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Business Spotlight – Plumbing and Heating Companies – How To Build a Business Through Word of Mouth

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One of the best ways that a plumbing service or heating company could achieve a high degree of brand recognition is to understand that its customers are the media. Branding your business by using this powerful weapon can and will sustain your company in the long run. It becomes more crucial to your plumbing and heating company due to its way of reaching out to the masses. By employing this strategy you are basically selling things to those people around you, people who know you in one way or another.

Here are simple Keys to Achieving The Most Desired Result in Word of Mouth Marketing.

1. Be a positive influence

If you are a bad influence, even a superb brand in your hand would not sell. You need to know that by being a trustworthy and positive person, your word would speak volumes to those around you.

2. Be specific in your target group

You should know who your main customers are. Remember that by promoting your product to the correct audience would also influence their friends who are more like them. The product would, therefore, be used by the correct people and pass around by the correct group.

3. Don’t be too friendly

Understand where to draw the line between selling a product and making a relationship. If you are selling a product, be a promoter, if you are building a friendship, be a friend. You cannot be both at the same time, it just doesn’t work.

4. Use the media

If you have won any awards and reported by the papers, it would boost your credential. Fully optimizing each weapon’s strength can work wonders.

5. Pass on the positive attitude

By using your employee to promote things the way you do would help create a positive circle of influences, thereby increasing sales. It also helps to bring your ideas across that everyone within your company are in the same boat, they live by the survival of each and every one. This would, in turn, bring about greater word of mouth marketing among your clients.

6. Be consistent

But make sure it is a “positive consistent.” Customers are looking for a stable, dependable business – not one with great service one day and lousy service the next.

7. Don’t try to be all things to all people

Generally, negatives occur when you deviate from what you normally do well. Understand that even if you accommodate customers temporarily with some “special feature or service, you won’t be able to keep them in the long run.

8. Don’t attract customers, build relationships

Just like friendships, customers take a time to develop. They will become comfortable with the way you do business and the level of your service, and you become acclimated with their desires and needs.

9. Cultivate and Develop Your Employees

Your employees are your best source of positive Word of Mouth Marketing. If they make the customer experience a pleasant one either at the point of sale or during the follow-up service, you’ve hit a home run. But this doesn’t happen by accident – it takes training, motivating and handling your employees in the right way.

Basic Things Ways of Funding Your Startup Business

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A lot of people have dreams of one day starting their own business. This is something that you should work for. In fact, startups have the potential of growing into big businesses. But of course, it requires a lot of planning and even work. If you are serious about having your very own startup business, you should make sure that you know your options when it comes to its funding. Most of the time, startup dreams simply fizzle out because of the lack of funding. It is crucial that you find ways on how to fund your startup dream.

Borrow money from friends and relative

Though it isn’t always suggested that you borrow from friends and relative, it is a viable option to start your company. At times, friends and relative can be quite hard to convince especially if it is about business. You can easily convince them that you are going to start something that can potentially get bigger. But of course, you always need to take the necessary precautions. For instance, there is always a chance of failure. It only means that it can ruin your relationship with friends and relative. If you are ready for this risk, then you can borrow money from your friends and relative.

Get business partners

One of the most practical ways of funding your own startup business is by getting the help of other likeminded individuals. If they believe in the same vision as you, it is possible that you can combine your funds and start the business. But of course, you also have to share the profits. And in this case, though you are reducing the risk, you also have to share whatever the company makes. You also have to talk among yourselves how to split the responsibilities.

Loan from a bank

The most common way is to borrow money from a bank. If you are going to borrow money from a bank, it is important to convince them that you have the ability to pay them back. And the best way to do this is to show them a business that has potential. Also, credit rating goes a long way if you are planning to receive money from the bank.

Use your own savings

Of course, you can always rely on your own savings. Ideally, you don’t want to spend your retirement funds on a business since this can be a high risk move. You can instead save a portion of your income allotted especially for the venture. Though it may take some time, it can be worth it.

If you are going to use your own savings, be sure that you don’t end up bankrupt if the startup business doesn’t end up successful.

A lot of startups in order to become successful need to have to be unique in order to become successful. It is also important that you do a lot of research if there is really enough market for the product or service that you are going to offer. If you think that there is room for growth, it is a good idea to look into these possible ways on how to get funded.

Business Spotlight – Moving and Relocation Companies – How They Build and Run Their Businesses

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moving company

Moving and relocation companies are those which offer a variety of relocation services to their clients and help them move items from one place to another easily and safely. Similar to all service providers, movers charge homeowners or renters for the moving services upon completion of their services.

This may sound easy, but the way moving companies do their business is more complicated than what it seems like.

There are tons of logistical challenges behind the scenes which moving companies have to take care of such as cost estimation, issuance of moving estimates, pre-move booking, provision of moving services and maintenance of customer satisfaction as well as meeting with various legal requirements.

Wondering what some of the tips are on how moving and relocation companies build and run their businesses? Here are 5 tips that could give you an idea how.

1. Compete by being professional

The moving industry is saturated by new-entrants that lure clients by offering fairly cheap moving services. The situation is even aggravated as these companies operate without the required permits and insurance.

To make your business stand out from all others, compete by being professional and obtain the required licenses, permits and insurance as these add more credibility to your business.

2. Offer a variety of services

Consider offering different kinds of services in relation to your business such as providing storage space for clients between moves, unpacking and driving in or out of states.  You may also consider packing or loading services with or without the moving portion.

Furthermore it is good to try to cover as much service area as possible.  There are many companies that provide long distance moving, anywhere from San Jose to the Eastern Seaboard.  Bear in mind that you need to be able to fulfill on these services, so if keeping it local works for you, then stick to that.

3. Obtain proper training

Although moving is not such a complicated task, there is a rule that one must know when dealing with other people’s valued possessions. You would want to ensure that you are well knowledgeable about the mechanics behind proper packing, loading and unloading.

Having proper training will also help you become more efficient in running your business thus saving you more time and money.

4. Secure a large commercial space

While it could be that in the meantime you are only able to afford one truck, as your business expands, you may eventually need more space to place you trucks and other equipment you will need.

Additionally, if you plan to offer storage space for customers in between the moves, you have to ensure that you have enough land or facilities, which can accommodate their belongings.

5. Hire the perfect staff for the job

When you are first starting out, you may need at least one to two people to help you move. But as your business grows, you will need to hire more staff that could help your business deliver services faster.

Choose your staff properly and then upon hiring them, put them through moving training to make sure that you are both on the same level when it comes to the quality of packing, loading, and unloading.

In the highly competitive moving industry, where companies do whatever it takes just to secure more moving jobs by winning more customers, the only formula that could guarantee a constant flow of clients in your business is delivering the best and utmost quality services at an affordable price.

Through this, you can gain a good reputation through your customers that can then help you advertise your business for free through word-of-mouth and positive reviews.

The Role Of Ergonomics In Improving The Efficiency and Productivity in the Workplace

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Efficiency in the Workplace

Ergonomics is a science that deals with designing a workplace as per human needs. Its primary purpose is to ensure that a workplace is designed in a way that best suits basic human needs, especially in the areas of physical and mental health. Studies have shown that an ergonomically designed workplace helps in increasing overall production as result of the happier, healthier employees.

Although every workplace should be designed with special consideration given to employee health and/or performance potential, many are not. As a result, many companies, large and small, are missing out on the huge potential for increased and sustained productivity that could be easily gained if they simply knew to think about such things.

Ergonomics and Employees

There are hundreds of thousands of employees who are not satisfied with their workplaces or work environments. They often complain about the following:

  • inappropriate desktop.
  • bad lighting.
  • bad chairs.
  • computer equipment (like mouse and keyboards).

All these usually lead to low productivity of employees hence a loss to the employer.

Thousands of employees suffer from back injuries or other workplace related injuries annually. This could be eliminated by following simple ergonomics principles.

An irritated and unhappy employee can’t perform well regardless of the type of industry in which he/she is engaged. Providing ergonomically designed products and solutions in the workplace  makes employees feel better. As a result, they will, therefore, perform better and probably would love or enjoy their work more.

The changes don’t have to be big, either.  You can simply start by providing all employees with a standard ergonomic workstation, include keyboard, mouse (with wrist support) and desk.

Benefits to Employers

You cannot work effectively at a place where you don’t have enough room to spread or stretch your limbs, the light is not adequate for reading, the mouse and keyboard rest places are not adequate and where the chair is uncomfortable, or broken. These are obviously not conducive areas to work from.

Healthy and mentally fit employees can work better than those who are irritated by their workplace. If employers are unable to provide suitable environments to their employees, then it is absurd to expect an increased productivity or better efficiency.

An ergonomically designed workplace results in enhanced productivity. Research has shown that workplaces that are ergonomically designed are more productive than those which are. It also goes without saying that a worker cannot work properly in a poorly designed workplace.

Compensation costs for workers can also be saved through designing a workplace ergonomically. Remember that most American organizations are paying billions of dollars in terms of workers compensation cost annually.

Ergonomically Designed Workplace As An Expense or Investment?

Employers should not consider this as an expense. Instead, they should change their vision and see it as an investment. They would certainly get their return-on-investment in the form of the following;

  • productivity
  • low absenteeism
  • low workers compensation costs

They will also save thousands of dollars or more annually depending on the size of the organization.

Ergonomics plays an important role in the performance of a worker. An ergonomically optimized workplace is essential for all employees. Employers have to invest initially, but they will certainly save much more than they invested through low workers compensation costs and enhanced productivity. In short, it is vital to understand that it is a long-term investment and not an upfront expense.

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Why You Should Seriously Consider Legal Insurance for your Illinois Business

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legal insurance

Insurance is a tricky area to invest. No one ever wants to discuss the possibilities of emergencies. Without insurance either life business or health, anything you have may be at risk for loss. Insurance is vital for your venture. Legal/business insurance precisely covers livelihood as well as the way you bring in the income; this is an important policy which is budgeted for and purchased when you decide that you become the sole owner of your business. Without the ability to bring income you automatically sink. Protecting your dream is vital.

What is Legal Insurance?

Legal insurance is simply a combination of the several policies amalgamated into one. Many people are usually familiar with business insurance. This is a base policy that is purchased to protect your business assets as well as your assets if you are sued and judgment passed against you. Vital it is to note that even if you are a corporation or business group you probably are not always completely protected under the statutory plan. Limited liability is not only extra and absolute protection, as well as coverage, is needed to guard both you and your investment.

Protect Yourself from Lawsuits

Businesses, especially those that own property and have high revenue, can be the target of many lawsuits, including “slip n falls” and other personal injury lawsuits.  Baizer Kolar P.C. has been on both sides of many of these lawsuits, and they recommend that all businesses cover their bases with legal insurance.

Thanks to Baizer Kolar for helping us with the article, you can find them here:

 

 

Another policy which can be incorporated into your business is more coverage to include casualty and property insurance. Protection covers both the location of the business, physical assets and the equipment as well as interior space. Your landlord will have the insurance to cover the building even though it will not luckily incorporate covering your expenses and business. He will only insure to cover his intentions to rebuild the commercial space. His insurance policy does not cover your valuable assets.

Umbrella policies are something that you can attach to your business liability and insurance. Umbrella insurance serves and is bought to fill the gaps left out by the other policies. If a suit goes above the number of the general liability insurance, the umbrella policy is used to fill. A vital strategy to carry with liability insurance especially in high-risk industries. The difference in industries such as web development over pharmaceuticals.

Does it Work for Home-Based Businesses?

We have many home-based businesses throughout Effingham, and with home-based businesses showing interest to take an insurance policy, the insurance companies have come up with various home-business policies. But, to get the tailor made policy that suits your unique needs and the business requirements, you seriously need to approach the reliable as well as the well-known insurance brokerage and established firm. These firms then suggest you the best policy which covers the risks associated with your small home-business, allowing you to make a worthy purchase.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Many business people assume that they do not require a separate insurance for their businesses, as they already have a home insurance policy. But, many renters’ or landlords’ cover premiums do not cater for a home-based business. Although your home includes the contents in the home, it may not as well extend to your permanent home based office machines. Similarly, personal auto and mortgage insurance policy does not cover vehicles used for business purposes.

This only implies that your home-business is not well protected. As a result, to secure it from any unexpected losses, it has to be protected by taking sufficient insurance policy.

Online Marketing Strategies That Small Business Can Use

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For most businesses today, it is a problem how to compete with well-funded firms. Competing with businesses that have a large working capital can be a losing battle. Fortunately, taking the marketing battle online can make a huge difference. Here are some online marketing strategies small firms can use in order to maximize their market share.

Create unique and useful content to your niche

You may have heard it before, but yes, content remains king in today’s World Wide Web. Content is what keeps your audience looking at your brand. Content should also be unique and long in order to attract the right people. You can never expect readers to share your content if it is not interesting and useful as well.

Of course, you should also master how to keep their attention. If you are going to produce long content online, it is a good idea that you know what type of voice to use. Make sure that you also use photos and even videos to supplement the texts that you will be sharing with your audience.

Build a social media presence

Social media is the number one equalizer for a lot of small businesses when it comes to competing against brands that are bigger and well-funded. It is possible to target the audience that is most likely your clients and customer. With the right voice, timing, and the right branding, it is possible to grow your following.

You can mix both organic and sponsored approach when it comes to your social media. Whichever option you go for, keep in mind that there are different creative ways on how you can get the attention of certain markets.

Email marketing

Email marketing is an underrated approach in online marketing. However, keep in mind that it is still effective. People still check their emails. And because of this, you have every reason to focus your attention towards sending freebies, discounts, and even newsletters to your audience.

But of course, you want to make sure that you don’t end up becoming too spammy. There are instances when businesses end up hard selling their products and services. Instead, what you can do is to hire a copywriter that can formulate the perfect email marketing campaign to your audience.

But how do you expand your email list? That’s where different email marketing tricks can come in handy. You can run a raffle in exchange of their emails or even grant them discount in exchange of their emails.

Video Marketing

Last, you can also try video marketing. Keep in mind that today, people watch a lot of videos. Whether it’s a video you decide to post on your Facebook page or a video that you placed in your YouTube channel, having a video that can be promotional, informative or both can be a good move for your company.

A lot of businesses today have the marketing leverage because of the internet. The internet allows even the small companies to take leaps towards reaching a wide variety of audience. It also gives the companies the chance to compete with bigger competitors.

Bookkeepers are the best kept secret of successful small businesses

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Bookkeeping

If you have started a small business, you must be juggling with day to day tasks along with business finances. If you don’t have the time to manage your books – find someone who does. For small business contracting with bookkeeping service is the best thing to do. Accurate and organized bookkeeping is crucial to any business. With good bookkeeping you are able to maintain a good financial picture of your business.

Here is how bookkeepers can benefit your business:

1. Keep track of daily transactions – Bookkeeper can track the record of day to day transactions. It saves time on data entry and easier to keep an eye on the cash flow.

2. Sales Monitoring & Reporting– There are several areas where book keeping can help in small businesses and one of them is account payable and receivable. With solid tracking, you can manage timely payment, improved cashflow, lowere receivables and reduce bad debt accounts. Some of the accounts receivale that a bookkeeper can help you with are

  • A. Positing and reconciling sales on general ledger
  • B. Processing accounts receivable
  • C. Tracking aging receivables.
  • D. Customer Invoicing

3. Helps prepare income tax return– Poor financial records will lead you to pay extra tax or underpaying your taxes. You are better placed with tax filing if you have solid bookkeeping system with all information updated on record.

4. Bills & Payables – Another area where a bookkeeper can help in small business is to track payment of the bills. Keeping control on payments and being bale to take advantage of vendor rebate with timely payment can save you money and improve the business reputation.  One provider of bookkeeping services, Xero bookkeeper Surry Hills, provides this service both in person and online via the “cloud”.  This could be a good addition to your workflow, since it won’t necessarily require meeting in person.

Some other payable areas where bookkeeper can help

  • A. Submit invoices
  • B. Reconcile payables with back accounts
  • C. Monitor aging payables.
  • D. Track & Pay vendor bills

5. Helps you make decisions – Every business decision made including hiring employees, expand the product line or increase production is based on financial record and if its not maintained accurately, it can significantly affect the business performance. Good bookkeeping will leave you at ease by having accurate and updated financial information.

6. Monitor success of your business– A clear financial picture is the best way to gauge how your business is doing. With appropriate bookkeeping, it helps answer question about profitability, expenditures , sales etc. It can also help you to identify which expenditure is out of control.

7. Complies with tax laws – You don’t want to pay penalty or interest due to not filing your tax return on time. Bookkeeping enables you to do all the regulatory job on time as your records are up-to-date and leaves you with no stress. In addition you need to provide tax forms to your employees depending on the requirement of the geography you are located , so if your records are unorganized and inaccurate, you will have difficulty meeting those stringent deadlines, which can affect your business and credit rating.

Many business owners consider bookkeeping as unwelcome burden and an additional expense but having a bookkeeper will provide you all the relative information and most importantly arm your accountant or your tax consultant with the most accurate information. If you have been running business and your books are far behind- act now, get a bookkeeper.

Things That You Can Do To Maximize Your Income

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A lot of people are wondering how to maximize their income. A tough economy can suddenly make you realize that you’ve been making bad financial decisions. It is important for individuals to be financially savvy especially if you are always at risk of becoming bankrupt. Here are some things that you can do in order to maximize your income.

Save 50% of what you earn

One great way to impose having savings is to automatically save 50% of what you receive every month. This will make sure that by the end of the year, you have 6 months-worth of your income in your bank account.

You can budget based on 50% of what is left of your income. But of course, it shouldn’t be a strict half of your income. For those who are earning less, even savings equivalent to 10% of your income is already enough.

Diversify your investment

One important lesson that everyone should learn about the economy is that it is important to beat the inflation rate. Your savings shouldn’t just be kept in a bank account. Though a bank account is a liquid asset that you can always depend on, investments such as bonds and stocks can come in handy in beating the inflation. These can yield profits that can become beneficial on your part years later.

Determine unnecessary things that you are spending on

A lot of people are spending on things that are considered unnecessary. Try to evaluate the things that you spend your money on that are actually unnecessary and you can live without. In order for the change not to be drastic, try to take out changes one by one.

Start your own business

Starting your own side business can also be a good way to improve your income. Starting small isn’t a bad idea. This can even be a wise move. You can find partners in order to lessen the risk that you have to take. But of course, make sure that you study the market well including the competitors in case you are going to have your own side business.

If you end up having a business idea that can completely operate online, the better it really is. You don’t have to worry about the cost that much since you can fully operate using the World Wide Web. Also, you need to be consistent with whatever it is that you do. Make sure that you prioritize your employees and your customers. And yes, it may sound like you will have sleepless nights, but having your own business is totally worth it. You are contributing towards employment, not to mention it can even double your investment.

Maximizing your income can be a good idea. The goal is to make sure that your assets continuously grow over the years. Unfortunately, a lot of individuals commit the mistake of not having the right plan when it comes to achieving financial stability.

How to Plan Your Finances Well?

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The economy can be rough. Working people have a difficult time securing their future given the fact that financial mistakes can lead you towards bankruptcy. This is something that you don’t want to encounter. For most people who are looking for a chance towards financial stability, it is important to do these certain things.

First, make sure that you budget your income well. Nothing beats wise handling of funds. Keep in mind that wants are infinite, while funds are finite. This means that you have to make sure that you are only spending on things that you can afford.

Next, you want to save an equivalent of three-month income in your bank account. This will serve as an emergency fund that you can turn to in case something unexpected comes up. This will also give you the freedom to quit your job without thinking about where to get your funds from.

You should also take into consideration inflation. If you are simply keeping your money in the bank, you can expect that depreciation will eventually wipe out a huge chunk of your investment.  You want to make sure that you invest in mutual funds, stocks, and even bonds.

Business or Pleasure? Fun Events Happening in Effingham

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Effingham, Illinois might not be the center of culture or celebrity as many large cities around the country, and may not have the name recognition of Chicago or even Peoria, but that doesn’t mean it is without its own merits and enjoyments for both business owners and regular joes and janes that want to have a good time.  Below we’ve tried to list just a few of the things to do in Effingham Il.  We hope you enjoy them!

The Effingham Performance Center – Concerts and Shows

One of biggest attractions in Effingham is the EPC (Effingham Performance Center).  Started in 2010 by a non-profit Illinois arts group, it brings in acs such as rock, country, Christian music as well as comedy and other performers.  Notable previous acts include Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon and the Happy Together Tour.

Lake Sara – Boating and Hiking

One of the best natural attractions in the Effingham area is Lake Sara.  With over 28 miles of shoreline and 600 acres of surface area, the area is perfect for boating, Jetskiing, as well as hiking and camping.  It’s just a beautiful area and everyone who has the time should stop by for a visit.

Downtown for Food and Drink

Next stop is the downtown area, which sports over 25 establishments perfect for a night on the town.  Restaurants, specialty shops, and all kinds of fun can be had in this area.  It’s great for a Friday or Saturday night out.

Convention Center for Business Events

The Thelma Keller  Convention Center is the place for business conventions in the Effingham area.  In addition to the Effingham Chamber events and networking you can find you business sectors conventions and seminars at Thelma Keller.

That’s it for now, we hope to add some new and exciting things that can be taken advantage of by both visitors and residents of Effingham.

 

How Can Small Businesses Compete With Bigger Competitors?

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Planning to start your own business? This can be a good or a bad idea. It requires a lot of planning. There is always room for more businesses. No matter how small the company is, it is possible to have a bright future when you have the right strategy. At Effingham County Chamber of Commerce, we help business startups in all industries from a restaurant Effingham IL or an IT startup in the region. Here are some things that you can actually do in order to compete even with much larger companies in your niche.

First, you need to evaluate your overall branding. By having the right branding, it is possible to get support from a niche. From the logo, fonts, and even to your web design, these are things that play a huge role in the overall branding of the company.

Next, it is also important to know how to utilize the World Wide Web. There are many online marketing strategies that even small firms can adapt to. In fact, Facebook, Instagram, and a solid email marketing campaign can help companies survive and not only stay afloat against top competitors.

And of course, it is important to know what your competition is doing. What are the things that they are doing correctly? If they are implementing things that are working, it is also a good idea to implement something similar.