Build Real Relationships and Be Successful in Your Business

What’s the key to business success? There are actually a lot of different answers to this question. Probably you’ve been told to spend more time on building your brand, expand your social media network, improve your employees’ productivity, identify your strengths, and many other more. However, the most fundamental key to business success is, most often than not, forgotten. And that is building real relationships with real people in the real world.

So why is building “real relationships” the key to business success? Here are some reasons:

Real network is your most important business asset.
Establish relationships with real people because they are the ones who actually get things done. While social network is the “in” thing nowadays, nothing beats the “real network.” Always remember that one real relationship is more important, and has bigger worth than thousands of social media links, followers or likes.

Build Relationships and Be Successful in Your Business

You sell your service/ products to real human beings.
Even at online stores or businesses, real human beings make the purchase. In spite of the various ecommerce channels being used nowadays, there will always be a human seller, and a human buyer. With this, your relationship with your buyer is of utmost importance.

Opportunities come with real people.
Opportunities don’t do the knocking, it’s the people who actually knock on your door. Every business opportunity that comes your way, every deal, every piece of advice that you receive involves a human being whom you should connect with. Never underestimate the importance of establishing real relationships because when you do so, you can experience real business success.

Do You Need to Move Your Office Out of Your Home?

Are you running your business at home? If you do, then you’re one of many business owners who are enjoying the benefits of having an office at home, cost savings and easy commute included. However, as your business grows, there comes a time when you need to go out and look for other space for your office. Here are some signs that your business already outgrows your home:

1. Your home office has adverse effects on your clients
Does a crying baby interrupt your phone call? Or does some loud music played by your neighbour irk your visiting customer? If the answer to these is yes, then it’s time for you to consider moving your office out of your home.

2. If you’re struggling to separate personal life from work
One of the downsides of having to work at home is the challenge to separate family/ personal life from work. If you’re having a hard time focusing on your project proposal because you’re thinking of the pile of dishes on your sink, or if you can’t sleep well at night because you can readily see your blinking computer, then perhaps it’s better if you have a physical separation between work and home.

3. Your house looks more like an office, than a house
Another sign that your business is outgrowing your house is when your house doesn’t look like homey anymore. There are piles of documents on your dining table, boxes on your floor, computers on your living room, etc. If you see that work is already invading your home, then you should probably get more space.

Do You Need to Move Your Office Out of Your Home

4. Increasing need to meet with vendors, suppliers and customers.
Meeting vendors, suppliers and customers in your home on a regular basis can have a negative impact on your business identity. It can also adversely affect your relationship with your family or housemates. If you need to hold meetings with various stakeholders, then it’s time to get new space for your business.

5. You hire employees to work with you.
Your employees need some kind of workspace that’s away from your home. Remember that not everyone would want to work in your house, and use your personal bathroom, or eat in your dining room. Provide a more conventional office environment for your employees so that they could have the space and resources to effectively and efficiently perform their job.

6. Your business needs more visibility.
Having a separate/ different office address could actually help your business’ visibility. If you have an official business office with signage, then your business brand could be made more known to your target market.

2014’s Global E-Commerce Trends to Look Out For

Written by: Romariche Verga

This past 2013 has been a big year for the e-commerce industry and we can only expect this to keep moving towards innovation and trends that are popping up this year. Keeping up with the industry’s growth is vital to staying on the competitive edge of the online retail market. Here are a few things that we could anticipate that would add fuel to the fire of the e-commerce industry.

Search Engine Optimization
Studies have indicated that most searches executed from search engines route directly to the top 3 search results. Keeping the contents of your site fresh, substantial, and interesting is the key if you want to stay in the market’s competition. Customer reviews, product pictures, videos, and descriptions will be the focus of online sellers if they plan to seriously revamp their business strategy.

“Big Data”
As for the veterans, this is the year where all their collected research will come into play. They’ll be making business decisions, accurately state forecasts of buying trends, and try to revolutionize shopping online based from their studies. This will keep things in a fresh perspective.

E-Commerce Goes M-Commerce
This has been around for a while now. But this time, mobile shopping will become the proving ground for both buyers and online entrepreneurs. Mobile devices have become much accessible, thus increasing the potential number of buyers. Mobile commerce is taking the globe by storm and consumers are expecting a new and exciting mobile shopping experience.

User Experience Upgraded
It’s basically saying that online stores will become more open and user-friendly. With the use of “Big Data”, businesses will be able to provide a more fit shopping experience to buyers like saving on their favored products, a hassle-free checkout process, and product recommendations based on the browsing habits of a customer.

Post while you Pay
It has become socially acceptable to the citizens of the internet to update social network statuses on where they shop, what they bought, and share it online. If customers are there, so should be the online sellers. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google+ are sure to make a huge impact on SEO rankings soon. And this is why businesses should have their social media presence be constant and active.

The @ Invasion

Years ago, just before the meteoric rise of social media, the “@” symbol was just for email. Today, everybody who’s online seems not to get enough of it. So how did “@” invade the online realm? Here are some data nuggets for your information:

at-sign

• For hundreds of years, the “@” symbol played multiple roles, and was used in almost everything – from beverage measurements to accounting units. However, this symbol was often left unnoticed in early typewriters and other earlier devices.
• In the early 1970’s, Ray Tomlinson, the man who invented email, thought of using that character as email addresses connector. According to Tomlinson in his interview with Smithsonian Magazine in 2012, “I was mostly looking for a symbol that wasn’t used much. And there weren’t a lot of options – an exclamation point or a comma. I could have used an equal sign, but that wouldn’t have made much sense.”
• It was 2006 when Robert Andersen, then a freelance designer, used the “@” symbol on Twitter for the very first time. Andersen later joined Square as founding team member.
• A couple of years after that, the “@” symbol became ‘Twitter-exclusive’, perhaps adding to the logic that Twitter was a jargon-filled online space.
• In 2009, Facebook embraced ‘@’ to allow users mention one another in posts.
• In 2013, LinkedIn joined the ‘@’ bandwagon.
• Google+ initially introduced its very own sign “+” to mention other users, but later allowed users to use “@”.
• Just this year, Tumblr adopted the “@” symbol due to user demand.

With these data, it seems that that the “@” symbol continues to penetrate an increasing number of social media networks. As mentioned by Debra Aho Williamson, an eMarketer analyst, “Once these things become part of the lexicon, it makes sense that other networks and other services will want to latch on. Why would you want to think about using an ‘@’ symbol on one service and a pound sign on another and a dollar sign on a third service? It really doesn’t make any sense.”

Increase Your Social Media Presence in 5 Easy Steps

Written by: Romariche Verga

Various business industries, left and right, made moves and competed with each other for the consumer’s hard-earned cash this past holiday season. From banner ads to YouTube commercials, users of the Internet are just plagued relentlessly by advertisements. But what would help make your business grab the attention of the desired audience and get them to purchase your product or service? Get into their heads by creating great content, and spread it by using various social media tools for an increased visibility of your business.

Less style, more substance
Do you really want to acquire your customer’s undivided attention? Then get rid of those fancy-pansy ads, annoying animations, and use of viral videos or its cheap imitations! Let’s face it, customers are most likely to leave the site than sit and watch that irritating ad. Images with poor quality, expired offers, and old blog postings are of no help either. You have to keep in mind that online customers are looking for substantial information and that they know they have more than one option over the net.

A picture that paints a thousand words
Use pictures that are clear and well-defined. It does not have to be in high-resolution nor should it be in pixelated, thumbnail sizes. Try showing your customers some vibrant and interesting pictures that would help enhance their interest in your business. Engage people by posting photo tutorials or product images on your site. Utilize websites like Pinterest to draw and attract more customers to your business.

Lights, camera, action!
Video is an effective tool that helps a lot in contributing to your business. But bear in mind that this should be used properly. Users that are searching for a topic, reads a description, and finds unrelated video content will feel very frustrated and leave your site. A balanced content of the site should be remembered. You may use or share videos via YouTube, Vine, or Vimeo.

There’s more than just one flavor…
Just because you have a Facebook page doesn’t mean that it should be enough. Diversity is the key here. There are many social networking sites that are up and running online. People will start taking notice if you begin to take the initiative of being noticed. Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Flickr are among the few popular social media sites available today. Also, don’t forget to constantly update your feeds. Customers may think that it’s only there just because if you don’t post anything new and interesting. Take the time to interact and entertain them if they have questions. It won’t be called social media if you don’t even bother to “socialize”.

Sharing is caring
Last, but not the least, always include the share button in your site. Nothing beats “word of mouth” or recommendations from people who’ve already shown a particular interest in your business. The more people know about you, the larger your customer base becomes. Businesses today have increased their projection of sales– thanks to the dynamic content that they have put up online. So, it’s no big secret that businesses grow little by little every day with the aid of these easy steps.

Build Up and Expand Your Business With These 5 Tips

By: Ernest Perez

There’s been a boom in e-marketing, and when I say boom, there’s a huge growth of income, expansion, and development in the said field. Also, there are people who post their local products online and sell it to everyone around the planet, if they have the option, and see if there are people out there who’s interested in what they are selling. But why is this important to you? You might be saying “I only sell stuff locally, so I don’t really need to learn all this”, but that’s a huge mistake other entrepreneurs make and in the end their business starts to decline due to lesser customer traffic.

 

 

But we have five tips that can help you build a long lasting business, not only locally, but also online.

1. Be consistent with your marketing tools.

We recognize a brand when we see their logo even without the brand name. A few examples are McDonald’s, Apple, Microsoft, and all other familiar and popular products and brands out there.

The logo, text, images, and other tools you use to market your product should always be consistent. Though consumers like cool, hip, and unique stuff, everything that you use to market should tell a story. It should create a one-look effect on the curious customer and in an instant they should realize what you are offering. And if that fails, it should create this vibe that it interesting and it’s worth their time to be looked at and tried.

 

2. A trained employee = Better income

Your business is growing and you need employees. This includes marketing specialists, managers and regular employees. Let’s all agree that everyone you employ knows how to type, use the internet, and create posts, but they are new to your business and are unaware of whom to tell and inform about the company. That’s where planning comes in. Give each employee or team tasks to finish within a favorable time period. Teach them to collect data, post, market and advertise; after that, schedule weekly, monthly, or even quarterly meetings on what they have collected.

From then on you can list down social sites that you can use as a marketing medium and focus on it. Furthermore, this will avoid inconsistencies on your website or e-commerce site.

 

3. Personal ≠ Professional

Your business is growing and prospective clients, customers and associates will try to investigate on who are they working with or who sells the stuff they like, and let’s be honest, that weekend escapade at the beach isn’t really “professional” in any way or whatsoever.

In line with this, we suggest that you create a separate account on your favorite social networking sites, such as, Facebook and Twitter. Furthermore, this will give you more window and private space with your personal account.

 

4. Mix and Match – Innovate, create and assimilate

Don’t just stick to your current choice of marketing strategy, have a cruise in the World Wide Web and search for other ways to market and present your brand. Remember that people would sometimes go elsewhere to look for stuff online. The online consumer community would rather choose to buy things advertised on their daily choice of websites (i.e. web news, webzines and other similar websites), especially if these websites are legitimate and is trusted.

Try using different mediums such as emails and blog posts, eventually people will notice your advertisement (or will get curious because your brand pops up every now and then). Furthermore, there are a lot of ways to garner costumer traffic online. You just have to be patient and well, a little bit assertive.

 

5. Be mindful of your business, competitors and customer feedback, then record it.

First of all, you have to focus on your business, make sure your brand is properly advertised and there is a regular flow of customer traffic. Then make sure you record it. More often than not, you have competitors with the same or relatively close product, so you should check the market every now and then.

What’s the best way to check customer feedback and review? Socialmedia. BlackMilk Clothing, the famous designer of unique and cool skin tight clothing, used a lot of social media while extensively using the features that the site provides. You can also check various customer review sites and check on your brand every now and then or even daily to make sure that it gets that “+1” rating. It is advisable to use monitoring software to help you in doing so. You can check the reviews on your competitor’s brand to help you make your next move.

So there we have it, five things to remember when planning to expand your brand on a global scale using the internet. Always remember that being “new” doesn’t mean your stuff is better. With a mixture of proper marketing, great product and good feedback, you will surely get a slot in the global marketplace.

6 Things That Make A Positive Customer Experience

By: Roma Verga

It’s always the little things that matter. This can serve as one’s bread-and-butter when attending to customers. Of course, customers feel good purchasing the products or service they like, but make them feel better that they have availed the goods from YOU. This will ensure you and your business to have a steady building of loyal customer base, spread a good reputation, and help make your business boom.

 

 

Be perceptive. Minding your business is one thing, but remember that you are only there because your customer is there as well. Try noticing the little things with the customer’s preferences or activities. Pass on a compliment if you notice they’ve had a haircut, greet or congratulate them if they’re in a mood of celebrating something like a birthday or promotion. Being attentive should be first and foremost, and this really pays off.

Acknowledgement. Addressing and greeting the customer by their name is a great manner to boost customer experience. If you have a staff that receives customers or client, have them greet the customers with a smile and address them by their name, with a warm and welcome feeling.

Customized Service. Who doesn’t like walking in one of their favorite restaurants and have their meal prepared as soon as possible and the way they like it? Or drop by their favorite sports bar and have the bartender grab their preferred drink and have it over before they could even sit down? If there’s anything you or your staff can do to remember what your customers like, then give it a go by all means. Remembering customers is nice, but serving their preferred goods while they are in your care makes a greater impression.

Be considerate. Go beyond the good customer experience by being mindful of your customers. Are they having trouble carrying things due to old age or disability? Assist them in carrying their things for them. If they say they’re sensitive or prone to something, try helping them out in avoiding such. Care for your customers like doctors would care for their patient’s well-being.

Give tribute and appreciate. They’re regulars at your place, they patronize your products or service, and you know they still want more. That’s good enough sign that they like and appreciate your business. So why not try to return the favor? Give them discount coupons or privilege cards the next time they’re at your place, invite them over for special sales to be held, offer a little something for free as a ‘thank you’ to these customers.

Make your customers smile. Yes it’s a professional business to be handled in a professional manner. But one does not have to seem uptight to be efficient in a business. Your customers are people, too. Make them feel relaxed, tell jokes mindfully, talk about that funny and adorable movie, or even offer those complementary candies or cookies from your office. Let them feel they are happy being there and the same goes for you.

The Internet in Modern Society

Written by: Romariche Verga

The year is 2013. Humanity has accomplished so much in the last hundred years than it did in the last hundred thousand. We have built space crafts, set foot on the moon, harnessed the Earth’s natural elements to serve as an energy source, and so much more. But today we’ll look at mankind’s daily routine. A day in the life of an Average Joe. He may not be doing the same thing he did yesterday. But one thing is for certain, he has access to a vast amount of information that can help him keep moving forward or lead to his manner of downfall. This is the Internet.

For the past 10 or 15 years, the manner of how we acquire and share information has blossomed into what it is today. It has become interactive, systematic, and stress-free. The Internet is all of these. But we must view this as how diamonds are made. The Internet ‘culture’ was once always under fire and pressure against well-established institutions that threatened their very foundation. An example of this would be the once-controversial Napster, where people would interact online and pioneered music file sharing. This very predicament still exists today and is labelled as “online piracy”, or simply viewed as a form of theft. It’s not just record industries’ losing profits but extends to the likes of entertainment  productions, software developers, and many more.

But overtime, many major companies and institutions that were once negatively affected have learned to adapt and utilize the vast capabilities of the Internet. Advertising to promote a certain product or service has been made easier, reducing the time and effort spent, is an example. Even government offices today are using the power of technology and information sharing to reduce paperwork, minimize errors, and make timely and accurate decisions. Thus making room to assist more people and provide better service.

Today, there is no existing way that people can absolutely police the uses and capabilities of file-sharing technology and the Internet. There are laws against online piracy, pornography, and even invasion of privacy. But it is within an individual to practice and exercise the proper and lawful use or access of the Internet.

This is only looking at the bigger picture. The power of information may be at the touch of a fingertip, but we must pay attention to everything that we do, even if it’s just a few keystrokes.

 

Smartphone Owners Use Their Phones to Go Online

By: Gerard Diestro 

One of the biggest trends in technology today are smartphones.

Nielsen finds that 15% of smartphone owners in the U.S. recently acquired their handset from June to August 2013 with 61% consumers picking Android and 34% choosing iPhones. This means more people now own a smartphone and prefer to use it as their mobile handset.

Data from Nielsen also reveal that young adults aged 25-34 have the highest smartphone penetration at 81% while teens aged 13-17 are close at 70%. Those users over the age of 55 remain the minority of smartphone owners.

Smartphone owners today are also using their devices to access the web every day at an increasing rate. According to a report from Pew Research Center, 63% of U.S. adult mobile phone owners now use their phones to go online. This figure has doubled since Pew first started tracking internet usage on mobile phones in 2009.

“A majority of the public now owns a smartphone, and mobile devices are playing an increasingly central role in the way that Americans access online services and information,” says Aaron Smith, Pew Research Center’s Internet Project senior researcher.

“For many, such as younger adults or lower-income Americans, mobile phones are often a primary gateway to online content—a development that has particular relevance to companies and organizations seeking to reach these groups.” He added.

The Pew Research Center findings are based on a national telephone survey of 2,252 adults age 18 and over.

Boost Your Company’s Credibility with Infographics

Different inbound marketing techniques are being used by companies to promote their brands. Such strategies include SEO, link building, videos, social media, email/ text blasts, infographics and blog posts. While these could help in driving traffic to websites, these techniques can actually boost your company’s credibility and help in hiring efforts as well.

Focusing on infographics, these can be used in adding credibility to your business. You can use these in conveying various messages and information—for instance, you can communicate your company values in terms of a topic that displays your business culture. Or, you can also disseminate information about your company’s current campaign or promo. If you can’t create the infographics yourself, you can simply outsource this particular task or create your very own internal design team.

Here are some specific ways to boost your company’s credibility via infographics:

Business Name/ Brand Recognition

Inforgraphics give you a cost-effective way to display and broadcast your business/ brand. Aside from containing highly-searchable contents, you can also strategically put your logo in every infographic that you publish. After adding your logo, you can promote the infographic to niche blogs, post it on social media or send it via email.

Brand Boost

Once your brand is recognized by more people,  name recall will increase as well. Your brand’s credibility and integrity will then be boosted, and more people will be enjoined to trust your business/ company.

“Thought Leader” Image

Infographics are effective ways to teach or educate your market about various topics. When your company takes time to create and publish infographics, your efforts won’t go unnoticed. Through these, you can show the people and the industry you’re in that you’re truly knowledgeable in what you do, and that you’re in touch with the goings-on.

Competitive Edge

Your target market will appreciate your company’s efforts to create quality and attention-grabbing contents, so they will more likely patronize what you offer. This gives your business the competitive edge that it needs. A published infographic will show people that you have attention to detail and that you’re not afraid to get creative just to convey a certain message.