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What are the Biggest Hurdles for Agencies & Small Businesses?
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6 Ways Agency Owners Can Own 2017!
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Valentine’s Day: Why Choosing Your Outsourcing Partner Is Just Like a Date?
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7 B2B Marketing Trends Agencies Must Watch In 2017

What are the Biggest Hurdles for Agencies & Small Businesses?

If you own a small business, you may feel that the problems that your business is facing are unique. But this is not exactly true. The biggest hurdles that your business is facing are similar in essence to those your competition. There are several challenges that are acting as major roadblocks to the ascent of agencies and small businesses. Some of them are discussed below:

  1. Marketing

One of the biggest obstacles to the success of relatively small concerns is marketing. To get the word out about your business is important for its success. With the help of technology, you can now test and bring a product to market easily, but it is quite difficult to cut through the noise on social media as well as other marketing channels and differentiate your brand and business.

  1. Hiring new employees

A hurdle that several small concerns must overcome is while recruiting a workforce. They find it particularly difficult to handle problems related to the hefty costs associated with getting a workforce on board. Sometimes the total cost of the process of bringing them on board  – bonuses, training, equipment, benefits, taxes etc. – can range anywhere between 1.5 and three times the salary assigned to that particular designation. That is a really notable amount of investment for companies that are usually already hard pressed for money, to begin with.

  1. Relationship with customers

According to experts, the key to keeping your small business blooming with success is proper communication and the relationship that you have with your customers. Not all businesses see the face of success. Small businesses that achieve success and continue to survive are the ones where the owners, as well as the employees, have a great relationship with their customers. Know what your customers want and ask them how you can do better or what can be added. For agencies and small businesses, relationships are of paramount importance. In this digital age, it has become important to develop a bond with customers.

  1. Relationship with the government

To make local government work for you, take the idea of relationships to the next level and use those skills. According to experienced businessmen, small businesses which reach out and become a staple in the community are the ones that get the most support from the local government. You can be present at community events or join the chamber of commerce so that the local governments support you. If you make an investment in your local community, it will affect your business positively. Also, to build valuable customer relationships, you can volunteer to work on events or serve on local boards.

  1. Cash flow management

A variety of problems related to cash flow is the cause of a headache for many companies. And for agencies and small businesses, the main problems are to do with unexpected outgoings of cash, clients deferring payments and expenses that seemingly need to have been paid for yesterday. However, these problems do not come without solutions. While product demand is far more difficult to control in-house, cash flow related problems can be resolved. In order to improve on your invoicing and budgeting, there are a number of newly designed solutions that are available. All you have to do is to find a suitable one.

  1. Increasing profits

Agencies and small businesses that have five to ten employees face problem such as increasing profits. There can be many reasons behind this, but the main reason that it highlights is the inability to remain a low-cost leader against the competition. To stay ahead of your competitors, what you can do is to innovate and optimize constantly.

  1. Not becoming dependent on major clients

Client dependence is a huge issue for several organizations, mostly those with under ten employees. In case the organization has to depend on say just one or two clients for the major chunk of the money they make, then that is a sign of hitting the danger zone. The balance of power is disturbed unfavorably for the firm if this were the case. It would be hard for them to survive – to just remain operational with minimal profits. Reaching this stage is not at all recommended. If you want to your firm to grow, you must necessarily diversify your clientele.

You might, in all probability, as the owner of a small concern, have to face hurdles that CEOs of large companies may not face. However, to look at the brighter side, being small business owner does have a number of benefits. Being small in size, you are much better equipped to respond to volatile circumstances, as well as more flexibility. Pay more attention to the strong points of owning a small business and make more effort to emphasize and use them in advantageous ways for you to overcome challenges. The first step would be to overcome them.

6 Ways Agency Owners Can Own 2017!

Each and every business or agency owner wants to grow their business and expand. In the world of business, you are either growing or you are dying. So it is very important that you get in motion and grow. So how are agency owners powering this growth? Apart from hiring, here is what you can do to take your business to a whole new level in the next 12 months.

  1. Go online and get better at SEO

In this age of digitization, it is extremely important for your business to have a great internet presence. People use the internet for almost all information nowadays. The first thing that you need to know is what kind of internet presence your business has. It is not enough to just have a good looking website. You need to know the ways of attracting new visitors. And this is exactly where SEO comes into play. As there are millions of websites that are active on the internet, it can be quite difficult for your business to be found online without proper SEO. There are a number of rules as well as protocols in SEO that help your business to get discovered. If you are not already involved in SEO, now is a good time to reconsider. If a person is looking for “web designing services”, your website should rank on top. And this is exactly what SEO does. This is also true for e-commerce websites. If you are a personal trainer, you can sell subscriptions to fitness videos, or if you are into the clothing business, you can sell branded T-shirts. Having an e-commerce presence could greatly benefit your business.

  1. Remote hiring

Remote hiring can be great for your business to grow in 2017. These remote workers not only have the same skills as their on-site counterparts, but their payroll costs are also much less compared to those associated with traditional employees. You can hire them from a talent pool that does not have any geographical restrictions, as these applicants don’t require commuting to an office. Also, remote workers are dedicated and more productive than regular on-site employees. With the remote hiring, your business can take advantage of reduced personnel costs.

  1. Know how to organize your business

Organization and prioritization are the two main elements that one needs to run a business. When it comes to operations, make sure that your business organization does not disintegrate into any type of complex blame game. If you have any queries regarding lean business operations, then you can take the help of books. This will be of great help. You need to know about the quality of the agencies that are not only successful but also have maintained their success. There should be no complication in your business operations. To make your business a grand success, it should have three main operational components – the right staff, level five leaders and confronting brutal facts. If a business understands all these three components properly, then the managers can optimize as well as simplify operations.

  1. Focus on your customer

You can make the profit from your business, only if you have a good customer base. Your customer will come for the first time, if they are satisfied with your service, they will come for the second time, and finally, they will bring their friends with them. This is what you want, right?  In this regard, small agencies have more advantage over large companies. Small agencies get to interact with their customers at a more personal level. This does not mean that large companies do not care about their customers. Actually, it is quite challenging to put the CEO of a company face to face with customers. Give priority to your clients or customers, make sure you understand what they want and then cater to their specific needs.

  1. Pay attention to cash flow

You need to define your free flow of cash. Generally, cash flow is calculated depending on what is left after making all the non-cash adjustments and payment of all the necessary financial expenditures. You will be able to gain new opportunities and perspectives when you start considering free cash flows before making business decisions.

  1. Invest the retained earnings wisely

If you run a successful business, have the great understanding of the balance sheet and want to explore other opportunities, you have two options – you can either choose to invest in external assets that are non-operational subsidiaries, or you can invest your retained earnings back into the operational business. Deciding what to do can be tough. In many cases, the right decision can be to reinvest retained earnings into the organic business. But there are cases, where small business owners fail because of their overconfidence from the previous success and end up killing both the businesses. It will be good if you don’t invest huge capital in low-probability business options and invest in assets that are non-operational.

Your business may face challenges, but these six ways of growing your business can make your business stand out in 2017. Just focus on simplification and understanding your free cash flow, and will be able to get the most out of your business.

Valentine’s Day: Why Choosing Your Outsourcing Partner Is Just Like a Date?

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it is easy to feel the love in the air. Business operations are nothing less than love as both are complex and need your attention. Needless to say, both business and love are rewarding. You can express your love for your business by choosing the right outsourcing partner. Outsourcing allows you to get the benefits of skilled professionals without even the hassles of hiring them. As love fills you with content, outsourcing also does the same by providing high-quality work at reduced cost resulting in increased profits. Choosing your outsourcing partner can be just as confusing as planning a date for your Valentine. Here are some similarities between the two and some tips to select your outsourcing partner.

A Match Made in Heaven

Just like choosing a life partner, choosing a partner for business operations should also be a match made in heaven. When you are choosing an outsourcing company, you must make sure that the company is a fit for the needs of your company. They should offer the exact set of services that your business needs, neither more nor less. This is to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money. For example, if you only want SEO service, you should not be forced to pay for other services that you don’t need but must take as there is no other option. This also means that the SEO service that you choose should be complete and beneficial for you.

You Complete My World

The outsourcing partner you select should be the answer to all your requirements. An outsourcing company must provide you quality work that helps your business to grow. The company you choose should be reliable and genuine. A company that has been around for a longer period of time and has experience in handling projects is a better choice than one that has just been established. An experienced team is also an important deciding factor.  You should research the company to verify whether they have been consistent with their quality and meeting deadlines.

I Can Always Count on You

If you can count on your outsourcing partner and you know that your partner is always there to watch your back, life is a little easier. An essential reason to have an outsourcing company that understands your business and risks involved and helps in the growth of your business.  Apart from maintaining quality and delivering output on time, your outsource partner should also be ready to handle any sort of emergency situations. If you choose the right outsourcing company, you will know what they are capable of.  Make certain you choose a company that has highly qualified and experienced professionals who know their job.

Many outsourcing companies do not have a transparent payment structure. A good outsourcing company lets you know their work procedures and rate structure. This ensures you are not paying extra money in the form of hidden costs or useless jobs.

No One Understand Me Like You Do

A good outsourcing company maintains a great level of communication.  The team members that handle your project must interact with you throughout the procedure. This helps you to keep track of how your work is being done, who is doing the work and how much work is left. It also facilitates better delegation of responsibilities and sets up a level of accountability for those working on the project.  

A reliable outsourcing company gives you advice on the amount of work your business might need and answer all your queries. A well-established outsourcing company has staff that can communicate well in English.

You Treat Me Like I Am the Only One in the World

Last, but not least, your outsourcing partner should value the needs of your business as client satisfaction should be their prime objective.  A good outsourcing service provider customizes their services to meet the needs of the client. They support the client from the order to the finish and even beyond that.

These are all points that you consider while choosing an outsourcing partner. A good partner is beneficial for your business and this relationship is the perfection that will last forever.

7 B2B Marketing Trends Agencies Must Watch In 2017

The term ‘B2B’ is fairly familiar to people who belong to the market research or digital marketing industries. It is a field where there is an exchange of technology, information, services and products between businesses rather than between a business and its customer. As with every other field of technology and business, the trends and practices for B2B keep changing and upgrading from year to year. It’s in this context that we will discuss some of the biggest B2B trends that will dominate 2017.

Marketing Automation: First, we speak about marketing automation. This is the software which is used to automate a lot of the actions required for sales pitching of a product or service. It includes marketing on social media, putting up ads on Google, cold calling and mass emailing. Some of these can definitely be tuned into automation, especially the client mailing and cold calling. Marketing automation can not only be used to generate leads, but it can also help companies keep a tab on the progress of their campaign. This also allows them to be updated with key metrics concerning lead conversion. There are three cardinal steps to achieving this:

  1. Having a multiple-tier opening sequence which can be considered useful and relevant for dynamic and ever-changing content, based on the needs of the company.
  2. You can put to use the task of lead scoring and lead grading in order to ensure that automated sending of emails and outbound calls can be done in a more relevant manner. There should exist strict rules and guidelines so that mass-solicitation techniques are not blocked by popular spam-detection technologies.
  3. Content should be re-marketed on third-party sites in order to encourage and enthuse people who have shown an interest in being a customer.

Long and Short-term Balance: Next, we should think of balancing things out in the long and short terms. You should apply all SEO techniques in place to ensure that your brand gets ranked at the top of SERPs. Top-ranked websites usually inspire confidence and solidify people’s trust in a brand. The ideal path would be to develop both the leads and the brand simultaneously with a 40:60 priority ratio.

All Eyes on Thought Leadership: One should also understand the value of thought leadership. It is important to buy products and services that help to circumvent and eliminate risks, as well as improve customer experience. Rather than merely bringing about external improvements to the product, you should introduce ideas that are revolutionary or definitive in the industry. Something that would emerge as innovative or pioneering. This is something that’s surely going to be big in 2017.

Augmented Reality to the Rescue: Augmented reality is close to thought leadership. This is virtual communication which has taken on a different hue with the success of Pokémon Go. The technology, in which virtual objects can be “planted” across various real-life locations and would be spotted only by means of physical traveling, is tracked by GPS. Application of this technology would assist a lot in communicating complex ideas by the practical demonstration on an interactive gadget such as a PC/Laptop, projector or a Smartphone.  This will also lead to the growth and development of multi-dimensional gadgets and mechanisms which would improve Point-of-Sale terminals, record transactions and enhance staff training.  Taking giant leaps in the field of virtual reality, with the objective of bettering communication and customer engagement techniques, will definitely be on the cards this year for most B2B firms.

Bots in Charge: Use of ‘Bots’, or robots, is yet another huge area that is slated to become big this year. Coming out of the confines of more conventional uses, such as scheduling meetings or sending out ‘to-do’ notifications, robots can be put to use in functions such as creating SEO-friendly content, addressing very specific customer complaints, spotting complex technical errors and bugs and communicating them in a life-like manner and synthesizing user research. . They can also serve as guides to take visitors on a virtual ‘tour’ of the website and demonstrate how the site works. Overall, bots could be of great use for optimizing marketing in many ways.  

Why Are Businesses Hiring Remote Teams To Get The Job Done?: Another trend that is going to be big in 2017 is the use of ‘remote teams’ or ‘virtual companies’ to do part of a company’s work online. This helps the company to be well-distributed in terms of workload and in meeting deadlines. Remote working is something which has displayed a healthy growth of about 80% in the period 2005-2012 and is slated to grow even more in this year and the coming years. Remote workers log in for a greater number of hours and are more focused on their work, free as they are from the trappings of a normal work environment. They are chiefly driven by the passion for their work and the alluring aspect of getting to work from their own home. Hence, productivity takes a giant leap when companies hire remote or virtual teams.  

Bringing Back Spotlight on the 80/20 Rule: More Recognition for the 80/20 rule is set to become the norm. Quite often companies fall into the trap of hyper-marketing, zealously hard-selling their ware, which can serve to put customers off.  Also, by going all-out to cover every possible area of marketing, they miss out on identifying those crucial things which can actually bring in the bulk of the business. In technobabble, this is classified as the ‘80/20’ rule—striving to identify that vital 20% of your advertising content which is providing 80% of the returns. This twenty percent must be identified and a majority of the advertising resources must be spent in further improving them. More stress on the 80/20 rule is definitely going to be a major trend of 2017.

Apart from all these, some of the major toasts of this year would go to maintaining the ‘touch-point consistency’ in marketing, building up and careful cultivation of the talent brand, and digital dissolution. Overall, things are looking good for the B2B industry this year.

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