Instagram for Small Businesses

instagram, businessWe all know the power of Instagram. It’s filled with big corporations competing for the attention of millions of Millennials, and members of Generation Z. Small businesses will be intimidated by big corporations with unlimited marketing budget, large following and quality content. But this is the beauty of social media. Though all of these things can seem like deterrents at first, they are also the reason why you must give Instagram a try. But how can you use Instagram for small business? Instagram can be a great way to promote your brand, connect the physical world with the online world and launch a new product or service. What you use and how you use it will depend on your goals and your organization.

Instagram has about 800 million active daily users, Instagram is the fourth-most downloaded app in the US. So, if you are a business owner intimidated by entering such a crowded platform, keep in mind that capturing even the smallest percentage of your audience is still a significant amount of people. As a social media platform Instagram is unique because it’s all about visuals and aesthetics. All you need is your smartphone camera, and an idea of how you would like your brand to be represented. Instagram is also reported to have higher levels of interactivity between customers than other social media platforms. In other words, a smaller number of Instagram followers are more likely to share your content than a large group of Facebook follows. If you are running a business that targets customers based on lifestyle or income, as opposed to age, this works in your favor. With Instagram the chances of all members of your audience seeing your content increases as well. Because Instagram allows you to share your Instagram posts on Facebook automatically, your Facebook followers will be exposed to your Instagram content as well.

Instagram has its share of benefits. However, it is important not to have a same objective for all social media platform. Instagram is not Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Snapchat, or any other platform you are using. Its goal is to drive interaction with customers, website traffic, and sales through appealing visual content. So if you are a small business owner, unsure about how to use Instagram effectively, here are a few things to look out for.

  1. Visuals

    Visuals are the main currency of Instagram. Be relevant! Post compelling content your followers won’t be able to find anywhere. such as, business and industry-related material. Feel free to post staff pictures, behind-the-scene pictures of how your product is created, relevant quotes, community events etc. Whatever your brand image may be, create visual consistency. There should be a clear idea of brand and messaging. This is important. Having this nailed down with what your brand represents is key before undertaking any social media outlet. An example can be to Use the same filter for every post. this allows you to establish a style that becomes recognizable to your followers. One of your goals on Instagram is to get users to stop scrolling when they get to your image. You want followers to like or leave a comment, which means your visuals have to be compelling and recognizable. If you have a strong driven mission you can post visuals that embody this as well. You also don’t have to be a graphic designer to have visually appealing content. Affordable platforms such as Canva are easy to use and offer great quality work.

 

  1. Hashtags

    Creating a hashtag for your business is a must. Encourage your customers to post pictures of your products with this hashtag. To increase customer interaction, have hashtag sharing contests and ask your business partners to use it through cross-promotion. Don’t be afraid to include other hashtags relevant to national holidays or mainstream news. This can drive new customers to your page. You will be intimidated at first but don’t be! You can Check out what similar businesses are posting and the hashtags they are using. Having this information will make your page noticeable to the right people who need your product or service.

  2. Followers: Of course, having many followers is beneficial. However, at your early stages focus on having the right followers, as opposed to the number of followers. Some businesses have opted to buy Instagram followers. While this may be appealing at first, there are no long-term added benefits. This means no added interaction, exchange, or purchases just money that could have been spent elsewhere. The goal is to increase the conversation rate, not just the amount of followers. So make sure you follow and interact with your targeted followers, business partners and industry leaders.
  3. Consistency: Consistency works hand-in-hand with timing. This does not mean you have to post every day. Posting often and at the right time is key. Posting when your audience is likely to be online is best. Of course, this depends on your industry and customers. Posting quality content a few times a week is better than posting every day for the sake of meeting a quota.
  4. Effectiveness: There are several free platforms and metrics used in order to measure the effectiveness of the way you are using your platform. Other than the number of likes and shares, Iconosquare and Sumall are a few sites that can measure your effectiveness for free!

We hope this helped you shed some light into Instagram. Think of it as an affordable way to continue interacting with your audience. There is little to lose and much to gain. Worst case, you realize the platform isn’t for you. Even so, you learned a valuable lesson about your business along the way.

The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship

startup, entrepreneurship, stress

There’s a maxim out there; failure is not an option.  It’s not that it’s an option that you choose, but failure is a reality. There is a tremendous amount of pressure that entrepreneurs put on themselves that, unfortunately, negatively affect their mental health. Being an entrepreneur comes with early mornings, late nights and unexpected outcomes. What you must keep in mind is that despite your hard work, things may not always go the way you want them to and may in some cases, not work out. For these very reasons it is important that you learn to set limits early on and that you surround yourself with a circle of trusted advisors that should be made up of other entrepreneurs.  Failure is sometimes the price you have to pay to eventually be a successful entrepreneur, however set yourself up so that it doesn’t destroy you. Here are 3 things entrepreneurs should keep in mind when starting their business venture.

  1. Starting a business can take a while and cause you tremendous stress-

You may have a timeline or particular process in mind when starting your business, as you should. But chances of things not going at your preferred pace, or as planned, are quite high.  A lot of things can go wrong between ideation and execution in business: Too much money, not enough money, bad advice, wrong approach, too early, not early enough, wrong place and wrong time, etc.  Because entrepreneurs must endure stress and uncertainty alone, it is important to have an outlet. Have a trusted mentor that you can lean on for unbiased advice. Be willing to wait and realize that some things may be out of your control.

  1. Comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs-

When people, or the media for that matter, speak about entrepreneurship they often tend to point to the Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world. What they don’t grasp is the amount of work that goes into becoming a successful entrepreneur. Understand that Marc Zuckerberg was just Marc before he became ‘Marc Zuckerberg’. Using these popular and successful entrepreneurs as inspiration is one thing. However, many entrepreneurs become preoccupied with imitating their success instead of imitating their work ethic. Having a model to look up to is great, but remember that creating your own path, on your terms, should be your goal.

  1. Don’t take things personally-

As an entrepreneur you will come across some failures. After much hard work, your business may not be achieving the results you hoped for. Simply put, it requires that you accept the fact that in spite of one’s efforts, the end result is beyond one’s control. Entrepreneurship requires tough skin. it really isn’t personal. It’s strictly business. Of course, it’s hard not to feel discouraged when you are so passionate about your business. take that failure and learn from it, do not allow yourself to be defined by it. use it as a stepping stone for your next venture, it is a tough lesson but an invaluable one to have.

Resilience is the most necessary trait for success. It is also important for entrepreneurs to have a good support system and surround themselves with people they feel comfortable opening up to. The process will be difficult; understanding what you’ve learned in the process will be of great use to you for your future projects.

Introducing Your Start-Up to an Angel Investor by E-mail

Angel investor, start-up You can only make a first impression once. Introducing your start-up to an angel investor is nerve-wracking to begin with. However, introducing your start-up to an angel investor by e-mail is a lot more challenging. You cannot charm or socialize with an individual by e-mail the same way you would in person. Standing out is much harder. Of course, you are better off reaching out to an angel investor by e-mail after having met them in person. But this isn’t always the case. For this reason it is important that you hatch out a plan that will captivate the interest of an angel investor. As said Alex Iskold, Managing Director of Techstars, there are 3 key notions to stick to when contacting an angel investor: be simple, clear, and awesome.

Your Structure should be simple-

Being concise is key. Your initial e-mail should only about 5 sentences long, with a one-pager attachment maximum. An angel investor should be able to decipher, based on just these few lines, if this is an opportunity of interest. Keep in mind that your e-mail does not need to answer every question that an investor would have. It simply needs to strike enough interest to schedule a meeting. The following steps can provide for a good blueprint for your email.

Introduction: Your name and the name of your business
Business: 2-3 sentences about your business & why it’s interesting
Traction: 1-2 sentence about your traction, customers, and progress over time
Why: Looking for feedback, or connecting because you have background.
Ask: Schedule a quick phone call, meeting, or ask for feedback via e-mail
Be as clear as possible-

Do not use complicated jargon or terms in order to explain your business. Most investors do not have time to untangle your e-mail in search of clarity. Your first e-mail must be able to stand alone as a comprehensible pitching tool. Note that you should have two goals with this introductory e-mail. First, you have to persuade an angel investor to engage with you in conversation.  Second, give this person the tools to communicate the information clearly to others if need be. This is not to say that angel investors should not have questions about your business after reading your e-mail. It is simply to make clear that the questions they have should not be with regards to your description of the company but with regards to the company itself and its potential.

Focus on Market-Product Fit-

Often times entrepreneurs mistakenly put an excessive amount of focus on the solution instead of the business problem. Reaching out to an angel investor should include focusing on the ‘why’. A strong opportunity statement, which will communicate exactly why an angel investor should care about your business is crucial. When a profitable opportunity presents itself, investors will almost always be willing to listen, at the very least.

Adopt the right attitude, don’t oversell yourself and be truthful. Standing out by e-mail will be difficult. Especially since many angel investors are busy and receive numerous e-mails daily. Just remember that more times than not, less is more. Keep it simple, and make your case as to why they should at least hear what you have to say.

Understanding Your KPIs

KPI, start-upKey performance indicators, also known as KPIs, are measurable values that showcase how effectively a company is achieving business objectives. Businesses set benchmarks early on and use KPIs in order to determine if they are achieving the goals they set out. KPIs can either be high-level or low-level. In other words, they can encompass the company as a whole, or focus on departmental goals. Monitoring KPIs is crucial for measuring progress and making necessary modifications to your business strategy. However, the focus should not be on the KPIs themselves. It should be on their significance and knowing their impacts. Let’s review some of the KPIs that are important for founders to thoroughly understand for strategic purposes. Please note that not all KPIs are relevant to all types of businesses.

  1. Customer acquisition cost (CAC):

CAC is the amount of money you need to spend on sales, marketing and related expenses, on average, to acquire a new customer. This tells you about the efficiency of your marketing efforts, although it’s much more meaningful when combined with some of the other metrics below, and when compared to competitors’ CAC.

 

  1. Customer Retention Rate

Acquiring new customers is one thing, but retaining them is even more important. Your customer retention rate indicates the percentage of paying customers who remain paying customers during a given period of time. The converse to retention rate is churn (or attrition), which is the percentage of customers you lose in a given period of time. When we see high retention rates over an indicative time period, you know the company has a sticky product and that is keeping its customers happy. This is also an indicator of capital efficiency.

 

  1. Lifetime value (LTV)

LTV is the measurement of the net value of an average customer to your business over the estimated life of their relationship with your company. Understanding this number, especially in its relation to CAC, is critical to building a sustainable company. Consider the ratio of CAC to LTV to be the golden metric. This is a true indicator of the sustainability of a company.

  1. Cash Flow

Cash flow will give founders indication on the state of their sales and margins. In order to determine your cash flow forecast you have to add the total cash your business has in its savings to the projected cash value for the next four weeks. Then, subtract the projected cash-out for the next four weeks. Cash flow forecasts allow entrepreneurs to notice issues with cash flow at early stages and make the appropriate modifications.  Understanding your revenue and monthly expenses (fixed and variable) enables you to calculate the company’s monthly burn. If the company starts the month with $100,000 in cash and ends the month with $90,000 in cash, its burn rate is $10,000. If a company’s monthly net cash flow is positive, it is not burning cash. A keen focus on runway is critical to the survival of any startup. Runway is the measure of the amount of time until the company runs out of cash, expressed in terms of months. Runway is computed by dividing remaining cash by monthly burn.

 

  1. Inventory Turnover-
Inventory turnover is a ratio that shows the amount of times a company’s inventory is sold and replaced over a given period. This is especially important in the retail industry. Basically, it is how fast a company is selling their products. This is then compared to the industry average. Inventory turnover is important because it indicates the quality of your inventory planning methods and controlling techniques. Additionally, by improving inventory turnover a retailer can easily increase its profitability by carrying fewer inventories.

 

  1. Accounts Payable Turnover-
Accounts payable turnover is the ratio that measure how quick a company can pay its suppliers. When the turnover rate declines, it means that the company is taking longer to pay its suppliers. This may imply deteriorating financial situation. It can also mean a change in payment terms with suppliers. If a company seems to be paying fairly quickly this can be due to suppliers’ demand for fast payment, or that a business is taking advantage of early payment discounts.

 

  1. Revenue Growth Rate-
Having an understanding of how fast your company is growing is critical for analysis. There are many accounting rules that apply as to when and how you should declare revenue. As an entrepreneur understand that your actions as a businessperson can have direct effect on how your business is portrayed. You can control when contracts are signed, how the contracts are structured, in order to affect how much revenue is declared in a given quarter.

 

  1. Market share-
Market share is main tool used in order to determine the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns compared to the competition. More specifically it can be calculated with shares of unit sales, share of customers served, share of total industry revenue, share of dollar volume, etc. Market share is important because it ranks you with your competitors. It gives you the most tangible indication of market growth, the quality of your CRM programs and branding initiatives. Make sure to also determine the value of your market share as well. For instance, having 60% market share in an industry that is slowly deteriorating is a red flag.

KPIs, like metrics, are crucial for business owners to monitor. Different companies monitor different KPIs, depending on their business goals. However, these KPIs should be understood by all business owners. Though you may not be dealing with technical accounting, understanding how these affect the way your business is perceived is of priority.

 

The Importance of Brand Building

brand startup

As Jeff Bezos so eloquently said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” The statement seems straightforward. But the process of building your brand is the difficult part. As an entrepreneur, you should commit to building a brand identity that resonates with your target market. So many people forget that businesses, especially those that are B2C, must have and portray a brand identity that will be the foundation of all future marketing initiatives. There are essentially 3 ways to build a brand: creating brand elements, secondary associations and marketing programs. However, before you start pouring your heart into your marketing strategy, take a moment and devise a market research plan. Investing in thorough market research is the only way to brand successfully.

How does an entrepreneur build a brand that will resonate with my customers? Though large corporations have more resources to create and develop a brand identity and conduct appropriate research, the process is practically the same. There are 6 steps to the marketing research process (click on the hyperlink for more details). (1) Defining the objective and problem (2) Determining research design (3) Designing and preparing the research instruments (4) Sampling and collecting data (5) Analyzing data and (6) Visualizing and communicating results. Though this seems complex, the hassle is definitely worth the effort. Following these steps, by conducting quantitative and qualitative research, will let you get to know your customers and their expectations of you. This implies conducting surveys, looking into credible secondary data, running focus groups, conducting interviews, testing for brand recognition, testing for recall, and associations. The goal is to know your customer enough to develop a brand identity that will appeal to them, compared to that of the competition.

If you don’t present your brand identity to the right people in the right manner,  you missed the opportunity to acquire them. This will be time consuming and costly to reverse the associations people have already made with your brand. This is not to say that you can’t change your brand identity in the future. To the contrary, many successful companies have had to make brand-related changes in order to remain relevant over time. For instance, Victoria’s Secret was rebranded countless times before their angel wings took over retail, Apple nearly went bankrupt before becoming a staple in tech, and UPS used to be big and boring before it became personal and innovative. But, changing your brand image is costly and takes time. Keep in mind that you are a start-up, and will likely have a  limited budget. Doing it right early on, will save you money, time and stress.

Whether you are an established business or start-up, there really only is one way to start off the branding process, and that is through market research and knowing exactly who you are targeting. We can’t stress this enough. Get to really know your customer early on. Drafting a brand narrative is strongly recommended. The objective of marketing is to create a lasting relationship, called customer retention, with the customer after the actual transaction has been made . You will only be able to do this once you’ve identified your customer’s problem, their expectations, and built a brand identity that they value.

 

What Metrics Are and Why They Matter

Metrics, in business, are quantifiable measures that are used to track and evaluate business performance.  It’s important not to confuse business metrics with key performance indicators (KPIs). Metrics track all areas of your business, while KPIs evaluate statistical performance. Business owners use metrics before making improvements and necessary changes to their activities. By monitoring certain aspects of business operation, including finances, marketing, competition, customer expectations and requirements, businesses will determine where their priorities lay. The ones you set for your business must follow the SMART model. They must be, specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. These findings will be at the base of all of your business strategies. Metrics matter for 3 different reasons.

  1. You gain critical information on the health of your business

Business owners need to identify the right metrics to use in order to evaluate the health of their business correctly. Just as a doctor monitors blood pressure, weight, height and heart rate, entrepreneurs need to do the same relative to their business on a regular basis. Knowing the metrics that will be of value to you will help you solve, and more importantly prevent, existing issues. The metrics that are essential to all businesses are those that measure revenue, growth and customer service.

Revenue- Monitoring revenue per sale, sale by category, seasonal variations, and purchasing trends will determine your business`s profitability. Also, track the details of all sales in order to determine which products are making you the most money. Don’t forget  demographic information on the consumers buying each product offering.

Growth- To determine whether your business is growing in a scaleable manner, establish the cost of acquiring a new customer. The profit margin of each product is also important. Comparing changes in the size of you customer base with variations in revenue will indicate which products your customers are gravitating towards. It would also be beneficial to calculate how much they spend, on average per transaction.

Customer service- Customer satisfaction and retention should always be a focus. Quantifying customer satisfaction should be done through surveys, soliciting customer feedback through social media, and keeping tabs on the amount of referrals you get.

  1. You build the foundation of your business strategy

Your metrics findings will map out your next steps. Depending on what you uncover, all strategies must complement the extracted data. Metrics are made of measurements with a target or goal in mind. So you must create benchmarks that will make your goal achievable over time. Then break this goal into measurable milestones. Your business strategy should work towards achieving these milestones. For instance, instead of setting the goal of increasing sales by a total of 10%, set a goal of increasing sales by specific amounts every month. Adjustments can thus be made at more incremental levels this way.

 

  1. Improves your time management

In addition to driving improvements, metrics help businesses focus their employees and resources on more pressing matters. The information retrieved will show you exactly where your business is falling behind and where it has most potential. this is in addition to the problems that need immediate attention. As an entrepreneur with limited resources working in the most efficient manner possible is crucial. this includes the way you lead your workforce. Metrics indicate what the priorities of a company should be and the performance and focus of its employees.

Business metrics will give you insightful information about how your business is doing. For the most accurate and relevant data, first establish the metrics that are valuable to your particular business.  Your marketing, operation management, and human resources strategies should be crafted in accordance with your findings. The goal is to establish as much specific, measurable, achievable and time-based goals based on your metrics.

Comment Etsy peut aider votre petite entreprise

EtsyPour ceux d’entre vous qui ne sont pas familiarisés avec Etsy, il s’agit d’une communauté d’acheteurs et de vendeurs en ligne qui se concentrent surtout sur des produits faits à la main et des articles millésimés. Etsy permet aux vendeurs de personnaliser des boutiques en ligne avec des solutions complètes de commerce électronique. Cette plateforme a permis à plusieurs personnes de transformer un passe-temps en une entreprise à plein régime. Si vous êtes une petite entreprise ou une personne qui veut tout simplement métamorphoser un passe-temps en une source de revenus, voici quelques raisons pour lesquelles vous devriez avoir une boutique Etsy.

  1. C’est facile à utiliser

Il n’est pas nécessaire de posséder de grandes connaissances technologiques pour exploiter une boutique Etsy. Créer un site Internet avec une mise en page aussi claire et professionnelle que celle que vous offre Etsy nécessiterait beaucoup de travail de conception et de codage. Pour démarrer votre boutique, il vous suffit de suivre quelques étapes simples en quelques minutes. Le plus difficile est d’établir une gamme de prix, de décider quand offrir des promotions, à quelle fréquence ajouter de nouveaux produits, etc. Mais ce sont là des décisions difficiles que vous aurez à prendre, peu importe la plateforme que vous choisissez. Etsy offre également une application iPhone, Sell on Etsy, qui vous aide à gérer votre boutique et à rester organisé. Les caractéristiques de l’application vous permettent de gérer vos commandes, d’accéder à des données statistiques concernant votre boutique, de communiquer avec d’autres acheteurs, de gérer des listes, de recevoir des alertes lorsqu’il y a une vente, et bien plus encore.

  1. C’est abordable

Démarrer une boutique sur Etsy est gratuit. Cependant, il y a trois frais minimaux reliés aux ventes. Vous avez des frais d’inscription d’un produit, des frais de transaction et des frais de traitement des paiements. Mettre un produit en vente vous coûtera 0,26 $. Pour chaque article mis en vente, la publication est valide pour 4 mois. Lorsque l’article est vendu, une commission de 3,5 %, des frais de traitement de paiements de 3,4 %, ainsi que 0,25 $ CA sont facturés.

  1. Accès à une vaste clientèle ciblée

Etsy compte environ 54 millions de membres, tous spécifiquement à la recherche de produits faits à la main, et plus de 2 milliards de visites chaque mois. La consommatrice moyenne d’Etsy est une femme adulte âgée entre 18 et 34 ans. Elle est membre de la classe ouvrière ou classe moyenne. Annuellement, la plupart de ses achats sur Etsy comprennent des bijoux qui coûtent entre 21 $ et 40 $, et qui sont souvent achetés comme cadeaux. Elle aime la variété de produits faits à la main et respectueux de l’environnement. Si votre produit répond le moindrement à ces tendances démographiques, il n’y a pas de meilleure plateforme qui atteindra votre clientèle d’une manière mieux ciblée.

  1. Testez vos nouvelles idées

Une présence sur Etsy est un bon moyen de voir comment les gens réagissent à vos nouvelles idées. Vous vous sentirez moins obligé de garder des produits qui ne se vendent pas puisque vous n’avez pas à contacter des concepteurs ou développeurs Web pour apporter les modifications nécessaires à votre plateforme. Par ailleurs, si vous avez une entreprise et un site Web existant et que vous êtes incertain au sujet d’une ligne de produits ou d’un produit particulier, effectuer des tests sur Etsy et lire les avis publiés dans les forums de discussion peut vous aider à prendre des décisions.

  1. Etsy peut être utilisé comme un outil de commercialisation économique
Contrairement à la croyance populaire, vous n’êtes pas obligé d’utiliser Etsy exclusivement. Votre site Web et votre boutique Etsy peuvent fonctionner conjointement. Une fois que vous avez gagné du terrain avec votre boutique Etsy, vous pouvez réorienter vos visiteurs vers votre site. Si vous obtenez une quantité intéressante de vente sur Etsy, vous pouvez décider que cela vous convient parfaitement tout en choisissant de travailler aussi sur votre site Web en coulisses. Offrez un incitatif à vos clients pour les amener vers votre site Web – il peut s’agir d’articles à prix plus bas sur votre site, de cartes promotionnelles expédiées avec les commandes des clients provenant du site d’Etsy, ou d’inclure des URL de votre site dans les descriptions des produits que vous présentez sur Etsy.

Si votre marché cible est constitué de personnes qui visitent Etsy régulièrement, faites-en l’essai. Que vous soyez artiste, une personne avec un passe-temps, ou que vous exploitiez déjà une entreprise, vous pouvez profiter des nombreux avantages et beaucoup apprendre en administrant une boutique Etsy. Le pire qui puisse arriver serait que vous n’aimiez pas l’expérience. Mais même dans ce cas, vous aurez essayé une plateforme et vous aurez appris ce qui fonctionne et ce qui ne fonctionne pas pour vous.

When to Say “No” to an Investment Offer

startup, investment, VC, venture capital Finding an investor is challenging. So it is understandable that when you are ready to start accepting term sheets that you would be tempting to accept your first offer after having reached out to countless investors. Though lack of financing can cause you to overemphasize the pros of accepting an investment offer, remember that there is much more at stake when dealing with an investor than your finances. Sometimes simply saying ‘no’ or ‘you are no the right fit’ is the smartest move. In order to evaluate compatibility with your potential investor, there are two things you should focus on:

  1. The Term Sheet

It’s not just about how much money you get, but about how much you are willing to give up for it. Your term sheet is an agreement that establishes the terms and conditions at the base of an investment. It addresses information pertaining to the identification of parties involved, initial purchase price, contingencies that may constitute changes in your agreement, time frames for decision making, equity, etc. It is your responsibility to know and understand its content. In most cases your term sheet is the starting point for negotiations. Investors, backed with their professional experience and legal team, will draft term sheets in favor of their interests. Be ready to come to the negotiating table equally prepared. If you do not see eye-to-eye on an important matter, it may be best to walk away from the offer.

 

  1. What your investor can offer you

Money will help businesses grow. However, it should not be the only thing that the investor has to offer.  The reputation of the venture firms is often taken into consideration. Having a credible investor attached to a startup can assist with credibility, which can be helpful in forming business partnerships and hiring new employees.Many investors wind up taking board seats, so for these roles it can be helpful to find someone with industry experience or an expertise in scaling startups. Investors can help with problem-solving and can also make introductions. A good investor should be available to communicate with you, offer expertise, and give you honest feedback on your operations when needed. You should also look to see if said investor has a contact pool that you may be able to leverage in the future.

Declining an investment offer doesn’t mean you are closing the door to a particular relationship. Explain your business needs are for the time being, and express to an interested investor that you look forward to doing business with them in the future. Refusing to accept an investment offer does not have to be a negative experience. Show gratitude, explain your reasoning, and exchange pleasantries on your way out. You never know when you may cross paths in the future.

 

4 raisons pour lesquelles les petites entreprises doivent avoir un blogue

blogueSi en tant que propriétaire de petite entreprise, vous envisagez de commencer un blogue, arrêtez de considérer la question et commencez à écrire. Plus d’excuses! «Je ne suis pas un bon écrivain» «Je n’ai pas d’idées originales» ou «Je n’ai pas le temps» ne sont pas de bonnes raisons; d’autant plus que les avantages d’un blogue dépassent de loin les inconvénients. Si l’on considère que d’ici 2020, les clients gèreront 85 % de leurs relations sans parler à un être humain, et que les blogues sont classés  comme la 5e des sources les plus fiables d’informations en ligne. Ce que coûte vraiment un blogue vous est le temps.

Si vous faites partie de la minorité qui n’a pas encore joint le mouvement, voici 4 raisons pour lesquelles nous croyons que vous ne devriez pas attendre plus longtemps :

  1. C’est économique

Il est généralement très peu coûteux de créer un blogue et de le tenir à jour. Les blogues peuvent être intégrés à votre site Web déjà existant, ou être créés indépendamment. Peu importe, c’est un mode de commercialisation parmi les moins coûteux pour les entrepreneurs. Il y a aussi de nombreux hébergements WordPress bon marché et fiables parmi lesquels vous pouvez choisir.

  1. Génère du trafic vers votre site

L’ajout d’un blogue à votre site Web peut considérablement augmenter la circulation très ciblée de votre site. Les recherches démontrent que les entreprises qui bloguent reçoivent 97 % plus de liens vers leur site Web. Afficher des nouvelles convaincantes et perspicaces dans votre blogue, tout en utilisant stratégiquement des mots clés pour optimiser les moteurs de recherche, grâce à des publications en temps opportun, vous aidera à construire un public fidèle.

  1. Positionnez votre marque en tant que chef de file éclairé

Les blogueurs accomplis sont des experts en stratégie de marque. Les blogues offrent aux entreprises l’occasion de discuter de questions importantes dans le secteur de leur industrie. Par ailleurs, les blogues permettent aux entreprises de montrer à leurs consommateurs qu’ils font plus que simplement vendre des produits ou offrir un service. L’utilisation de cette sorte de plateforme vise à attirer les lecteurs qui ne cherchent pas nécessairement à acheter quelque chose. Il y a de fortes chances que ces lecteurs reviennent dans le futur, quand ils seront effectivement à la recherche d’un produit. De nos jours, les consommateurs ne font pas qu’investir dans des produits, ils investissent dans tout ce qu’une entreprise représente. Les blogues constituent la meilleure façon de manifester que vous représentez le style de vie que vos consommateurs souhaitent connaître.

  1. Établir des relations avec vos clients
Les blogues permettent d’offrir une touche personnelle. Cet aspect informel vous permet de créer une relation amicale de confiance avec votre public. L’ajout d’une section pour les commentaires, ou d’option de répondre à vos messages peut contribuer à susciter un dialogue intéressant. Idéalement, ces relations publiques positives permettront d’enrichir votre image de marque en vous présentant comme une entreprise qui se soucie de ses clients. Si vous créez régulièrement du contenu perspicace pour votre marché cible, vous pourrez vous établir comme source d’information importante.

Maintenir un blogue a aidé de nombreux entrepreneurs à faire passer leurs activités de la misère à la richesse. Dooce et Shoemoney en sont d’excellents exemples. Si ces raisons ne suffisent pas à vous convaincre qu’écrire un blogue est essentiel, posez-vous une question simple : Qu’ai-je à perdre en démarrant un blogue? Exactement. Rien que du temps bien dépensé. Essayez!

Why So Many Crowdfunding Campaigns Fail

crowdfunding, startupCrowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, have become mainstream in the past few years. There are many reasons why early stage entrepreneurs have turned to crowdfunding. Some of these reasons include not wanting to take out more debt, validating product market fit or  simply to create a brand following. Crowdfunding serves many benefits such as crowdsourcing, opportunities to pre-sell, and starting a campaign is usually free. As great as these things might sound, having a successful crowdfunding campaign is harder than it seems. For every successful Kickstarter campaign, two fail, and about 9 out of 10 Indiegogo campaigns fail to reach their goals. Here are a few reasons why experts believe that so many crowdfunding campaigns fail.

  1. Companies Fail to Establish Credibility

There are so many projects and initiatives on crowdfunding platforms, you must find ways to stand out in the clutter. Many crowdfunding initiatives have a reputation for unmet promises. Highly publicized credibility issues run deeper than product or supply-chain issues. The PME funded company, Revols, had managed to avoid such issues with their highly successful Kickstarter campaign, which garnered 2.5 million dollars in just a month. Their Kickstarter video showcased their credible partners, endorsements from industry experts, and specific accreditations to their name. They also hired a PR firm in order to make sure the right image was being spread prior to launch. Two weeks prior to starting their campaign Revols visited established media outlets with product demos in various North American cities. Like Revols, you have to be on top of your PR game.

  1. The Video is Too Long

A video that is too long is not likely to be shared on social media platforms. Keep your video length between 1 to 3 minutes long, so that people who would like to share your video with their network will be likely to. Sharing aside, people are also busy and have short attention spans. They want something, short and informative to watch.

 

  1. The Video Doesn’t Tell a Story

Videos have the capability to tell stories better than any other medium. Your video should have a story line that elicits emotional feelings from the viewer. If your video doesn’t seem sincere, you will have a difficult time getting investments or even people following-up on your brand down the line.

  1. Companies Aren’t Clear About How They Will Use the Funds

If you know exactly what you’re going to be using your money for, so should your backers. Investors want to know how their money will help you. Putting out vague statements such as “help our business grow” or “we need your help to expand” does nothing to show that you have a strategic plan moving forward. To our previous point, not being specific also doesn’t do anything to boost your credibility.

  1. No Testing

By testing we are referring to two things. The testing of the product and the testing of your Kickstarter page prior to launch. Before investing people want to know that your product has been tested and that it has garnered positive reviews from users and industry experts. Investors and backers want to be sure that their money is going into a quality good that has been vouched for. Testing your Kickstarter page means sending it to friends, family, mentors and trusted individuals in order to get feedback on its presentation and content. Building social capital prior and during your launch will have immense payoff.

  1. Your Goals are Unrealistic

Don’t aim to get millions of dollars right off the bat. Even Revols had the objective of raising only $100,000 before they reached their $2.5 million mark. You should plan and set a timeline for the investments you hope to receive. Being conservative with your estimates is always better. Your goals should be SMART, in other words, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

These are some of the main reasons why crowdfunding campaigns fail. If you do the right planning in order to avoid these mistakes your crowdfunding campaign will already be more likely to rise above the clutter. Even if you don’t achieve your campaign goal, you should still be leaving the platform with more than you entered. You should have more supporters, a longer e-mail list, and most importantly, a better idea of what it is that your consumers want.