Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Strategy For Growth.

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A strategy is more than just writing down a plan or a list of goals you aspire to achieve one day. It is something that you should use a your guideline for future growth for your business. It should help you get through rough patches that you will face during your time as a business owner.

A strategy is really something simple that we all use, but it is weighted heavily and can determine if your company will survive or will crumble under pressure. All businesses have some type of strategy that they are using as a guide to see if they are on the right track and if they are satisfying their customers. All businesses have a strategy, but some are better than others.

What cannot be understated is the fact that before you plan or decide that you are going to operate a business, you need to have a strategy. The strategy does not have to be effective just yet, but it should map out the moves you are going to make. In the event that move doesn't work out, figure out what your backup is. I have never heard or seen a business that did not have a plan, especially a big business. You are marking yourself for disaster before you even begin.

Just because you have a strategy in place does not mean you will still be successful. You must adjust it with time. Your core values should always remain the same, but how you plan to make profit should change at least every five to 10 years. You can't use the same strategy you used 20 years ago in today's business world. It won't work. The technology we have access to today would stop that strategy right at the door. Businesses that do not adjust their strategies with the changing times are doing more than stunting their growth, they are on the verge of making themselves extinct.

The growth of your business depends on how successful your strategy has been in its developmental stages. If you planned on expanding overseas by your tenth year of operation, those 10 years you spent operating domestically should have been successful and will have provided you with a springboard to jump overseas with an international strategy in hand. While it may seem like the logical choice to use your domestic strategy for your international plan, it is the worst thing you can do. The cultures are different as are the rules and regulations that are in place over there.

While you are operating in your own country, you should be developing a strategy for when you make your move overseas. You're a granted a little more wiggle room because you are in a foreign country. Your strategy will change on the fly, but by the time you are fully doing service overseas you should not have to change your strategy any more.

The businesses that have survived for five or more years are the businesses that created a strategy that would keep them operating year after year, going beyond the lifespan of a new business.

Stand Your Ground!

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As a business owner, you know very well there is no room for indecisiveness, hesitation or second guessing. Those actions can cost you dearly and you watch your opportunities pass right by. This gives your rivals an even bigger chance to one-up you.

Stand for something other than profit or bragging rights. What does your reputation stand for? After all, that is what is going to keep you afloat and making profit. The minute that starts to turn sour, the profit slows and the heckling and hate speeds up. It is imperative for any owner to take a stand on what he or she values and what direction to take the company in. Yes, your decision will not go over smoothly with most people, but you can sleep easy knowing the ground under your feet is as solid as a rock.

Weak footing leads to a weak company. Your company will get pulled in all sorts of directions and you will have opinions coming from all over place trying to tell you what is best for your company. What we do know is that the customers you are servicing are going to suffer tremendously. That is the last thing you want to happen. You want your customers to be able to rely on you and know that you are providing the best service and product.

It comes down to how you want your business to labeled, and in my opinion, there are only two labels. The strong label that only businesses with a plan, a goal and the desire to execute their plans are assigned. Then, you have the weak or timid label that is given to businesses that cannot make up their mind on which direction they are going to take the company. These businesses are under the impression that the customer will wait for them to finally make up their mind. This is a big mistake. Today's customers follow more trends then they know what to do with. Good luck trying to recoup that profit back.      

To stand for something, you must have a great foundation that cannot be moved. If your foundation is solid, the more successful you will be, in my opinion. Trying to persuade you to switch sides will be a tough task for anyone. A weak foundation, on the other hand, will cause you to be all over the place-- you will be constantly repairing your reputation with the promise of "this time it is different," or some other pathetic ploy to get your customers back. Don't let that be you. When you build your business, make sure it is on a solid foundation that is built to last.

Businesses that last are built on a strong foundation that has held them up through any, and every kind of storm imaginable. Make sure your business can survive the storms.

Shining A New Light.

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Taking over an existing company that has a negative reputation or has had its share of bad publicity is not going to be an easy task. By taking on this monumental project, you are also putting your reputation on the line. If you fail, you will forever be connected to this unsuccessful project.

Taking a professional risk such as trying to repair the reputation of a once proud brand shows that you have the faith and belief in yourself to bring this brand back up to prominence. Either that, or you just love taking risks. Only you know the reason. One thing we all can agree on is the task will be the hardest thing you have ever done in your professional career.

But before you decided to pursue this venture, you weighed the pros and cons and went over every detail carefully and made sure you knew all the potential pitfalls. Taking all that into account, you still decided to move ahead. As you dig deeper, you find that many of the problems this company had are fundamental problems. These are little things that would be found out of place if someone took the time to look.

I always tend to look at the positives of having to start over from the beginning. Some look at it differently and feel it is a waste of time and money. But, think about it for a second. If you had the chance to implement a few new things or change some stuff around, resulting in more exposure and profit, I am sure you would do it. When your company is in full motion, you can't stop to change or insert some new plan. You must continue to operate. By no means am I saying to tank your company to implement some new changes. I'm just pointing out a positive that comes from what most people see as a negative.

As you move along and get deeper in the repair process, the next steps vary on how far you have brought the company. You might begin to sample some things to the public just to get a reaction, but most importantly, you want to see if people want to still associate and do business with this new company. If the reviews come back positive, you can now start full fledged operations. It may seem a bit hasty, but in business, time waits for no one. If you have created a buzz, you must capitalize on it.

On the flip side, if the results come back poor or 50/50, you have two options. You can continue to try and repair this company, or you take the loss and decide it is not worth it. If you decide to quit, your reputation will take a hit and this might affect your future business dealings. Like I said earlier, you can always take a positive from a negative. What you might not have accomplished, someone else might be successful at it. You have shined the light on a once dark business and set the wheels in motion for it to operate again.

Taking risks are apart of the game. Some are successful and others are not. But, what may be your failed risk might be someone else's success story.

How Online Reputation Helps Hotel Businesses

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The hotel business strives on positive remarks made about its company. Bad reviews and remarks will only make customers stay away, hurting the company. This is exactly why a positive online reputation is a must when it comes to hotels.

Most people search through Google and read other people's comments in order to figure out what hotel they want to stay in. It does not take much to come to the realization that negative content regarding your hotel name will only cause you to lose business. The most important thing to remember is to deal with the negative comments immediately and respond in an effective manner. 

Responding effectively means responding in a professional manner to find the root of the problem. Maybe the customer leaving the negative comment well give you tips on how to better provide a better customer experience that will help you in the long run. It is important to communicate with the customers in order to build a trust between you guys. Without trust there is no business, and thus creating a dilemma on how others perceive you. 

Fixing problems will help get better review scores, make customers happy, and therefore build a positive online reputation. Positive onlinereputations should not be only for high end hotels, but for everyone. If your hotel has limited services, the best way to get customer feedback is through communicating with your customers using some sort of social media. 

Many hotel businesses have used social media to communicate with their customers and have changed ways they operate as a result. Encourage your employees to communicate with customers in order to gain feedback that could be useful in improving customer satisfaction. 

Hotels are all about making the guests' experience a delightful one. Learning how hotels deal with online reputation will help others use the same techniques and skills in their own businesses. The type of customer experience you give to others is the most important thing you should remember as a business owner. Online reputation paints a picture of you to others on the internet. Make sure you are doing everything you can in order to paint a positive one so that others see you are worthy of gaining their business.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Is It Time to Call An Expert?

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You're a business owner who is suffering from a lot of negative content surrounding your brand name. There are two routes you can take. You can either fix the situation yourself or have an online management company help you go through this. Online reputation can make a business strive or send it spiraling down. Do not let it ruin you. Take some action to prevent it from painting a negative image about you.

Many people seem to ignore anything that has to do with their online reputation. Yet, they still wonder why business is not as good as it used to be, or why they are going towards a downward spiral. Negative online reputation can cause you to lose the credibility you need in order to be a successful business owner. When you start to see factors indicating that your online reputation is losing its positivity, it is best to call an expert rather than dealing with the situation yourself.

Trying to fix your online reputation yourself may cost you to make the situation worse, and therefore cause a bigger detriment to your brand name. As an individual you may not have the right knowledge of how to deal with negative content circulating the internet that is why it is best to hire an online management company such as Centel Media™ to help you go through this process.

Centel Media™ employees are experts on how to build an online reputation or turn a negative reputation around. The professionals at this company know how to integrate social media accounts and various other tools that help you sustain the type of online reputation you need to prosper. Customers will be constantly typing in your name on Google in order to find out more information about you. Centel Media™ will help by making sure positive comments and remarks are the first thing people see when they type in your name.

Hiring an expert is highly recommended because you do not want to take a risk with your online reputation. Experts will work with you in order to build the type of reputation that you want. Do not take matters into your hands without the proper knowledge, skills, and of course, time.

The Other Social Media Platform

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The first thing that will come to mind when you hear "social media" is Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. And, they should. After all, these three are currently the faces of social media, along with others. But to me, the long lost cousin of the social media family tree is blogging.

When I think of blogging, I think if it as a platform for individuals to express their creativity in ways that sites like Facebook and Twitter can't. It's not that these sites won't allow it, but they don't grant the creative space necessary for extensive pieces of work. Blogging has become a way for anyone to vent, express, discuss and do just about anything else you can think of when it comes to individuality.

It is very easy to see why blogging can be pushed to the back of the social media network line. It is not the "sexy" choice to want to connect with friends and family unlike a Facebook or Twitter account. But what blogging lacks in appeal it most certainly makes up for in the freedom department. As I alluded to earlier, blogging allows its users to become one with whatever they choose to write. It is almost like a judgment free zone when it comes to blogging. Blogging gives you room to express and explain if need be, unlike other social media sites where you say something that can be deemed controversial by your peers and you are at the mercy of their ridicule.

Recently blogging has started to pick up steam in the business world as way to market and connect with fans that don't follow them on the traditional social media platforms. I believe this is a great idea and that more businesses should get involved in blogging. It is very easy to promote through Facebook or Twitter, but blogging requires a certain level of creativity that goes above and beyond what other sites require. To blog for your business shows that you are versatile and want to connect with your customers from all over, not just the ones who follow you on Facebook.

I believe that each social media network has its place. They all play an integral role in helping a business expand, promote and market. Instagram allows you to post pictures. Twitter allows you to give minute by minute updates on any breaking news, and Facebook can help you market your product and promote. Blogging plays the role of being abstract and thought provoking and lets the customer really get a chance to see what the company is like. While all these sites are different, they have the common goal of supporting your business and doing its part to make sure it is successful as it can be.

Blogging doesn't follow the beaten path of its other social media counterparts. It gets a little more in depth and allows you to get personal on levels that other sites won't.

Progress is a Slow Process

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Coming back from an injury, or trying to rebuild after your store has been completely destroyed is a slow, agonizing process. The thought of ''is it worth it'' will cross your mind more than once, I'm sure. But in order to come back stronger than ever, you must realize progress is a slow process that won't happen overnight, but instead, over time.

So, it has come to your attention that you have somehow developed a negative reputation online. You start to see that it is taking a chunk out of your profit and you are beginning to lose customers. What do you do now? How do you start to repair your reputation? While there are many ways to begin this process, and just as many options available for you to start repairing, you must understand one of the most important things about this. This will be a slow process from start to finish.

The progress you are looking to make won't happen overnight--it is simply too much work involved for this to take a week or two. It would be fair to say that you are looking at an uphill battle of a couple of months. You have to realize that not only do you have to rebuild your reputation, but after you are done with that, you have to get the customers you lost back. And, that is not a guarantee.

I will say this though, depending on the severity of your reputation damage, it won't take as long as others. However, you still shouldn't expect to be out of the hole in hurry. In my opinion, I think you should take advantage of this period. It gives you a chance to go over weaknesses in your business plan. Further, you are given the opportunity to implement a newer version of what you were doing before. In a way, it’s a blessing in disguise, except that it has come at the expense of your business operations for the time being.

Taking your time to ensure you are making the right amount of progress is very important. If you choose to rush back, you are leaving holes you received in the predicament still uncovered. You are pretty much saying 'hold my spot, I'll be back." You cannot afford to take any shortcuts in this situation and think you will still be able to do business, because the sad reality is you won't have a business to operate.

As time progresses, customers will see the changes you have made and will soon begin to migrate back to you. While the process is long and slow, what matters is you are back stronger than before and are now fully equipped to resume business like you were doing before.

Time waits for no man. With this is mind, it is important to make sure you are utilizing the time you have to rebuild your business and make it stronger and better than it was before.