Setting up a small business is a major feat. You have to fill a gap in the market, providing customers with something they want or need that will generate sales and help make you a whole lot of money. It’s not all too surprising then that a whole lot of time, effort and thought goes into product development, market research, manufacturing, advertising, marketing campaigns and more. Some areas that are actually pretty important can often slip under the radar. One of these areas that is relatively neglected is the packaging. When you have your product ready and raring to go, you’re going to have to package it to get it out to your customers. Put plenty of thought into this process. It can help with branding. It can portray brand values. It can catch people’s eyes, and it can actually serve as good marketing in and of itself! Here are a few areas of packaging to focus on!
Keep It Environmentally Friendly
Increasing numbers of people are understanding just how much we’re damaging the planet. We’re ruining it for ourselves, as well as all of the other creatures that inhabit it. Commerce has a profoundly detrimental impact on the environment, so it’s important that you do your part and make sure that your packaging is eco friendly. Generally speaking, most packaging has a temporary purpose and will be disposed of. Once customers have purchased a product, they will generally unwrap it and throw the packaging away. This is why it’s so important that you choose recyclable or (preferably) biodegradable materials. Make sure that labelled gives clear instructions on how people can dispose of the packaging responsibly.
Make Sure It Protects Your Products
When choosing packaging, remember its main purpose – to house and protect your products so that they reach your customers in perfect condition. So, make sure that your packaging achieves this. Different options are great from different products. Some products will be best boxed. Some will be great in a flat bottom pouch. Whatever you opt for, simply make sure that it protects the products inside from scratches, marks, dust, or contamination.
Make Sure It’s Branded
Once you’ve got the basics under wrap (no pun intended), you can start focusing on the fun parts – branding your packaging. This is a great opportunity to imprint your brand on customers’ minds. Make sure all packages are branded. Have your brand name, logo, colours and anything else brand associated wherever possible. If your packaging looks particularly nice, people will like to take photos with it and share the images with their friends and others – whether that’s via text or on social media. This is free advertising and marketing that you should aim to take advantage of!
Sure, packaging might not be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to improving your business. But it can really help to generate profits, build brand loyalty and imprint your brand onto customers’ minds. So, never underestimate it. Hopefully, the above information will help you to get your packaging on point the first time around.
Being a parent entrepreneur is a challenge for many. You have to try and juggle the complexities of raising a child with the equally stimulating challenges of running a business. A lot of people want to start down this pathway, but they don’t know what they need for success.
In fact, what a lot of people don’t know is that there are three critical things which people need for success, and budding parent entrepreneurs should definitely make sure they have acquired all of these before they start down the difficult route of running a business. Let’s take a look at them together.
A Stable Career and Free Time
One of the first things that you are going to need is a stable career and some free time. A lot of people recommend that jumping into the world of entrepreneurship is not something you do unless you have a stable plan. As tempting as it can be to quit your job and focus entirely on your business, if you don’t have a good income, you’re going to put yourself and your family in jeopardy. What we recommend instead is that you gradually build an entrepreneurial business over time, while working your other job, so you can continue to support your family while you get the business off the ground. When you can make a similar sort of income from your business, it’s the right time to quit that job.
A Proper Schedule
If you’re going to even stand a chance at successfully running your own business, you need to have a good schedule in place. If you’re going to balance raising kids while running a business, you have to make sure that you have your day planned before you even start. You need to know how are you going to keep the kids entertained while you’re working, who is going to pick them up from school when you will stop work to sort out dinner and look after them. There are so many little considerations that people just don’t think about, and what this means is that there is this unfortunate sense of confusion in chaos which really can play havoc with the lives of budding parent entrepreneurs.
Patience and Discipline!
Being a parent entrepreneur is difficult. This is going to be one of the most challenging things you’ve ever had to do, because not only are you looking after your kids, but you’re trying to support your entire family through a business. You need to have patience and discipline. You have to be disciplined enough to get on with things when you need to, and you need to have the patience for when things aren’t going your way.
Overall, these are just three of the things every budding parent entrepreneur should have. It’s definitely difficult to maintain a sense of balance in your life when you’re trying to run a business and raise kids, but if you’re sensible about it, and you understand what the important things in life are, you’ll definitely see success.
First appearances mean a lot in the world of business. When new clients approach you, they’re often looking for professionalism. This is often a sign that you take your business seriously and that you’re willing to go the extra mile in order to impress the people you work with. In addition, professionalism tends to give your customer and clients peace of mind. This increases the chance that they’ll work with you, and it leads to a better overall experience for the customer.
As such, it’s important to make your business look and feel more professional if you want to appeal to a wider audience, and in this article, we’re going to take a look at exactly how you can do that.
Look the part
While a lot of businesses are completely online nowadays, it’s still important to dress up for the few occasions that you might go to a public event or appear in photographs for press reasons. This typically means dressing up in appropriate clothing for your industry and also working on your appearance so that you don’t scare away potential customers. You don’t have to look extravagant–just somewhat presentable is enough!
Talk the part
It’s also important that you talk like a professional business. This can mean a number of different things, such as using the appropriate language and terminology when speaking to clients, or speaking politely when helping customers with support issues. We think that being professional with your tone of voice is a fantastic way to maintain a good appearance, but it’s also important to be relaxed and comfortable when talking in public.
Get a professional email address
A professional email address will enhance appearances by a considerable amount. A lot of smaller businesses tend to use emails from websites like Google or even Yahoo. While this is fine for most basic purposes, you’ll need to eventually need to upgrade to a proper email address that represents your company. There are many ways to do this, and some email hosts such as Google actually offer a paid service for a custom email domain.
Stop using templates on your website
Many smaller businesses tend to use templates for their website because it’s faster to get something started. However, there are usually only a limited number of templates, and you could pick something that looks exactly like someone else’s website. This can look incredibly unprofessional. It’s also worth getting a custom website design to ensure that it actually fits your needs instead of trying to fit your website around someone else’s design.
Register a domain name
A domain name will ensure that your website looks more professional. A domain name is essentially a website name which most people will already have. However, there are some businesses that might still be using a free or low-cost service that involves a subdomain. This could be something like yoursite.service.com. Instead of being associated with a web host, a domain name of your choice will help to create a more professional appearance.
Dress your staff as well
This is mainly for physical stores that employ a couple of staff members. Having matching workwear is great for a number of reasons. Firstly, it allows your customers to identify who is actually working for you. Secondly, it gives your staff a unified appearance which makes your entire store look more professional. Lastly, it helps give your staff members an identity when they work for you since they’ll feel more like they’re part of the team.
Respond to queries
You should also make sure that you respond to different queries on platforms such as social media where your responses (or lack of) are publicly shown. It’s also important to respond to emails and the majority of private messages, but answering questions on public platforms takes priority given how important it is to maintain a professional appearance.
Stick to your area of expertise
A lot of businesses tend to branch out of their comfort zone. This is a great way to explore new options for products and services to offer, but it can often lead to some issues. Since you’re trying to attract audiences that you’re not familiar with, it can often lead to some embarrassing situations where you demonstrate a lack of experience or knowledge in an area. This leads to some very unprofessional results and can stain your reputation if you’re not careful. Stick to your area of expertise to maintain a professional appearance, or do ample research before you attempt to break into a new market.
Working in retail can be challenging at times but is also a gratifying way to make a living. People need and love to shop, and you’re there to meet these demands. As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate, but you have to know what to focus your energy on the most to succeed.
There’s a lot of competition out there, so you need to be able to stand apart from the crowd and your competitors. Therefore, discover ways to elevate your retail business so you can drum up interest in your business and increase sales. Put in the effort, and you’ll soon notice the rewards that emerge for your time and energy spent focusing on the right elements.
Take Pride in the Set up of Your Store
It’s in your best interest to configure your store strategically so that you can provide customers with a positive shopping experience. Take pride in your store’s set up and pay attention to the small details that will make a big difference. For example, the right female mannequins can provide you with an ideal way to show off your latest styles and merchandise and truly elevate your business.
Train Your Staff
You need to have consistency and offer exceptional customer service if you want to excel in retail. Therefore, take the time to train your staff and ensure that they know your policies and how you expect they treat each customer who does business with you. Training your staff will help you to sleep better at night because you’ll know that each client is receiving the same treatment and will walk away, feeling satisfied with their shopping experience. Focus on providing a personalised experience for each person so that they feel valued. Greet individuals who enter your store and offer your expert opinion and advice if they ask for it.
Reward Your Customers
Customers will likely want to shop with you again when you show appreciation for their business and reward them fairly. Offer loyalty programs or points systems so they can save money the more they shop with you. Host events where your most loyal customers get a sneak peek at what new items are coming or can bring a friend with them and shop and save together. Run special sales and promotions every so often so that customers don’t always have to pay full price for the merchandise.
Be Decisive about Your Merchandise
Another way to elevate your retail business is to be decisive about your merchandise. It means that you aren’t keeping items around that aren’t selling or popular. Pick and choose what’s in your store wisely and carefully so that you can guarantee that you hit your sales goals and numbers. Study the latest trends, network frequently, and be up to date with the recent fashions so that your store carries all the right merchandise that people will want to buy. You want to avoid having items sitting in your store that aren’t gaining any attention or interest over time.
Running a business is challenging at the best of times, but when you have children, it can be even more of a juggling act. Of course, it is also considered the best time by many to start a business, but in order to get that work/life dream, you must learn to overcome the obstacles you will naturally face, and not be scared off. It might not be the easy route, but parent-preneurs everywhere will tell you it is worth the handwork and they never want to return to the 9-5 for someone else.
So, just how do you overcome the challenges?
By all means, write your yourself some plans but don’t expect them to be set in stone. On a good day, you will achieve all you set out to achieve, and on a bad day you will end up with an emergency dash to school or nursery to retrieve a poorly child and end up wondering how on earth you can possibly make this work. Take a deep breath and remember, this too shall pass. Flexibility is the key, so while you might not want to be sending involves at 10 pm, once in a while, this is just how it goes down in the world of small business ownership.
Your network is crucial so build it well. Look for both a parent and business network and things will get so much easier. As a parent networking with others in the same situation gives you a little bit of childcare breathing space if you can take turns to do school pickups and after school care, you both get some much-needed time to work. In the world of business, you can look for mutually acceptable trade-offs, perhaps one of you is a social media expert and the other a bookkeeper? Sometimes a company doesn’t have to be about money it can be about an exchange of services to keep things ticking over.
Balance the Art of Saying No
Strangely so many people have a vocabulary that seems to have the word ‘no’ missing. It is a word that scares people in business, but it is a misconception that companies cannot say no. Sometimes it is far better to say no than fail to complete a task or order on time and get negative feedback. Of course, the skill is learning to communicate with alternatives, so saying things like, while I cannot complete that by your preferred date, I could do it by x. People respect honesty and understand that running a business can sometimes be busy. You must also learn the art of saying no to the business as a while and taking time out to spend with friends and family. It is important you do not always say no and cancel out on your time with in-laws, kids plays, and other events. One day you will wish you had been there, so try and strike some sort of work-life balance while you can.
Small businesses can often have a hard time when butting up against multinationals. It can be challenging to be as competitively priced, they don’t carry as much stock, but the plus sides are so important. Care and attention to detail, a friendly face and personal interaction make them so valuable. It is also fair to say that small businesses have a positive impact on the local economy and offer uniqueness in a sea of mass production. So how can we support them and make sure they can keep trading?
1) Be a Customer
Ok, so this is the easy one, but it is actually more overlooked than you might think. You pop to the supermarket and while there, remember a present you forgot to grab, and with so much on offer, you can easily buy something. But, what about your friend who makes jewellery, or soap, a hundred and one other things? The same applies to small businesses who are service providers, can you use a local web designer instead of some faceless corporation?
2) Promote Them
Small businesses have a bit of a juggling act on their hands; not only do they have to keep their goods or services flowing; they also have to publicise themselves. So, when you see a post on Facebook, take the time to get involved. A comment and a share mean the world and really helps. You never know who on your own friend’s list might be looking for precisely what they offer, and even if they aren’t right now, it helps keep their profile high.
3) Share the Praise
If you have interacted with a small business and loved the experience, speak up! Leave a review on their Facebook page, and remember to share it back to your own Facebook. Word of mouth really helps small businesses, so if you can tell other people about your experience being so positive, you will be doing them a massive favour. Give them permission to quote you on their website or write on Trustpilot or similar.
4) Champion Small Business Saturday
When the world loses its head, as it does every year, and starts raving about Black Friday and other such events, combat this with a shout out and reminder that Small Business Saturday can happen every week. Technically SMS happens in November but why not push for supporting and shopping locally all year round. You are helping people directly rather than indirectly, pay their mortgages, buy food, and basically stay alive. It is a great way to share the love.
5) Say Hello
It can be dreadfully lonely running a small business, but thousands of people do it, for many different reasons. It is nice to feel part of a community. When there is no-one to share coffee in the staffroom with, because there isn’t a staffroom, it can get a little isolating. Send a message and let them know you are a supporter, and you appreciate what they do! You really will make their day.