Tag Archives: business

PR tactics to avoid

No matter how good your business might be in producing a service or product, bad publicity can ruin it regardless. Negotiating the perception of your company is precisely what public relations is about; how do you look in the eye of the public, what comes across and so forth. Ideally, PR would simply be a window into your already effective business – and you would be making sales based on your skills as a business alone. This benefits both PR and you as a business owner, since it’s an ideal to constantly aim for and a vision to keep in your mind’s eye.

But sometimes, promotion will either be detrimental or ineffective. For example, when contacting journalists to provide a story, too often PR people will provide the wrong details, withhold information and do a multitude of other things that simply frustrate the process – journalists are busy and bombarded by many other people. If you don’t make the process as smooth as possible, you will have a higher chance of losing the journalist’s interest and therefore promotion of your company.

CyberAlert spoke to journalists about what irritates them the most – which means what will make the journalists simply give up – and they noted:

“Reporters dislike receiving a pitch on a story they just covered or one just covered by a colleague or competitor.  They may write about the same topic or industry again, but surely won’t report the same angle anytime soon. They are also unlikely to feature your company strongly again, in order to maintain independence, balance and avoid being labeled as a shill.”

The biggest tool for marketing has, of course, been the viral nature of the internet. Yet, as Lori Turner-Wilson, CEO/Founder of sales training and marketing firm RedRover, notes:

“You simply can’t control the viral nature of a campaign, as the stars must be perfectly aligned and many of those stars are far outside of your control. Sure, it is gratifying when you see your work picking up viral steam, but avoid setting out with that in mind or you may lose sight of what matters most – the delivery of valuable, relevant content to your target market.”

Often, businesses lack knowledge about how precisely to promote themselves. It is highly beneficial to hire professionals, people who are knowledgeable about the fickle nature of PR, who’ve done public relations courses. By failing to use professionals, business chance making these blunders more so than ineffective PR firms.

How to improve the experience of modern retail customers

Shopping can be a pleasant experience – even though most people would rather merely acquire the items they need and leave. This is partially why there has been a massive rise in the online retail shopping. Indeed, with the rise of digital, retail shopping in-stores must do more to entice people out their homes and away from the apparent convenience of merely clicking and ordering the items they require.

Competing with the convenience of digital is an ongoing concern for all industries, that have traditionally relied on walk-in customers. But the two need not be opposed; in fact that one can lead to the other. Just as the internet is a tool for customers, it can be and should be a tool for businesses.

Consider for example social media: this has proven a highly effective way to engage directly with customers. As social media experts and designers Hootsuite note: social media can inform you about your audience and their needs; it is also highly effective marketing as it helps you reach audience who might never have heard of you; you can also obtain instant feedback to improve your business. The ease of communication means you will get feedback (both positive and negative) which is often overlooked in walk-in experiences of retail.

None of this negates or ignores in-store foot traffic. It’s important to still maintain efficiency at every point – whether online or instore. You still need excellent customer assistants, you still need up-to-date point of sale software, you still need the best stock and competitive prices.

To do better by your customers, you need to have their input. Though digital customers might be easier to measure in terms of their responses, you might want to find ways to also obtain information from in-store customers. Handing out question cards – as long as they are not long or too detailed – or directing them to suggestion boxes can do wonders. So often, we as business people, might overlook simple changes that only customers see.

It’s important than to take measurements and obtain data – which you can do in multiple ways – no matter how harsh or difficult it might be. We can’t hide from facts and from what makes objective sense to improve the business; our failures shouldn’t be hidden, but faced head-on to overcome, improve and create a better business.

Getting your business noticed online

In the increasingly difficult to get noticed in a world swarming with information. Everyone wants to be at the top and thus needs to find a way to get there. Being good isn’t sufficient any longer and we need to figure out the various ways we can get noticed in today’s furious online culture – where information is instant and consumption is particular.

The first thing people think of is that you need expensive marketing budgets: billboards, TV adverts, giant posters. Some of the most expensive adverts cost in the tens of millions of British Pounds. But, for the average small business, we simply could not afford such expenses.

But your budget need not be about having lots of money – or, indeed, even about money. Primarily, you can market yourself primarily on time and energy. One of the best, and most powerful and efficient, ways to do this is to market yourself properly on social media.

You need to learn how to engage directly with customers, using services like Twitter and Facebook. But just because you’ve signed up and have a profile doesn’t mean you’ll be doing it correctly.

As Entrepreneur notes:

“Just like a person who constantly talks about himself, a company that never stops selling on social media is a bore. Don’t use every post and tweet to tout your product or service. Instead, mix in some links to interesting stories that are relevant to your industry and community, as well as personal posts, such as a fun anecdote about your office culture.”

Another good way is to become a resource for HARO.

“From The New York Times, to ABC News, to HuffingtonPost.com and everyone in between, nearly 30,000 members of the media have quoted HARO sources in their stories. Everyone’s an expert at something. Sharing your expertise may land you that big media opportunity you’ve been looking for.”

If you or your company is then taken up as an authority, you could find yourself being given a platform in some of the most read spaces online. It might important to keep track of this and then request links back to your site if you are mentioned.

Of course, all this won’t make sense if you don’t have a website. Maintaining your website is essential, as today most of your customers are more than likely finding out about you online – thus will be presented with a first impression with how they are presented to you digitally.

All of this, of course, doesn’t make sense if your own office is lacking. Keeping your equipment up-to-date is essential in order to not lose connection and staying ahead of the game. It might mean you need to consider asset finance, but considering you’re paying to stay connected, it is a priority you must maintain.

How to be more effective at HR

As the world becomes smaller, more and more people from greater walks of life are starting to enter fields previously unattainable. Thanks to widespread and increasing equality, pools are no longer dominated by one kind of group but are, increasingly, finding themselves diverse in who enters: various races, genders, cultures are all meeting and competing to try get the latest, hottest jobs and make a name for themselves to find stability in this face-paced world. To handle such a situation requires engagement with people, management of affairs that understand what various people need.

This is where human resources comes in. As About.com notes:

“[Human resource management] is the organizational function [in a business] that deals with issues related to people such as compensation, hiring, performance management, organization development, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, and training.”

It’s clear than what the importance of this role is to a business. But many might scoff at yet. Yet, business people themselves – looking at it from a purely business perspective – are preaching the importance of it. As IOL recently reports:

“Employers should do a lot more to ensure the physical and financial well-being of their employees and ultimately to ensure they retire comfortably, key people in the financial services industry say.”

This was the findings of a recent report. Addressing employees, the article notes experts conclude “Your company has a moral obligation to help you, as an employee, achieve financial stability, and in doing so it will ensure that you remain a productive employee.”

Many key figures note that as the world becomes increasingly competitive, “HR should be doing everything possible to retain every employee possible.”

But HR itself is therefore a viable employment opportunity, so it is advised that you consider human resource management courses. Considering the demand for it right now – and also the demand for good human resources management as it benefits businesses – it might be prime time for everyone to consider this often neglected part of business. But even then, there is work to be done.

As Bloomberg notes:

“Human resource managers should learn some foreign phrases, use public transit and take in local landmarks when they travel for work, efforts that help to bridge cultural differences as companies increase their international presence, said Howard Wallack, global markets executive at the Society for Human Resource Management.”

Again: we can’t ignore that the world is diversifying and expanding – often into areas it has never gone before. This means both business and those who work there will be encountering situations they might not have years ago. This requires a deft engagement with negotiating different people to help retain them and get them to want to work in the first place.

This isn’t just good for people, it’s good for business.

The business of management

There are fewer things more important than proper management. It seems like a discipline that is primarily for more skilled people or those with experience; yet what matters isn’t just having management but effective management.

Global management consulting film, McKinsey and Company did extensive research into just this and came up with measured results. The result

“shows that the core elements of management can be assessed and scored and that well-managed firms have higher productivity, market value, and growth, as well as a greater ability to survive adverse conditions, such as global financial recessions. Our research further indicates that more than 80 percent of all productivity variation occurs within a given sector for a given country and that there’s a “long tail” of persistently badly managed firms in all countries and across all sectors. These findings suggest a significant potential for management-led productivity improvements in every country on Earth.”

The question is, what does bad management actually look like? We can’t just say it’s a “bad business” because something led to that business being bad. According to Mind Tools, good managers are encouraging and engage with their employees – this shows both that they have a handle on the situation of their employees’ work as well as the employees themselves.

This benefits in two ways: the first is by knowing what your employees are actually doing, it means you have a greater handle on all work in general. Second, by knowing your employees, you can better steer them to get the work done. For example, if you know an employee is stressed because of a home situation, it might be better for everyone – the employee and the business – to help put that work on to someone else or at least reduce his workload. In that way, the work gets done and the employee is treated with respect.

Bad managers however do bad things. As Bloomberg Business highlights: “Bad managers don’t say these things. Helpful, encouraging, and trust-based words and phrases don’t occur to them.”

Rather they threaten employees.

“Lousy managers… love to remind employees that it’s all about the transaction: ‘You work for me.’ They never fail to remind team members that someone else would take the job if you ever got sick of it or let the lousy manager down in some way.”

Of course managers have to themselves manage many things. For example, those who handle fleet management say “time spent on administration has increased in last 12 months”, according to Fleet Point.

Nonetheless, managers need to care about how they operate and treat their employees – because you can’t separate a manager who mistreats his employees from bad businesses. Poor management is poor management – and poor management is detrimental to a business’ success.