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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

A stack of wooden blocks with business icons on it

 

More and more businesses are tasked with handling a myriad of different challenges and unpredictable circumstances. As a result, they must adapt to changing times, especially in a post-pandemic world.

 

With statistics steadily pointing towards unfavourable results for businesses looking to make it past 15 years – only 25 percent achieving this milestone, business leaders need to be prepared more than ever before.

 

Despite uncertain times, there are things businesses can do to create longevity during difficult periods. Read the tips below to become more prepared in times of strife.

 

1. Place your focus on what you can control

Often, we tend to get swept up and carried away with the “what ifs” involved in life, but also in business. Things outside of your control can throw a wrench into your plans and disrupt the course of action you previously had in place.

 

Therefore, it’s more important to place your attention on the variables that are within your power and that you have the ability to control. Making good calls with the problems you plan for can help you in your preparedness for the unexpected.

 

2. Make meaningful connections

The people you have around you can make or break your ability to push through hard times as a business. Make sure you have a strong team that you’ve built up with people who also feel equally supported when they need it most. Creating a relationship of mutual trust and support can help increase the likelihood that you can work through any unexpected bumps in the road together.

 

3. Hit pause and get some TLC

Managing a business is always going to be busy and stressful to some degree, but don’t forget to take time for yourself and encourage your team to do the same. Don’t neglect your own needs and mental health for the sake of work that can wait. You will be far more likely to be able to cope through hard times if you’ve been prioritizing yourself. Difficulties are much harder to bear when you’re burnt out and overworked.

 

4. Set more boundaries

There should be a mutual understanding between yourself and your staff that allows you to communicate about boundaries in the workplace. Going along with hitting pause, be sure to draw lines where you need to. Don’t answer messages and calls outside of work hours unless necessary, make it clear who staff should be going to about problems, and have small tasks organized and automated accordingly if you don’t need to deal with them directly.

 

5. Make your products pivotable

In the turbulent climate of today’s world, it’s important to ensure that the products and services you offer as a business are adaptable. Innovation in marketplaces is becoming a larger and larger necessity. Try to brainstorm ways to develop your store’s offerings so they can suit a variety of needs and purposes, no matter what circumstances are happening in the world around you.

 

6. Place value on stakeholders

Placing value on internal and external stakeholders so they feel valued, is crucial in managing a long-term, successful business.

 

7. Have a reliable plan in place

Although you can’t predict every single thing that may go wrong, it can be productive to plan ahead for realistic situations that may pop up. Have back-ups in mind for business management, team relations, etc.

 

Conclusion:

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of planning and strength during difficult times. If your business takes these tips into consideration and remains forward-thinking, you should be able to cope through pretty much anything.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Four people collaborating in a meeting room using laptops

 

Over the course of the pandemic, companies had to learn how to deal with remote work while remaining engaged and connected to their employees. More and more businesses are now seeing the value in using collaboration tools to help their teams get crucial work done, manage deadlines, and stay on top of important projects.

 

If you’re not leveraging collaboration tools for your business, you should start now. Read the tips below to find out how you can get the most out of them!

 


 

Office 365

Office 365 is one of the most advanced collaboration platforms that is currently available. It has numerous productivity-boosting features and assets and can drastically help improve your business's digital workspace strategy.

 

Here are the Office 365 collaboration features you and your team should be taking advantage of:

 

1. PowerApps

The purpose of PowerApps is to manage organizational data by running an app you created, someone else created or shared with you.

 

2. Office Online

Office Online is Office Suite with elevated collaboration capabilities. You can work alongside team members on PowerPoint presentations and Excel reports simultaneously while using the mobile app, browser, or desktop-based Office Suite.

 

3. Flow

Flow is a service that lives up to its name. It’s designed to automate workflow across several apps and services relied on by businesses. Necessary for effective collaboration, workflows help people get closer to reaching and achieving common goals.

 

4. Video

Office 365 Video is like YouTube but focuses on business content. Users can create numerous channels where users can tag people for ease in findability. Video offers simple uploading, playback of video messages, and sharing.

 

5. OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business is an important part of Office 365. It’s a place in the cloud where you can seamlessly share, store, and sync your work files. As well, you can work on Office documents with other people at the same time.

 

6. Calendar

The calendar in the Outlook Web App is a valuable tool that helps you create and track appointments, deadlines, and meetings. You can create multiple calendars, link to other calendars, and share yours with other people in your organization.

 

7. Exchange

Exchange is a business-class email experience that includes public folders, groups, and shared mailboxes.

 

8. Planner

Planner is self-explanatory. It essentially helps you plan your day-to-day schedule, from due dates to status updates, teams can also update statuses and share files.

 

9. Skype for Business

Skype for Business gives users the opportunity to connect with team members and business partners across the globe.

 

10. Teams

Teams is an excellent chat-based workspace. It allows users to bring conversations and content together. It’s also naturally integrated with a variety of Office applications.

 

11. Groups

Groups is a unique collaboration feature that’s designed for communicating and coordinating group work and sharing information. As well, users have access to a shared inbox, file repository, and calendar.

 

12. Yammer

Yammer is a simple application that allows team members to share their knowledge and engage people within your company, as well as internal and external stakeholders.

 

13. Power BI

Power BI is a business analytics platform which provides interactive visualizations. Users can create reports and dashboards individually without having to rely on information technology staff.

 

14. Delve

Delve is an employee profile database for content discovery and simple collaboration. It allows you to find the right person and content when you need them.

 


 

Additional collaborative tools:

 

1. Slack

Slack is a very popular platform for teams to use to communicate through instant messaging, transferring files, and message search. It boasts a wide range of features and the potential to integrate several other tools as well.

 

2. Flowdock

Flowdock is a private and group messaging platform that allows for the integration of notifications from other channels as well, such as Twitter and Asana.

 

3. Asana

Asana is a well-known project management tool. It allows users to assign tasks to different members, add followers to projects, and keep track of deadlines. It’s a great organizational service to stay on top of to-do lists and important calendar dates.

 

4. Dapulse

Dapulse is a visually engaging and simple-to-use platform that assists in setting goals, communicating with fellow team members, and assigning tasks.

 

5. Redbooth

Redbooth is a basic tool that allows users to plan and collaborate through several functions including video calling.

 

6. Wimi

Wimi is unique in that it offers team members their own unified workspaces where users can manage projects and share different files. Wimi Drive is their cloud-based system that syncs files.

 

7. Quip

With Quip, users can upload various file types and edit them live.

 

8. Google Docs

Google offers a variety of collaboration tools including Docs and Sheets. Users are able to edit files at the same time and changes are automatically saved.

 

9. Codingteam

Codingteam allows teams to collaborate with each other while creating code.

 

10. Milanote

Milanote is a dynamic tool that can serve several different purposes including blogging. This tool is a great option for organizing creative projects into virtual vision boards.

 


 

What are the benefits of using collaboration tools?

 

1. Inform employees

Collaboration tools are the perfect way to keep your employees up to date on important information that’s pertinent to your entire organization. Sharing announcements becomes less of a hassle when you can make sure that all your employees can receive updates and notices in a timely manner, all at the same time. As well, you have the ability to schedule specific posts and messages for different times and can create various groups for a selection of topics.

 

2. Understand sentiment and engagement

Team collaboration tools are a great way to measure and assess analytics. Platform admins can look into advanced analytics that can help you better understand the sentiment and engagement on the platform. This information is very useful for company leaders in being able to see what top-performing posts are and who are the most active platform contributors. You can gain a thorough understanding into broader communication trends, as well as employee engagement within the organization.

 

These tools also allow you to see what posts are doing well amongst your employees. You can assess team members’ engagement by seeing their reactions on posts and whether they’re actively interacting with posts or overlooking messages from leadership. To further your understanding of sentiment and engagement, you can create surveys to send out to employees through your platform chat function and see firsthand how your staff really feel about specific subjects.

 

3. Enabling quick communication

Collaboration tools make it simple to touch base with the people on your team, even if they’re not physically working in the office. These tools also give users the ability to set specific statuses so you can see whether someone is away from their device, busy in a meeting, or if they’re available online. Instant messaging individual team members and video calling employees is a breeze when all forms of communication are integrated into one workspace.

 

Additionally, many platforms allow you to create customized groups chats and channels for various workplace needs, which can be very helpful in organizing your communications with certain people.

 

4. Planning

Everything from planning meetings and projects, to setting deadlines and client calls can now be done through collaboration tools. Having access to all the information that needs to be prioritized by the various people in your company in a well-organized interface can make balancing unending dates much easier to manage. As well, collaboration tools can help drastically with ensuring that all the people in your organization are on the same page and are far less likely to mix up a date or forget it altogether.

 

5. Collaborating

Of course, one of the main and obvious benefits of these tools is the ability for teams to collaborate with one another remotely. Team collaboration tools allow users to work together, no matter where they are, on various projects. They can instantly share files, use the platform to communicate via messaging and quick video conferencing, track changes and leave edits, as well as stay on top of important project milestones.

 


 

Conclusion:

Collaboration tools offer a truly endless list of benefits that are largely helpful for businesses and staff. Teams can work together on projects and connect with each other on a personal level. Leveraging these tools for your business is sure to result in increased productivity and positive employee engagement.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Red darts in the centre of a bullseye target

 

Being a small business owner has never been harder.

 

So, you wanted to start a business. You did your research, you followed all the rules, you worked hard, and you prepared for anything and then the pandemic happens.  Don’t be hard on yourself; no one could have predicted the changes the pandemic would bring to our economy.

 

Being a small business owner is a stressful and all-consuming job during normal economic times. Now it’s so incredibly easy to get burned out and overloaded by the chaos of starting a business. Luckily, entrepreneurs, especially successful ones, are very resilient and innovative people.

 

Successful people adapt to their environment

Adapting to the changes in our economy is key to success in business. It takes a savvy business mind to not only recognize issues that might affect your success, but also to find solutions to work around those issues and keep going.

 

Over the last couple of years, the pandemic has created a very challenging environment for small business owner. Here are some examples of factors that have changed recently:

  • It has become harder and harder to access financial capital
  • Inflation is at the highest rate we’ve had since the 80s
  • The world’s supply chain has been disrupted
  • Global worker shortages have made it hard on employers to retain talent
  • Social distancing and lockdowns have changed the way consumers shop

 

When you start a business, you have the normal worries such as managing cashflow, bookkeeping, or finding clients. Now you must pile all these other pandemic-related challenges on top and deal with them as well.

 

Ask any small business owner and they will tell you they have had to deal with at least one of these issues during the pandemic. For example, a local restaurant owner might face one or more of the following issues:

  • decrease the number of tables you can physically serve
  • staff shortages and pay issues
  • PPE costs and extra sanitation time
  • increase in online orders, possibly requiring a new website
  • paying commission fees on food delivery apps
  • large capital expenses like adding a new outdoor patio

 

Even with all these huge hurdles in the small business world, the rate of new businesses being started has increased year over year for the last three years. That’s right, the actual number of new businesses created each year has sky-rocketed in a time when we should be seeing contrition.

 

Take advantage of the turmoil

How did this happen? What allowed more and more businesses to start during this turbulent period?

 

First, a lot of people left public facing jobs or low paying jobs and jumped into the small business world. These chaotic times have led to rapid innovations in technology – online shopping, virtual reality tours, video conferencing, and accessible technology for smaller businesses such as CNC machines, plastic resin printers, etc.

 

These changing technologies have led to new cottage industries like remote working services, delivery services, PPE product manufacturing, video tutoring, and more. We could write hundreds of posts on the sheer number of new business ideas or changes in the last 2 years.

 

But what do all these businesses have in common? They were all the product of entrepreneurs who harnessed the most powerful and necessary skill to being a small business owner – being innovative. The whole world had to deal with these new challenges, but the owners that saw those challenges as opportunities were able to capitalise on this rare environment.

 

I was always taught to be contrarian when it comes to business decisions. You should always do the opposite of what the average person on the street is doing. If everyone is buying tech stocks, and all the watercooler talk is all about the latest .com stock blowing up…it’s time to get out of tech stocks.

 

If everyone is complaining about the economic situation and how hard it is for businesses to survive, it can be the perfect time to jump in and start a business. If everyone is starting businesses, then costs are usually higher. Access to resources is also more difficult if it’s current popular trend. Try finding a good web design company that isn’t fully booked during the good times.

 

Instead, look at the pandemic as an opportunity to get established in an industry that’s ready for some shaking up. If businesses are folding in that area, but you can see how to make some money, you will have less competition. Or maybe most of those businesses are owned by older people, and they are all going to sell and get out during the pandemic? This is your chance to acquire their businesses at a lower cost because demand is lower.

 

The smart investor buys when prices are low and sells when prices are high. However, you can’t just run out there half-cocked and hope to succeed. You need to have some key elements in place to make sure things go the right way.

 

Don’t compromise on your quality or vision

When times are tough, it can be very easy to start cutting corners to get by. Unfortunately, that can have a dire affect on your brand. Imagine you’ve established a local bakery and use only local ingredients for all your delicious baked goods. Suddenly, your local supplier shuts down. If you suddenly change to using a cheaper quality replacement, you could lose all your loyal clientele.

 

This goes the same for compromising your company vision. For example, you might have promised that 10% of all your sales go to supporting a charitable cause. You did this because you truly believe in the cause and that giving back is a key pillar of your company’s vision. Now suddenly your margins are tighter and covering costs is difficult with rising inflation.

 

You might be tempted to cut back on donating for a while to cover your costs. While it might help you stay afloat, the long-term damage to your brand could be very detrimental.

 

Surround yourself with talent

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll remember that I listed staff acquisition and retention as a major issue during the pandemic. But small businesses benefited from the pandemic induced labour market shuffling.

 

Remote work became the norm, which allows businesses to acquire talent from outside of their own geographical area. You are no longer limited to using the services specifically in your geographical space. The whole world is available now with remote video conferencing etc.

 

Produce in-house or locally whenever possible

If you really want to be successful during a time when global supply chains are in chaos, you must produce your products locally or in-house. If you can’t rely on your shipping container from China to reach you on time, you are going to struggle to meet customer demand.

 

Small businesses who manufacture their products locally have exploded in sales during the pandemic. Something as simple as a pharmacy mixing their own sanitizer in-house can mean a huge stream of revenue that wasn’t there before the pandemic.

 

Always have a back-up plan

If you ever get the chance to sit down and talk with Rob, our big boss guy, he can tell you all about the back-up plans and risk mitigation processes he has in place. Being a smaller company, REM is susceptible to possible issues, so he makes sure to have back-up plans for all our processes.

 

For example, we have one Marketing Director…what happens if he gets COVID or is hit by a bus tomorrow?

 

Good communication, a strong set of processes, and back-ups for all your processes means you can weather worst situations with only minor setbacks and without overloading your stress levels. Take the time to setup your processes and have alternatives for each one.

 

Now make back-up plans for all areas of your company from your receptionist to your internet provider.

 

Be prepared for failure

Part of planning for success is planning for failure. If you aren’t ready to handle a failure, it can completely derail all your other plans. However, if you have the right plans in place, a failure can even become an opportunity.

 

Let’s takes sales for example. If you are going in to pitch a deal with a potential client, you should have a plan in place in case they say no. Do you have evidence to dissuade their worries? Could you offer a discount or incentive to sign that day?

 

Preparing for failure means you are truly ready to be a successful business owner. Every successful business owner has realistic expectations and knowing that they will fail at some point is key.

 

In Conclusion

The last couple of years have resulted in a lot of changes to almost every aspect of our lives. The business world has not been immune to this, and we’ve seen a tumultuous number of changes.

 

Successful business owners have been innovative and have found solutions to these problems. They’ve found ways to make more money, or even just hold on, until better times come along.

 

These successful entrepreneurs have used the aforementioned tactics and strategies to make sure they are positioned to win at the end of day.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

A person giving another person a smiley face made of wood

 

A reliable customer loyalty program can help your business gain significant returning revenue and encourage consumers to choose your company and stick with it.

 

Read these tips about how you can create a customer loyalty program that’s unique and effective for your customer base.

 


 

1. Take a look at your current customer base

In order to develop a customer loyalty program that works for your business, you need to take a critical look at your current customer base. Dig deeper into consumer behaviours like spending habits (when, how much, etc.), the method they use to make their purchases, how long they’ve been a customer, etc. You should be obtaining as much valuable information as possible and looking for ways that you can strengthen and improve your current client relationships in order to create a loyalty program that’s tailored to your current and future customers.

 

2. Provide reliable customer service

Customers aren’t just looking for free samples and discounts. Giveaways and perks are great incentives, but they’re not going to solve every customer concern and problem. Provide reliable service that exceeds customer expectations by genuinely listening to what they’re saying and processing their feedback with care and attention. Doing so will prove that you put your client’s needs first, and want to make sure they’re given thoughtful solutions.

 

3. Open up multiple opportunities for customers to enroll

You want to make sure that your customers are not limited to when they are able to enroll in your loyalty program and where they see it advertised. Once it’s launched, you should be promoting your program’s benefits in multiple ways so that the client reach is as widespread as possible. Ideas for this include sharing your program’s advantages on social media, and indicating the monetary amount that customers would potentially save if they joined your program beside their online purchase amounts.

 

4. Set a budget

Organizing essential details like your budget will be necessary in order to mitigate the potential costs associated with developing and launching your customer loyalty program. Managing costs accordingly from the beginning will help you establish structure, and will keep your company on track with achieving your pre-determined goals.

 

5. Opt-in emails

Opt-in emails solicit consumer email addresses in order to receive communication from your company. This is a super effective, simple way to ensure there is a baseline of contact between your company and a customer, where you will be able to send them promotions, updates, and important information via email. Opt-in emails are the perfect way to promote your loyalty program and encourage customers to join. This can be done using email automation tools so you can send mass emails efficiently.

 

6. Consistency is key

Popular fast-food franchises are successful and often favoured by customers for a key reason: they’re consistent. Customers know what to expect every time they visit, no matter where the establishment may be, and they’re not going to receive a drastically different experience based on location. Although this may seem like an insignificant detail, it’s a factor to consider when you’re trying to establish brand loyalty.

 

You want to deliver products and services that your customers can rely on every time they need it, without fail. If they begin to trust that your business can give them what they need and it will meet their expectations every time they get it, then it’s far more likely that they will return.

 

7. Lay out reasonable goals

It can be easy to become carried away and overly ambitious with goals when you’re planning out a new project like a customer loyalty program. However, it’s important to keep your objectives reasonable and attainable, so that you’re able to effectively work towards them with realistic expectations.

 

8. VIP memberships

If you want to add an extra layer of exclusivity to your rewards program, consider creating an advanced level in the form of a VIP membership. Introducing a VIP membership can allow customers to access specific deals, and promotional items, or even access certain products before anyone else. This option gives consumers a small sense of luxury and can be very effective in securing their loyalty if they feel like the benefits are really worth it.

 

9. Focus on the customer, not the competition

Although it can be necessary to scope out the competition that your company is up against, it’s not necessarily needed when you’re focused on building strong customer loyalty. Although a specific customer loyalty program may work well for one business, it’s not going to automatically work for yours. That individualized loyalty program has been explicitly tailored to their client base, and the positive results they receive may not translate to your company, even with the same approach.

 

There isn’t one thing that you can be doing in order to win over your clients and assume their devotion to your company over your competitors. Rather, your success is going to rest on a multitude of different factors that include aspects such as customer interactions, product satisfaction, referrals from devoutly loyal brand supporters, positive website experiences, and more.

 

So even if you’re tempted to mirror what other businesses are doing, just remember that what they’re doing might not work for you.

 

10. Adopt a multi-channel customer service system

A large part of creating a customer loyalty program is being in tune with your clients’ needs. A multi-channel customer service system is one of the best ways to achieve this. As a result, your customers will have increased access to your company’s service team, which will build more customer interactions.

 

Making multiple channels accessible for customer service opens the door for an omnichannel experience. This happens when a user is able to have the same, consistent experience with a brand across all platforms, channels, and devices. Being readily available to your customers through a multitude of ways will make helping them easier and more successful.

 

Help desk and live chat tools can be helpful for your customer service teams with covering numerous channels at once. For smaller service teams, AI software like chatbots can be incredibly useful with categorizing incoming requests and relieving some of the workload.

 

11. Choose a good name

Choosing an appealing name for your loyalty program is a basic, but essential detail that you should be focused on getting just right. The name you choose should be unique, peak your customer’s curiosity, and urge them to join.

 

Try to settle on a name that sets your program apart from the countless other loyalty discounts out there. Clever names that give a hint to the potential benefits involved, but don’t give them all away, are often the most successful at encouraging customers to learn more and eventually sing-up for them.

 

12. Reward a variety of customer behaviours

Think of ways that you can reward your customers beyond purchases alone. Although this is the primary option for rewarding clients, there are other ways you can demonstrate your dedication to customer loyalty.

 

Rewarding non-purchasing behaviour like subscribing to newsletters and blogs, engaging with product content like videos, sharing social media posts, and using your mobile app are all signs that customers are actively consuming your brand’s media, which can be just as valuable as purchasing, so reward it where you can.

 

13. Offer multiple rewards

Discounts are a great way to reward your customers, but it isn’t the only method you can use  as an incentive. Get creative with the rewards customers can receive and think outside of the box with what you can offer. For example, customers could collect a certain number of loyalty points through every purchase and turn them into free products, tickets to local events, or a monetary amount that could be donated to a charity.

 

14. Make points count

If you want your customers to enroll in your brand’s loyalty rewards program, you need to offer them something valuable that will make their money worthwhile. If your loyalty program involves a cash-back system, assign a monetary value to your points so customers can clearly visualize what they’re actually worth.

 

15. Referral programs

An excellent way to incentivize customer loyalty and brand advocacy is by offering a reward for consumer referrals. If your offer is good enough, research has proven that customers will take the time to network your company to potential leads.

 


 

What are the benefits of creating an effective loyalty program?

 

1. User generated reviews

Customer loyalty programs that incentivize company reviews and ratings will encourage more authentic first-hand feedback from customers praising your business.

 

2. Improved customer retention

Effective customer loyalty programs encourage consumers to remain committed and can impact how much they spend and engage with your business overall. Having an additional connection to your company like belonging to a rewards program can increase the likelihood of customers returning time and time again.

 

3. Increased customer referrals

If someone enjoys a loyalty program, then it’s likely that they will share their positive experience and those benefits with friends, family, and acquaintances–which is a trusted form of free advertising for your company. Generating business this way can also result in higher retention rates.

 

4. Cost-effectiveness

In the long-run, it’s far more cost-effective for your business to retain satisfied customers than it would be to continuously churn through new ones. Taking on new customers is proven to be more costly than keeping current ones.

 


 

Conclusion:

Creating the best loyalty rewards program for your business takes careful consideration and planning, but when it’s done right, it can help maintain your current clients and bring in new ones as well. Loyalty reward programs are the perfect way to incentivize consumers for doing business with your company, so don’t hesitate to get started on crafting a program that will work best for you and your customers.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Business woman who owns a bicycle repair shop

 

The pandemic has changed the world’s workforce. Some women started working from home, some were fired, while others quit their jobs to introspect and re-invent themselves. If your entrepreneurial bone has also been tickled as we emerge from the pandemic, here are some business ideas you should consider to become an entrepreneur.

 


 

Start an Online Tutoring business

 

As parents juggle working from home and their young ones, online tutoring helps take the burden off. Engaging an online tutor, gives students a boost with their studies and helps improve their grades.   It also gives parents a chance to manage their own time better as they juggle their work-life balance while working from home.

 

Assess Your Skills

 

You can combine your undergraduate or grad degree and experience in customer relations to be a successful tutor. You could not only offer tutoring to school students but also to returning learners at local colleges and universities, as well as those learning to speak English as a second language.

 

Prepare for Success

 

Create a strong blend of your soft and technical skills. Choose a couple subjects you’re interested in or excel at for best success. This way, you will be more comfortable preparing courses and related activities. Remember to focus on both first-time and returning learners to reach a wider clientele.

 

  • Highlight any skills gained in your other careers, such as math if you’ve worked in finance.
  • Create engaging course material, mixing traditional and digital resources.
  • Dig deeper into your student’s learning style.
  • Establish a collaborative and interactive teaching style.

 


 

Start an Interior Design business

 

Being at home gave people a chance to get around to the DIY projects that had always been on their lists. While it sounds like a grand proposition, there’s little room for trial and error when buying pricey decoration items. That’s when you can step in as an expert.

 

Assess Your Skills

 

If you’ve always had an eye for details, colours, textures, textiles, and furniture, this could be your new business! Interior design is more than moving a couch from one corner to another; it also entails an understanding of lighting, depth, and space. You will connect all these elements to breathe life into the vision your client has for their space. You could also consider taking a short online course that can solidify this career move.

 

Prepare for Success

 

Build a portfolio. Start by practicing at home or by decorating for your friends. Take on a variety of projects so you can show your clients a diversity of décor concepts.

 

  • Practice on the most commonly re-decorated spaces, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Take photos — lots of photos — of your projects showing both the before and after stages.
  • Talk about the latest trends in decoration or entice the more niche market with vintage styles.
  • Build a local suppliers network so you can bypass supply chain issues.

 


 

Start a Virtual Assistant business

 

Off-site employees reduce employer costs, but somebody still has to do the work! Virtual assistants have been masters of remote work since before the pandemic. And now that you understand how it all works, it’s time you turned it into a lucrative business.

 

Assess Your Skills

 

Virtual assistants work part-time to manage day-to-day business administration tasks, deal with clients, schedule appointments, and enter data. As a contract worker, you retain the freedom to take on various clients.

 

Prepare for Success

 

Put the spotlight on your time management skills. A successful virtual assistant can manage multiple tasks simultaneously and can switch tracks very quickly. Show your prospective clients that you can improvise and think outside the box.

 

  • Able to pay attention to detail.
  • Can make tedious repetitive tasks look interesting.
  • A whiz at organizing the day and achieving goals.
  • Skilled at dealing with people and resolving conflicts.

 


 

Start an Event Planning business

 

Despite the popularity of Zoom calls and virtual gatherings, in-person events are back! This means there’s need for someone who can take on the duty of planning and organizing events.

 

Assess Your Skills

 

As a good event planner, you smoothly integrate the various moving parts of a function and make it all work like a well-oiled machine. You can think both in big picture terms and focus on each component of an event separately. Event planners are great at making connections in various industries so they can bring together all the elements of a successful event with ease.

 

Prepare for Success

 

As the world slowly embraces the new normal, the need for in-person gatherings also returns, but with caution. Understanding the new rules and regulations that now govern our social events takes time that in-house employees may not have. You can fill that gap.

 

  • Great at bringing together people from different fields.
  • Highly organized and can adapt on the fly.
  • Can manage budgets efficiently.
  • Have the ability to handle large-scale logistics with ease.

 


 

Start a Food Catering business

 

With events and weddings returning, food caterers will see a surge in demand. Your skills will be needed at events or even for smaller weekend barbecue affairs. If you represent Canadian diversity, you could tap into your heritage to reach a niche market.

 

Assess Your Skills

 

The secrets lie in grandma’s recipe book. There’s value in offering classic, family recipes that have been around for generations. And if you have a diverse cultural background, you could also dig into traditional recipes to create a unique menu for diners.

 

Prepare for Success

 

Whether it’s delivering for events or packaged home-cooked meals, practice is what makes perfect. Gather a few friends to sample menu items to get in some training and refine the final products.

 

  • Practice, practice, practice — that’s what makes it perfect when you need to amend dishes for specific tastes.
  • Hone bargain hunting skills to find the best deals for inventory needs.
  • Research nearby cloud kitchen rentals for larger catering events.
  • Create a list of servers you can call on for larger events.
  • Look up recipe variations to cater to specific dietary needs.  

 


 

Start a Fitness Training business

 

We all know someone that has experienced a drastic change in levels of personal activity during the pandemic. Sedentary work styles have long been known to increase body aches and pains. Being unable to go to a gym has prevented people from maintaining their established fitness routines.

 

Assess Your Skills

 

If you’re high energy, love fitness-related activities, and like motivating others toward their health goals, you’re a good fit for this field. Augment that with a certificate in fitness and training and you’re good to go.

 

Prepare for Success

 

As a fitness trainer, you will be required to assess clients’ health goals. Being a good listener and asking key questions is crucial to this role. Find the key motivators that work for your client and form a step-wise plan they can follow.

 

  • Analyze and implement effective ways to increase your clients’ physical activity levels.
  • Lead by example.
  • Validate the efficacy of the fitness plan through constant follow up. Be ready to present alternate options if needed.
  • Be good in both one-to-one interactions and in conducting group activities.

 


 

Start a Coaching business

 

The pandemic has thrown many a wrench in peoples’ plans for personal development. Stress levels have gone through the roof, impeding peoples’ personal growth and leading to loss of self-confidence. As a personal coach, your role is to provide a steady, motivational partnership to success.

 

Assess Your Skills

 

As a, you will peel back the layers of barriers preventing people from reaching their personal evolution goals. And then you will gently guide clients toward the path to achievement and progress.

 

Prepare for Success

 

There are ample online certifications that can prepare you for this role. Aside from the courses, you will also need to sharpen your listening, assessment, problem solving, and analytical skills.

 

  • A strong sense of empathy to relate to peoples’ struggles and stresses.
  • A genuine aspiration to help people reach the next level in their lives.
  • Ability to motivate others to break free of personal barriers holding them back.
  • Comfortable sharing personal life experiences to inspire others into action.

 


 

Start a Podcasting business

 

This form of digital entertainment has become huge during the pandemic. And it’s not going anywhere even as the pandemic nears its end. It’s an easy form of entertainment for long commutes or as travel resurges.

 

Assess Your Skills

 

Are you able to research a concept, gather information, spin it into a tale and tell the story in an engaging manner? If you answered, yes, plug that into any of the various podcasting platforms and you’re ready to broadcast.

 

Prepare for Success

 

Like books, podcasts follow genres. You could choose a genre that interests you personally or you could sample some popular podcasts and find the missing gap. Then dive into the creation process.

 

  • Research a podcast platform that you’re comfortable using.
  • Invest in reliable recording equipment or you could look into a local library offering rentals.
  • Do background work on the theme.
  • Prepare the script for the first few episodes.
  • Create a brand for your podcast.
  • Launch podcast

 


 

In conclusion, this is a good starting point when considering new business opportunities for yourself. Contact REM for the perfect website when you are ready to launch your business!

 

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Giant megaphone and laptop surrounded by people

 

One of the most effective ways you can make your small business stand out and generate client interest is by starting a blog for your company. Although it may seem intimidating at first, starting a blog does not have to be a complicated process.

 

Business blogging and content marketing are essential for businesses that want to thrive in a digital retailer space. Google has clearly stated that content, especially valuable content updated on a regular basis, is a key criterion to ranking in search pages.

 


 

Below are some tips and necessary steps to help you start your own business blog. But don’t forget that REM offers blog writing services to supplement your own blogging or even blog for you. Each blog is custom written for your company and ghost-written, so you get full ownership of the content.

 

1. Register a domain

The first step that you should begin with is registering a domain name. To do so, simply visit a domain registrar, type in the domain you want to purchase and pay the required fee. Remember, you won’t be able to buy any domain, only one that isn’t already registered by another business or person.

 

If you already have a business website, speak to your designer about adding a blog to your existing site. REM customers have the option to get a blogging module during their initial design or add one later. Speak to one of our sales reps to discuss your options for adding a blog to your custom business website.

 

2. Select a content management system

There are countless content management systems that you can choose for your blog.

 

Some popular options include:

 

[email protected]

REM’s own custom CMS system has all the blogging features you might need built right into the module.

 

Blogger

A free Google product that has been influential in the world of online publishing since it was established in 1999. Blogger is simple, and it can be linked with all your Google accounts.

 

Ghost

Ghost is a great choice for businesses looking for an intuitive dashboard and built-in SEO features. There is a free version of the platform, Ghost Open-Source, and a monthly subscription option for more advanced features.

 

Tumblr

Although it’s known as a social media website, Tumblr offers a user-friendly interface that’s ideal for blog posting. It’s a good choice for incorporating trending subjects and memes if you’re looking to incorporate a casual tone to your blog, and best of all, it’s free to use.

 

3. Implement an editing tool

Nobody wants to read blog posts that are filled with spelling and grammatical errors. To catch mistakes before they make it onto your site, consider implementing an editing tool. Grammarly is a reliable option, and although there is a paid version of the editing add-on, the free version will likely be enough to cover any common errors that might pop up in your blog.

 

4. Consider a content calendar

If you’re already familiar with social media calendars, then this concept isn’t much different. A content calendar for your blog would include blog post ideas, pitches, the timelines for completing each of your posts, and the publishing dates. This will help you stay organized and keep up to date with your posts.

 

5. Send out an email newsletter

Emails newsletters are an incredibly effective and simple way to get the word out to your current and potential clients about your blog. You can send out a weekly newsletter with updates about recent posts, and a sneak peek into the newest content on your blog. Consider utilizing a platform like Mailchimp to help design, set up, and schedule your newsletter.

 

[email protected] has a newsletter module which you can add on to your existing site or new custom build. Our talented, in-house, designers can make a gorgeous template and then our Customer Success Team can walk you through how to edit and send them out on a regular basis.

 

6. Use Google Analytics Dashboard

The Google Analytics Dashboard is a hugely helpful tool in helping you track and review the statistics of your blog posts. You will be able to look at information like the number of people visiting your site, where they’re located, and how long they’re staying on your web pages.

 

Speak with our Marketing Director to learn more about digital marketing and monitoring your traffic on your sites.

 

7. Write engaging content

The key to a successful blog is the content. People will not want to stay and read your posts if they’re not written well, and the subject matter isn’t engaging. Try to think outside of the box with your topics, and make sure that each post is thoroughly edited.

 

People will want to stay on your site if they see that your posts are unique, thoughtful, and offer valuable information that they would not be able to receive the same way anywhere else. Standing out in a highly competitive space can be challenging, but if you put the work in to make your content shine, you’ll start to see the benefits of prioritizing it–and your customers will be grateful for it.

 

8. Have a cohesive theme in mind

It’s necessary to have a plan of action in mind when creating your blog and to think about the goals you want to achieve in the process. You don’t want your blog to be all over the place and inconsistent, so strategize a theme, or at least central points, that you want to regularly incorporate into your posts.

 


 

Now that you know some of the basic steps, what are the benefits of starting a blog? There are a number of positive reasons you should be bringing your blog to life, but here are some of the ways your business could be benefit from a blog:

 

1. Leads

Although this is not something that will happen overnight, creating a blog is a great opportunity to generate leads. Each post you make opens the possibility of reaching a potential client, and if your content is well-written, consistent, and reliable, it’s more likely you will start accumulating people who rely on your business.

 

Building trust and authority (read more below) takes time, but it’s worth it when trying to establish your business as a trustworthy source.

 

2. Traffic

Creating blog content is an excellent way to gain more traffic on your site. Generating more content is the key to ranking high on Google. Combining business blogging with social media will increase the amount of search engine results your business receives online, and as a result, boost your website traffic.

 

3. Authority

Blogging can help establish authority for your business as a strong figure in a competitive industry. By creating an engaging blog with content that demonstrates your thorough knowledge and expertise, more and more people will look to you for advice. Even smaller brands can benefit from providing helpful information to their target audiences.

 

Once you begin sharing well-written blog posts consistently, customers will rely on your business and go to you for services and assistance. Solve minor problems for your readers, and do it for free, and soon you’ll be hired to handle bigger jobs. Show your readers you are a Subject Matter Expert.

 

4. Make more money

Not only can your blog be the perfect method to reach clients and create more traffic on your site, but you can also earn money from it as well. Monetizing your blog can be an effective way to earn more money for your business.

 

Some ways you can make money from your blog include:

 

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing involves showing ads on your site for outside companies. If a visitor clicks on an ad link and makes a purchase, you will earn a commission from that sale e.g., Amazon.

 

Offering private ad space

Unlike Adsense, you can provide private ad space to other companies, like Nascar sponsorships.

 

Selling digital products

With little to no cost on physical materials, you can also use your blog to sell digital products. Well-written e-books, for example, can be a lucrative resource to sell.

 

Adsense ad revenue

Adsense is a popular form of ad revenue for websites. It’s important to note that with Adsense, however, you won’t receive a lot of additional money unless your website has a large amount of visitor traffic.

 

5. Highlighting products or services

A blog can serve as a great way to highlight products or services that your business would benefit from promoting. Create blog posts about specific products breaking down their benefits and top-selling points to encourage customers to purchase them.

 

6. Expanding on your business’ values and goals

It’s not always completely clear where a business may stand on important issues or what its values and goals are from a website alone. A blog can help expand on these points and provide clarity to your audience about the things your business stands behind.

 

In a socially conscious world, an increasing number of people care about the ethics of the places they choose to do business with and blogging can be an ideal way to share these viewpoints in detail.

 

7. Showcasing your knowledge

Blogging gives business owners the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and expertise about a variety of different topics. You want to prove to your customer base and any potential clients that you are knowledgeable about your field and can provide them with the best resources to prove it.

 

8. Sharing honestly

A blog can be the ideal platform to share posts transparently and honestly. Customers highly value honest companies who are open about their policies, products, and services. Blog posts can serve as a great means to do this and engage with your audience on a more personal, down to earth level that makes them trust you more.

 

Conclusion:

Creating a business blog is one of the most effective ways to expand the potential of your online presence and stand out in the highly competitive e-commerce space. Take the opportunity to develop a blog that showcases your knowledge with unique and engaging posts and establish yourself as a top competitor in the digital marketplace world.

 

Use these tips to get your blog started, and you’ll quickly see all the benefits business blogging has to offer! If you don’t have the time to tackle this on your own, or if you want to write one post a month while we write additional ones for you, speak to an REM sales rep today to get started.

 

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People looking at an E-commerce platform on a mobile device

 

Starting an E-commerce website doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does require planning, clear objectives, and an understanding of consumer psychology.

 

REM’s [email protected] offers a robust E-commerce platform with a suite of tools and shipping options to help get your online store up and running correctly from the start.

 


 

If you’re interested in building a successful E-commerce business, here are some of the things you should consider before you get started.

 

1. Select a platform

When you’re setting up your E-commerce website, one of the first things you should be thinking about is what hosting platform to use. Compare online store builders and weigh your options to see which one would work best for your business. Consider template and theme options, payment processing, Amazon integration, free trials, and built-in metrics when deciding on which one to use for your product sales.

 

The software you choose should ultimately be based on your customer experience goals, so be conscious of those needs when making your decision. Sit down with an REM sales rep to see if our E-commerce platform and a beautiful custom website will work for your needs.

 

2. What to sell

Although it may seem like an obvious, basic step, but having a clear idea of what you will be selling is essential to getting your E-commerce business started. Follow what’s trending and look at social media for inspiration.

 

3. Understanding your consumers

When you begin building your E-commerce business, you should have a comprehensive understanding of who your consumer base will be. Truly knowing the buyers who will be purchasing your wares will help you understand their habits and offer what they really want to see rather than what you want to sell.

 

4. Order tracking and simple checkout

Incorporating order tracking features and a shipping system into your website can save you on resources in the long run. As well, customers will be able to track, update, or cancel their orders easily.

 

Long checkout processes are often a huge turn-off to online buyers. If they’re purchasing something digitally, then they want the process to be faster than it would be in-person. Additionally, you can include a “guest checkout” option and bypass annoying your customers by forcing them to go through a mandatory sign-up for buying products.

 

If you want to gather names and emails, e.g., for a newsletter, make sure you give your customers an enticing reason to provide their information and make an account. Offer a 5% discount or maybe a free product, or cheaper shipping for site members vs. guest accounts.

 

5. Payment

You’re more likely to see success and an increase in sales if your E-commerce business accepts all methods of electronic payment including PayPal, Stripe, and Amazon Pay.

 

6. Social media plan

Create social media accounts for your online store to set up an additional online presence and get the word out about who you are and what you offer. This way, you’ll be able to connect on a personal level with potential consumers, advertise your products, and provide additional customer service support.

 

Create a social media plan that targets your main goals and addresses your business’ needs.

 

7. Customer support

Investing in top-notch customer service and buyer support is another crucial aspect of operating a successful E-commerce business. Live chat and Q&A features are popular options to engage with customers. Chatbots are also another feature to consider since they can provide 24/7 support when humans aren’t able to.

 

8. Mobile commerce

More and more people are opting to online shop using their phones. This is why it’s important that you optimize your website to function smoothly on mobile devices as well as on desktops. You want to create a strategy that ensures your mobile website works seamlessly between both options and buyers are able to use them easily, without any unnecessary roadblocks or errors that would prevent them from hitting the check-out button and purchasing the items in their cart.

 

9. Marketing campaigns

Marketing your E-commerce site can be one of the most challenging aspects of getting an online store off the ground. Creating a dependable marketing strategy will be essential in succeeding with your business.

 

Strike a balance with your marketing choices so you’re not relying too heavily on one strategy. Sit down with our Marketing Director to brainstorm some ideas on how to get your store noticed online. Even better, hire REM to do your digital marketing for you so you can focus on the other parts of your business.

 

10. Content management plan

Creating interesting content that users want to read is one of the most necessary steps in ensuring your online business is successful.

 

Tips to making good content:

  • Write topics that are unique and engaging to new customers
  • Make sure posts are easy to scan, and free of any errors
  • Use a conversational, friendly tone
  • Try to include interactive elements like links and videos

REM offers content and blog writing services to help improve your content. Improving your content will also help your rankings in Google. All of our content is ghost-written for your company, and you will own and can take full credit for the content.

 

11. User-friendliness

One of the most important factors of your website that you should be considering is its user-friendliness. You want your customers to be able to operate your site easily and not run into any unnecessary difficulties.

 

The longer a site takes to load, and the more challenging it is to navigate, the more likely it is that users won’t stay on it and will take their business elsewhere.

 

Tips to ensuring a website is user-friendly:

  • Keep the design simple
  • Use accessible language and a friendly tone
  • Be mindful when choosing a colour palette
  • Ensure the layout is straightforward to use
  • Place your company logo on the top left
  • Make your content easy to skim
  • Include your business’ social media icons

 

12. Security measures

If you have an E-commerce business that promises to keep your customers’ personal information safe and secure, consumers will be able to trust and rely on you. A security badge is a way to make your website dependable.

 

Avoiding retail fraud for the sake of both customers’ and sellers’ safety should be one of the largest priorities you focus on when starting your E-commerce business. Make it clear to buyers that you genuinely care about protecting their emails, passwords, and credit card numbers.

 

13. Shipping products

An overwhelming majority of shoppers will abandon their carts for online purchases before they checkout due to additional fees like high shipping costs.

 

To try and avoid buyers leaving their carts before purchase here are some things you can do:

  • Choose the best shipping method at a lower cost
  • Be clear and up-front about shipping costs from the beginning of the purchasing process
  • Offer free shipping on certain items or after a shopper spends a specific amount of money
  • Include an estimated delivery time-range

 

14. Keep an eye on prices

In order to be a top contender in a competitive online market, you will need to keep your prices at a reasonable level. Research the prices that similar businesses to yours are selling their products for to get a sense of what price range you can be selling your stock for.

 

15. Have a team in place

Having a reliable marketing team in place to support your online store can be hugely helpful in making the process of starting and operating an E-commerce business less stressful.

 

16. Post-sales

Your job isn’t over when a customer has completed a sale. It’s valuable to stay in touch with your consumers and receive feedback, while encouraging them to visit your business again. Send them reminders about good deals.

 

17. Return policies and reviews

It’s unrealistic to expect that every product you have to offer is going to work out equally for each customer. It’s beneficial to provide a reliable return and refund policy for unsatisfied customers on specific products.

 

As well, give buyers the option to leave reviews after they’ve made a confirmed purchase. This will be valuable for you in the longrun, as you will be able to read feedback about your products directly.

 

18. Email newsletters

To help push the word out about your business and make people aware of deals, membership sign-up incentives, sales, and new products, email newsletters can be an incredibly effective option to for this.

 

Include an email newsletter pop-up on your website and generate an email contact list that you update with new customer information.

 


 

Conclusion:

There are a lot of different factors to consider before starting an E-commerce business. If you follow these considerations and put careful planning into your online store, you will become a reputable shop that consumers can rely on and trust.

 

Speak with an REM sales rep to get started with your very own custom E-commerce website to really show off your products and wow your customers.

 

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People doing charitable things with the Earth and a heart behind them

 

A growing number of consumers are placing increased importance on the social responsibility of businesses, and believe that it’s the duty of corporations to leave a positive, significant impact on the world.

 

In turn, this line of thinking can also benefit businesses. More and more people are willing to spend money for sustainable products that are from socially conscious companies, and as a result, they trust the brands that make them available.

 

It’s becoming common for even the largest corporations to advertise and market their social activism, while making a profit from it in the process. Consumers now look for it in the companies they choose to do business with, and an increasing number of organizations are adapting in order to reflect those expectations.

 


 

Read the strategies below to learn about how your business can become more socially responsible.

 

1. Take care of the local community

Take a critical look at your local community’s needs, and as a company become involved in causes that will leave a positive influence. An organization who is active within their community and participates in local events, charity drives, and fundraisers, is more likely to be perceived positively and be regarded as an authentic presence who is reliable and trustworthy.

 

As well, holding a strong presence in the community will likely draw more attention from potential local clients and bring in more business. If people have already formed positive perceptions of your company based on your public activity, it’s reasonable to assume they would also want to use your services.

 

2. Create goals with a measurable impact

If you want to become a socially responsible company, you need to create and set goals with a measurable impact. By establishing goals that leave a significant impression, it helps organizations be accountable to themselves, their consumers, and stakeholders.

 

3. Promote a healthy and inclusive workplace culture

One of the most crucial aspects of social responsibility starts internally, with your own workplace culture and community. Organizations who prioritize this aspect cultivate work environments where their employees can thrive and excel at what they do.

 

Promote a culture that highly values the overall wellness of employees and prioritize high-visibility training efforts to encourage inclusivity. This is a big step in the right direction to maximize shareholder value by giving companies the chance to communicate their values and beliefs across stakeholder segments.

 

However, it’s necessary to note that a positive company environment doesn’t begin and end at one training session and will require a more expansive and involved strategy.

 

4. Give back to a charity

Philanthropic practices and giving back to charities is beneficial for a multitude of reasons. Finding the causes that truly make a difference in the world to invest in proves to people that you put thought and care into your choices as a company.

 

Striking up a partnership with a charity that matches your company’s values and beliefs can take time and careful consideration. If you find the right fit, you have the option to create a meaningful relationship that’s mutually valuable.

 

With a give-back program for charity, for example, you can motivate your employees, as well as people within the local community, to choose your business based on that partnership alone.

 

5. Solicit Feedback

If you want to become a socially responsible company, consider soliciting feedback from your employees, customers, and people in the community. Brands who actively listen to the feedback they receive can take control of situations and maximize stakeholder value.

 

As well, when companies engage in constructive conversations about how they can improve, it proves to their consumer base that they value their input and are seriously committed to moving in the right direction as an organization.

 


 

So, how can your company benefit from being more socially responsible? Here are just a few ways your business can see success from becoming more socially conscious, in terms of reputation and employee perception.

 

1. Employee retention

It’s not hard to figure out that employees who are happy with their workplace culture and values are more likely to stay with that company than to change from job to job. Staying connected and serving “the greater good” is something those millennial employees especially place a large amount of importance on in their place of work.

 

Providing staff with a brand they can proudly represent and stand behind that goes beyond profit value is simply effective marketing–if an employee is satisfied with what they do, they’re more likely to spread the word about that company to people they know. Many companies are now leveraging their “work perks” alongside salaries as added incentives to new hires. Whether that’s by offering “mental health days,” office upgrade “allowances,” or additional paid vacation time, it’s becoming more commonplace for organizations to tout their additional work bonuses.

 

Along with the common work incentives mentioned above that are becoming more mainstream like flexible hours and hybrid, off-site work models, a powerful brand mission can be incredibly helpful in attracting and retaining talented workers. Keeping your employees happy, motivated, and content can be achieved if you provide them with the right opportunities to take pride in their work and the company, they’re doing it for.

 

2. Community reputation

Building a positive community reputation can do wonders for your business overall. Not only does it encourage more customers to choose to support your brand, but it also encourages them to give their business to you if they grow to respect and trust your brand. A good reputation can generate more community backing on a smaller scale.

 

Attending your business’ events and following and engaging with your social media accounts are just a few examples of how a positive reputation in your community can leave a recognizable impact on your organization.

 

Participating in local events and fundraisers like charity marathons also serve as team-building exercises for your employees. You’re taking the opportunity as a business to work together to raise money for a worthwhile cause, creating public exposure for your workplace that promotes a positive, charitable image to the community, and you’re engaging in an activity that encourages your team to socialize outside of a formal work setting.

 

3. Playing the long game

Socially responsible companies who are committed to their values and goals are more likely to succeed in the long-term. If a company values the wellbeing of their employees and makes an honest effort to adapt to changing expectations surrounding worker welfare, then it’s safe to assume that retention is less likely to become an issue.

 

Additionally, making a commitment to having ongoing, honest conversations with stakeholders can build a strong foundation and clear path for becoming a leading company, and a socially responsible company compared to your competition.

 

If you commit to becoming a socially responsible business, your consumer base will appreciate you all the more for it, and your longstanding reputation will ideally reflect that as well.

 

4. Changing market expectations

Even the most profit-driven businesses are now keeping up the appearance of being socially responsible companies. Big box stores are introducing lines of organic, sustainable products, and are promoting their involvement with various charities and support of social movements.

 

Falling in-line with socially responsible business practices and marketing is quickly becoming the norm, so it’s better for your business in the long-run to keep up with the developing expectations of modern consumers.

 

5. Positive social media presence

Socially responsible companies generally have a successful social media presence and a dedicated audience to go along with it. Social media accounts are an excellent place to share your brand’s initiatives, goals, and involvement within the local community in a way that’s straightforward and accessible.

 

As well, if your business maintains a communicative and honest relationship with users on your social pages by answering questions, engaging in dialogue about important issues and causes, then you’re likely to leave a positive impression on potential consumers.

 

The mark you make on social media is crucial in the day and age we live in, and people are looking to corporations and businesses to use their platforms for good, reputable causes. No longer are business pages solely looked to for sharing only products and services, rather, they’re often treated and expected to serve as a mouthpiece for activism as well.

 

Speaking out against injustices, sharing company policies and practices, and treating your socials like an advertisement for the valuable work you’re doing won’t go unnoticed by socially inclined customers.

 


 

Conclusion:

Forging a commitment to becoming a socially responsible company is something that will take time, effort, and careful consideration. If you approach these goals with the right mindset, however, you are going to benefit from becoming a more well-rounded business who prioritizes important causes, and advocates for the overall happiness of your employees.

 

So, try out these tips if you’re looking to make your business become more socially responsible!

 

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Man working on a laptop outside

 

Over the course of the pandemic, people across the globe had to adjust to working from home. As we transition back to more normal business operations, companies are now starting to adopt a hybrid working model for their employees.

 

More and more people are not only working from home or at the office, but from other locations as well. Enter: the third workplace. Remote work has seen a boom in popularity in places like cafes and coffee houses. Although a common choice for people who are accustomed to remote work, the third workplace has seen a big boom in popularity lately.

 

Here’s why it’s important for companies to know more about them and the potential they hold.

 

What is a third workplace?

Third workplaces are locations where people go to work that are not their physical office or their home. A third workplace can pretty much be anything but is most commonly a coffee shop, hotel, or co-working space.

 

With remote work becoming more commonplace, third workplaces have turned into ideal spots for people who may not need to go into their office but also don’t want to work from home. A spot like a coffee house offers the hustle and bustle of people and relaxed interaction, with a controlled environment to get work done–and the bonus of accessible caffeine on hand if you desire it.

 

Because of their popularity, business owners have the potential to seize a possible opportunity for additional income with third workplaces. In small towns and rural areas especially, more people will be looking for spots away from their own homes to get their work done during the day. Here is where you come in.

 

What do you need to set up a workplace?

A new line of income could be created for a small business with any space that can be rented out and adapted into an area for people to work. You want to create an environment that’s desirable for people to go to for their daily tasks. Many workers would rather travel to a third workplace instead of staying at home because they crave a change in scenery, desire more interaction and interpersonal connections, wish to stay connected with the local community, or simply require a controlled environment to focus on the work they need to complete for the day.

 

Luckily, setting up a third workplace does not need to be too complicated and you don’t need an overabundance of supplies in order to get started. Think about the basic needs of the average worker, and what helps people concentrate and be productive.

 

Some items and assets to consider:

  • Comfortable seating
  • Desks or sturdy tables
  • Wifi
  • Unobtrusive lighting that isn’t too bright (no one likes working under harsh, fluorescent lights if they can help it)

 

Most of the elements associated with a third workplace are negotiable. You can draw inspiration from other popular spots that people like to go to do their work, but the most important thing is that the essentials are in place for people to take advantage of. Most individuals won’t be hung up on the minor details and will be more focused on the overall space and their ability to work on what they need to get done.

 

Even if other co-working spaces exist in your area, you can turn your third workplace into your own. Make it reflective of your personality and figure out what kind of vibe you want to go for. Different people prefer different working environments. Some may like noisy coffee shops, and formal business locations, while others may enjoy a quiet library or a homey, relaxed spot. Figure out what theme resonates with you the most and go from there.

 

It’s not just about leisure

Although they’re often looked at as a leisurely place to escape from work and home, third workplaces aren’t just about relaxation. They’re also about productivity. A blend of the office and home without all the typical distractions that make those locations more difficult to work in.

 

A neutral third workplace is whatever you desire it to be. A spot where people don’t have to worry about taking calls around their screaming kids or overhear their coworkers in the middle of other distracting calls while they’re trying to get a project completed. Third workplaces could quickly become the sanctuary people need to be more efficient with their work during the day.

 

The future of hybrid work

The pandemic certainly taught many companies that it is possible to function successfully as a business with employees follow a remote or hybrid model of work. What was once a trendy new term and special incentive or perk for select workplaces is now quickly evolving into a new normal for many companies.

 

Hybrid work is now more than just a trending term. It’s indicative of a larger shift that’s happening with the way people approach work, the most efficient way people want to reach productivity goals and increase employee satisfaction in the process. To highlight the monumental scale of this trend, 65 percent of companies now want a hybrid working model moving forward.

 

It’s crucial for businesses to consider what this model of work will mean for their company and employees in the future.

 

The benefits of a hybrid work model

The 2020s saw a large number of employees show preference to remote work options, and many want to keep them in place. The middle-ground approach of a hybrid working model offers the benefits of both in-person and remote work, while keeping both sides of the employer-employee relationship happy.

 

There are also added benefits to this work choice as well. Employees are typically more satisfied when they are given the freedom to choose where they work. From an employer standpoint, companies save on costs when hybrid work models result in lower turnover rates, and office expenses are lessened as a result.

 

Hybrid working models can also address a critical problem that was seen during the pandemic: isolation. Employees are still given the choice to work away from the office, but there is also a social component that allows for group collaboration and discussion with face-to-face interactions that aren’t through a Zoom call or over a cubicle wall.

 

Potential issues with third workplaces

Although there are many benefits to a hybrid working model and the concept of third workplaces, they aren’t without their downsides as well.

 

Hybrid work and third workplaces open the possibility for security holes in organizations. It also presents the issue of working from personal devices instead of using company software. Many businesses are still not at a place where they can properly handle this problem effectively. The question stands, how can you provide access to confidential information to employees working in remote locations who are using personal devices?

 

Many employees also hold the expectation that they will be doing work at third workplaces from their own devices instead of company owned computers, which presents a set of challenges for the business-side of operations attempting to tackle the hybrid working model.

 

Conclusion

With hybrid working models becoming the new normal for organizations, it’s a smart decision to investigate the value of investing in a third workplace to gain an additional income. As well, they hold a lot of potential benefits for your employees if used correctly and can drastically increase worker satisfaction.

 

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This is a headshot of Sanj Rajput.

Woman looking at invoices

 

One of the most fundamental administrative tasks small businesses need to place extra emphasis on is invoicing. It’s an essential business item that can ensure healthy cash flow if they’re managed and organized correctly.

 

Invoicing can be an overwhelming process if it’s not approached correctly and effectively. The more clients you have, the easier it can become to lose track of who’s paying which invoice, and which person is behind on their payments. As well, if you’re making your invoices manually with a large client base, there’s greater margin for errors and lack of consistency.

 

Luckily, optimizing invoicing for small businesses doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming when you apply the right approach.

 

What is invoicing?

If your business is centered around clients and services, then invoicing is a large part of necessary operations and successful company management. Invoices are records of services or items provided to customers, and act as a method for them to pay you for what is being charged.

 

Invoices are different from receipts as they are legal documents used to request payment from consumers. There are associated agreed-upon conditions, such as a due date for payment.

 

Don’t know how to prepare professional invoices or where to get started? Read the tips below to help you optimize this essential process.

 

1. Follow-up on payments

Ideally, your clients will be prompt and follow-up on their required payments immediately. However, there will be times when invoices slip through the cracks and customers may need to be reminded to pay their owed amounts. When this happens, it’s important to take on the responsibility of communicating with customers about their unpaid invoices.

 

It’s not rude or unprofessional to remind people when their invoices are almost due. In fact, it’s a necessary business courtesy and it ensures that you’re holding your clients accountable for the money that is owed to you. You can do this periodically by sending out a brief, yet polite reminder that their invoice due date is approaching.

 

Not only can this help keep recent invoices fresh in the mind of your customers who may have simply forgotten about their upcoming payments, it can also mitigate potential cash flow issues and help with keeping you organised by knowing which clients still owe you payments.

 

2. Include all necessary information

Invoices should be appropriately detailed and include all necessary information that customers will need:

  • Invoice date
  • Invoice number
  • Billing period
  • Your business’ name and billing address
  • Your customer’s name and address
  • Payment terms and the due date
  • Your bank information
  • Your contact information
  • Taxes, fees, and discounts

 

Additionally, you can add HST numbers, client reference numbers and purchase order information. If your operating name is different from the name of your corporation, you must not that information on your invoice as well.

 

If you have a very complicated business setup, it helps to run the invoice past your accountant or bookkeeper to make sure that it contains all the information you need.

 

3. Provide clear descriptions

You don’t want there to be any misunderstandings or confusion surrounding charges on an invoice, which is why you want to make sure that each charge has a clear and detailed description. There should be a breakdown of charges on the invoice that allows clients to see the exact list of what they are buying, and the costs associated with them.

Providing detail with this level of clarity will not only improve the overall accuracy of your invoices, but also prove to your customers that your business is honest, transparent, and reliable. Clear descriptions will encourage clients to pay on time and also help you when referring to past invoices to find charges or handle disputes.

 

4. Send out invoices in a timely manner

Don’t delay when you’re sending out business invoices. You want to keep your cash flow consistent, and a large part of achieving this is by forwarding invoices to your clients as soon as a project has been completed.

 

Doing so will give people time to look through invoices thoroughly and understand the payment timeline and requirements. As well, sending invoices out early takes away the possibility of forgetting them until the last minute and increases the likelihood that your clients will pay you on time without needed a reminder.

 

There are third party services available where they can pay you your receivables up front to help with cashflow, but these services do take a percentage of the invoice as a fee. This percentage may seem small, but it can make of break some companies, so it’s best to setup a system that lets you get your payments as smoothly as possible.

 

5. Implement accessible payment options

Your business should offer as many options as possible for your clients to pay their invoices. You don’t want there to be any unnecessary barriers standing in the way of payments–such as the absence of common ways to pay–so it’s important to make the process easy and accessible. Clients should find paying their owed amounts convenient rather than difficult.

 

Customers appreciate business flexibility when it comes to payment methods and will likely have their information saved with their option of choice, which will make the process of paying their required invoices quicker and more reliable.

 

6. Automate invoicing

Too much time can be wasted on drafting the appropriately detailed invoice drafts, and manual invoicing systems can be prone to errors. Operational efficiency can be improved by using modern invoicing software, which can be far more reliable and be a huge time saver.

 

Streamlining this tedious and repetitive task will help you put that energy into other areas of your business and invoicing software also enables you to back up your invoices on a cloud, so you can view and track them anywhere at any time.

 

7. Manage payment terms ahead of time

You need to make sure your clients have a clear and comprehensive understanding of payment terms long before their invoices are due. This also means that your company’s terms should be visibly listed on invoices themselves as well.

 

This is especially helpful when laying out late payment fees and can help you avoid any confusion and uncomfortable back-and-forth with customers.

 

8. Add a personal note

A small, but impactful way to connect with your customers can be leaving a personal note along with their sent invoices thanking them for their business and encouraging them to contact you if they have any questions or concerns.

 

This is also an excellent time to ask for a referral if the client is pleased with the work and you delivered the project on time.

 

9. Number your invoices

Numbering your invoices can help you avoid the headache of looking through past invoices without a reference code to refer to. You should be making sure that every invoice has a number so that it’s easy to find if you need to look at it later to track payments. Invoicing software makes this simple to do, so that shouldn’t be difficult to remember.

 

10. Keep in touch with clients and be polite

Consistent communication with clients can make all the difference in making sure they’re paying you on time and keeping on top of their invoices. Customers are more likely to attend to an invoice if they’ve been having pleasant back and forth with a supplier. It adds more personality to interactions and increases the likelihood of payment consistency by keeping your company name top of mind.

 

11. Charge interest on late payments

Dealing with late payments is never going to be an easy or comfortable experience, but it’s necessary to have a concrete plan in place for clients who don’t pay their invoices on time. Late invoice fees should be clearly outlined in your business’ terms and conditions so customers are aware of what they will have to pay if they leave their invoices late.

 

Late fees don’t need to be large, but it should be listed on the original quote. It’s not out of line to follow through with this, in fact, it’s professional when a client doesn’t meet your agreed upon terms.

 

12. Have an organizational system in place

Like all aspects of business ownership, organization is key. You can’t operate an efficient company if you’re not able to quickly locate necessary files and records when needed.

 

All your invoices should be stored in a centralized location and backed up on a cloud. This is essential when it comes to tax purposes, bookkeeping, and keeping on top of your own records. It should be collective knowledge at your business as to where your invoices are stored, and every person should be using the same location.

 

13. Send invoices to the right people

This may seem like an obvious point, but it can be surprisingly easy to send an invoice to the wrong person, which can cause unnecessary delays with payments. Sometimes, it may not be the actual client who is handling the payment, it may be an accountant who’s handling their bookkeeping, or a parent or friend who paid for the charged good as a gift for the customer.

 

With consistent communication about payment terms from the start, you should be able to find out who will be paying the invoice and save you the added effort of jumping back and forth between people who aren’t going to be providing your business with the owed payment.

 

You can save a lot of time and confusion by drafting a quick questionnaire that you give to all clients during the onboarding process which asks for email address of person who handles payables, what payment method they prefer, who to call if a payment isn’t received on time, etc.

 

Conclusion

As you’ve likely learned by now, invoicing is a crucial aspect of operating a successful business. Don’t look at invoicing as annoying paperwork–it’s vital to the long-term health of your company since the way you manage invoices directly impacts your cashflow.

 

Invoicing doesn’t have to be a complicated, overly involved process. It just needs to be clearly detailed and routinely managed to avoid any errors and mitigate late or missed payments as much as possible. Your clients will certainly appreciate it in the long run, and it will help them develop a definitive understanding of your business’ practices, expectations, and terms when it comes to invoice fees and payments.

 

If you apply the tips, you were given above, and make sure you consistently prioritize effective and organized invoicing for your clients, your business will be better off for it.

 

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