Tag Archives: business tips

Top ways volunteering can help boost your business

Volunteering might not sound like something that could boost your business, but customers see companies who volunteer as being more honest, trustworthy and authentic than others. And customers are the backbone of any business.

So, not only does volunteering help the cause you choose, it could bring in more business too. You could donate time or money to Doctors Without Borders in Kenya, or you could choose to help an animal charity by donating food and blankets. If you are not convinced you should look into volunteering to build your business, read on below for the top ways it can help.

It helps to encourage healthier employees

Your employees might enjoy working for your company, but volunteering can make them happier and healthier in other ways. If you are doing something you enjoy and feel good about, the neurotransmitter known as dopamine is released. Dopamine is known as being able to improve your well-being, your capacity to learn and your happiness.

Happier employees means healthier employees, which is one of the major benefits of volunteering. With healthier and happier employees, your business will flourish and productivity levels will rise. Even if you only spend an hour at a charity handing out soup and bread for the homeless, you will notice a marked improvement in the mood of your employees. Be sure to ask them for ideas on which causes are meaningful to them so everyone feels included.

You will have a chance to network

Volunteering for charities such as Doctors Without Borders in Kenya allows you to network with other like-minded people and businesses. You might meet business leaders and other entrepreneurs who can help to take your business to the next level, or other businesses from your industry with whom you can form amicable partnerships.

You might find a contact who can help your business with a resource or service that you do not have the time or resources to fulfil. While you are certainly not volunteering with business or recruiting goals in mind, you might find a young, talented person who would be the perfect fit for your company. You could give them your business card to use when the time is right or you could offer to set up an interview once their volunteer period is over.

It will boost creative thinking

Volunteering for organisations, such as Doctors Without Borders in Kenya or other countries, requires you to be able to think on your feet. And this means you have to be able to think creatively. Unique and positive activities will encourage creative thinking in your employees, which will translate into their daily working lives.

As a business owner, you need to be able to think creatively and handle pressure without cracking. Volunteering is the perfect way to do this and you will be helping a worthy cause at the same time. Being a part of something good and meaningful will motivate your employees to continue operating at the best level possible, including thinking creatively about solutions for business problems.

You can generate publicity

Volunteering is all about giving back, but it can also help your business to generate more publicity. For example, if you are a boutique clothing store, you could donate half of your unsold stock to a homeless shelter or marketing companies could offer to improve the social media presence of animal shelters.

You can use these volunteering opportunities to generate publicity for your business. Post to your business’ Facebook page about a project you have been working on or send out a press release about a charity you volunteered for. It will allow clients and customers to see your business as more “human” and authentic and it will bring in more revenue too.

Improve the skills of your employees

As a business owner, you know how important it is to have employees with updated skills. But you might not have thought that volunteering can help to improve these skills. They will learn how to be more organised, how to manage their time and could even learn some unique skills, depending on the organisation or charity you choose to volunteer for.

Having employees with improved skills will boost your business by making them more productive and knowledgeable. They will be able to bring more to the table after volunteering and could even have some interesting ideas for solutions that you might never have thought of before.

Help others and help yourself

Volunteering is something that not only helps the cause but the people who are giving aid too. You will feel happier and healthier after volunteering, as will your employees. You will also have a chance to network with other business leaders and industry experts as well as the chance to generate publicity for your brand. So, why not look for a local charity or cause that needs a helping hand and offer your services to them? You will be providing assistance to those who need it the most and boosting your own business at the same time.

The benefits of customer service training programs

As a business owner, dealing with the complaints, queries and even compliments of your customers can be daunting. Your staff might not have the necessary skills they need to properly handle these issues, which can cause customers to become dissatisfied and even cause loss of business.

With customer service training, you can avoid these problems and deliver the perfect customer experience. If you are still unsure of how these programs can help your business succeed, read on below for just some of the benefits of customer service training.

Higher employee motivation and engagement

Providing proper training for your staff will help them to realise the impact that their role has on the organisation. This will improve their motivation and will help them to properly engage with the customers who phone in with issues.

As customer service agents are exposed to the emerging trends of the industry, they can apply these methodologies to their customer interactions and help to give your business an edge on the competition. By sending your staff on courses, you are showing them that you care about their development which will improve their motivation and their morale.

Customer service skills will improve

As with any customer service training programs, your staff will find their skills improving. This is highly beneficial to both your staff and your company because not only will your staff have better skills, but your customers will have better experiences too.

Customer service training focuses on skills such as communication, listening, problem-solving and organisational skills as well as the ability to handle working under stress. Having these skills will not only enable them to handle customer issues easily but will also help them to build up their careers from strength to strength. Having staff with strong customer service skills will boost your business too, which is a major advantage to these training programs.

Increased customer satisfaction

Any business owner knows that customer satisfaction is one of the most important aspects of running a business. If your customers are unhappy, they will look elsewhere for products and services. Providing excellent customer service is a sure-fire way to increase their satisfaction and loyalty to your brand.

If your customers know that their issues will be met with speedy and helpful replies, they will be less likely to look elsewhere for products and services. You will need to ensure that your staff adheres to what they were taught on the customer service training courses in order to reap the most benefits. You could provide each person with a manual so that they can refer back to what they were taught in case of a difficult customer complaint or query.

Improved customer loyalty

Customers have a plethora of options at their fingertips. And one of the many deciding factors when it comes to choosing a supplier or vendor is the customer service that the company delivers. You might have the most fabulous products on the market, but if your customer service is lacking, you won’t sell a lot of products.

If you rely solely on discounts and special offers, you will not have as many customers as you hoped. But if you focus on customer service, your business will grow tenfold. This is why sending your employees on a professional training program is so helpful. They will learn the basics of customer service as well as more advanced techniques of handling customers. This will help to improve customer loyalty and ultimately boost your profits.

Your brand’s image will improve

Organisations that have effective customer service have a much better brand image than those who do not. Customers want to do business with brands who take customer service seriously, and employees want to work for these brands.

Retaining talent is vital to keeping your business afloat and your consumers happy. Training your staff is a direct reflection of how important they are to you, which will impress consumers as well as make your employees happy. Having a positive brand image will also give you an edge over the competition, as you will be showing consumers that they are important to you and that making money comes secondary.

Increased profit

As a business owner, you know that increasing your profit will allow you to continue operating at the level you need to succeed. Good customer service will bring in new customers and will retain your current ones. This will lead to a marked increase in your profits.

An increase in profit will also enable you to send any new staff for customer service training so they are up to speed with all the business processes. Profit is often something that comes from unexpected places, one of which is customer service. If you provide your customers with outstanding service, your business will improve tenfold and will soon beat out the competition.

 

Five types of marketing to invest in for your small business

As a small business owner, you know how important it is to market your business. You need to engage potential clients and retain your current ones. But it can be difficult to know exactly what type of marketing you should use to do so, especially if you are new to the world of business ownership.

If you have applied for business finance in South Africa you will need to start creating a marketing strategy from the get go. Not sure where to start? Below are the five types of marketing to invest in for your small business.

Google AdWords

Google Adwords is one of the smartest ways to use your marketing moolah. While you should try to improve your organic reach results using SEO (search engine optimisation) tactics, AdWords can certainly give you a leg up on the competition, especially when it comes to digital marketing.

Google searches are one of the top ways in which customers find your business online. Which means that spending money on an AdWords campaign is extremely effective. Be warned that AdWords is not an “autopilot” way of advertising, you will need to monitor your campaigns and make changes when necessary. While it might be costly, it is a marketing strategy that will pay off in the end.

Facebook advertising

Did you know that almost two million small businesses pay to advertise on Facebook? It is one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to reach an audience that is interested in what you have to offer. And, almost everyone uses social media these days, so your customers are guaranteed to see your adverts.

Facebook ads excel at advanced targeting, which means that you can set up the demographics of who you want to see the ads, such as certain age groups, geographic locations, online behaviours and much more. For a small business that has just taken out business financing in South Africa, the affordability of Facebook advertising makes sense. All you need is a solid headline, some good descriptive wording, an inviting image and the right link.

Printed business cards

Many entrepreneurs feel that, because the world has become so focused on digital technology, printed marketing is no longer relevant. However, this could not be further from the truth. Business cards are affordable to print and you can create a truly unique design for yours using free software or by asking a professional designer.

Not only can you give clients and customers your business card, but you can also give them to potential business partners at networking events. You will need to ensure that your card design is relevant to your company and that your details are clear and easy to see. Be creative and think out of the box, for example, if you are a small artisanal doughnut store then design round business cards that look like the doughnuts you have on offer.

Email marketing

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to market to clients. And, if you are using business financing in South Africa, it is an option that will suit any budget. Email marketing is relatively simple to use and there are several software options on the market.

It is effective for small businesses especially because you will be able to reach an audience who is already interested in your products or services, those who subscribed to your emails in the first place. You will need to ensure that you send these emails at the right time of day so as not to annoy people and only send to those who have opted-in to the subscription.

Google My Business

For small businesses hoping to make a mark, Google My Business is one of the best types of marketing to invest in. It is completely free and is easy to use. All you need to do is provide your up-to-date contact details and allow the system to combine all of your information such as your Google+ profile, Google Maps profile, your Google reviews and more.

Ranking your Google My Business listing is one of the most important things you can do for your business, as this will allow it to show up in Google search results when someone searches for the product or service you offer. For example, if someone searches for “pet stores Cape Town”, they will see Google My Business listings before organic search results. Having your business in these first listings is imperative to boosting any small business.

Think smart for your business

Marketing strategies are highly important for any small business, especially if you will be using your business finance in South Africa for part of your marketing budget. With the innovations of technology, there are easy and affordable marketing methods you can use for your small business, such as Google My Business, Facebook advertising and Google AdWords.

You can also go the more traditional route and print out business cards to hand out to clients and at networking events. Be sure that whatever type of marketing you use, it is relevant to your business, easy-to-use and will not break the bank.

Why office morale is so important

Office morale is something that is sometimes overlooked by managers and CEOs. While they do have important tasks to focus on, employee morale should be an important aspect of any manager’s concern. Having happy workers means that your workplace is more productive and that your company culture is positive and inclusive.

 

You can send your employees on a variety of courses, such as information technology courses, communication courses or management courses to boost morale and to show them that you value their ambition and want to build them up to new heights. If you are wondering why you need to concentrate on keeping your employees happy, outlined below are the reason why office morale is so important.

Productivity levels increase

When employees feel positive and enjoy their working environment, their production levels will naturally increase. This is because they will not have a lot of stress holding them back and they will feel comfortable in the office and among their colleagues.

 

High productivity levels are not only great for managers who are looking to achieve departmental and organizational objectives, but they are also good for improving employees’ overall happiness during the working day. It can also benefit your employees by increasing their compensation (for salespeople) and their chances of being promoted.

Absences will decrease

When your employees enjoy coming into work, you will notice that the number of absences among your staff will decrease significantly. This is because motivated employees have fewer reasons to miss work.

 

If an employee is taking part in a course, such as a diploma in information technology part time then this will not count as an absence, in fact, it is part of a motivated employee. Absenteeism in the office costs the company thousands of rands in production expenses, which is why boosting employee morale is so important. You will save yourself from incurring these costs and will be creating a stress-free working environment at the same time.

There is more attention to detail

When someone enjoys what they do, they will pay attention to the details of their day. This is beneficial to your company as it means that the work which is being produced is of the highest quality and that your clients will feel that your company is truly listening to their needs.

 

When morale is low, people generally become distracted easier and will make more mistakes than usual. This will not only affect their work but also the productivity levels and the client-company relationship. Encourage your employees by praising their work and offering them rewards for hitting targets (doughnut day, anyone?) and be sure to note anyone who is falling behind so you can ask them what they need to help them work better.

More opportunity for employee collaboration

Employees who are happy and feel supported by management are more likely to enjoy working together. This means that there is more opportunity for collaboration between teams, which can lead to fantastic project ideas for clients and tight deadlines being met.

 

High morale usually collates with greater feelings of teamwork and a shared vision. This creates positive working relationships, which leads to a more collaborative workspace. You will find that your employees are more willing and happy to work together, leading to targets being met ahead of time and client projects being finished by the deadline and with extra creativity added. This helps to boost profits as well as productivity and will show clients that your staff take their work seriously and are willing to go the extra mile.

Attract and retain talent

Having high morale in your office will help you to attract and retain young and up-and-coming talent. This is because young workers are looking for a company culture that suits their needs and provides them with a stimulating and collaborative environment.

 

Talented people will not stay long if the morale of their workplace is low. You will need to provide them with opportunities, such as sending them on information technology courses in South Africa to build their skills or by allowing them to take managerial courses to train them for future roles. Having high company morale will attract new talent and continuing this morale will retain them as loyal employees.

Put your employees first

Company morale is a vital aspect of any successful business. This is because it helps to boost productivity, decrease absenteeism, encourage attention to detail and allow for more collaboration opportunities among colleagues. As a manager or CEO, you will need to ensure that your employees are happy in their roles and satisfied with their responsibilities. You will be able to retain any new employees you get because of your positive office culture and high levels of morale. Ensure that you put your employees’ needs before your own, as this will show them that you value their input and that you have their best interests at heart.

5 ways to help grow your landscaping business

Landscaping is one of those industries that aren’t always stable. Whether you specialise in fencing, decking, artificial grass or the entire spectrum of garden layouts, here are a few tips that will help you grow your business and increase your leads no matter what your service offerings are:

  • Quote your jobs professionally

Because landscaping for homes or business parks is a luxury for most, people want to be able to ask for a quote and be given one up-front in return. Having a clear and concise quoting system will truly make your business seem more efficient. For example, if you’re pruning bushes or setting up a diamond mesh fence for a customer, invest in a good quality software package to assist with your quotes.

Estimations are no longer credited because they often go beyond the amount estimated, which is not acceptable for people who are committing to big, expensive jobs. If you start relying on a computer program to quickly spit out quotes that also include a breakdown of everything that is included, you will be able to make a good first impression and keep customers happy with your honest, efficient service.

Another perk of having the right cost estimations at hand is that you will eliminate any miscommunications through verbal agreements. Once you have something on paper, which is signed by both parties, you will always have something to backup your word.

  • Schedule your jobs properly

In such an on-and-off industry, it’s completely understandable that you’re not always going to have a busy schedule. However, this cannot rub off onto your customers. You need to schedule jobs accordingly and make sure that you have a set plan on when you’re going to be meeting with your customer for their diamond mesh job. It cannot be on your time, it also needs to suit them. In busier months, you’ll be thankful for this as things can quickly get out of hand. Track your business through CRM tools and applications which help you keep to schedules and plan your days accordingly.

  • Hire the correct staff for the job

From marketing your business to transporting the goods and processing your invoices, you cannot be one person who does everything. Depending on how busy you are, you will need to hire people who can take on these jobs without having to put extra pressure on yourself. Some of the most important landscaping roles include general assistants who can do maintenance and diamond mesh installations, licensed chemical applicators, a financial person who can put through jobs and quote on them, general office staff who can assist with any last minute admin issues and someone who can handle your digital marketing. Owning a business in a digital-driven world means that you will need to venture into this space. Someone will have to boost your business on social media and connect with customers on a daily basis.

Because this is such a yo-yo industry, it might be best to contract these positions or hire freelance individuals who can assist you when you need them most. The same goes for contractors and suppliers who supply your stock. You never want to put yourself in a difficult financial position, unless you have signed on retainer clients that are bringing in a constant flow of money.

  • Revamp or rebrand

On the back of the previous point, make sure your website is telling the brand story you want people to see and feel. Updating your website or rebranding your business’ look and feel can bring you great benefits. If you’re someone who still has the same, unchanged website since the early 2000s, it’s time to step things up a notch. Speak to a digital agency or someone with enough knowledge and industry know-how to help you create something that is mobile-friendly and optimised for search. By search, it means that the minute someone searches for landscaping companies near them, your company will show up.

  • Expand your expertise

Lastly, if you want to keep up with competitors around you, you’re going to need to think outside the box with your marketing abilities and start incorporating new ideas into your business offerings. For example, if you’re only offering diamond mesh fencing, perhaps you should consider pushing wooden fencing targets. The same goes for mowing lawns. With water conditions being uncertain, try looking at artificial grass. When you start to offer a variety of different services, it will set you apart from your competitors.