SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY DOSE OF CONFIDENCE!

Archive of ‘Business Women’ category

5 Free Online Tools that Can Help You Grow Your Small Business

by

online-942406_960_720

Technology has permanently come to reshape our lives and our businesses. Today, each and every single day, people are conceiving new ideas to make our lives easier. Online, there are a variety of tools that can help you grow your small business.

Simple Graphic Design: Canva (https://www.canva.com/)

Canva helps you to create simple graphics with free templates. All you need to do is to add text and voila, you have a great finished product. You can create invitation, announcements, Facebook cover, social media image posts on Canva.

Social Media Scheduling: Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com/)

Hootsuite helps you to schedule your social media posts across all social media channels. The free account gives you an opportunity to include three social media accounts. Within the Hootsuite dashboard, you can monitor your engagement and also gain insightful analytics to all your activities.

Taking Notes: Evernote (https://evernote.com/)

Evernote is the place to collect inspirational ideas, write meaningful words and gather your to do list. Evernote syncs seamlessly across all devices and you can even bookmark notes on your web browser with ever note.

Mailing: MailChimp (mailchimp.com)

MailChimp is your all in one email marketing answer, Mail Chimp helps you send constant emails and also track results. If you are sending less than 2,000 emails, MailChimp has a great free offer for small businesses. All you need to do is to create a contact list that can be updated anytime.

Services: SourceGig (http://www.sourcegig.com/)

Source gig lets you find freelancers that can help you with anything, from market research to business plan writing to logo design, source gig will help you get anything done from the comfort of your home.

 

5 Ways You Can Use Facebook to Grow Your Small Business

by

facebook

Facebook can be referred to as the mother of all social networks, with about 3.5 billion likes every day and 1.4 billion users, 20% of the world’s population is on Facebook and a huge percentage of this people can be advocates of your brand.

Think about it, with the right kind of engagement on Facebook and a little investment in adverts, you have the opportunity to reach so many people. Facebook ads are also targeted in such a way that it almost meets people at the point of their needs.

Here are 5 Ways You Can Use Facebook to Grow Your Small Business

Improve Your Facebook Home Page

Don’t just list the name of the business and write a short description of the business, write long description, include a web address if you have one, use a catchy cover photo and profile photo. Ensure that your page stands out, so that when people stumble on it, they will be interested in liking.

In all your offline and online marketing efforts, let people know that you are on Facebook. Constantly redirect people to your home page.

Facebook Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search is your secret weapon. It’s an ingenious way of extending your online reach. Think about it. Facebook graph search ranks people, pages, apps, groups, places etc. With such tool, you can find your perfect customer either individually or in their niche network.

Streamline Your Social Media Channels

You shouldn’t expect your Facebook page to exist in isolation, unite it with your other social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest etc. it helps you save effort and promote your content concurrently, because what you post on one will automatically connect with the other one.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Giveaways

People will be motivated to like when they know that there is something waiting at the other end of the line. It can be a free gift or a free service, giveaways are baits that lure your customers in. This also helps with your word of mouth advertising. By the time your lucky winner testifies to the goodness of your product or service, be rest assured that there will be plenty people waiting at the end of the line to also experience this goodness.

Talk, Talk, Talk

Twitter gives you 140 characters to express yourself, Instagram gives you just one shot, Facebook gives you enough space for all the characters you need to talk the talk. So talk the talk and don’t stop talking, let people know that you are an authority in your field. Post relevant shareable content that is worthy of anyone’s time.

 

5 Affordable Online Marketing Tips for Small Businesses in Nigeria

by
Online marketing, small business in nigeria

Research claims that 9 in 10 Startups are bound to fail, one of the reasons why failure occurs is lack of funds to fuel advertising campaigns and become visible within their niche market.

With the advent of digital marketing, small businesses can now rely on the power of digital media to bring their business to homes of tens and thousands of people.

Business with small marketing capital can rely on online marketing to build a solid online presence. Here are 5 affordable online marketing tips for small businesses in Nigeria.

Create the Right Kind of Content

Content speaks authority and search engines love authority. Content is a very important currency in today’s world of digital marketing. It drives traffic, helps improve ranking, and could potentially help your site convert visitors to customers.

Content must be original and it must contain valuable information your niche market will find useful. Get your headlines right because 80% of the people who read your headlines will keep reading if they like what they see.

Increase Your Social Media Reach

You have to increase your reach in social media. In order to help your small business on social media, you have to invest in both paid and organic methods. You have to know exactly when to post because timing is the key to increase engagement.

If you post at a time people wont be online, that particular content has been wasted, if you post at a time when great minds have gathered online, voila! That is the beginning of your social media success.

Mix the use of social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, because each social media platforms have different specializations, which make them unique.

Improve SEO

According to statistics, Search Engine Optimization is important because organic search leads have generated an average of 14.6% close rate. Also, 75% of Google users will simply stay on the first page of the search result.

SEO is also very cost effective, because once you get it right, you really don’t need to engage in all the stress of having an elaborate online marketing budget anymore.

Use influencers

Influencer marketing is relatively new in the range of effective online marketing strategies. Your customers have more chances of hanging around when they have been referred by someone. Influencers can range from bloggers, to famous people on Instagram and what have you. Make a list of your influencers and start leveraging them now.

Use visuals

According to one statistic, the mind processes visuals 1,000 times faster than words. It has been proven that visuals can affect how a person thinks. Addition of visuals can boost a person’s willingness to finish an entire text by as much as 80%. Associating visual images to information improves the retention of data.

There are free design tools online that help you create great visuals like a pro, eg Canva, Infogr etc

 

 

This Study Will Help You Better Understand Your Customer

by

giphyspongep

Who is Your Ideal Customer?

Well, take a look at this table

·         Overall quality of a product or service (70 percent)

·         Value of a product or service for the money (67 percent)

·         Customer service (41 percent)

·         Organization’s integrity (28 percent)

·         Treatment of employees (14 percent)

 

 

This table shows the percentage of the qualities each customer access while patronizing a product or service.

How do consumers assess these factors—in other words, where do they get their information about brands? The study had some surprising results. Only 23 percent of respondents rely on advertising, just 15 percent rely on the brand’s own website to find information, and a mere 14 percent rely on editorial/news coverage of brands.

So what sources do consumers trust? A whopping 74 percent say personal experience is the most reliable source for getting information about businesses. Nearly six in 10 (59 percent) use family members, friends or colleagues as a trusted source, while 48 percent believe reviews of products or services are valuable sources of accurate information.

What do these results mean for you? Some of the things consumers value aren’t surprising at all, such as the quality of the product or service, and the value for the money. You’re probably already emphasizing these factors in your marketing materials. Nor should it be surprising that customer service is a key issue for consumers choosing which businesses to patronize.

However, the fact that nearly three in 10 consumers care about a company’s integrity and 14 percent consider how it treats employees when making purchasing decisions are somewhat surprising. Think about how your marketing and advertising can emphasize these aspects of your business if you have employees.

Make sure any guarantees are prominently accessible on your website, displayed on your product packaging or included in your service contracts.

Consider creating a mission statement that encompasses your commitment to integrity, and sharing it with customers.

Ensure that all of your marketing efforts must work together to promote your ultimate goals. By developing a well-rounded marketing plan that takes all these factors into account, you’ll achieve what every business owner wants: becoming the talk of the town in a good way.

Vital Tips for Conducting Market Research

by

2008_LekkiMarket_Lagos_Nigeria_2349218847

If you’ve determined what your idea will be and you’d like to move forward with the entrepreneurial process, you’ll need to do some preliminary market research to assess the viability of your idea.

To run a successful business, you need to do some market research to learn about your customers, your competitors, and your industry. Market research is the process of analyzing data to help you understand which products and services are in demand, and how to be competitive.

Determine your Target Market and understand your Customer

A common mistake with new business owners is assuming that if the business owner would buy the product, everyone else will as well.  You need to know what potential customers want, what price they are willing to pay, how they decide what to buy, and where they buy it.  Think seriously about who your potential customers are and start defining their demographics, including age, education level, geographic location, and income level.

Use customer forums such as http://www.nairaland.com to take a look at the customer reviews posted about businesses or products similar to your idea. This information can provide valuable insight into why a customer chooses one business or product over another.

Don’t forget to research complimentary and substitute products.  These are products that are normally sold with (complimentary) or instead of (substitute) your product.

As you develop your business idea, don’t forget to talk directly to potential customers; these can be family, friends, and complete strangers.  See how they react to your idea.  Would they buy your product?  Ask them what elements are important to them, whether it’s price, quality, reputation in the industry, or something else.

Get to Know Your Competition  

It’s very rare that any two businesses are exactly the same, which makes it a good idea to get to know, and even network with, your competition in person. The rewards can include referrals (if you offer something that they do not) or if they are unable to take on additional customers, or even a joint venture. Use the web to conduct a search on popular business listings in your market.  Assess how your offerings compare to your competitors.

What do you offer that is unique? How can you work that into your marketing plan to set you apart from the competition?  Is your competition only local or is it global?

Understand your industry. You will need to know what others in your industry are doing, even if they are not your direct competitors.

 

 

Who is Your Perfect Customer?

by
perfect customer meme

 

perfect customer meme

Finding and keeping the perfect customer is an art. The secret lies in our hearts because everyone in the world is a customer.

The customer centric language is something we all use every single day to communicate and relate with each other. Think about it, why did you go back to that store, why did you call that plumber.

Some people spend years learning how to relate with customers. Ask the ladies in Eko Lace Shops. From the moment you step into their shop till the moment you leave, all the gimmicks are part of customer service.

A Shopaholic doesn’t only shop because of the feel of new clothes or shoes, a Shopaholic shops because she knows that in a store, she is king, all her needs are met by store keepers who display the best customer service.

The better your customer retention, the more profitable your brand will be.

Here are Four Tips That Will Help You Find and Keep the Perfect Customer

Great Customer Service: Providing great customer service is not rocket science, you don’t have to possess an MBA before you can provide great customer service. Always be polite and courteous when addressing customers, put them first because yes, only customers know best. Most importantly, always be patient even with difficult customers.

Ask for Feedback: If you don’t ask, you won’t know if you are properly responding to a customer or missing some things. To get a more accurate impression of what you can improve on, get into your customer’s mind occasionally. Let them tell you what they.

Deliver Personalised Experiences: In order to retain your customers, you must learn how to deliver personalized experiences because each customer is different. Personalization is one of the best ways to engage customers, generate more sales and keep customer sticking around.

Incentives for Long Term Customers: Over time, as your business grows, you will have a log of long term customers who trust you. This when you have to decide on a reward system that will keep them coming back. At this point, most entrepreneurs make the mistake of relaxing thinking that I already have them. You don’t, you now have to work to keep them. Giving them discounts or gifts during festive periods are both great strategies that customers look forward every year. Always reward their loyalty.

All You Need to Know About Developing a Marketing Plan

by

marketing-938935_960_720

Marketing takes time, money, and lots of preparation. One of the best ways to prepare yourself is to develop a solid marketing plan.

A strong marketing plan will ensure you’re not only sticking to your schedule, but that you’re spending your marketing funds wisely and appropriately.

Advantages of Having a Solid Marketing Plan

A marketing plan includes everything from understanding your target market and your competitive position in that market, to how you intend to reach that market (your tactics) and differentiate yourself from your competition in order to make a sale.

Your small business marketing budget should be a component of your marketing plan. Essentially, it will outline the costs of how you are going to achieve your marketing goals within a certain timeframe.

If you don’t have the funds to hire a marketing firm or even staff a position in-house, there are resources available to guide you through the process of writing a marketing plan and developing a market budget.

What to do

Bend Your Budget When Necessary and Keep an Eye on ROI

Once you have developed your marketing budget, it doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone. There may be times when you need to throw in another unplanned marketing tactic — such as hosting an event or creating a Facebook ad — to help you reach your market more effectively.

Ultimately, it’s more important to determine whether sticking to your budget is helping you achieve your marketing goals and bringing you a return on investment (ROI) than to adhere to a rigid and fixed budget.

That’s why it’s important to include a plan for measuring your spend. Consider the tactics that worked as well as those that didn’t work. You don’t have to cut the tactics that didn’t work, but you should assess whether you need to give them more time to work or whether the funds are best redirected elsewhere.

Marketing plans should be maintained on an annual basis, at a minimum. But if you launch a new product or service, take time to revisit your original plan or develop a separate campaign plan that you can add to your main plan as an addendum.

At the end of the day, the time spent developing your marketing plan, is time well spent because it defines how you connect with your customers. And that’s an investment worth making.

 

A Quick Guide to Email Marketing

by
email marketing

email marketing

Email Marketing is one of the most effective ways to keep in touch with customers. It is cost effective and it can help build brand awareness and loyalty.

Email Marketing relatively costs cheaper lesser than direct mail. Response rates are strong, with over 4.3 billion email accounts worldwide, there is a ton of customers waiting for you via mail.

One other benefit of email marketing is the demographic information that customers provide when signing up for your email newsletter. Discovering exactly who your customers are—how old they are, what their interests are, what region of the country they reside in—can help you tailor your products and services to best suit their needs.

Email marketing basically helps you gather all the demographics you will need to create products and services that will best suit your customer.

It is a channel you own and 99% of customers prefer email for marketing communications, your email can be highly personal and this helps the customer feel more connected with your products.

Here are a Few Things You Should Pay Attention to When Creating an Email Newsletter

HTML or Plain Text?

These days, response rates for HTML newsletters are generally far higher than plain text, and graphics and colors tend to make the publications look far more professional.

Although HTML newsletter is slower to load, people still prefer the graphically enhanced email to plain text. Think about it, will you even open it if it is plain text.

Provide an Incentive for Customers

To get customers to sign up for your newsletter, advertise the benefits of receiving your newsletter, such as helpful tips, informative content or early notification of special offers or campaigns.

 Go the Extra Mile

Rather than only share information about products and services, share helpful tips, work life balance, create a whole range of content that will be useful for the customer.

Don’t Ask Too Many Questions

It’s either you limit the amount of questions or give customers the option of skipping the questionnaire. Ask only a few demographic questions, always put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

 

 

 

How to Register a Business Name in Nigeria

by

businessname in nigeria

Now that you have created you have identified your source of funds, it is time to register your business name.

Registering a business name in Nigeria is not as difficult as people think it is. You really don’t need to consult a Lawyer or an accountant before you register your business name.

You might be wondering that why do I need to register a business name, the thing is, in this part of the world, people like ‘packaging,’ and your business name is a huge part of that packaging.

No one will take you seriously if you have not registered your business name and some people even prefer to pay into a corporate account rather than paying into a personal account. It all starts from somewhere, you might be thinking, my small business, no business is small.

Your N10,000 per month profit business is going to become a multimillion naira company one day, so don’t underestimate your big idea.

Three Steps to Register Your Business Name

Step 1: Walk into any Corporate Affairs Commission office near you, and ask for name reservation form.

It costs about Five Hundred Naira only. You will be given a receipt and a form. On the form, you will be asked to fill in a few details. The details include your name, your address, your desired business names, type of Business You Want to Register, (Choose Enterprises/Business Name).

You will be required to choose two business names. Ensure that you choose a unique name for your business. Submit the form and wait for the results to come out. Basically, if your business name is approved, you can proceed with your registration.

Step 2: It takes about 2 weeks to get the results, while you wait, prepare your passport photographs, your partner’s passport photographs (if you have one), details of the business and your own personal details. This is the time to clarify and be sure of what will go on record. Once the results are out, study the registration form and fill your registration form.

Even on the CAC Website, it is clearly stated that ‘Individual/Proprietors can register business names without the services of the legal practitioner, chartered Accountant or Chartered Secretary.’

On the website http://new.cac.gov.ng/home/summary-of-fees-and-forms/, Fees for some services include:

 

S/N SUBJECT FEES in Naira (₦)
50 Reservation of Name 500
51 Registration of business name 10,000.00
52 Filing of notice of change of business name 5,000.00
53 Filing of notice of change in business address 1,000.00
54 Filing of notice of change in proprietorship 1,000.00
55 Filing of annual return 1,000.00
56 Filing of notice of cessation of business 1,000.00
57 Filing of other documents (miscellaneous) 1,000.00
58 Search on business name file 1,000.00 per business name file
59 Certified true copy of business name certificate of registration 5,000.00
60 Certified true copies of other documents 2,000.00 per document

 

3 Funding Options for Small Businesses

by

funding options

It’s possible to start your business without a lot of capital, particularly if you are freelancing, working from home, or doing business online.

However, it is important to assess your funding needs, including assets like a laptop, stationery, or inventory – as well as the amount of cash flow you will need to keep you afloat until your business is making a profit.

Remember, small businesses can get started without a lot of assets and inventory.  You don’t need to buy everything you want at the very beginning.  Find a way to start as low cost as possible.

Consider working part time when you launch your company. This will give time to build your business with less risk and provide you with a steady cash flow from another source. Once you’ve established a base, then transition to full time business ownership.

It is also important for you to have fully developed and tested your product or service. Ensure your product or service is as complete and ready- for – market as it can be before marketing it or seeking financing.

There are several finding options and they include

Bootstrapping, Crowdfunding, and Microloans, these three different financing options that might work for your needs.

Bootstrapping

Instead of seeking external investors, entrepreneurs with very limited capital can find the funds to startup by reaching into their pockets and pinching together a mixture of supplemental income, savings. As with any financing option, bootstrapping your business has its pros and cons.

Pros: Many entrepreneurs choose this route because they do not want their business to be defined by the demands of external investors and microfinance bank agents.

Cons: At the same time, bootstrapping is risky – your personal savings and debts may be at risk.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a term used to describe a network of people who pool their money andresources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by businesses.

You are probably familiar with popular rewards crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.  This is probably the easiest way to get started in crowdfunding and can be a good tool to gauge customer interest as well.

The other types of crowdfunding that may be useful to your business are debt crowdfunding (also called peer – to – peer lending) and equity crowdfunding (where your funders actually take a stake in your company and its profits).

Pros:

  • Relatively quick and simple to set up
  • Can help you gauge interest in your business idea, particularly if it’s a unique idea
  • Can be a very cheap form of financing

Cons:

  • Rules can be confusing
  • Can be difficult to achieve fundraising goals
  • Often, if you don’t reach your goal, you see nothing in return for your work

Microloans

Microloans are small, short term loans for small businesses. Microfinance banks, co-operative societies provide the option of getting microloans with interest rates. Microloans are actually designed to help you fund your business and you are expected to pay back within the stipulated time.

Pros

  • Ready made cash
  • These lending institutions also provide guidance on how to run your finances

Cons

  • High Interest Rates
  • Hoarding, especially for Microfinance banks, their agents practically hoard you to produce their money.

1 2 3 4