Marketing Hacks For Holiday Sales

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

The end of the year holidays may seem like a time to cash in, yet increasing sales isn’t straightforward. Yes, customers line up out the door to make a purchase, yet there are plenty of competitors to beat. “The holidays are the most saturated time of year” is a phrase you won’t hear in any yuletide songs. Still, it’s the truth and that is dangerous for businesses. How do you stand out from the crowd? How do you convince shoppers to choose you?

The answer is with a mix of the tried and tested and then a zig and a zag. Here’s what to keep in mind.

Popular Gifts Every business will want to sell more of their stock, but it may not be possible. Sometimes, trends start and there is no stopping them. You can either jump on board now or watch the train power off into the distance. If the former is your preferred option, it’s time to invest in the items that you know will whip up a storm. Right now, popular products include everything from festive food to sweaters and knitwear. But only do these things if it makes sense for your business. 

Festive Logo Shopping is about getting into the holiday spirit. With that in mind, there is nothing wrong with speeding up the process with some festive additions to your logo. Product labeling services should be able to imbue it with winter holiday colors. But again, only do this if it makes sense for you and your business. You won’t see big brands altering their logos much when they add holiday elements. You do not want to confuse customers. 

Countdown There is a deadline for holidays. If shoppers don’t have their gifts, they are out of luck until next year. Consider adding a countdown to the end of the year or to the holiday of your choosing. You can do this with a screen on the exterior of the building, or on your website. 

Store Guidance Your shoppers have been at it for weeks trying to find the perfect gifts. As a result, they are tired and fatigued and many times frustrated. The last thing they want to do is wander around the store in search of a product. They’d much rather walk through the door and out again in a matter of minutes. With this in mind, ensure the shop is well signposted and easy to navigate.That way, people will come in off the street as they know they won’t waste time.

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Consider These Things Before Hiring Your First Employee

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

To see your business grow and flourish, there might come a time when you decide to hire somebody to work with you. A new employee will reduce your workload and bring new skills to the table, and as a consequence, your business should prosper.

However, before you begin the hiring process, you do need to consider a few things first.

Is there enough work for the employee to do? If there isn’t enough work for the employee to do, you will be wasting both time and money hiring somebody. You will be wasting the employee’s time too, especially if they are sat around for much of the day doing next to nothing. So, before hiring, consider why you want to hire somebody. What tasks will they be performing? How long will those tasks take? While you might still need to employ somebody, there could be cause to employ somebody part-time or on a temporary basis rather than full-time, depending on the expected workload.

Why should somebody choose to work with you? Taking a cue from one of our previous articles, what is there about your business that will attract an employee? Especially if you want to choose from the best talent, what do you have to offer them? Are you able to pay a competitive wage? Does your business adhere to ethical principles? Will you be able to offer perks, such as the opportunity to work from home occasionally? While you should have a choice of candidates, remember that today’s job seekers might also have a choice of employers. You need to give them an incentive to both attract and keep them in your employ.

Is your business set up to employ others? This is where we get to the nitty-gritty, as you have certain responsibilities as an employer. You need to contact the IRS to find out more about tax requirements. You need to get the right insurance to protect both your business and your employee. There are legal ramifications to consider, so you should contact law firms such as Tully Rinckey to educate yourself on employment law. You need to set up a payroll service, be that using an outside company or doing it in-house. There is much to consider, above and beyond placing an ad in the classifieds and then welcoming somebody into your employ, so do your research, as you don’t want to hurt your business by forgetting something vital.

Can you afford a new employee? We aren’t only talking about staff wages here, although you do need to ensure you have enough income coming in to pay them each month. There are other things to consider, such as extra equipment that may be needed for the employee to do their job effectively, and the cost of training if outsourcing this to external providers. There are other expenses that may need to factor into the equation, such as travel and fuel costs, sick pay, and pension contributions. Can you afford it? You may want to speak to your accountant before the hiring process begins before you sign an employment contract.

Final word Getting to hire an employee for the first time is an exciting prospect, but you do need to ensure you are ready for the responsibility. Well done if you are able to offer somebody employment, but for their sake and yours, consider what we have suggested in this article.


The next level for your business

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

One of the things that you’ll commonly see when you search for advice or guidance on running any kind of business is a focus on the early days. And, to be entirely fair, this is often the point in any business’s lifetime when a business owner probably needs the most help and guidance. After all, you’re still coming to terms with the reality of what you’re doing, there’s a chance that everything is new to you, and it can often feel as though the entire world is against you. However, one of the issues that can arise from this approach is that it creates an idea in the minds of many small business owners that once their business is up and running, that’s the hard part over with. Sadly, that’s just not the case.

The truth is that once you’ve been able to get your business going and have achieved some degree of success, that’s the moment when things are going to start getting really tough. This can cause a lot of startups to flounder and struggle to really make the most of the success that they’ve earned. When this happens they either get stuck in the particular place that they’re in, or their businesses fail altogether. In order to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you, here are just a few things that you can do in order to take your business to the next level.

Diversify your products

When you first start your business, there’s a good chance that you’re going stick with a pretty core line of products or services. In fact, you may have only a single product or service that you build your entire business around. This is actually a great way to start since it allows you to focus on quality as much as possible. When you’re first starting out, you likely don’t have the resources for a diverse range of products. However, as your business grows it becomes more and more important to diversify what you are able to offer to your customers.

A single great product can be fantastic but it’s going to become a limitation for your business quite quickly as you begin to outgrow it. Sure, you shouldn’t give up on your core product, just think about other things you could add to your business. One of the best ways to figure this out is to look at the purchasing habits of your customers. What kinds of things are they buying? Are there things that they want from your product that it’s not offering? That way you’re going to be able to fill in those gaps and make your business that much more indispensable to them.

Increase your staff

When you first start your business, there’s a good chance that it’s made up of only a few people, probably you and your business partners. In fact, there’s even a chance that you’re the only person involved in your business from the start. However, it often becomes pretty clear to a lot of business owners that, if they want to go from a part-time gig in their spare room making pocket change to a legitimate business, they need to bring in other people. Your staff are the beating heart of your business and without them, there’s a good chance that the whole thing could easily collapse under its own weight.

However, if your business is growing and you’re trying to take it to the next level, one of the worst things that you can do is to assume that your current staff can take on all of the work involved in that. It’s going to leave you all feeling frustrated and exhausted. Not only that but it can even lead to resentment from your employees. Think about the specific areas of your business that might require a more dedicated set of skills. Hiring people to focus purely on marketing or other parts of your business is often far better than trying to have every employee take on three different roles at once.

Seek greater investment

Businesses cost money, that’s hardly the most exciting or unusual statement ever made but that doesn’t make it any less true. The reality of running any business is that you’re going to need investment from somewhere. The big, important question is exactly where you’re going to get that investment from. There are a lot of different places you can find investment in your business, from taking out a personal loan to angel investors to more unusual routes like crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

No matter how you secure investment for your business, you need to remember that as it grows, you’re likely to require even more. If you’re building your business carefully then you should be in a position where you can always offer greater returns on any investment, whether that’s increased profits for your investors or great rewards for any of your backers who help to fund your business’s growth and expansion.

Increase the scale of your business

The reality is that your business is going to have to grow if you want to improve. And that’s not just in terms of the scope of your business in a metaphorical sense, but in a physical sense as well. After all, a larger business requires more physical space. More employees need a larger office in order to both keep them safe and make sure that everyone is working comfortably. The same goes for everything from expanding into manufacturing to the logistics of your business. Not only that but you may end up thinking about different locations for your business. If you’re running a retail store then you may want to expand to different locations in order to tap into different markets. After all, there’s only so much that you can get out of a single location. This is something that can often be a pretty risky proposition so it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re not rushing into it, but if you’re doing things properly, it can be the first step towards your business becoming something a whole lot more than it currently is.

Do more things in-house

When you first start running a business, one of the very best and most important things that can help you succeed is outsourcing. Outsourcing is the secret weapon of a lot of young startups. After all, if your business is made up of just yourself and a couple of other people then there really is no chance that you’re going to be able to deal with it all yourself. Because of that, reaching out to other professionals or companies is often one of the very best things that you can do. However, as your business grows and you increase the size of your workforce, you’re going to be able to deal with more and more things in-house. Things like warehousing which might previously have been dealt with by someone else can become a central part of your business. Of course, that does mean that you’ll have more things to worry about, everything from finding an affordable freight quote to ensuring that your warehouse’s health and safety measures are all up to scratch. However, the benefits of dealing with these things yourself can often vastly outweigh the challenges involved.

Make sure that your premises are suitable

When you first start out, there’s a chance that you could well just be working out of your spare room at home. As things grow and you bring in more people you might hire out some space in an office building instead. However, as your business grows more and more, you might have to start thinking about whether or not your premises are really suitable. If you need to create the perfect space with everything your business needs then you might be better off building it yourself. This can often constitute something of a serious investment but many business owners have found being able to build their premises based on their businesses exact needs to be an incredibly positive step.

One of the most important things that you need to remember when trying to push your business forward is not to let your ambition get the best of you. It’s incredibly common for a lot of business owners to feel on top of the world when their business starts to succeed and that can end up causing more problems than it solves. The truth is that one of the most important words that you need to remember when creating a successful business is “sustainability.” If you try and grow and expand your business too quickly then you run the risk of the whole thing collapsing under its own weight. You’re not necessarily going to be prepared for the kinds of increased expectations that are placed on you as your business grows. Investors will expect greater returns and new customers are going to hold your business to a much higher standard.  As exciting as growing your business can be, if you’re not doing it carefully, it can be as much of curse as a blessing.

The Golden Rules For Impressing New Clients

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

It can take weeks, if not months, of meeting with potential clients and pitching to them to try to win their support and work. Eventually, after all that hard work on your part, finding out that a new client has decided to sign with you can be a huge relief. But that doesn’t mean that you can now become complacent. In fact, this is where the real hard work kicks in as you will need to start impressing your new client and showing them that signing with you was the right choice.

To help you impress all your new clients, here are some important golden rules that all businesses should follow. If you do, then your client will be incredibly happy with your work right from day one.

Send A Welcome Pack
Lots of successful companies send new clients a welcome package. There are lots of things that you can include, but most business owners like to add a little leaflet about their business and what the client can expect. This instantly sets the tone for your work together. It’s also a nice idea to add a few gifts as well. You can add some custom car air fresheners, a personalized mouse mat or even a T-shirt with your logo on it. 

Treat Them As Real People
Don’t just treat a new client as your next paycheck. The business is run by people and you would be wise to not forget this aspect. So, be sure to take a short time to get to know your client well, especially the faces who you will be dealing with on a regular basis. Make sure that all of your employees who will be in contact with them also do the same. This goes beyond remembering everyone’s names to knowing when they prefer to have conference calls to the type of communication each person prefers. 

Research Their Business And Industry
Before you do get started on the new project for your client, it’s a good idea to research their business and industry beyond what you did for the initial pitch. You will no doubt have to ask your client a lot of questions in the initial stages of their project, but doing some research on them will show that you have gone that extra mile to find out more. It could even help you decide which questions to ask in the first place. Plus, if you seem to know more about their industry or sector, then clients are more likely to trust your work.

Ensure Meetings Are Proactive
There’s a good chance that you will need to hold a few meetings once you do sign a new client. This gives you both the chance to ask any last-minute questions and also plan for the first few stages of the project. However, make sure that your meetings aren’t at all boring. They need to have a clear goal and you need to be proactive to reach that goal. So, it’s worth setting up an agenda for each meeting. This will help to keep them focused and no one’s time will be wasted.

It’s always a good idea to let your client know about all the latest industry news and trends. If you inform them of these then they will have a better idea of how to always stay one step ahead of their competitors. This is also a good time to make sure they have access to reviewing the latest tools and tech devices to determine if updating or upgrading makes sense for the business. Using these new gadgets when completing the project work may help projects get done faster.

Be Organized
Don’t forget that good time-management skills and organization are absolutely key to your new client relationship. Plus, you will need a lot of top organization skills if you are managing various clients and deadlines. In order to improve any organization flaws in your company, you should consider implementing a few different workflows for your employees to follow. Utilizing a tool like Google Calendar can also keep everyone’s appointments and planned meetings in one place. The reminders that these kinds of calendar tools send out can be lifesavers if something ever slips your mind and they’ll prevent you double booking yourself!

Common Business Packaging Mistakes

Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.

When it comes to business packaging, it is so important to make sure that the package you choose is high quality and a great representation of your brand. This is an excellent opportunity to catch the attention of potential buyers, strengthen your brand identity, and of course, improve your bottom line. However, this is only going to be the case if you choose the packaging correctly. Below are a few pitfalls you should try to avoid at all costs. 

No one knows what the product is – There is only one place to begin, and this is with business packaging that does not convey what the product inside is. Packaging should communicate what the product is. You should clearly state this and make sure that all of the important details are on the package. You also need to make sure the information is correct and clear. Now is a great time to decide to become eco-friendly and then make sure that is included on your packaging.

Copying something else – A lot of business owners look at other packages in order to get inspiration for their own bespoke packaging. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as you do not commit copyright infringement. If you have questions about this, we can help! 

Too much going on – Another common packaging mistake is having too much going on. While minimalism does not suit every brand, this does not mean you should try to cram literally everything into the packaging design. Don’t try to use a variety of fonts and lots of different colors. The only thing you are going to do is leave people feeling confused.

A lack of emotion – Packaging should convey the feelings you want to be associated with your brand. It needs to create a bond with the customer. It does not matter whether you are selling hair care products or food storage containers, you need to make a connection on some level with the customer. You need to appeal to the customer and make them feel special. Products express who we are after all.

It’s hard to open – There is no denying that this is one of the most common complaints consumers have when it comes to packaging. It does not matter how beautiful or exciting a package is, if it is too difficult to open, it is immediately going to be a failure. If a pair of scissors are required to get to the product, you know that you have done something wrong.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding regarding some of the most common errors that businesses tend to make when it comes to packaging design. If you can avoid the blunders that have been discussed in this post, you can go a long way to making sure that your package design represents your brand well and is perfect for the product that you are selling.