important. How you are perceived affects you and any potential business you may get. Ensure you keep it looking clean. Use your ideas and show how your company can stand out from the crowd. As much as you are trying to gain new custom, remember and stick by your old faithful customers. When you are on the phone, let them know about your website and keep them updated with your social media links. All in all, bringing your business online, specifically in the manufacturing industry, could work wonders, and ironically save you money in the long run.