Standing Out From the Competition: A Business Guide

Running your own business comes with various benefits and rewards, but with that, also comes risks and challenges.  As a business owner, one of your greatest challenges regardless of your industry is your competition. Competition in the business world is fierce, for some industries more than others.  Your job as a successful business owner is to learn the best ways to rise above and separate your company from any other competitive businesses. Getting your business to stand out is very achievable, with the right tools and effort.  Here are a few ways you can separate yourself from the competition.

Exceptional Customer Service/Interaction

Customer service is a crucial key to the success of your business, and can also make or break your success.  Your customers should be viewed as a foundational part of your company; without them, your goals aren’t met.  With that, you should always make sure your company is delivering exceptional customer service to any consumers that need it.  This applies to delivering quality products and services, answering questions or concerns, and taking customer feedback into serious consideration.  A company that emulates strong customer service will always rise above a company that puts customer service on the back-burner.

Honest Business Practices

Always practice honest business.  Your consumers want to know they can trust your company, for quality products, and accountability.  If a product can’t be delivered on time, make the consumer well aware, to avoid any issues. If there is an internal error from a representative, billing, or with something like your website, make sure to hold your company accountable.  Customers will be quick to lose faith and trust in a company that beats around the bush and doesn’t tell the truth when something may be going wrong. Always keep that in mind. It’s a truly great way to establish a strong report with your consumers…

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Becoming an Industry Leader

No matter what industry or field you’re in, your business will more than likely face more than one serious competitor.  Competition in business is fierce, and to maintain success as a business owner or executive, you need to know how to set your company aside from others.  Setting the goal of becoming an industry leader is a great way to combat your competition and build trust and loyalty with your consumer base. Here are a few great tips to becoming an industry leader:

Have a Thought Leadership Perspective

It may seem self-explanatory, but the first major step to obtaining the title of an industry leader is to think with a thought leadership perspective.  A thought leader is someone who is not only well versed in their industry but also presents themselves as an industry expert. You want to become a powerful authority within your space while serving your clients on an exceptional level.

Be Innovative

Innovation is key for a business looking to lead their industry.  Consider major technology companies such as Apple Inc. and Samsung.  While both companies are wildly successful, each has created different innovative technologies that have revolutionized their industry and kept their consumers coming back for more.  Even if your innovation isn’t necessarily a brand new product or service, your company can still hone in on innovation by adding or improving an already existing product or service. This will show your consumers that you’re not just creating products and leaving them at a base level, but continuously looking to improve what you’ve already created…

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Developing a Growth Mindset in Leadership

Hearing about the importance of leadership in the business world is not uncommon.  It’s no secret that a good leader helps foster positive employee development, mindset, and attitude.  A good leader is always finding ways to help their employees or team grow; having a growth mindset in leadership is an essential factor.  While some people have a misconception that positive leadership focuses on constant praise and rewards, a growth mindset is more about having a focus on progress and consistent learning.  Forbes contributor, Glenn Llopis, explains, “To lead business transformation, leaders must learn how to transform themselves to define the future growth of their businesses.”

Here are a few major traits for developing a growth mindset:

Get Rid of the Tunnel Vision

Being a leader requires you to have an understanding of the needs and opinions of others.  Even in situations where you think you may have the best solution or reasoning, having that tunnel vision can do more harm than good.  Keep an open mind. Take the time to listen to the needs of the individuals on your team, and understand their unique perspectives. Often times, the perspectives of others around you can assist in addressing issues or developing a specific plan.

Be Prepared for Uncertainty and the Unexpected

Business is full of risk and change; it can often cause uncertainty which may alter your decision-making process.  As a leader with a growth mindset, it’s important that you’re ready to embrace the changes that may come your way. Don’t let things like changes throw you off or alter your choices…

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PR Tactics to Help Grow Business

When you’re looking to grow your business and your brand, Public Relations (PR) is an area on which you should always focus. Having a solid PR strategy is a great way to not only increase brand awareness but essentially build up your business to potentially increase customer base, sales, and revenue.  While good business practices require regular customer engagement and interaction, a PR strategy tends to take this to the next level.

According to Inc. contributor, Adam Fridman, “A simple positive comment or tweet about your product from an internet user can add an extra layer of trust and credibility to your brand, which can also translate to some new business for you. Now imagine the effect such comment–more like news–will have on your brand when it comes from a powerful and respected third party, like a media house. That’s the power of public relations.”

Here are a few great PR tactics to help increase brand awareness and grow your business:

Content Creation & Publishing

PR, from a basic perspective, is gaining exposure to an organization’s audiences using avenues that appeal to their audience’s and public interests.  One sure tactic you want to factor into your PR strategy is high-quality content creation. Creating regular content that will appeal to your audience will help keep them in the loop about what’s going on with your company.  You’ll want to make sure you’re publishing content in relevant areas as well. Your websites and any other social profiles are a great housing platform for any Press Releases, blog posts, or general organizational news. Additionally, you can utilize third-party publications to increase your outreach.

Transparency

One of the most important aspects of running a successful business, whether it’s large or small, is maintaining transparency with your audience and customers.  Loyal consumers want to know what’s going on with your brand (this goes back to your content creation)…

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How and Why Good UX Design Leads to Better Business

Today, business has evolved from traditional retail spaces and advertisements to an entire world of online shops where you can purchase, sell, and advertise different goods and services with a few clicks of a mouse.  When utilizing a website for business purposes where consumers may visit your site to make purchases or find information about your company, having a website with a good user experience (UX) design is essential, and it could hold a huge weight in how well your business is doing.  How and why does a good UX design contribute to better business?

Easy Accessibility for a Strong User Interface

When a user visits your company’s website, they want to be able to navigate easily, find what they need, and know the website they’re using is functional and secure.  You want to make sure your site flows well, and that users can easily figure out where to go once they land on your page. Sites that are difficult for users to navigate through often have higher bounce rates as users tend to leave them rather quickly.  The more user-friendly your site is, the better a chance users will spend more time on it.

Good Design Means Increased Users

The overall design of your site has to do with not only just the aesthetics but the potential for an increase in users.  From the colors you choose to graphics, logos, and links, all of these things play a huge role in the usability of your site; and essentially, the better a site looks and functions, the more users you’ll see. According to UX design expert, Lexie Lu, “the experience your customer has on your website determines whether they complete the purchase or remain your customer.”..

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The Value of Social Media in Business

Business and marketing have reached new heights since the development of the internet, and now, social media platforms.  Social media has changed the way many companies operate, while also creating multiple avenues for entrepreneurs across the world to create their own independent brands and fully functional businesses.  When used correctly, social media platforms can drastically contribute to a business’s success, no matter how large or small the company is.  Here are a few of the greatest values that come with proper use of social media in business.

Increase Engagement with Consumers

One of the first and most important areas of business that social media use contributes to is the ability to increase organic engagement with consumers.  Your followers are part of the foundation of your business, and it’s essential to have different platforms where you can easily interact. Social networks give business and brands the opportunity to directly interact with customers almost instantaneously.  This can also help with any customer service purposes as well. Consumers are quick to reach out to brands when they’re happy with a product or service, or, not so happy. Utilizing social platforms will provide the ability to monitor consumer interaction, and receive useful feedback that can generally improve your business.

Better Develop Your Brand

While traditional forms of marketing and brand advertising are still quite effective, social media has taken brand advertising and awareness to a new level.  It’s safe to say that nearly half the world utilizes social media in one way or another; and with that staggering statistic, you can bet that these various platforms are a sure way to reach the masses.  In fact, many social media users come across new brands and products strictly from using different platforms…

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Five UI Mistakes That Kill Customer Interaction

A customer’s decision about whether or not to stay on a business website or purchase products depends largely on their ability to navigate the website, which makes User Interface all the more important. If a website is poorly designed, hard to navigate, or just all-around offensive, kiss that sale goodbye.

Here are some of the most common culprits in that regard.

Lengthy Fill-In Forms

Nothing kills enthusiasm faster than trying to fill in 30 different blanks to receive a .pdf download. At the least, an opt-in form should have two forms: email address and name. Anything more than that has the potential to turn away prospective leads. While a company never wants to leave important information on the table, they also need to minimize their ask if they want to maximize their leads.

Poor Font Selection

It’s immediately clear upon visiting a website whether or not a website creator has actually been to design school or simply watched a few Youtube videos on it. Fonts are usually the most notable giveaway. Companies need to limit the number of fonts that they use, reduce the amount of “impact” fonts, and keep a font selection that’s in tone with the webpage (don’t use a calligraphy font if the company sells hardware, for instance).

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Three Misconceptions About Public Relations

The field of public relations has long been misconstrued as one filled with spin doctors, celebrity publicists, and thrusting otherwise ordinary individuals into the inescapable view of the public eye. However, what many onlookers do not know is that public relations is largely centered around communication, research, crafting creating strategies, and hours of tireless planning.

Furthermore, public relations practitioners must possess the ability to evaluate the public’s attitudes, identify the individual or organization’s mission and objectives, and create strategies that fully represent those values and achieve their goals.

Seeing as there is much more to public relations than many would typically think, let us take the time to address some other pervasive customer misconceptions about the field.

The right relationships can get us any coverage we want

Although relationships are extremely helpful in this realm, they operate the same as they would in other industries — in that they exist to help each party do business more effectively. For instance, journalist will only give a public relations professional the time of day when they can provide an exclusive, high-quality story that would be mutually beneficial to pitch to an editor. Therefore, these relationships are highly conditional and are not meant for getting eyes on otherwise uninteresting and low-quality content.

Public relations professionals can get journalists interested in me and/or my business

Along the same vein, it is important to remember that journalists are incredibly busy individuals, constantly sifting through countless stories to fill, at most, one to three spots per day. Therefore, even if your recent story, triumph, or launch is perfectly phrased and pitched to the right people, it still may be overlooked by a number of journalists who simply do not have the time to work on the piece.

The right PR can land me a featured profile or contributor spot in my favorite publication

While editors value pushing out non-news stories, journalists often stick to reporting on hard news, as it is often urgent and important for the public to know. Therefore, it is important to bury some non-news stories into pieces that encompass rare or important events.

For instance, you would likely see greater success by wrapping your featured profile into a story about your startup obtaining unicorn-level funding, as this is a rare feat that many companies do not achieve. Otherwise, you will likely find yourself disappointed when your pitch gets passed over for a more pertinent story.

The list of misconceptions about public relations could go on and on. However, now that we have highlighted some of the biggest misunderstandings, it is important to drive home the most important point: Trust the process. You are working with one or more experts who have your best interest and mission at heart. Although you may not see the exact outcomes you desire, you will certainly get closer to reaching your goals than you ever would have on your own.