Kandace Heller on January 13th, 2014

If there is one business document that entrepreneurs and business managers keep a close eye on it is the company budget. When you have an accurate budget, you are able to run a profitable business. But when your budget does not accurately reflect your company’s expenses and income, then you could be in for a long list of financial problems.

Learn From The Past

If your company consistently comes in with low budget numbers on office supplies each year, then learn from that and put the proper estimate in the budget this year. Historical budget data can be used to make sure that the mistakes of the past do not become financial problems in the future. Always adjust to keep an accurate and up to date budget for each month.

Find Free Options For Marketing

Social networking is something that your company can do for little or no cost. Your company’s employees can get involved in local charitable events, expand the exposure of the company, and do so without costing your company anything. When you plan your marketing budget, make sure that you explore all of the free options that are available.

Never Turn Down Promotional Supplies

Office supplies are a necessary expense for every company, and it is also one where you can save the most money. Many of your vendors offer promotional office supplies that you can use to offset the costs of running your office. When promotional office supplies such as free pens or pads of paper are offered to you, then put them into your company’s office supply storage closet and distribute them as regular office supplies. It also helps to use less office supplies. If you can save paper by keeping records in an online network, try that as well.

Get The Most From Your Money

One little trick that smart business owners use to get the most from their company’s money is to invest it in the stock market with short-term investments to supplement the company’s bottom line. Business owners can find good stock market investing tips online that will help them to turn their departmental budgets into a little extra cash.

Try Budgeting Based On Marketing Projects

Creating a marketing budget for the year can be extremely difficult and inaccurate. A better approach would be to create a general marketing budget number based on historical data and the estimates from your marketing managers, and then break that budget down into individual projects. It is easier to monitor spending when you know exactly where the money is going.

Get Good Corporate Credit Cards

Your company can get credit cards that pay you cash back for your purchases, give you free airline tickets when you reach certain purchase thresholds, have discounts on hotels, and offer points that can be used towards catalog purchases. Instead of using the cash you have planned in your budget, you should use these credit cards and then pay the balances off immediately with your budgeted payments. That way you can benefit from the rewards without paying the interest. Just remember to pay them off month to month each time you spend. You don’t want to have to add in extra interest or late fees into your budget.

Budgeting for business expenses is never easy, but it can be a process that is beneficial to your business if it is done right. Knowing where your money is going is the first step to spending less and investing more.

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A restaurant doesn’t grow from excellent food and word-of-mouth buzz alone. You must actively promote your business. Marketing doesn’t require a big bank account. You only need to make certain your existing and potential customers repeatedly see your restaurant name and logo and remember you in a positive light. You can always expand the “fan base” of your restaurant, but you need to constantly engage with the community and find creative ways to attract customers to your restaurant. Here are six secrets about self-promotion you may not know.

Thermal receipt messages keep them coming back

The thermal receipt is a basic yet effective marketing tool. Modern POS software allows you to quickly add promotional messages, such as best holiday wishes and discounts on future meals, to sales receipts. Customizing your messages to your customers will definitely go a long way. Any personal touches you can add into your marketing strategies will make a big difference in the end.

Branded items always give back

The ROI for branded promotional products is extremely high. “Take one” free pens at checkout that are imprinted with your restaurant name and phone number are useful and convenient to customers. Additionally, they quickly grab attention and result in future reservations and takeout calls. Promotional products like these act as walking billboards, ensuring that you gain repeated marketing

exposure every time they are used by recipients. A few restaurants in Omaha have used promotional products and items to gain community recognition by giving away custom t-shirts and sweat towels at local football games. Promotional products given to non-patrons on the street or at events, and programs offering branded t-shirts, mugs or kitchenware to loyal customers, also draw positive attention.

Advertorials and infomercials are worth the investment

These marketing tools give you the power to subtly shape public opinion while providing information you believe is important, such as details about a new menu, location or event. These seemingly objective “news” stories, build public awareness, trust and interest.

Quick Response codes are recognized currency

Patrons with smartphones and scanning apps know that QR codes on flyers, posters, menus and other materials offer them a little “extra” for choosing a business. For example, they may receive discounts at your business, or discounts at another business with whom you’ve partnered to offer an exchange of local deals. Any form of mobile marketing is a smart move these days with how popular smart phones are—this is a market that you can’t afford not to tap into.

People remember social network interactions

When you establish a dialogue between you and your social network, you’re immediately creating word-of-mouth buzz…all over the world. One idea: Offer cooking tips. Your followers and the people they tell will remember you as an expert cook and likely think of your restaurant the next time they’re hungry.

Charitable contributions make a positive impression

Everyone loves philanthropic work. You can expect an uptick in foot traffic whenever you become known as someone who contributes to helping others in your community. It is very difficult to initially build trust with the public. The fastest way to do so is by giving money or time.

These are a few secrets known by successful businesses that many restaurant owners don’t realize they can apply to their own marketing strategies. Many restaurant owners know a lot about food, but not enough about the business side or marketing aspect. If this is you, don’t worry—you can quickly learn the best methods for promoting your restaurant. The most important thing to remember is to get engaged in the community. Don’t wait for them to come to you!

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It’s vital to understand the importance of having loyal customers who continually promote your services. Making sure your customers are happy is often considered more important than reaching out to new customers. There are at least six ways that you can guarantee the satisfaction of your customers.

Provide Clear Communication

Miscommunication is a common problem that can really drive customers away from your business. Even if your business has good intentions, you could send out badly written policies that are confusing to people. Do not make anyone spend hours trying to decipher the statements and messages. If you send emails and newsletters, create clear page layouts, clean graphics and well-organized paragraphs.

Offer Personalized Products

Companies are encouraged to offer personalized products and services. Personalization is ideal for people who need unique materials. It is simple to make these custom-made products using design software. On your business website, make it easy for people to create products based on carefully chosen specifications.

Be More Kind

Customers seek companies that are known for being courteous, especially if they go above and beyond to make sure they are taken care of. Address customers by their names, greet people regularly and request feedback. It may not seem important at first, but a little courtesy goes a long way in business.

Buy Quality Materials

Buying high-quality materials should be an essential for any business owner. Using the cheapest goods is not always the best option because low quality products can hurt production. Customers will request less of the product and it may disappear eventually. Choose from reputable companies like the All Valley Sand and Gravel that provides free estimates and bulk orders for construction companies. Whatever business you are in, compare suppliers of materials so you can give your customers the highest-quality products.

Give More Than Expected

Go beyond the call of duty by exceeding your customers’ expectations. It is a good way to acquire the dedication of customers. Include bonuses, discounts or freebies in your sales campaigns. Make sure that people remember their customer service experiences along with the products and services that you give them.

Review Feedback

Know how your business is doing by reviewing feedback. It’s important to understand why some people are not returning to your services. Send out surveys and cards that they can fill out conveniently. For feedback to be effective, you must ask the right questions that will actually help you develop better products and services.

Customer satisfaction is important for any company that wants to continue operating in the future. Make sure that consumers feel comfortable doing business with you for years to come by following these tips.

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riannehunter@gmail.com on January 2nd, 2014

 

Managing data in businesses has given rise to numerous ideas to achieve efficiency. Data quality and categorization of structured and unstructured data in large volumes has prompted companies to explore solutions to growing data management problems. Here are some ideas that may help your business manage data long term.

1. Try Finding a Company That Will Manage Data for You

For many businesses it is important to remember that you need an “around-the-clock solution” for managing big data. A company such as Hivelocity or others can help you manage data online 24 hours per day and seven days per week. It’s important that you find or build a team that is ready to provide adequate dedicated server space through the cloud or otherwise and help to manage big data with minimal effort.

2. Expand Server Space and Storage Without On-site Expansion

Cloud services offer server space, storage, and other networking resources. This can help companies scale the space up and down with minimal effort. With these services, business owners discover how IT can use cloud computing to support big data analytics projects, and the process is both cost-effective and efficient.

3. Make Faster Decisions by Managing Business Data in the Cloud

When businesses understand patterns in their business, they can make better decisions faster based off the trends. For companies trying to manage their data and make fast business decisions based on real-time data, a good big data solution is necessary. The best cloud-based solutions will help businesses owners take calculated risks.

4. Bring More Value to Your Business with Organization

Cloud services can provide the programming network necessary to execute data processing for massive data sets. Organizations are using cloud services to organize data in an online digital footprint. There is so much data online that big data solutions are necessary to manage the data and analyze it to bring business value to every organization.

5. Manage and Retrieve Documents Faster

Business entrepreneurs cannot simply collect data. They must manage data to later be analyzed. This necessitates the need for fast retrieval and accessibility, which makes businesses more productive and efficient. Popular web application frameworks are technologically advanced and can manage data without the complexities that are typically associated with these types of solutions.

Whether you’re a baseball team owner or an executive at a company, you may want to consider these five ideas for your business data. These ideas will help make businesses more efficient and productive. Many business owners will pull up real-time data to make decisions immediately as situations arise based upon the situation at hand. Managing big data is at the forefront of the every business owner’s priority list.

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Kandace Heller on December 13th, 2013

That dream career you have your heart set on is going to stall out pretty quickly unless you can climb the ladder upwards. Competition is stiff for the few job promotions that exist within a company. To land a job that puts you on the next rung towards success requires more than simply being a good employee. You must do things that make you stand out from the crowd and get noticed. There are several steps you can take right now to begin working towards being promoted.

Get to Work On Time

An important quality in the ideal management candidate is showing everyone that you are committed to the job every single day. Showing up on time is a good way to display this trait. Lateness is not looked upon well by management. Regardless of how you commute to work, get an early start to ensure that you can be on the job promptly. Go one step better and arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes early. Your boss will notice.

Continue Your Education

A great way to prepare for a promotion is to continue your education by attending classes. It is a big advantage to gain knowledge about the latest skills and methods related to your industry. Respected institutions such as the University of Cincinnati Online offer flexible courses that you can take while still keeping up at your full time job.

Take On Extra Responsibility

Employers want workers that take initiative with a strong desire to achieve company objectives. After you have completed your regular tasks, make yourself invaluable by taking on an extra task or two. Let your boss know that you are more than happy to be of assistance wherever there is a need. This is a good way to learn other tasks that increases your knowledge of the company. This makes you a good candidate for a promotion because if you have taken on extra work and know how the company process works, they won’t have to spend as much time training you later.

Develop Your Personal Brand

Understand who you are as a person and employee. Think of yourself as a brand that provides value to the company. Write down your best qualities and strive to use them often.

Set Goals and Meet Them

Write down short-term and long-term goals and work towards meeting them each day. Your supervisor may give you a list of goals and tasks to complete at the beginning of each week, but you can also make your own. Maybe you feel you can do more than your supervisor asks, by all means, do it!

Dress for Success

Invest in a wardrobe that creates the image of success. Look the part. You never want to be under-dressed for work. This includes the small details like having freshly shined shoes and a face void of 5 o’clock shadow.

Develop a Strong Network

Do your best to meet and speak with managers and HR staff. Networking leads to familiarity, which leads to promotions. If you pass a boss in the hall or if you are riding in the elevator, don’t be afraid to start up a conversation or ask for an opinion on a certain project. You’ll want the higher-ups to remember who you are.

Don’t let yourself get stuck in a rut of the same job day in and day out. If you feel you are capable of greater things, prove yourself. By getting a higher education or proving you can meet goals, you can prove to your boss that you are capable and can be trusted with greater responsibility.

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Kandace Heller on December 9th, 2013

Smart business owners know that building a successful business takes more than simply creating a product and putting a price sticker on it. Business owners also need to market their products effectively if they want people to purchase them. Giving away freebies is one marketing method that has several advantages.

1. Free Advertising

When companies give away free promotional items such as t-shirts or custom zipper pull buttons from Custom Button Co, the people who take and wear the items become walking billboards for the company wherever they go. People love getting freebies and will generally put your items to use at work or school where others can see your company logo.

2. Greater Social Media Engagement

When companies hold giveaways on social media sites, they quickly gather likes, shares and followers from people hoping to win whatever the company is giving away. This is important because people who engage on a company’s social media website are more likely to become regular customers in the future. They may also post positive comments or reviews on your page, which help bolster your image.

3. Increased Brand Recognition

When a company requires people to share their social media content with others in order to enter a giveaway, people tell their friends and family about the company and the company’s brand recognition grows. Plus, people are more likely to believe their friends and family over paid advertisements.

4. Increased Product Recognition

When a company gives one of their own products away, they expose their product not only to the contest winner but also to all the people the winner comes into contact with. If the product is shoes, for example, the winner’s friends might see the shoes, like them and ask where they can buy a pair of their own. If the winner likes them, they will also probably return to your store for a new pair in the future.

5. Greater Likelihood of Sales

People are more likely to buy a product from a company they are familiar with than from a company they have never heard of. When companies reach potential customers with their giveaways, they increase the chance that the customers will buy from them in the future, whether or not they won the contest.

6. Gather Customer Contact Information

When companies require people to sign up for freebies by giving out their basic information, the company is able to create a mailing list of people who may be interested in their product. Unlike general paid advertisements, which reach a large number of people who may or may not be interested in the product, these lists contain only people who may be interested. Use this information wisely. You don’t want to annoy customers or spam them.

While freebies may cost companies a little bit of money, depending on what they choose to give away, the benefits of freebies make them well worth a company’s time. Using freebies properly won’t reduce your companies profit at all, it will actually help it grow. Try some of these ideas here and see how much they can help your company grow.

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Kandace Heller on December 3rd, 2013

When you have a brand or business you want to promote, formulating an effective marketing campaign can be challenging. Understanding how to properly stretch your marketing budget while ensuring you are getting the most exposure possible is a way to take any brand to the next level of success whether you are representing a local company or an online business.

Consider Your Demographic Specifically

Before you get started with spending your marketing budget, consider the demographic you are trying to reach with any campaign you plan to launch. When you know the age, gender and even hobbies of those you want to reach with your campaigns, it is easier to spend less money altogether on campaigns. You can focus your efforts on reaching your intended audience, rather than spending time on people who might not even have a use for your product. Start with a specific niche, and after you have reached them, you can expand to a wider customer base.

Pinpoint Hot Keywords and Buzzwords

Pinpoint hot keywords and “buzzwords” that are relevant to your brand or the content, products or services you are promoting on your website. The more relevant your keywords are, the easier it is to create campaigns that attract a larger audience, ultimately increasing sales and revenue for your business. Additionally, when you target keywords and buzzwords in marketing campaigns it is also easier to build a bigger following with the use of social media. If people can easily see who your company is and what you do, they will be able to easily decide if they are interested.

Marketing Exchange Options

Consider marketing exchange options and services that help you to promote your website or brand online in exchange for your own services or promotion capabilities. Using a marketing exchange service option is ideal if you are working to promote a brand that is niche-based. This is also great if you are aiming your product or service at a specific geographic area. They specialize in finding you connections and advertising opportunities based in your own local area.

Exchange Banners and Ad Spots Directly

Exchanging banners and ad spots directly is also a possibility by contacting the owner or webmaster of a website you are interested in working together with alongside your brand or business. Focus on partnering with other businesses who have the same vision and consumer demographic, but who offer a non-competing product or service.

Utilize Social Media

Utilizing social media is also highly recommended when you want to stretch your marketing budget as much as possible because most social media is free to use. Premium advertising service are also known to be much more affordable than traditional marketing and advertising tools available today. Social media helps you to reach thousands of online followers and individuals around the world, which is ideal if you are looking to expand your brand internationally.

Utilizing a marketing exchange service, social media and online tools online and off can help to drastically improve the overall reach you are capable of getting with any audience or demographic. The more time and effort you put in to developing a working marketing campaign, the easier it becomes to reach any intended group of potential followers or consumers. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to market your business. If your budget is small, start with social media and other low cost outlets and when you have success with those and your budget grows, branch out to grow even faster using other techniques.

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Kandace Heller on December 2nd, 2013

Before you set up shop in your new offices, consider how they’ll look to your employees, clients and other future visitors. What does your decor say about your business? Does it inspire and excite? Will it encourage people to come back again? If you’re interested in making a great first impression, here are six design tips for your offices.

1: Colors

A dash of color in the workplace will do more than just liven up the walls. Psychologically, it’s also been shown to boost creativity, improve moods and increase overall employee engagement. Even if you don’t want to commit to a whole new paint job, you can add colorful little touches around the office in the form of paintings, plants or chair cushions to bring some fun into the daily grind. If you match your colors to your company logo, it will also help visitors or clients remember your brand.

2: Windows

According to experts, the average office employee spends 90 percent of their day boxed in by walls and with no light but the glow from their computer screen. Wouldn’t it be nice to breathe new life into their work stations? Replace your dusty blinds with light, airy curtains; rearrange your furniture so desks receive plenty of natural light; throw open the windows and say hello to the sun. Having natural sunlight will help employees have better moods.

3: Chairs

Good chairs are worth the investment, especially if they’re noticeably plush and comfortable. Not only will they show your employees that you care about their well-being, but they’ll also save you countless headaches in the future when your workers don’t complain of back aches and distraction. This also counts for waiting room chairs or chairs clients will use. Make them aesthetically pleasing, but also comfortable.

4: Identity

It’s important to brand your area as your own in order to foster a sense of community and purpose among your employees. Everywhere they look, they should see representation of who they are and what they do, whether it’s your mascot on the walls or your logo on the coffee mugs. Make sure you have a strong brand and you decorate your office to promote that brand.

5: Acrylic

Acrylic is the wave of the future, and offices decked in its sleekness speak to both modernity and style. Acrylic manufacturers for your business can outfit your suite in everything from chic desks to shiny new cubicles, so don’t be afraid to try something new and embrace the 21st century. Using acrylic is also an easy way to add color to your office. If your logo is orange, remodel with orange acrylic. This is sure to get your office noticed.

6: Leisure Areas

In most offices, the “break room” is a dull, uninspired place where weary workers gather in droves to drink coffee and count the minutes until they can go home. Instead of quarantining this malaise, air it out with open, casual leisure areas where workers can share thoughts and ideas while surrounded by the hum of productivity. Consider having a game table or a way employees can de-stress during a long day.

These are just a few ways you can make your new offices pop. Every company is different, of course, so you may need to experiment and take a few risks until you find something that satisfies as a signature look. If you decorate your office to show of your brand, your employees will represent that brand and your clients will remember your company.

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Kandace Heller on November 30th, 2013

Employees need to be motivated to be as successful as they possibly can. Doing so will help any business to get more out of their employees.

1. Set Up Great Goals

Goals need to be set up in such a way that the employees are able to reach them, but they also need to have an element of challenge to them as well. If both of these attributes are combined, the employees will get more out of the goals themselves.

2. Incentives That Motivate

It’s the old idea of the carrot and the stick. Employees need to be offered a carrot sometimes to get things done. The incentive does not have to be a huge pile of money, it just needs to be something that the employees would like to have. For example, giving employees custom stainless water bottles will show your appreciation while giving them something useful and functional they will enjoy using. Since your company’s logo will be imprinted on the water bottles, it’s sure to stay top of mind with your employees and those they encounter.

3. Keep Track Of Goals

Ensure that it’s possible for you to see how well employees are doing on their goals. At the same time, share this information to them as well. If they can see how well they are doing on the goals they are shooting for, they are far more likely to actually work to get these things done. People tend to do a much better job when they are being held accountable in some way.

4. Fix Things When Goals Fail

Sometimes, goals may not pan out the way that they were supposed to. When someone has not been able to reach their goals, it is important that they are held accountable for this. If they are unable to reach them, try to fix the issue by discovering the underlying problem.

5. Challenge Yourself As Well

As the person issuing many of the challenges, you need to also show that you are able to take on a challenge yourself. Issue some challenges to yourself – and make sure they know this – to get better results from the rest of the team.

6. Think About Marketing

Marketing even to your own employees matters because they are brand ambassadors that exist on the front lines of your branding strategy. Promo drinkware items are one option mentioned before, but really any promotional product that is imprinted with the company logo will help keep the employees motivated and loyal to you. They just have to be rewarded with things that help them feel like part of the team. That is what it takes to get the best effort from employees.

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brionnakennedy@gmail.com on November 25th, 2013

Choosing promotional products is like walking a thin line. While you want to find something that excites your customers and clients, you also want items that will work with your budget. Using promo items is a simple way to remind those who purchased from you before about your services or products, and handing out these items can lead to repeat business.

 

Tote Bags

Personalized tote bags are one of the best promotional products that you can buy for your company. Made from canvas or other lightweight materials, most bags have a simple design that features a flat bottom with two handles at the top. You can choose smaller and simpler bags that can only hold a few items, or you can opt for larger bags that are perfect for carrying groceries. You will also have dozens of different color combinations to choose from, and your logo can be imprinted on the front of the bag for repeated brand exposure every time the bags are toted by customers.

 

Cooler Bags

In today’s world, many people are concerned with saving money. When you choose custom cooler bags to give to your customers, you will give them something they can use that will also help them save money. It’s a fact that people save money by bringing their lunch to work instead of eating out every day. Offering custom cooler bags as premiums or giveaways enable your customers to take their lunch to work during the week, which will result in substantial savings. The bags keep refrigerated items chilled when a refrigerator isn’t available making them very convenient. These custom cooler bags also usually have enough room for a drink and other snacks as well.

 

Promo Pens

Business owners sometimes forget the impact that promotional pens have on current and prospective customers. Think about the last time you found yourself in desperate need of a pen. You probably rushed around your home or office, and you likely felt relieved when you finally found one. Giving away pens that are imprinted with your company’s name and logo is an extremely effective way to get the word out about your company because everybody needs pens. Customers will carry your pens around in their pockets or purses, and they’ll find dozens of uses for them.

 

Customized Playing Cards

Give your customers a fun way to pass the time with customized playing cards. Options range from the traditional 52-card decks to more complex sets that feature multiple packs of cards, poker chips and other poker supplies. With your company logo or name on the back of each card, your customers will remember you every time they play.

 

Company Calendars

Calendars are very useful to most people, who want to keep track of important dates as well as holidays and special events. However, many people forget to buy a calendar at the beginning of the new year. This is where your company can save the day! Whether you opt for calendars with images relating to your company, or day planners with your name, address and website URL imprinted on the front, you’ll give customers something that will keep your name on their lips for days and months to come.

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