Benefits of Reputation Management

Reputation management allows companies and individuals to monitor what is being said about their products and services online. There are many reasons why you should hire the services of a reputation management expert.

First and foremost, you will be able to collect information about your company. There is no better feedback than what current customers have to say about the products and services your company offers. Knowing that they might not like something in particular and allows you to change it as quickly as possible.

Guy Galboiz, a management guru, says “It can take a very long time to build a brand to prominence. Unfortunately, it takes much less time for it to be destroyed. Reputation management companies will help you learn any negative information that may harm your brand so that you can minimize damage before it gets worse.”

It is not just good enough to learn about this information. You must ask assistance from experts to build a presence in the online community. That way, you can interact with customers and potential customers in their online community.

One of the most important aspects of business is knowing what your competitors are doing. A trusted reputation management service will help you keep an eye on your most important competitors. You will be able to learn about any new product or service releases and also find out if their offers are truly competitive with yours.

When you are in business, you will also want to stay ahead of the competition. It is important that you are aware of any new trends as early as possible. By utilizing the services of a reputation management expert, you will be able to get a head start on your competition. It is always better to be a leader than a follower.

Guy Galboiz further explains “Your brand is one of your company’s most important assets, whether you are an international company or a small start-up. Therefore, it is important that you keep building it as much as possible. With its vast array of tools and resources, the reputation management consultant will help you increase your brand awareness.”

By hiring the service to increase your brand across the online community, your company will not have to go through the trouble of doing it yourself. This helps you save on marketing costs since you do not have to pay for advertising methods or even dedicated employees to come up with them.

Whether you are a big or small company, you will get more than just protection and increased awareness for your brand. The reputation management expert will interact with your customers to learn about any negativity they feel about your company and do whatever is necessary to correct it. You will also be able to keep up with competitors which is ever so important nowadays.


Importance of Role Models to Entrepreneurs

Do you think you have the capability to become an entrepreneur? There are lots of successful entrepreneurs present in this world today. It is very important to find the right kind of qualities that are required to become successful in this field.

Some people try to begin from the scratch but it is quite difficult to reach the top fast in this way. This is the reason why the young generations of entrepreneurs try to model their behavior on people who have already achieved success in this field. Guy Galboiz is one entrepreneur that is admired because of his leadership skills and knowledge of business. He is one role model that would-be entrepreneurs should emulate.

There are various role models for entrepreneurs. It is very important to choose the right kind of model. When you hear of a role model the first thought that comes to your mind is of people who have reached heights are very popular all over the world.

These people too surely had their own role model who they used to follow. A role model is actually meant for following. Your model can also be a person who belongs to your family or even or your friend circle.

The person might not be well known and popular all over the world but he has made something for himself. You can look for such people in your family. If you have someone very close to you who has already made it to the top then you can even get good suggestion as well as tips from the person.

You must understand the importance of the role models. They will help you learn how to become a successful entrepreneur. The most important thing that entrepreneurs must have is the will to win.

The entrepreneur role models usually help the budding entrepreneur to learn about the various qualities that are necessary to become successful and reach the top. One of the things that you need to find out is the common trait between all the successful owners.

You must always remember that owning and managing a company is not too easy. You need to have enough guts to take proper decisions and also be ready to take risks. Role models for entrepreneurs might differ from one person to the other but the characteristic traits of these successful people usually remain the same.

You need to follow these traits. People who are successful as entrepreneur are always good leaders. So you must also make sure that you become a good leader and manage your team in the best possible way.

Team work is very important because you alone cannot take your company to the top, you will need help from the employees. This is the reason why you also need to learn how successful entrepreneurs deal with their employees. This is why role models are so much essential.


Implications of E-Mail Use to Business

We will look at how the Internet has changed overall patterns of business communications, but what about the practical realities for employees? Many of the issues involve e-mail. What is the main sort of problems that arise which need to be managed?

Guy Galboiz, a technology CEO as well as internet expert, outlines implications of using emails.
First, the issue of legal liability which in several high-profile cases, employees have criticized competitors or made unrealistic comments about their performance in e-mails which have later been forwarded outside the company. When the competitors have found out they have successfully sued other companies for hundreds of thousands of dollars. When companies send out commercial e-mails, they are subject to data protection law and they must follow guidelines.

Second, there are the resourcing implications. Search the BBC News site on e-mail overload and you will see the extent of the problem. It is now very common for employees to receive and send hundreds of e-mails per week. A worker may spend hours each day just answering e-mails. It seems that the ease and lower cost of communicating electronically has led to more messages being transmitted, many of which are unnecessary news circulated around everyone in the company, or alternatively, employees spending time socializing on the company’s time. The growth of SPAM or unsolicited commercial e-mail, which we will look at in the next section, also increases the amount of time needed to manage e-mail. With millions of messages, many with multimedia components, needing to be held on companies’ servers the hardware resources needed have also increased.

Third, there are the privacy implications. Companies may monitor their employees e-mail. Is this a breach of trust, or is its legitimate analysis to ensure that employees spend time on company business and sensitive information does not leave the company?

Finally, there is the problem of flame mails or flaming spirals where a manager may send an abusive e-mail, saying things which they would not dare say face-to-face rather than confronting a colleague face-to-face. Naturally an abusive e-mail is often followed by an abusive response and the situation deteriorates as the parties become further apart.


Threats to Information Security for e-Business

For all the opportunities that the Internet provides for business and consumers, it can also pose a great risk to information belonging to those businesses and consumers. The Internet provides a gateway to a range of information, but also provides a gateway for malicious programs developed by malicious people to corrupt and destroy information. A key role of the IT manager or e-commerce manager is to protect their business from these threats. Remember that the business is also custodian for customer data and if customer data such as credit card numbers are lost, then this will reflect badly on the business. “Fears over security used to be one of the main barriers to consumer and business adoption to the Internet, but this has declined dramatically over the last 5 years. “”, explains Guy Galboiz, an internet marketing consultant. Nevertheless, demonstrating security is still important to consumer confidence. Witness, the efforts that businesses take to reassure customers about security and privacy.

What then are the threats? General threats to information can be classified as follows:

  • Accidents – These are errors arising from mistakes by staff. For example, it is surprisingly easy for a webmaster to delete many key files of a web site.
  • Natural Disasters – These include fire and flood. If a company host their own e-commerce server or their ISP is affected by such a disaster, then it is possible that their web presence could be lost for several days in the event of a flood.
  • Sabotage (Industrial and Individual) – This is deliberate sabotage of a system possibly for commercial gain or due to an individual grudge such as an ex-employee.
  • Theft – This is theft of information such as credit card numbers, for commercial gain.
  • Unauthorized Use (Hacking) – This can be for the purposes of theft or sabotage, but sometimes it has no malicious intention – it is a challenge for technically minded people to try to break into systems.
  • Hijacking – A company’s web server may be used to mount attacks on other servers. For example, Denial of Service attacks to send a lot of unwanted traffic to major sites such as Yahoo! were mounted by sending messages from many hijacked computers. Similarly, Spammers can hijack a mail server and use it for sending SPAM. This could result in your web operations being shut down by the ISP if they believe you are to blame.
  • Computer Viruses – these are programs which spread between machines with, or without the intention of causing damage. As we will see in a later section, there are a great variety of viruses.

To prevent these types of problems, it is important that someone in the business is responsible. This is typically, the IT manager or e-commerce manager in a larger company, but if a business is small, there may not be an IT manager, so another manager will need to do this as part of their role. In fact, it may not be able to complete prevent these types of problems, since as we will see later there are so many hundreds of thousands of viruses, with a new one discovered every few seconds that it is likely that defenses may be breached. Given this, an approach based on risk management is a useful one. Risk management uses the following approach.

  1. Identify risks including their probabilities and impacts
  2. Identify possible solutions to these risks
  3. Implement the solutions targeting the highest impact, most likely risks.
  4. Monitor the risks to learn for future risk assessment

For all the opportunities that the Internet provides for business and consumers, it can also pose a great risk to information belonging to those businesses and consumers. The Internet provides a gateway to a range of information, but also provides a gateway for malicious programs developed by malicious people to corrupt and destroy information. A key role of the IT manager or e-commerce manager is to protect their business from these threats. Remember that the business is also custodian for customer data and if customer data such as credit card numbers are lost, then this will reflect badly on the business. Fears over security used to be one of the main barriers to consumer and business adoption to the Internet, but this has declined dramatically over the last 5 years. Nevertheless, demonstrating security is still important to consumer confidence. Witness, the efforts that e-tailers take to reassure customers about security and privacy.

 


Understanding Human Resource Demand and Capacity

One way to survive in a no- to low-growth economy is to manage resources effectively at least cost. There are two options – one is managing the demand for resources and the other is how to guarantee that there is capacity and capability through the right and best fit resources for tasks or implementation. This knowledge is shared by Guy Galboiz, a top management consultant and entrepreneur.

Visibility into Resource Management Leads to High Value Return on the Investments

Top concerns of most executives are usually about the resources they have on hand – the lack of focus among the workers, improper utilization of manpower.  Management wants to gain better understanding on ways to maximize resources, minimize production losses and efficiently realize the goals that they set.

In a study conducted by Appleseed Partners and OpenSky Research entitled Resource Management and Capacity Planning Benchmark Study, the state of resource management and capacity planning was made.

The study surveyed more than 600 global executives and managers responsible for the planning and utilization of human resources. While the study examined results and factors against the maturity of organizations, there are key issues to address no matter what your maturity is. There is absolutely no question that increasing maturity in an organization’s effective application in project, program and project management has been proven to make a long and lasting impact. It should not be ignored.

The study highlighted many of the common pain points, causes and business risks. Personally, working with a few clients recently, these completely resonate with their own experiences.

Human Resources Demand and Capacity Pain Points:

These were the key areas of pain that topped the chart:

  1. Constant change in availability and assignment
  2. Ineffective demand prioritization and governance process
  3. Not enough visibility into demand

Causes of Human Resources Pain Points:

While causes were quite varied, these three causes really highlight the need for practices and standards in human resources management, particularly at the project level.

  1. Lack of process maturity – ill-defined, ill-used
  2. Challenges estimating in projects
  3. Incorrect granularity of information on resources

Business Risks of Ineffective Resources Management:

The risks of ineffective resource management and capacity planning are clear:

  1. Lost productivity
  2. Wasting high value resources on low value projects
  3. Delayed time to market

These powerful insights would make any executive want to get on with improving resource demand and capacity to deliver. The first reaction may well be to immediately acquire portfolio management software. The benefits of implementing the right portfolio management software include:

  • Better prioritization discipline,
  • Ensuring the right amount of granularity in reporting on resource information, and
  • Being able to play out what-if scenarios.

 Getting Resource Management Right needed to Succeed in Challenging Global Market

Getting resource management visible, actively managed and using the information to make smart portfolio decisions will increase the capabilities to navigate the choices required in a global and challenging market.

Keeping it simple, developing right fit practices and processes is a clear first step. Wading into the swamp means doing it in bite size steps – ankles first, then waist deep and finally swimming wi


Best Ideas for Small Business Marketing

What Emotions are Needed by a Leader?

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John Maxwell

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn

If we think carefully, leaders from any field (like science, business, politics, social media) whom we admire most not because of their achievements but their actions inspire us to dream more and work hard to achieve the dream. Our leaders have reached us at an emotional level.

To learn more about other skills, watch this video:

Leadership Skills by Guy Galboiz

Leadership is an ability to touch and inspire people. Not everyone can be a leader. Some people have inborn talent to be a leader but many of us are short of being a natural born star. The leadership skill can be acquired, honed and perfected. Whether you learn from the wisdom of others or get insights from personal experience, becoming a more effective leader is about what you do, not what know.

Following are some guidelines to be a good leader:

Emotional intelligence: Great leaders can understand the unstated needs and desires of people. Therefore, they can empathize every easily and hence can inspire people. When people feel they are understood, they respond, and a bond is formed.

Continuous learning: A great leader always has a curiosity and a strong desire to do better. They are rarely satisfied with their knowledge and always eager to acquire new knowledge and explore new horizons. Leadership is all about investing in you.

Contextualize: Great leaders accept each challenge as new. Because they know all situations are not same. What worked in one situation may be useless in another. Therefore, they treat each situation differently.

Let Go: Most people think that leadership is about control. However, leadership is about influence, guidance and support. Great leaders inspire and then make way for new leaders they don’t stagnate. They stay away from interfering. They just offer guidance and support whenever needed.

Honesty: We always hear that so-called leaders are losing credibility because he or she was dishonest. We are now in the age of extraordinary transparency, which is reason enough to always be true to your core – your mission will be revealed, your motivations will show by your behaviors. There is always an issue to set example. If you have a reputation for honesty, it will be a lot easier to deliver bad news and face tough challenges. If you have an image of honesty, you can easily inspire people.

Kindness and respect: Nice leaders finish first repeatedly. Arrogance and ignorance are leadership killers. They are also a mark of insecurity. Treating everyone with a basic level of respect is an absolute must trait of leadership, and kindness is the gift that keeps on giving back. There are people who do not deserve respect and they must be dealt differently. However, that job will be made much easier, and will have far less impact on your organization, if you have a reputation for kindness, honesty and respect.

Partner with your people: People’s careers are a big part of their lives. Find out what are their career goals or goals in their life. Then do everything you can do to help them. This builds a mark of respect. Even if it means they will eventually leave you. People do not mind a tough leader if the leader has the capability to make them successful. You will gain happiness. This is an opportunity to brand your greatness.

Keep promises: Never make promises you are not sure you can keep. Nothing kills your credibility quicker than a breached promise or unfulfilled expectation.

Dress to influence: Do not dress to impress, dress to influence. That means making sure your appearance is consistent with your personal and professional brand. Begin by asking yourself how a leader with your aspirations should appear to others.

Leadership is both an art and a science. Above mentioned are guidelines, not rules. Everyone must develop his or her own individual leadership style.  Use them to reach people on an emotional level. Be Human. That is important.


The Biggest Challenges You Have to Face as an Entrepreneur

How to Fix Leadership Mistakes?

Sometimes leaders run into problems and do not know what to do next. They may do a different thing that does not tell good or seen to be the ways things are done. The following are five leadership mistakes and how they can be fixed.

Forget That You Have a Team Made up of People

People can have so many things to do. Leaders can become very busy too and forget that they work with individuals. These people get things done and do not and do not seek the help of a subordinate.

Suggested fix to the mistake: Make sure you as a leader, you regularly check your employees at least once a week. It will pay hugely, and you will be surprised when you see the result. Do not think you do not have time to do this. It is plans that you need. Make plans to see your employee for at least 30 munites in a week.

Do Things Yourself

It is very easy to start doing things on your own because that way, you can do them the way you want. If you think it will take less time to get it done by yourself, think of how many of those things you must do always.

Suggested fix to the mistake: Make sure you understand the task you are doing that some members of your employees can do. In getting those tasks done, be sure that you keep track of all the task you do and make up your mind to give them out to someone else. When you give the tasks out, constantly communicate with the person currently doing the task so that it is done the way you want it.

Missing Opportunities to Provide Feedback

People ask for feedback when they ask you to do a task. Leadership is not all about providing the remuneration to employees. There should be room for telling your employee the truth. When you think they did a great job, you should tell them. When you think they need to improve, you should equally tell them.

Suggested fix to the mistake: Saying ‘thank you’ is as simple as that. You should tell an employee that he did a great job. It has been proven to keep employees motivated. When you think they did not do the right thing, you should suggest what they would have done after praising them for what they did.

For additional tips on leadership skills, please watch this video:

Top 10 Leadership Skills Video by Guy Galboiz

 Not Knowing When to Hand On

Being a leader in an organization has a purpose. When you lead, you should not be total hands off. Some leaders just sit at their post and allow everything to run on its own. It is a show of a total hands off. Leadership has a purpose. There are specific things that a leader should do to keep an entrepreneur moving in the right direction.

Suggested fix to the mistake: You should know the capabilities of your employees. If your team members or employees are old, it will be easy to get along with them. But if your employees are new, it will take some more effort to know them and what they can do.

You May Forget to Hit the Target

As a leader, you may be the only contact between your entrepreneur and you customers. If you forget to message or contact the customers, no one will do that. It is because you have refused to delegate duties to your subordinates.

Suggested fix to the mistake: delegating duties to your subordinates is very important in any organization. You as a leader should not do everything alone. It is a major responsibility of the leader.


The Biggest Business Marketing Mistakes You Must Avoid

The Biggest Business Marketing Mistakes You Must Avoid

The Biggest Business Marketing Mistakes You Must Avoid

Marketing remains one of the most important and talked about aspect of any business in the world says Guy Galboiz, a marketing consultant. More importantly, it is an ongoing process that start well before the business even comes into being. You have to let people know what your business is all about, what problem you solve, and how you are different from your competitors. However, there are certain ways, rules, and effective methods of doing that. In the modern world, marketing is nothing less than science. If you have a business or you are considering starting one, here are some marketing mistakes you must avoid.

Top Marketing Mistakes You Must Avoid

  • Overlooking Data-driven Marketing

When it comes to the modern ways of marketing, you can’t really get to your goals without depending on data. Data-driven marketing is the future of marketing. You have to collect and utilize data to understand your audience and start marketing campaigns that are effective. Talk to any expert about marketing and the first advice they will give you is to understand your audience. How do you identify and understand your audience? That’s not even a difficult question with the modern tools that you have available. Today, you could sign up with any social network and it can provide you with enough data about your target audience to build your marketing campaigns around.

In addition to that, you can collect some data on your own too. If your business is already running, you can use CRMs and other tools to collect your customers’ data. However, the most important issue here is making use of that data. Many businesses do have the data, but they don’t know how to make sense of data. As the experts say, data that does not make sense is noise. You can now use a variety of data collection and data classification software tools today for putting your data in order. In addition to that, you can take advantage of professionals like data scientists, data analysts, and a chief data officer to be at the top of your game.

If you are not basing your marketing on data, you are releasing an arrow in the dark. You don’t have a target and you won’t know what to do next even if it hits the target miraculously.

  • Not Measuring Your Marketing Efforts

How can you market effectively without measuring it? Even the kids have examinations and term papers so you know what their progress is. You can’t start marketing campaigns and forget about them. In many cases, business owners know that some of their marketing campaigns are working, but they have no idea which ones. That situation is worst because it means that the owner is spending some unnecessary money into a futile effort. What if you are running five marketing campaigns and only two of them are working? That could mean you are spending the money on the remaining three.

Not to mention, marketing budgets are not small. You could be spending thousands of dollars without any results. The best thing about today’s digital marketing is that you can measure the potential and performance of your campaigns. You can even collect valuable data about your email campaigns. The several metrics you can measure include the number of emails opened, the number of emails replied to, the number of emails not opened etc. Believe it or not, you now have email marketing tools that can provide you even more detailed data than that. At the end of the day, you should be spending your marketing budget only on the campaigns that are bringing in money.

  • Not Adapting to the Trends

Marketing has evolved at the speed of light in the past few years. Of course, you now have a completely different marketing landscape to deal with since the arrival of the internet. In the past, you could manage with billboards, TV commercials, newspaper ads, etc. but things have changed completely today. The most important thing is that it is not just the methods of marketing that have changed. In fact, businesses now have to assume different characters and personas in order to be effective at marketing. You can’t sound like a seller anymore today.

Take the example of various business assuming unique characters on social networks to look different. A great example is Wendy’s, a chain of fast food restaurants in the US. The business has assumed the persona of a character that likes to roast people. This has earned a lot of attention from the followers for Wendy’s. People like to interact with the brand on the social network, share its tweets, and talk about it. In a similar way, a company that sells blenders started a series of videos in which it will try to blend daily items of use. It would blend smartphones, watches, calculators, and just about anything.

Not that the company wants people to do that, but it assumed this character because it gets people’s attention. You have to do the same if you want people to pay attention to you.

  • Not Solving Problems

A lot of the marketing today is about giving customers the best experience of your brand. Social media websites have proven to be the perfect platforms for business to do that. Today, you can use these platforms to listen to your customers and reply to their concerns. In fact, it is a perfect way to provide customer service to your existing and new potential customers. It is free and you have also have the liberty to talk to them in any way you like. You can reference pictures, videos, GIFs, and anything you want to explain your point of view.

Most importantly, when you resolve the problems of your customers on social media, there are thousands of other people looking at this act. They appreciate this gesture from you and this is how good reputation spreads for your business. Once again, you can use CRM, more specifically social CRMs, to listen to your customers and in what context they are mentioning your brand. Every time they talk about your brand or your set keywords, you get notified. As a result, you can tune into the conversations and resolve any issues that might be bothering your customers.

  • Not Getting Public Feedback

The beauty of the internet is that you can get people’s feedback on just about anything. Smartphone companies are doing that on a regular basis. They will ask their customers what they like or dislike and try to implement those things in their upcoming models. You don’t have to keep surprises from the public unless you are 100% sure that what you are about to do will be liked. If you are unsure about the steps you are about to take, just take public feedback and it will help you. It does not even cost you anything. You could run a free poll on a social network and public voting will tell you what it expects from you.

Many companies have made mistakes of not getting the public feedback and then paying the price for that in the modern times. The best example is of the world famous company GAP. It was in 2010 when the company thought it needs to revamp the logo that it had been rocking for several years. The first logo was GAP written in white on a dark blue background. The company redid the logo by writing the word GAP in black. They even changed the font of the writing. In addition to that, they reduced the size of the blue background square shape. The backlash from the public was real. The uproar was so intense that the company had to go back to its original logo in no more than two days.

Had the company gotten some feedback from the public, it would not have happened in the first place.

  • Not Trying the Unique Ways of Marketing

As stated earlier, marketing has changed significantly in the recent years. Today, there are many unique ways of marketing your business and products. One of the ways is to use social networking platform to run contests. You can run contests and reward the customer with one of your newly launched products. Sometimes, you can give these contests the shape of giveaways. In giveaways, you don’t really want your customers to do a lot. For example, the company might require the customer to post a witty line for the brand. It can then reward the wittiest customer with the new product.

You can also use YouTube as the best platform for starting giveaways. YouTubers are influencers who have deep penetration into their audiences. Your business can take advantage of these influencers to target more customers. If you did not know, influencer marketing is one of the most powerful ways of marketing today. It is up to you who you want to pick for marketing your business. You have nano influencers, micro influencers and macro influencers. With big influencers, you get lot of followers. With small influencers, you get lot of interaction.

  • Completely Ignoring Nativity

Nativity has become quite a thing in this decade. When your business has reach into regions where English is not the first language of the target audience, it only makes sense to translate your ads into their native languages. It will be surprising for you to know that there are still more people in the world who don’t understand English than those who do. Your English advertisements might work to some extent, but they cannot be as effective as ads in native language. You also have to keep in mind that ads in native language bring you closer to your customers.

When you give them ads in their language, they feel a connection with you. They know that you care about them and thus the ads in their languages. Whether you are creating banner ads, social media marketing campaigns or emails, you should have your ads translated in the language that your target audience understands the best. You can also use the professional services from native translators to make your ads as natural as possible. Keep away from Google translation or any other software-based service for that matter. They translate everything word by word and that can sound very weird to the native people.

  • Doing It All at Once

That’s another mistake that many new businesses make. In their minds, they are trying to cover as many people as possible, but that’s just a mistake. You have so many different types of social networks today that taking care of all is just not possible unless you have a big team of professionals taking care of all these accounts. What you have to do is go step by step. Do some things at first and leave the rest for later. Do those later and leave some more to a later time. Not to mention, you don’t find your target audience everywhere.

For example, if your customers are mostly women, YouTube might not be the best thing for you to target women. The best place where you will find women is Pinterest. According to the recent statistics, more than 80% of the users on Pinterest are women. So, if you are targeting males then Pinterest might not be the best place to start. Similarly, if your product is for professionals, the best social network is LinkedIn for you. You have to start from a point that serves you the best rather than going all in.

Conclusion

The mistakes that many new business owners make can have an even longer list. However, this list is more relevant to the modern type of marketing that majorly revolves are digital and internet marketing. When starting a business, it is best to learn from the mistakes of others because a mistake you make can cost you thousands of even millions of dollars depending on the size of your business. It all starts with knowing your audience to the core. Once you know your audience, you can develop a strong connection with them. Once you have a strong connection with them, things start to fall in place automatically.


Signs of a Failing Business – Shutting It down to Avoid Further Damage

Signs of a Failing Business – Shutting It down to Avoid Further Damage

When you start a business, you are filled with all the passion and excitement in the world. You are thinking optimistically about how your customers will love your product and how you will expand your business into new territories. However, things do not always go as planned, and one must keep that in mind. No matter how hard you try, the success of your business still relies on the response from the customers. They are the ones in power without them even knowing about it. When a business starts to fail, it is a test for a true business owner.

If you think that a failed business attempt makes you a bad businessperson, you might want to think again. Evan Williams is one of the co-founders of Twitter, one of the biggest social networks on the internet today. However, there was a time when he started Odeo, a platform for podcasts, which failed miserably. Similarly, there are hundreds of other examples of people who failed at first but then made big comebacks. In reality, a bad business owner is one who cannot identify when it is time to close the business down and continues to take the damage.

CEO Guy Galboiz let us take a look at some of the signs that tell you that your business needs to be shut down. If you have a way to change things completely, do that. If you plan to continue as is despite the clear signs, you are only hurting yourself emotionally and financially.

Big Signs That a Business Needs to be Shut Down

  • Reducing Customer Strength

Your customers are the strength of your business. You need more strength every day. The last thing you want to see is reducing customer count on your business reports. Of course, you have many different ways to reach out to new customers. You have to do some more intelligent marketing and try to get more customers as soon as you can. However, if you have been trying your best but your customer count is not increasing, it could be a signal that your business needs to be shut down.

It is important to know that you have to look at the customer count in multiple ways. First, you have the existing customers. Secondly, you have to look at the rate of making new customers. If your existing customers are going down, your next action should be to look at the rate at which you are making new customers. If this rate is faster than your customer turnover, you should not worry much. However, if your customer acquisition is going down and your customer retention is getting worse with time, it is better to close the business down unless you have some big plan in mind.

  • Your Financial Stress Is Permanent

Financial stress is a part and parcel to any business. However, there is a difference between thinking about how to increase profits and thinking of how to reduce the damage. If you find yourself always worrying about worsening financial condition, take it as a signal. The owner of a successful business is thinking about expansion into new territories, improving service standards, bettering customer experience, etc. On the other hand, the owner of a failing business is mostly worried about survival. Are your financial worries associated with your survival?

If it has only been a few months since you started your business, the worry is natural and understandable. However, if you have been going like this for several months without any relief, it is better that you take the big decision. Keep in mind that chronic stress can be a cause of many physical illnesses. From diabetes to heart conditions, stress can cause all of that when you are dealing with it on a daily basis. If not for other things, close the business down and do something else for the sake of your health.

  • You Can’t Pay the Fixed Expenses

Once again, you have to understand the difference between not being able to fulfill an order from a customer and paying the rent of your building. If you have a big order from your customer and you can’t fulfill it, you might just be short on your cash flow. Shortage of cash flow does not necessarily mean a failing business. In fact, all the new and small businesses have certain cash flow problems in the beginning. You can arrange some loans, fulfill the orders, make a loyal customer, and recover your costs when the customer pays for the products/services.

On the other hand, when you can’t even afford the fixed expenses of your business, you are in a huge trouble. There should never be a point where you can’t pay the rent of the office space or the building you have rented for your business. You should never have troubles paying the utility bills because that just goes to show that you don’t have any money as backup. When you don’t have a backup and you can’t pay your fixed expenses, you should wrap things up. The only other way out is to get a loan. However, getting a loan to pay the fixed expenses of your business can be the worst decision you can make.

  • Your Employees Are Not Staying

You cannot blame the employees when this happens. They came to work with you because they have their own expenses. They have families to manage and many other financial troubles. The salary you pay to them keeps them working. However, mature employees are quick to realize when a company is on the brink of closure. A monthly compensation is not enough for them because job security and a stable financial future are two important considerations for them. They don’t want to stay with a company that will not be around in the coming months.

When they have analyzed the situation fully well, they leave your company. The biggest sign is when the employees you trust the most start leaving too. They can’t see a future with you and it is not their fault if they don’t stay with you. Loyalty is one thing, but they can’t pay their utility bills with loyalty or feed it to their children.

  • You Notice Others Noticing a Failing Business

This is the most painful part of a failing business for the business owner. Somewhere in your mind, you are always ready to face challenges and hoping that you will be out of your troubles at some point. However, when you see that others can sense your business failing, it is not a good sight at all. You can’t ignore it no matter how much you want. You can sense it from the people look at you when they talk to you or with their facial expressions when they enter your business premises. You might even face some unusual questions from the people who come for the interview.

For example, an interviewee might ask something like, “What are the peak working hours of your company (while looking around searching for people)?” In short, they are trying to ask if there are any other people working for the company. A business that’s experiencing growth has hustle and bustle in the office or within the premises. If it all looks gloomy and quiet, and there are not enough people, it is a sign that people notice very quickly.

  • Your Customers Don’t Take You Seriously

As unfair as it might sound, your customers might stop taking you seriously when they see that your business is failing. Humans should be concerned about other humans, but that’s not always the case in the practical world. In reality, your partners and customers are willing to go the extra mile for you when they can expect something from you in return. However, when they know that you are at a point where you can’t offer them any value, they stop caring about you. You might notice that in the way your customers pay you. Are they delaying your payments and seem complacent while doing that? If yes, they are not serious with clearing your invoices in the first place.

The problem in this situation is that even you can’t pressurize them to pay you the money they owe you. That’s because you are afraid you might infuriate them and lose any chances of getting your money back. You have to play the nice guy for as long as you can, but late payments from the customers are hurting your business on a daily basis.

  • You Can’t Fix the Little Issues

Not having enough money to grow the business is one thing, but sometimes you don’t have enough cash to even fix the little problems with your business. For example, an electricity board might be waiting to get fixed for a long time, but you never had enough spare cash to spend on it. You might be noticing that the paint is coming off the walls but you can’t dare go for a paint job because you don’t have the money to do so. You can notice that the sign outside your business premises looks worn out, dusty, and old, but you can’t do anything about it no matter what you want.

When even the little issues like these become hard to fix, you should be clear in your mind that the business needs to be closed. Once again, you are highly advised not to go for a loan from anyone for something that does not yield any returns.

  • Your Business Can’t Pay You

The least you can expect from your business is a salary for yourself. If you don’t have enough cash to renovate or grow the business, that’s okay. You can continue to run the business steadily and wait for the time when you have enough cash to do those things. However, if you are not even able to manage your own salary from the business, you should not take that lightly. It is a serious concern because you might want to start a job to pay yourself. Being employed and running a business at the same time just to pay yourself is not healthy. It will be a lot of stress and can take a toll on your health as well.

  • You Can’t Think of Quitting Your Job

A lot of business people continue working for some time and quite their jobs when their business has reached a certain level of earning. If that’s part of the plan then it is a good thing. However, if you can’t quite your job because you think quitting it will get you in all sorts of financial troubles then your business is not doing what it is supposed to do. You are probably putting money from your pocket into your business. When you think of quitting your job, you know you will have no money to support yourself and your business. In short, you are managing everything from the salary you are getting from your employer. Your business is only a burden for you.

If you notice the biggest entrepreneurs of the world and their first advice to someone who they think have a great opportunity at hand, they often tell them to quit their jobs. In fact, they would even go to the extent of telling students to quit studies. That’s because a successful business gives you everything that a job never can. However, if the thought of quitting the job worries you, your business is only a source of sucking your cash up.

Final Thoughts

There is no shame in admitting to yourself that your business is not successful. It is a sign of a successful and strong leader to realize the mistakes and improve them with a plan. Not realizing your faults, mistakes, and damages unless you have a reached a point of total devastation is what a true failure looks like. Before you even start a business, you need to set an exit point. You have to create a checklist of items that will trigger an exit for you. When you analyze your business and notice that it checks every box on that checklist of failure triggers, you have to make sure you close the business down before suffering any further loss.

About the Author

Guy Galboiz is a successful entrepreneur as well as a management, financial and marketing consultant.  In this article, he expresses his insights on what to do if your business is failing and hot to cut your losses. Follow his blog on various topics that will benefit you.


Ten Critical Considerations before Starting a Business

Ten Critical Considerations before Starting a Business

Ten Critical Considerations before Starting a Business

People with regular jobs are often looking for that one opportunity when they can start their own business. The freedom of being in control and not having anyone on your head to order you to do things is quite a motivating factor for many. However, a job comes with a certain sense of predictability wherein you know you will get a fixed salary at the end of every month. On the other hand, starting a business is a brave step that only the daring ones take. There is not enough predictability, and you have to be at your best every day to keep your business afloat.

Highlighted by marketing expert and entrepreneur, Guy Galboiz, here are the most important considerations if you are planning to start a business:

10 Things to Consider before Starting Your Business

Know Yourself First

As clichéd as it may sound, self-awareness is the biggest strength of any successful businessperson. In this particular sense, self-awareness is all about knowing your strengths and weaknesses. When you know what you can and cannot do, you are in a position to start a business that you can manage. You don’t want to do something that will be difficult for you to manage. It’s not just about your passion. Maybe you have always been passionate about starting a restaurant, but are you someone who can take the pressure without panicking?

If you think you can’t take immense pressure on a daily basis, starting a restaurant might not be the best thing for you. Think of these facts, your weaknesses and strengths. Start a business wherein you can capitalize on your strengths and keep out your weaknesses.

Research the Business Type

Once you have decided the type of business you want to start, you have to start researching this particular business. You must know the starting points, the areas of concern, and the common reasons for failures of such businesses. You must also identify your audience. In addition to identifying the audience, you will have to research the audience to know what it likes and where you can find it easily. For example, if you are thinking about starting an online store, you must know the many ways of starting one. You must also familiarize yourself with how payment processing works, how you can create a merchant account, how to sign up for cash on delivery, etc.

Register the Proper Business Structure

One of the most important things that most new business people often overlook is registering their businesses as the right structure. When you talk about structures, you can have your business registered as an S-corporation, C-corporation, LLC, etc. Why you want to register your business using the proper structure is because this decision will directly impact the taxes you have to pay. When you have a sole proprietorship, you are the only owner of the business and responsible for everything. You can pay your taxes like you do from your personal income. Things can get complex when you enter into S and C corporation realms.

You must know that there is a huge difference between the ways two corporations pay taxes. Sometimes, people choose the wrong entity and end up paying more in taxes than they should. Such decisions continue to hurt your business every month.

Arrange the Capital

Yes, you already know that you need capital to start your business. However, this point is more about knowing the options you have available. In most cases, businesspersons think that banks are the only institutions they can go to for getting the loan when that’s not the case at all. You have more options available to arrange the capital for your business than you had in the past. In addition to banks, you now have many private entities that provide you with specialized loans. These loans can be suited exactly to your business type.

Most importantly, you have the crowdfunding option available at hand today. You could just sign up on a crowdfunding platform, create an impressive pitch, and get the funding from investors from around the world. You don’t necessarily have to return the money to the investors if the amount is small. These online funds are completely different from venture capitalist funds. The rules and regulations are not as tight and you can reward the investors with a sample of your product or some other souvenirs for their investments.

Know the Importance of Location

If your business is not purely an online entity and you have a physical address too, you have to pay special attention to the location. For a brick and mortar business, location is the backbone to the success. There is a lot of research required before you finalize a place. First, you have to think about a location where your target audience comes regularly. You don’t want to start a business that targets teenagers in an area where the audience that frequents the most is over the age of 50. Other things to consider include the buying power of the people in that area and the volume of foot traffic.

After the external considerations, you have to look at the internals. Is the space enough for your operation? Are the utility bills paid? Is the landlord friendly to the tenants? Is the structure sound? Is the monthly rent affordable for you to bear in the starting months when your business is not producing a lot of return? All of these are important questions you have to ask before you pay the advance for the location of your business.

Have an Exit Point

It is never enough to emphasize this point because of how important it is. When you are starting your first business, you are not fully aware of the emotional side effects of doing so. In your mind, it is a lifeless entity. However, your business will be like your baby. Once you have started it, you will find it nearly impossible to shut it down. The idea of closing down the business can be immensely discomforting. However, you have to set an exit point before even starting the business. You want to write down at what point you will not continue any further.

Make it a part of your business plan and stick to it. If things do not work out the way you had expected them to, exit the business as soon as you can. If you don’t, you will end up burning a lot of money without any returns. The last thing you want is creditors knocking on your door and you not having any money to return to them.

Create a Marketing Strategy

You must have a solid marketing strategy in preparation from the day you start thinking about your business. For you to market your business the right way, you have to know your target audience first. You have to know their interests and what platforms they use the most so you can target them there. Social media marketing is your friend and probably the best way to know your audience. Spend your money only on marketing channels that are working. Even when it comes to internet marketing, you have search engine optimization, social media marketing, pay per click marketing, content marketing, etc.

You have to know the type of marketing that works best for your business. If you have multiple campaigns rolling at the same time, analyze them to know the most potential one and put a stop to the ones that are only sucking up your marketing capital without any results.

Have a Strong Team by Your Side

Believe it or not, you can’t do everything on your own no matter how skilled you are at doing them. You need a team with you to run a business and your choice of the team members is a critical step in guaranteeing the success of your business. First, you want to have a team with you because when you go to the investors to pitch your business idea, they want to see the potential of your team. They usually will not invest in one person. Secondly, you have many different tasks to take care of such as internet marketing, accounting, sales, legal activities, etc. You cannot do it all with the same level of effectiveness.

You also have to know how to pick your team. If you are hiring employees, you are making a mistake. The first people on your team should not be just employees. These should be people who share your vision. You don’t want to lose them or treat them like workers. In fact, they should be willing to you even when you are going through tough times. That’s possible only when they believe in the same vision as you do. So, when it comes to hiring people, your focus should not be the responsibilities they have served on their past jobs or their achievements as workers. You should also focus on the “why” of things.

Define a Differentiator

So, unless you are doing something that more than seven billion people in the world could not think of, you need to find a differentiator. You have to realize that every business is there to solve a problem. If you are not solving a problem, you don’t have a business at all. However, there is another aspect that’s even more important than problem solving – it is knowing your differentiator. When you land in the market, you will notice many other businesses doing similar things and providing similar solution to yours. However, you can set yourself apart with a differentiator.

You have to define what makes you different. And then, you have to find effective ways to communicate your differentiator. You need a strong branding strategy to do that. Don’t rely on price being the only differentiator because that’s nothing special. Nike sells sports products and apparel, but so does Puma and Adidas. However, what differentiates Nike is the “Just Do It” attitude. It speaks within its branding, advertisement and marketing.

Pay Attention to the Cash Reserve

You might not pay a lot of attention to the expansion of your business at the time of starting it. However, it becomes a critical concern for most business owners once they have established a successful business. Of course, you can’t think of operating your business in one place forever. If you have been successful in your endeavor, you have to look for ways to expand your business further. One way to do that is to go to the banks yet again. If you have an established business, you won’t have a lot of trouble in getting a loan from the bank. However, bank loans can be back-breaking no matter how much profit you are making.

A loan is still a loan. What if you could expand the business without requiring any loan? That’s only possible when you have been building a cash reserve from day one. Building a cash reserve will require some sacrifice from you, and you will also have to do some math. First, you have to know your monthly net profit. Once you know your monthly net profit, you can decide how much money you can set aside every month to build cash reserve. Sometimes, you are making a lot of revenue but your net profit is not enough to set aside some money for cash reserve. You then have to look for strategies to increase your revenue in a way that it increases your profit as well.

Final Thoughts

It should be clear from the information above that there is a lot to think about when you start a business. It is not as simple as opening a store and waiting for customers to come. As a businessperson, you have to look into each and every aspect of what makes the world go around i.e. the inflow and outflow of money, consumption of money, salaries, profits, losses, expansions, customer experience, business reputation, etc. As a business owner, you are central to everything. Yes, there will be a lot of stress. However, once you have done everything like it should be done, the relief and pleasure are ecstatic.