Business Tips for Start-Ups: Part I

Business Tips for Start-Ups: Part I

Are you thinking about starting your own business? If so, then you are certainly not alone. According to Fundsquire, a global startup and scale-up funding network, Canada’s startup scene has been growing exponentially in the last few years. In fact, Canada has been ranked as the world’s fourth most influential startup hub, trailing only the United States, Israel, and the United Kingdom. (https://startupstash.com/canada-startups/)

It is important to keep in mind that before you begin purchasing supplies or registering your company, you must devote time and effort to developing a business plan. Taking the first steps toward launching a new business may seem intimidating to you, but fortunately, there are excellent resources to help you with this, such as the London Small Business Centre (https://www.sbcentre.ca/). This not-for-profit organization provides training and support to starting and growing businesses. Plus, they make it simple to find programs, services, resources, and support for all aspects of your business.

So, are you eager to launch your own startup? Here are three tips to consider as you get started:

1.     Finance

A budget has numerous components that must be determined before you begin your business. This includes your own financial investment required to get started. Depending on your business, you’ll probably wish to purchase office equipment and furniture, a computer, printer, supplies, etc. One especially important aspect of your budget to keep in mind is your marketing plan expense.

You should plan to open a separate business bank account to avoid mixing your personal and business income and expenses and to keep a clean set of books. Consistent and diligent record-keeping is essential, so start from the beginning with a bookkeeping plan. Canada Revenue Agency’s rules and regulations, including whether to register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), must be considered as well.

2.     Marketing Plan

Marketing your startup is critical to its growth and to distinguishing itself from competitors. Having a marketing plan will help you as you begin identifying potential customers, channels, and the best ways to target the people you wish to serve.

While there is no set template, components of a solid marketing plan may include – but are not limited to – the following:

  1. Networking (Face-to-face or virtual)
  2. Referrals
  3. Digital marketing: setting up social media accounts (Facbeook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.), social media ads
  4. Print/magazine ads
  5. Mailings
  6. Radio and/or television advertising

3.     Website

Opening and running a business, even a brick-and-mortar one, without a web presence is no longer feasible. As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, consumers use the internet for everything from researching products and services to finding a store’s location and operating hours. A well-designed professional website can certainly give you an advantage in your industry, while helping you easily and efficiently expand your business.

As you begin envisioning your startup’s website, you’ll need to first determine its primary purpose. Based on this, you will then need to consider whether you need a brochure site, an interactive site, and whether your clients need a secure sign in portal or downloadable forms.

We are here to help!

With skill and experience in the areas of bookkeeping, social media management and website design, our team is dedicated to our clients’ success, whether they’re just starting out or already established. MYOB can help you mind your own business better!

We have three other tips for startups coming up in our next blog post!

Stranger Danger

Stranger Danger

“Don’t talk to strangers!” Parents have warned their children for decades. Evil often comes packaged in beauty and charm. And so, obedient children have refused to be lured by candy.

Today’s online lures are clever, disguised and not obvious in many cases. Now that we are used to the emails from a Prince in a faraway land who wants to send us money and avoid the demands to “click here to enter banking information”, the scams are getting more sophisticated and aimed straight at our emotions. Let’s look at some common scams that are online today, targeting our curiosity, fear, sympathy or even love and connection.

Curiosity

Shocking social media announcements about a scandalous situation with a celebrity or sudden news that someone has died can be enough to make you click for more. Be aware that not all websites are created equal. False information is everywhere on the internet. Before you click share to be the first to tell your friends, you can verify news via scam-checking websites like https://www.snopes.com/

Fear

Have you received a recorded call on your cell phone telling you that you have violated rules with Revenue Canada and there is now a warrant for your arrest? Or perhaps a huge alert appeared on your computer screen, seemingly from the RCMP saying they have detected child pornography on your computer? These terrifying messages are followed by demanding an immediate response from you. Cell phones ask you to press 1 and computers ask you to click a link for help. Stop. If you’re worried about Revenue Canada, call them directly. If you’re worried about a virus on your computer, call an IT company to help you.

Sympathy

There have been numerous fraudsters trying to collect money on group funding websites, or phone calls from a charity. They all tell a sad story with an urgent need. Because this has happened too often, the sites are now tightening up the regulations. To help avoid unwanted cold calls, you should register to be on the “Do Not Call List (DNCL). https://lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/en Let common sense be your guide. Check the story and the source before sending money.

Love

With the rise of popularity and success of online dating, there’s also a rise in catfishing online. Our human need for love and validation, opens the door to the hearts of all ages of people in all walks of life. These clever scammers know how to win trust and what magical words to type so that the victim becomes comfortable. Often it is months before a crisis occurs and a request for money is made. There are signs to look for: never meeting via Skype or Zoom or in-person, outlandish stories about impossible situations or professing undying love forever when you’ve never met. If you suspect this is happening to you or someone you know, search the internet for profiles of this person to see if they are consistent. You can also upload any images you’ve been given to reverse Google image search, or to a website like Tin Eye (https://tineye.com) to request matches elsewhere on the internet. If the images you have been given are actually stock photos, you’ll see that in your results.

Connection

If you have spent time on social media, being social with your “friends”, you’ve seen the fun quizzes asking for your favourite colour, your favourite vacation spot, your pet’s first name, your favourite band or the name of your high school. These sound like familiar security questions, don’t they? Of course there may be other harmless questions in there too, but think about the personal information that you’re handing out to the internet and not just your “friends”!

Have you ever received a friend request from someone you thought you were already friends with online? This is another way hackers try to invade your personal accounts. If you think there’s even a chance you may be friends with that person already, double check before clicking accept!

Are you making your accounts easy to hack? Identity theft is a nightmare.

At the end of the day, “Don’t talk to strangers!” is still a solid piece of advice for us all. Beware. Be smart. Be careful, verify and fact check before you click.

Is Your Online Window Display Fresh?

Is Your Online Window Display Fresh?

In this digital age, having a website for your company is essential. However, keeping your website and its content up to date is equally important. Your website is, without a doubt, a representation of your company. In fact, it may be the only part of it that some people see. As such, keeping your site updated and relevant will go a long way toward generating a positive impression on both current and potential customers.

Here are a few reasons to keep your website up to date:

  1. Your website can help your business generate revenue, increase brand recall value, promote goodwill among clients and target audiences, plus deliver powerful marketing messages around the clock, 365 days a year!
  2. Keeping your website’s material current contributes to the development of relationships between you and your customers, which ultimately helps to build trust and credibility in your company. Customers are most likely looking to your site for relevant information that helps them stay in-the-know.
  3. Customers are likely to feel comfortable using your services when your company has a high-quality website. Plus, your website can help its visitors feel confident that they will have a positive experience in all aspects of your business.
  4. Because search engines like Google place a strong emphasis on local results, having a website is even more important if you are a local business. More people are using the internet to find local businesses than ever before so if you don’t have a website, they may be unable to contact or locate your company.
  5. When your company has an updated website, you will have an increased ability to communicate with customers in real time. This is especially true when your website’s content and social media are integrated. Your social media pages all work together to increase your website traffic and boost revenue.
  6. The ability to attract new customers is one of the most compelling reasons to invest in updating your website. Since the visitors to your site will be at various stages of the sales process, including researchers, comparers, and buyers, you’ll want to make sure you have offerings for them all. The goal is to convert website visitors into leads, so speaking to their needs and providing them with a clear action plan to take the next steps will help make the process smoother.

Let’s get started.

We build WordPress websites for our clients and provide them with two hours of training after launch to teach them how to make minor changes on their own. We recommend WordPress because it is customizable and user friendly.

Are you ready to talk about your website design and management? Fill out our contact form and we’ll get in touch!

Who is Minding Your Store?

Who is Minding Your Store?

Imagine you are out window shopping one day. Suddenly, you come across a lovely new store with an incredible selection of exactly what you have been looking for! How exciting! You cannot wait to start shopping, so you walk on in. However, once you start looking around the store, you start to feel a little uncertain about shopping there. Something just doesn’t feel right, but you can’t put your finger on it. Then suddenly, you realize what’s going on…there is not a single person around to talk to. Not one.

Who is going to answer your questions or help you with your purchase? What if you buy something but need to return it? Who is minding this store? Unless you prefer a completely automated shopping experience, you are probably going to leave this beautiful store and never return.

Surprisingly, albeit it virtually, this scenario occurs on a regular basis for many of us on our favourite social media pages. And, unfortunately, there are far too many pages with large numbers of fans who receive no responses to their questions or comments. With someone to “mind the store,” so to speak, these pages would potentially see increased reach and engagement, as well as more trust and brand loyalty from their fans.

Why is community management so important?

There’s no doubt that social media use has exploded since 2004, and the numbers of users continues to rise. As a result, community management of social media pages on the major platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn has become a critical component of customer service. Good community management is key to retaining current customers as well as acquiring new customers, especially through referrals.

Are you still not completely convinced? Check out these statistics:

  1. As of 2020, there are 3.78 billion social media users, which equates to about 48% of the current world population. (Statista)
  2. 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that same brand to their friends and family. (Ambassador)
  3. In 2020, nearly 6 in 10 consumers preferred visiting social media pages of brands before deciding to visit their websites (an 81% increase from 2019). (Digital Information World)

Clients and Community Managers work together!

The relationship between a client/brand and its Community Manager is critical for a variety of reasons, but especially because it requires complete confidence for them to delegate the critical task of engaging with their consumers on their behalf. Although it can truly be challenging at times, it is important to understand both the tone of voice, and the industry jargon. This ensures that engagement with the clients’ followers on their social media pages is reliable and genuine.

Community Managers are on the front lines to promote and protect their clients’ reputation. This includes responding to negative feedback and all comments in a timely and respectful manner. All in all, the client is counting on their Community Manager to “mind the store”. By interacting with customers through social media platforms you are showing them that you care. What may seem like a simple gesture will often go a long way toward establishing positive customer relationships.

Let’s Begin.

At MYOB, our Community Managers research your brand and competitors to develop a strategy to meet your marketing goals. They will prepare an audit of your existing accounts and offer recommendations to move forward. MYOB can help you mind your own business better!

 

Ready to Take a Break? Check out These Benefits of Outsourcing!

Ready to Take a Break? Check out These Benefits of Outsourcing!

Are you considering hiring someone outside of your company to run your social media accounts? It’s no secret that one of the most important marketing platforms for companies nowadays is social media. However, it is important to understand that social media management is much more than just making a pretty Facebook post.

As a small business owner, you may have the know-how for comprehensive social media management and believe you’ll save money by doing it yourself. However, you may soon discover just how time-consuming it can be to maintain a strong online presence that consistently gets results. Outsourcing, it turns out, helps many business owners save money and time, allowing them to focus on their areas of expertise.

Here are some reasons to consider outsourcing your social media management.

1.   It’s their job to make your content look good.

When you outsource social media marketing, your partner will work closely with you to develop and plan out your content and advertising strategy. Since they understand the multiple nuances of social media marketing, as well as the current social media landscape, they can offer you a more well-rounded and effective content plan.

When you own a business, you may be so close to it, that your ability to see things objectively is biased. An outsourced social media partner can look at your brand through the eyes of a customer and provide a fresh perspective for your content.

2.   They have the tools and systems in place to achieve results.

Your social media partner has access to the most relevant and efficient social media marketing resources. They also know how to boost your Google rankings by optimizing SEO in blogging and other web content.

The vast array of tools available for everything from writing to graphic design to promoting social media content is overwhelming. As a business owner, do you want to invest the time and money to research and learn how to use these tools yourself? Outsourcing this part of your business will give you peace of mind because you’ll know it is being done properly and effectively.

3.   Get things done without having to juggle everything on your own.

When was the last time you had some “just-for-me” time? If you are running your own business, it’s probably safe to say it has been too long, especially if you’re devoting the majority of your energy to achieving success and fulfilling your dreams.

Having time to relax and recharge is essential for coming up with new ideas and building your business. Participating in hobbies and activities you enjoy is another great way to mix up your daily routine. Plus, stepping away from work helps to free up your mind to better cope with challenges that may arise within your business. So, go ahead and outsource some of your work – your physical and emotional well-being will reap the benefits!

Are you ready to learn more about outsourcing?

Although social media management takes time and energy, you won’t need to pass up the opportunity to get involved in it. At MYOB, managing social media networks and engaging your customer base is one of our areas of expertise.  We understand that your business is unique, and the voice of your social media should reflect that. When you’re ready to get started, we will be here to help and to talk about the options that are right for you!