SHOW ME THE MONEY!

business-processes-and-operationsNow that you’ve started your business are you ready to take your small business to the next level? As a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats. Things such as scheduling employees, managing finances, creating marketing campaign – you name it! It’s hard work, but setting up processes can make a big difference. It allows others to step in and execute a particular task as you grow.

Finance Your Growth

Establishing a strong relationship with a business banker will help to strategize and prepare your business for growth. Be it a line of credit, merchant processing, or other management issues, it’s important that you stay on top of your finances. For the Edmiston Group, we have our banking relationships. We also keep track of our P & L by the use QuickBooks online. Our bookkeeper enters information into the system and on a quarterly basis our accountant reviews. Our sales tax is paid electronically and by outsourcing this area of my business, I have peace of mind in knowing these experts will keep me on a solid financial footing.

Electronic Invoicing Go Green

Consumers, especially millennials, wholeheartedly support sustainable businesses who go green to combat climate change. What can you do to save on resources? We use electronic means to create and send invoices. Not only does it save time, but money on postage as well.

Streamline Business Operations

How organized are you? Do you have an office filled with loose papers and random documents? When working on projects for multiple clients such as we do, we try and block times in our schedule and turn off email and other distractions.

There are a number of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software tools available. Utilizing a CRM not only allows you to see your sales pipeline but also is a way for you to track past history with a customer. A CRM will allow you to build a healthy relationship with your customers will keep them coming back for more. Analyze purchase history, sale trends, and create loyalty rewards programs. The history will allow you to target market your message to a given audience.

Human Resources Services

You may not have enough money to hire a full HR team. There are a number of consultants that will help you with talent acquisition, review your policy manual and keep you in compliance. As your company grows this is one area you don’t want to neglect.

Project Management Tools – No More Missed Deadlines

Team projects have a number of deadlines and benchmarks. The Edmiston Group uses Asana, but there are many other types of software tools such as: Wrike, Smartsheet, Clarizen, Workzone, Mavenlink, Jira to name a few. They all come with different features and price points. The key is to determine which one will best fit your needs.

Time Tracking Services

If you own a small business, you most likely pay some of your employees hourly. Time tracking services like TSheets, Timeclock Plus, Harvest, When I Work, lets you track time on projects so you hit deadlines on time, as well as determine if your team is working efficiently.

Hire Good Employees

Your employees are who stand between your business and the customer. No one wants bad customer service. Train employees on how to deliver exceptional customer service that your business will be recognized for. Think of the last place you received exceptional customer service. As you open or grow your business, take time to hire the right candidate that will fit your company’s culture and help drive your mission.

Hiring right begins with a comprehensive job description that clearly articulates the duties and responsibilities of the position. Then use the description to post on job search sites that will yield the most qualified candidates.

Grow Your Revenue

These small steps can help to enhance profits in your small business. There are numerous tools, technology, and software to choose from to help grow your business. So… what’s the hold-up?

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

HAPPY EMPLOYEES EQUAL HIGHER PROFITS

happy-employees-to-higher-profitsThere is a direct correlation between happy employees and happy customers. Employers are starting to recognize that keeping their employees happy and fulfilled at work means getting a little creative.

Employee Happiness versus Profit

Life happens to everyone and like it or not, employees can’t always leave their personal life at the door. The well-being and happiness of employees can affect their productivity, and therefore their overall enthusiasm regarding their work. What training have you done to help employees through difficult times? Does your company culture reflect that value? We have a relationship with a firm that offers this service.

Engaged employees view work as more than just a paycheck and benefits. They are the employees who will go the extra mile without being asked but also ensures their work is done well. Did you know that according to a study done by the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick that companies with happy employees outperform the competition by 20%? Why do you think the Pittsburgh Business Times hosts an annual “Best Places to Work” Award each year? The winners of these companies have figured it out and the top talent want to work for them.

Company culture plays a pivotal role in creating compassion in the workplace. Employees – particularly the millennials, want to feel a part of something more. They also want to be involved with making a difference.

So what are some of the tried and true ways to accomplish this task? Here are a few ideas:

  • Flexible work hours based on work getting done: adding some kind of flexibility allows employees to work at the pace and time that will aid in productivity. We know some people are more productive in the morning, while others are more energized midday. This might not be possible for all companies.
  • Employee Training providing an opportunity for additional learning either in person or online is a way for employees to expand their skills, do their jobs better and more efficiently, as well as help make a revenue impact on the business. Create a paradigm shift in your workplace by offering employees the opportunity to participate in certificate programs, day-long trainings, seminars, and bring in guest speakers to provide continued learning for your workers.
  • Popular Engagement Tools include but are not limited to – allowing pets in the office, (within reason), providing full or prorated gym memberships, and free food in the office.

The competition for top talent is fierce. Are you willing to shift to creative ways to engage employees? A company can stand out from their competition by utilizing their greatest asset: their employees. Are you willing to invest in your employees? It has been made clear that satisfied employees create satisfied customers, who then spend more money with your company and spread great word-of-mouth reviews. Money can’t necessarily buy you happiness, but happiness seems to be the link to monetary growth.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

TIPS FOR SCALING YOUR BUSINESS

Scaling-Your-BusinessIt’s time to scale your business but you’re not sure how. As a business owner, you may be working 6-7 days a week, wearing numerous hats, and are like a hamster running on a spinning wheel. The key here is you’re too busy working IN your business to take the time and work ON your business. The first quarter of 2019 is nearly over. Are you on target? Here are some tips for taking your business to another level.

Ready Set Grow….

Intel – do you know your competition?

By understanding the competition’s strengths and weaknesses, you may be able to capitalize on their weak points. Or…at least you are prepared to go head to head with their strengths. Are you ready to offer a new product or product bundle? Can you create an added value service to leverage that strength? Why does a client come to you?

Pick Up The Pen

Handwritten notes and thank you notes take some time, but it’s one of the best ways to keep clients and get new referrals. Those notes become treasures for small business owners who may not otherwise receive much-deserved accolades and you’ll be top of mind next time they or a friend is in need of your product or service!

Develop 5 Star Customer Service

Think about service at the Ritz Carlton or an upscale restaurant. Your water glass isn’t half empty but what it’s being refilled. Train employees to value each client (even the difficult ones) as they choose where to spend their money. Let it be with you.

Build Referral Relationships

A professional service consultant that can partner with a complimenting business to refer businesses back and forth. The Edmiston Group has some strong referral partners and our businesses collaborate to help each other grow. If you have a brick and mortar business located next to other businesses, collaborate and promote as a city or neighborhood. The more ways that you can find to work and promote your businesses together, the more ways you will create a friendly and warm environment that your clients will love and increase your business exposure not only to your client list, but theirs as well.

Understand Your IDEAL Client

Are you using surveys to poll clients on what you’re doing right and things that can be changed? This will allow you to better meet their needs. Remember the reason you’re in business is to satisfy a client need. It’s about what they want and how your business can design a service to meet that need. If you master this concept, you truly identify your “ideal” client.

Pick Up The Phone

Set yourself apart from the pack. Do something unique – pick up the phone or have face to face contact to establish trust and maintain that strong relationship.

Is Your Website Tired

Simple changes such as logo placement, a call-to-action, using concise, keyword-rich content that is understood easily; and the addition of hyper-linked buttons to your product or service page placed above the “fold” or “scroll” line can make a big impact in user experience and bounce rates. If your site is 5 years or older – platforms have changed. It’s time for an update.

Plan Your Cash Flow and Go Broad for Financing

As your sales increase, it’s even more important to do this, since your inventory and payroll expenses will probably occur before your client’s money hits your bank account.

Usually, the front line of financing sources are the banks and rightfully so. That is what they do best. There are some who use the SBA guarantee programs and others who don’t. Other options that start at the neighborhood level, are Community Development Corporations (CDCs) whose mission is to improve their own business districts and have funding to do that from tax abatements to grants. Municipalities have an economic development component helping businesses located within their jurisdictions. Kiva has crowdfunding options. Bridgeway Capital, a nonprofit organization that ignites economic growth across western PA, may also be an option for financing. Business owners need to explore as much as possible in their quest to get financing

Delegate and Let Go

Are you clutching every detail of your business with closed fists? As a business owner, we wear a lot of hats. Whether you have employees, subcontractors or family pitching in, learning how to delegate effectively can be the difference between reaching new heights and burning out. Because small business owners are working IN their business, they are accustomed to doing a variety of things themselves instead of enlisting the help of others. It can be challenging to identify the tasks you don’t need to do yourself and assign the work to someone else. Once you overcome the challenge, though, you will have more time to dedicate to what you do best — grow your business. My philosophy – if it’s not your specialty that is making you money – find someone who can do it for you.

Schedule Downtime

The reality of running your own business is that you can work 24/7 and there’s still more to do! When helping clients prepare an operating plan, I always recommend scheduling time away. Let colleagues and clients know you aren’t available and/or find a person who can cover for you while away. You’ll come back recharged and ready to go. Are you up for the challenge of business growth? Need some help, email or give us a call at 724-612-0755.

About the author: Autumn Edmiston is the CEO and owner of the Edmiston Group. The Edmiston Group is a multifaceted Pittsburgh based marketing consulting firm providing senior level marketing management services to businesses and non-profit organizations on a short or long-term basis. Core areas of service are business development, marketing, strategic planning and public relations. The Edmiston Group has consistently delivered and implemented real-world, proven business marketing ideas and strategies for business.

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