Digital PR Guide: 5 Things To Consider Before Hiring A PR Agency

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With the internet making a strong presence in the daily scheme of things every aspect of our daily work has gotten affected by it in some manner or other. PR which was until now only limited to newsletters, press releases, and discussion with journalists has also become tech-savvy. Now social media rules and your response to any criticism can make or break your brand forever.

If you are in the market looking for an agency to handle your PR here are five things you need to pay attention to.

1. Past record.

When you are looking for a digital PR agency the first thing you need to pat heed to is its past record. You must have a look at what its credentials are and how clients have benefitted from their service. Most of the people you meet would talk great about themselves but you need validations. Prchitects.com has been handling Digital PR for reputed clients and the results have always been impactful. Along with making people aware of the brand they also know how to eliminate any kind of negative criticism arising. Their insightful approach to PR handling and their past record is proof of the fact that their work is commendable and result oriented too.

2. Industry specialization.

When it comes to handling your PR tasks you would obviously need an agency which has a specialization in your field. You cannot trust someone who has no idea about the same to devise strategies that are going to work for long. In case you are a tech start-up then asking a PR agency with specialization in entertainment is not a sensible thing to do. One very smart reason for doing so is also because such people would have contacts in the places you want your brand to be featured at.

3. Transparency.

The digital PR agency you are going to deal with should be truthful with you in all ways possible. They must share with you the strategies they are adopting to get more eyeballs for your brand. Often the PR industry receives the flak for not revealing the correct information. Make sure you do not get trapped with an agency which is not open to sharing their tricks with you.

4. Result oriented.

Obviously, all the hard work you are putting is to achieve recognition for your brand. This though means that the agency you hire should have something conclusive to show to you after at least a few weeks of work. If however, the firm is passing the buck even after three months or so understand this one is clearly not focussed enough to treat your work with priority. Since you are already investing in a decent amount of money it is crucial that you ask them to start delivering as soon as possible.

5. Customer-centric.

Always keep in mind that the PR firm is working for you and your interests should be crucial for them. If you have to pester them to know details about your work then it is time to realize that the firm is not at its job properly. You need a digital PR agency which not only knows its job well but responds and informs you at regular intervals instead of you pursuing it.

Conclusion.

A digital PR agency choice should not be a hurried choice. Make sure you do your basic research before finally selecting one. The above guidelines are sufficient to show the things you need to keep in mind. For example, Prchitects.com is a digital PR agency with a difference and its list of satisfied customers is proof of the effort it puts into its work. Get in touch with them if you also want to give your brand the required push.

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5 Things To Remember When Dealing With Debt Collectors

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Debt collection calls are not usually something you can wish for. It can be stressful knowing that you have an outstanding debt that ought to be paid and nowhere to turn to. Furthermore, most debtors believe that the use of threats will frighten you into paying them. However, this can lead to unnecessary tension and make the situation worse. However, knowing when dealing with a debt collector is essential.

Below are some things you should be aware of when dealing with a debt collector.

1. Understand the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

You can use Google to collect the information on the act and if possible print it out. Debt collectors have the right to collect a debt you legitimately owe but you also have rights as well! However, there are rules known as FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices) which govern how debt collectors can go about their affairs.

Therefore, you need to know your rights and never allow abusive behavior from any debt collector. Furthermore, debt collection acts forbid this kind of behavior. In case a debt collector uses offensive language or harasses you, you need to document this and keep a record of forms of harassment. You can later record a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

2. So many calls are unlawful.

This is yet another facet of the FDCPA, how many times a day can a debt collector call. Debt collectors should not call you very early in the morning or late at night, or too many times per day once you prohibit them from doing.  As per the FDCPS guidelines, the debt collector should discontinue contact if you send them a letter asking them to do so. However, you also need to retain a copy of the letter for your records. The note won’t exempt you from your actual debt but can be used to stop unnecessary phone calls.

3. Negotiate on the terms of payment.

Examine your income as well as expenses and decide what you can afford. Moreover, agree to pay a realistic amount depending on your terms and not their conditions. Remember that payment plans are not necessary; in fact, by the time debt reaches debt collectors, it’s at the last stages of being written off.

Thus, if you accept to make a payment plan, you will be likely forced to pay more over time. Therefore, avoid this if possible. Also, if you agree to a payment plan, ensure that you fully understand the total amount you’ll be required to pay.

4. Beware of fraudsters.

Always have the debt collectors identify themselves with their name, company, and telephone numbers. The CFBP (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) has various tips on their website on how to spot a debt collection scam. Furthermore, you are entitled by law to verification.

5. Debt collectors won’t raise what you owe.

Debt collectors can only charge interest according to the amounts specified in the original contract with the creditor or what’s authorized by law. Besides, most states cap the quantities of interest rates or fees that debt collectors can charge or collect.

Living in debt is a burden that nobody enjoys. However, you don’t have to become a prisoner to the calls of debt collectors if you haven’t settled your debt. You have rights to assist you in taking full control of your situation. Nonetheless, the best ways to deal with how many times a day can a debt collector call, is dealing with the debt; else it’ll get worse.

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Startups: How To Apply For (And Win!) Business Awards

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by Caroline Pegden, co-founder of TempaGoGo

One of the biggest problems facing any entrepreneur is how to convince people that your idea, product or service is as great as you personally believe it to be.

There are different ways of achieving this, but winning a Business Award is one of the most powerful and long-lasting in its effects.

On the night of the ceremony itself, you might have the chance to network with 500+ people in and across your niche, and gain valuable interactions on Twitter and LinkedIn both during and after. As any entrepreneur trying to grow a fledgling company will know, such gilt-edged opportunities do not always come thick and fast.

The best thing about awards, however, is what happens after. The physical gong might gather dust on your shelf, but the accolade will act as a magnet on your website, in your marketing and all through your communications. It is a concrete measure of your success, not on your own terms but in relation to your competitors.

Our startup, TempaGoGo, a comparison website for temporary agency recruitment, won 3 awards within 6 months, including the Innovator of the Year award from Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Heathrow. We’ve been really impressed by the impact these awards have had — allowing us to connect with investors and prospective clients, and establish our credibility in the market.

So, how you should you set about on your path to becoming an award-winning business?

The task can seem daunting. How do you find out about awards in the first place? Deadlines? Sectors? Locations? Fees? The dreaded disclosure of precious financial information?

You will find below my top tips to win a business award.

1. Choosing an award.

Business awards can be either regional or national, sector-specific or deliberately broad. Early-stage startups might want to consider local opportunities first before plunging into national awards! Boost.com provides a list of all UK Business awards as split by region or industry, complete with deadlines.

For instance, these are the London Business Awards available for the rest of 2019:

It really is worth checking whether your particularly business sector offers regional or national awards, as these can be very niche! You have the Startup Awards, the Family Business Awards, even the Security & Fire Excellence Awards (which has sold out every year since 2014!).

It’s not all about white collar tech companies — there are more than 65 construction-specific awards to apply for every year, to give but one example.

Make sure to check out your competitors and see which awards they have won. Don’t just be reactive — work out which ones they haven’t won, and prioritise these.

2. Select your category.

Once you have made a shortlist of awards you would like to apply for (these take a lot of time to do well, so 3-4 should be ample), it’s time to check the website for which categories are available.

Many such categories will be irrelevant to your particular business or the make-up of your organisation. As a startup, you might find there is a specific ‘Start-up’ category, or often you could look at listings involving future potential or business innovation.

If you are looking for a little more choice, it might be worth applying for the Startups Awards. Dedicated to early-stage companies, there were over 15 categories to choose from in the 2018 edition, including, inter alia: B2B Business of the Year, Crowdfunded Business of the Year and Export Business of the Year.

3. Read the Rubric.

Most importantly, be sure of the deadline. Planning your entry and writing specific copy takes time, so leave a week or at least a few days. Hastily hashed out copy with blank figures will not cut the mustard, so make sure you have figures ready. Judges may want to see your balance sheet, as this is the most concrete proof of your success, but you simply cannot afford the reputational damage of appearing rough around the edges — especially as some startups may have PR professionals on hand.

Unfortunately, you cannot simply copy and paste from one application to another. Some events, such as the British Business Awards, require you to write a lengthy ‘essay style’ submission which require careful thought.

Others are more focussed on bottom line statistics. Deloitte, for instance, do not let you make a nomination without first providing past revenues, future growth plans and two-years worth of signed, audited and unabbreviated accounts.

As a young startup, you may not be generating revenue, or would rather not share your financials. External validation such as testimonials from customers, anecdotes or any numbers demonstrating growth are particularly powerful.

4. Answer the relevance question.

Often, business awards are available for certain identities. These might be categories such as ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’, ‘Best Family-run Business’ or ‘Woman in Business Award’ — that is, specific to you as a person.

Of course, these are well-worth applying for. However, your submission must pass the relevance test. What is it about being under 30 that has helped drive your business? How have you used your family heritage to build customer loyalty?

It is not always enough for it to be just a ‘coincidence’ that you have launched a startup at a young age or with another family member. The trick is to be able to show how such a combination has been beneficial to your business and inspire others to do the same!

The Family Business Awards, for instance, are looking for firms that use their ‘family nature and values to build successful businesses and represent great ambassadors for the sector’ — such as the St Austell Brewery, the ‘Super Champions’ in 2019.

5. Keep your reviewer entertained.

Like examiners or recruitment consultants, award reviewers are faced with a thankless task. Some poor reviewer might have to sift through hundreds of these applications, a good proportion of which may have been hastily compiled and poorly written.

Therefore, as well as technically perfect, your application should be at least easy to read and ideally actively engaging. Every founder has a good story to tell!

Stats are important, but should be woven into an intriguing narrative. Did you have a brilliant marketing strategy to boost your figures? Include what you said or designed, even if you think this is irrelevant. Perhaps you suffered rejection from company after company before anyone reached out a hand. Some light emotional tugging at the heartstrings could serve you very well indeed!

 

Following a decade of corporate life, Caroline Pegden co-founded TempaGoGo, an award-winning comparison website for temporary agency recruitment. After a MsC in Science of Management for HEC in Paris, Caroline worked in multiple locations and sectors, starting in strategy with McKinsey & Company in France and the UK, then moving to the fashion industry. Before joining TempaGoGo, she led a large-scale digital transformation in the UK public sector, exploring how to leverage machine learning in government.

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Tools For Time Management, Data Storage & Team Communication

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How to be a leader? How to lead and inspire with your ideas, properly manage projects, and teamwork? What is needed for your project to meet all the financial goals? If you are running a startup and lack the knowledge/ experience in the teamwork organization, then this article is a must-read for you.

We will provide you with the selection of tools that will allow you to build efficient teamwork, keep track of time, evaluate the effectiveness of your team, and motivate colleagues.

Principles of Running of a Successful Project.

It is never easy to launch a successful start-up. Proper planning, a straightforward company development strategy, and the dedication of the entire team are the prerequisites for your success. There are many examples of small start-ups becoming large international corporations with a multi-million customer base and impressive budgets. And HookupGeek is one of these. Just check this WellHello review to understand how much it cost to the company and what tools they used to overcome their competitors and become leaders of the market.

Toggl – Time Tracking Application.

How do you manage your time? Do you know what you spend your time on during the day? Does it happen that in the evening, you do not have time to complete a couple of important tasks just because you are too often distracted by social networks? Greenhouse suggests putting aside a book on productivity and downloading Toggl online time tracking app. The solution will help keep track of your time and develop discipline.

Working with the app is simple: to start the timer, you just need to click the “start” button, specify the title, and briefly describe your task. It is also relevant to write the name of the project this task relates to. Once done, click “stop.”

Asana – Online Task Manager for Teamwork.

The Asana app is one of the most convenient online tools for planning and managing tasks and organizing collaboration between employees of charitable foundations, public and human rights organizations.

Hibox – Chat & Messenger for Teamwork.

The Hibox messenger is designed for online communication with colleagues. The web application allows you to create group chats where you can discuss tasks, share files, make video calls, and set monthly tasks for both the entire team and an individual employee.

Dropbox – Note-Taking Service.

It is just a perfect-match service for creating notes, lists of tasks, projects discussions by the whole team. The solution is extremely easy to use. To get started, you just need to enter the email address on the service website and then the password and your name. You can enter the program through the Gmail mail – and it will run automatically. Once you are done, the service will offer you to choose a document template: brainstorming, project overview, meeting summary, etc. But you can create your own new document if you need it. The program has an intuitive interface with a nice design and extended functionality. It’s very convenient to organize notes in Dropbox: there are folders, Favorites, a search, and a ribbon with changes in all joint documents sorted in chronological order.

What’s All About?

Running a project and organizing team effort is never an easy thing to do. But with smart tools at hand, you can always do the magic happen and transform your small company into something big, meaningful, and profitable.

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What To Know When Starting A Real Estate Investing Business

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A real estate investing business is a good source of passive income. Unlike other types of businesses, investing in real estate will not require you to be in the area 24/7 and constantly negotiate with customers.

The moment you find tenants or buyers for your property, you’ll be able to earn money long-term. However, before you can attain this success, you need to start off on the right foot when starting a real estate investing business.

Investing in real estate can be rewarding, but expect that you’ll still need to face several challenges before you can attain success. To help you out, here are some things to know when starting a real estate investing business:

1. Clarifying Your Financial Goals Is Vital.

Businesses, such as Fair Cash Deal, is one of the most successful names in the real estate industry. Most homeowners would want to achieve this kind of success and even more. There’s nothing really wrong if you have the same ideal. But, for you to be guided in your efforts, you should be more specific with the goals you want to achieve. Merely being “successful” as a real estate investor isn’t enough – your goal should be smart, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bounded (SMART).

Determine how much money you would want to put into the investment, how much you want to earn from it, and how long are you willing to wait for the profit. The more detailed your financial goals are, the better.

2. Building Your Own Website Is A Need, Not A Luxury.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave all your life, you would know that the 21st century is part of the digital era. More and more people are now dependent on technology, to the point that their buying decisions will be solely based on the things they would see on the internet.

If you want to reach a wider audience and earn more profit, build your own website. This is one of the most powerful platforms you can use to advertise your products and services and engage with potential buyers or tenants.

If you have the skills to build a website from scratch, go ahead and make one on your own. If you don’t have the knowledge to do it, consider hiring web developers. This option might require you to pay a fee in exchange for their professional services, but because of their skills, tools, and experience, the money you’ll pay will be worth it in the end.

Just make sure that your website is equipped with the basic information about your real estate business. It should show pictures of your properties, a little background about yourself, and your contact numbers. You can click here new to see what an effect website looks like.

3. You Should Never Skip Conducting A Vital Research About The Industry.

Contrary to popular belief, being successful as a real estate investor doesn’t only require putting in a huge financial investment, you also need to exert time and effort in researching the real estate industry.

For starters, you need to know who your competition is and for whom your services are. You also need to come up with strategies on how you can earn a profit and how your real estate properties can stand out from the competition. Knowledge is always power when it comes to real estate investing.

4. Your Marketing Strategy Can Be Your Ticket To Success.

The quality and quantity of your marketing strategy can significantly affect your success as a real estate investor. A well-planned marketing strategy can usually result in success in the real estate industry.

For you to better utilize marketing towards your success, take the time to create your marketing plan. You can do this by determining what your unique value proposition is and what marketing channels do your target audience prefer. You should also look into the marketing strategies used by your competitors and determine which among these works and doesn’t work.

5. Building A Support Network Is Necessary.

Starting a real estate investing business is challenging, but you don’t have to take the responsibility alone. There are individuals and businesses that can make this process easier for you. Reach out to people who’ve been in the real estate industry, so you can cultivate valuable knowledge from them.

When you have healthy professional relationships with your clients, colleagues, mentors, and competitors, growing in the real estate industry can become a breeze!

Always Learn.

When it comes to a real estate investing business, remember that no man is an island. If you think that you still don’t have the guts and knowledge required in the industry, don’t be afraid to learn.

Use this article as your guide in starting and don’t be scared to use other resources. Learning is necessary for you to become a successful real estate investor.

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How Do Liquidation Companies Work?

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Starting an online or brick and mortar retail business can be incredibly rewarding. After all, there is nothing like selling a product that you believe in for profit. Not only is it a win for you, but it can also be a win for your customers. However, finding the right products is not always easy. Furthermore, connecting with the right partners to purchase your products from as well as utilizing the best sales channels are not as cut and dry as some would have you believe it to be. It is important that you conduct extensive research on the products you purchase as well as the wholesalers that you get them from.

Liquidation companies like https://www.merchandizeliquidators.com/ offer third-party resellers the opportunity to purchase high-quality products at below market value. Liquidation companies often get their products from retailers that are liquidating products that they are not able to sell. This could be because the products are out of season, returned/damaged, they purchased more than necessary, have made the next generation of the product or they are going out of business.

It is important for you to have an understanding of which category your potential products fall into before you make your purchase.

Know Your Products.

Having a thorough knowledge of the source that the products come from, the condition, and what type of inventory they are can save you time, money and potential headaches. Listed below, you will find additional knowledge about each category of liquidated products.

Out of Season Products: It is not unusual for a retailer to purchase more summer or winter inventory than they need. You may find that this type of inventory is more expensive than other categories and this is because it is still new and typically untouched.

Returned/Damaged: Returned products still have a resell value (though much lower than new products). Many retailers opt to ship them to wholesale liquidators without touching them at all. It is imperative to understand that you are purchasing them “as-is” and you will likely not be able to return them.

Overstock: In many cases, retailer over purchase items because they are planning for a big sale or event. For example, a hardware store may invest in more generators than normal if there is a prediction of inclement weather. However, if that storm, hurricane, blizzard, etc. doesn’t occur, they are stuck with the inventory unless they resell it at a lower than retail value to liquidators.

Going Out of Business: Some store owners opt for a “going out of business sale”, however, this does not always allow them to sell their products as quickly as they need too. In this case, they turn to liquidation companies to recoup some of the value.

Information Provided By Liquidators.

Liquidators often offer two types of liquidated pallets and/or truckloads. They will either tell you all of the information about the products: items, condition, UPC codes, etc. or they will offer you products that do not have any of this information. Typically, the less information provided means the cheaper the costs. However, it also means that you will be taking a bigger risk.

When starting off in the liquidation business, it is recommended that you purchase products that offer the most information. Once you have gained familiarity with a wholesaler, you can then begin taking more risks in hopes of larger rewards.

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2 Shortcuts to Starting Your Own Business

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Are you dying to start a business–now? Entrepreneurs are impatient by nature, so going through all the steps required to start a business—from writing a business plan to finding a location and applying licenses and permits—can be sheer agony for many.

There are two shortcuts to starting a business that can put you in the driver’s seat fast. Buying an existing business or buying a franchise are easy ways to start a business compared to starting up from scratch. Here’s what you need to know about both of these options.

Startup shortcut #1: Buying an existing business

When you start a business from scratch, you have to do everything from finding a location and identifying suppliers to developing a brand and hiring employees. When you buy an existing business, many of these steps are already handled for you. Another plus: Since an existing business has a track record and assets, it’s often easier to get a loan to buy an existing business than it is to get a loan to start a business from scratch.

Before you start looking for businesses to buy, identify your skills and interests and what industry you’d like to go into. You can get an idea of the types of businesses for sale by searching on BizBuySell: With 45,000+ listings of businesses for sale at any given time, it will give you plenty of options. Is there a specific business in your community that you’re interested in? Reach out to the owners and see if they are open to the idea of selling—you never know!

What to ask before you buy a business

Once you’ve identified some potential businesses to buy, do your due diligence to dig up any problems with the business and make sure it’s worth the asking price.

  • Find out why the owner is selling. Are they retiring or moving? Or is there a problem with the business (such as a declining customer base or a “cursed” location) that makes them want to unload it?
  • What business assets will you be purchasing (such as equipment, real estate or inventory)?
  • Who are the key employees? If they are essential to the business, you’ll want to make sure that they will stay with your business after the purchase.
  • What type of brand recognition does the business have? Investigate the business’s online reputation, including online reviews, social media and the Better Business Bureau, to see if the business has a positive image.
  • Review all the business’s financial information, including bank account statements, receivables/payables, and at least three years’ worth of financial statements and tax returns. Find out if there any outstanding loans, liens or lawsuits.
  • Look at existing licenses, permits, contracts, trademarks, and other legal documentation to make sure everything is in order. If there’s intellectual property involved, make sure it is part of the sale.
  • Is seller financing available? Making payments to the seller over time can be a more affordable way to pay for a business than taking out a loan.

A business broker can help you find businesses for sale and negotiate a price. This is a complex purchase with several risk factors, so you should also have your accountant review the business’s financials once you get serious, and have an attorney review the contract before you sign.

Startup shortcut #2: Buying a franchise

In a franchise system, a parent company, the franchisor, creates a method for operating a business and sells licenses to franchisees allowing them to start their own location of that business. Franchisees pay a fee to buy into the franchise and use its name, trademarks and systems; they also pay ongoing fees and royalties during the life of their business.

As a franchisee, you’ll be responsible for opening your own business, but you will have the guidance and support of the franchisor to help you both during and after launch. This makes buying a franchise one of the best shortcuts to starting a business.

McDonald’s is probably the most famous franchise—and also one of the most expensive. However, you can find franchises for under $10,000 if you are on a low budget. The International Franchise Association (IFA) website, Franchise Gator and Franchise Direct are good places to look for franchise opportunities. These sites also have information about franchise trade shows, where franchisors promote their opportunities to attendees. Attending a trade show is a great way to learn about lots of franchises fast.

Once you express interest in buying a franchise, the franchisor is legally required to give you a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), and at least 10 days must elapse between getting this document and signing any purchase agreements. The FDD is a massive document that includes the background of the key players in the franchise, any bankruptcies or lawsuits of the system, initial and ongoing costs, financing options, territory and intellectual property information, what assistance the franchisor provides to franchisees (such as marketing, training, discounts on inventory or supplies, etc.), and the franchisor’s audited financial statements.

There are also names, addresses and phone numbers for both current and former franchisees. Make it a point to contact some of these and find out what they like and dislike about the franchise and, for former franchisees, or why they left the system.

What to ask before you buy a franchise

When reviewing a potential franchise, ask yourself:

  • Are the financials solid? What is the background and experience of the people in charge? Does this franchise seem like it will be around the long haul?
  • What type of assistance is provided? Is that assistance worth the initial and ongoing costs?
  • Does the franchise have a recognizable brand? A big part of what you’re paying for is being able to open a business that people are already familiar with.
  • How well does the franchisor restrict competition? You want to make sure that another location of the same franchise won’t open down the block from you the month after you open for business.

Well-established franchises are often expensive because they have time-tested systems and strong name recognition. New franchises can be more affordable, but may lack the brand recognition and systems of an older franchise.

You can learn more about how to buy a franchise at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and IFA websites. As with buying any business, an accountant and an attorney can be invaluable in helping you review the financial aspects and fine print of the franchise agreement.

Other Articles From AllBusiness.com:

  • The Complete 35-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business
  • 25 Frequently Asked Questions on Starting a Business
  • 50 Questions Angel Investors Will Ask Entrepreneurs
  • 17 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs Starting A Business

Don’t shortchange your startup

I know you’re impatient to start a business—but even buying an existing business or franchise takes some time. There’s no “quick fix” for business ownership, so don’t expect to snap your fingers and have a ready-made business at hand.

Starting a business requires research, planning and hard work, no matter which route you take. Sure, you can take a few shortcuts to starting a business—but don’t shortchange your startup by trying to take too many.

RELATED: 10 Signs of a Great Franchise Opportunity

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The Secret to Effective Business Networking

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I’ve been attending local networking events as long as I’ve run my content marketing agency (so, 13 years). I’m aware that trying to sell yourself isn’t the general concept behind networking, that it’s better to build relationships over time rather than “machine gunning” your business card to everyone in the room. And believe me: I’ve seen people do that, and it never goes well.

But it surprised the heck out of me to get advice about networking from none other than my mother recently. I was complaining to her that work had been slow this summer, and she suggested I try out her “Mamma Networking Theory.”

Asking her to elaborate, she told a story about how my brother, recently graduated from high school and without contacts in the Arkansas town we had just moved to, was struggling to find a job. Our mother told him he needed to know someone to get a job. She encouraged him to ask any and everyone he could for leads, and she did the same. Apparently, the parents of a friend of mine owned a cleaning service, and when my mother told them that her son was looking for a job, they ended up hiring him.

Her point was: If you don’t ask, you can’t get what you want. And you never know who might have what you’re looking for unless you ask.

Applying the “Mamma Networking Theory”

I grumbled after reading her email because I felt like if I told people business was slow, I’d look like a failure. There’s this weird patina that entrepreneurs wear sometimes to seem like they’re more successful than they are so potential clients flock to them. Tell people you’re having a fire sale on marketing and they’ll flee, or at least that’s what I thought.

I decided to reframe my thinking. Rather than, “Hey, I’m broke. Got any work for me?” I decided to change my wording to, “I’m taking on new clients. Do you know someone I can help?”

I did this with several clients I’m close to, and some said they had more work they could pass on to me. Score.

Armed with this new attitude, I headed to my community business association mixer. I’ve been attending these events for years, so I know most of the people there. Relationship building? Check!

Other Articles From AllBusiness.com:

  • The Complete 35-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business
  • 25 Frequently Asked Questions on Starting a Business
  • 50 Questions Angel Investors Will Ask Entrepreneurs
  • 17 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs Starting A Business

I chatted with the office manager of the association and mentioned that years ago I’d pitched his boss about helping with social media management. My assumption was that they were doing it in-house and didn’t need help.

“You should talk to him,” he told me.

Fueled by that encouragement, I sauntered over to the director of the program. “Hi, Scott. Several years ago, I wanted to help you with your social media. I’d like to extend that offer again if you’re interested.”

Within seconds, we’d agreed to meet to discuss it. Bam. A few days later, I’d signed on the company as a new client. Had I not asked, I wouldn’t have received.

How to get what you want in business

Of course, there is a fine line between doing networking right by being a valuable member of a business community and asking for business. You need to know your audience and genuinely want to help them, not just rake in more revenue. I knew a few of the pain points of this business with regards to social media, so I was able to quickly offer free advice on how they could improve. That usually works one of two ways: They take your advice and “DIY” it, or they’re so impressed with your vast knowledge that they hire you. My free advice got me the latter.

So what do YOU want in your business? Are you asking for it? If you want more sales, talk to people at networking events about the area you specialize in. If you’re an accountant, ask if they manage their own accounting software and invoices or have a professional they work with. Ask what pain points they have. Even if they’re not in the market for an accountant, you may still be able to provide useful tips they’ll be glad to have, and you never know who they know they can refer you to.

When you leave the conversation, if it’s not turning into a meeting or a sale, you can ask, “Do you know anyone I might be able to help with XYZ?” This gets them thinking about their own circle, and they may have someone who is looking for exactly what you offer! By the way, I’m trying this approach in dating, asking friends if they know any amazing men that are good enough for me! Stay tuned on that.

And in general, people do business with the people they know. A lot of the events I go to center around having a beer and nibbling on appetizers while we talk about what’s happening in the community. Even if we don’t discuss business, these are the people I turn to for web design, massage, and dining out because I have relationships with them and want to support them. If you’re an active and helpful member of your community, people will do the same for you.

RELATED: 4 Unique and Unconventional Ways to Successfully Network

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How to Succeed With a Motel Business

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By Bruce Hakutizwi

How is your motel business performing? Industry statistics suggest that you should be, on average, close to 70% occupied throughout the year. Whether you’re achieving these rates or not, there are many ways you can further boost your motel’s success.

The hospitality industry is doing well in the United States with total revenue at $206 billion. And as the industry continues to grow, so are the number of hotels, motels, and inns opening for business. With over 100,000 lodging properties currently operating, how can you make your motel stand out from the crowd?

To compete in this industry and surpass consumer expectations, motel owners need to ensure they stay on top of the latest hospitality trends. Here, we identify six ways to make your motel business stand out and how to cater to today’s guests.

1.  Build an experience

A study conducted by the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University wanted to uncover what guests truly care about when staying at a hotel or motel. According to the study’s findings, guests value comfort, cleanliness, and service above everything else—even over location and amenities.

To run a successful, modern motel, you need to focus on what your customers prioritize the most: the experience. Invest money in areas that can enhance their experience, like purchasing higher quality linens and mattresses, or qualified employees who can deliver excellent customer service.

2. Advertise both online and offline

Don’t underestimate the power of Google My Business. This tool expands your business’s visibility where it matters most: in search results. Typically, your target consumers will look online using location-based queries when browsing for a place to stay. Having your business’s information readily available for potential visitors to find in local search results is crucial. Plus, a Google account has a variety of other beneficial functions, such as providing geo-markers on Google maps to pinpoint your location, a library of images, and guest reviews.

At the same time, you should be investing in traditional marketing tactics, such as out-of-home (OOH) advertising. Speak to your customers at their exact moment of interest by advertising alongside popular highways on road signs, billboards, and exit signs that are close in proximity to your establishment.

3. Create a fully functional website

Businesses earn trust and credit through their online presence, especially their website. Design your website with your guests in mind, and focus on the user experience. This means ensuring that your site offers relevant and valuable content, is easy to navigate, quick to load, and compatible with a variety of devices,

Recent research shows that 48% of consumers research, book and plan for trips with their smartphone, so having a site that is mobile-friendly is a must. Keep in mind that being mobile-friendly implies more than just fitting-to-screen, but actually being optimized specifically for mobile use. In addition, approximately one-third of consumers admit to forming a negative opinion on a brand if their mobile experience is slow.

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  • The Complete 35-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business
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  • 50 Questions Angel Investors Will Ask Entrepreneurs
  • 17 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs Starting A Business

4. Offer direct online booking

Can you easily transform lookers into bookers? Offering direct online booking options can significantly increase your occupancy rates. Everything from your Google account, website, and even social channels should include a booking functionality, which has a clear call-to-action button that leads to a seamless and simple reservation process.

Finally, you want to broaden your reach by partnering with popular travel sites such as Trivago, Booking.com, and Expedia. This allows you to advertise your business on a trusted platform and gain additional views and potential reservations.

5. Leverage user-generated content

In a society where the majority of consumers trust the opinion of strangers behind a screen as much as a personal friend, it’s important to consider your business’s online reviews. Encourage your guests to leave comments and share their experience. With the average consumer reading 10 reviews before being able to trust a business, it’s better to have more feedback than none at all.

In addition to supporting feedback, you should be acknowledging responses as well. Nearly 90% of consumers admitted to reading business’s responses to reviews. It is crucial that you address and respond to all comments, both good and, more importantly, bad.

6. Modernize the look and feel

Motels sometimes have a reputation of  being old fashioned and of poor quality. Modernizing your motel can help breathe new life into your business and attract new and returning visitors. For instance, investing in a fresh coat of paint or updating furniture can go a long way in rejuvenating your motel.

In additional to revamping the look, you should also update the technologies. Consider getting faster-speed internet and a better Wi-Fi network. Free Wi-Fi is one of the primary deciding factors for consumers choosing a motel or hotel, so it is critical to offer this pivotal service.

Running a motel can be an attractive business opportunity for entrepreneurs; however, to be successful, your motel has to be brought up to speed with current consumer behaviors and preferences.

RELATED: Do You Airbnb? The Lowdown on Taxes and Short-Term Rental Income

About the Author

Post by: Bruce Hakutizwi

Bruce Hakutizwi is the Manager of Dynamis, Ltd., parent company of BusinessesForSale.com, a global online marketplace for buying and selling small- and medium-sized businesses. With more than 60,000 business listings, it attracts 1.4 million buyers every month. Bruce manages business development, content building, client acquisition, and customer retention in the United States, Canada, South Africa, and Europe. Bruce frequently writes on topics that promote entrepreneurship and small business ownership. If you are interested in learning more about the hospitality industry, visit BusinessesForSale.com for insights on how to buy, sell, or run a prosperous motel business.

Company: Dynamis, Ltd.
Website: us.businessesforsale.com
Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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5 Fascinating Blockchain Use Cases in Entertainment and Gaming

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Technology has changed every aspect of our lives. Things that only existed in science fiction are now slowly creeping into reality.

In recent years, cryptocurrency has begun to change the world. The driving force behind all of this is blockchain technology. Bisade Asolo has already detailed how blockchain can potentially revolutionise major industries such as healthcare. In this article we will look at five blockchain use cases in the entertainment and gaming industries.

New Media

image of video games
Blockchain technology is now its own medium for gaming and entertainment. Games such as CryptoKitties have gamified blockchain technology by allowing users to collect, breed, and sell virtual cats. This new form of digital arts and gaming is slowly introducing the public to blockchain and encouraging further widespread use of the technology. The game is catching on, as people are willing to spend thousands of pounds to buy these digital cats.

Servers

 

Image of servers
Gaming is now much more focused on being an online medium that connects players from all over the world. The only downside to this is that when a gaming company decides to close its servers, or if an outside force decides to commence a cyberattack on a company’s servers, all of the hours that the players put into the game can disappear. The culprit behind this vulnerability is the centralised nature of the current game servers.

Blockchain technology can put an end to this trend. A New Economy article on blockchain and gaming details that through the use of blockchain technology users will now be able to host each other on decentralised servers. The use of blockchain means that companies no longer have to centralise their data. The game’s assets will be distributed among the players, which not only improves the game’s performance but also its security, as this removes the single point of failure and the players’ reliance on game servers. The future of gaming may well be serverless thanks to blockchain.

Connection between artists and fans

 

Image of man on laptop

Blockchain has completely changed how assets are moved. In the world of entertainment this means new monetisation models for musicians. Incorporating blockchain technology into the industry is already taking off with music producer Gramatik raising $2million (£1.64 million) through cryptocurrency. By using cryptocurrency, Gramatik’s fans are able have a stake in the artist’s songs and can receive royalties. This shows how blockchain will transform how music fans and artists interact; creating a more profitable business model that doesn’t rely on third-parties.

It will transform how people earn money in games

 

Image of lotto balls

Blockchain technology is also affecting how people receive money while playing games. Players are now able to earn cryptocurrency as part of the gaming experience. An example of this is HunterCoin. A Binary District feature on blockchain and gaming discusses how players were able to gain in-game coins that went straight to their crypto-wallets. While this was an experimental trial, it shows how blockchain is helping more and more people have access to digital currencies.

This rise in crypto use is also reflected in how blockchain is changing how people play national games. Nowadays, people can win cryptocurrency playing the lottery, and this has advantages that a regular lottery doesn’t. Lottoland’s feature on Bitcoin lotteries explains how the value of the cryptocurrency constantly changes. This means that winners could end up with a bigger jackpot if they hold onto their winnings. With more retailers and companies accepting cryptocurrency, more people will play blockchain-powered games where they can spend and win digital coins. By being able to earn and win digital currency through playing games like the lottery, this is another example of how the gaming industry is at the forefront of introducing blockchain into mainstream society.

Prevent fraud and piracy

 

Image of security

Piracy is a huge issue for entertainment industries. As blockchain opens up a stronger connection between customers and consumer products, it will also be able to reduce illegal activity. In the gaming industry, Irish Tech News details how even legitimate games can be acquired illegally. The article notes that the adoption of blockchain will lead to fraud-proof payments, which will in turn “contribute to growth of the gaming industry.” In the film industry, movies that are released using blockchain will allow companies to see where exactly the movie was leaked or copied. This will make piracy much more difficult.

At the moment the entertainment industry is only scratching the surface when it comes to what blockchain has to offer. In the near future, it could well transform every part of the industry, from how we play to how we pay.

The post 5 Fascinating Blockchain Use Cases in Entertainment and Gaming appeared first on Mycryptopedia.

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