Back to Business This Fall

Strategy Plan One

September 8, 2012

back to businessFall Business Period

A week has passed in September… families, communities and the education system are all adjusting to the “back to school” phase of the year.  For many students, young and old, back to school represents a period of renewal, of fresh starts, starting up again.

However, this positive energy can be easily transferred over to the business sector, for existing and budding entrepreneurs.

New entrepreneurs can take advantage of the fresh start approach, planning their initial strategies for the Fall, Winter and 2013 periods.  Some fiscal year periods start in the Fall for good reasons related or integrated into the government fiscal years, or corporate fiscal years.   Existing businesses should refresh their business plans to reflect any market or industry changes that have occurred on local, global and international scales.  Building on successes and results from the previous business cycles, businesses should tweak business and marketing plans accordingly.

Establishing Goals this Fall

Get serious about business and personal development this Fall.  Always as a first step, establish some aggressive, achievable goals and objectives.  Without goals and objectives you won’t be able to set some strategic directions for yourself and your business.  Ensure your goals are achievable, measurable, and that you apply flexibility to adapt and revise goals and strategies.

Business Ideas and Hints for the Fall

Here are some helpful hints and ideas to think about some positive steps to take in business and personal development this fall:

  • Planning – Always a great idea as part of your core activities to review, tweak your business and marketing plans
  • Scan your business environment and competitors – develop some products or services that will be a bit different or new to your market
  • Capacity and Skill development – naturally many classes are offered in the Fall schedule; good time to brush up on business skills
  • Product and Service Offerings – review your results to date and revise if necessary heading into the Fall, Winter and 2013 periods
  • Refresh, redesign – Whether you have a store front or website, take a look at your layout and seek feedback from customers for better designs and layout
  • Communications and Outreach – develop new communications to your customers; utilize social media for extended outreach and measure your effectiveness on social media
  • Generate Fall Buzz, Interest – generate new and continued interest in your company, your products and services; offer Fall free or trial offers

Check out these Fall Business Strategies:

More reading on business topics:

Strategy Plan One

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Employee Satisfaction and Links to Success

Strategy Plan One

August 18, 2012

Employee Satisfaction

Oh no, we could all see the coming.  We could all feel the tensions in the office.  Everyone, every worker has been on edge.  With poor global economic conditions how could anyone feel great about their workplace and about their future employment.

The past few years, businesses have experienced troubling times, and that is an understatement.  At the very core of every operation is the workers.  A business cannot function without its’ valued workforce, and keeping them happy in these times is challenging.

However, there are significant signs that employees who are engaged and happy lead to greater success, productivity and profitability.  When efforts are made by management, productivity improvements can occur even in these tough economic times.

This infographic from Social Cast highlights this linkage of employee satisfaction with success.

Employee Satisfaction – Top 5 Factors

  • Job security (63%)
  • Benefits (60%)
  • Compensation and pay (57%)
  • Opportunity to use skills (55%)
  • Feeling safe in the workplace (54%)

Engagement:

  • 86% of engaged employees express happiness in the workplace
  • Highly engaged organizations experienced 87% less turnover and 20% productivity improvement

Check out more interesting facts and statistics in this infographic.

Employee Satisfaction

Source: Social Cast

More on Management, Employees, and HR:

More business blogs of interest:

Strategy Plan One

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© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social Media – Getting Organized With a Task List

Strategy Plan One

August 11, 2012

Social Media – Task List

Do you have a new or existing business and feeling overwhelmed with trying to keep up with all the activities you feel you need to accomplish, on the multitude of social media platforms?  You may not be alone as there are endless activities you could complete, in a swirling universe of social media, all for different reasons and objectives.

Here in this infographic is an example of what The Whole Brain Group classifies as a “Sensible Social Media Checklist” of activities.

social media - task list

 

Source:  The Whole Brain Group 

Social Media Marketing

So what’s in your social media strategy?  What do you plan to tackle on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.  The above infographic gives us a glimpse of something that may work for one company.  Ensure you plan out your social media strategy and activities.  Test out and measure your efforts.  Constantly be looking to improve and revise your strategy and activities for better results.  Make it applicable to your business and to the way you engage and communicate with your customers.

In developing your social media plan:

  1. Establish your objectives
  2. Investigate methods to communicate and engage your customers
  3. Develop some options for marketing activities
  4. Determine social media platforms that would be applicable 
  5. Develop a plan of social media activities  (social media task list)
  6. Estimate the marketing budget
  7. Implement, test, measure, analyze
  8. Revision and continuous improvement for better results

 

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

More business blogs of interest:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

 

Social Media Impacts on Small Business [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

August 4, 2012

Social Media and Small Business

Small businesses face a significant uphill battle in these economic times to engage and communicate with consumers.  Marketing and communications have vastly changed over the past few years, and with the add-on of social media as a tool, measurable benefits and trends are occurring with the small business sector.

This informative graphic from Bolt Insurance highlights the following small business and social media statistics and trends:

  • 81% of small business use social media to get their message out and engage with customers
  • 95% use email marketing
  • 98% of small business engage in website marketing
  • 62% of businesses not using social media will plan to in the next year
  • 81% that currently use social media will step up efforts in the next year

Top challenges small businesses face according to this survey:

  • 80% claim attracting new customers are the biggest challenge
  • 52% state obtaining referrals as the greatest issue
  • 41% of small business would like to squeeze and maximize results with marketing dollars 

Social media effectiveness:

  • 82% state Facebook as the most effective social media platform
  • 73% of respondents say YouTube most effective
  • 47%  LinkedIn 
  • 47% claim Twitter is the most effective social media site

View some more interesting statistics in the infographic below.

small business marketing

 

Courtesy: Bolt Insurance

As an entrepreneur / small business, it is advantageous to stay on track with developing trends and to design products and services that not only meets current customer demand, but also future consumer needs.  Review and analyze marketing conditions and trends, and plan accordingly.

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

More business blogs of interest:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Business Tips – Maximize Performance and Business Development Results

Strategy Plan One

August 1, 2012

business tips Business Tips for the Entrepreneur

As you are midstream through harsh economic times, take the time to reflect on your current business operations.  Think about the small things that could be tweaked that can have the maximum positive impact on your business.  Here are some helpful business tips to maximum the output in your organization and in your business development.

Business Tips – Maximize the Use of Your Time

Time is definitely considered an asset when you are a busy, mult-taking entrepreneur.  Delegate operational tasks to staff and area specialists as much as you possible can.  Free up your time for business management functions, business development, planning and implementation.  Institute shorter, more concise meetings and communications as much needed time savers for all.  Cut the slack time and concentrate efforts in a condensed shorter period.  Incorporate that into individual and team goals.

Establish Priorities

Clutter can occur in many ways from physical bunched up clutter to the mental clutter of massive workloads of relevant and non-relevant tasks.  Take the time to sort this out.  Getting organized on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis should be a standard part of your business and of the action plans across all employees.  Encourage organizing and priority setting as part of the valued added side of your corporate culture.

Business Tips – Create a Constructive Environment

Feedback is necessary on all aspects of your business.  Ensure that you develop a culture of encouraging and valuing input from all levels in the organization.  Constructiveness is essential … when everyone puts on their constructive gear and behavior, everyone is “building” towards a common goal.  Feedback can be critical nature, but as team members put on the constructive hats, criticism turns to positive alternative idea and solution generation.  Problems and issues are better solved when the collective can feed into the solution.

business tips - social Be Social

This business tip is not necessarily focused on spending massive amounts of time on social media.  Being social in business means networking, partnering, collaboration, team work.   Every business, every entrepreneur venture is vastly stronger when you and your team get out there and communicate and network with everyone.  Not all deals, partnerships and customers will automatically fall into your lap … you need to get aggressive and make the moves to communicate and network with others.  Remember that social media is only one form of communication and engagement with other businesses and customers.   Communications, marketing and business development occur in many ways outside of normal office functions and social media.

Business Tips – Be Helpful

As a leader, entrepreneur and community member be helpful to all and it will eventually return to you in spades.  Being a business leader is not a one-way street…. you need to not only receive but to give.  Your valued staff give their efforts and their time to helping you achieve your success.  You need to help your staff become successful through employee development, encouragement, recognition and in your acceptance of their needs professionally and in their personal lives.

When developing products and services for customers, remember this two-way street.  It’s not about just gaining revenue from clients.  You should be developing your business around how your products and services can first help the intended market, and meeting the needs of the consumer.   Revenue then potentially follows after successfully meeting the needs of the customer.

Plan well for maximum benefits and results!

Relevant personal and business development blogs and articles

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social Media Jobs – What Social Media Companies Are Looking For

Strategy Plan One

July 14, 2012

Social Media Jobs

Interested in a career in social media?  Do you want an idea of positions, roles and employment criteria?  You may have passion and desire to be an entrepreneur in social media or work within a leading social media company, but it is a fiercely competitive media – tech field.  How would you position yourself to stand out from other candidates and be that social media star companies are looking for?

MindFlash has produced an infographic on social media industry employment, highlighting the social media positions typically available and favorable employment qualifications.  The value added side of the infographic also provides some tips to landing your much desired social media job.  These tips are valuable across the board for many professions in various industries, and applicable to potential entrepreneurs in gaining capacities in operation and management experience related to social media related ventures. Here are some of the stand-out qualifications that will put you out front:

Social Media Exposure and Presence

Get noticed by being everywhere on social media, highlighting your capabilities.  It is important to brand yourself out there, just as important as companies branding themselves.  Several social media personalities are well-known throughout the platforms.

Social Media Proficiency

As you brand yourself as the specialist in social media, it is best that you know social media platforms inside and out.  Knowing all the features, apps, mechanics of all the major sites is a must.

High Creativity in Social Media

Employers and partners want to acquire creativity as an asset to the organization.  If you have that creative, innovative edge, you may have the competitive advantage over others.

Keeping it Professional

Employers strongly live by their codes of conduct and values and ethics guides.  Social media is all about external visibility.  You will need to make sure you uphold strong values and ethics and that your conduct in and outside the company is appropriate.

Social Media Industry Knowledge

Employers want to acquire professionals who know what is going on in the industry.  To win in a job competition, and in entrepreneurial ventures, you will need to have a pulse on industry players, trends, and resources.  Knowing companies inside and out will score you well in the essential criteria of the position.

Partnership Building Across the Social Media and Tech Industry

It is an asset if you are well-known in the industry for collaboration on projects across companies and having the ability to structure beneficial partnerships and joint ventures.  Companies can be specialists in one area, but may require the assets, knowledge, or proprietary processes, products and services of a synergistic partner.  Once again, bonus points will be scored if you rank well here.

Volunteering and Try Outs

You have nothing to lose by offering yourself to companies to demonstrate your capable, value-added skill set.  It may set you apart from the competition if you can offer to work on a trial basis (sometimes for free or cut rate).  Generate some of your own conditions if you do come across the opportunities, as both parties must mutually agree to duration, scope of work, and end objectives.

social media - job tips

Source:  Mindflash

There are other qualities that didn’t get captured here, including dedication, judgement, strong project management skills, ability to work as a team player, and leadership competencies that would surely benefit you in obtaining the “best fit” for the any social media position.

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

More business blogs of interest:

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Online Retail – Strategies That Lead to Better Sales [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

July 1, 2012

Online Retail

This creative infographic points out the specific tactics online retailers use to draw in customers to more steps in the purchase process, leading to more sales.  The infographic breaks the process down into six distinct, tactical areas, including creative design of the site, ease of the purchase process, feedback and testimonials, pricing strategies, time factors, and additional actions.

Design factors to draw in online retail customers:

  • Color – emotional responses to differing colors
  • Content marketing with selection of words and descriptions, targeting markets
  • Inserting pages with video to sell more

Online Retail Purchase Process:

  • One click buying
  • Quick loading of pages (helps in the spontaneous purchase process)
  • Mobile enabled, as online mobile purchase trends are favorable
  • Safe and secure sites, allowing safe data storage for future sales

Reviews, Feedback and Testimonials:

  • Endorsements bring sales
  • Consumer reviews are powerful
  • Ratings and feedback mechanisms result in better sales, better ROI

Online Retail Pricing Strategies:

  • Free trial then buy works
  • With free shipping, more spent on items
  • Revenues add up fast with additional discounted items offered

Time Factor with Online Retail:

  • Personalized deal time window is effective
  • Adding timing add urgency to the process
  • Time or number limitations create more interest

Additional Call to Actions:

  • Reminders and ancillary purchase links generate more add-on sales
  • Links on additional buys is an effective sales strategy
  • Ads centered on your buys assist in future sales

online retail - strategies

Source: Visual.ly,   VoucherCodes

Online retailers need to be more strategic in the ever increasingly competitive online retail industry.  Businesses and entrepreneurs must undertake adequate research and planning prior to launching their online retail ventures.  It helps to develop a plan through the strategic steps of establishing objectives, options, methods, implementation, measurement of results and revisions as necessary.

More Online Retail and Consumer Articles:

Strategy Plan One

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Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

EService, Social Media and Customer Service Trends [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

June 23, 2012 

Eservice, Social Media and the Customer

With the social media craze estimated to grow by 37% this year, businesses must be ready to intercept social media friendly customers and serve them well.  It’s not just about speed of service to customers, but the other factors that play into building that customer base, and just as important, retaining those customers.

Here is a strategic look at customer service from the Eservice & Social Media business side, in this infographic from Bluewolf.

Ground-breaking customer service models driven by:

  • 87% customer demand for better service
  • 71% from pressures from competition 
  • 28% loyalty of the customer

Customer behavior when businesses screw up:

  • 17% leave after a single mistake
  • 40% hit the road after a two mess-ups
  • 28% have had enough after the third mistake

Social Media and Eservice Trends:

  • E-service (web, social media, chat) estimated to grow by 53% in the next year
  • Social media expected to grow by 37%
  • By 2020: 90% of businesses will use social media for responding to customer inquiries
  • 20% of Fortune 500 companies engage with customers on Facebook

customer service - social media

Changing the customer service model may be necessary for businesses as the social media platforms in use will continue to grow.  Integrating and emphasizing an Eservice model would seem essential to the speed and effectiveness of customer service, in satisfying the customers for long-term relationships with businesses.

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

Customer Service blogs and infographics:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social Media, Mobile and Internet Data by the Minute [infographic]

Strategy Plan One

June 22, 2012 

Social Media, Mobile, Internet Data

It is mind boggling how much data we create and digest through multiple forms of electronic media and devices.  Taking the business perspective on the “data created every minute” information in the infographic from Domo:

  • Consumers spend over $272,000 / minute – sites are showing trends in e-commerce fused with social media activities
  • Brands receive ~35,000 likes / minute on Facebook – does your business have a presence in social media sites?
  • YouTube users upload 48 hours of content / minute – Sites with video lead to more sales
  • Mobile increases its user base by 217 every minute – trends are favorable in mobile app and e-commerce through mobile devices
  • Facebook users share almost 700,000 pieces of content / minute – as an astute marketer in your business, create valuable content worth sharing

social media mobile internet data by the minute

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

More on Mobile Market and Mobile Apps:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One

Social Media and Online Customer Trends [Infographic]

Strategy Plan One

June 19, 2012 

Social Media and E-commerce

Social media use and e-commerce have strong business connections.  Where are the trends heading?  Are online sales trends through social media on an exponential growth track or on a realistic, small growth trend similar to non social media linked sales?

Here is an interesting infographic from Gloople, and the highlights:

  • Only 9% of commerce currently generated online
  • 60% of consumers shop online quarterly
  • By 2015, 50% of companies will generate online sales through social media or mobile apps
  • Estimated: 192 Million consumers will shop online by 2016
  • Big Jump: Ave. annual online spending by consumers in 2016 over $2,000
  • Big Online Sales globally – estimated to exceed $400 Billion annually by 2016

Social Media Consumer Trends:

  • 20% online purchases within a social media site
  • 40% of Twitter Users search for products & services via Twitter
  • 12% of consumers made purchases due to info found on Twitter
  • 75% more likely to purchase if a friend endorses through social media
  • 34% more likely to share purchase info on social media site than on an           e-commerce site
  • 77% of online shoppers use reviews
  • 81% receive online advice on products & services

Social Media Commerce Facts and Statistics

  • 700 Billion minutes / month spent on Facebook
  • 6.5% click through rate on Facebook walls
  • Don’t forget Google+ …now at 170 M users
  • Pinterest now accounting for 3.6% of referral traffic
  • Pinterest click through rate 3 times more than Google+
  • 65% of global top 100 companies have a Twitter account

social media - online customer trends

Here are some additional Social Media articles, blogs and infographics:

 

Strategy Plan One

http://strategyplanone.com

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur

© 2012 Strategy Plan One