Why Your Promotional Flyer Is Going Straight In The Bin – And What You Can Do About It

You have spent a lot of money on a promotional flyer to advertise your business, you have printed it on good quality paper and you have paid a distributor to hand them out all over your city. Unfortunately, as soon as your flyer is pushed through the mail slot of 99% of doors, it will be headed straight to the rubbish bin or recycling box. All of your hard work has gone to waste to create something that will probably only used by your customers to line the bottom of their birdcages.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Why are your promotional flyers destined for the bin? Is there anything you can do about it?

Take a Close Look at Your Flyers – Are They the Best They Can Be?

Take a look at the flyers that you have been distributing and ask yourself whether you can really blame your customers for throwing them away without a second thought. Do they stand out from all of the other advertisements, or are they boring and ordinary? It can be difficult to look at your flyers objectively because you are emotionally invested in your business, but try to look at them from the perspective of someone who has never heard of your company or what you do. Would the flyer pique their interest?

Unfortunately when you are distributing flyers for your business you will have a lot of other promotional mail to compete with. Unless your flyer has a great offer or is very interesting and eye-catching, you can’t really blame most people for recycling it with the pile of other junk mail.

Tips for Improving Your Flyers

The good news is that there are a number of ways you can improve your flyers and make it more likely that your customers will pay attention to them and save them. Here are a few tips to apply to your flyers to help them avoid a one-way trip to the rubbish bin.

  • Make the largest text eye catching. The headline or the largest text on the page should be something that makes the reader look twice. Too many flyers simply state the name of the company, which won’t catch the customer’s interest.
  • Use a large and impactful font for this big headline, which will make it more readable and make it stand out in a pile of papers from across the room.
  • Most of the time, people look at images first and then read text. Use an interesting main graphic or a vibrant colour image to grab the attention of the reader. Make sure that it is obvious how the image is related to the text.
  • Follow up the headline with strong and simple points that outline what you have to offer. Focus on the benefit of your product or service for the customer… what’s in it for them?
  • Avoid too much text. People will get bored reading the flyer and you will lose their interest.
  • Include a call to action at the end. Perhaps you want them to visit your website and sign up, or request a free report, or order a free trial. A leaflet or a flyer with no call to action is a wasted opportunity.
  • Take a random sampling of all of the other common flyers that come through your door. Does your flyer look like every other one? Think about how you can make it stand out, such as using an unusual colour or printing it on a shiny or textured surface.

These are just a few of the main ways that you can make it less likely that your promotional flyer will end up going straight in the bin and instead be read by your potential customers.

About the Author: Paula Whately is a blogger and entrepreneur in London who recently had a new flyer designed for her business. With the new design in flyer distribution, London customers were calling her at a much higher rate than usual.

Old Tricks And Traditional Skills Still Vital To 21st Businesses

You would think, with this being the bright shiny and thoroughly wired 21st Century that the more traditional skills associated with the secretarial world would be thoroughly redundant. However, despite the fact that our lives are dominated by computers, tablets, Smartphone’s and a whole range of peripherals and apps that can be added to them, some traditional skills remain in high demand.  From copy typing to audio typing and transcription services, traditional skills still remain in high demand. The latter, in particular, remains a crucial part of content creation for many industries, from humble minute taking to full scale TV transcriptions. Transcription services today are also an important feature for conference organisers and transcription offers a number of significant advantages.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

The Bigger Picture

Recording and filming any event was, in the past, a difficult task which required a significant number of professionals and an equally large (and cumbersome) amount of equipment. Today any event, from a pop concert to conference can be (and is) recorded on a phone and the film is often uploaded to the web in seconds. However convenient this may seem it does not replace the need for accurate and professional filming or transcription. In large conference centres where a number of speakers may be talking at one time, or where question and answer sessions are part of the presentation, both professional filming and transcription still have significant advantages.  Unlike audio or video files, fully transcribed events offer users a fast look up for significant points and sections. With transcriptions now available digitally, the simple use of the find function can take you straight to the point in a way that no amount of film footage can.

Old Skills and New Methods Combined

Post event publications of transcribed documents have a number of advantages. In terms of web publication, transcription offers a handy SEO tool. The broader the scope of your written content, the more opportunities for lead generation via search engines; again in a way which means that video content alone will not be as beneficial.  Also the more traditional print press, while happy to receive audio or visual material, will often rely on transcribed versions of a presentation or conference to make their own jobs easier and making things easy for journalists means they’ll be able to find time to fit your piece in.

Applied Technology

Although transcription is an old skill, long pre-dating the internet, the technological revolution has made the process of finding reliable transcription services easier and more affordable. Most transcription services operate online and transcribers themselves can be located just about anywhere in the world. This has driven down the costs of professional transcription and can open up opportunities for these services. This means any content you need to promote in overseas markets can be quickly made available in a variety of formats or languages. The process is speeded up to almost light speed thanks to modern technology. This gives modern businesses a greater and faster reach than in the past, making it possible for firms of any size to go global.

New Opportunities

While transcription services offer advantages to a range of industries they offer specific advantages to conference organisers in any field. Post conference transcripts can be marketed alongside podcasts as part of a full package for both attendees needing to refer back to the conference and as a valuable product in their own right to sell to a wider market. Working with a professional and established provider makes sense in this context and planning ahead will also make the process run more smoothly. Contacting a transcription service provider well in advance and involving them in the planning of the event will help you both to create a package that suits your needs which will result in a quick and efficient turnaround on the end product. Despite the massive advances in technology and the opportunities that it has opened up for business it seems that some of the oldest tricks are still the best.

About the Author: Pipa Rose is a freelance writer who has a keen interest in business. While technology has made business presentations and conferences far easier and more accessible for many, she believes that many traditional skills such as transcription services still play a crucial role.

Small Business: Shopping Online for Big Savings

As a small business owner, you need to conserve your financial resources as much as possible. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to utilize the Internet to save money on essential supplies and services. In fact, the vast majority of items that an office company uses will be available for a discount online, and most other industries can also find better prices by simply conducting a quick Internet search.

Saving-Money
License: Creative Commons image source

Buying in Bulk

Although you can definitely get discounts on every day office supplies by buying them in bulk quantities at a brick and mortar store, you will most likely be able to save even more from an Internet-based retailer. For example, Amazon sells several common items that small businesses need in bulk, and they also offer a subscription service that will enable you to save even more on the supplies that you use on a regular basis. When you factor in the free shipping and the fact that you will avoid spending money for gasoline, it becomes easy to see how much money you can save by buying items in bulk off of the Internet.

Buying in Smaller Quantities

If you are looking for individual items, it is still usually a better idea to shop online. There are several price comparison websites that have been created with the purpose of enabling consumers to quickly find the absolute best price on any given item. Additionally, some of these sites even include local store prices to help you determine if it makes more sense to buy a specific item locally. You can also download an app for your iPhone that will help you compare prices online for items that you are looking at in a store.

Saving with Comparison Sites

Every company needs to have business insurance and you will also need automobile insurance if you have a company vehicle. Although you could simply get a quote from the insurance provider that you use for personal purposes, you will most likely end up spending more money. Instead, you should use sites like www.monkey.co.uk to help you gather several quotes from various national and local insurance companies. Once you have all of the quotes, you will be able to compare the pricing and available options to easily determine which policies make the most sense for your company.

Shipping Costs and Transit Times

If you absolutely need an item today, you will need to go to a local store to pick it up. Unfortunately, that purchase is probably going to cost a lot more than it would have online. Therefore, whenever you have time to wait, you should always shop online. Most companies offer free shipping over a specific dollar amount, and expedited shipping options are usually available. Even if you end up paying for shipping, you will still save money in most cases.

Shopping online for the majority of your company’s supplies and essential services is one of the best ways to keep your budget in line. If you are not using online comparison sites, you are wasting money on a daily basis.

About the Author: Researcher Shelby Warden provides this information for small business owners who need to watch their bottom line. Small business owners who go to www.monkey.co.uk to compare insurance plans and costs not only get the best online prices, but can even choose a charity to receive a £10 donation when they purchase a policy.

 

Is Outsourcing Fulfilment Services The Right Choice For Your Business?

Is Outsourcing Fulfilment Services The Right Choice For Your Business?

License: Image author owned
License: Image author owned

Fulfilment Services

Order fulfilment and distribution is the life blood of any business. If orders are not filled quickly and effectively, and distributed fast and without incident, then you can wave goodbye to your customers.  For a number of reasons, many companies find themselves unable to carry out their promotional services in their entirety. Many large businesses, especially multinational enterprises, choose to outsource promotional logistics to help out in promotion of their various products and services.

While outsourcing fulfilment to a dedicated logistics firm obviously incurs some significant initial outlay, it is a cost that a large company can well afford, when the cost of undertaking the promotional service themselves is taken into account. Relieved of the problem of promotional logistics and fulfilment, the sales team is freed up to focus on more important factors such as keeping the sales end of things running smoothly and effectively. It is primarily for this reason that so many larger companies and business entities choose to look for promotional logistics service providers.

What To Look For When Identifying A Fulfilment Service Provider

As the internet age draws on, we find ourselves more and more overwhelmed with information. Every decision is made both easier and harder by the sheer number of options we are presented with when researching a service provider online. It is essential however to devote a bit of time to establishing your fulfilment needs and researching the fulfilment services offered by various companies, identifying the ones which best suit the specific a, individual needs of your company. It may seem arduous to trawl through a lot of providers websites, but getting the choice of service provider right is as crucial to the success of the business as doing the promotion itself.

It is not only the costs attached to undertaking promotional activity yourself that your business is set to save when outsourcing fulfilment services; your company will also be able to redirect the man power and other resources that you would have used on promotional activities to other enterprises. The benefits attached to this decision must be equal or greater to the cost of having to outsource.

Adding value

Promotional activities are often an additional cost to the company and they can only be valued by the contribution they make towards increasing the sales volume and popularity of the products or services. The only way to ensure that the value of the promotion services is felt by the company is by ensuring the service provider delivers quality services that are both timely and very professional. Whether collecting various promotion requirements, delivering customs clearance services, or drop shipping promotional merchandise, the service provider must provide these services with ultimate professionalism.

The challenge then is for the service provider to offer a reliable service of the highest quality, so that your business will retain its customers in a competitive industry. If the service provider fails to consistently exceed expectations then you can quickly begin to seek better service providers or build your own promotional teams from your sales divisions. This puts you as a business owner considering outsourcing fulfilment services in a really strong position, as potential service providers are constantly striving to offer the best service they can in a competitive market. Likewise, of course, fulfilment service providers are assured of customers who will always need promotional services in order to stay relevant in very competitive markets and to retain their market share.

About the Author:Kate Parker is a blogger and SEO writer who has written extensively on order fulfilment. she has written this article on behalf of Vision Logistics.

Making The Perfect Sales Pitch: Turn A Potential Client Into A Paying Customer

It makes no odds what type of business you work in; profits are typically associated with both sales and new customers.  Perhaps, you are part of a sales team, but your overall performance could do with a little boost.  One of the best ways to turn potential clients into real, paying customers is to concentrate on your actual sales pitch and the ways in which you can improve it.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

This can generally be achieved through additional training and further practice, although the best sales pitches will always be well-organised and of interest to your customer.  Your prospective client should also feel like an individual and therefore they should believe that you are actually engaging in conversation with them, as opposed to simply reading from a script.  Possibly the most important aspect of any sales pitch is to focus on the benefits that apply to the customer sitting in front of you.

Linking Benefits to Your Client’s Needs

Your first step should always be to link the benefits that your company offers with the specific client’s needs.  Take some time to think about the problems your client may face and how your business can provide solutions to these problems.  You can either list these benefits to the client or prepare a short statement that will tell them specifically the benefits they will receive.  An example of this could be that your client may be worried about the initial cost of a product or service you provide.  Therefore, the benefits could be explained by showing the potential costs the client would incur if they didn’t use your business’s product or service.

Always be Prepared

Preparation is crucial in sales.  It’s a good idea to have a specific set of responses tailored to different types of clients.  Imagine if your business sells a wide variety of services or products, you could prepare a list of the different benefits for every type of client you are likely to encounter.  This will allow you to have tailored responses to every client’s needs.  The main benefit to you of this type of preparation is that you will definitely come across as knowledgeable and professional; something which most people will be impressed by.

Use Active Questioning and Listening Skills

Another critical part of any sales pitch is asking your prospective client questions and, of course, carefully listening to their answers.  This will help you to identify how this person can actually benefit from the services or products you have to offer.  In fact, use this as an opportunity to explain how your business can solve a particular problem they face and indeed the advantages you hold over their current providers.  Prospective customers are far more likely to do business with your company if they feel you understand the problems they face.  They are also more inclined to do business with someone who appears genuinely interested in what they have to say, rather than a company who is solely interested in talking about what they have to offer.

Focus on What is Important to Your Client

You should always focus solely on the benefits of your products or services that apply specifically to the client in front of you.  There is absolutely no point in speaking about the benefits that don’t relate to your customer, as they are likely to lose interest.  A prime example of this may be that although you offer the lowest price in the marketplace your potential client is disappointed with the level of customer service they currently receive.  This is an ideal opportunity for you to focus on the customer service benefits your company can offer them.

About the Author: Pipa Rose is a writer who understands the importance of good communication when speaking to potential clients. She strongly believes that all business employees should undertake in regular communication skills training, as this will have a positive impact on overall profitability.

3 Misconceptions About Starting Your Own Business

Many people see successful businesses and think “what a simple idea, why didn’t I think of that?” But what they often don’t realize is the sheer amount of planning and work that went into making that business a success – not to mention the money spent. In fact, there are a lot of misconceptions that people have about starting a business. Here are three of the most common.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

1. It is All About the Product

When it comes down to it, if your business starts with a bad product, it cannot succeed. However, just because your business starts with a good product, it does not necessarily mean that it is guaranteed to succeed. One of the biggest assumptions that people make when starting a business is that people will actually buy their product. Whether it is because of bad marketing, unaffordable prices, or just a bad product, there are many reasons why certain ideas do not take off with consumers. Extensive research is needed to prevent this sort of a problem. Things such as surveys, market research, and focus groups will help you to know what people want, as well as where there is space in the market. Again, you could have the best idea in the world, but if it will be entering an already saturated market, it will struggle to take off.

2. Money is All the Motivation That I Need

Obviously you are going into this business wanting to make some money, but if you sole motivation is that you want to make a million dollars, you might just want to rethink it all. It is incredibly hard for a startup business to even break even, let alone start making money, and this will take a lot of hard work and time. When not much else is going for you, passion and sheer enjoyment of the work that you do will be the only things that carry you through. Your business is also much more likely to succeed if you are creating it because of an interest and talent for business, and passion about your product or service.

3. A Business Plan is Ironclad

The most common piece of entrepreneur advice is to have a solid business plan. Firstly, it is important to have a business plan. Not only will it help you organize your ideas and prepare for what comes next, but you will need it to present to potential investors who will help you to fund your venture. But one mistake that people make is over planning, as well as taking a plan too far. As you start your business, you will soon realize that it is full of hurdles to overcome, and pits to climb out of. The business world is notoriously fickle and constantly changing. This makes it almost impossible to have an ironclad business plan, because within a few months, it is likely that you will just have to throw it out of the window. Good businesses quickly learn to adapt to the changing needs of the market, and those are the ones that survive.

About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finances. He has received many accolades for his work in teaching and small business consultation.

The Three B’s You Need to Become a Great Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur runs a business or businesses by selling their product or services for a price, can afford to pay rent, wages and interest on the capital and still gain a profit in the end. An entrepreneur is also unafraid of the challenges and risks that are typically associated with the business on a day-to-day basis. Risk City. Global Entrepreneur Week.To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to have three important traits that can put you ahead of the competition. Brains, bravery and business coaching are three skills that will aid you in getting your business off the ground and moving toward a financially sound future.

Brains

Many business owners learn their skills through schooling and experience, but others are inbred with successful traits and were born to be leaders. Intelligence is always considered a key to any financial success, and entrepreneurs must have their share.  However, knowing how to work smart can separate successful entrepreneurs from those that find it difficult to overcome the typical business hurdles. An intelligent business owner knows that being a strong leader can make or break a business, especially when they lead by example. Financial geniuses are also smart enough to realize that they need to be disciplined enough to do whatever it takes to reach the finish line.

Bravery

It’s a fact that solid rewards can come with hard work and dedication. But a person who is brave and unafraid to take risks can achieve greatness in the business community. What separates the regular business owner from the successful entrepreneur is the gift of taking risks in order to make a fortune. All transactions may not be profitable, but it takes a skilled entrepreneur to handle that risk, calculate the gains and reap the rewards. If you’re only willing to make a modest income and never be brave enough to go above and beyond to reach your goals, you’ll likely not see overwhelming success in the independent business world.

Business Coaching

In order to achieve greatness with your own company, you need to formulate a plan. Many people are ensconced in their dream job, but they are unsure of how to reach beyond and achieve higher goals. A business coach can help an owner achieve success by organizing a plan, observing the strengths and weaknesses of their strategies and holding them to their final goals. Executive coaches are trained to aid you in your career from platforms of psychology and organizational development to human resource management and adult learning.

Bottom Line Benefits

Successful entrepreneurs that use business coaching see this as an investment instead of an expense because of the way their revenue can grow consequentially. An online directory of coaches is one of the best resources for those interested in learning more about this unique service. Here you will find a variety of people that are experienced and knowledgeable in this field, and you can choose the one that you will feel most suited for your executive career needs.

Most entrepreneurs in the world today have made it as far as they have by hard work, diligence and confidence. However, the three B’s of bravery, brains and business coaching will always separate the top producers from the rest of the crowd.

Ann Bailey started her own art business and shares these inspirations for other business founders seeking a step up. Noomii, a go-to online directory of executive coaches, is available to help any client ready for the next level of business guidance, encouragement and success.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bradmontgomery/8192544700/

 

How to Start a Business from Your Hobby (Infographic)

Regardless of how wrong some experts think about starting a business from your hobby, it is probably the most effective and efficient one. There are some reasons to that…

Firstly, you don’t have to learn about anything from scratch. It’s YOUR hobby; you ARE the expert; even if you need to learn the technicality of your hobby, you are half-way there.

Secondly, it’s YOUR passion. People can be passionate about entrepreneurship; but if you are passionate about entrepreneurship AND everything you do and every product you create/service you offer, you are taking shortcut.

But still, just like any other business, you need to take some steps to startup right. Make it Cheaper, the business cost-saving expert, publishes this interest infographic about turning your talent or hobby into a business – check this out (please click on the infographic for the original size…)

Turn your talent into a business
Source: Make It Cheaper: The Saving Experts for Business

Doing business like a pro!

We all have some dreams we would like to come true. Some dream big, others small; but what truly matters is how you plan on achieving what you want. So you dream of owning your own business? Running it successfully? Believe in yourself, after all big corporate giants like Google, Apple, Sony also started somewhere. Well here are some small business tips for all the budding entrepreneurs to keep in mind.

5 tips of the wise:

  • You don’t necessarily have to start your business from scratch. If you find a small business that you believe you can benefit from, buy it. You can either grow it or sell it for an even bigger return.
  • Do you have a lot of dough to start with? Good! Hold on to it. There is no need for a young business to have a very lavish office and setup. Buy and spend very wisely. Old office furniture can be just as useful and serve the purpose. You can save all your extra cash for a rainy day. Just because you have it doesn’t mean you should blow it
  • Who are you? And what can you offer? A good business always has a sense of direction. Make a game plan, set goals and go about how you are going to achieve them. Keep in mind who you are exactly targeting
  • What makes you so different? Think about what makes you standout in the crowd. Always go the extra mile for customer satisfaction. This will never fail you. After all happy customers are loyal customers
  • Most importantly, exercise gratitude. Towards your employees, your customers, and your own self. Research in the field of human resource management shows that appreciation goes a long way to ensure success. It is a tool not frequently used by employers.

The toughest is the battle within:

As much as capital and resources are needed to start your own venture, some things come easily and without any cost. A bit of planning and smart thinking can make your journey of success a whole lot smoother. Though the road leading you towards your goals may not always be easy to tread upon, a positive outlook and determination can always ease your burden.

No matter what line of business you pursue, always believe that you have something unique to give to the world. It is only when you find out everything good has already been done, you push yourself to create something even better.

And one more thing:

As quoted by Steve Jobs, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”. Knowledge is truly Power and today’s world is the most volatile it has ever been. Always keep educating yourself, learn, explore. There is no limit to the knowledge one can attain. There is always innovation in the world around us. New marketing techniques, management studies, growth opportunity factors; if one stays aloof to changing times he will be left behind. So always nurture your talents and keep polishing them in order to shine.

About the Author: The author is currently pursuing a degree in business administration and has a penchant for writing about modern day management techniques w.r.t. your credit card and organizational behavior.

The Dual Entrepreneur: How to Balance Running Two Companies at Once

In general, entrepreneurs are idea people. They don’t necessarily have to be creative in the classical artistic sense, but they have to be flexible, self-motivated, and able to follow through on a good idea.

Many budding entrepreneurs hold themselves back by spreading their work too thin. Do you think Mark Zuckerberg would be orchestrating billion-dollar buy-outs if he’d focused half his energy on Facebook, and the other on opening a pizza chain?

Getting a business off the ground requires your full attention. Once it’s up-and-running, however, it’s possible to expand. Just look at many of the world’s most famous athletes and musicians who balance careers in Hollywood and on the playing field. Mark Cuban is a terrific example, juggling ownership of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, Landmark Theatres, and chairing the HDNet cable TV station.

So how do you get to be the next Mark Cuban? While I’m far from the Forbes 500 list, I can happily say that I’ve successfully managed to maintain two profitable businesses for the last six years.

entrepreneurship tips
Image: @boetter / Flickr

Believe That You Can Do It

I opened my first business when I was 12-years-old in my home country of Iran. Raised by a father with a strong emphasis on self-sufficiency, two partners and I began a small potato chip factory. We hired a few employees and sold chips to supermarkets and local schools.

That same spirit of motivation led me to dentistry school. Nearly two decades ago, with a fresh doctorate in hand, I threw myself whole-heartedly into my practice. Over time, I built wealth that needed to be invested. Wall Street didn’t appeal to me, so I bought real estate. When the housing market dropped, I took the wake up call as a sign to diversify.

Like any entrepreneur, I always have my eyes open for new ideas with revenue-generating potential. At one point, I recognized a need for a glass and mirror provider in our market, found a suitable partner, and went into business again. Although my wife might say I’m addicted to work, my dentistry practice never suffered.

Love What You Do

If owning a dentistry office and running a glass and mirror supply company bored me or stressed me out, I’d quit one or the other. Because I’ve found industries that appeal to me, I rarely feel like I’m actually working.

Let’s put it this way — my son plays video games for an hour a day. He says it’s his ‘down time.’ My wife watches soap operas for an hour each afternoon that’s her down time. And what I do in front of the computer for my businesses is truly a down time for me. It’s not work. If it was, there’s no way I’d be able to do it. At home on the computer, I can casually answer emails and truly relax. I enjoy what I do, so it’s more of a game than anything.

Sure, it’s a cliché, but I fully believe the old quote that says, “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Don’t Rule Anything Out

Ten years ago, I would never have imagined I’d own a glass and mirror company. When the opportunity arose, however, I didn’t overlook it because of my lack of expertise in the area.

It’s not so much the product that matters when you’re an entrepreneur, but the business itself. As long as you know how to run a business and you understand the numbers and how to market and sell, then the product just has to be something that interests you. It could be glass or wood or anything — if you understand business and recognize a need, you’ll succeed.

For me, personally, dentistry and glass sales go hand-in-hand for my lifestyle. Being a dentist is a physical vocation that fills my days, while glass and mirror sales are a number-crunching, analytical job that I do in the evening. It’s like a hobby.

If you already own a successful business and another opportunity arises, don’t run away from it for fear of being over-burdened. As long as you enjoy both jobs, running two businesses can truly be a pleasure.

What combination of businesses would you most like to own or manage?

About the Author: Bahram Nasehi is a Vice President and partner at Dulles Glass and Mirror. He is instrumental in the developement and manufacturing of commercial and residential glass products including tempered glass, glass table tops and shower doors.