Though it may sound counterintuitive, I recommend my clients build their personal brand to help their business brand. The logic and success behind such an approach are because of the way we relate to brands. A well-recognized personal brand can easily transfer credibility and loyalty to a business brand. It is the same reason why influencer marketing works so well. - Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group
Originally published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/12/21/15-strategies-for-turning-a-lackluster-brand-around/#3dc018d3b7d9
From a practical standpoint, it is all about creating a “necessity.” Human behavior is most likely to adapt when changes are a matter of survival. The most effective method I have seen work is to create that necessity. Put those that you perceive as not trusting each other into a team and define the project success in a way that forces trust building. - Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group
Originally published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/12/28/14-ways-for-business-leaders-to-build-team-cohesion/#756f155e57f4
The most viable way to illustrate leadership is to show a student mindset. In a new organization, there are many things that are unknown to a new leader. It is important to show that you as a leader want to understand and learn those things before expecting to be taken seriously as a leader. Combine that with seeking advice from current leadership and you have a winning combination. - Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group
There is no better way to get ahead of cultural shifts within the organization then maintaining a feedback loop from bottom to top. The impact of departing leaders is likely to be felt on the front lines first. Enabling those employees to voice their observations and/or shifts in culture can serve as an early warning sign that can be dealt with before it becomes an issue.
Originally published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/01/04/13-methods-for-maintaining-your-company-culture-when-leadership-changes/#48a97d8f79cc
A new year is a great time to recenter your focus on goals for both the short and long term. Here are a few goals (or resolutions, if you like) you should add to your list.
Short-term financial goals for your business
What do you want to accomplish in the next three months? Six? Twelve? It's just as important to think about what's coming up soon that you can work on to improve your business's financial health as it is to aspire to longer-term scenarios.
1. Improve your business credit.
Did you realize that, just like with your personal credit, you have a business credit score? A high score ensures that you qualify for low interest rates should you ever want to take out a loan or a business line of credit.
You can increase your score by keeping your debt-to-credit ratio low (meaning you have much more credit available than you're using), paying your bills on time and opening credit accounts with your vendors. Monitor your business credit report to ensure there are no discrepancies, and if there are, report them to the agency immediately. Have a separate business bank account for your transactions rather than using your personal account.
2. Increase revenue in the coming months.
Naturally, every business wants to boost revenues, both in the short and long term. To increase them relatively soon, try a few different strategies.
If it's been a while since you raised prices, consider increasing rates for new customers or notifying existing ones of a small bump up in price. With existing clients, you risk them going elsewhere for better pricing, so consider how strong your reputation is and whether they'll stay, even if they have to pay more.
You can also amp up your marketing efforts to make more sales. Hire a salesperson to work new territories, invest in social media ads or create incentives for existing customers to buy more from you.
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Long-term financial goals for your business
Now that you've taken care of the upcoming months, consider what you want your business to look like in the next three, five and 10 years. It may seem silly to start planning so far ahead, but every action you take now will impact the future.
3. Plan your business's expansion.
Maybe you've dreamed of opening a second location, hiring your first full-time employee or stepping back from the day-to-day operations. All of these are great goals because they indicate that your business is thriving. But they will take work to achieve.
Plan out what you'll need financially to achieve your goal. If you want to open another location, you may need to take out financing, so do some rough projections to determine how long it will take for you to recoup the initial expenses. If you want to step back from the day-to-day, you need to hire and train someone to take over your responsibilities.
4. Prep your exit strategy.
If you plan on selling your business, handing it down to a family member or simply closing up shop to retire, now is the time to map out your strategy.
If you want to sell it, you need to ensure that not only is your business financially appealing to potential buyers but also that your financial records are in order. If you aren't using accounting software, start using it so you have a record of all expenses and financial reports.
If you want to pass your business on, bring family members into the business now so they can acclimate themselves to how it is run. It may take a while before they are ready to take the helm, so the more time they have to prepare, the better.
If you simply want to close your business, focus on increasing revenues now so you have a nice nest egg to take with you into retirement.
Financial goals can be large and small, near and far, but whatever the goal, make sure you take the steps to ensure your success. Break down each goal into steps, such as "hire a sales manager" or "put 20 percent of revenue in savings for the new office."
While you should keep your financial goals in mind, be flexible, because those goals may change over time. Be willing to adapt as your business needs change. Just keep forging ahead to make them come true!
Retailers and marketers alike are moving toward mobile coupons for some very good reasons. Digital couponing is much less expensive than traditional print coupons. Mobile coupon campaigns can be better targeted to audiences based on demographics, consumer preferences and location.
There is also the fact that traditional printed coupons have long had a dismal return rate and ROI. Perhaps most important is that mobile coupons are reaching the tipping point in consumer preference. Recent research shows consumers are split 50/50 on their preference for mobile as opposed to printed coupons. That ratio is expected to continue to improve in favor of mobile.
Digital coupons delivered via email and accessed through a mobile device are typically redeemed within a range of 0.5 to 2 percent. But by delivering those coupons via text marketing promotion, marketers can increase redemption rates to as much as 10 percent or more. In fact, according to research, 85 percent of consumers will redeem a coupon delivered via text within one week.
With the move to mobile coupons a foregone conclusion, what are other ways retailers can improve their redemption rates? Below are six proven methods that not only bump up your rates but also generate actionable data in the process.
1. Employ higher-value coupons that can only be used once.
Consumers overwhelmingly prefer a higher-value coupon that they can use only once over a lower-value coupon that can be used more than once (by a 77 percent to 23 percent margin, according to CodeBroker). To deliver single-use coupons, retailers must have the ability to generate a "smart," single-use mobile coupon with a security model that ensures ...
The customer always receives the same mobile coupon regardless of the number of times the coupon is requested and the number of channels chosen to receive the coupon.
Once the mobile coupon is used, it expires and is marked as redeemed across all distribution channels to prevent reuse.
It is difficult for a consumer to obtain a second copy of the coupon unless specifically allowed by the retailer.
2. Leverage on-demand coupons.
While redemption rates for mobile coupons are high compared with those for print coupons, redemption rates for on-demand coupons (which consumers specifically request in response to ads) are even higher.
Research firm Aberdeen Essentials found that redemption rates for coupons where customers perform an action to request a coupon can approach 50 percent. CodeBroker coupon research indicates that 60 percent of consumers would plan to redeem such a coupon within one week, which is slightly above observed redemption rates of 30 to 50 percent.
3. Conduct brief promotions.
Create promotions with a short redemption period, preferably 10 days or less. Creating a short window of opportunity inspires urgency among consumers to use their coupon offers quickly, which will drive higher redemption rates.
4. Don't forget the reminder message.
For longer promotions (two to three weeks), send reminder messages to people who have not yet redeemed a coupon. Inform the consumer they have only a few days left to take advantage of the offer.
The best time to deliver the reminder message is two or three days before the promotion expires. Reminders are proven to increase redemption rates by as much as 70 percent.
5. Make content exclusive.
When subscribers receive exclusive, "members-only" offers, it makes them feel special, making them more inclined to redeem them. Text is an ideal vehicle to spur urgency and a sense of exclusivity; for example, you could send a heads-up note informing customers of upcoming sales or events and delivering content that is only available to those on the subscriber list. Produce content and offers that consumers can only access by becoming a member of your program.
6. Keep content timely.
Another way to improve mobile coupon redemption rates is by making your messages timely and newsworthy. Grand openings, new product or service offerings, even seasonal specials can be an effective means for capturing the interest of recipients. Another way is holding occasional text-only sales. Using text messaging as a vehicle can keep customers checking back frequently and has proven to be a great way to drive urgency, getting consumers to respond quickly.
In 2016, an estimated 62.9 percent of the worldwide population already owned a mobile phone, and Statista forecasts that the number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019. According to a report by Nielsen, U.S. adults now spend nearly half a day on their smartphone. This data is very crucial to businesses. As supported by data, mobile has become an integral part of our lives and if any business is not considering or utilizing a mobile presence strategy, a swift demise into obscurity is on the horizon. When your customers favor mobile devices over desktops, shouldn’t you prioritize your efforts with the mobile audience in mind?
Mobile presence is the need of the hour. Any business that’s developing a business presence has a fundamental question: Should we develop a web app or mobile app? To clarify the differences, a web app is simply a website that took a mobile-first approach and is designed to be viewed and used on a smartphone. Mobile apps, on the other hand, need to be downloaded and installed via an app store and those gain and use access to your system resources. Web apps function like mobile apps, but from the comfort of the phone’s browser.
Working for a software development company, we get asked the question about web and mobile apps about five or six times a week. But the question isn't right.
Whether you develop a mobile app or not is something we will address later on in this article, but a mobile-first strategy is mandatory. Let me rephrase the question for you now. I have a website that is responsive on mobile. Do I also need a mobile app? Once we ask that question, we can understand that there are a set number of factors that need to be accounted for to help you develop a mobile strategy that best suits your business objectives.
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Why is a mobile-first approach so critical for businesses?
Given that mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop usage since 2016, and mobile traffic as a share of total global online traffic in 2017 is just over 52 percent, companies need to design their applications with mobile in mind. Websites should fit the screens of different devices automatically, displaying content in a way that is compact and comfortable to browse. Also, until you are a brand name in your niche, it is very likely that users will first land on your website rather than downloading your app. Nearly 8 in 10 customers say they will stop engaging with content that doesn’t display well on their device, and 57 percent of internet users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile.
The mobile-first approach shifted the paradigm of website user experience. If you want to develop an interactive learning application or a social media application, using a mobile app is an option, although it rarely makes sense to build these apps without already having a mobile website in place. If you want to develop an interactive game or an AR-based app, however, a mobile app will be the best option, even without a web-based application. In some cases, you may need only a web app or mobile app and in some cases you'll want both.
Let’s examine some factors that will make this decision a little less tricky.
Why use mobile apps?
According to Statista, consumers downloaded 178.1 billion mobile apps to their connected devices in 2017. In 2022, this figure is projected to raise to 258.2 billion app downloads. Let’s see some inherent advantages of mobile apps.
A mobile app means branding. Apps are an extension of your brand and what value you hold as a company. Gradually, an app enters into the personal space of your users and is always present on their device and accessible with a single click, allowing the brand to carve its own niche and build value for itself.
Mobile apps offer tailored content by allowing users to set preferences based on interests, location, behavior and more. Those set preferences allow businesses to serve targeted advertisements to users. Customized recommendations and location-based promotions are easier to tailor toward specific customers once they share preferences.
Leverage device capabilities
A mobile app has access to built-in features of devices and this helps to enhance the customer experience. Let’s take push notifications, for example. These can be sent at any time and users don't have to be in the app or using their devices to receive them. They can show the latest sports scores, download coupons or let a user know about an event, such as a flash sale.
Another crucial advantage is the opportunity to use them offline. As apps are installed on a mobile device, they can keep providing access to content and features even without an internet connection.
When does it make sense to build a mobile app?
1. When your company develops a loyal customer base that you know would appreciate the added platform.
2. Businesses that intend to access device capabilities, like GPS, click-to-call, cameras or scanners, should consider using apps. Snapchat and Uber are good examples of organizations that use device capabilities.
3. A dynamic content-based interactive forum requires a mobile app. Examples include Magoosh and Byju’s.
4. Interactive games like PUBG and Angry Birds work best as mobile apps.
But not every business needs a mobile app.
For small businesses or businesses that are just starting out and aiming to deliver superior content and establish a broader market presence without much user interaction, developing a responsive website will be much more economical, quicker and convenient than a full-blown mobile app. Renowned giants like Yelp and Zillow see most of their traffic through their web apps. Before making any decisions, know your business requirements and know your client niche.
If your goals are primarily market-driven and just introductory market presence, a mobile-friendly responsive website is a logical choice. On the other hand, mobile apps may lead to a competitive advantage if you are aiming at targeting loyal customers and equipping them with additional services.