Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Uncharted Territory

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Diversity in business is a good thing. It is often said that you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket, but to spread them around evenly. If you have reached a certain level of success in one particular sector and now feel it is time to expand and move on to another, it can be exciting. Still, there should also be a level of nervousness because you are entering a different business world.

Moving into another business sector can often times feel like the first day of school. You are by yourself and there is no one coming up to you asking if you want to sit with them at lunch or be friends. Why should they? After all, you are coming in to get a piece of their pie after you have completely finished another one. So, feeling alone should not come as a surprise. It is important that you are able to try and transfer some of the good business experience you had in your previous business into your new one.

One thing that is very important is that your reputation is positive. You can't move from one business to another with a negative reputation. Once news gets out that you are looking to make a transition into another area of business, the critics and skeptics will come out in full force to destroy you. So make sure when you are searched online you come up positive and there is nothing that can bring negative attention to your new venture.

Promotion is key in business and it will mean even more to you when you are moving into a different business section. To get the word out about your new move, social media will become very important. You already have a strong fan-base, so you will be able relay the message to them via social media. This will be the easiest way for you to also attract new customers. You might even steal a few customers from your new competitors, much to their dismay.

They won't be too happy about your arrival and they most definitely won't be happy with you taking some of their customers, but that is the name of the game. You will be talked about negatively to customers and it will affect you in some way. Some customers might choose to not continue service with you. The best response to that is to keep operating your business and let that do the talking for you. You don't want unnecessary conflict that can take your focus away. Remember, you're still new to this sector and though you have had immense success in the past it is a new day and a new chapter.

Moving on to a new challenge can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. Before you move, be sure that there is nothing that can come up and destroy your business before it begins. 

Work it Out

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There is nothing worse than leaving work undone. For a business, there should never come a time when you don't finish a task. For instance, if an unfavorable situation arises, you may choose to leave it alone rather than try and work it out. If you do that, the ramifications it can have on your business will last for a very long time. During that time, you will find yourself constantly climbing up a downward moving escalator.

We don't want to do it, but it needs to be done. We can't always walk away from something because it is not going our way. Though there may be many emotions and feelings involved, if it means that it can help improve you and your business, it is in your best interest to work out any problem. As a business owner, you are at a disadvantage, unlike customers who have the right to walk away from something if they don't want to deal with it.

You need the customers to survive and to make a profit, so whatever you need to fix needs to be done efficiently and effectively. I have stated this before. Customers are more than willing to give many chances to a business that was once on the outs with them, but has managed to work themselves back up to respectability. If you ever find yourself in this position as a business owner, you should immediately look to companies that have been in the same situation and mimic the steps they took to get back into the good graces of the customers.

You can't just get mad if people are not attracted to your product or simply don't want to do business with you. Getting mad is the last thing that should be on your mind. Instead, you should be researching what customers want and how you can get it to them. If there are complaints coming your way from customers, work on fixing whatever the problem is. Don't ignore them or push them to the side. You can bet the farm that one complaint can and will get bigger as time goes on.

It is not good for your business if you are given the reputation of a non-compliant company, or one who doesn't aim to satisfy the customer and their needs. Businesses that have that type of reputation are struggling to meet expectations or are not in business anymore. The little things can be the difference between a positive reputation and a negative one. Always remember, a negative reputation can follow you for years even if your business is doing well, so it is imperative to work out any problem, complaint or concern out and show your audience that you are committed to them.

Leaving no stone unturned should be the motto you live by when it comes to your business. Customers will always remember the effort you made when it came to taking care of any problem they had.

More is Better

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The more you have, the better equipped you are to deal with any problem or situation that comes your way, whether it is good or bad. It is always a good idea to have more than enough because we live in a world of surprises--unorthodox attacks can come from any angle. When you are adequately protected, you are more likely to get through any situation.

Having more doesn't necessarily mean that you should be greedy and begin to infringe on other people’s property. Instead, use what you already have and try and increase that. When it comes to your business and the reputation of it, you should not have any reservations about protecting it to the fullest of your capabilities. There are some things you can skimp on and be downright cheap about, but your business is not one of those things.

No expenses should be spared when it comes to your business, the more tools you have to protect and enhance it, the better. You have to think strategically and come up with ways to outdo your competition by staying one step ahead of them. You have to know they will try and come at you and your business in the most vile and disrespectful way possible. Therefore, you need to have a way to defend yourself against any attack and be able to still shine through a dark time.

You must keep your customers in mind too. In one instance, you're on good terms with them and the next; you're on the outs, trying to get back in their good graces. With customers, an honest complaint can turn into a negative attack on your business, which can lead to more trouble than you bargained for. When a situation like that comes up, you should already be in damage control mode. Show the rest of the public that no matter what is being said about you, you are still going to be operating your business as usual.

There is a lot of responsibility when it comes to running a business. You have to constantly be aware of your position among your competitors and your customers. On top of that, you have to make a profit or maintain what you are already making. How you choose to go about all of these tasks is up to you, but whatever you do, make sure you have more than enough protection to go around and cover all areas twice over.

It may seem greedy to have more than what you need, but in business, you can never have enough protection to go around.

Online Reputation is Priceless

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Your online reputation will determine how successful you will become. It does not matter if you are a student or a business person; you have to build a positive online reputation in order to get the goals that you set for yourself. Attending the college of your dreams may not be possible if your online reputation does not match up to your academic career. Take some initiative in order to maintain and build the type of online reputation that will get you to the next level.

Everything travels fast when it comes to the internet nowadays. Negative content will spread if you do not take the proper precautions. Deal with building your online reputation now rather than later. Search your name, look for negative comments and be proactive with your online reputation. You will realize sooner than later that people with negative online reputation will have a hard time finding jobs or maintaining their businesses. 

Let your customers vent if you are in the business world. You need to know if they are frustrated over something or if they had a bad customer experience with your business. Learning from your mistakes is necessary in all aspects in life, and it applies to online reputation as well. In order to earn the trust and loyalty of your customers, you have to respond to their inquiries and make an effort in order to change certain services that are not up to par. 

Hiring an online reputation management company such as Centel Media will be very beneficial if you do not know the proper steps in building a positive online reputation. Centel Media's professionals excel with giving your brand name a positive outlook and having the negative content suppressed. 

Online reputation is not something that should be ignored and there cannot be a price on your name. Your online reputation is going to paint an image that is portrayed to everybody on the web. Everything that is important in life must be given the proper time and effort, and your online reputation is no different. Hire an online reputation management company, or take the time and effort to deal with it on your own. But do not, by any means, ignore your online reputation. It is far too valuable, and may be even priceless.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Taking on the Giant

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The hardest thing for a business to do is stand out and claim a presence among its millions of competitors. That goes double for a small business that is looking to get a piece of the pie that its bigger corporate rivals are enjoying. They have to come up with ways to step out from behind their shadows and create one for themselves.

Businesses come in all sorts of sizes and shapes. Some are bigger than others and some might be more effective and efficient. One thing that they all have in common is the goal to bring the best product to the market as possible and hope that they can get business. While that task may be easier for some than it is for others, all hope is not lost. With the right amount of marketing and promotion, your small business could find itself rubbing shoulders with some of the big time businesses.

As a small business, your first step towards world domination is knowing who you are up against and the reality that you will never be as big as the bigger companies or reach the broader audiences. I know it sounds harsh, but that is reality. You are going up against well established companies that have a big presence and will be hard pressed to move. So, your job is to conquer what they have left unattended, which means smaller audiences. This is one step in increasing your visibility. If you are able to do business in a smaller space and be successful, it's only a matter of time before you are forced to grow and move on.

Your next step should be to create a presence on social media. This is a step that cannot be skipped. I know the internet might scare you and you would rather not deal with it, but once again, keep in mind you're small and therefore need to use any tool available to you. This means making sure you are getting your message out to existing customers and potential ones. Furthermore, social media is inexpensive, so you don't have to worry about the cost to market your business.

If you have been following me so far, you should know what is coming next: good old online reputation management. It's never overrated, but somehow understated. Now before you say that your reputation is clean, stop right there. It is better to be safe than sorry and if you have the opportunity to acquire the services of a respectable firm, you take it, no questions asked. There are actually some firms that can help you with building your company. Firms like Centel Media can help you design your webpage, establish your presence on social media and on top of that, protect your online reputation. With all this knowledge in hand, you are ready to take on the world one step at a time or better yet, one customer at a time.

It won't be easy trying to gain traction in the cutthroat world of business, but it can be done. A little luck and a lot of hard work and dedication will take you to far greater heights.

Mail Call

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Many of us check our email daily. Of the thirty plus emails we receive on daily basis, we read maybe five to 10 of them. Most businesses struggle with getting their emails read and not labeled as spam. Once that happens, you can forget about connecting to that customer. In fact, your email will never get seen. Instead, it will go into the deep pile of spam mail never to be seen again.

It wasn't too long ago that emails were the social media of its generation. It was hip, trendy, and if you didn't have one you were considered lost in time. While it still remains one of the most popular and effective ways to communicate, it often gets grouped with trash if it is not labeled correctly or does not have an attention grabbing title.

The faith lost in emails has developed over the years from spam and viruses that get transmitted through emails and wreak havoc on your computer. People no longer open emails freely. In fact, if a message looks like spam, it is going straight to the spam folder. Unfortunately, you can be running a legit business and send out emails to the public in hopes of gaining interest from the recipients, but have these emails never get there. Not only have your messages been labeled as spam, but your business has the reputation of sending out spam.

Having your business being labeled as a spam sender could be very damaging, especially if you are just starting out. I always say social media is a cheap form of marketing, but you can add email to that list as well. It can be an amazing tool for your business at a very low cost. But since you have the reputation of a spam mailer, you now have to fix that. Of course, it will cost you, but it is a cost that you should be glad to pay. Unlike fixing your online reputation, I don't recommend you trying to do this on your own. It is too risky and if you don't completely remove your self out of that position you will most likely fall deeper. This only leads to more time and money wasted.

Hiring professional help should be your next move. Not only will you get your reputation restored, but you can look to them for help with marketing your emails so that customers read them rather than discard them. What you were missing is how to properly market your emails and the audience to send them to. Now that you have professional help, you no longer have to worry about your emails getting spammed because they are now constructed in a way where they stand out from the rest of the emails that we get.

Email marketing is often overlooked, but if you are not careful, it can give you a negative reputation without you even knowing.

Culture Change

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A business is defined by its culture and how it does business. Some sectors are labeled by the public as having a bad culture, one that puts profit above the concerns and needs of the people they are servicing. As a business owner, you should be aware of the type of culture you are cultivating and that you have the right people working for you.

The main problem people have with jobs or businesses is the culture. You will often hear the word toxic being thrown around when someone is attacking the culture of a business. The culture of a business includes many key factors such as mission statements, employee morale and customer service interaction. Businesses that receive positive grades in the three aforementioned criteria are often some of the most profitable and popular businesses in the world. Finding a mix of the three is not an easy task, but for those that can achieve this, they will be among the top rated businesses.

On the flip-side, there are many businesses that have failing grades in one of the three categories. Some even have failing grades in two or more. These are the businesses we read and hear about on the news and in the paper. The businesses are often misguided and fall deeper into the toxic category, which nobody wants to touch. The culture of a business starts at the top of the helm. The CEO is usually the one who comes in and sets the tone and direction in which he wants the business to go.

Big businesses are often under immense pressure to fill the spot of a CEO, so they often choose someone who is not fit for that specific job. Now he might be a great fit at another company that fits his strengths, but for this job, not so much. He is now faced with the option of adopting the company's existing culture or injecting his own. Either way, a struggle is developing, which leads to bigger problems with board members, employees and most importantly, the customers.

It is important to know who you are hiring and what their plan for the company is. If we look at some of the world's biggest companies today, they are struggling to repair their reputation with the public for many reasons. Those same companies have gone through numerous CEOs in a little under a decade because of the culture struggle. Many of them are now trying to repair their reputation with the public and are diligently searching for the right candidate to properly represent their business.

The difference between having a successful global business and a business that is barely making profit is culture. In the global society we live in today, culture can no longer be pushed aside or hidden beneath big profits.