Daily Habits to Increase Social Media Followers

Most small businesses fail to understand that growing a social media presence is a task that requires daily attention. It’s not sufficient to post a message on Facebook one week and wait another month until the next post. Using social media is a daily habit for your target audience. Therefore, it should be a daily habit for the company’s marketing plan as well. Here are several tips from Global Resources LLC consultants on how to ensure a growing social media presence for your company and brand:

Post Several Times a Week

Ideally, you should update all your social media profiles on a daily basis. If that’s not possible, update at least several times a week. Make sure there’s at least one update during the weekend, when people are likely to be spending time online. If updating in this manner is not possible, use a tool like Postfifty to schedule posts in advance.

Use Optimal Times for Posting

There’s little point in creating a great Facebook post or uploading a really great Instagram photo if no one in your target audience is online to see it. Keep in mind that social media feeds get updated every minute. If you update at the wrong time, it’s possible that the post will be ignored altogether. Therefore, collect data to determine the optimal time for posting. Which days of the week and what time during the day are your brand’s followers most active? Post during these times to optimize viewing, liking, and sharing.

Respond to User Feedback

It’s very important to invest in a daily social media screener to respond to user comments, posts, or feedback on any other form. Ideally, the company should respond within 24 hours. The aim of using social media is to build intimate relationships with potential customers so they stay loyal. You cannot achieve this goal if user comments are ignored.

Engagement is the secret to making social media marketing a success. The above tips cover the basics of engagement that any company can achieve with relative ease. For more advice, contact us at GR-US.com.

The Basics of Small Business Instagram Marketing

Instagram is one of the most powerful marketing tools many small businesses unfortunately fail to take advantage of. The photo-sharing app is one of the top most downloaded in the U.S. It is not just a space for celebrities to promote themselves. The biggest enterprise-grade brands like Nike and Starbucks are pro Instagram users.

What is unique about Instagram is that it allows smaller ventures to go toe-to-toe with industry giants. Global Resources LLC consultants highly recommend small business marketers think seriously about using Instagram to create brand awareness and increase customer loyalty. Here are basic tips for using Instagram:

Choose Great Pictures: Unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, Instagram is a visually oriented social networking site. On Instagram, what matters is what you show, not what you write. Therefore, it’s very important to use unique and highly appealing photographs to market your brand’s message. Avoid using stock photographs, and use your own to showcase authenticity.

Connect All Social Accounts: If your business has other social media accounts, don’t forget to connect them to the Instagram account. It’s possible to do this automatically. Once done, your Instagram posts will show up automatically on the feeds of other sites, thus increasing reach and scope.

Write Intriguing Captions: For photos, do not bother writing paragraphs. One or two intriguing sentences is often enough. You need to focus more on writing a very interesting and engaging bio for your company. Keep it short and casual, and make sure the audience understands what your business offers.

Use Existing Hashtags: Instagram’s power derives from clever use of hashtags. Where other social networks use keywords, Instagram uses hashtags. For example, #love is the most popular hashtag on the platform with millions of followers. Likewise, your marketing team needs to use these trending hashtags. Making up hashtags on your own is useless because no one else will see them. Tailor your photos to popular trending hashtags to increase traffic.

Need more marketing advice that will deliver your branding message to the intended audience? Ask us at GR-US.com.

 

Important Profitability Metrics Small Business Owners Should Know

So you have a high-quality product. But is your business actually profitable? Global Resources LLC once worked with Dave Alwan, a specialty meat caterer. Dave had a great product but did not know how to measure the costs of his business and understand how profitable it was. This is a common issue among business owners who are new to finance. Here are the most important profitability measures that you should be aware of as a small business owner:

Sales Revenue: This is a rather simple metric everyone understands. Sales revenue is the money you make selling your product. Sales revenue should match the rate of growth. You should never look at how much you are generating by selling alone. The sales numbers should be compared with costs of acquisition (mentioned below), growth rate, and other numbers to make sense of it.

The Cost of Acquisition: The CAC refers to how much money you spend on getting (or acquiring) a new customer. When you buy a new ad for your company or get new inventory, all these add to CAC. CAC should be matched with the number of customers acquired.

Gross Margin: This is a more precise measurement of profitability. It’s measured as a ratio or percentage of how much revenue is retained after spending costs. A small gross margin shows a company that is not growing as it should. A gross margin that is too large could indicate a company that is growing beyond its capacity.

Profit Margin: This is a calculation of all the costs of your company compared with earnings. The profit margin takes into consideration even small expenses like how much it costs to buy printing paper. It’s a reliable indicator of where your company’s money is going.

In addition to the above, you should also calculate productivity levels, consider customer retention numbers, and also lifetime value of a customer. For Dave, consultants at GR-US.com built a sophisticated system to calculate finances and understand metrics mentioned above. If you are not a finance expert, doing so at a small business can be difficult. If you require any help, Global Resources is ready to assist your business.

What is the Difference between a Trademark and a Company’s Name?

Is “Google” a name of a company or a trademark? Sometimes, it can be really difficult to distinguish between a trademark and the registered name of a company. This distinction, while seemingly trivial, is an important one with legal ramifications. Mainly, companies want their names and logos to be copyright protected. But when you register your business name, is that what happens? Read ahead to find out about the difference between a trademark and company name.

It’s All About State vs. Federal Law

Business names are first and foremost registered with the states with a corporation or an LLC application. This disallows two or more companies to operate in the state under the same name.  For example, Global Resources LLC is registered in Illinois and is a corporate entity. When we submitted our application, the Illinois state officials checked to make sure no other company under the same name operates in the state. There’s a tricky part here: what if there was another company named Gbl Resources or Global Rec? Some states find the two names too similar, while others maintain that it’s dissimilar enough to warrant as two different companies.

When you register a business as an LLC in a state, it simply means you are allowed a unique name for your company. But this only applies to the state of registration, not the other 49 states. If you don’t want a competitor to set up another business bearing the same name in a different state, then you need federal trademark law.

Federal Trademark Protection

Global Resources is a registered trademark name. That means no other business can use this name. Federal trademark protection is necessary for companies that want to expand nationwide, or want to operate out of state. A trademark refers to a phrase, a word, a design or a symbol like a logo that uniquely identifies a business, a product or a service. This trademark is distinct in the industry. The owner of the trademark is the only one with the right to use, change, or alter the name or logo.  Trademarks are protected in all states and also internationally.

If your business is operating only in a single town or a state, then you may not need to file for a trademark. However, if you require additional protections for the business name, then you can begin the trademarking process. If you need any help, experienced consultants with GR-US.com are here to help.

3 Customer Retention Strategies for Small Businesses

Customer retention is a priority for many of Global Resources LLC clients. Indeed, your business will grow only if it’s able to retain the customers that it attracts. Small businesses sometimes try too many tactics to retain customers, and some companies do nothing. It’s important to develop a comprehensive strategy to improve customer retention levels, which leads to both increased profits and potential to scale. Here are several customer retention techniques that are known to work:

  1. Adopt a Value

Consumers prefer brands that stand for something. According to market research conducted by the Corporate Executive Board, an overwhelming number of consumers cite values as a reason for sticking with a brand. Values can form genuine and long-lasting connections with your target audience. Companies can adopt many types of values, be it going green, supporting LGBTQ rights, fair trade, or even offering family-friendly Christian values. Survey your audience and adopt values that best reflect the base’s already existing ones.

  1. Humanize the Brand

Consumers do not want to engage with corporatist brands. They want a brand they can connect with on a personal level, like a friend on Facebook. Therefore, reach out to customers on a personal level. Use pronouns like “I” and “you” when writing social media posts. Use simple, informal language in marketing material. On social media, send personalized messages to customers on important dates like birthdays. Keep in touch with customers via email, SMS, or on social media. This sort of connection will make your brand appealing on an intimate level, leading to better retention numbers.

  1. Increase Comfort

Do your best to reduce the pain points in the purchasing process. This includes techniques such as ensuring speedy delivery, reducing web page load time, and reducing the number of clicks a consumer needs to make before finalizing a product. In addition, using reassuring words (like a “small” service fee) improves the chance of customers becoming loyal to your brand.

Not sure if your business is optimized to retain customers? Go to GR-US.com to arrange a comprehensive review with one of our experienced management consultants.

Modifying Your Small Business to Improve Sales

It is no secret that small businesses face a considerable number of obstacles on a regular basis. This can make it quite difficult for entrepreneurs to keep their company profitable in the face of greater competition in an ever-changing business world. Fortunately, Global Resources LLC is in the forefront of analyzing small to medium-size businesses and has its finger on the pulse of what the best managed and most profitable businesses are doing today. This outside perspective which Global Resources can provide entrepreneurs will prove to be quite useful in ensuring that your small business will be a continuing success. Here are some things which need to be considered in today’s business environment:

Have a Good Money Management System

This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of any business. It is also one area that many people fail to understand. If you don’t want your company to hemorrhage money, then you need to have an well-designed cash management system in place. One of the best ways to do this is to balance the money coming into the business with the money leaving it where you can predict your cash needs a minimum of 12 weeks in the future. This means examining your spending habits more closely while creating a system where all receivables and payables are integrated into a cash management system. It is vital that you control your costs and your cash flow in a manner that you can maintain control by looking ahead and not just what is in your bank account. This is what will help the company to hold onto its resources and survive the rough patches that are inevitable.

Create a Hierarchy

This can seem quite counterintuitive in the modern business world where most people shy away from a hierarchical structure. Nonetheless, it is an important component of the business. Leaders serve many functions within a group. Perhaps the most significant, however, is the division of labor – a leader tells everyone in the group what they need to do. This also prevents the employees feel as though they are being beleaguered by their company executives.

Restructure the Hiring Process

This is something that many organizations are guilty of – not just small businesses. This is the error where the wrong people are hired for the job. As a result, there is a loss in productivity as a whole. The remedy to this is to alter the hiring process to better benefit the company as well as the potential employees. This way, you will find employees who are willing to commit to the company fully and be long-term and active members of the organization. It should help to fill the vacant positions that much faster as well.

Have an Incentive Program

There has been numerous research done to prove that rewarding your employees will actually help to bolster motivation and production. This is especially important for the sales team where motivation is directly proportional to the amount of effort that they make. If there is no enthusiasm, sales are bound to suffer. However, by incentivizing their efforts with a productivity-based, excess profit incentive system, you will be able to greatly improve the situation. Moreover, you will be able to see that your sales targets are being met more consistently while adding to the bottom line with a properly designed incentive system that is paid for from the excess profits. In other words, the incentives are paid from excess profits where the owner splits the excess profits with those who produce them.  Too often small business owners “shoot from the hip” when creating an incentive plan which can cost more than the increased profits being generating when all costs are considered.

Making these changes to your small business will prove to be incredibly useful to your company as well as your employees. If you feel as though your business is struggling to meet its potential, you should contact GR-US.com, who are expert consultants in such matters. You will be able to identify problems, implement solutions, and streamline your process in a short period of time.

How to Effectively Coach Promising Employees

Our Global Resources LLC consultants have occasionally been asked to assist with coaching employees. Business owners often ask our professional advice on how to go about the coaching process the right way. Indeed, coaching can be a bit daunting whether it is directed at an individual or a team. Here is some advice for managers who want to coach:

Listen – Coaching is about listening as much as it is about talking. Don’t speculate anything at first and start moving onto talking about problems that might not exist. We highly encourage managers to listen first before coaching. It will give context to the issue at hand. It is possible that the person or the team in question already understands the situation. Like a doctor, who talks to the patient before prescribing medication, it’s very important to listen first, then coach.

Build a good relationship – To be a good coach, there must be trust between the two parties in question. Good relationships and trust are very important for building a solid mentor-mentee bond. Therefore, the coaching process must involve a genuine connection between the two parties. Get to know the person you are coaching, their ambitions and aspirations better. Then the coaching process will move forward smoothly.

Be positive – Never, ever berate the person or the team you are coaching. Great leaders encourage people to do better, rather than driving them to a corner with fear. Positivity generally brings out the best in everyone, so communication will be easier. A positive relationship will reap positive benefits.

Don’t adopt too many goals – As tempting as it may be to coach with several goals in mind, this is not a practical plan. Don’t overburden the person you are coaching with too many things at once. The process will only be successful if it takes on a step-by-step approach. Also, it’s easy to lose sight when there are too many goals on the horizon. Start with one, and then move on from there.

A coach should also maintain a consistent presence to encourage employees to achieve more. If you want more tips for coaching employees, contact one of our consultants at GR-US.com.

How to Avoid Copyright Headaches when Blogging

Most companies blog as part of comprehensive marketing campaigns. Blogging is a great way to create brand awareness and promote products. While blogging has many benefits, our GR-US.com consultants have run into business bloggers with numerous copyright concerns. You may have questions regarding intellectual property on blogs such as whether another website can copy content, is it ok to post a particular image, or whether you are violating a copyright law yourself.

If you have legal concerns regarding copyright, it’s best to talk to an intellectual property lawyer. You can avoid a lot of legal trouble if you follow certain best practices with regards to copyright when blogging on behalf of a business. Here are some of those best practices:

Post a Copyright Notice – Worried about another blogger or a website posting content you have created as their own? Then post a copyright notice on your blog. You can also add a duplicate content tracking plugin to your blog to make sure other parties are not ignoring your copyright warning.

Publish Your Own Images – Publishing images seen on the web on your blog can get your company into trouble. While some may overlook this practice when it comes to individual bloggers, many may not ignore a company stealing images. You could jeopardize your company’s entire reputation with this practice. Therefore, when you have to publish a photo, go and try to take it yourself. If not, purchase the photo or use free, public domain pictures that anyone can use.

Repost Content Only with Permission – Reposting content from other bloggers is standard practice in blogging. However, credit must be given where due. Before you repost content, ask permission from the original creator. Proceed to publish only if you have explicit permission. Also, when you post the content, make sure the original author name is attributed.

Avoid Plagiarizing – It’s tempting to use other people’s well-written thoughts on your blog. However, some bloggers do so without attribution. This is a huge no-no in blogging. The original author could sue your company, and your blog’s reputation will be tainted. So, write originally and make sure credit is given where it’s due.

Want to know how your blogging and marketing plan is coming together overall? Check out our Global Resources LLC Reviews to know for sure.

Books on Management Every Small Business Owner Must Read

Small business owners must embody two very important qualities: management skills and leadership capability. At Global Resources LLC, we have met a number of interesting small business owners over the years who have spectacularly possessed these qualities. These are not skills people are necessarily born with; they must be harnessed and honed. Our management consultants strongly recommend incorporating some reading into your daily schedule to become a better small business executive. Here are some of the books we recommend:

“No Jerks on the Job: Who They are, the Harm They Do and Ridding Them from Your Workplace,” by Ron Newton

Every small business owner knows how the difficult or “eccentric” people can ruin the workplace ethic for everyone. This book is the definitive guide on how to manage difficult employees and build an office culture that drives productivity. It’s detailed and easy to read even after a particularly hectic day.

 “Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with the Principles of RESPECT,” by Paul Marciano

Productivity and efficiency at workplaces are a result of stable internal culture. No business owner wants the employees slacking off or offering subpar work. To drive excellence, the workplace culture must prepare employees for it. This book explores how employers can motivate workers to be more productive. It explains various theories behind what drives workplace culture, and ultimately provides great solutions on how to keep employees both happy and working hard.

 “Do More Great Work: Stop the Busywork. Start the Work That Matters,” by Michael Bungay Stanier

Employees are not the only ones that need to be productive. The small business owner or the manager must be the most productive one of all. This is the best regarded book in the field that teaches productivity principles to managers. The book is very practical in the solutions it offers. Read this book if you feel overwhelmed and get right back on track.

“Awesomely Simple Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action,” by John Spence

Thinking about growing and scaling your business? We highly recommend reading this book first, which gives small business managers a roadmap on how to plan for growth.

The management consultants at GR-US.com are always available to give your small business valuable advice for a better functioning company. Contact us to arrange a business review or receive professional advice.

Reaching Out to Generation Z

Generation Z, also called the post-millennials or the iGeneration, is the generation that comes after the millennials. The Gen Z is growing up and is entering the consumer market as young people in their late teens or early twenties. In the coming years, Generation Z will be where millennials are today. So, it’s paramount that small businesses learn how to target this group. In our numerous annual Global Resources LLC Reviews, we have found many companies struggling with reaching out to Gen Z. If your company is struggling in a similar manner, here are several tips to consider:

Aim to Offer Instant Gratification

If you thought millennials were impatient, wait till you meet a Gen Z’er. Young people of this generation were born to a world filled with iPhones and high-speed internet. They are not used to waiting around to get what they want. As the most prominent occupants of the Internet Age, Gen Z’ers are attracted to businesses that offer them instant gratification. That means fast loading websites, super speedy checkout, and delivery.

Develop Meaningful Interactions

Gen Z’ers grew up with social media like Facebook. Therefore, the best way to reach out to this generation is through building meaningful relationships that mirror organic relationships on social networks. Print ads and TV ads are not sufficient to attract the loyalties of the Gen Z shopper. So, master social media channels like Snapchat that young people are obsessed with.

Be Real

Gen Z shoppers are not convinced by marketing claims or infomercials like their parents were. They seek “real” relationships with the brands. Authenticity is the new ad jingle. All interactions with the company or brand should be planned to appear as real as possible. Companies like Levi’s are already appealing to Gen Z shoppers with a thriving network of relatable brand ambassadors. Small businesses, too, should appear less “business-y” and get real.

Find a Niche

Do not bombard Gen Z shoppers with numerous options, because they don’t care. They can lose interest quickly in a brand or product that tries to appeal broadly. So, find a focus, or a niche, for your small business. Then target Gen Z’ers who are most likely to be attracted to that particular niche.

Want to know more about perfecting your strategy to reach out to younger customers? Then visit us at  GR-US.com.