15 Tips to Improve Sales For Your Retail Store

Everyone in the retail business will understand the seasonal sales slumps, the different ups and downs that are part of selling your goods from storage shelves in your Melbourne store, but there are a few things you can do to improve sales overall, try some of these in your store.

  1. Your sales staff are your link to your customers so hire or develop your existing staff so they can offer your customers exceptional service and a truly comfortable experience while in your store and will want to return.
  2. Strong store visuals are so important when someone enters your store; they need to see that the shop is clean, tidy and not cluttered with ample room to view the displays. People do not like to be confused, so remain simple and easy to follow.
  3. Have your store so it is easy to walk around and make focal points for people to focus on good selling items.
  4. As you are hoping to attract repeat as well as new customers it is vital that your displays are updated regularly with fresh new stock.
  5. Insure that all your customers are not kept waiting and that if waiting for such things as fittings or getting stock from storerooms is inevitable that their wait is as comfortable and interesting as possible. Don’t waste the time they are in your store.
  6. A shop needs to have a winning assortment of complimenting merchandise and accessories that will appeal to your expected customers.
  7. Try integrating internet shopping in your store so your customers can view your virtual store collect and possibly pay for items online then pick them up directly from your store.
  8. Mobile ordering is also an extension of your virtual online presence so you can deliver straight to their home.
  9. Loyalty programs are a great way to let your customers know that you are there to serve them and it gives you a contact point for them so you can add them to your mailing list.
  10. Communication is very important so ensure you have a proactive website where they can contact you with quires and requirements.
  11. Always strive to be open, honest and authentic with your customers.
  12. Be community conscious and show that you support the community, offer prizes from your store for community and school fundraising raffles.
  13. If you have room, take donations from the community for all the local charities. That way more people will enter your store and see your wares.
  14. Promote upgrades from all your suppliers and use the opportunity to offer add-on’s to your customers to appeal to a wide range of tastes and requirements.
  15. Be aware that to increase your overall sales you have spread the load and not focus on only one aspect of your business so try rearranging your store with new storage shelves from Melbourne suppliers.

A retail shop is all about attracting customers to your store and once inside, making sure their time with you is interesting stress free and of value to them. If you offer value you will get it back in the form of sales and repeat customers add an internet shop as an option for your customers.

How to Select The Right Local Interior Designers

Lots of choices can be confusing if you don’t have a clue as to what exactly you’re looking for in local interior designers. Your choice of the right designer is very important, because this is someone whom you’d spend several months working together. It’s important that they do your job right.

And the good thing with local interior designers is that they offer you guidance on what design, planning and construction decisions you ought to make. These decisions can overwhelm you if you’re doing everything on your own – like a do-it-yourself enthusiast.

Local interior designers have knowledge of the area, and can help you find the right materials and professionals. They can assist you to draw plans to re-decorate your rooms, to re-design your home or to fit a new kitchen or bathroom. They can also offer advice on things like choice of paint color, source of fabrics, lighting, space planning or shopping of furniture.

While it takes lots of effort and time to find the right local interior designers, location-based freelance websites such as efii has made it easier and faster for you to connect with them. With your laptop or smartphone device, you can complete the recruitment process in a significantly shorter period than if you do traditional process.

The idea of hiring and working with local interior designers shouldn’t scare you. This guide provides you with tips on what could help you become comfortable with the idea of working with them. Read on to find out.

The Right Place to Find Them

Searching for local interior designers isn’t as straightforward as looking up for their contacts or addresses from directories or your phone book. Neither is doing a quick search on Google, Bing or Yahoo. You need to keep in mind three things:

1.Look for interior designs or designers you can relate with. It’s important to find the right design – a design that fits your style. One way to find your taste is to visit showhouses or model houses, which local interior designers host. Select a look that’s in sync with your taste, style or preference. Write down the name or contact of the person who created that look.

2.Seek for referrals from your family, neighbors or friends. Your friend, family member or a friend is likely to have sought the help of an interior designer. Act like a detective. Ask them about what their experience with the local interior designers is. If it’s positive, write down their names and contacts.

3.Make use of professional organizations. One effective way to find out about the professionalism of an interior designer is whether they belong to a professional body. Your local area is likely to have a chapter or branch of a professional organization. You can look up the names and contacts of local interior designers on member’s list. Select the ones you think meet your requirements.

Proof of Professionalism

One way to find out about the professionalism of an interior designer is look into their credentials – certifications and degrees. An interior designer with a certificate means that relevant authorities regulate their practice. If you want a guarantee of good results, local interior designers with higher degree and certification levels are a good go-to. In addition, find out whether their certificates and degrees are genuine. Investigate whether they’ve fulfilled the requirements of local accreditation societies.

Budget Requirements

It’s a good idea to estimate the size and scope of your project to know much the whole project would cost. You can also factor in emergency funds. This would save from you from running out of money when the project isn’t complete. Requesting for quotes from your local interior designers can go a long way in helping you to budget properly. You can even make it a requirement for candidates to have willingness to work on milestones rather than entire project. Decide with your interior designer what payment structure works for you – hourly, fixed price, cost-plus or a mix of all these.

Communication

Regular, up-to-date communication is crucial for project success. Your local interior designers should keep you updated on the ongoings of the project even when you’re not around. Luckily, communication apps with text messaging and video chat features are available.

Some task management and time-tracking apps can even alert you on when your interior designer is supposed to complete a certain milestone or meet with you. Most importantly, you should be happy and content with what your interior designer proposes. If not, let them know.

Your Style

Consider whether local interior designers are able to tailor their designs to your needs. As bespoke as they may be, they result from a thorough consultation with your designer. Hence, be open about your decor tastes as much as possible. Select an interior designer who’s able to include every aspect of your considerations into their design, not those who use signature looks. A designer’s portfolio can reveal what their style is; choose the one who can fit your style.

Custom Import Export Data Method to Know Future Market Trends

India is a huge country with a frequently growing economy. The country has several different business prospects for international trading. There are several market players all across the world that are interested in country’s marketplace and wish to establish an all-new set-up in the country. It is recommended to know about the future as well as current market trends before investing a huge amount of money.

Understanding the country’s market is a tough task because of competitive nature. In order to make an in-depth analysis of the nation’s market, you can use Custom Import Export Data that covers detailed information about manufacturers, buyers, shipping ports, goods, shipment size, sellers, customs charges etc. These detailed can be used to increase business networks. If you’re an item manufacturer, you can make an analysis of this data optimize your production level and meet the demand for products in the marketplace.

Being a business leader, you can use shipping records to enlarge your business contacts, get in touch with top leading distributors, buyers as well as know about customs duty charges for your shipments.

With the help of Custom Import Export Data, you can observe the future market trends even without putting extra efforts. Basically, available shipping records in this data report can help you plan business operations and regulate them properly. It is pretty tough to manage and collect a large number of statistics. You don’t need to take the unnecessary headache of managing export and import data on your own; you can take expert’s assistance in this.

Don’t worry if you don’t know about any reliable source for collecting appropriate Indian trade stats. The online market is flooded with data sharing companies. These companies have trusted sources from where you can access records including government agencies, port authorities, trade associations, and customs department. They fetch Custom Import Export Data and store it on their huge export-import database. These firms have online portals from where you can download limited information to get an idea about actual data.

You can access these portals by paying some amount of money. In addition to this, it allows you to filter information according to your needs. The data has a user-friendly layout that can be accessed from anywhere in this world. Select that data service provider which suit your business needs at the best prices.

Nine Benefits of Web Blogging for Small Businesses

Small business owners often ask me, “Should I create a blog?” Or say, “I’m busy enough. And what should I write about?”

For my business, I’ve seen the difference that blogging makes to building trust, reputation, website visitors, and ultimately sales. And I’m not alone. Clients tell me that they’ve generated business from blogging as it’s an excellent way to introduce your services while providing honest and valuable information.

What is blogging?
The word Blog is a short form for web log and is a frequently updated part of your website. It is a place to provide useful information related to your business, industry, opinions and passions. It’s important to be regular and consistent, but don’t aim for too much. Create the habit of writing a simple blog post per week or month (or get someone to do it for you) and build it from there.

Why should I bother?
Here are nine benefits of starting a blog for your business. Pay particular attention to the bonus tips at the end.

1. Build trust. Who do you do choose to do business with? It’s usually people or organisations that you know, like, and trust. A blog humanises your brand by adding your voice to issues that your prospects care about. Showcasing your personality through your expertise and passions creates familiarity, so you’re at the forefront of people’s minds when they choose to buy.

2. Grow your audience. A blog can build your audience even before you have a business. Once you’ve built a niche following, you can monetise your products and services.

3. Boost search engine visibility and website traffic. Google loves fresh content and rewards your site with better visibility. It’s like fishing: You catch more with the number of hooks you put in the water. So, the more content you create, the more pages Google can index for people to visit.

4. Position yourself as a subject-matter expert. Insightful, quality, useful posts increase your industry credibility. It could be timely or news-related, meaning you’ll get exposure for trending searches.

5. Market research. You can ask for feedback in the comments section of your blog. This will improve your writing and provide valuable intelligence about what people need help with. Armed with this information, you can create products and services that people actually want.

6. Newsletter content. Many small businesses have a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly newsletter. Readers will usually appreciate the highlights from your most recent popular content.

7. Social media strategy. Sharing other people’s content is great, but you eventually want to direct people back to your site. A well-maintained blog provides regular, high-quality content to your social media channels.

8. Return on investment (ROI). According to Hubspot, businesses that prioritise blogging have a 13 times increase in ROI year after year. And businesses with 401-1000 pages of content get six times more leads than those with 51-100 pages. Such leads can become life-long customers.

9. Great for networking. Blogs increase your reach to potential clients, customers, and business partners, which can lead to speaking and consulting opportunities.

Bonus tips
1. Integrate it. Ensure your blog is on the same domain as your business website and labelled on your homepage.

2. Maintain it. An active blog shows your business is alive and healthy. If you can’t maintain your blog, take it down or at least remove the publishing date.

3. It’s not about you. Focus on how you can help your customers. Become someone of value. Maybe it’s insight from a book. Or something you’ve learned at a conference. Overtly talking about your products and services is the quickest way to turn a potential customer off. Instead, your blog should be a resource for readers that provides relevant, valuable information not found anywhere else.

Some examples:

  • a hairdresser could blog about current styling trends
  • a real estate agent could write about how to sell your home and the best local areas
  • a physiotherapist could write about the best stretches to do at the office
  • a coffee shop could educate customers about where the coffee comes from
  • a make-up artist could give tips on preparing for a night out
  • a marketing company could blog about the current social media trends.

In summary
Blogging is a great way for your business to stand out from the competition. Your unique insights will build your search traffic, customer trust, and ultimately sales.

8 Golden Success Secrets for Small Businesses

Running a small business is as challenging as trekking to Mt. Everest without having oxygen cylinder, prior practice, and a valid map guide. The challenges are only because there are no authentic rules that can lead a small business towards success while other major obstacles comprise: low budget, limited manpower, and lack of efficient resources. But as a small business owner, you must delve into the passcodes that help you decode the secret patterns of operating a successful startup or small business. It not only helps you to sustain your current growth but also excel your business planning’s to achieve higher objectives. There are a few suggestions based on real-world experiences, which can assist you to hit the bull’s eye.

1- Utilize the power of social media:

Nowadays, the entire world revolves around social media and if you are able to use its full potential, it can immediately help you increase your sales and brand reputation with very minimum resource and effort. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, help you connect with a large scale of users, where you can directly interact with them, thereby allowing you to convert them into your potential clients. It forms a two-way channel that not only allows you to put your message across but also, listen to what your targeted audience want, which eventually goes a long way in improving and growing your business.

2- Research and analyze your competition:

A business turns to be successful only if it runs on some finely grinned facts and figures. And competition analysis is one of the most important elements of the process. Competition analysis tells you the strength you will require to establish your brand in the market as well as it helps to prepare your business planning adequately so that you could avoid the chances of business failure. An additional benefit of competition research is it allows for designing and developing more feasible and user-oriented products that eventually help you attain a competitive edge over the current market.

3- Work as per your plan but be flexible too:

Efficient planning is a roadmap that drives your business to the top in the long run with predefined routes. It is always advised to stick with our planning even if we face a few hurdles while running our business given that the strategies are designed after in-depth analysis. And day-to-day challenges should not incline you to alter with whatever you planned. The winners always back their business plannings regardless of the stiff challenges, but on the other side, a successful business requires the owner to be flexible enough to embrace new changes. Adapting the new ideas and concepts not only makes a business owner take smart decisions but also, keeps their core planning intact and fresh.

4- Use informative materials to build trust and loyalty:

The Internet is the best medium to reach out to the huge audience with less effort, but you should keep the fact in mind that there is already a heavy flow of advertisements and endorsements all over the web. So, what can be an efficient way to create our presence with a significant impact?

There are definitely some better ways to do it like using informative online materials such as well-written blogs, well-designed infographics, animated videos demonstrating some set of skills, and presentation sheets, etc. Following such practices will attract a huge mass to our platform to learn and engage with us, which gives a sense of trust and ultimately convert them into our long-term clients.

5- Hire your weaknesses:

A small business consists of a team of limited dedicated professionals, having different skill sets of all the corners to tackle most of the business requirements. Small businesses, sometimes, compromise in some crucial areas since they can’t hire specific individuals due to the lack of budget. To get your business positioned to the top, please don’t bear with your inefficient area. Rush into hiring experienced professional(s) so that all parts of your business fire with the same intensity.

6- Be ready for mergers and acquisitions:

Even after working with your full potential, you may not generate enough force to compete with the leading competitors. Other small businesses with the same concept may face the same situations. Just find them and join in the talks to check the possibilities of the merger to form a combined force, which can provide the required pace and power to achieve the common business goals. Mergers have a long, rich history of producing successful businesses, so don’t shy away with it. Similarly, business acquisitions are a noble idea to inject more strength to our business if budget allows us to do so.

7- Keep the quality service always on:

Quality service is the most important source that keeps your client for a longer period of time and it spreads huge positive feedbacks in the mass, driving in a large number of new clients. There have been more than just a few businesses reaching to the top just on the base of excellent service and even without spending a bomb on advertisements and business promotions. While there are other businesses which have failed miserably because of giving no importance to the quality of the services they provided. All in all, having the sound quality of the products/services is the key to succeeding in today’s cut throat competition.

8- Don’t give up:

Running a successful business is not a child’s play since it requires a lot of guts, courage, and risk-taking capabilities. It, sometimes, shakes your ambitions when going through some rough patches, and you need to have the burning desires within you to keep it alive. Keeping patience is also an important character that the small business owner must have, as the formation of a business and climb the ladder of success, demands to wait for long period of time. So, as a business owner, you need to instill never give up attitude to see your dreams come true!!

Summing it up, though the above-mentioned points are not entirely foolproof but yes, following these points will definitely help you to become a smart small business owner who can defy all the challenges and get on the top of the competition. Of Course, the chances of success or failure of your business completely depends on your planning and execution.

Business Sale to a Competitor – Why They Always Pay Less

The unfortunate truth… A competitor never pays more for your business.

Although there are legitimate reasons for a competitor to have significant interest in your business and recognize inherent value, history has taught us that competitor acquisitions of small businesses yield the lowest transaction value based upon price, structure and terms.

While you have built a turn key business that has considerable value, a competitor has most of these organizational/operational elements in place and will view the overall value differently.

Many competitors approach these acquisitions as the purchase of a customer list, picking up a few good employees, add an asset or two, and maybe establish a key relationship or territory with a vendor. Some are simply looking to eliminate a competitor. The bottom line is that they do not need everything you are selling like someone new to the industry. The worth of this turn key operation is not valued the same from a competitor versus an outsider.

Does a competitor need, want, or place significant value on the following assets?

Tangible:

• Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment (FF&E)

• Vehicles

• Inventory

• Real Estate

Intangible:

• Customer lists

• Client Contracts

• Systems, processes, and intellectual property

• Brand name, website domain, phone numbers

• Reputation

• Online Reviews

• Vendor supply agreements, licensing agreements, exclusive territories

• Proprietary computer software

• Trained and in-place work force

• Goodwill

Outside buyers will require all of these assets to continue business operations and take the company to the next level. Competitors will not need all of these assets and those assets they require are valued lower, especially the intangible assets.

Therefore, the recommendation to a business owner who is considering a sale and might be entertaining a discussion with a competitor, is to develop a list of their objectives and goals when selling the business. Even at the most basic level “I want to sell my business for the highest price”.

Does this mean the highest price with 100% seller financing/earnout or is the goal to receive the lion’s share of proceeds at closing? The goals and objectives can vary considerably amongst business owners pursuing a business sale. Experienced M&A Advisors and Business Brokers are adept at qualifying a buyer who is most aligned with these goals and the assets being sold.

Several examples of goals/objectives include:

• Obtain the highest price with a portion of seller financing contingent payments

• Obtain the highest price with a portion of contingent payments

• Maximize cash at closing

• Seek an exit with no continued involvement with the business

• Remain with the business in some capacity with less responsibility and time commitment

Find buyer who:

• Has adequate funds to close

• Has industry or related experience

• Is local or willing to relocate to be local to the business

• Acquires or leases the real estate as part of the business sale

• Does not cherry pick inventory, vehicles, or FF&E

• Has necessary business licenses or requires only minimal training and transition assistance

• Expects to retain the current roster of employees

Once the toothpaste is out of the tube…

Competitors and complementary industry businesses know one another. They see each other at conferences, industry association meetings, and vendor reward trips. It is not unusual for overtures to be made about acquiring a competitor’s business. Most often, these discussions start out innocently; a desire to purchase is made with numbers floated that sound great to the prospective seller and an NDA is signed. Discussions are held, and business financials are provided to the competitor. A subsequent meeting is scheduled, and a non-binding Letter of Intent is received. Further due diligence is pursued, significant confidential information is provided and an offer, far different from the one originally discussed, is made. The deal falls apart. The result is no deal and unfortunately, a competitor now has highly sensitive information on your business. This is the worst situation possible and happens far too often.

Selling larger businesses to a competitor is not that unusual and the focus of this article is not to say that these sales should never be done; but merely to highlight the value differences that should be expected and the risks involved in divulging sensitive company information when engaging a competitor.

If it is appropriate for a business to be sold to a competitor, having a professional intermediary is critical. Following an established process, providing information in stages, protecting sensitive information, qualifying sincere interests or ferreting out a fishing expedition are some of the key benefits that an intermediary provides.

Additionally, it is the intermediary’s ability to discreetly market the business to many prospective buyers versus negotiating with only one candidate that enables the transaction value to be maximized. Each confidential marketing program is customized per engagement but ultimately these programs are focused on creating multiple offers whereby the best price, terms, and conditions can be achieved for the seller.

How To Grow A Small, But Resilient Business

Small businesses, particularly those looking for an organic growth fail more often than they think. The success rate being fairly low, startups and small businesses need a foolproof strategy to be successful in the long-run. There are several things a small business owner can do to take her business to the next level. While on one hand, setting up of goals, planning in that direction and organizing the tasks is imperative, staying put with the latest technology is also equally important on the other.

The latest trend that small businesses have been seen to follow is embracing the cloud technology. The bookkeeping technology has taken a sharp turn, moving up from the traditional methods to accounting on the cloud.

QuickBooks Cloud: A New Way of Managing Finances

QuickBooks Cloud is bookkeeping software that serves the users with all of the necessary accounting tools at a single platform. It has not only made accounting and bookkeeping easier for its users but also made documenting simpler for CPAs, entrepreneurs and owners. Here is how an entrepreneur can grow a small but resilient business with the help of QuickBooks Cloud.

  • Embrace The Cloud, Once and For All

To compete with the larger firms and make a mark in the market, firms need to move to the cloud already. QuickBooks Cloud is an innovative way that offers anywhere, anytime accessibility along with a slew of unique benefits such as printing checks, managing payroll, keeping a track of inventory, managing the invoice etc on a single platform, without depending on paper.

  • Enjoy Increased Productivity Finally

Small firms need to work on their productivity. Since the workforce is comparatively smaller, SMBs need to work out a system that helps them to grow. QuickBooks cloud is highly scalable, thus when a firm grows, the growing functions can be easily managed without increasing the firm’s expenditure.

  • Make Tracking A Habit

In the traditional methods of bookkeeping, entrepreneurs would keep a lot of tasks on the mind instead of on record. This can be classified as an inefficient method of running a business as it is a careless method of tracking the tasks. With QuickBooks Cloud, tracking can be done on the software in no time. The software unfailingly reminds the users to make the payments on time, to track the inventory and to schedule or/and attend the upcoming events.

  • Keep Up With The Taxes

QuickBooks Cloud helps its users to stay updated with the changes in tax laws. Along with that, tax payments have also become a lot easier as QuickBooks software helps to organize the taxes beforehand. Tax payments with QuickBooks are a stress greatly reduced for the firms.

  • Be A Learner

A successful entrepreneur understands the importance of being up-to-date with what’s latest. Learn where the competitors and leaders are going. The customers need keep on changing and so does the market. Thus, a SMB must keep up with the market to be in business in the long run.

  • Backup and Backup

Cloud means multiple backups. And with QuickBooks Cloud, an entrepreneur is making sure that he has several backups for his most valuable company’s data. Loss of data owing to any possible cause can mean a loss of thousands of dollars to the firm. Thus, every company is required to keep its data safe.

  • Enjoy Better Planning For Your Business

Cloud helps the firms to plan its future in a better way. The scalability feature of cloud helps firms to expand and contract their functions easily. With easy access from anytime, anywhere, the entrepreneurs can carry out the work with the clients and CPAs even if they are located at a remote location in any part of the world. Thus, better planning and problem solving made easier on multiple levels.QuickBooks Cloud has helped young entrepreneurs, CPAs and owners of small and medium sized businesses to do more at a single platform. With cloud computing technology, the users will not only save their time and money, but will also stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field of bookkeeping. Businesses thus looking to compete with the larger companies can start with accepting QuickBooks Cloud server for running their accounting operations in a more resilient manner.

Important Manufacturing Metrics That Help in Increasing Efficiency

We may say a thousand things about business, but ultimately, business is a sheer number game. Essentially, everything in a business is decided by profit and loss numbers. Revenue generated, orders fulfilled and other such data have great importance in business. Some key performance indicators become the guiding metrics for a business. Correct assessment of those metrics is very important for running a business successfully.

Manufacturing is one of the most crucial parts of a business. However, it is also a part riddled with the biggest challenges. Achieving Manufacturing Efficiency is the toughest part of this. It involves too many players and gets easily affected. Manufacturing Processes are generally complex and heavily rely on other processes too. Unplanned downtime or inefficiency even in one process will bring down the performance of the complete unit. Therefore, one Manufacturing Metric cannot cover it all. From Manufacturing Downtime Tracking to monitoring OEE, everything is important.

Improving these Manufacturing Metrics can increase the profitability of the complete process. However, too many metrics can take away the focus from the main concept. So, for the ease of understanding, we will be discussing only the most important metrics here.

Key Metrics for Measuring Manufacturing Efficiency

Efficiency

Manufacturing Cycle Time
This is the base metric for most of the calculations in a manufacturing unit. It measures the ideal manufacturing time of any product from the beginning to the end. If you are able to reduce this time then your plant will outperform. If you maintain it then you will remain consistent, but if this time increases your process will become inefficient.

Throughput
This Manufacturing Metric tells the average production capacity of any machine or process. It is important to note that it is an average and not the peak ability. Hence, if the throughput of any plant or machinery goes down all of s sudden then it can mean some serious problems. It is easy to measure and assess. You can never ignore this metric.

Capacity Utilization
We always want to perform our best but when working in a team that’s not possible all the time. Some Manufacturing Processes outshine whereas others underperform. Capacity utilization is the metric to measure the percentage difference between the potential output capacity and current output capacity of the complete process. This important metrics brings out the inefficiency in the process.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
This is a globally recognized gold standard Manufacturing Metric for assessing quality, speed, and availability. The higher the percentage of OEE in your plant, the more efficient your process will be. A better OEE score will make your Manufacturing Process more reliable and profitable.

Quality

Yield
Rework has always been one of the biggest enemies of profit, time and reliability. Yet, every process produces some defective goods that require reworking. Yield measures the percentage of products produced correctly as per the specifications in the very first attempt.

Customer Rejects
This is a measure of the failure of your process in manufacturing standard products and it comes directly from the customers. The higher the number of customer rejects, the greater your loss of profit and credibility in the market will be.

Downtime
Percentage Planned vs emergency maintenance work orders
Maintenance is a critical activity in any Manufacturing Process. Machines that work will face damage and routine wear and tear. Planned maintenance helps in keeping them in shape and getting great efficiency and reliability. However, in spite of the best efforts machines can still break down all of a sudden and cause panic and chaos. But, such incidents shouldn’t be a regular scenario as then the maintenance costs can escalate multiple times. One of the most important maintenance matrics is the ratio between the planned and unplanned maintenance. The higher the difference the better your profits will be. Measuring Manufacturing Downtime and Equipment Tracking can help you in lowering such instances.

Availability Ratio
It is a simple metric showing the availability of assets. It is calculated by deducting the downtime from planned production time of any process or machinery. You will get the actual availability. It is important for assessing the potential of your plant as well as finding ways for increasing efficiency.

These Manufacturing Metrics help you in finding the key areas to work on in your plant. If you look closely you can find the missing pieces of the puzzle through these metrics which will help you in reaping higher profits.

Social Media for Small Businesses

Social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives. Businesses of all size and shapes have started making the most of available mediums. Today we will try to anatomize tips on social media for small businesses. There are a plethora of small businesses eyeing social medium to promote their business/services. However, majorly these small businesses are failing or not being able to make optimum use of social media for their business growth. There are many theories and strategies on how to effectively use social media for established brands, but the topic social media for small businesses is seldom addressed. According to Digital state of eMarketing India 2017 Octane Research:

60% small businesses promote their business on social media. 50% focus on SEO and 35% use multichannel marketing funnel.
70% small businesses consider content strategy as their primary marketing activity.
52% business owners are using social media as to efficiently address customer engagement.
More than 20% of business owners said that they are making 50% plus profit using social media.

The primary reasons for the low turnout are uncertainty on an application of social media, calculating return on investment and persuade employees/stakeholders to clinch social media. Hence it is important to address the elephant in the room and analyze how beneficial is Social media for small businesses.

Social media for small businesses is a great way for emerging businesses to generate lead and build a reputation. If regularly updated, social media can deliver more results as compared to traditional mediums. Social media for small businesses gives brands an edge of control over the content that they want to post. Also, since social media is a two-way dialogue process, it helps businesses to instantly identify what is benefitting them. Social media for small businesses also helps generate Word of Mouth, which is one of the best tools for emerging businesses.

Social Media for small businesses | 10 Tips to effectively use Social Media

Define your Target Audience
The first and foremost important part that small businesses should focus on is to define their target audience. This helps small businesses to device their social media strategy accordingly. The target audience should be defined basis age group, sex, location, users’ online behaviors, their likes, interests, and preferences. For niche products, business owners can even target users based on their birthdays, anniversaries and important milestone. Audience targeting plays a very crucial role in the outcome of the results. For e.g.: a local shop selling footwear should not target users with interest in entertainment. The shop definitely won’t get the desired results.

Set achievable goals
Overnight success is a myth. Small businesses must understand this basic fact. Generally, when a new business starts selling on social media, there is palpable excitement is achieving more than set targeted sales. Businesses need to set goals which are upwards and forward. To achieve enormous goals, small businesses start updating social feed with multiple updates in shorter duration. This leads to user’s disinterest in the product/service. The set goals should be in sync with brand’s core capabilities and expertise. For e.g.: if a business is into selling shoes, they shouldn’t set a goal to repair maximum shoes in their area.

Choose the right medium
By now everyone knows, social media is for free. Even paid campaigns can be conducted at a relatively low cost as compared to traditional mediums. It is in this scenario, that we often see small businesses jumping the bandwagon and creating profiles on all the available platforms. Creating social profile doesn’t hamper brand image, but aggressively promoting a brand on wrong platforms can lead to brand losing its potential customers. Hence it is advisable for SME’s to first identify the right platform through which they can maximize their business. For e.g.: If a shoe selling brand tries to aggressively sell on LinkedIn, they won’t get a plausible response as compared to promotions on Facebook/Instagram.

Promote your core product/services
Since each and every business is riding in the social media wave, it is important for a them to promote their core product/services. Nowadays, we see a lot of businesses promoting their services as well as promoting peripheral products/services, which revolves around their core product/services. Majority of the times, this SME’s doesn’t have capabilities to fulfill a requirement, which can lead to a bad word of mouth for their business on social media platforms. Let us go back to our example; if a shoe seller is trying to aggressively promote socks instead of shoes, it is not going to benefit the business in the long run.

Create quality content
Now that we have covered the topics of identifying the target audience, setting achievable goals, choosing the right medium and promoting the right product/services let us now take a look at the type of content a business should promote on their social pages. A business should always focus on creating good quality content rather than not-good quantity content. Even if the business updates their page once in a day as long as it is relevant to their business, advocates about its core products send across a clear message it is considered as a good quality content. Antagonistically, if a business posts multiple updates which aren’t even relevant to the business’s products and services leads to users considering the business as fake/spam. Also, new businesses should try and refrain from promoting other businesses on their social platforms initially.

Create a content calendar
Making a small business successful on social platforms is no small task. It takes a lot of efforts for the businesses to keep up their conversion ratio. One such effort is to create a content calendar. Small businesses must anticipate important events and create a content calendar accordingly. Ideally, a content calendar must be planned a month in advance but an even weekly content calendar is highly recommended. This helps businesses to avoid any last minute hassles, strategize much more effectively and it also helps in creating curiosity amongst its loyal fans/customers.

Test and re-test
Social media is highly unpredictable. The content a business posts today, might not work for tomorrow. Hence, small businesses must always test their content before publishing it on their pages. Testing content also applies to the platform a small business chooses to promote. Small business owners must always don the consumer’s hat before posting about any product feature, updates, schemes or offers. A consumer’s perspective is the key when testing the content that has to be uploaded.

Look for inspiration
Small businesses must always look for inspiration from a competitor who is successful in the same category. Copy pasting competitors idea or content is not the answer. Small businesses must look for the kind of content its competitors are putting up and derive their own strategies subsequently. Inspiring content/stories always make a business to strive to create their own content that is appreciated by one and all. It helps in increasing brand consideration, brand visibility thereby increasing conversions for the business.

Calculate ROI
Even a small promotional budget is not justifiable if there is no mechanism to calculate its return on investment. It is more important in case of small businesses. It is very important for a small business to keep a tab on the budgets allocated to any promotions and the subsequent ROI related to it. If a certain promotion is not doing well or the business is not getting desired results, the brand custodian can always look for other platforms to generate quality conversions.

Analyze and Re-strategize
There can be umpteen instances where a particular campaign/promotion might not work for a business. That doesn’t mean that the promotion is wrong or the product/service is not good. Doing an analysis of the campaign is as important as setting the objective. This helps the business to formulate their upcoming strategies in more effective ways. At the end of every campaign, brands must note down the learning’s from that campaign and identify if the content/idea was appreciated by their fans or not. This helps businesses to skip the non-performing updates from future communications.

Final Thoughts
Social media for small businesses is definitely beneficial and fruitful. If followed correctly, small businesses can benefit tremendously from the power of social media promotions.

Data Visualization for Small Business

Everyone knows how important it is to monitor and evaluate the available natural, human and financial resources for any kind of business.

Visualizing the numbers has a crucial meaning for analysing and estimating. Psychologically it is more intuitive and helps for deep understanding of the data which are represented by numbers.

A simple and flexible web based application, which converts and visualizes a user defined numbers into different types of interactive charts.

Overview:
Data visualization refers to the techniques used to communicate data or information by encoding it as visual objects (e.g., points, lines or bars) contained in graphics. The goal is to communicate information clearly and efficiently to users. It is one of the steps in data analysis or data science. According to Friedman (2008) the “main goal of data visualization is to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means. It doesn’t mean that data visualization needs to look boring to be functional or extremely sophisticated to look beautiful. To convey ideas effectively, both aesthetic form and functionality need to go hand in hand, providing insights into a rather sparse and complex data set by communicating its key-aspects in a more intuitive way. Yet designers often fail to achieve a balance between form and function, creating gorgeous data visualizations which fail to serve their main purpose – to communicate information”

To communicate information clearly and efficiently, data visualization uses statistical graphics, plots, information graphics and other tools. Numerical data may be encoded using dots, lines, or bars, to visually communicate a quantitative message.Effective visualization helps users analyze and reason about data and evidence. It makes complex data more accessible, understandable and usable. Users may have particular analytical tasks, such as making comparisons or understanding causality, and the design principle of the graphic (i.e., showing comparisons or showing causality) follows the task. Tables are generally used where users will look up a specific measurement, while charts of various types are used to show patterns or relationships in the data for one or more variables.

Data visualization is both an art and a science. It is viewed as a branch of descriptive statistics by some, but also as a grounded theory development tool by others. Increased amounts of data created by Internet activity and an expanding number of sensors in the environment are referred to as “big data” or Internet of things. Processing, analyzing and communicating this data present ethical and analytical challenges for data visualization. The field of data science and practitioners called data scientists help address this challenge.