Business owners are continually looking for ways to retain their current customer base. There’s a good reason for their interest. According to Adobe, returning customers typically spend three to seven times as much as a first-time customer.
Make no mistake; gaining new customers is vital to the success of your business. However, many marketers fail to take the time to focus on their customer retention strategy.
Social media is an excellent way to keep your existing customers happy so that they will turn to your business in the future. Few websites offer the analytic data available through social media, making it the perfect tool for building connections with your audience. Here are some of the best ways you can use your business’s social media profiles to retain customers.
The great thing about social media is that people are free to talk about virtually anything they want. If you’re interested in retaining customers, it’s helpful to find out what kind of problems they are having – as it relates to your niche – by looking at trends in the community.
For instance, if you’re a WordPress plugin developer and want to find a product gap in the market, checking WordPress plugin chat groups and conversations can prove beneficial.
When you’re able to keep your eye on the trends, you can develop products or services that extend the customers’ experience by offering them something new. It’s hard to retain a solid customer base if you sell one or two products that never change. Social media allows business owners to look at emerging trends, identify gaps based on consumer needs, and develop new products.
Social media allows us to give our current customers personalized offers based on their past purchases. Email marketing is far …Read More
Project management certifications have claimed a place in every top IT certification list for years. That’s because project managers are important to IT operations of all kinds. Whether you are interested in becoming an IT project manager or just want to add project management to your list of soft skills, these five leading certifications will help you add to or boost those skills and, in turn, increase your value.
If there’s a single set of soft skills that’s been fixed on the IT radar for the past decade or so, to the point where it’s become almost as sought after and every bit as valuable as top-level credentials, it must be project management. Thanks in large part to the immensely popular and widely pursued Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI), this area has become an incredibly valuable merit badge for IT professionals of all stripes. That’s because it enhances and expands on the value of just about any other kind of technical credential.
Project management has everything to do with planning, scheduling, budgeting for, and then executing and reporting on projects of all shapes and sizes. In fact, anything and everything that IT does can be understood or handled as a project of some kind. It applies to one-of-a-kind activities that happen only once or very seldom (think hardware or OS upgrades or migrating from older to newer platforms or infrastructures). Ditto for a recurring series of activities that repeat regularly (think security patches, software updates or other regular maintenance tasks). Thus, project management is incredibly important and valuable to IT operations across the board.
According to PMI’s Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey, 10th Edition, IT professionals who hold a PMP report median base annual salaries in the U.S. of almost $116,000. …Read More
Collecting debt on delinquent accounts can be difficult, especially if your debtors move without providing a forwarding address. The longer your accounts remain delinquent, the less likely you are to recover the debt. In situations like these, hiring a debt collector to recover funds on your behalf may be your best option.
Collection agencies, not to be confused with debt buyers, are most commonly paid a percentage of any outstanding funds they recover on your accounts, but they don’t own the debt. When they collect a payment, they hand the money over to you, minus a certain percentage in fees. A standard collection agency will offer services, such as formal demand letters, phone calls and emails; however, top debt collection agencies provide additional services, like skip tracing, litigation and online portal access.
When comparing collection agencies, it is important to analyze more than just the services offered. An agency’s reputation for how it treats your debtors is equally important, since they are representing your business. There are strict laws surrounding collection efforts. Any reputable agency will follow those laws and treat your debtors with dignity and respect.
When looking to hire a collection agency for your small business, consider the collection type (commercial collections, consumer, etc.), industries and locations they serve. Not every agency will be a good fit for your business. Below you can learn more about the agencies we selected, the features of each one, whether it services commercial collections (B2B), consumer collections (B2C), or a combination of the two.
Editor’s Note: Looking for a collection agency for your business? If you’re looking for information to help you choose the one that’s right for you, use the questionnaire below to have one of our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
So you’re a business owner and you badly need an app to be created specifically for your business? Or, you’re someone who has an awesome idea for an app and you’re sure it will work, but you lack the expertise and time to hire and manage an in-house development team?
The truth is, custom mobile application development is often expensive and it takes a lot of time, but if you have the budget, you don’t really need to stress yourself and figure everything out on your own. There are reputable app developers who can help turn your idea into a problem-solving and money-making app that is custom built to fit your requirements, your vision and your budget and it’s just a matter of choosing who you’d trust for your project.
Here are some of the ways you can save yourself from having to cough up money for hidden app development costs:
As app builders, we’ve seen a lot of business owners who don’t have the technical capability to understand the process of app development. Sure, they’re done validating their idea, doing competitor audit and creating a strategy for their app, but still, if they cannot clearly communicate exactly how they envisioned the app to be, then the development process may drag on and the cost of building the app may reach the ceiling.
If you want to maximize your budget, make sure that your chosen team has the capability to deliver the app just how you want it to be. There’s no better way to do that than by creating a detailed document that outlines your mobile application requirements. This document should tell your chosen and would-be contractors about your objective for the app, product & technical specifications, design practices to …Read More
Virtual reality is likely not what you expect. You probably associate it with gaming, entertainment ads in malls, or movies like Ready Player One. But today virtual reality has been adjusted to serve various industries that seek new innovative ways to achieve success. Although there are many ways and spheres to apply this technology, some fields can benefit highly.
VR technology is an excellent tool to increase profit and attract customers in retail. People have shown their appreciation of e-commerce service and are eager to go further. 70% of customers admitted they are strongly interested in virtual shopping.
Virtual reality experience provides customers with a completely new level of service from an ability to try on clothes while at home to decorating a room that is not even built yet. Variety of solutions makes it a highly applicable and adjustable tool. Big companies like IKEA, eBay or Topshop have already put VR into practice, each of them in their unique way. While IKEA suggests their customers a tour to a virtual kitchen of their dreams, eBay has built an interactive personalized catalog for easy shopping.
We all hope one day there will be no diseases and the world will be a perfectly healthy place. But until then we should keep developing the health care industry and the latest technology is what can help. Virtual reality is among them.
VR in healthcare can be useful for both patients and doctors. People receive therapy with VR applications to fight fears and phobias. There already exist solutions aimed to educate and share experience: virtual surgeries, emergency training, VR anatomy applications. There was even a live stream of an operation – that’s how far it went.
But this is only the beginning. We have just started discovering the full …Read More
Co-workers play a significant role in how we feel about coming to work each day. Having supportive, fun-loving colleagues can make you feel eager to come into work in the morning, while toxic co-workers make you dread each workday.
One type of co-worker that is especially difficult to handle is an individual who is overly bossy. A bossy co-worker is generally someone who dictates the room, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and shares their opinion as fact. Their behavior may consist of telling you what to do, critiquing you on how to do your job or even monopolizing brainstorm sessions. Dealing with a bossy co-worker is frustrating and sometimes impedes productivity.
If you have a bossy co-worker who is making your life at work miserable, follow these five tactics to create a more even playing field.
It is important to create and enforce transparent boundaries between you and your co-workers. This can be easy if you have different job titles, as you can then simply divide up the workload based on your job descriptions. Having predetermined responsibilities can be helpful in deflecting unreasonable requests from bossy co-workers.
Selena Rezvani, author of Pushback and vice president at BeLeaderly, suggested proactively discussing your job description with your manager to determine what tasks are superfluous to your role and worthy of passing on.
“Contract verbally with your manager that they’ll back you up and provide cover if and when you say no to a task,” said Rezvani. “If your boss endorses the boundary you’ve created, you have a much better chance of overcoming pushback from your colleague later on.”
It can be difficult to just outright ignore someone who keeps telling you what to do, and it is unlikely to resolve the situation …Read More
No matter what type of business you have, you need to be able to accept credit card payments from your customers. Sure, it’s easier just to accept cash, but you also want to accept credit and debit cards, since so many people prefer to pay for things this way.
But to do this, you need to choose a service provider – which can be challenging, because there are hundreds of payment processing companies to choose from and several factors to consider before selecting a processor. To find the most convenient and least expensive route from your customer’s credit card to your bank account, you want to look for credit card processing companies that have low rates, few fees and month-to-month contracts.
If your business is new or not yet accepting credit card payments, you’re probably wondering, “How do you accept credit cards?” and “How much does it cost to accept credit cards?” These steps will walk you through the process of setting up credit card processing for your business. Scroll down or click on the links to learn more about each step.
Here’s what you need to do to accept credit cards:
Everyday in the news we’re reading stories about some fantastic ‘hack’ that made a startup’s user base explode or generated a sudden spike in leads overnight. Just like the lottery, it can be fun to imagine what we would do if we suddenly hit on some unknown way to bring in massive amounts of revenue overnight.
If you’ve found that hack, you’re in the lucky 1% that we all envy. Please don’t forget us when you’re famous!
This article isn’t meant to trample your dreams of overnight success. If anything, understanding the dangers of seeking hacks over solutions will be more likely to drive long term success for your business.
I’m aware that may not sound as sexy as finding a social media hack that will blow up your Instagram account, but there’s a reason for this, and the reason is rooted in a business principle I’ve come to love and appreciate over time.
The one key growth strategy I’ve shared with all my clients is to: Plan for the rule, not the exception.
The rule is that, ultimately, long term strategies, like writing great content and posting regularly, will in time increase your organic traffic and build your brand up as an authority in your niche.
The exception we all hope for is that our content goes viral – if this happens – amazing! But as a responsible business you should plan for the rule, not the exception.
Finding hacks is great, but if you’re building a business that needs to stand the test of time, you also need to build a foundation based on long term strategies that will bring stable predictable results.
Here are three tips to ensure you’re planning for the rule and not the exception.
Fast easy hacks can …Read More
As a small business employer, if you don’t already provide a 401(k) and 401(k) match for yourself and your employees, right now is a great time to consider getting started. Although it may feel like the 2018 tax season has just exited the stage, this is the perfect time to determine how to get the most out of your business investments for 2019. To my way of thinking, there are four highly compelling reasons:
Instead of making tax payments, why not contribute to your retirement and your employees’ financial stability? By providing a 401(k) match, the corresponding tax reduction can essentially negate your costs in matching their contributions. What you’ll save depends on your income and tax bracket.
To max out your contributions and tax savings, how much of an employee match might make sense for you?
Here’s an example. In 2019, a single business owner can make a maximum contribution of $56,000 to a 401(k) profit-sharing plan. At the top bracket of 37%, this contribution would save more than $20,000 in federal income taxes ($56,000 x 37% = $20,720). In other words, making up to $20,720 in matching contributions ends up in the retirement plans of valued employees, rather than down the federal tax hole. If a married couple owns a business together and can contribute $56,000 each into …Read More
One of the defining characteristics of nearly every entrepreneur is a burning desire to know the latest technology available to them – tech that either makes their efforts easier or that allows the business owner to push beyond existing constraints into new territory.
Small business owners are pulled in several different directions all the time. By assigning tasks that you can do yourself and those you can delegate to others, such as experts, small business owners can spend more time focusing on what needs to be done drive the business forward.
Here is a list of terms small business owners should familiarize themselves with as they make critical decisions on technology, marketing and human resources.
Internet of things (IoT): The internet of things (IoT) describes the increasing number of items using smart technology that allow you to control security from your phone, turn lights on and off in your building, control heating and cooling when you’re not in the office, and many other items.
Server hosting: Servers are devices that support a company’s computer and internet networks. Servers are typically owned by internet service providers (ISPs), which lease out server space in addition to providing customers with internet connectivity. ISPs “host” a company’s information – its website, email, data, etc. – on their servers. Some servers are located in ISP data centers, while others are leased directly to businesses.
Businesses that don’t have the in-house technical support necessary to maintain a server typically rent space on a remote server or use a managed hosting service. Managed hosting services provide businesses with their own servers and full-time technical support.
Other businesses lease their servers from ISPs, but without the extra tech help. Having a dedicated server, as this is known, is cheaper than managed hosting services, but it’s only feasible …Read More