In a fast-paced world of computers, the Internet, and digital commerce, starting a business is easy. Just launch your passionate idea with your Smartphone. It’s that simple. However, building that business into a success is anything but easy. The online world is overcrowded, the Internet user has a low attention span, and with growing numbers of hackers and fraudsters, user trust is more difficult to build than catching a fish in the ocean with your bare hands.
So you ask yourself: How do I build trust? How do I convince a loyal visitor to try my service? How do I convince a cold prospect to click to order my product?
Here are three tips to guide you on your entrepreneur journey:
1. Sell a life-changing product
Convincing a customer to trust your brand is far from easy. Before you get a visitor interested in landing on your e-commerce site, clicking on your product page, pulling out his credit card, and visiting again to do the same, you need to build a memorable, life-changing product.
In the highly, overpopulated World Wide Web—where almost everyone sells products these days—people are more careful than ever. It is no surprise that, according to a survey by Bright Local, 90 percent of consumers read online reviews even before visiting a brand’s storefront. You need to put your all into it when building your products for your respected customers.
In other words, sell products so valuable that they have the positive effect of changing your customers’ lives for the better. Once a buyer has tasted what you offer and felt content, they’ll entrust you with their money again, urge others to do the same and become life-long, loyal customers.
“Customer service shouldn’t be a department; it should be the entire company.” – Tony Hsieh
To achieve all of that, you need to build a great reputation. Here’s how:
2. Keep your word
Most digital startup founders will position themselves online to promote their brand to millions of prospects, clients, and customers. The sad news is, once they began to expand their customer base, everything changes. The customers might receive products that are completely different from what they were promised in the marketing stage or the business owner promises a money-back guarantee but fails to honor that promise when a customer asks for it.
Nothing shatters a company’s reputation more than false promises. False promises make customers angry, damage a company’s credibility and makes the entrepreneur look unreliable. It’s like a man who lies to his lady. Nothing peeves a woman more than having a man who constantly lies to her face. Even if the relationship continues, there’s a great probability that it will crash in the long run, because the man’s credibility is at stake.
Like a relationship, only one thing can save a digital business when its credibility is at stake. The CEO must work hard to protect his company’s image. Allow me to explain…
3. Protect your image
The major difference between a brick-and-mortar venture and an online business is that your product represents your brand in the brick-and-mortar business, whereas you’re the brand in the online business. As an online entrepreneur, you must understand that your personality, background, and professionalism are going to play vital roles in your business dealings with your clients.
Your customers have to know you and like you before they will entrust you with their money. If your image is shattered by negative PR, terrible stories, or bad reviews, then you’re doomed. That’s why you need to protect your reputation with all of your strength and might. But, you might ask. “How exactly do I do that?” Try the following:
- Release magical products – As always, your starting point is your product. If you want to shield your reputation in the online world, then release only magical products. In other words, sell super valuable, durable products to your customers. You don’t want to be known as a brand that sells fake products to its customers.
- Keep inventing – The digital world is moving fast, your customers are always longing for more and better options, and the competition in the online world is fierce. If you don’t build newer, better products with relevant features for your target market, they’ll dump you and buy from your competitor.
- Offer excellent customer experience – When a prospect lands on your website, for example, wow them with your simple, easy-to-navigate site structure. When delivering an order to your customer, be prompt, keep it simple, and make it look good. When replying to an angry client, listen attentively to their queries and compensate them with something that will make them feel special.
In short, offer an excellent customer experience, because, according to new data from Moz you risk losing 22 percent of your business when potential customers find one negative article on the first page of their search results.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos
The bottom line, to build trust, you have to offer your customers valuable products, you have to keep your promises, and you have to be exceptional to uphold your image, honor your dignity, and reveal your credibility. Only then will your customers like you, trust you, and keep ordering from your online storefront.
How do you build trust with your family, friends and customers? What do you do daily in order for them to know you care? Let us know in the comments below!
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com
9 Reasons Why Attending Networking Events is Crucial for Entrepreneurial Success
No matter how big or small your business is, as an entrepreneur, you must attend as many industry-relevant networking events and conferences as possible. Communicating with other like-minded and motivated people can take your business to the next level and lead to startup success.
Shockingly, 30% of new businesses don’t make it past the first 24 months. By attending networking events and conferences, you can acquire the tools required to ensure your business doesn’t fall into this percentage. Essentially, attending events could save your business. What’s more, most networking events and conferences are free or incredibly low budget.
If you’re still on the fence about attending events, here are 9 of the most notable benefits for your startup:
1. To learn from the best
No entrepreneur, no matter how talented they are, can possibly know everything about everything. Attending networking and conference events is a chance to learn from other entrepreneurs who have been in similar positions and learn from their gains and their loses.
2. To create contacts
In today’s digital world, where most communication happens online, there’s nothing more valuable than face-to-face interaction. Networking events allow for these valuable interactions and to create contacts. The good thing about networking events is that they often allow for speed networking, allowing for multiple interactions in a set period of time. By partaking, you can massively extend your network base.
3. To generate customers
Depending on the type of networking or conference event, and the services you offer, you may find customers. A good way to generate customers at an event is by engaging in discussions about your services and by presenting in front of the crowds.
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” – Bill Nye
4. To learn about the industry
Often, entrepreneurs are too busy growing their business that they forget to see the wider industry and disruption can come as a major surprise. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to be prepared and attending events can shine a light on any industry changes, giving you time to plan and prepare ahead.
5. To find partners
Networking and conference events often have a specific topic and theme. Therefore, the people that attend the event are usually in a similar industry and have much in common. These events are perfect for finding new business partners by finding people that complement the services you offer. It can be useful talking to competitors too as you can potentially work together for an optimised version of a project.
6. To meet investors
The best way to engage the attention of an investor is by speaking directly to them. Face-to-face conversations can build trust and begin the foundation for a future relationship. Investors often attend networking and conference events to get to know the up-and-coming businesses in the industry.
7. To be inspired
Once you start networking with like-minded people it’s easy to find creativity, be inspired and come up with new ways to advance your business. You will come away from the event with new ideas and a new lease of life on your business.
8. To build recognition
Recognition can be one of the biggest obstacles for a start-up. Online marketing may not have the desired outcome if you don’t spread the word effectively. Networking is a great opportunity to meet potential customers and build recognition by engaging on your product or services. Most networking events allow for startups to stand or pitch in front of attendees which is a great opportunity to build recognition around your product or service.
9. Because you’ve got nothing to lose
No matter what industry you’re in, you’re guaranteed to pick up something when attending a networking or conference event. From making valuable connections to finding out what customers think of your product, there are many benefits to events.
“Behind every successful person there are many successful relationships.” – Joe Apfelbaum
From gaining inspiration to learning about the industry, building recognition to generating valuable connections, networking and conference events are crucial for event success. However, turning up to an event is simply not enough. You must put as much effort in as possible by talking to as many people as you can.
When networking, get out of your comfort zone and engage with people of all job levels and all industries. When it comes to business, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.
Once the event has ended, always follow up with your new connections via an email, phone call or LinkedIn message. It’s important to get in touch while you’re fresh in the mind of your connection to lay the foundation of future cooperation. Lastly, always remember events are fun and never take them too seriously.
6 Creative Ways to Hype Up a New Product on Social Media
It’s the week before the big product launch, and you’ve been asked to help with a big marketing splash. The problem is despite brainstorming for a few weeks and pushing out a few tweets to build the pre-launch buzz, you’re out of ideas. But merely wondering how to help the new product capture the minds of prospects and customers doesn’t really help.
Here are 6 creative things you should consider to generate excitement for your product in the target market:
1. Create a goal
Don’t limit your awareness program to merely “make people aware” of the product. Go beyond the ideal definition and expand it. There has to be a goal that assists you to measure the success of your program.
This goal can be the number of followers you drive to your webpage, or probably the ones who sign up for more updates. Find out what other options work best for you and let them guide you through the awareness campaign. The key is to make it measurable and ensure if your website is any good; it is fully geared to be not much more than a giant lead magnet.
2. Sell smart, not hard
No matter how much effort you put in, if you don’t do it smart, they’ll lead you to failure. Just because you are leveraging social media, doesn’t imply you can aim in the dark and wait for the arrow to hit the target miraculously. Make sure you very well know the problems that you are trying to solve.
Analyze the people affected by those issues and what attracts them. Leverage social media, but target your buyer personas. New products are often a great time to reconnect with existing clients and prospects. A fantastic way to do this is by getting your sales team to share the content and measure the engagements and click-through rate. Once you have the comparative view handy, you can make the most of social platforms.
“Working hard is very important. You are not going to get anywhere without working extremely hard.” – George Lucas
3. Strike a chord
Personalization is the key to hit the sweet spot in the hearts of buyers. Have the sales team personalize the message. Give your employees the chance to explain the value to their networks.
Write high-level social copy for the various vertical markets you serve and then set the team lose in honing the conversation online. Done effectively, the click-through rate can go through the roof!
4. Build engaging content
Consider buyer personas while drafting the social copy of your content. And take note, we are referring to buyer personas, not a persona. It includes more than one streak of your ideal buyers.
Invest time in understanding the critical aspect of each of them. Make sure you know what your product has to offer to each of them and translate that understanding to explain this value proposition. The better you do at segmenting the message, the more clicks and engagements your content will produce.
5. Don’t reveal too much
Sometimes, marketers get carried away and unveil too much of the information in the pre-launch phase itself. What is left for the final big reveal? Apparently nothing but the product itself. And mind you, dear friend, curiosity killed the cat because she could not withhold it. Why not leverage this mentality for your product marketing as well?
Build anticipation and create mystery around the product. Drop hints, create hype but make sure you have some excitement reserved for the actual launch. Don’t disclose every significant twist.
“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” – Andrew Davis
6. Narrate a story
Compelling narratives are a powerful way to engage people with your product even before it hits the shelves. Let the existing buyers talk about their experience with your current products. Not only will it talk about your offerings, but it’ll also highlight the positive relationship with existing clients. That’s something that can pay dividends when building a bond with the new ones. Additionally, you receive attention from followers of the customers you are showcasing.
Is your product launch is just a few days ahead, and you need to create product hype on social media? Well, it is quite a task to make the pre-launch ripples. But these six creative strategies can help you get the job done effectively. Use these ideas to showcase the hard work your product team has done and ensure a successful product launch.
Which one of the above 6 ways to market a product do you believe is most important and why? Share your thoughts below!
5 Skills I Learned in the Military That Helped Me Become a Successful Entrepreneur
The moves I’ve made in my career from the military, to the mining industry, to running a multinational business in Latin America, aren’t linear. It’s not every day an ex-Australian military officer finds their niche in Latin American business.
Graduating from Australia’s Royal Military College and Defense Force Academy, I served as a commissioned officer in the Australian Army for nearly 11 years, completing operational tours to Central Asia and the Middle East.
The transition from various Army engineering and infantry roles through to managing a team of legal and financial executives was neither quick nor painless. But, as I entered the company formation process, I found my military service played a significant role in shaping my entrepreneurial fitness. The skills I developed in the Australian Defense Force supported me through several commercial iterations more than once.
Here are some of the key connections I drew between core military values and those I apply to the boardroom environment:
1. Be calculated and decisive
Unsurprisingly, a crucial requisite of military functionality is working quickly and effectively under pressure. This rings especially true for the strategic planners of operations: the commissioned and non-commissioned officers.
My military role made tough demands on me to decide on the best course of action for myself and my team. When deployed overseas, making the wrong decision or not making a decision fast enough could mean failing our mission, and putting people in danger.
In business, it’s vital to understand, analyze and communicate the risks involved in the options laid out before you at various stages. Making offers to clients, moving into a new market, investing large amounts of money into projects. And decisions need to be made based on this analysis before these opportunities pass by.
I can confidently draw on my experiences in service to act fast and capitalize on opportunities as they become available, and make tough decisions in high-pressure situations.
“You cannot make progress without making decisions.” – Jim Rohn
2. Resilience is key
Resilience is fundamental to success in any military career. In training and on operations, one soldier’s spiralling morale could put an entire section in danger. Military personnel are vetted for their adaptability and mental strength from day one, using tried-and-true techniques to push people to their limits.
Having a high level of resilience allows you to cope when things don’t go to plan in business. Investments might not show returns as quickly as hoped, a competitor snatches up an important client, or a difficult situation arises between staff that needs careful management.
I can confidently draw on military-learned techniques to support my own and others’ resilience in the office. Being able to maintain a high level of morale among teams fosters productivity and a willingness to ‘soldier on’ in challenging situations.
3. Leadership and cooperation
People in leadership positions are those that others turn to for advice and support. As a leader, you have to be prepared to make tough decisions that others can’t or won’t. A high-performing team has a courageous, empowering, and communicative leader at its helm.
This is as true in the military as it is in business. Building the right team and driving them to success is both challenging and rewarding – whether the outcome is securing a key logistical foothold to allow aid and other supplies to travel into a war-torn area, or seeing a newly-opened office secure its first major client.
Not every soldier has an easy time appreciating the ubiquity of drills in their military workplace, nor their role in underpinning the success of a smooth operation. But a lack of discipline is tantamount to putting oneself and others at risk. Ignoring lawful orders, or not applying proper first-aid to a fellow soldier, are a couple of examples of this.
To me, commercial discipline means being professional always, even in stressful or frustrating situations. Maintain integrity in everything you do, and don’t cut corners. Carrying out proper legal and financial procedures means staying compliant under local law, and avoiding complications with authorities.
Staying committed to an objective and refusing to drop standards enables you to build a credible reputation for your business that clients hold in high regard.
“We don’t have to be smarter than the rest, we have to be more disciplined than the rest.” – Warren Buffett
5. Cultural awareness
Finally, but no less importantly, showing respect for cultural customs in business is essential for cultivating strong professional relationships. Being aware of your cultural background, and sensitive to those of others, will help build social connections, and make you more relatable to others.
Foreign militaries operating in troubled parts of the world understand that building trust with local individuals and communities is imperative. Without that trust, moving around becomes difficult and more dangerous. To gain trust, soldiers must show respect for people’s culture and way of life.
The same is true in business. A small hiccup such as not shaking hands, or giving an air-kiss to a new acquaintance here in Latin America could start an entire working relationship off on the wrong foot. Cultural sensitivity shows a willingness to embrace people and their society. Never underestimate the significance people place on this element when evaluating your suitability as a professional partner.
It’s no secret that commercial success requires passion, hard work, and dedication. Don’t be afraid to call upon your own and others’ previous experiences to find solutions to problems or forge ahead with complex projects. For military personnel considering testing out their business acumen, be confident that your years of service to your country have also set you up for success in the world of business.
3 Scientifically Proven Things Entrepreneurs Should Be Doing to Increase Overall Performance
Many of us know that becoming an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Most are working very long hours, seven days a week, and are making tremendous sacrifices to ensure their businesses are increasing in all areas. They are actually building empires right?
While this type of mindset is okay for a season, many get stuck in the vicious cycle of working non-stop and not taking care of themselves. We all know working hard definitely has its rewards and benefits, but overworking can lead to many unnecessary and unhealthy developments.
Below are 3 things entrepreneurs should be taking advantage of, in order to develop a proper work-life balance and still stay ahead of the eight ball:
1. Get enough sleep
Many of us have been programmed to think that you have to work hard and long in order to be successful in life. While working hard is very important to becoming successful, recent studies have shown that getting the proper amount of sleep is even more important. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is one of the main causes of stress and burnout in the lives of many people.
Arianna Huffington is a huge advocate for getting a minimum of eight hours of sleep per day, in order to improve our decision-making, well-being, creativity, and productivity. Those bragging about only getting four to five hours of sleep are actually admitting that they are not functioning or performing at their maximum potential.
Researchers have also shown that when you are getting seven to eight hours of sleep, your brain signals your body to release hormones and compounds that assist in brain memory, maintaining your immune system, and decreasing risks in health conditions. Therefore, getting enough quality sleep is key for a healthy lifestyle.
2. Take vacations
Studies show that there are multiple health benefits of vacationing. A few of them consist of less stress, decreased depression, improved productivity, and improved mental health. Who wouldn’t want to experience that right? The ones who break away from the day-to-day functions of working, to go on vacation usually come back on fire and ready to keep crushing their goals.
Vacationing allows you to really put things into perspective, not only for yourself, but for your business as well. Taking vacations gives you the opportunity to unplug and spend that much needed quality time with yourself and your loved ones.
It also gives you time to relax, reflect, and recharge. In doing so, research shows that you come back refreshed and ready to function at peak performance. You also get to have fun, visit really cool places and check off destinations on your bucket list.
3. Take breaks
No matter how much you love your work, you can’t continue to be a driving force while running on empty. CEO Chris Cavallini, of the multi million dollar company Nutrition Solutions, believes in this principal one hundred percent and stands firm on the idea that taking a 60 second break every hour will reboot, recharge, and refocus your mind, body and spirit.
It makes the team more efficient and productive, says Chris. Many times a quick mental or physical shift is all you need, to come back to work with more creativity and more energy for your next breakthrough.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.” – Anne Lamott
Recent studies have shown that those who experience constant stimulation of the same thing, is registered by our brains as unimportant, to the point that our brain erases it from our awareness.
They also show that taking a two-minute break can increase productivity by as much as 11.15%. Since entrepreneurs are constantly on the go, several short breaks through out the day should definitely be included due to all of the amazing benefits they provide.
Some of the things you could do on your breaks that will increase performance and productivity include, standing and stretching, resting your eyes, quick exercises like jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, or pull ups and even checking your social media.
The next time you feel like you don’t have time to take a break, think about all the benefits you’ll miss out on by not taking one.
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