how to start a business

The Big Comeback: How To Start A Business After Experiencing Professional Failure

Dec 21, 2018

They say that 9 out of 10 new companies fail within the first couple of years of being in business. While most business owners want to believe they are the 1% who won’t fail, they must take the proper precautions just in case they do.

Is it possible to bounce back after experiencing business failure? Let be honest, it’s probably going to be a difficult task.

Fortunately, there are thousands of failed entrepreneurs that had to start over after their first business flunked.

If you have experienced a professional failure in the past, here’s how to start a business and recover from it all.

1. Evaluate Where You Went Wrong

One of the first tips every entrepreneur should take when learning how to start a business after you’ve failed is to evaluate where you went wrong the first time.

There are so many lessons that need be learned in order to run a successful business. Between money management and marketing — retracing your steps will help avoid failed entrepreneurship in the future.

2. Figure Out Finances

As tempting as it might be, you’re not able to “wing it” when it comes to the finances in your business. 

This time around, make sure you that your return on investment supersedes your expenditures. Also, verify that you’re spending well below your means and saving for the slow months.

3. Reinvent Your Brand

We’ve all heard of the phrase “If it not broken don’t fix it.” But what do we do if we realize our brand is broken?

One of the first lessons you should embrace when learning how to start a business is figuring out ways to always reinvent yourself. If your old tactics aren’t working, figure out different ways to bring fresh innovative content to your site and business.

4. Accept Past Failure

Overcoming the discouragement that comes with failure can be one of the most difficult tasks. After you’ve invested so much time and effort in your business, bouncing back can be hard. 

Accept your past failure. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Find comfort in those you love and remember that discovering yourself outside of your business is sometimes a necessity.

5. Rebuilding Your Inner Circle

It’s easy to isolate yourself when you’re constructing your own business. Because it usually requires long hours, many business owners find themselves very lonely and disconnected from their circle of encouragement. That includes family and friends.

Learn How to Start a Business and More!

Whether you’re looking to learn more about how to start a business or simply want to grow your own business, we’re here to help.

Rafferty Pendery was founded over 10 years ago and since then, we’ve strived to become one of the primary platforms for business owners trying to grow their company.

Have questions? Want to collaborate? Feel free to contact us and a member of our team will be more than happy to reach out to you.

how to start a business

How to Start a Business From Scratch On a Tight Budget

Nov 21, 2018

Do you have the next great business idea? Are you ready to hit the ground running and devote your life to getting your dream off the ground?

If so, you may be wondering how to start a business and build a company on a small budget. Thanks to the internet, your budget doesn’t have to hold you back.

Today you can now get started for less than ever, so leave those angel investors where they are for the time being. We’ll show you how to start a business without giving part of your ownership away.

Read on to learn more about how to start a business from scratch.

You Don’t Need an Office Space (Yet)

Starting your business may not require a physical office space and the additional overhead required by your office space.

After all, it’s not just the cost of the office. You’ll need to add in insurance, furnishings, and expenses like parking.

For example, if you’re in the beauty sphere, you could offer to provide in-home services to your client (think lash tech or on-demand blowouts).

If this isn’t an option, you could set up a low-cost location in an established salon.

Stocking a product? Start with a small inventory that you can manage from home or have your inventory shipped to a third-party seller like Amazon FBA.

Consider e-Comm

Vehicles like Amazon FBA and cheap web hosting can help you get your business off the ground if your business is selling a product. In this case, throw the majority of your budget into your product inventory and marketing strategy.

Youtube hosts a wealth of information about how to get started in eCommerce. Need a little kick in the pants? Small business titan Gary Vee is a great source of inspiration. He turned his parent’s liquor store into a $60m online wine business.

Proof that starting small doesn’t have to limit your potential for growth.

Buy It Used

If you need tools or tech for your business, buy it used if at all necessary. Sadly, many small businesses that don’t closely watch their expenses go under.

Because of this, you can often get clothing racks, dress forms, and many of the other things you may need at big discounts.

Websites like Craigslist can be a great tool when looking for the thing you’ll need to start your business.

Hire Slowly

Extra employees can make running your business a lot easier, but save that luxury for when your business is turning a hefty profit. You’ll need to be okay with devoting the majority of your time to getting your business off the ground for the first couple of years.

Enlist the support of family members who you may need to step in to help with things like child-care or helping you sort through Christmas season orders. With hard work and a great support network, you’re sure to be a big success.

How to Start a Business and Build an Empire

Looking for more great advice on how to build your business from scratch? We’re here to help every step of the way.

Check out our blog for more great tips on how you make your new business a success.

business coach

5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Business Coach

Oct 29, 2018

business coach

There comes a point in any business lifespan when a little help is needed. But when your business is your baby, it can be difficult to let go and ask for help.

That’s where a business coach can be the answer your business needs.

You wouldn’t expect a sports team to get better and grow without a coach, so what makes you think your business is any different?

Let’s look at 5 reasons why you should hire a business coach to push your business to the next level.

1. Push You Outside Your Comfort Zone

It’s very easy to get caught up in our own ways of thinking and doing things. There’s a comfort level there that draws us in and keeps us there.

But a business coach will help push you out of that comfort zone. And that’s one of the best things that can happen for a business!

There’s a whole world of new ideas and opportunities you may have never thought of before. Some of them will challenge you and some of them will surprise you.

They always say nothing grows inside a comfort zone. And neither can your business. A business coach will know just how to get you out of that rut.

2. Increase Your Income and Creativity

Often times we have mental roadblocks that make it almost impossible to come up with new business ideas. But a business coach can steer you past those blocks, getting the ideas flowing again.

With those blocks gone, your creativity now has room to gain momentum. And with that brings opportunity for more income.

Whether it be new products to sell, a new service you can offer, or whatever else you come up with, a coach can help you break the creativity drought and generate new income.

3. Identifies Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Having a fresh set of eyes come in and evaluate what you’re going great and what could use some work is invaluable information.

It’s hard to take a step back and critique your own processes and results. But a business coach can come in and look at things from a different yet professional perspective.

They can help you boost the things you’re already doing well. Plus help you come up with strategies to strengthen in areas that may need it.

4. Get Encouragement and Support

We all need a bit of encouragement and support from time to time. Especially in the competitive market of the business world.

When things get busy and overwhelming, it can be easy to second guess so many things. But a business coach can be the cheerleader you need when you need it most.

It’s amazing how support and words of encouragement can motivate you and lift your spirits. And many times, that’s exactly what we need to keep our businesses running full steam ahead.

5. Hold You Accountable

When you’re on your own, it’s tempting to let a task slide down your to-do list. Or give excuses on why a goal keeps getting procrastinated.

But a business coach will hold you accountable for all that.

They know the goals you want to reach. They keep track of your progress along the way. And if you start slacking off, they’ll know… and call you out on it.

That’s the kind of motivational kick that can finally get you to your end goal!

A Business Coach is Good for Your Business

If you want to get your business to the next level, a business coach is just the person to guide you there. With their expertise, the sky is the limit!

Needing tips to dominate your marketing plan? Check out our blog post on how to do just that!

business coach

Business Coach vs Life Coach: What’s the Difference?

Oct 22, 2018

More and more people are getting life coaches, and more and more of those people are in the millennial age group. But some people use the terms “life coach” and “business coach” like they’re the same thing.

Both are there to help you improve, but they’re there to do it in different facets of your life. There are some key differences between the two professions.

The Difference Between a Business and Life Coach

Coaching helps people to build clarity and accountability by talking about their goals.

Especially if you’re an entrepreneur, it’s useful to get guidance on your business endeavors and general coaching.

Main Goals of a Life Coach

Not surprisingly, a life coach is going to focus mainly on the details of your personal life. They may ask you where you see yourself in the future not just in terms of business, but in terms of relationships and living situations as well.

They will ask you personal questions to get to know you better and realize goals you may never have known you had. What would you do if you had no fear? Are you doing anything to move toward your dreams?

Simply put, a life coach is available to you to help you with thinking of your goals in a more tangible manner. They then help you to clearly set those life goals and give you steps on how to achieve them.

Life coaches often make a lower salary than business coaches, but it all differs from individual to individual.

Main Goals of a Business Coach

A business coach is more geared toward, also not surprisingly, helping you reach goals for your business.

They will ask you what you want to pursue in your future career goals, and facilitate ways to make those goals happen. They could help you write a business plan, learn how to communicate more effectively with your employees, or help affirm you in your leadership role.

They’re like a life coach that addresses your business goals. They measure your success by your professional achievements and don’t pay as much attention to your personal life. However, if your personal life is in some way affecting how you run your business, the two might bleed into one another.

Which One Do You Need?

Knowing the differences between having a life coach and having a business coach can help you more easily determine which one will be the most beneficial to your particular set of circumstances.

If you have a business of your own, you can also consider giving your employees tools to work with coaches of their own or get them a motivational speaker to motivate them the same way a life coach or a business coach might.

If you have more personal needs, a life coach is going to help you the most. But if you are trying to boost your business career and feel confident in your personal life, then a business coach can help guide you. Either way, getting a coach is a great way to advance your life professionally or personally.

startup hire

How Entrepreneurs and Startups Hire Their First Employee

Oct 2, 2018

With a massive 90% of startups folding, even getting to the point where you think you need to take someone new on board is a milestone. But recruiting someone to join your venture can be risky, so here’s our guide to your very first startup hire.

We’ll look at the legal, practical and personal issues involved to help guide you to the right decision that will take your company to the next level.

Preparing for your Startup Hire

The Legal Side

Before you start looking for the right person, make sure that you understand all the legal implications and responsibilities of taking someone on. You’ll need to make sure that you don’t fall foul of any labor laws, or equal opportunities legislation.

You will also need to let the IRS know that you have taken on a new hire, and ensure that you complete the necessary paperwork. There are taxes that you, as the employer, need to pay and information that you need to give the IRS on a regular basis.

The Role

Knowing exactly what you want your hire to do, will help you know what to look for. Working in startups tends to mean a broader job description than most roles, you want someone who will be able to pitch in and help in multiple areas.

Once you’ve determined what you want from hiring your first employee, you can work on what needs to be included in the contract of employment.

Finding the Right Person

You have three options for startup hiring. You can advertise your vacancy yourself, you can use an agency, or you can use word of mouth. Which you choose, will depend on the time:money ratio that you have available.

We’ve talked before about recruitment strategies, but one thing to keep in mind is that trusting on instinct, or other people’s opinions, isn’t the best way to screen potential staff.

Make sure that you take up references, carry out aptitude testing, and look into drugs testing, background checks and more if they will be appropriate for your business. Hire in haste, repent at leisure.

Onboarding

When you’ve found the right person, you need to think about how you’re going to make them a useful part of the team. Onboarding is a vital step in hiring a new employee. What do they need to know in order to be useful as soon as possible? Try and avoid having them start with nothing to do, no computer, phone or desk.

Don’t Delay

Don’t be one of those bosses who wish they’d hired people months before they actually did. The average time it takes to hire someone is now almost three weeks and if this is your first hire then there’s a good chance it will take longer.

If you’re thinking about hiring at some point in the near future, then it’s worth starting the process now. Your first startup hire is one of the best ways to expand your business, giving you more capacity to get your work done.

For more news on entrepreneurship, business, marketing and more then check out the other articles on our blog today!

branding tools

Top 3 Branding Tools Every Entrepreneur Needs to Use

May 15, 2018

Having a great brand is essential to the survival of your company. A brand gives your company an identity that will carry your reputation as a business.

Creating a brand can be difficult, especially if you’re not the creative type. But fear not because there are some amazing services you can utilize that will make the process much easier for you.

With the right tools, you can turn your brand into an industry icon.

In this blog, I’ll discuss the best branding tools you can leverage to give your company the ultimate brand.

Best Branding Tools

Having a strong brand means that your company will be easily recognizable and have a reputation attached to the brand.

Here are the top three best branding tools that every entrepreneur should be using to have the best brand identity for their company.

1. Canva

This service is fantastic for people who want to seem like they know how to create some incredible graphic designs, but actually, have no prior experience in graphics.

Canva basically does everything for you. If you want to create a twitter header that shows off your company’s brand, Canva can do it.

This service provides a ton of templates, so you just need to put in the information and Canva will do all the graphic design work.

Once you’ve found a template that best represents your brand, you can use this for all your social media platforms and on your website.

Best of all, it’s completely free, so you don’t have to worry about spending any extra cash on developing your brand when using this service.

2. Brandmark

The most recognizable part of your brand is going to be your logo. You need a logo that stands out and is unique, so when people see it; they know they are seeing your company.

Brandmark will help you design a logo, and will also create a website that’s built around the design of your logo, so it all looks uniform and organized.

It works by using a few keywords (provided by you) and will design logos based on those keywords. It will keep producing different logos until you find the perfect one for your company.

3. Business Blog

Having a great logo and attractive website is a fantastic way to have a visually appealing brand.

But creating a strong brand isn’t just about having a recognizable logo or style. You need to have a reputation attached to the style for it to mean anything to customers.

One way to do this is to create a business blog on your website. This helps to provide expert information on services and products related to your business.

This will not only give your website more credibility but will also attract new customers to your page. Plus, you can establish yourself as an authoritative source of information.

For More Information

If you are starting a new business and in the process of developing your brand, it’s important to utilize different branding tools.

If you want to create the best brand for your business, contact me today for more information on how to brand your business. You can consult me about social media, online PR, and marketing, organization, and expansion strategies.

seo solutions

5 Smart SEO Solutions to Help Your Startup Gain Online Traction

May 1, 2018

If you’re struggling to get the attention that your business deserves, it may be time to rethink your SEO strategy. After all, a business’ SEO plans can make or break its entire marketing plan.

Out of fresh ideas? Here are five SEO solutions to help improve your brand’s web presence.

1. Prioritize Local SEO Solutions

Now, it’s understandable that the above header may not seem relevant to your interests, particularly if you have grand visions of making your company a global phenomenon.

And that’s important! Hold onto those dreams, they’re valuable. But in the meantime, start by conquering your local search results.

Local SEO places an emphasis on businesses in a customer’s immediate area. Having your startup listed on Google is a fantastic way to get attention from potential clients.

If you haven’t done so already, make sure your listing includes all relevant info such as your contact information and the location of your business.

2. Rethink Your Website

It’s crucial that a website does more than just look nice. It needs to be fast and functional.

When creating or retooling your site, place an emphasis on speed and usability. Think about how your customer may use the site and create from their point of view.

Don’t forget, you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression. After a few seconds of waiting, visitors are likely to hit the ‘back’ button and move onto the competition’s site. Every second counts.

Optimizing images, enabling caching, and tinkering with your database are all relatively simple ways to boost site speed.

3. Come up With a Content Plan

The bulk of your SEO solutions need to involve content creation. Studies show that businesses who create blog posts or videos are often more successful than their counterparts who don’t.

Come up with a reasonable content strategy. Create on a regular basis and make sure that whatever you create adds value to the visitor’s life.

4. Choose Stronger Keywords

Aside from offering a reader some new form of information or resource, content creation can benefit the creator, too.

Each piece of content you publish needs to include strong, well-researched keywords. Tools like Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner could be a good investment for your brand.

5. Leverage Your Social Media Presence

Your web presence needs to extend beyond your website and into social media. Last year, it was reported that 81% of all U.S. adults had at least one social media profile.

If you’re not on social media, that’s 81% of the population you could be missing out on.

Crosspost content from your website and encourage feedback from users. Use this feedback to create a discussion to further engage with your fans and followers.

And don’t forget to have some fun. Your social media presence should remain professional, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let your brand’s personality shine.

In fact, that’s encouraged! Let people see the team behind the brand, as it makes your company seem more approachable and friendly.

A Stronger SEO Strategy Means a Stronger Brand

Whether this is your first time creating an SEO strategy or you just need to get back on track, this list of SEO solutions should help you dominate the front page of Google.

If you’re looking for more advice or want some professional assistance, get in contact with me.

With years of experience helping entrepreneurs just like you, together we can make your startup a success.

social media specialist

4 Telling Signs Your Business Need a Social Media Specialist

Mar 21, 2018

Having trouble keeping up with social media?

Wondering if it’s time to hire a social media specialist?

There’s not a lot of debate about social media these days. Most businesses have realized that it can be a great tool for promoting your brand and an essential marketing tool for getting more sales.

However, there is still a lot of mystery surrounding social media and many businesses still have trouble managing it well. If this is true for your business, it may just be time to get a specialist involved.

Below we’ll look at the 4 telling signs that your business needs to hire a social media specialist immediately.

1. Social Media Distracts You From Other Tasks

Let’s face it. Social media, while being a great marketing tool, can also serve as a big distraction. If you or another team member has taken on social media duties on top of other tasks, it can be a problem.

If you find that social media has taken important time away from other pressing business needs, you may want to hire a specialist.

A specialist will be able to devote 100% of their time to social media, instead of just a small part of their day. This can really improve the impact of your social media efforts.

2. You Have Trouble Connecting With Your Audience

If social media is only one of the tasks you or another team member focuses on throughout the day it can be hard to truly get it right. You may not have the expertise to create the posts that really get a lot of engagement. It may be hit or miss at best.

A specialist will be able to get to the heart of what your audience wants on social media and can identify what types of content they connect with. They can also spend their day replying to customer comments and questions.

Additionally, a specialist will also know the nuances of each platform, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platforms.

3. You’re Inconsistent

Social media may be the last thing on your to-do list for the day. It can be easy to simply cast your social media tasks aside and put them off to the next day’s to-do list. And then the next. And the next.

Inconsistency with social media is one of the most common social media mistakes businesses make. Inconsistency can lead to much smaller returns and engagement from social media.

A social media specialist can improve your business by post consistently. They’ll even be able to recognize what the best times of day are for posting to your audience.

4. You’re Behind on the Latest Trends

Social media is always changing and new trends are arriving all of the time. If social media isn’t your main focus you may easily become overwhelmed trying to stay up-to-date on all of the latest trends and happenings.

Trends become even harder to keep up with when each social media platform is so different. Trends on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube all vary and aren’t usually aligned.

Social media specialists know this and work hard to keep up with trends. This increased knowledge and insight can help your business become more effective and engaging on social media.

Making the Decision to Hire a Social Media Specialist

While it can be hard to make that initial decision to hire a specialist to manage your social media, it will likely improve your business more than you realize.

A specialist can save you time and money and can boost your social presence in many ways, helping you to build a greater community around your business and get more sales.

Need help developing your social media and marketing strategy? Have questions or comments? Contact me today to learn more about what I can do to help your business succeed.

small business ideas for students

Making College Worthwhile: Unique Small Business Ideas for Students

Feb 28, 2018

You’ve moved away from home, you’ve got your own place, and now you’re on your own. College is an exciting time, to say the least, but it can also be quite expensive.

Therefore, it’s important that you make the most of your time in college by taking what you learn in the classroom and putting it to use in practical, real-world scenarios.

If you’re interested in making a bit of money and beefing up your resume at the same time, this article is for you. Here are a few unique small business ideas for students to help you make college more worthwhile.

Tutor Fellow Students

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be the strongest student in the world, there’s likely a subject in which you excel in. Sure, you could simply do the bare minimum and get an A, but you can use your brain to make some money, too.

If you talk to fellow college entrepreneurs, you’ll likely come to find that many students choose to tutor their peers for a bit of extra income.

Find a topic that you’re comfortable with and start teaching others.

Advertise your tutoring services around school and online to drum up a bit of business. If you want to start out with a truly competitive edge, you can even offer a referral discount.

Create a Blog

Believe it or not, the blogging world is still as profitable as ever thanks to social media and affiliate marketing. In fact, if you’re diligent about your blogging, you can even make a decent living for yourself.

Use a tool like WordPress or YouTube to create a free page for your blog and start uploading content.

Let the world know about yourself and your college experience. If your blog takes off, you may even qualify for product sponsorships.

Freelance

Of course, you may not have an interest in creating your own personal brand. You may want your content posted to pre-established blogs and sites instead.

If that sounds like a better idea, consider freelancing.

Best of all, there are ways to freelance for just about every skill. Whether you’re a graphic designer, writer, web designer, or videographer, freelancing is a great way to make a name for yourself in your favorite field.

Create an App

Technology is burgeoning like never before thanks to creative startups and entrepreneurs. What better way to make your mark on the world than by creating your very own app?

Find a need that isn’t being met and come up with a creative way to meet it with technology.

It may sound difficult, but remember, Mark Zuckerberg was in college when he first created Facebook. You’ve got this!

Try These Small Business Ideas for Students

By trying these small business ideas for students you’ll improve your skills, have a stronger resume, and above all else, learn something about the world.

If you’re looking for great tips on how you can make the most of your entrepreneurial skills, be sure to follow my blog, or get in touch!

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.

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.

brand strategy

How Brand Strategy Affects Organic Search Metrics

Aug 1, 2017

What’s the power of your brand?

Is it like a magnet drawing in more clicks, more engagement, more mentions and — most importantly — more sales?

Your brand strategy determines how the world sees you. But does it affect organic search metrics? Is its impact tangible? Or are you dealing with yet another unmeasurable in your marketing campaign?

Let’s take a look at how brand strategy impacts your organic traffic and how very measurable that impact can be.

Brand Awareness Through Brand Strategy

Ah, the power of familiarity.

People are drawn to what they know. They don’t even have to know much about you in the early stages of brand awareness.

Simply by recognizing you, they’re more likely to click. They’re more likely to check out your new offerings. They’re more likely listen to what you have to say because they know you.

The exact number is questionable. But research shows that it takes somewhere between 7 and 12 touches with your brand before a potential customer becomes an actual one. Each of these new clicks gets you that much closer to achieving marketing goals.

What does this mean for your organic search metrics? If they’ve entered a keyword and your brand’s name comes up, rather than click on a competitor, they click on the name they know.

Click through rate (CTR) is a known search engine ranking factor. This, therefore, contributes to your search engine ranking. CTR will have a positive effect on ranking as long as you’re providing the right user and customers experiences, which we’ll discuss next.

User Experience

Your user experience encompasses elements like:

  • Site speed
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Layout of your site
  • Easy to use navigation

User experience is an important part of your brand strategy. Your focus — or lack thereof — on your visitor’s experience says a lot about your brand.

If people are confused or frustrated by the experience on your website, they will flee.

Fleeing visitors would mean an increased bounce rate. Bounce rate is a term used to describe people leaving your site without interacting with it.

This is a known factor in search engine rankings. So it will affect your organic traffic.

Customer Experience

Through your brand strategy, you not only attract new visits; you engage them, keeping them on your site longer and increasing their click through to additional website pages.

You do this by:

  • Making compelling offers
  • Telling your story
  • Appealing to emotions
  • Offering valuable information
  • And so on

Creating the right experience for your customers is an important brand strategy that:

  • Helps new customers connect with your brand on a deeper level
  • Helps new customers connect faster
  • Increases brand loyalty
  • Increases promoter activity (sharing, liking, 5-star reviewing, recommending)

The impact on your organic search metrics is multi-faceted.

1st, visitors keep coming back because you’re creating a great customer experience = increased CTR = improved organic rankings

2nd, you’re keeping people on your site longer = decreased bounce rate = improved organic rankings

3rd, you’re increasing referral traffic from promoter activity = more traffic = improved organic rankings

Improving Branded Searches

Because of additional promoter activity caused through your brand strategy, you’ll see an increase in people asking for your website by name.

Instead of typing in a keyword, they’ll enter the name of your company or the website address into the search box.

This may either take them directly to your site. Or it may take them to search results that include you — and all of the websites who wish they were you.

Regardless, they’ll go to your website, increasing the organic and direct traffic to your site.

Research isn’t conclusive because you can’t create branded traffic in a vacuum, eliminating other ranking factors. But it’s strongly suspected by experts that these types of searches have a great impact on search rankings.

You’ll see increases in branded searches in the form of direct traffic in Google Analytics.

Measuring Brand Awareness ROI

Measuring how brand awareness is impacting your organic metrics allows to see the fruits of your labor and know you’re on the right track.

You need these measures called “micro-conversions” because sometimes financial rewards are delayed due to that 7-12 touches rule stated earlier.

Let’s look at several measures to gauge the impact of our brand strategy on organic metrics.

CTR

Your click through rate applies to both organic searches and your paid searches through FaceBook, Adwords, etc.

In both cases, because there’s greater brand awareness, you should see your CTR increase.

Direct Traffic

In Google Analytics (GA), you can view the sources of your website traffic. Among them, you’ll find direct traffic. Direct traffic is generated by users who type in your website’s URL and go straight to your website. You should see an increase in direct traffic.

Mentions

With greater promoter activity, your mentions will increase. That’s more reviews as well as mentions in social, blogs, forums and all over the web. You can track mentions with paid tracking tools like Mention or track social mentions through social media sites.

Social Referral Traffic

The number of visitors who arrive from social media will also increase. You can view these social referrals in GA.

Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate will decrease because visitors care what you have to say, care about what you offer and you provide the right experience.

Natural Backlinks

You can use tools like AHrefs or Serps to check the number of backlinks on your website. More people are linking to you because of your brand strategy.

Organic Traffic

All of the above contributes to increased organic traffic.

Increased Conversion of Leads to Customers

Your ultimate goal in a brand strategy is typically to increase sales while reducing acquisition costs. Here as well you’ll see a measurable impact of your strategy.

More Strategy Solutions

Measuring how your strategy impacts organic metrics will help you improve the return on your branding efforts and achieve your branding goals.

If you’d like to learn more about branding strategy, social media, PR and marketing, visit my blog and contact me, Rafferty Pendery, Tech Entrepreneur, VC and International Speaker.