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Successful Family Owned Businesses
by On February 15, 2017
There are a lot more family-owned businesses than you might think. Some of today’s largest companies are owned and operated by families. In fact, over 30% of businesses with sales over $1 billion are family run. However, working with family members isn’t always easy. Companies that are successful got to that point because of hard work and determination. Some say that it shows great maturity if you’re able to work with family. Interestingly, more and more women are taking over family owned businesses. Traditionally, the first born son would take over the business. In this week’s blog, we’ll take an in-depth look at some of the most successful family owned businesses.

Walmart

First, Walmart may be the most well-known family business there is. It was founded by Sam Walton in 1962 and is still run by the Walton family today. The growth was incredible, and within the first five years, Walmart went from one store in Bentonville, Arkansas to 24 stores all across Arkansas. In addition, Walmart has become one of the top retailers with sales well into the billions.

Nike

Nike was founded by Phil Knight in 1964 and was originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports. The company grew into one of the most successful athletic apparel and accessory businesses in the world. In the beginning, employees sold shoes out of their cars. However, in 1966 Nike opened it’s first brick and mortar store and that was no longer a job requirement. Additionally, the very famous Nike swoosh was first used in 1971. Throughout the companies ups and downs, Phil Knight was the chairman until 2015 when he announced he would be stepping down. To keep the family legacy alive, his son Travis Knight will be taking a seat on the board.

Volkswagen

Secondly, we’ll take a look at the German automaker, Volkswagen. The company has been around since the 1930’s, a time when most vehicles being produced were luxury cars. Therefore, the majority of germans were unable to afford vehicles. On the other hand, Volkswagen (with the help of Adolf Hitler) encouraged people to save money every week until they could afford a car. Currently, Volkswagen is the largest automaker in the world and ranked seventh on the Fortune Global 500 list.

Ford

Next, the Ford Motor Company has been around since 1903 and was founded by Henry Ford. The company was the first to introduce large-scale manufacturing for vehicles using assembly lines. Also, Ford has been family run for over 100 years. Unfortunately, the 2008 financial crisis lead to hard times for the business. But, the company has and continues to make a strong comeback.

Comcast

The Comcast Corporation is widely known for being one of the largest telecommunications company in the world. The Roberts family have had the controlling stake since 1963 when it was known as American Cable Systems. Despite having a reputation for not so stellar customer service, Comcast has continued to grow. In fact, the CEO is one of the highest paid executives in the U.S.

Sales tips for the Startup
by On February 8, 2017
Owning your own business can be extremely rewarding. How many people do you know that wish they were their own boss? On the other hand, it’s not always easy. A lot of work gets put into owning your own business. In addition, marketing your business correctly can lead to financial success. Done incorrectly, and you may feel like you’re throwing money away. If you weren’t born a salesperson, never fear. We’ve compiled a list of sales tips for the startup.

Listening skills

First of all, listening is one of the most important sales tips. Rather than going straight into a sales pitch, let your customer talk. Sometimes, you’ll find that they need something completely different. Ask questions and listen to their answers. Consequently, you’ll be more able to recommend a product that will fit their needs. Plus, this approach is more personal, and customers appreciate that.

Build awareness

Secondly, market your product or business right away. A lot of businesses wait until their product launch day before they do any sort of marketing. Not a good idea! How do you expect to start selling right away if people don’t know anything about your product? If there is no demand, you’ll waste a lot of time and money fixing that. However, marketing campaigns before a product launch will prevent that issue.

Get Social

This section is really two parts. To begin with, take advantage of social networks. Use websites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to make yourself known. In today’s world, people love to shop online and interact online. Talk to your customers and build relationships with them in a digital arena. Things like that don’t go unnoticed and could lead to more referrals and sales. Similarly, connect with peers and local business owners in the real world. Scope out some networking events and meet new people. The more you network, the bigger reach you’ll have for your business. In other words, become a social butterfly.

Don’t Focus on competition 

Additionally, try not to focus on the competition. That energy is better spent on your customers. There is always going to be competition, the important thing is how you handle that. Also, market the benefits of your product, not a comparison. Make sure you highlight the ways that your product will improve your customer’s life. Simply saying that your product is better doesn’t tell the user why.

Measuring success

Lastly, an important tip for startups is making sure you are able to measure the results of your marketing campaigns. If you are marketing your product blindly, there is no way to tell what’s working and what isn’t. If you’re not tracking, you could potentially be wasting money on marketing that doesn’t increase sales. For that reason, implement a way to measure your results. In addition, do some market research by running smaller campaigns. That way if they are unsuccessful you’re not spending a ton of money, but you still learn in the process.
A Home Office that Works for You
by On January 18, 2017
Working from home may seem like an ideal situation, but there are many challenges as well. It could be hard to separate home life from work if you do both in the same place. If your space is cluttered, then it’s very likely that your work will be cluttered too. Follow this guide for some ways to make your home office work for you.

Positioning

To start, make sure your computer is in the correct position. If you are constantly looking up or down at a screen it could put a lot of strain on your head or neck. In addition, the position of your chair also matters. Plus, if your chair is uncomfortable it could be hard to focus on what you’re working on. Ergonomic chairs are great for working long hours.

Lighting

Secondly, the lighting in a space can make all the difference in the world. Stay away from the corner of the room, and instead put your desk next to a window. A lot of people say this can improve your mood throughout the day due to exposure to Vitamin D. Sometimes, you just need to take a break and it’s nice to take in the scenery. On the other hand, you shouldn’t rely solely on just natural light. Don’t forget lamps for when it gets darker. Overhead lighting isn’t best for a workspace, consider getting a couple lamps. Most of the time lamps create a nice, warm feel and you can experiment with different styles.

Storage

Also, it’s very important to have an adequate amount of storage in your home office. Nobody wants to work somewhere that is too cluttered. Be creative with your storage solutions, and make the space really your own. Invest in an awesome bookcase, or turn the closet into a system of shelves so it’s not visible. Wall storage is a great option too, as it will keep the mess off your desk.

Personalize 

Think of the things you hate about working in a cubicle, and try to improve upon that idea. It can get depressing working in a space that feels cold and sterile. Add some personal touches, and possibly even rotate items out so you’re constantly inspired by your workspace. Make a corner of the office where you can cuddle up and read when it’s necessary. Many people find that some greenery makes them feel happier. In addition, some people work their best with some good music. Consider investing in a streaming service like Pandora or Spotify.

Supplies

Of course, it’s also important to make sure you have a fully stocked office. Keep all your supplies in the same room where you’ll be working. As a result, you won’t need to get up and leave the room every time you run out of post its, pens, stamps or whatever else you might need. Think about making a kitchen corner. You can get a nice mini fridge if you like to drink a lot of beverages throughout the day. Or, if you need coffee, make a cute little coffee and tea station.
Don’t freeze in panic-Survive the winter business slump
by On January 4, 2017

For much of the country, winter means freezing temperatures, piles of snow and icy winds. People hunker down and cuddle around heaters for warmth. Winter months can be hard on everyone, including small businesses. Whether people are hiding from the cold, attending holiday events or being frugal after excessive holiday spending, they’re not visiting your business or requesting your professional services. During the winter months, many businesses and entrepreneurs experience a lull in sales and consumer traffic. Fortunately, you are not the first person to deal with a business slump. There are lots of ideas available to help you through the slow months.

Make a plan

If you’ve noticed that sales typically drop below normal in the winter months, make a plan for your business during those weeks. It’s normal for a business to go through high and low periods. Your business will be more successful overall if you look at the bigger picture and plan accordingly. Manage your yearly budget so that the finances you earn when you’re flourishing are available to balance out the slow months.

Cut your spending

When your business is hurting, cut expenses. Take a realistic look at your budget and decide what your business can do without for a few weeks or months. Maybe you can wait to replace those dated light fixtures or the squeaking floor boards. These decisions should be practical, but not excessive. If you try and save money by turning down the lights, consumers might think you’re closed and be turned away.

Stay active

Planning for your business to move forward during periods of low consumer traffic is smart, but don’t anticipate problems. Business owners who assume that there will be a dramatic fluctuation in sales create their own misfortune. If you use a lull in revenue to become idle with your business promotions, it will only contribute to the slowdown. Actively pursing ways to engage consumers during slow business periods supports your bottom line.

Take advantage of the slowdown

If your business regularly experiences a slowdown in the winter months, take advantage of it. Use this time to update your store with a fresh coat of paint or tackle that project you haven’t had time for. Engage with your internal publics and boost employee relations. Review your systems and protocols. Evaluate your business plan for the new year. Just because business is slow, doesn’t mean you’re not working. Downtime is a great opportunity for you to strengthen your business for the coming months. Using your slow periods to your advantage will set you up for success during the busy season.

Engage on social media

Don’t freeze on your social media engagement when business gets slow. This is a great opportunity for your business to build consumer relationships with current and potential clients. Update your business accounts across each social media platform with the latest photos, employee bios and company profile. Spend more time thinking of creative content that will resonate with consumers. Promptly respond to questions and comments from customers. When business is slow, an active social media presence will engage consumers and attract their business.

Seasonal promotions

Seasonal promotions and targeted messages are another way your business can move forward through a slowdown. Figure out exactly who your consumers are, and from there you’ll discover the most effective way to reach them. Based off of this information you can strategize about what deals and offers would entice people into doing business with you. Maybe hosting a special event is how you reach your consumer audience. If you do a little research, you’ll be more successful attracting consumers.

Many businesses and entrepreneurs experience a lull in revenue during the winter months. If you are facing a slowdown, there are many options to keep your business moving forward. Whether consumers are staying in to avoid the cold or are stressed about finances after holiday spending, you will have to work harder to draw people into your store during the winter months. Bundle up and get creative with your winter business strategy.