Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Get Your Employees on the Same Page as You

How to Effectively Share Your Business Goals with Your Employees

home business tips, small business tips
Communication is a key element in many aspects of the business world and is often crucial to seeing success. While being an effective, clear communicator may sound easy it is one of those aspects of being a business owner that does not come naturally to everyone. With the many different ways we can communicate with our employees these days – email, text messaging, and instant messages – it is possible for them to interpret what is being said much differently than how we meant it.

Choose the Right Communication Platform

As mentioned earlier, there are a number of platforms that can be used to communicate with employees. In order to make sure they are receiving the message correctly, it is important to use the proper platform. Every business is different, so the proper communication platform will vary from one organization to the next. In some cases, email communications – even for important information – is acceptable while smaller organizations may benefit from more face-to-face meetings to communicate.

Make Sure You Are Hearing Your Employees

Just as it is important from them to hear and comprehend your messages, it is also important for business owners to listen to what their employees have to say. Effective communication is a two-way street – when a business owner or manager is doing all the talking, many times employees will begin to tune them out and miss important information. Having an open dialogue makes employees feel empowered and will keep them on board and engaged with the business’s overall goals.

Let Employees See Your Vision

Many employees are happy to do what is asked of them, but to get them truly onboard with what the business is trying to accomplish it is important to make sure they see and understand your vision as a business owner. Make sure to effectively and clearly communicate what the business goals are and how your employees are crucial to meeting these goals and having the vision realized. This type of communication does not stop at employees – it is also important to make sure that investors and customers see and understand the business’s overall vision and goals.

Provide Organization Structure

For those business owners who have a larger operation with more employees, it is vitally important to make sure an organizational or command structure is put into place. This will help employees know who they are reporting to as well as keep the lines of communication open and uncluttered. Managers and team leaders are effective in setting and implementing goals for their specific team, showing how these goals support the business’s mission and being able to cascade relevant communications.

Make Employees Feel Empowered

Studies show that employees who feel empowered and appreciated tend to be harder workers and more dedicated to their place of business. Part of feeling empowered is knowing that your opinion matters and your ideas have the potential to initiate change. Make sure employees know and are comfortable coming to you as a business owner with their concerns or ideas – having this open communication will help to not only empower your employees but also strengthen and grow your business.

Do you need more small or home business tips? Would you like help getting your own business started? Stacy O’Quinn has helped dozens of people earn a six-figure income and you could be next! To learn more about Stacy and to find out how he can help you, click here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Defining Your Target Audience

Tips for Performing Effective Market Research

target audience
As a small business owner, you already know how important market research is to the overall development of your business. With the large amount of information out there, one can easily become overwhelmed with trying to figure out exactly was research they should be doing and what information is crucial to their unique operation. Since doing market research and defining your target audience is so important to your business’s success, there are some tips available to help make doing research easier.

What is Your Objective?

Before beginning to collect information, it is important to think about what the overall objective of your research is. Are you looking to better define who your target market is? Are you aiming to drive more traffic to your store front or online store? Or are you simply trying to increase your overall sales? Defining what your desired end result is will help you to better choose what data you need to collect while also helping to eliminate doing research on items that will not take you to the finish line.

What is Your Competition Doing?

Part of doing market research is looking at your direct competitors in the industry. When doing research on other businesses both in-store and online, it is important to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. If possible, visit your competitor’s stores as a consumer and see what your experience is – make sure to take note of what worked, what you liked and of course what you didn’t like. By doing this, it can help to provide your customers will a better experience when they shop with you.

Who is and Who is Not Your Target Audience?

While it is important to define your target audience in order to market your business successfully, it is also important to know who is not your target to help cut down on using resources to market to the wrong people. It is okay to say that certain people are not a part of your target market – for example, if you own a dog grooming business, people who are not pet owners would obviously not benefit from your services. There is nothing wrong with defining this “non-market” and simply not marketing to them – if they do not have a need for what you’re offering, advertising would be lost on them.

Are Your Surveying Current Customers?

As we all know a happy, loyal customer is one of the best resources. Because of this, there can be a lot of value in surveying customers about their experiences and thoughts with your business. Creating this type of survey is very simple – ask customers what they like, what they do not like and what they think you could be doing better. Remember, opening up a survey gives consumers the opportunity to tell you how they really feel – make sure you are prepared for tough criticism as well as positive feedback.

Do you need help targeting your small or home business? Maybe it is time you called Stacy O’Quinn! To find out how Stacy can help you, click here.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Establishing Your Brand

Essential Legal Question You Should Ask Before Choosing a Brand Name

brand, brand building, establishing a brand
When entrepreneurs are starting a new business or launching a new product, one of the most crucial things to the launch is choosing a brand name. This name will help define your business and, in many cases, can become very valuable. While picking a great name is important, it is not enough to position the product or business for success. In order to make sure the path is clear to move forward with the name you choose, it is vital to answer some important legal questions to avoid getting into trouble.

Is Your Name Already in Use?

With so many businesses and products out in the market today, finding a truly unique name that no one else is using can be tough. In many cases, even if you started using the brand name first, if another company or product trademarks the name, it now belongs to them. When thinking of brand names, make sure to do a comprehensive, thorough search to see if the name has been trademarked. Using a trademarked name can get you into deep legal trouble and cost enough to bankrupt your business.

Does Your Brand Name Accurately Describe Your Business or Product?

Brand names that are overly descriptive and obvious can sometimes be very difficult to protect under trademark laws. Although this may seem the opposite of logic, it is more beneficial to choose a brand name that is less descriptive and less obvious – doing this will provide you with stronger protection when you decide to register and trademark the name. For example, The TV Store would be a very hard name to trademark for a business who sells televisions – an alternate name, such as Moving Pictures is much easier to protect under a trademark for the same business since it is much less obvious.

Will Your Name Give You an Advantage in the Market?

When business owners consider using brand names and want to trademark them it is often because the name gives them a competitive advantage in their industry. For example, products using the brand name Apple often have a large advantage over other electronics. Even if your brand does not have a reputation when developing a brand name, it is important to keep in mind that choosing a brand name is an important step to building that reputation and establishing your business and brand in the market.

Will You Protect Your Brand Name?

Just as others have trademarked names to protect them from being used by others, you also may want to consider protecting your brand name. If two companies have the same name, or products with the same name, it is possible for consumers to be confused. In order to keep your brand name unique and untouched by other businesses, you must register the name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO. This will stop others from using your trademarked name on their products.

Answering these critical brand name legal questions is a great first step in developing and choosing a great name. By following these guidelines, and using the expertise of legal professionals, it is possible to find an amazing brand name that will help to distinguish your business or product and help to build an amazing brand and reputation that can lead to amazing success.

Are you ready to start your own brand? Did you know that Stacy O’Quinn has helped dozens of individuals create their own small business that generate six figures every year? To learn more about Stacy and the opportunities he can offer you, please click here.

*Photo Courtesy of Brett Jordan via Creative Commons License