seo specialist

3 Ways an SEO Specialist Can Improve Your Online Presence

Nov 10, 2017

A study by Search Engine Watch proves that being the top search result will lead to more clickthroughs by 53%.

SEO (search engine optimization) is your ticket to boosting traffic to your website. People often choose the first result they see, which means learning how to increase your Google ranking is imperative to creating a successful website.

There are some techniques a small business owner can do to increase traffic numbers. However, hiring an SEO specialist can eliminate the stress associated with building a ranking on your own.

Read on to learn why an SEO specialist shapes the way traffic flows to your website.

1. Hiring an SEO Specialist is Better Than Doing It on Your Own

A website is only one aspect of your much larger business structure. Why not save yourself all the time it takes to craft your SEO ranking by hiring a professional?

The intelligent SEO specialist you hire will understand SEO inside and out. He or she is an expert in the field of online SEO and will know exactly how to factor in the right keywords to make sure your website is in the top search results.

As a business owner, you can hire an expert in SEO to help you out so you can focus your attention on other important operations to keep your business running smoothly. Generating sales leads will be a no-brainer once a trained expert collaborates with your business to increase your SEO rank.

2. See Better Traffic Results with Help From a Professional

Do you think your current website is not reaching out to the right audience?

By hiring a specialist, he or she can determine who your target audience is and how to attract them to click on your website search link. If your page is now ranked on the first few pages of a Google search, an expert can make adjustments to improving the ranking.

SEO tactics, such as choosing the right keywords to implement into your content, have resulted in high success rates. Convert leads into loyal customers by learning from a well-informed SEO specialist.

3. Avoid Black Hat Methods to Cheat Your Way to the Top

One final way that hiring extra help to boost your SEO rank with a specialist is to avoid making costly mistakes.

Black hat techniques are when illegal methods are used to boost the ranking of your site. Avoiding this path is something an SEO expert can ensure happens.

Keyword stuffing and spam-commenting are two black hat techniques that will make Google quickly push your website down the list.

Talk to your SEO consultant to discuss what techniques he or she will use to promote your website so these harmful tactics are not involved.

I’m Rafferty Pendery, a Tech Entrepreneur who has already helped thousands of businesses flourish through successful expansion strategies and social media campaigns.

Leaving me a message is a great way to easily reach out and learn more about the services I can provide your business today.

importance of leadership

Empathy and the Importance of Leadership

Nov 3, 2017

Empathy is the ability to truly understand someone by being able to “walk a mile in their shoes,” or see situations and events from their perspective. It’s an innate human trait that has a place in every scenario. The importance of leadership and the relationship between it and empathy cannot be understated.

We frequently wish for someone to put themselves in our place so that they’ll understand us better. However, we are less likely to do the same for others, especially in a leadership position.

Great leaders form strong relationships with their team members. Empathy, especially from a leader, is a crucial aspect of any rock-solid group.

Read on to learn why this often neglected ability is one businesses absolutely need for sustained success.

Empathy Shows You Value Relationships

Employees, no matter what their position, are first and foremost individuals. They are unique people, with their own special concerns, preferences, beliefs, and struggles.

Taking the time to acknowledge an employee or team member as a whole person will help you understand

  • Workplace difficulties and how to resolve them
  • Why this person takes certain approaches to problems
  • What motivates this person to do better
  • What role is best for this individual in a team setting
  • What makes this particular person feel secure

When you value relationships with individuals, you demonstrate it by finding out who they are and what makes them tick. You show empathy for the individual.

You are not merely issuing commands. You are functioning within a relationship with a person and actively working with them to accomplish a goal.

Putting Others Before Yourself

Putting others first is critical in establishing productive work relationships. The importance of leadership that incorporates an “others first” mentality cannot be emphasized enough.

Leadership is a huge responsibility, not a display of privilege and power. Team members respond to a leader who is willing to make their individual needs and concerns a priority.

Team members will also have more respect for a leader who is aware of the types of work being performed and accompanying challenges. This gives leaders authority from credibility, not just from a title.

Empathetic leaders empower others so they can reach their full potential and succeed. They do not insist on ruling over others. The goal is to build others up so that productivity and harmony will follow.

The Importance of Leadership and Empathy in Business Success

To succeed, a business needs to have cohesiveness between leadership and team members. Close-knit relationships will lead to more trust between leaders and their team, which naturally results in better, more effective communication.

Clear communication is a positive manifestation of the established trust and loyalty that empathy encourages. Businesses make progress and maintain momentum when each tier effectually connects within the framework of a company.

The goals of a business and those of its employees align so that effort is made for the good of all, not for the power of a few.

The knowledge that leaders are there to help, not demand, motivates team members to do their best to ensure team success. They feel their role in the process is valuable.

Leadership is About Responsibility

Responsibility encompasses more than task delegation and whip-cracking. It requires a holistic approach that includes, not alienates, every contributing person. A great leader utilizes encouragement and empathy, not blame or threats.

When you can understand where someone is coming from and work with them, the business benefits as a whole.

Explore my blog for more ideas on how to become a better leader and on how to help your business grow.

Have questions about leadership, marketing, management, or other business subjects? I’ve got answers. Contact me today.

giving back to the community

How Giving Back to the Community can Grow Your Business

Oct 27, 2017

There are many ways to grow your business. Most of them involve doing what you can to sell more and earn more money in the process.

However, some business growth methods involve not gathering more, but giving things away. Things like your time, energy, and money can greatly benefit the people around you when shared.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but giving back can actually help to grow your business. There are many ways to give back to your community as a business, and not all of them involve donating money.

There is a lot you can do to get involved, and doing so will prove to be a very wise business decision for several reasons. If you’re wondering how giving back to the community can actually be fruitful for your business, read on.

Improve Your Reputation in the Community

Getting involved with the local community is one of the best things you can do for your business. When people in the area associate your company name with altruism and volunteer work, they will have positive feelings toward your brand.

When the day comes that your customer needs your services and they must decide between you and the competition, you want to make sure you’ve left a good taste in their mouth.

In addition, there may be a large demographic in your community that needs help, whether it’s the school system or animal shelters. If your company is the one that comes to the rescue, you will be highly regarded by everyone affected.

If you become known as the company that’s always there in times of trouble, you will come to earn the respect and admiration of many potential customers.

Build A Loyal Customer Base by Giving Back to the Community

There are many ways that giving back to the community is a powerful business tool, and the loyalty you’ll win in the process is no exception.

Some people may come to you — and you alone — for business after you have helped them out. For example, sponsoring a children’s baseball league may earn you the unyielding loyalty of all the parents on the team.

Other ways of giving back to the community also nurture loyalty and appreciation. Mentoring budding entrepreneurs for a few hours a week can make a big impact. Donating items to an organization in need will also inspire those who see your good deed to express their gratitude by becoming a customer.

Improve Company Culture

Having your company volunteer as a team is a great way to motivate and inspire your employees. Working together on a collaborative effort for the greater good will boost company morale overall, and that’s always good for the bottom line.

When getting a group of employees to help out, you may want to offer the opportunity to volunteer during work hours. Or, you could offer it as a more fulfilling alternative to meeting for happy hour drinks.

Either way, when your employees feel good about your vision and mission, they’ll feel good about working for you. You will receive the best work possible when you have earned the trust and respect of those you employ.

upwork

3 Jobs You Should Outsource to Upwork

Oct 20, 2017

When it comes to building and growing a successful business, sometimes delegation is key.

As an entrepreneur, it can be tempting to want to handle and control every task. However, you’re busy with important matters that require your attention.

Outsourcing some tasks to Upwork can be a tremendous weight lifted from your shoulders. If you’re bogged down with too much to do and need to take some things off your plate, below are the three best jobs to outsource to Upwork.

1. Best Job to Outsource to Upwork: Customer Service

In a brand new startup, handling the questions and concerns of the customer base usually falls to the founder.

After a while, however, your business should start to grow. At this point, there may be too many inquiries coming in for you to handle them all yourself.

Don’t be upset — this was the entire goal of launching your startup, after all!

If it’s time to hand over the customer service reins, rest assured that there are many capable hands willing to lighten your load. With proper training of a qualified team, customer service will be off your plate — and on its way up — in no time.

2. IT Work

IT work is another aspect of a growing business that is essential but time-consuming. It may be difficult to entrust your IT needs to a freelancer found on Upwork, but it’s an important step for your business.

Yes, IT work is a crucial peg in keeping your business running, but it doesn’t have to be something that detracts from your other important tasks. There are many other qualified people who can handle your startup’s IT needs — and maybe do an even better job than you could.

Plus, because of its digital nature, IT work can easily be completed by a remote team. Outsourcing is cost-effective for many reasons, and this is one of them.

Delegating your IT work to a third party allows someone else to perform this essential task, whether onsite or from anywhere in the world.

3. Human Resources

Believe it or not, many companies outsource their human resources tasks. As you launch and grow a startup, managing payroll and employee benefits is not something you should be worrying about.

Find a qualified freelancer on Upwork who can handle your company’s human resources needs. You will be amazed at how much space it frees up in your brain.

Plus, outsourcing human resources can be more cost-effective. You are only paying for the time needed to do the job, and you don’t need to provide an additional onsite workspace for the person doing the job.

In addition, an HR freelancer who specializes in this area will be far more helpful than someone trying to learn the ropes as they juggle other tasks. Instead of hiring someone around you who is just an okay fit, search from a pool around the world to find the best fit.

As you allow yourself to focus on brand growth, you will wonder why you did not delegate more tasks sooner.

Browse our blog for more thoughts on business, entrepreneurship, advertising, and more.

best keynote speakers

4 Tips for Finding the Best Keynote Speakers

Oct 13, 2017

So, you’ve got your audience. How do you keep it engaged?

An important component of any business growth is holding interesting events with exciting speakers. Finding these speakers might seem tricky, but don’t worry.

The best keynote speakers don’t need to be the most famous or successful. They just need to be right for your audience.

Here’s how to find yours.

1. Imagine Your Ideal Speaker

If everything goes well, your speaker is going to get a lot of credit. But you still play the most important part: you choose the speaker.

That means you need to be thinking of the big-picture from the start. The first thing you need to do is determine a price range: how much are you willing to pay your speaker?

If you’re not willing to doll out hundreds of thousands, don’t fret. There are many other measurements of the best keynote speakers that don’t involve cost.

What goal do you want to achieve with your speaker? What knowledge or what kind of motivation do you want to instill in your audience?

The answers to those questions should be the initial filters you use when picking out your potential speakers. Once you have that list, you’re ready to dig deeper.

2. Weigh Entertainment vs. Information

Consider the different styles of the speaker options in front of you. Many will have a special flair that electrifies the crowd, but they won’t bring much substance. Others will be elbow-deep in substance but have a tendency to drone.

In all likelihood, your ideal speaker will be somewhere between the two ends of the spectrum. You’re the only person who can know for sure what’s best for your audience.

You might already know what to look for when contrasting info vs. entertainment. But if you’re stuck, think about the people hearing the speech.

3. Understand Your Audience

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. On the one hand, consider their expectations. Would blaring music excite them, or annoy them? They might enjoy a wordy orator–or they might be bored out of their minds.

Also, think about the context of the speech. It makes a huge difference when the speech happens.

If it’s on a Tuesday at ten AM in February, a softer presentation that crescendos might do the trick. But, on a Thursday afternoon in July, your employees might sit down ready to engage with a more energetic speaker.

4. Communicate with the Speaker

Remember how the speaker will get all the credit if things go well? Well, you might take a hit if things go poorly.

That’s why it’s essential for you to make contact with the speaker before they begin speaking. Run a quick background check on the content of the speech. If it’s not up to par, let the speaker know.

Sometimes, the “best speaker” title can be given before the speech is even made.

Navigate the Best Keynote Speakers

It’s time for you to give your audience the information they need in an entertaining way. The right keynote speaker can inject your crowd with a productive boost of energy.

With these tips, you’re more ready than ever to pick from the best. Reach out for more information on getting the right influencers for your organization.

What are you waiting for?

brand promotion

5 Simple Brand Promotion Ideas

Oct 6, 2017

There comes a time where every business struggles to find their footing. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for years, a little help goes a long way.

One of the easiest ways to get back on track is through brand promotion. Getting the word out on your brand and increasing awareness isn’t as difficult as it may sound.

Here are 5 easy examples to help you get started.

1. Create Merchandise

Every brand needs merchandise in some capacity. Yes, it’s going to bring in some extra income, but it’s about more than that.

Merchandising is an easy way to globalize your brand. Think about it, how many t-shirts do you own with a logo of a business or product? Each time you wear that t-shirt out in public, you’re advertising for that brand for free.

And merch doesn’t need to be expensive, either. It can be something as simple as a shirt or blazer to more elaborate options like tote bags or hot sauces. The more products with your business’s name, the better your brand promotion will work.

2. Hire a Brand Ambassador or Influencer

As a business owner, you’re far too busy to spend your day promoting your brand. However, there are plenty of people you can hire to help out.

The influencer and ambassador markets are booming right now. Those who use an influencer are seeing higher levels of engagement and customer response.

While it can be a bit pricey, it’s ultimately worth it. 77% of businesses who hired an influencer reported more engagement surrounding their brand.

3. Leverage Social Media

Even if you don’t know much about social media marketing, you likely know that it matters. In fact, businesses who use social media tend to do far better than their counterparts.

So what’s the reasoning behind this? Well, there are a few reasons, really.

First, it keeps your name everywhere. It’s always a good idea to make sure that your brand name is on as many sites as possible. The wider the net, the better the results.

Next, you’ll gain critical insight into customers and clients who like your business page. You’ll get access to info on everything from their age group to their region. These stats can be better used to tailor your advertising for future brand promotion.

4. Create Various Types of Content

One of the easiest methods of promotion involves creating strong content. But what’s the best solution?

A blog?

A YouTube Channel?

Social media apps?

The answer is all of the above. Switching up your content is a great way to keep things fresh. While it’s a good idea to post several times a week, make sure that you’re not just posting one type.

Variety will also keep your audience from getting bored. For example, current stats show that audiences prefer video content to traditional text. With that said, likes and dislikes change all the time.

Variety isn’t just the spice of life…it’s a great way to future-proof your brand.

5. Engage Users

Finally, make sure that your brand isn’t just a nameless entity. Get out there and start interacting with your customers. People want a face to the name, and engagement is a simple process.

Even if it’s something as small as responding to social media comments, you’re showing your audience that you care and are listening.

Audiences want to identify with your brand, so give them the ability to do so. Reach out. Ask questions. Let your audience know that you’re about more than just profits.

Get Help With Your Brand Promotion

These 5 ideas may seem simple, but they’ll do wonders for your brand. Make sure that you’re talking to your audience and giving them the content they want. Be creative and learn from both failures and successes.

If you’re looking for a bit of help, don’t be afraid to reach out! I’d love to help your brand get the recognition it deserves. I’ve been working with businesses for years and I can get the results you want.

Get in touch and let me help your brand today!

startup stages

Understanding the 5 Startup Stages

Sep 29, 2017

If you want your startup to succeed, you need to live and breathe your business.

This also means understanding the startup stages. This way, you can respond with the appropriate action to move your business forward. These stages will see you move from idea to startup to maturity. While starting and running a business will always be challenging, looking at each stage of your business will help you understand what you need to overcome.

90% of startups fail. If you’re planning to be in the 10%, here are the 5 startup stages you need to know about.

1. Idea and Development

This is when you’ve got a solid business idea, but your startup isn’t yet officially in existence. Here, you begin to assess the viability of your startup.

That means getting advice and opinions about the potential of your idea from a wide range of sources. That include colleagues, family, friends, business associates, and anyone else in your industry.

You also need to begin thinking about how you’ll finance your launch. This stage is all about considering the feasibility of your idea.

2. Startup

Once you’ve thoroughly tested your business idea and it’s ready to go, you can launch your startup.

This is often the riskiest of the startup stages. Mistakes you make during this stage can impact your business for years in the future.

This stage is all about adaptability. You can expect to spend a lot of time tweaking your services or products based on initial customer feedback.

3. Growth

By the time you get to the growth stage, your business should consistently be generating income and regularly attracting new customers. Your cash flow should improve as you get recurring revenues to cover your ongoing expenses.

You should also be expecting your profits to steadily improve.

One of your biggest challenges will be managing your time. You’ll need to learn to divide your time between many tasks requiring your attention, including:

  • Hiring new employees
  • Dealing with competitors
  • Managing customer service
  • Increasing revenue

This is when you’ll learn the importance of hiring smart people.

This will help you grow quickly and let trustworthy employees take some of the responsibility off of your plate.

4. Expansion

In this phase, running your business will start to become routine. You’ll have staff in place to handle tasks you don’t have the time (or don’t want) to manage. You’ll also have firmly established your business in your industry.

This is when you may want to begin thinking about expanding your range of products and services. Another option is to enter into a new market or geographic location.

5. Maturity

Once you’ve navigated the expansion stage, you can expect to see stable profits each year. This is when you may begin thinking about further expansion, but you’ll need to consider a few questions:

  • Is further growth sustainable for your business?
  • Is there enough opportunity to expand?
  • Are you financially stable enough if the expansion is unsuccessful?
  • Are you emotionally ready for further expansion?

Which of the Startup Stages Are You In?

Which of the above startup stages sounds like your business? Are you effectively navigating your growth, or do you feel like you’re going backward?

Leave a comment below, or check out some of our great business resources.

creative marketing

5 Creative Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Sep 22, 2017

Your small business offers a hot new product or service, and you know you provide amazing customer service. 

But for some reason, your sales numbers just aren’t there.

In all likelihood, you just need a jolt of energy from a creative marketing campaign.

Many small businesses utilize a rule of thumb that allocates 5 to 7 percent of sales towards advertising. However, if sales on a primary product line are slow, this could be problematic.

Marketing can be expensive. There is a real risk that increased revenue could be offset by additional cost.

Don’t panic.

There are many creative marketing campaigns that can be accomplished on a tight budget. Read on to explore 5 great marketing strategies for small businesses.

1. Creative Marketing on a Budget Always Involves Social Media

What better way to reach an infinite number of people on a budget than through social media? Any business in today’s world should use Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media for free marketing.

One great way to draw attention to your social media platform? Offer coupons that are exclusively available on social media.

Social media allows your business to build and develop a rapport with an emerging customer base. You can also announce the launch of new products and services, and obtain priceless feedback from those customers.

Most importantly, you can get very creative with social media. Do this by developing company-specific memes and promoting web content with attention-getting headlines.

2. Videos are Key to Marketing Campaigns

Sometimes, what works for massive corporations can also work for a small business.

Check the websites and social media accounts of major corporations, and you will certainly find the use of videos.

For a small business with a limited budget, consider uploading instructional videos on YouTube. The best part is that you can record and upload a video using a smart phone.

Videos are a great tool for marketing towards millennials, who utilize Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube often.

3. Hold Contests and Hand Out Prizes

Organizing a contest is an old-school method to build up excitement among the customer base. Contests also create intrigue among prospective clients.

While contests have certainly been around for a long time, hosting them on social media can pay additional dividends.

Major companies, like Disney, raffle off park tickets to contestants who like and share their Facebook page. This is a great way to increase your social media following.

4. E-mail Newsletter

Group e-mail is another great method to communicate with the customer base. Collecting e-mail addresses is important because it allows for this mass communication.

Try drawing readers in with a witty subject line or a digital coupon.

5. Reward Existing Customers for Referrals

One theme from this article? What works for major corporations can also work for small business. Companies of any size can benefit from offering rewards to customers who give your business a certain number of referrals.

While it may seem like a risk at first, trust us when we tell you it will pay off ten-fold. 

Thank existing customers with discounts or rewards dollars for helping spread the word about your product or service.

Wrapping Up

When budgets are tight, it’s time to embrace the powerful role that social media can play in launching an affordable marketing campaign.

Other ideas, like referral rewards and contests, have also been proven to be successful.

For any questions about creative marketing strategies, please do not hesitate to contact us.

International Speaker

5 Tips on Becoming a Paid International Speaker

Aug 31, 2017

What happens when you talk?

Are you able to captivate your audience no matter who is listening?

Are you the type of person who has an incredible story to share and you enjoy helping people?

If you have interesting and inspiring stories along with the “gift of gab”, becoming an international speaker might be the right move for you.

Keep reading to find out how to get it done.

The Route to Becoming an International Speaker

1. Solve Their Problem

This is where the whole process starts. Look at people like Tony Robbins and Dave Ramsey. They had a problem. They fixed it. Now they’re both helping other people with their problems and making a fortune while doing so.

Ask yourself, “What problem do entrepreneurs and business owners have that I can help them fix?”

An even better question: “What problem will they pay to have fixed?”

People who own their own businesses are go-getters. If they can solve their own problems, they want to. Sometimes, there just isn’t any information out there.

You need to have that information.

2. Learn the Language

If you would like to become an international speaker, you need to accept the fact that not everyone speaks your native tongue. English is used as a second language twice as often as it’s used as a native one.

For maximum success as a public speaker, focus on becoming fluent in Arabic, Mandarin, and/or Hindi. These three languages combine to increase your potential reach by nearly two billion people.

3. Tech Up

Once you’ve started, you’re going to likely stay on the go. You’ll probably have a small team constantly needing to exchange information with you.

Immerse yourself in the tech world. It will make your life easier.

This includes everything from leveraging social media to utilizing the newest types of communication software. Having a Gmail account is probably not going to be enough.

4. Make Them Laugh

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are stressed out. They have come to you with a severe problem and are paying a lot of money to have it sorted out via your speech.

With all of that tension in the room, you can use humor to cut through it. This will help you connect with your audience, grab their attention, and help them relax.

Use a funny personal story that relates to your speech to maximize the efficiency of the joke. It could be something that affects business owners all over the world. Or it could be about your first experience in their country.

Just make sure it isn’t offensive and keep it relevant.

5. Establish a Brand

In many ways, business is its own form of communication. Don’t underestimate the value of creating your brand.

When you become an international speaker, you should learn to rely on your brand. No two languages are quite the same and often things get lost in translation.

Your brand can say everything that it needs to about what you have to offer without a word. It can also help create a level of emotional trust and authority that cannot be misconstrued in translation.

Wrapping It Up

While these are five awesome tips that can help get you started and you should be thinking about them, there is no way that we can squeeze every piece of need to know information into one blog post.

I’m Rafferty Pendery, I’m an international speaker who has helped thousands of businesses over the years. I can help you, too. Contact me today.

 

Business Growth Strategies

7 Business Growth Strategies You Need to Know

Aug 28, 2017

Can you think of any business that has never had a problem?

Even the most successful companies have at struggled at one time or another.

Early this year, Wal-Mart Stores have been described as having more problems than the Trump Tariff. There’s also Apple, said to be facing declining sales in China, its second-largest market. Another example is Ford, recalling almost half a million vehicles for safety and compliance issues.

For small and medium-sized enterprises, a common struggle has to do with growing pains. Let’s take a closer look at business growth strategies you can implement that can help you address those growing pains and take your business to the next level. 

1. Stay True to Your Vision

Why did you start your own company? There must be a compelling reason for you to do so, especially if you made that huge leap from employee to business owner.

To be more specific, there must be a vision in your head about how you want your company to be and where it will be years from now. That vision is the reason why you and your employees do what you do. If you do things that don’t align with the company’s purpose, how can you expect to grow your company?

Sustainable success depends on making sure everyone in your organization is working towards a common goal. A strong sense of purpose allows a business to stay laser-focused on achieving its objectives. It’s also the driving force for innovation and ensuring that products and services offered are of value to customers.

2. Build and Maintain Strong Partnerships

One of the best business growth strategies you can implement is to establish and cultivate strong partnerships. As I’ve said before, being a solopreneur is filled with challenges. The right connections can help you take on some or even all of those challenges so you can reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and of course, help your company grow.

Let’s say you’re a cosmetics manufacturer. Think about how expensive everything is going to be if you have to source all the raw materials by yourself. Partnering with reliable suppliers can help cut down costs and ensure that the products you’re manufacturing are up to standards.

You can also enter into partnerships with businesses to develop new technologies or to share distribution and increase each other’s market share. If you’re a start-up with start-up woes, maybe a co-founder can help solve those issues.

3. Strengthen Your Brand Identity

The more your company grows, the more you’ll have to build brand equity. You don’t want to be the “other guys,” the one customers go to when their preferred company can’t temporarily fulfill their wants or needs.

You want to be top of mind among your target customers. And to do that you have to connect with them on an emotional level. Customers have to have an attachment to your products or services so they’ll keep patronizing your business.

As one of the most important business growth strategies there is, brand building isn’t a one-time thing. You have to keep doing it if you want to scale up your business.

But don’t just do things to please everybody. It’s an impossible task. Keep your eyes on your target customers and find ways to satisfy and inspire them.

4. Track Results

Can you improve things you can’t measure?

If you know which areas of your business are contributing to profitability, then you know which ones to allocate more resources to. Likewise, if you know which areas are hindering the growth of your company, you can either work to optimize them or do away with them altogether.

Don’t be scared of data. Cliche as it may sound, knowledge is power. The more information you have, the easier it is to implement changes and see which ones are delivering results.

This also applies to adding revenue streams. If you’ve identified new ones, you have to make sure they’re sustainable in the long-term.

5. Keep Customers for Life

Most people think of business growth as acquiring new customers. It’s not wrong but it also doesn’t present the whole picture.

You see, new customers could be one-time buyers. And while that’s not exactly a bad thing, they obviously aren’t as valuable as your loyal customers. This is why as far as business growth strategies are concerned, customer retention is one of those things business owners have to pay close attention to.

According to Harvard Business Review, customer acquisition is 5 to 25 times more expensive than customer retention. It goes on to say that just by improving customer retention rates by 5%, you can increase profits by 25 to 95%.

95%! Can you imagine just how profitable your business could be if you just work hard at keeping your customers happy for a long, long time?

6. Learn from Your Competitors

You know your company’s strengths and weaknesses. But what about your competitors?

If your customers are flocking to your competitors because they are offering better prices, you should consider your pricing strategy. Now, that doesn’t mean just drastically reducing your products’ prices.

If you’re selling top of the line products, slashing prices isn’t the way to level the playing field. What you should do is stick to your premium pricing but highlight your customer service and emphasize high-quality marketing.

Remember, what works for your competitors may not work for you. Or they might work for you but you could be doing it in a way that increases your USP or unique selling proposition. The key here is to understand their failures and successes, so you can take advantage of them in a way that benefits your company.

7. Stay Flexible

All the business growth strategies in the world cannot help you if you don’t know how to be a good leader to your people. That means knowing how to evolve at every stage of your company’s growth, which is easier said than done.

Being a good leader stems from being self-aware. It’s definitely not “I’m better than you, that’s why I’m the boss.” Self-awareness can guide you to invest in the right talent, build relationships with the right people, and use the right insights to innovate and lead.

Need More Advice on Business Growth Strategies?

Feel free to browse my blog. I regularly write about business, management, startups, and other topics that are of interest to entrepreneurs and business executives.

You can also leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Local Internet Advertising

A Complete Guide to Local Internet Advertising

Aug 17, 2017

Are you a business owner looking for ways to improve your local internet advertising?

If so, it can be well worth the effort for you and your business.

According to Business 2 Community, 50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within one day. Sixty percent of American adults use a smartphone or tablet for a local search for products or service information.

Needless to say, your local advertising campaign online matters.

Read on for a complete guide on how your business can make the most of local internet advertising.

Build Your Website for Local SEO

How you build your website can be one of your most effective parts of local internet advertising.

You should focus on local search engine optimization (SEO). This is how you rank in search engine results for searches by others in your area. According to Google, 50 percent of local searches by mobile users lead to an in-store visit within one day. 

Your website should contain accurate contact information, including address and business hours. Your “about us” page should also include your city, industry and business name.

Consider including a blog on your website and writing articles regularly. This should include well-written articles about relevant topics in your industry.

According to Tech Client, a website with blog content has 434% more indexed pages. These are pages that help your site rank higher in search engine results.

Leverage Social Media Accounts

Your social media accounts are more than just a way to advertise creatively in the digital age.

They are a great way for you to interact with your customers and create a following online. For example, you can invite customers to rate your company. They can also write reviews on your products or services.

You can also help promote your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. One way to do this is by providing coupons or other offers only found there. This way you give customers an incentive to connect with these accounts.

Utilize Google Places

Being a member of Google Places is a great way for your company to gain some visibility online.

Google Places is a directory of local businesses that show up on a map when someone performs a Google search in their area for your industry.

But it’s not enough to create a profile. You need to make the most of your listing by ensuring you have accurate contact and address information, pictures, and videos. 

Wrapping Up: Local Internet Advertising Matters

When it comes to advertising your business, how you do it online can be the first impression you make on a prospective customer. 

Focus your website design on helping it to rank highly in search engine results. This way your business will be found online by people in your area who are interested in your industry.

If you’d like to learn more about how to build an effective online advertising campaign, contact me, Rafferty Pendery.

I am a tech entrepreneur, VC and international speaker with a passion for helping others grow their businesses.

Tech Entrepreneur

5 Tips on Becoming a Successful Tech Entrepreneur

Aug 14, 2017

Do you have a great idea for a tech solution that the world needs? If so, becoming a tech entrepreneur might be the ideal career path for you!

While setting your own hours and handling all aspects of your business might sound like an exciting opportunity, the reality is that creating a new tech company from the ground up requires hard work, commitment, and a significant dedication to your craft.

Yet, while the input may be great, the good news is the reward can be even greater. In fact, venture capitalists invested more than $56 billion in startups in 2016 alone, and that number continues to rise.

So, do you want in?

Today, we’re discussing five ways to succeed as you step into the world of tech entrepreneurship.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

1. Find Passionate People

As you grow your company, your employees will quickly become the backbone of your business. As such, it’s vital to hire ones that are as enthusiastic and passionate about your solution as you are.

Steve Jobs is famously quoted as saying that when making a hiring decision at Apple, he was primarily interested in one thing — did that person love Apple?

When explaining his reasoning, Jobs said, “Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself.”

As a tech entrepreneur, you may be at the helm of your business. Yet, your employees will be responsible for many of the processes that keep its gears running smoothly.

As such, you’ll want — and need — teammates that care as deeply as you do about what you’re selling.

2. Survey the Landscape

While you might think your offering is the best new idea to hit the tech market, chances are you could be up against scores of competitors offering a similar solution.

To stand out and get noticed, take a look at what’s currently being provided in your niche. Then, determine how your product or service is unique, and strive to highlight these differentiators.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and pick the brains of your industry peers, especially those with more experience than you. As you grow into your role as a tech entrepreneur, you’ll find that there’s something to be learned from everyone you meet — yes, even your competition.

So follow your passions and pursue your dreams fervently, but don’t forget to look up once in a while to see what everyone else is doing.

Studies show that sharing knowledge and communicating with other professionals is crucial for growth, though only 25% of executives are effectively doing so. Join that one-quarter and see what a difference it makes.

3. Meet a Need

You may have heard the statistic circulating around that Internet that 90% of startups fail. What’s discussed less frequently are the reasons behind this staggering figure.

The chief reason only one in 10 will succeed? Almost half (42%) of founders polled responded that there was no market need. 

This reason came in at the top, posing an even greater threat than a lack of funds (29%), a team that didn’t fit (23%) and pressure from competition (19%).

The takeaway? Even if you have all the capital you need, a stellar team, and little to no competition, if you aren’t providing a product or service that people actually need, it could be difficult to secure a spot in the tech landscape.

Today, technology allows us to create software and systems that perform all kinds of functions. From automated floss dispensers to a Bluetooth-connected toaster, there’s virtually no limit to what we can create when given the capacity.

Yet, being a tech entrepreneur requires an incredible investment of time, energy, and resources — not just from yourself, but from your team as well.

To boost your ROI and up your odds of success, pinpoint your target demographic. Then, determine what those consumers prioritize, prefer, and typically purchase.

How does your solution fit into that? If you aren’t sure, it might be time to re-evaluate your vision.

4. Manage Inputs and Outputs

Though much of being a tech entrepreneur centers on following your dream, the all-important, yet less glamorous administrative aspect cannot be overlooked.

At the end of the day, successfully managing your resources can make all the difference in succeeding and barely scraping by.

Especially in the beginning stages, every incoming dollar counts. The way you invest it back into your company is critical. To maintain the balance, you may have to get creative with the way you allocate income.

Are sky-high salaries burning a hole through your profits? Consider if you can offer lower pay but better benefits, offering employees morale-boosting incentives such as happy hours and comped meals to cut costs.

In the same vein, you’ll also be required to sharpen your time management skills. When you’re your own boss, that freedom can be incredibly liberating — and simultaneously overwhelming. 

Without set working hours, you can easily become burnt out. In fact, Gallup poll data reveals that 34% of entrepreneurs said they experienced worry “a lot of the day yesterday,” up four percentage points from all other workers. In addition, 45% experienced stress that same day, up three percentage points from the worker average.

In a nutshell, it’s important to focus not only on how you’re spending and investing your money but also your time. A successful entrepreneur will seek balance in both.

5. Plan Your Future

Before making any new move as a tech entrepreneur, make sure you have a detailed business plan in place. Creating one is crucial to making sure your company has a roadmap for the future.

Strategizing how your company will respond to changes in the market, new competition, fluctuations in profit margin, team growth, and more is a valuable first step.

As you craft your plan, be sure to account for some flexibility. What you think will work in 2017 might not be as applicable or important by 2020. In that case, sticking tight to your blueprint could do more harm than good.

Allow yourself the freedom to transition into a new phase if necessary, but build a solid foundation first. A business plan can help you get there by forcing you to put down on paper all the ideas and tangents that have been swirling in your head.

Not sure what to include in your plan? The U.S. Small Business Administration provides some helpful guidelines.

Straight from the Source: Advice from a Tech Entrepreneur

Now that you know a little more about how to succeed as a tech entrepreneur, do you still believe the path is for you? If so, I’d love to share my tips on how to navigate this rewarding, but sometimes tricky, landscape.

I provide relevant industry-related articles to help you ace the business management game. From branding strategies to social media, I’ll show you the ropes as you take each step along the journey.

To learn more, feel free to contact me and let’s connect!