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Should Small Businesses Choose Outsourcing?

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Outsource is best or inhouse development

Outsourcing refers to getting work done by third parties enabling you to have more time to concentrate on your core business activities. Every business has a range of jobs to complete. When you get the work done in-house, you must have specialists to handle the task. Having different departments or specialists for various activities could be financially draining for a small business especially if it is just a startup with small number of customers.

When you have a salaried person at work, you want to get the maximum services out of him/her to counterbalance the salary that you pay to him/her. However, in the absence of a thriving business, the salaries of these specialists could pinch you. Instead, outsourcing such jobs to the third parties makes sense as they will be paid only for the services taken and nothing beyond.

Therefore, outsourcing has several benefits and it can be taken by small business owners. However, you must remember that outsourcing has its quota of risks and you must be aware of them and the methods to avoid these risks to get the actual benefits.

Here are some benefits of outsourcing that will make you think of taking the services for your small business:

Cost Benefits

cost benefit of outsourcing

The first and the foremost benefit of outsourcing is cost effectiveness. Small businesses do not have the resources to set up different departments or train employees to complete the required work like payroll processing or accounting. Outsourcing these jobs to the third parties or specialists is cost effective in the sense that you get the services of the experts and specialists without spending too much. The third parties have similar works from different small business owners. Therefore, they are able to meet their costs due to the numerous job requirements by varied business owners.

When you outsource certain important and essential tasks, you also save on investing on the infrastructure, furniture, office supplies and other essentials required for completing those tasks. Therefore, outsourcing is beneficial for small business owners.

Outsourcing brings Efficiency

efficiency in outsourcing

As a small business owner, you cannot have a large team of workers. You have to get all the jobs done by the limited workforce that you have. In this scenario, outsourcing some of the non-core jobs to the specialists helps you in getting the best out of your salaried employees. You can make them do more and important work rather than wasting time on small and menial tasks through the day.

Since all the menial yet important tasks are taken care of by the third parties, you have more time at hand to focus on your business. You can keep a check on your employees, dealers and customers in a more fruitful way. Any suggestions or feedback from these people can be immediately considered upon. Therefore, you have more time at hand to conduct the core activities of your business and this brings more efficiency in your business.

Work Done by Specialists

Outsourcing work done by specialists

One of the greatest advantages of outsourcing is that you get the work done by the experts and specialists without having to invest anything on making them so. Specialist tasks like accounting, tax preparation, payroll accounting, marketing and other similar tasks when handled by the third parties give you an edge over those business owners that are performing the tasks in-house.

In today’s competitive world where online marketing is the best thing to follow to be visible to the customers, using specialists for the task will definitely boost your business. Online marketing agencies will take care of your social media campaigns, marketing through search engine optimization and content creation, PPC campaigns, tracking analytics and SEM and other related tasks to market your brand. Similarly, the accounting firms will ensure that the payrolls are prepared on time and the tax forms are completed and paid timely. With specialists at work, you will not have to worry about anything.

Weigh Pros and Cons

Weighing the Pros and Cons of outsourcing
Source – blueocean.ca

As mentioned earlier, even outsourcing is not free of risks. As you are handling the menial but essential tasks to third parties, you must ensure that they meet your standards. You have to trust them with the data provided and that there is no breach of data. The required information and reports prepared by the third party company must be sent or delivered timely so that further action can be taken on them. You will not like to be penalized by the ITD for not filing the tax returns timely or face the ire of the employees in the absence of timely preparation of the payroll.

You must choose the third party firm after much deliberation and research. Choosing the first company that offers services at the lowest prices is not a good idea. You must take reviews and recommendations from those that have take these services before. Outsourcing your work to the right company is very essential or the entire process will be simply a waste of time, money and efforts.

Conclusion

You must create a balance between the activities of business that need to be outsourced and those that can be performed in-house. Only this way you will be able to make your business succeed. You will have to keep a track of the activities being performed at both ends so that you get the desired results.

The choice of the company to which you wish to outsource certain tasks of your business should be made after careful introspection and careful comparison between various companies. While cost of services will be a determining factor, you must not make it the most important one as you cannot compromise with the quality of work simply for getting cheaper services.

In the end, it can be rightly concluded that small businesses should outsource tasks. However, they must keep a check on the activities and results to ensure that nothing is going haywire.

A Rundown of Reasons Why Startups Fail

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Why Start Up Fails

The rate of “startup failure” is scary, to say the least. However, startups are at the heart of the American Dream. Talk about any Fortune500 company or tech giants like Facebook or Google—they had all been small startups at one time before evolving into what they are at present. So, startups are basically the crux of commercial prosperity. However, the success of these “once” startups cannot really wipe out the failure of the various other startups or small businesses in the country.

Now, there is a widely believed myth that most of the small businesses actually fail in their first year. The stats revealed by Inc.com, however, bring a very different reality to the fore. It has been revealed that it’s the long term outlook of these businesses that paves the way for fear. As per their report, 96% of the small businesses actually collapse in their first 10-year period itself. Notably, these stats are further supported by US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There definitely is no dearth of reasons why startups fail. However, the question remains whether most of the startups fail in the first year or the first ten years or not. Knowing the most common reasons behind the failure of startups and rectifying the same can actually help you avoid the mistakes while heading a startup at the first place. Read on in order to unravel in the course of the post.

Thanks to the report by recent CB Insights, aspiring entrepreneurs can actually explore more than 101 startup failure stories. This particular report will actually tell you that the total sum of all the percentages far exceeds 100% – quite simply because most of these businesses falter because of more than one reasons. Documented below are just five of the reasons behind the failure of the small businesses.

Issues Related to Price or Costs

Price is your problem
Source – engageselling.com

According to CB Insights, pricing remains one of the main areas of concern. And where exactly do they fail? In determining the perfect price ensuring that it is not too high or too low as far as making money with respect to particular costs of the company is concerned. Caron Beesley in US Small Business Administration blog has offered ways in which small businesses can ensure that they are avoiding pricing mistakes at all costs.

According to him, it is very important for small businesses to evaluate service costs by analyzing overhead and total costs. It is important on the part of the businesses to have a thorough idea about what competitors are charging. Additionally acquaint yourself with tried, front-end and back-end pricing. Most of the successful or rather efficient accountants out there will suggest you consider prices of goods and services and the add-ons while you’re in the process of zeroing in on price tags. You think that you cannot charge enough because you’re a small business – that often becomes the reason behind your undoing. Comprehend conversions better in a bid to aim for right pricing.

You are outsmarted by your rivals

outsmarted by your rivals
Source – medium.com

It all happens so often. You think that you are the only business that has come up with a certain idea only to find out that there several others “churning out” similar products or services – just with a different name (but of course)! Though sad, it’s unfortunately true that while some of the dominant organizations end up floating in the long run, the one which originally came up with the idea actually phases out. You are not really asked to be obsessed with your competition but make sure you are not ignoring them either – because if you are doing that you are actually undermining their abilities to topple you. This is the reason behind the failure of 19% of startups as have been reported.

Your business is not backed by the right team

Need Right Team in Business
Source – startupist.com

This remains one of the most difficult tasks faced by companies. Do you know even the most successful names in the industry like Uber are still figuring out ways in which they can actually go on to design a cohesive team? Travis Kalanick resigned as CEO amidst rumors that the company has conspicuously failed to preserve conducive ambiance for women. This instance should be lesson enough for you to acknowledge the fact that no matter how famous a startup is, it’s not immune to problems that can herald its possible decline. Working with a small freelancing team can help businesses if they are unable to launch products with a huge in-house team.

Problems in Cash Flow

Cash Flow Problem for Startup
Source – Internet

Around 25% of startups are actually found to collapse because of issues in cash flow. And, let us tell you that cash flow problems can actually stem from managing the money that has already been earned or for that matter from earning the money in the first place. Heather Jenning, the financial writer thus suggests that creating an accurate cash flow forecast is crucial to the success or for that matter the preservation of the business. Here are a few simple steps involved as far as creating a forecast is concerned:

  • Draw up a list of business expenditures including tax returns, rent, wages etc
  • Draw up a list of incomes including customer payments
  • Deduct outgoings

It has been pointed out that most of the startups out there do not run out of cash because they do not already have earned enough cash but primarily because they end up acting in fiscally irresponsible ways like spending on foolish stuff etc.

Businesses fail to identify the needs

Understand Need Of Costumer
Source – linkedin.com

That is where they falter – mostly. It has been found that most of the small businesses out there are way too involved in solving problems that excite them rather than what can be associated with the present market needs. For instance, it was found in a report that a company providing office efficiency solutions to doctors found themselves at a loss when their appeal among customers declined quite simply because of the fact that doctors want more patients. A thoroughly decked up office or chamber would be of no use without patients coming in!

Mobile Marketing Strategy – Important Tips To Consider

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Mobile Marketing Strategy
Source - mobbitat.com

Mobile marketing is known as the art of marketing the business in such a way, which can appeal to the mobile device users. While done properly, mobile marketing is capable of offering the clients or potential clients time and location sensitive and personalized information as per their exact requirements and whenever they need even in case they are on the go.

These days, public is using mobile like an important element of their daily life and as the online marketer, it is necessary to get onboard. Your audiences are those, who decide the marketing strategies that you have to incorporate. Things that justifies for a target base possibly will not act with another, and this is the reason why you must take this in consideration while planning the strategy for mobile marketing.

According to Google, around 60% of the searches directly come from mobile gadgets. The score is enormous and therefore it is important to optimize the contents for getting a great mobile experience.

To begin with, it is necessary to arrange a small assessment and ask public the way they make use of their mobile devices. This will assist you to prepare the strategies. Now let’s have a look at the simple questions that you must ask in the survey:

  1. Types of mobiles that one use
  2. Types of matter that the user consumes on the mobile device
  3. From where they access to content with the tablet or phone

The information that you obtain from the survey would guide you further. Here are some steps that you can consider to boost up the strategy for mobile marketing like ever before:

Rule 1: Decide The Audience to Target

Find Target Audience
Source – coschedule.com

So, the first rule is to find out your aimed audience and then map their behavior. The majority of online businesses have more than a single type of audience. It is important for you to decide the behavior, demographics, and inclinations of the potential aspired audience before beginning any activity related to mobile marketing.

Identifying the target audience can be helpful for you to:

  • Decide while mobile channel actually justifies any specific audience base
  • Decide the delivery strategies and tones for the mobile messages
  • Decide the type of content that you have to create
  • Understand the place where the buyers get the information and how would they like to consume the information on any mobile device

Rule 2: Identify With the Client Life-Cycle

Customer Lifecycle

When you have recognized the potential target audience, next thing that you would need to do is to decide the client life-cycle. This will assist you in deciding the total decision making procedure during the procurement of any services or products. Through the client life-cycle, now you will be able to speak to the clients directly at any point of commitment.

The procedure of client life-cycle includes:

  • Research
  • Awareness
  • Sale
  • Advocacy
  • Feedback

Rule 3: Decide The Goals

Set Goal For Marketing
Source – campus-to-career.com

After deciding the aimed audience and mapping the life cycle out, then you have to decide your goals. Preparing a mobile strategy would be a complete part of your enterprising goal and this must match up to the overall business of your company. The main thing to come up with a successful strategy of mobile marketing is to identify the things that you are liable for mobile engagement. Then ask:

  • Are you presently applying responsive design in the marketing materials?
  • Are you presently using any push notifications?
  • Do you presently have any mobile app?

These questions will enable you to decide the goals.

Rule 4: Decide The KPIs

Key Performance Indicator Info-graphic
Source – marketingperfected.com

Next thing to do is to set the KPIs or the Key Performance Indicators after deciding the marketing targets. Whilst there are a number of probable KPIs, you can consider client engagement to be the most important aspect. This is also one of the main parameters to decide the accomplishment of your mobile activities.

And how is it measured? So, here are some important aspects that you must consider to decide the main KPIs.

  • Numbers of the app downloads
  • New clients and contacts attributed to the mobile
  • Total figure of mobile users
  • High conversion rates
  • Spend on every mobile customer
  • In app purchases
  • Client lifetime worth of the mobile users
  • Closed sales that are connected to the mobile contacts

Rule 5: Incorporate In a Total Strategy

Total Strategy For Business
Source – topdraw.com

Next thing you have to think about is how the overall marketing initiatives can fit into your mobile marketing strategy. To do this, visit to marketing calendar and decide how different other channels are actually communicating with the present clients as well as the prospective client base. Then deliver a synchronized client experience around all the channels, which the clients actually use.

In case you are using any type of mobile notification, the set the frequency of communication. Also, make it sure that all the interactions are in proper sync. Then prepare one marketing calendar that records all of your marketing actions taking place around channels at a place.

Here are some other tips that can be counted on:

  • Be clear and concise: While it comes to mobile marketing, it is necessary to keep things simple. Users are prone to scroll past the crowded and cluttered ads.
  • Optimize for local: Make sure that you keep in mind that most of the mobile searches are made by local people. Therefore optimize your mobile marketing strategy as local mobile marketing to ensure that you are aligning with the queries of local users.
  • Benchmark the results: Experimenting is good, but you must not try new techniques all the time in case you don’t track the results to find out the things that are actually working for you and what are not.

Conclusion:

To communicate with your clients on a daily basis, it is important to add mobile as a vital part of the overall marketing strategy. And to come up with mobile campaigns, which are compelling and engaging, you have to produce a strategy, which shapes the condition of your online business venture in an effective way.

Top 5 Tips to Set up a Fashion E-commerce Portal

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Soruce - inc.com

Ecommerce market is booming like never before. And the fashion e-commerce domain is getting the maximum attention of all retail segment. This is because of the reason that consumers buy clothes, accessories, and footwears online more often than any other products. It is found in a research that the online sales of clothes and accessories are growing 20 percent every year. In 2016, the fashion ecommerce worth $73 billion online purchase in America alone. This number is expected to grow further with the interest of more buyers in online shopping.

Thanks to the advanced technologies and devices like mobile app and tablets that are fueling the growth of fashion ecommerce. With mobile apps and tablets, people can shop anywhere anytime on the go. They even have the luxury to shop from the comfort of their own homes. Well, online shopping remove the hassle of tedious shopping experience of malls and stores.

Eyeing the growing popularity of fashion e-commerce, most of the apparel brands are foraying into ecommerce. Having said that, if you also run a small or a mid-level apparel brand and wants to foray into the ecommerce domain, then plan your steps beforehand to avoid any glitch later. This article will provide you some great tips to set up a fashion ecommerce site. Read on to know more!

The Platform

Best CMS Platform for Ecommerce
Soruce – Cloudways.com

The first thing you should consider while planning for your website is the platform. Choosing the right platform for your website is significant because it decides the aesthetic and user interface of the website. But most of the time things get worst due to budget constraint and lack of technical expertise.

Fortunately, nowadays we have some of the best tools available in the market. These tools solve most of the problems associated with website setup. And the good news is that they are available at affordable rates. To name a few are Shopify, SquareSpace, and Tictail. These platforms provide unique and plug-and-play options for the companies looking to expand in the ecommerce domain.

These platforms have simplified the process to set up an ecommerce website and need very little technical expertise to use. However, these are templated platforms and cannot be customized. You can use these platforms by paying nominal monthly charges. Additionally, there are also open source platforms available online which are more flexible. One such platform is Magento. The only drawback of this open source is that it needs technical expertise to run and maintain an ecommerce website. Basically, these platforms are best for the companies that have a profit annual profit margin of $1 million.

But for a businesses which have a profit margin of more than $1 million, you can go for technically advanced platforms like Demandware, Venda and Sellect. These are the more flexible platforms which provide customization option like easy management and drag-and-drop merchandising tools.

CMS & CRM

CMS & CRM For E commerce Portals
Soruce – magiclogix.com

Content management system (CMS) and Customer Relationship Management are an integral part of an ecommerce platform. Content management system helps to maintain the content that goes in and out of the website. And customer relationship management allows to effortlessly manage and organize customer’s data. CRM is the best tools to collect customer’s data and improve your customer relationship. This further helps you to grow your business as a strong ecommerce company.  So, it is important that you and your team must have the expertise to manage CRM and CMS seamlessly.

Website Design

Website Designs
Soruce – mockplus.com

When planning for an ecommerce site, website design is the most important thing that must consider. You can choose a simple platform to design your website. But make ensure that you have a professional and experienced web designer to build and maintain a compelling website.

The website design is the mirror image of the type of service or product you offer. So, you can’t go wrong with the design. Make sure the design is simple yet eye-catching with easy navigations. Include impressive photographs of the products. You can also opt for zoom and 360-degree views of the images to impress the viewers.

Another thing that you must consider while designing a website is the responsive design. It means that your website is compatible with a number of devices. Responsive design ensures that the site instantly identify the user’s device and adjust itself to display in the size and forms of the user’s device.

Responsive design is very essential for a website as nowadays browsing is not limited to desktop or laptop. People now use tablets and mobile phones frequently to browse websites than laptops or desktops.

Inventory Management

Inventory Management in Ecommerce
Soruce -awesomecommerce.com

In a retail business, inventory management is a crucial facet. You must manage all the items or products that you display in your website. If the product is not available when a customer tries to buy it then it may irk the customer and he/she will never return to your website. Also, the products that are displayed on the homepage are expected to get more orders. Ensure you have enough inventory of the products featured in the homepage.

Therefore, it is recommended to have a prior plan for inventory management before your website goes live. An ecommerce site can easily manage its inventory and can have liquidation channel, be it unsold products, extra inventory, or excess sample products.  But you should manage your liquidation channel in such a way that it doesn’t affect your sales and overall profit.

Marketing

Marketing Strategy and Core Objectives For E commerce
Soruce – minfow.com

Ecommerce is a competitive market, whether it is apparel, retail, or electronics. There are so many ecommerce websites they may sell the same product in lesser price or may offer better discounts and offers than yours. And buyers research online before buying anything from ecommerce website.

So, you must offer coupons, discounts and goodies with the products frequently to attract more buyers and retain your loyal customers. Moreover, you must employ better marketing strategies to attract more traffic to your website. Some of the best marketing strategies for an ecommerce website are SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), social media, and email marketing.