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5 Businesses That Can Exploit the Changing Retail Mall Market

Malls are undergoing a significant and rapid change. As the way consumers shop changes, malls are losing the big department stores that were their traditional long-term tenants. While that news isn’t great for mall owners, it can be good news for small business owners.

Vacant retail space in malls is detrimental to communities, which lost jobs for residents, as well as income from retail sales tax. Mall owners as well as city leaders, of course, want to fill these empty spaces.

Here are 5 things Global Resources LLC experts predict will fill vacant mall space, and ways both retail and non-retail businesses can take advantage of them.

Rental or Resale Shop

According to research, alternatives to traditional retail (rental and resale) will take billions of dollars in spending from traditional retail channels by 2023. While rental and resale businesses may not make enough money to support rents in large shopping centers, open spaces in strip malls could mean greater opportunity.

Pop-up Shops

Pop-up stores in malls and shopping centers will become increasingly popular as a method of satisfying consumers’ desire for new experiences. If you own an eCommerce business, you could use a pop-up shop to link up with local customers in person, build excitement about a new product line or limited-term product release, or satisfy the demand for your product/service during the holidays.

Events

Limited-time events are another way malls will use empty space. Both retail and non-retail businesses can exploit this trend. For example, an apparel retailer could host a back-to-school fashion show for youngsters. There are ways for you to find out what events are planned at your local mall and how your business could be a part of them.

Service Businesses

Consumer spending on products (as opposed to services) dropped significantly between 2000 and 2017. This will most likely continue later than 2020 since consumers will spend billions of dollars more on discretionary services. Generally speaking, more malls will fill vacancies with service providers so shoppers can handle more of their needs with one trip. Malls with mixed-use retail and residential space offer a great deal of potential for service businesses. Those residents need services such as hair and nail salons, pet grooming services, and more.

Office Space

Certain empty spaces in shopping centers will be converted to offices or co-working spaces. This could be an opportunity for you to buy desirable commercial office space. The convenience of working in a mall location could even help you attract and keep employees.

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5 Useful Apps For Your Small Business

Since 2008, when the Apple store opened with 500 apps, the shop has grown to serve customers in more than 155 countries. For the last ten years, the online store has been helping small businesses to find the best resources for their Apple products.

Global Resources LLC consultants have put together a list of the Apple App store’s most useful and reliable products for small businesses.

iTunes

Sure, there were bound to be some well-known names on this list and it should be no surprise to anyone that iTunes is at the top. There is no doubt how this popular entertainment app is great for small business. iTunes is great because it can help you to stay on task with the latest business podcasts, amongst many other features.

GUSTO

Gusto is great because it handles a lot of accounting functions for small businesses. In addition to online employee onboarding, Gusto naturally reports new contracts to the administration; handles all local, state and government tax filings; computerizes derivations for benefits and laborers’ comp installments, and emails advanced pay stubs to workers.

Evernote Business

Being able to keep your contacts organized and in the one place is generally one of the bigger obstacles when small businesses start to digitize. Evernote Business comes to the rescue and even allows you to share notes so your office is always mobile.

Slack 

Slack is indispensable for effective communication these days. The app allows employees to check on messages while traveling, working remotely, or just out of office for a minute. It keeps you up-to-date with what’s going in the office for as little or as much as needed.

As you may or may not know, communication devices have always been one of the cornerstones of business apps. Slack is available on nearly every device and it certainly made its mark right away. All your business information is consolidated into the same place and all the subordinate apps you need are integrated under the Slack umbrella.

QuickBooks

Believe it or not, you can run all of your accounting functions right from the cloud with this app. Payments and billing are all wrapped up into one easy-to-use and seamless package. Pick this one and you’re in great company. They have over four million customers across the globe.

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6 Ways Your Small Business Can Use Voice Technology

In today’s day and age, voice technology is a great way to streamline processes and enhance customer service. However, according to research, while nearly 50% of senior employees use voice-activated technology for personal reasons, just 30% actually use the technology at work. Furthermore, only 50% are getting ready to embed these tools into their business operations.

Global Resources LLC experts recommend the following 10 ways your business can use voice tech.

To Streamline the Customer Experience 

The main thing here is providing the customer with the opportunity to use their natural language to get what they want.

The right technology avoids the typing, clicking and swiping through other types of customer service platforms. Voice technology is faster than other types and an enhanced client experience results in greater sales and increased revenue.

To Cut Down on Data Input Time

Voice technologies simplify the process for busy salespeople. When they can find the forecasts, top sales figures, and other data by using their voices, salespeople can spend more time in the field cultivating contacts and earning money. The technology brings all the important CRM info under one umbrella and makes it quickly accessible.

To Manage the Office Remotely

Google Home and other technologies similar to it can help small business owners keep an eye on things while they’re away. Security cameras, alarm systems, and even smart locks can be voice controlled right from your smartphone.

To Increase Forecast Accuracy 

Small businesses definitely see an advantage to using voice technology. Once everyone (such as the sales teams and inside staff) is on board, data gets entered quicker and more accurately.

Ultimately, when there are more data and more accurate data in the system, management can complete more accurate financial forecasting.

To Generate Reminders

A successful small business owner wears many hats on a day-to-day basis.  Knowing what meeting you’ll need to be at next and which emails should be flagged for immediate contact can be difficult to manage. The right voice technology (try Alexa) can help you to categorize everything and bring it up quickly at your convenience.

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Amazing Techniques to Increasing Your Revenue With Apps

You may or may not be surprised to learn that there are nearly 3,000 apps making at least $1 million in annual revenue. This number represents a significant growth from past years, telling us that apps are becoming an increasingly legitimate source of revenue for businesses.

If you’re looking to exploit of this emerging tactic, there is a myriad of ways you can go about it. Global Resources LLC consultants recommend considering the following techniques to make more money with apps.

Release Paid Apps

The most palpable way that you can make money through an app is to simply sell it directly to customers. While certain apps in both the Google Play and the iTunes App Stores are free to download, others cost anywhere from $0.99 and up to download. Logic tells us that this is a tactic that can work for any type of business. Having said that, your app (of course), has to offer some kind of tangible value that customers would be willing to pay for. Something like a game or dating service, for example, could possibly work. Conversely, an app that offers products from your store that customers could also buy online might not be worth it.

Offer Premium Upgrades

Consider making your app free to download in its most basic form, but then offer another option as well. You could offer certain special features to the app users if they upgrade to a paid premium version of the app.

This is a strategy that could be relevant for streaming services, business tools, or anything where you could separate the functionality into different levels.

Offer In-App Purchases

In-app purchases are similar to the premium upgrade model and allow users to buy access to higher levels (on a game), unlock special features or functionality.

This is something that’s particularly popular in gaming apps. Having said that, you could also offer it in entertainment or photo editing apps.

Monetize Through Advertisements

If you don’t want your customers to have to pay anything to use your app, one realistic option is to make money through advertisements.

You let people put up ads on your app and get paid on the basis of impressions or clicks.

This works similarly to advertisements on websites. Thus, it could work for basically any type of app. However, advertisements tend to be particularly popular for the apps that are completely free for people to use, like news or media apps.

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5 Essential Components of a Retail Referral Program

Regardless of whether or not you own a retail store or an e-commerce website, obtaining referrals from your existing customers is one of the strongest marketing weapons in your arsenal. Take time to consider whether or not you’re doing everything you can to harness the power of retail referrals. Global Resources LLC consultants recommend the following five steps to help you get started.

Step 1: Be Referral-Worthy

As expected, you can’t expect to get referrals unless you start by delivering amazing products and customer service. Sure, you may sell the same products as your competitor(s), but remarkable customer service can make the difference in where shoppers decide to buy.

Consider the last time a retailer went out of their way to help you during the purchasing process. What did they do that made you remember and share the experience? That’s the type of customer service experience you want to deliver.

Step 2: Find Your Best Customers

Ultimately, the customers who are most loyal to your retail store or e-commerce website are your best bets for garnering referrals. You should use your customer loyalty program, purchase records, or other customer data to identify these people so you can reach out to them. Of course, you may already know who some of your top-notch customers are from just seeing them in the store time and time again.

Step 3: Decide On Your Retail Referral Incentives

You’ll want to take time and think about what types of referral incentives you’re going to offer. Ultimately, what you sell and who your target customer base is will help determine the referral incentives that are most impactful.

Step 4: Train Your Employees In Your Referral Program

If your employees don’t understand how your referral program works, customers will become frustrated. This is the exact opposite of the result you want. Make sure your sales clerks know the ins and outs of your program so they can seamlessly process transactions involving referral rewards. Your employees should also be encouraged to promote the referral program to customers they interact with.

Step 5: Market Your Retail Referral Program

Get started by sending a referral incentive offer to those best customers that you’ve identified. You can do this via email or even direct mail if that’s what your customers prefer. Consider including a promotional code that customers can share with their friends so you can track whether or not the referrals are effective. You can also promote your referral program with signage in your store or banners on your website.

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10 Things Business Owners Must Know About Association Health Plans

Association health plans for small business are expanding as a result of a new Federal rule. Ultimately, the biggest beneficiaries will be self-employed owners with no employees, as well as significantly small businesses with as few as one employee. These small business owners will be able to shop for and join association health plans. This is an expansion over existing state laws that generally limit association plans to employers that have a minimum of at least 50 employees.

The new rule also gives authority for association plans to cross state lines. Furthermore, the new association health plans will have expanded consumer protections, including pre-existing conditions coverage.

This, of course, is all due to a new Department of Labor rule issued on June 19, 2018. The effective date starts September 1st. According to the Department of Labor, 4 million Americans could become insured under Association health plans.

So, what exactly are Association Health Plans?

Plain and simply, association health plans allow small businesses to band together with other businesses for health insurance plans. Local business groups and even nationwide industry groups will be able to offer association health plans that meet certain rules.

If you’re a small business owner, Global Resources LLC consultants recommend understanding the following ten points about association health plans.

  • While association health plans do, in fact, exist today, the new rule expands upon them.
  • Association health plans under the new rule will have expanded consumer protections.
  • Families and employees are also eligible for coverage.
  • Premiums and coverage terms are up to each plan.
  • Insurers are not required to offer Association plans.
  • Association health plans for small business are largely outside of the ACA and not subject to Obamacare rules.
  • The new rule does not change or affect any existing association health plans.
  • The new Association health plans must meet certain legal requirements.
  • The new rule goes into effect September 1, 2018.
  • More information is available online. The full Department of Labor rule can be found here. The FAQs are easier to read and can be found here.

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5 Ways To Promote Your Brand Values

Would one of your employees know the answer if you were to ask him/her what your brand’s core values are? How do you think they would respond?

Let’s assume your company already has some firm brand values that were covered in your initial business plan or your brand guidelines. If not, now may be a good time to consider the nature of your brand and draft those core values. If those values are in place, however, it’s important to think about how you can make sure your employees are all working in line with those core values.

Global Resources LLC consultants recommend the following five ways to keep your employees aligned with your brand values.

Hire the right candidates

Ultimately, everything starts with the individuals you hire. The interview process should assist you in determining whether someone’s individual values fit with, are close to, or veer strongly from your brand values. Even if a potential employee has the right experience, you should pass on them if they aren’t going to fit the culture you want to create.

Use signage to remind employees of values

Office signage can absolutely have a powerful effect on employee values and productivity. For example, you could hang a large sign for each of your brand’s core values throughout the office as a reminder of how those values are supposed to be displayed. Furthermore, you could also display motivational signs, designed to subtly showcase your brand values in action, such as reminders of the value of teamwork.

Demonstrate values from the top down

Employees always look to their leaders as role models for the culture they’re going to embody. If you want your newest employees to uphold your brand values, they need to be modeled by your highest-ranking leaders. Encourage all your executive leaders to display these brand values in their own positions.

Implement and discuss values in employee reviews

If/when you conduct annual or semi-annual employee reviews, take that time to talk about each employee’s knowledge and embodiment of your brand values. Try to gauge how they’ve performed in each area (such as embracing change or pursuing growth) and ask them how they feel about their performance in each category.

Publicly reward people who follow or exemplify your brand values

Lastly, take the time to acknowledge and/or reward employees who do a great job of demonstrating your brand’s core values. Ultimately, this will make the employee in question continue this pattern of behavior and encourage your other employees to seek out similar levels of adoption.

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8 Must-Have Technologies For Your Small Business

According to a recent survey, the following technologies are listed as ones that small businesses were using or planned on implementing within the next two years. Let’s take a look at the following eight must-have technologies, courtesy of Global Resources LLC consultants.

Data Security

Data Security remains as the number one technology small businesses need to seriously consider in today’s world of malware and breaches. Still, only 68% of small and medium sized businesses reported currently using these technologies.

In certain instances, small businesses without these protections can even be fined.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The importance of CRM is widely regarded as indispensable, though only a little more than 50% of people said they were currently using one of these tools. It was very evident that small and medium-sized businesses understood the importance of these CRMs for interacting with clients, but hadn’t found one they liked.  

HR Software

HR software was one of the other technologies that was flagged in the survey by just over half of the respondents. If you’re looking to include this with your small business, administrative functions like those for benefits and attendance are critical. Furthermore, it’s also a good idea to look for some strategic options like tracking long-term employee development.

Website Implementation and Enhancement Tools 

Even if your small business doesn’t have a strong web presence at this time, there’s no need to worry. There is a gallery of free and affordable options to choose from for both websites and content management that can help you to catch up fast.

Mobile Applications  

Just under 50% of businesses are using or plan to use mobile business applications in the next two years. While mobile applications are usually considered a must-have, small and medium-sized businesses should not overdo it.

Cloud Computing

Nearly 60% of the small businesses reported that cloud computing made their organizations more scalable. If your house data filing system and budget are strained, the cloud can always help release some of that pressure.

Innovative Payment Methods 

As evident, customers that do online shopping want to be able to pay for their purchases in cyberspace as well. Some of the safe industry leaders here include Microsoft Pay.

Chatbots 

Even though the numbers skewered down on the survey, recent AI advances put them on a list of must-haves for small companies. You’ll likely see more conversational AI chatbots over the next decade.

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8 Amazing LinkedIn Tools For Your Business

Sure, you know that LinkedIn is a fantastic way to network with other business owners. Having said that, consider whether or not you’re truly using it to its full potential. Is that a “yes” or a “no”?

Over the last decade or so, a number of LinkedIn tools for business have been introduced that can take your networking, marketing, and selling efforts to new heights.

Global Resources LLC consultants have compiled a list of useful solutions, tools, and apps this social media platform offers. Let’s take a look at them.

LinkedIn Company Pages

A LinkedIn company page is the perfect way to promote your brand and build connections with peers, customers, prospects. Company pages can be extended with showcase pages and career pages as well.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator turns the LinkedIn platform into a selling machine. The solution’s features include lead recommendations, account and contact import and CRM sync (Salesforce), advanced search with Lead Builder, account pages, a social selling index dashboard, real-time updates and more.

LinkedIn Elevate

In order to enhance a business’ social selling efforts, LinkedIn offers the amazing tool of Elevate. Elevate allows your employees to share approved content with their network. This enhances the reputation of both your employees and your company.

LinkedIn Lead Accelerator

Lead Accelerator is like marketing automation in LinkedIn style. In other words, it will identify prospects on your site, LinkedIn and other partner sites and deliver either ads or sponsored content to nurture those relationships.

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail

InMail messages are sent directly to another LinkedIn member to whom you’re not connected. Sponsored InMails are hyped up to get the attention and action you truly want from the people you’re targeting. Sponsored InMails stay at the very top of a recipients’ inbox and drives conversion.

LinkedIn Content Marketing

Generally speaking, LinkedIn provides two ways for you to publish and share content:

Updates

LinkedIn Updates stem from the beginning of the social media network and they’re still the most socially-driven part of the site. Basically, updates are similar to Facebook’s posts even up to the point where you are notified when a connection liked or commented on another update.

Long Form Posts

In trying to think about long-form posts, think to blog because that really is just what they are – blogging on LinkedIn. The sole advantage to publishing your posts here is the notion that LinkedIn’s already done much of the heavy lifting with respect to traffic.

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6 Fantastic Ways to Accelerate Your Online Marketing

For many businesses, slow but steady is a preferred method of growth. However, for entrepreneurs looking to master their craft and quickly build their empires, prudent planning and expertise are required.

Global Resources LLC consultants recommend the following top methods for accelerating growth in your online marketing plan and beyond.

Inform Your Content Strategy Using SEO Insights

While content marketing may already be an integral part of your growth strategy, you’ll need informed insights to make your content as effective as possible.

Take AdWords to the Next Level

Google offers the ability to connect landing page tests to AdWords, which gives businesses a simple way to make their online advertising campaigns more effective. A recent post on the Search Engine Land blog by Matt Lawson includes various tests you can use to step up your PPC campaigns with AdWords.

Blog Less and Spend More on Improving SEO

While blogging has been considered a cornerstone of SEO for years, it doesn’t have to be the only thing you focus on. To really accelerate your traffic and online growth, spend more on technology rather than on blogging.

Maintain Amazing Web Design

Before you can truly get your online marketing efforts off the ground, you need a phenomenal website. The design of your site can make a big impact on how people see your business. Thus, you should focus on creating an awesome website.

Don’t Overlook These Social Media Marketing Slip-Ups

While it’s normal to make mistakes when marketing a new business venture. Some mistakes absolutely should not be overlooked, especially when it comes to social media. These include trying to post too much, ensuring a presence of every social media outlet, and ignoring interactions on social media (to name a few).

Use Email Segmentation for Your Event Marketing Campaigns

If you partake in events to promote your business in person, you should really effectively communicate with potential attendees online as well. That’s where email segmentation can be a significant help.