Where To Spend Money In Your Business

One of the most important jobs for a business owner to do is to determine exactly where any money is to be spent. Saving money where possible is important, but sometimes it is even more important to spend, as long as you are spending in the right place on the right things. This is why any business owner needs a good financial plan in place before you even start – knowing how much you are going to need in terms of financing will allow you to be much more successful and not stall partway through your first few months. Here are some useful tips on where to spend your money in order to get the most out of whatever budget you may have. 

Your Marketing

Without marketing you will essentially have no business, so of course you will need to spend money on getting this right – your marketing is what puts your products, services, and entire business in front of those who are most likely to buy from you, so clearly if you don’t put enough money into your marketing efforts, not enough people are going to know you exist.

It is possible to market your business with very little money, and using social media is one way to do this. However, the bigger your marketing budget is, the better the results will be, and you will begin to see a return on your investment more quickly too.

Your Security

If you were attacked by a cybercriminal and your customers’ data was stolen or lost entirely, how would you continue your business? If your network was infected with a virus and you were unable to retrieve important information, would you be able to carry on? What about your reputation? If you were open to a cyberattack, would you lose everything you had worked so hard to achieve?

A security breach like this in your business could be the end of everything, and it would certainly make customers think twice before providing you with any more information about themselves. Therefore, investing in good cybersecurity is an excellent plan. Because not everyone is an expert in this field, your first task should be to discuss your security options with professional IT companies in Birmingham so that you can discover just what it is you are going to need. You’ll also know that the software is being installed correctly and can be maintained properly.

Your Website

A business that doesn’t have a website will always be looked at with suspicion – potential customers might not think you are going to be around for a long time, and they will wonder why, in this day and age when it is so easy to set up a website, you don’t have one. Trust will be an issue, and you need trust to ensure you make sales.

Websites don’t have to cost a lot of money, and you can design yours by yourself if you prefer. Whatever way you go about it, and whatever you have to spend on it, creating and maintaining a website is crucial if you want to succeed. Your website is like a store window, offering an insight into who you are and what you do – it might even be a source of income if you have an online store too. So, getting your website looking right is essential.

How Can Digital Animation Transform Your Business?

In today’s increasingly innovative and evolving society, it has never been more crucial for businesses to embrace new trends and utilize the latest technologies to transform their brand from ordinary to extraordinary.

Digital animation is the perfect example of how businesses can boost their brand image and improve their customer experience with the implementation of just one highly effective and state of the art technology.

Interested to know how else digital animation can be used to revolutionize your business?

From improving upon your existing business operations, to enhancing your digital marketing strategy, to improving your user experience, keep reading to discover how digital animation can, and will, transform your brand in 2020 and beyond.

To improve your business operations

At the core of every business is how it operates, with the choices that you make as a company having the ability to either save or cost you money. Digital animations are a great idea for brands who are looking for an affordable way to make a big impact on their business.

When you choose an animation and design studio such as wearefrantic.com to create digital animations for your business, you can rest assured that the process will be quick, easy and relatively low cost in comparison to shooting a live video.

Plus, digital animations have the added benefit of not becoming dated as quickly as other types of videos so they will be relevant for longer.

To boost your brand image

Digital animations can be incredibly innovative and exciting, meaning that your brand will also appear more cutting-edge if you choose this type of design for your business.

CG animations, motion videos and virtual reality can all help to improve your branding and show that you are up to date with the latest technologies.

To enhance your digital marketing strategy

Video content is becoming increasingly popular with 87% of marketers using video as a marketing tool, so as a brand you need to ensure that you are posting consistent, relevant and most importantly, original content.

Digital animation can be used to create stimulating social videos that will engage and interact with your target audience. Plus, social videos that use digital animation are much more shareable meaning that they can dramatically increase brand awareness.

To launch new products or services

Branded digital animation films are a great way to effectively launch a new product or service, offering a unique way to attract existing and new customers to your website.

You can also take advantage of animated product videos to showcase the specific features of your new product, utilizing CG modelling to enhance user experience and to create a buzz ahead of your product launch.  

To boost conversion rates

As well as having the ability to engage with potential customers, digital animations are also able to inspire them to make purchases. In fact, statistics reveal that having an animated video on your landing page can increase your conversion rate by a massive 86%.

Plus, digital animation can successfully market any type of product or service, meaning that all businesses can take advantage of this highly effective and engaging way of interacting with users.

So, if you are looking to stand out from the competition in 2020, you should definitely consider looking into digital animation for your next TV commercial, brand film, explainer video or social media content.

What have you got to lose?

How To Make Business Meetings More Engaging

Lots of people think that meetings are a waste of time, but this isn’t always the case. Sure, many meetings take too long, and often, nothing is accomplished, but it is possible to make your meetings more productive and useful.

All you need to do is make a few small tweaks, and you will notice that both you and your employees get more out of every single meeting.

Here are four ways you can make business meetings more engaging.

Ask Employees What They Want Meetings To Look Like

One of the best ways to improve meetings for everyone is by asking your employees what they want meetings to look like. After all, the main goal for most meetings is for employees to learn and collaborate, so it is essential to have a meeting format that the employees enjoy.

So take the time to speak to employees and see if they have any suggestions for future meetings. For instance, some employees may think that the meetings are too long, so you could only host 30-minute meetings going forward (just make sure to bullet point everything beforehand so you don’t miss anything). This will also show employees that you value them and listen to them, which means they are more likely to feel motivated and productive.

Do you want to do this? If so, consider using a free survey website to create a survey that can be sent to all employees. There are lots of free sites to choose from, including Google forms, which is ideal for employees who use Gmail.

Consider Meeting In New Spaces

Break up the normal routine by meeting employees in new spaces, such as a coffee shop. This will make the meeting more exciting, and it helps to stop your employees from feeling like they are stuck in a rut. You could even host meetings outside, as research has found that people are more productive and creative when they are near nature – just make sure to choose a day when the weather is warm and mild!

Use Visuals To Make The Meeting More Interesting

Do you find that your employees struggle to stay focused during meetings? If so, consider gaining help from Interactive Solutions, who can provide audio visuals to keep employees on track. This is a great way to make meetings more engaging, and research has also found that photos and videos help people to retain information better. So if you plan on discussing something complex or difficult, it could be useful to embrace some audio visuals.

Show Appreciation To Employees

Finally, you should always take the time to thank employees for their work. A recent study found that over 80% of employees are motivated by appreciation from their bosses, so it is a very easy way to boost employee morale.

If you decide to do this, consider showing appreciation at the beginning of the meeting. This means that the meeting starts on a positive note, so everyone is more likely to engage with each other successfully.

Succeeding at SEO: A Guide

SEO can be a daunting but necessary part of any business that wants to succeed in the digital arena. SEO can reap the most return on investment from any marketing initiative a business undertakes, largely due to the fact that it can be inexpensive to implement and can result in relevant traffic for years to come. Unlike pay per click, your business won’t incur a fee every time a customer clicks on your Google search result.

What are Your Customers Searching For?

This is the first building block towards creating a successful SEO campaign and will establish the all-important keywords that you will need to use. There are a whole host of tools available to help you establish what your customers are searching for and what’s trending — including Google Trends and Google AdWords Keyword Planner.

The great thing about Google AdWords is that it costs you nothing and will provide you with details on volume for certain keywords (i.e. how often that keyword is searched) as well as the competition for that word (how many other people or businesses are trying to rank for that word).

Have a Look at the Competition

Have a look at where your main competitors are ranking and who is ranking highest for the keywords that you have identified. Understanding how your competition is performing can provide you with some valuable insights and help you put a strategy together to outperform their web presence.

Optimize Your Pages for Search Engines

You need to create a website that is well structured and provides a positive user experience for your customers. Your website should be easy to navigate, and the content well laid out and simple to consume. The more relevant information you have on your website that relates to the keyword you are trying to rank for, the more likely you are to appear in searches for that term.

Also, make sure you adhere to Googles advice on URLs: ‘A site’s URL structure should be as simple as possible. Consider organizing your content so that URLs are constructed logically and in a manner that is most intelligible to humans (when possible, readable words rather than long ID numbers).’

Make Sure Your Website is Accessible to Both Bots and Humans

There are some basic steps that you can take to satisfy both the bots and humans that visit your site. Making sure your site loads quickly is essential, as is ensuring that your site is mobile friendly. Sitemaps are used by search engines to find your content and index new pages on your website faster.

Build Backlinks

There is clear evidence that backlinks are one of the most important factors when ranking on Google’s algorithm. This is a labor intensive process that will require significant resources unless you decide to outsource to an agency. Building backlinks should be done slowly and considerately using reputable sites and relevant content.

Avoid shoehorning keywords and links into articles and make sure that your content is of value. Guest blogging is one way of achieving this kind of link building and contrary to popular belief, Google does not discourage this practice as long as the articles are helpful and knowledgeable.


Business Success: Tips For The Perfect Website

It is no secret that an online presence is crucial for any business today, which is why every single business, big and small, needs a well-designed website. Studies have highlighted the fact that when it comes to business success, 94% of buyers search for a business online before doing anything else, which is why having an online presence is crucial.

Of course, an online presence isn’t just about a website; it’s also about digital marketing and social media. However, a well-designed, easy-to-use website is a crucial first step for success. While there’s a common misconception that building a website is an easy task and anyone can do it, when it comes to building a website for your business, there’s a lot that needs to be taken into account.

To help make the process of designing your business website a little easier, here are some useful tips and ideas to take note of when you’re looking at building your business’s online presence.

Work with a professional web designer

First and foremost, when it comes to website design, it’s vital that you hire a specialist web design company. You can choose a local company, but the nature of digital means you can work with a company based almost anywhere if you like what they do. To help you pick the right company for your needs, providers will list the services they provide as standard, such as those offered by website design Lichfield, for instance, as well as what else you might be able to ask for on top. While a lot of people might be tempted to build their business’s website themselves using basic platforms or out-of-the-box options, unless you have a background in web design, it’s not a great idea. It’s far better to work with an experienced company that can create a website that not only looks great but also runs seamlessly, is free of glitches, and does exactly what you need it to do.

Ensure your site is responsive

Did you know that more than 62% of shoppers use their smartphones to browse the internet and make purchases? This means that if you want to give your chances of success a boost, it’s essential that you ensure your site is responsive and works just as seamlessly on smartphones and tablets as it does when being accessed via a computer. The site should also be easy to use and navigate, regardless of the device it’s being used on.

Make it easy to find

You won’t be getting any new customers if they can’t find your website. To make sure your site is discoverable, you should choose a domain name that is as closely related to your business name as possible. You should also ensure that your business is listed on Google Maps. Finally, it is imperative that you understand what keywords customers might use to find your business so you can optimize your site for search engines.  

Add a blog

If you want to boost where your website ranks in search engines, adding a blog to your site can be a great step to take. You will also find that adding a blog to your site will drive traffic, and these readers may then be converted into sales. Having a blog also gives customers an insight into your personality and the passions that drive you, which is great for building customer loyalty.

10 Software Tips For Small Businesses

As a small business, it is important to know how you can be using software to your advantage as this can help your company to streamline, improve your output and help you compete with the biggest companies in your industry. Software can be used in many different ways in a business setting, and what you use will depend on your particular industry. However, it is helpful to know a few handy tips which will hopefully help your small business to compete at a much higher level and satisfy your target customers. With this in mind, here are a few software tips for small businesses.

1. Stay Current

One of the most important tips is to stay current on the latest software news. There are always new types and versions of software being released, and it is crucial to be aware of what these are so that you can make improvements to your business. There are many ways to stay current on the latest software for businesses, including:

  • Reading business and computing blogs
  • Reading magazines
  • Listening to business podcasts
  • Joining online communities
  • Following relevant organizations on social media
  • Speaking to people with strong IT knowledge

2. Automate Repetitive Tasks

Businesses in all industries have repetitive tasks to carry out, and these can be frustrating, time-consuming, and often lead to human error. Instead, look into software and apps which can automate these tasks for you, as this will help to streamline, eliminate errors, and allow you and your team to focus on other areas of the business.

3. Look For Open Source Software

As a small business, you will always want to find ways to keep your costs down, and software and licensing can be a significant cost. Instead of opting for the household name brands, look to see if there is software that you could use instead. Often, you will find free open source software, which is as good and possibly even better than the bigger brands.

4. Only Use What You Need

Software can help a business to succeed in many ways, but you should not overcomplicate the operation with software that you do not need. Instead, think about each task in your daily operation and determine whether the software can be used and if it is worth implementing.

5. Make Cybersecurity A Priority

Cybercrime is a huge problem for businesses in all industries and has the potential to destroy a smaller company. This is why you need to make cybersecurity a priority and invest in high-quality cybersecurity software, which will protect your business against the latest threats and allow you to operate with confidence each day.

6. Use Software To Elevate Project Management

Project management is one area where you should be using the best software and tools to elevate your projects. This should include a Gantt chart maker, which can enable you to make high-quality charts that can be used to assess the timeline of your tasks and get a clear overview of the project. This should lead to greater success with all of your projects and drive further growth.

7. Manage Accounting With Software

Every business owner knows that you need to keep completely accurate financial records for tax reasons and so that you can make intelligent business decisions. This is a complex area of the business, but outsourcing to an accountant can be expensive for small companies. This is why, instead, you need to find high-quality accounting software that can streamline this area and allow you to focus on other areas of the operation.

8. Provide Clear Staff Training

Having the latest and best software in place is great, but it is not much good if your team do not know how to use the software. This is why you need to provide clear staff training so that those that need to know how to use different programs feel confident and are able to work efficiently each day. It can take some time to learn about new software, but it is worth taking the time; otherwise, the entire business could be slowed down.

9. Keep Software Up To Date

Every piece of software that you own should be kept up to date at all times, and you can turn on notifications so that you know when an update is available. This is because updates often include important patches for security holes, and – as mentioned – cybercrime is a huge problem. This could also fix bugs and give you access to the latest features.

10. Familiarize Yourself With Software Licensing

You need to educate yourself on software licensing so that you know the best type of license for each piece of software and so that you are not violating the contract of agreement with the publisher or spending unnecessary money.

Small businesses need to know how best to use software so that they can streamline and compete with the more prominent brands in their industry, and these tips should allow you to do this.