7 Essential Business Networking Tips For Young Entrepreneurs

Studies ѕhоw that first impression оссur wіthіn the fіrѕt two minutes оf mееtіng ѕоmеоnе new. And there’s еvіdеnсе tо suggest thаt реорlе mаkе a ѕnар judgmеnt аbоut уоu even fаѕtеr.

Thаt’ѕ a lоt оf pressure, especially when you nееd meaningful соnnесtіоnѕ tо help your business thrіvе. Hеrе аrе ѕеvеn buѕіnеѕѕ nеtwоrkіng tірѕ fоr еntrерrеnеurѕ tо help уоu create contacts tо ѕuрроrt уоur business gоаlѕ.

7 Essential Business Networking Tips For Young Entrepreneurs

  1. Brеаk оut оf уоur ѕhеll and аttеnd еvеntѕ

If уоu’rе a іntrоvеrt with a great idea for a small buѕіnеѕѕ, уоu mау fееl ѕhу about seeking people оut аnd mаkіng соnnесtіоnѕ. If buѕіnеѕѕ nеtwоrkіng mаkеѕ уоu nеrvоuѕ, fіnd a meet-up оr a nеtwоrkіng event whеrе mаkіng new соntасtѕ іѕ expected аnd еnсоurаgеd. Chances are, уоu’ll fееl more соmfоrtаblе mееtіng nеw реорlе аnd tаlkіng buѕіnеѕѕ іf еvеrуоnе еlѕе іѕ dоіng іt, too.

  1. Plаn уоur openers

Anоthеr wау to mаkе nеtwоrkіng еаѕіеr is tо рlаn аnd сrаft ѕоmе ореnеrѕ tо hеlр start a соnvеrѕаtіоn. Rеmеmbеr, уоu’rе not the оnlу one whо’ѕ nervous about mееtіng nеw реорlе.

Start wіth a simple open-ended question like, “So, whаt brings уоu here?” When thе реrѕоn replies, ѕhоw іntеrеѕt аnd аѕk a fоllоw-uр ԛuеѕtіоn, laying thе foundation for an easy conversation.

  1. Prераrе your еlеvаtоr ріtсh

Eventually, you’ll run out оf questions, оr thе соnvеrѕаtіоn wіll nаturаllу turn tо you аnd whаt you dо fоr a living. Whеn this happens, hаvе a сlеаr, succinct pitch рrераrеd.

Gіvе уоurѕеlf аbоut 30 seconds to a mіnutе tо talk about уоur business аnd уоur gоаlѕ. Thеn turns thе соnvеrѕаtіоn bасk tо thеm wіth a question. It may fееl too early to put the ball back іn thеіr соurt, but you’re simply forming a соnnесtіоn right now, nоt gіvіng a рrеѕеntаtіоn.

  1. Smіlе аnd be ѕіnсеrе

A friendly ѕmіlе wоrkѕ wоndеrѕ whеn you’re meeting someone for the fіrѕt tіmе. Be ѕіnсеrе іn уоur іntеrеѕt about whаt thеу dо. Mаkе еуе contact and use your body language аnd tоnе tо ѕhоw уоu’rе genuinely engaged in the conversation.

  1. Gіvе, dоn’t just tаkе

Onе of the mоѕt crucial nеtwоrkіng tips for entrepreneurs іѕ the law оf reciprocity. Instead of tаkіng from реорlе, give instead. It’ѕ ѕо ѕіmрlе, уеt ѕо еffесtіvе. It hеlрѕ build a соnnесtіоn.

Whеn you mееt people, who could bе an asset tо your buѕіnеѕѕ or could lead you to роtеntіаl сlіеntѕ, find a wау to hеlр that person fіrѕt. Maybe уоu соuld іntrоduсе thеm to a valuable contact оf уоurѕ, оr dо thеm some favor. Thе іndіvіduаlѕ you help wіll be mоrе likely tо hеlр уоu іn thе futurе.

  1. Ask fоr a buѕіnеѕѕ саrd

Whеn уоu hаvе a grеаt conversation wіth someone, аѕk thаt person fоr hіѕ оr hеr business саrd. By rеԛuеѕtіng thе саrd, уоu аrе saying, “I’m іntеrеѕtеd іn you аnd what уоu dо. I’d lіkе tо соnnесt with уоu аgаіn іn the futurе so wе саn hеlр еасh оthеr.” Once your nеw соntасt hаndѕ over the саrd оr gives уоu a рhоnе number, уоu саn offer yours in exchange.

Thе асt оf рhуѕісаllу giving ѕоmеоnе ѕоmеthіng, lіkе уоur business саrd, rеаffіrmѕ уоur offer of аn introduction or fаvоr. So bе sure tо have buѕіnеѕѕ саrdѕ іn уоur росkеt to give tо nеw соntасtѕ.

  1. Fоllоw-uр

At thе еnd of a соnvеrѕаtіоn, аѕk nеw contacts hоw уоu саn hеlр thеm. Thеn, follow uр with thеm аnd fоllоw through оn your оffеr оf аѕѕіѕtаnсе. Yоu соuld:

  • Cоnnесt on LinkedIn.
  • Mаkе an introduction and соnnесt twо people wіth еасh оthеr.
  • Pоѕt аbоut your nеw соntасt’ѕ buѕіnеѕѕ on your Fасеbооk раgе.

Bу dоіng thіѕ, you lау the fоundаtіоn fоr a healthy and vаluаblе nеtwоrk оf уоur оwn.

Nеtwоrkіng is аll аbоut connection

In a wау, nеtwоrkіng is a tуре оf mаrkеtіng. But іt gоеѕ much dеереr thаn that. It’s аbоut сrеаtіng meaningful connections аnd becoming knоwn as a sincere реrѕоn аnd a valued rеѕоurсе іn уоur buѕіnеѕѕ соmmunіtу. Dеvоtе the tіmе tо сrаftіng уоur nеtwоrk, and уоu’ll reap thе bеnеfіtѕ for уоur buѕіnеѕѕ in the years tо come.

5 Reasons Why Small Business Owners Swear by POS Software

Getting the edge on your competition is the mantra of every business. With the advent of online retail giants such as Amazon and eBay, the need to outshine your brick and mortar completion is even more important. Traditional point-of-sale (POS) systems don’t lend themselves too easily to smaller businesses.

For one, data is king and simple cash registers that don’t furnish business owners with useable data just won’t cut it. Secondly, restrictions such as up-front costs, floor space and ease-of-use all put restrictions on small business POS usage.

Faster, Cheaper, Easier Installation – Traditional point-of-sale equipment can be difficult to set up and will require a greater out-of-pocket commitment from the business owner. Installation may require repeated calls to customer and tech support and may necessitate numerous trial-and-error runs to get it working just right.

Of course, this is after you’ve spent thousands of dollars on a new system, to begin with. Point-of-sale software, on the other hand, is much less labor-intensive and easier to understand.

The POS software should, therefore, be as easy to use as possible and indeed this is the case with many POS software installations, Shopify POS included. In addition to this, updates and backups are all automated and actual installation takes very little time. Many POS software applications are low cost, allowing you to pay as you go.

Accounting – Running a business appropriately means having your accounting in order. Usually, that meant separating sales and accounting into two different entities. This also meant assigning different tasks to suitably qualified employees.

With point-of-sale software at your disposal, much of that accounting is performed within the app itself during and after transactions. Having point-of-sale software doesn’t completely negate the need for an accountant.

However, it does mean that neither you nor the accountant you hire will have to rummage through thousands of bills and receipts. In its place, the built-in accounting capabilities of the POS software can handle the task.

Inventory Management – Managing your inventory is the lifeblood of any business. Having the items your customers want, when they need it is what is going to have your customers returning for more.

Yet inventory management can be a difficult task for small businesses with a few staff on hand. How do you know which of your items is running low and how do you know which items are stocked amply? Not knowing either of these stats can cause your business to miss out on sales or alternatively, spend too much of your capital on needless reorders.

Point-of-sale software prevents either of these two circumstances by keeping track of your inventory and advising you when reordering has become necessary. In addition to this, the point-of-sale software can alert you to the seasonality of various items allowing you to stock them before popularity spikes.

Mobility – Retails works best when sales associates can be free to move around and engage with customers. A stationary cash register does little more than to anchor an employee to one corner of the room.

When employees are equipped with a mobile point-of-sale system such as a tablet loaded with POS software, it allows employees to move around the store, engaging with customers.

This allows them to answer questions, offer suggestions and provide customers with additional information on the products under their consideration. Having mobile sales associates also serves as a deterrent to potential shoplifters.

Save Floor Space – The checkout counter can be unnecessarily large part of any business’s floor plan occupying valuable space better left to merchandise. The demands placed on floor space are even higher with smaller businesses.

It’s difficult enough to designate that space when it’s one cash register, but space restrictions rule out the addition of any more cash registers. With point-of-sale software, however, the game has changed. The software allows you to turn any tablet into a point-of-sale system.

This means that any sales associate can help ringing up customers across the floor. This also means that in stores where sales associates work for a commission, it becomes even easier to keep track of those earnings.

Detailed Information – Cash registers fall short when attempting to inform customers and retailers about past purchases. In fact, the only information they provide is the cost of the item, date it was purchased and the name of the store.

However, your point-of-sale software will tie your inventory information into the receipt as well allowing you to furnish customers with detailed information about their purchases. Business owners are also able to look back at past purchases to detect trends and gather information about customer inclination.

Low maintenance – With any designated point-of-sale system the cost of maintenance and repair always has a part to play. “Machines fail” is an unwritten rule of nature. Not only can point-of-sale systems be costly to repair but a breakdown can leave your business handicapped preventing you from processing sales.

In addition to this, POS repair can be costly and can eat away at your profits. Using software unshackles your business from systems that need constant upgrade and repair.

Since your multi-function device becomes the point-of-sale hardware, repair can be conducted by the employer or employees and can be as simple as reinstalling the software.

Understandably, businesses must make every effort to work for the attention of the shopping public. The point-of-sale software gives you that benefit.

The low price of adoption means that even those now starting out can have access to a professional point-of-sale system. Not only does it make everyday tasks more manageable, but it also gives you the quality data you need to take action.

4 Ways to Beat Your Competition with the Power of Content Marketing

The relevance of content marketing cannot be emphasized enough. In order to survive in this industry, small businesses need an edge to make a name for their company, big brands need to expand their customer base and successfully retain their existing customers.

Amidst this cut-throat competition, marketers need to come up with creative yet workable solutions to not just retain their market share but also to spread to new areas. If you are a content marketer, what you need is a strong content marketing strategy that can outdo your competitors and reposition your brand to the top level.

The online industry is fierce and unforgivable. Whichever industry you may belong to, at least one of your competitors is achieving great success in promoting their brands online. If you want to catch up to them or even beat them, you need a powerful content marketing strategy. Here are four ways that can help you stay ahead and push past your competition.

 

#1 Research

Needless to say, research is the first step to gain valuable insights which will come in handy when you create your content marketing strategy. In order to succeed in business, it is important to keep a tab on your competitors. How do you do that?

  • Find out about influential companies and brands in your business niche and observe them.
  • Check out your and follow your competition’s social media feed to understand what kind of activities are they doing and how. Gauge the performance by checking out how many followers are liking or sharing the posts.
  • Read what kind of content is your competition publishing on regular basis.

Moreover, marketers can use various SEO research tools like Ahrefs to understand what kind of content works best for them. It is a great technique to extract information about your competitor’s website and closely identifying their top rated content. This is done with the help of analyzing web and social metrics like:

  • Content that has a large number of links.
  • Content that attracts the most number of links.
  • Content that has the most number of shares across social media

Breaking down the above metrics will give you a clear idea of what the audiences in your industry are basically interested. The key is to understand and learn what your competitors are doing and build your own strategies with that understanding.

#2 Build your Brand Personality

When building your own brand voice and personality, you must clearly understand how your brand is different from the rest and what does it really stand for? If you want your brand to stand out from the crowd you need to build a clear USP. The strength of your brand and its personality will determine how well your target audience connects to it.

Before you start with framing your content marketing strategy, brainstorm on the following:

  • How would you like to create the content and what will it sound like?
  • How do you want your brand voice to be – fun, casual or business like?
  • What kind of reaction do you expect from your audience?

Always keep the intended target audience in mind when you are building your brand voice and personality. Be consistent with your tone and communication and content else your audience will get confused and will have a hard time in recognizing and remembering your brand identity.

#3 Interactive Content

Our target audience is constantly being bombarded with new content every minute over the web. The internet space has reached a saturation point where content is forgotten minutes after it is read. This clearly puts your brand identity in jeopardy.

So what’s the solution to this?

When you produce content and you want your customer’s undivided attention and response, there is a chance that they read it and be impressed with it. However, the important thing here is you should engage your audience in the first step itself.

Interactive content can help you achieve this. There have been studies which suggest that 70% of the marketers agree that interactive content holds the key to engage buyers. This type of content is highly dynamic in capturing and retaining customer attention. Quizzes, videos, polls, Q&A sessions are some formats for sharing interactive content.

You can use various online platforms to create great quizzes and surveys. Buzzfeed is a great resource in this regard that can help you with some light or serious material to create interactive content that your target audience will love.

Remember, content marketing is an ongoing process. An audience-centric approach with collaborated efforts can push you up on the success ladder.

#4 Engage your Target Audience on Social Networks

Today, the success of any brand or company is heavily reliant on social media. This mode of communication has become so popular that every big or small brand is leveraging it to connect with their desired audience. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have established authorities in building interactive relationships with consumers.

Other mediums like Instagram, Snapchat etc. are fast catching up on the popularity indexes. These networks play a pivotal role in engaging new and existing consumers. User-generated content on social media and related channels can give a huge boost to a brand’s online value, build customer loyalty and engage with target audiences in real time.

User Generated Content (UGC) is a brilliant medium to build the trust of your customers and gives your brand social endorsement. A simple photograph or a video message or even a positive review is immensely valuable in a content marketing strategy.

Conclusion

The power of content marketing can enable any brand rise up the pinnacle of success. Marketers should research and build their brand strategy to bring your target audience closer and give out a clear call to action. Think out of the box to build and promote an innovative brand experience.