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Important Things to Know When Starting A Business

Starting a new business is an exciting venture and a constant learning experience. Undoubtedly, there will be lessons learned and mistakes made along the way. Still, there are rules every new business owner should follow, regardless of their industry.

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Read on to learn five important things to know when starting a business.

You Need A Business Plan

This is first in the list of important things you need to know to start a business because it will be the foundation of your decisions and success. You know you will start a business, but your business plan will give you a specific outline of deadlines you need to hit, financial goals, and advertising strategies.

Some new business owners think a business plan is only necessary for financial support from outside sources, but this isn’t the case. A business plan is an invaluable tool that helps you sort out the big and small details that, if overlooked, could be detrimental to your business. Your business is your passion. Analyzing that passion strategically will pay off financially and strengthen with your branding.

Word Of Mouth Will Always Be Valuable

While various forms of advertisements are effective, word of mouth will never lose its popularity or value. This is one of the most important things to know when starting a business because people trust the word of people they know personally.

We all see up to 5,000 ads daily aimed at influencing our purchasing decisions. This constant exposure to advertisements means that businesses must be creative and show the human side of their brand.

If you use traditional ads, compliment them with behind-the-scenes stories, user-generated content, or vlogs. You could also share customer testimonials to prove the positive impact your business has on customers and in your market.

You Must Evolve With The Market

As a new business owner, you shouldn’t feel compelled to know it all from the start, but it is important to know the basics and to keep up with the ever-changing landscapes of business and technology.

When you’re starting a business, you can’t live in the past. Tactics that worked in 2015 may not be effective today. The business world is fast-paced and marketing strategies are always changing to meet the desires of customers. Research your industry frequently to learn the latest trends works so your business won’t be stagnant or left behind.

Remember these key pointers:

  • Keep your website updated
  • Invest in digital marketing
  • Make sure you have the right tools to keep you and your team organized
  • Use reliable phone services and email to stay in contact with global customers
Pick A Niche You Enjoy

There are numerous reasons to attribute to the fact that 50% of small businesses fail after 5 years. One of those reasons is burnout for solopreneurs. But this burnout doesn’t always occur because there’s too much to do it in too little time.

Burnout sometimes happens when new business owners enter a niche for the money or convenience without enjoying the work. One of the major benefits of owning a business is doing what you love while serving as a valuable resource for customers.

Here’s another important thing to know when starting a business. Is the industry you’re entering personally fulfilling? Before starting your business, take the time to find out what you would love doing every day and dedicate yourself to making that business a reality through your business plan.

Make Things Convenient For Customers

There are many things that can make a business unrelatable, such as confusing messaging, inconsistent branding, or poor customer service. Your business will not be successful if people can’t relate to you.

If your business becomes known for poor customer service, it’s unlikely that you will continue to profit. Avoid this by letting your business be a safe space for customers to express their concerns and issues without hassle or long delays.

Of the most important things to know when starting a business is that having a virtual phone number can give you a competitive edge. A virtual phone number allows you to work from remote locations while retaining full communication with your associates and clientele. Remember: you and your team should be should be knowledgeable and patient to provide solutions that add value for customers.

Also, recall that one of the most important things to know when starting a business is word of mouth marketing. Customers always appreciate quality service and are more likely to give personal referrals. This will help your small business to grow quickly.

Delegate Tasks Accordingly

Scalable solutions are important for every business. Being a new business owner means your business won’t stay the same size as you implement strategic growth methods.

As your business gets bigger, you won’t be able to handle everything without support. Everyone you hire will serve as a representative of your brand. Therefore, it’s imperative to establish a team with the same vision and work ethic.

As we conclude the list of important things to know when starting a business, we recommend automating small, repetitive tasks and allowing trusted staff members to use their innate skill sets to contribute to the company’s success.

Why Does My Business Need A Toll Free Number?

A toll free number is a number that allows business professionals in companies of all sizes to connect with customers. These numbers are virtual, meaning that it doesn’t require additional hardware to function or expensive packages for set up. Toll free calls are also free for the incoming caller.

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Before purchasing toll free numbers, the first question business owners often ask is: Why does my business need a toll free number? The short answer is your business needs a toll free number because these numbers are critical for appealing to customers and increasing sales.

Having a toll free number indicates to customers that you are professional and value customer service, and you look forward to being of assistance because you’ve made your business easy to reach. Furthermore, toll free numbers can be made even more memorable than a traditional phone if paired with a vanity line.

Want more info on why your business needs a toll free number? Here are some additional facts that explain the importance of toll free numbers for businesses.

Why does my business need a toll free number if I don’t have a large company?

When you dial a toll free phone number to connect with a business, what do you envision? Typically, a large company filled with professionals. Even if this isn’t the case, your professionalism will outweigh the fact that you’re a startup business. Your customers won’t consider that you may be working from home, which is a good thing because they will be more willing to learn about your services and give you a chance to prove that your business services are worth the investment.

Why does my business need a toll free number if I can use my cell phone instead?

Before doing business with your company, most customers will question if your company is trustworthy and an ethical business, especially if they’ve had bad experiences with other companies in the past. A toll free number is just one little facet that adds to your credibility.

Additionally, there are multiple things customers will look for to determine your credibility, including your website, online ratings, and what’s being said about your business on social media. It’s highly likely that a potential customer will be more inclined to buy from you if you have favorable online results.

Yet, positive reviews may not be enough if your personal cell phone number or a long-distance number is provided as your business contact information. Sharing your personal phone number is considered unprofessional – not to mention that it can put your personal information at risk.

Furthermore, most customers will be discouraged from paying to make a phone call to a business, so a toll free number just makes sense in all of these scenarios.

If I’m relocating, why does my business need a toll free number?

Callers prefer a business rooted in stability. A toll free number gives you the freedom to relocate at any given time without alerting your customers. If you’re traveling, forward your toll free number to your cell phone or destination location. The call forwarding feature maintains a level of consistency, which keeps callers from focusing on your personal endeavors and on your business services instead.

If marketing is my main focus, why does my business need a toll free number?

Business owners using toll free numbers often recommend them because they help customers meet their business goals.

When you are marketing your business, it’s likely that you will be using multiple advertising forms including the internet, print publications, and local directories. Each avenue of marketing is likely to attract a different type of customer. Some marketing outlets could bring you more business than others, while some may not be worth the investment.

The only way to know the best marketing strategies for your company is by tracking each campaign. Tracking various marketing techniques can be done easily with a toll free number by assigning multiple toll free numbers to each marketing campaign. The phone number that receives the most calls will let you know the advertisements that are most effective.

Why does my business need a toll free number to be more competitive?

The costs of relocating are expensive and require a large investment of time. Toll free numbers eliminate the need to physically relocate to conduct business in certain regions. Some business owners may purchase only one toll free number, but purchasing multiple toll free numbers is recommended. Testing various numbers allows companies to find the messaging that best resonates with clients – especially when connecting toll free numbers with a vanity phone number.

Remember to research your vanity keywords before purchasing them. Your first choice may be catchy, but a similar idea may already be in use by a competitor. This can be confusing to customers and decrease your sales if new callers reach out to another company by mistake.

Review other numbers that are already in use. Then, find unique keyword phrases that will inspire consumers to call your business.

Note: Know that your toll free number will never be passed on to another business. Once you buy a toll free phone number, it will be yours exclusively, so there’s no need to worry about your business calls being redirected to another company in the future.

Call Center Trends to Look Out For In 2019

2019 has arrived and with each new year comes new upgrades and technological advances. Call center trends are changing, and managers and agents should be aware of the upcoming shifts that will be taking place.

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Improvements In The Workplace

You are probably aware by now that customer satisfaction is one of the top priorities of any business, but what about the satisfaction of those employees who directly deal with those customers? Many companies often neglect and forget their call center agents. It is important to realize that customer service agents are the backbone of any company because they are the face of your company. If your agents are unhappy, then your customers will certainly not be happy to deal with them. You can improve their overall performance by offering moral and psychological support for your agents. After all, dealing with angry customers all day does take a great deal out of a customer service agent. Upgrades in workplace culture will be trending in 2019. This year, call center employees won’t be treated like second-tier employees, they will now be allocated more funds from businesses to be sure that agents enjoy coming to work.

Reward Your Agents

There are times when a call center must keep up with large surges in call volume. During these times, agents can become overworked. Call centers have some of the highest turnover rates in any job; in fact, turnover even reached as high as 33% in 2016. To combat these statistics, call centers can look to ideas from management on how to keep employees motivated during these highly stressful and taxing times. Some ways that you can keep your call center employees excited to come into work today is to create office-wide competitions, offer rewards or incentives, and remember to recognize your employees for their hard work. If you have noticed a lack of motivation in your contact center, try some of these motivating ideas to wake your crew back up and get them back in action. Taking a bit more time to reward these employees will result in happier agents, increased productivity, highly trained and seasoned agents who are loyal to your company, and better overall customer service.

Artificial Intelligence

While Artificial Intelligence has yet to become as capable as human agents, AI is improving every year. This year, in 2019 we will continue to see strides in Artificial Intelligence software. Whether AI will overtake human customer service representatives or not is still in question, but for now, AI and human agents can work in tandem. Artificial Intelligence allows agents some wiggle room to answer the phone when hold times become too long. Speaking of which…

Shorter Hold Times

Most people can understand what it is like to have suffered through minutes and minutes of hold music that felt like an eternity just to ask a question about their cable or make a return on an unsatisfactory item. A business should continuously strive for shorter wait times for their companies. A very simple trend happening in 2019 is promising to call customers back, and then following up on that promise. Give your customers the option to choose to be called again or to wait. This will lessen the influx of phone calls and allow for more steady work for the agents. You are less likely to miss a call from a customer this way as well. Instead of abandoning their phone call after too long of a wait, they can simply opt-in to the callback.

Voice-Powered Technology

VPT has been growing in popularity and convenience for the past several years and will continue to be a trend in 2019. VPT is becoming more humanistic, and its listening technology has become incredibly sophisticated which makes it more accurate in directing calls. It has also improved on its data compilation abilities. VPT has also become a very reliable way to take some responsibility off of customer service agents by being able to help some consumers with basic questions.

How to Maintain Excellent Customer Service During Peak Seasons

The holidays have come and gone, and for the rest of the world, they are ready to get back to work. But for retail companies that means it’s finally time for some rest. How did your company do during this holiday season? Were you able to keep up with all of your consumers’ demands?

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If you were caught off guard this time, you could always prepare for next season. The holidays bring with them a lot of customers looking to spend a massive influx of cash. In order to keep those customers coming back year after year, and of course during the year, too, you want to be sure that your customer service is running at peak performance. Here are a few tips to consider to make things run smoothly all year long, in addition to the holiday season.

Hire a Seasonal Staff

Since you are going to see a spike in your sales around the holiday season, you need to be prepared with the workforce to handle these new customers and large orders. During September you should begin to start thinking about where in your company you could use a few more hands. That way by October you can start interviewing and hiring more people so that your new staff will be fully trained and ready for the busy season by November. Your current customer service staff won’t be prepared for the influx of queries from your clientele, so make sure that you stack your call center or customer service team with temporary support staff. You should also have a training plan in place and ready-to-go so you can get your seasonal staff on par with protocol and your seasoned team.

Motivate Your Staff

The holidays can be rough for people who work in the retail industry. While most of us take time off to spend with our friends and family, those in customer service positions don’t have that option. While others are out shopping for presents, customer service associates and call center representatives are at the busiest point in their careers. This can be because of added stress and unhappiness over the holidays. Make it a point to keep your staff motivated and upbeat. This can be done in many ways, such as by offering special snacks, giving bonuses, reminding them of your gratitude for their hard work, and taking the time to speak with each representative one-on-one.

Automate Responses

If your staff is overworked, one way to lighten the load is to use technology. Your customers probably want to hear a live voice at the other end of a phone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t greet every caller with an automated greeting. This helps to make sure that every phone call is received. You can even set up an automatic email that responds to a customer once an inquiry is received.

This message can be to let them know that their email was received and your company is working hard on a solution to their problem, and you will get back to them as soon as you can.Try a Self-

Service Portal

Self-service portals are an excellent way for your customer service staff to become more efficient. Instead of answering the same questions all day long, their time could be better spent dealing with more complex issues. Set up an FAQ page on your website that customers can read instead of having to call customer service. This can work in tandem with your automated services. For example, if you set up an automated email account, you can send them a message stating that you received their message while also providing a link to the FAQ page. That way they can be routed there automatically to see if their question can be answered right away. This allows your call center staff to free up more time to deal with more pressing issues.

Since you will be dealing with more sales than you would usually be used to on a daily basis, be sure that you do not overwhelm your current customer service staff. Since you will be making extra money, you will be able to hire a seasonal staff that can take some pressure off of your current team. Be sure that you have a training manager ready and prepared to train all new incoming personnel, and you can also lessen workloads by creating FAQ pages and setting up automated messages. When you combine all four of these ideas, your company will be ready to take on the next holiday season.

Why Virtual Numbers Are A Great Option For Freelancers

Life as a freelancer means there’s always work to be done. Freelancers must pitch clients, conduct research, maintain a list of leads and frequent contacts, and make time for personal endeavors. Freelancers must maintain a specific schedule and budget in order to be successful and avoid being overwhelmed with multiple tasks. There are numerous online tools and apps available to assist new and established freelancers.

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Through the use of telephone applications and computer software, freelancers can grow their business and maintain loyal clients. To attract a steady influx of freelance work, being creative and memorable is important. Furthermore, standing out as a freelancer includes offering outstanding services and having professional appeal.

There are various reasons why virtual numbers are a great option for freelancers, including the fact that most freelance work is done online. If you are currently freelancing or considering freelance work, here are some of the reasons to consider virtual numbers.

freelancer working laptop phone

Virtual Numbers Offer Convenience

A second reason why virtual numbers are a great option for freelancers is convenience. Virtual phone numbers provide convenience because they have a variety of features that help freelancers to get more work done with greater efficiency. For example, a freelancer might use virtual numbers with voice messaging because messages can be saved and sent as emails. Sending a voicemail as a transcribed email allows a freelancer to create reminders and quickly respond via text or email if speaking over the phone isn’t an immediate option.

Here’s another reason why virtual numbers are a great option for freelancers: A freelancer can also use a virtual phone number to keep personal information secure. It’s very important to protect your personal information by keeping your address and phone number private. When using a virtual phone number, you maintain privacy and stay responsive. Freelancers can also receive and reply to texts and make phone calls.

Virtual Numbers Make Freelancers More Marketable

Marketing is critical for a freelancer because freelancing is a competitive business. Surprisingly, many freelancers are still using their personal information when they advertise and approach clients. Pitching to clients and publications with your personal cell phone number or home phone could make you seem like an amateur, especially when reaching out to prestigious clients.

Standing out in your market is also why virtual numbers are a great option for freelancers. Because you are working as a freelancer, trust is especially important. Having a virtual number shows that you are serious about your services and brand. Remember that a freelancer is an individual, so establishing trust and showing that you are accessible and reliable will attract new clients and help you build a profitable reputation.

The majority of freelancers rely on online marketing. Therefore, a phone number that limits outreach due to location can be a financial downfall. Freelance professionals want potential clients to focus on their skills and abilities, not location. A virtual phone number remedies this, and such options as toll free numbers and vanity numbers enable even greater versatility and marketing capabilities. Using a toll free number online and pairing it with a vanity number makes a freelancer more marketable because the business will appear more professional and fun.

A vanity number replaces a traditional phone number using numerical digits with letters or a word, which is much easier to remember. As freelancers work to gain more visibility online, attracting clients without paid advertisements is most ideal. Using a vanity phone number is a great way to organically generate referrals because you will have a way to market vanity numbers.

Freelancers Can Stay Mobile With Virtual Numbers

One of the greatest advantages of being a freelancer is working from home, or any destination you prefer, such as a coffee shop, a bookstore, or while traveling. There’s no need for a lease or purchasing a building for office space; freelancers can be mobile without missing a beat.

Commuting and traveling doesn’t mean your freelance business has to be put on hold. With virtual numbers, you won’t miss a beat. Many freelancers work alone, but some decide to partner with an agency (or build an agency from the ground up). If you decide to expand your personal freelancing experience into a company, your virtual phone number can be used to create extension lines for your team.

Adding to the reasons why virtual numbers are a great option for freelancers is that virtual phone numbers can also save important information for uploading to the cloud. Storing information online is critical as a freelancer. With cloud storage, freelancers can access files from any location. Cloud technology is also beneficial because computer crashes and lost documents can cause unexpected delays and threaten professional relationships because your associates and clients may question your abilities as a business owner.

There Are Numerous Reasons Why Virtual Numbers Are a Great Option For Freelancers

Freelancing offers flexibility to make your own schedule, while doing the work you love. Along the way, you can build long-term relationships with clients that truly value your services. As you learn why virtual numbers are a great option for freelancers, take time to shop for the right provider before purchasing a virtual phone number. Lastly, consider a customized package that best fits your business needs.

Improving Internal Communications in Your Company

Failing to address the challenges that arise when companies due to poor communication within a company is a recipe for disaster. Miscommunication leads to losses in productivity, creates tension amongst coworkers, and results in a higher turnover rate.

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Overlooking internal communication issues in your company also makes the hiring process much more difficult because the lack of communication makes it harder to translate company goals to new team members. When a new hire is brought into the business, it’s difficult for the individual to learn or seek guidance from other team members because there isn’t a clear path to follow or specific strategies for success. Furthermore, team members will not know how to properly represent the company.

The Importance of Improving Internal Communications In Your Company

Why is improving internal communications in your company so critical? There are many answers to this question, but one of the main reasons would be harmony and balance must exist between coworkers and management to build trust and encourage open, honest dialogue.
A lack of proper communication has a major impact on productivity and it can be the difference between reaching company goals and falling short on completing critical tasks.

Another negative impact of miscommunication is a high turnover rate. Turnovers cause companies of all sizes to lose money because the business must invest in the hiring and onboarding process, not to mention the training and compensation of new employees. When a new hire leaves unexpectedly, the process must start over and it will require more funding. When this happens on a frequent basis, the high turnover rate also brings the integrity and management of the company into question.

Strive Towards Improving Internal Communications In Your Company Regularly

Many business owners wonder what specific methods can be implemented to improve internal communications in your company. This answer will depend on your unique company structure and team, but there are actions that every company should take to improve their ways of communicating.

Internal communication can be improved in your company with the right mindset, transparency, and the use of technology. Whether your business is large or small, communication is key.

These key methods should be helpful for companies striving to communicate and improve their workplace with more clarity and efficiency.

Establish A System For Sharing Information

One of the biggest communication errors companies make is deciding to use a middleman to relay information. This can go wrong for various reasons. If communicating information between select employees, they may not understand the importance of making sure that everyone on the team receives the message. With so many daily tasks to handle, it’s easy for team members to forget sharing information that is not related to the immediate task at hand.

Another conflict that may arise from handing off information and priority documents to specific employees is the possibility of favoritism. If your staff feels that only one person or a few people on staff can be trusted with sensitive information, it may result in tension in the workplace. Hence, another reason improving internal communications in your company will be necessary.

Maintaining a high level of transparency through the use of technology is the best way to avoid communication gaps. This is crucial for improving internal communications in your company. There is a wide selection of cloud technology that will allow managers to quickly upload important documents and notes so that all employees can access with just a username and password. When looking to share quick notes and attachments, there is the option of Dropbox, along with team messaging services such as Slack and WhatsApp for constant convenient communication. These apps also allow employees to give their input and ask questions in real time and read responses on similar topics.

Host Online Meetings

Consistent meetings are great for improving internal communications in your company. Just as the internet allows companies to share important documents, businesses can also use online technology to host online meetings, which is especially beneficial if you are working with remote teams.

Remote teams will not be able to attend most company meetups due to their location or time zone differences, however, this can be easily supported. The best way to make meetings convenient and cost-free for everyone is by using cloud phone numbers for conference calls or video messaging. Employees appreciate this because a feeling of inclusion through the sharing of information is great for team morale.

Hosting meetings online makes sure that everyone has access to the same information, eliminating silos and hierarchy. Hierarchical environments can make employees feel isolated, and this can make everyone more reluctant to communicate openly. This resentment often results in a loss of motivation and prolongs the time it takes for teams to take action and achieve success.

Define Your Company’s Mission and Set Goals

You know your company goals and mission, but do your employees know? When your aim is improving internal communications in your company, this is really important to set a foundation. Discuss company goals in meetings and have your company mission statement clearly visible in the workspace and online. These reminders will help keep everyone on track while helping employees better assist customers.

Understanding a company’s goals and mission creates a better customer service experience because representatives will demonstrate more confidence in their role and product knowledge. Along with in-depth knowledge, customer service associates will be able to provide support while respecting the tone and communication style of the brand.