Category Archives: Business

3 Effortless Ways to Spot a Fake Online Store

ruling out fake online stores
Online stores are not a new concept among us. The e-commerce giant Amazon, one of the biggest companies in the United States, is continuously changing the retail market itself. In 2016, USA Today reported that American online shoppers spend $125 billion on Amazon yearly. That’s nearly 30% of all the online goods bought in the US each year.

Because of how big Amazon is, online shoppers can be confident that the company protects their personal and security details every time they input their information in the system. Dealing with smaller, independent online sellers, however, it can be a different story.

Here are the top telling signs you are dealing with a fake online store:

Prices Are Too Cheap

Whether it’s a new phone or a pair of running shoes, you usually have an idea how much an item you’re looking for costs. If you encounter a website that offers a very low price, steer clear of it right away. According to Price Manager, legitimate online businesses enforce what is called a Minimum Advertised Pricing policy to protect brand equity and establish a threshold for their product pricing. It also helps small businesses to compete with bigger companies.

Sketchy Domain and Web Design

Any serious online businessman knows that to turn casual visitors into paying customers, they should invest in web design. If the website has a bad design and possesses a weird domain name, scammers are likely running it. Instead of taking your chances, find a more professional-looking online seller to buy your items from.

Bad Grammar

Legitimate online sellers put a lot of effort in inputting the description and specifications of each of their products. Scammers do not. They often simply write general descriptions for fake products, which they don’t also bother to check for grammatical errors.

Online shopping is a great comfort many Americans enjoy. With a simple click of a mouse, they can pretty much buy anything from online stores. Since cybercriminals try to take advantage of this convenience, it’s important to be an informed and smart buyer to avoid falling victim to them.

Keep Your Competitors Dangerously Close, So You Can Edge Them Out

business competition
Making sure you’re ahead of your competitors takes more than just improvingyour own products and services. Of course, it starts there, but it certainly doesn’t end there. Having a clear direction for your business is just as important as having a good idea of where your competitor is heading, and who are taking them there. This way, it will be easier to edge them out in the competition.

Eye on the Price

Keep your eye on the prize, and before that, keep your eye on the price. How much do your competitors offer these products and services for? While you may think it’s impossible to monitor competitor prices, 24/7, it’s actually possible thanks to the internet and apps such as PriceManager.

Price-monitoring apps are a good source of information regarding similar businesses all around the world. Having extensive databases, you will easily get access to important insights about new and existing competitors, wherever they are in the world, and rival whatever it is that they’re offering.

Eye on the Competitor

Know and understand who you’re up against. Be familiar with the industry you’re working in, and meet the key players. Attend networking events and rub elbows with people from their circle; you can always tell who your competitor is from the company they keep. If they’ve been in the industry longer than you, you may want to take some notes on how they were able to establish their business, and innovate from there.

Eye on the Market

Keep a close eye on who buys your products, and who gets your competitors’ as well. You’re two similar businesses, and it’s inevitable to share a market. Make sure that you don’t share for long; attract the majority of them by identifying who they are. Dig through their tech trail, while monitoring yours. You’re bound to get a good insight in doing so.

Keeping your competitors dangerously close, while keeping your eyes and hands on your business, will let you edge them out eventually. Follow these steps, and be on your way up before you know it.

A Girl’s Night In: The Best Slumber Party Snacks to Make

pizza party
Some people think sleepovers are a thing of the past, but nothing can ever replace a fun night of sharing gossip and food with your best friends. Throwing an adult sleepover is not really difficult. All you need to do is to have a lot of wine, contact a 24-hour pizza delivery, and whip up different treats to fulfill all your cravings.

Potato Puffs

Forget about ordering your favorite tater tots because you can now make a personalized version in your very own kitchen. Just make sure that you get more ingredients than necessary because you wouldn’t be able to control yourself from taking bites of the perfectly fluffy and crispy potato puffs.

Lucky Charms Marshmallow Treats

Remember those delightful Rice Krispies snacks you used to have as a kid? Make one for your friends for your slumber party, but add a twist of marshmallow goodness. Use Lucky Charms instead of Rice Krispies, however, as they mix well with your other ingredients.

Strawberries and Cream Snack Mix

For an easy snack that doesn’t involve any cooking or baking, go to your nearest grocery snack aisle. Choose from the different snacks available to put in a bowl and instantly serve to your friends. You can even add a fruity spin to the mixture.

Chocolate Popcorn with Sea Salt

What is a sleepover without popcorn and what is chocolate without sea salt, right? Combine the two all-time favorite snacks into a wonderful treat for your friends. The salty and sweet combination will absolutely make them beg for the recipe.

Chocolate Almond Milk with Creamy Malted Coffee Ice Cubes

Of course, a slumber party wouldn’t be complete without chocolate milk. Mix it with melted coffee ice cubes for a one-of-a-kind concoction that will impress your peers. Serve them a more refined version of almond milk that now has an elegant grown-up’s touch.

Prepare the above delicious and easy snacks for the best slumber party with your best friends. With the right amount of finger food, you won’t even have to worry about serving them a full meal.

Establish an Authoritative and Profitable Online Presence in 3 Simple Yet Effective Steps

online presence
Your success in marketing your business online hinges on having an excellent visibility on the internet. You must make it easy for your current and potential customers to find your services. A business website is a necessity for anyone wishing to establish an online presence. However, with recent technological advancements, it is not enough to have just a website. You need to take proactive measures to make yourself discoverable on the vast internet.

Ensure it is easily discoverable

With smart devices taking over the scene, gone are the days when you needed a computer to access the internet. Many people use their mobile devices like phones and tablets to shop online while on the move. As such, you need to allow them to access your services from anywhere, using the device of their choice. Otherwise, you stand to lock out some customers and lower your sales. A responsive website adapts to any size of the screen without compromising on quality.

Ensure your content is enticing

Despite having a web presence, you need to lure people to visit your pages. Superior content remains the best way of attracting and driving eyeballs to your business pages. You need to demonstrate some degree of authority to your readers to hold and capture their interest. As such, you need to define and understand your target market. That way you can understand their interests, fears, frustrations and pain points and then offer credible solutions to their pressing problems. Only then will you get them to trust you and try your services.

Ensure seamless user experience

Imagine yourself waiting for a slow and sluggish elevator with broken and jamming doors. You would rather take the stairs rather than use it again. Such is the same reaction you draw from visitors when your site is slow and clunky. Luckily, with the help of credible experts like Back 2 Black, you can ensure excellent website optimization for your business in Provo. A rich user experience translates into more visitors, conversion rates and eventually, sales.

More than establishing a web presence, you need to create value for the people visiting your site. With these pointers, you can build a credible and authoritative digital footprint.

Resolving Conflict in the Office: A Guide for Managers

Guide for ManagersIf you’re a manager, you will have to deal with conflict among your workers at some point. Conflict resolution, although intimidating, is one of the most important skills you can learn and hone as a manager. Not only will it lead to better relationships in the workplace, it will also help you save time and resources while making better employees and increasing productivity.

As a manager, you can team up with your HR department or third-party HR consultants to help you manage conflict better. Human Outsource noted that properly trained HR professionals could serve as the objective voice of reason when the tension starts to heat up. They can likewise be a great source of insight to help you better handle conflict on your own.

Here’s what you need to do when conflict arises:

1. Acknowledge that there’s a problem.

Conflict often means that people’s feelings were hurt. For them to get over those hurt feelings, they need to be expressed. Listen to what the parties involved are saying and refrain from judging them. Keep your opinions to yourself at this stage and let people say what they need to say.

2. Identify the problem.

Meet the warring parties separately and ask them what the problem is. It is important that everyone must see eye-to-eye, at least on this level, so that you can establish a point of reference and have a better idea of where you’re headed.

3. Brainstorm multiple solutions.

The core of brainstorming is all about generating several solutions that you can sift through and mix and match to create the ultimate solution later on. Be open to all ideas and remind people that they can’t shoot down an idea just because it sounds silly or useless at first.

4. Negotiate the solution.

If you have gone through the previous steps, negotiating a solution that’s favorable to all should be easy. At this point, all parties involved already understand where the others are coming from. Before you implement a solution, however, be sure that everyone truly agrees with it and not just acquiescing in passive-aggressive silence.

All throughout the process, it’s crucial to stay calm and keep your cool. It won’t help if you, the manager, blow your top at employees expressing their emotions. Moreover, conflict resolution isn’t a contest. You’re not out to win a competition and prove other parties wrong. What you should end up with is a win-win for everyone.

Franchising: A Better Option for Starting Your Own Business.

FranchiseStarting a small business can be a difficult endeavour for most. You would have to write your own business plan, design the layout of your store or shop, come up with products to sell, and the list goes on. Fortunately, there is another option available and that is to franchise. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of business franchises to choose from.

An example of a good franchising business has got to be burgers. Aside from it being delicious, it can provide anyone with a hearty and satisfying meal or snack. Plus, everybody loves a good burger. So if you’re really interested, why not look into burger franchise opportunities.

But before taking the plunge, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.

Reasons why you should buy a franchise

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you should invest in a franchise.

  • Good company franchises have already established a reputation, good management and proven work practice which will benefit you a lot, explains Burger Urge. You also automatically get access to national advertising.
  • More often than not, franchisors provide the training needed to operate their business model. You also get ongoing support. Furthermore, you won’t be alone in building and running your business. Hence, even if you do not have much experience in running a business, your success rate is still significantly high.
  • Most franchises have a staff to help you find the best location for your business. They can also provide you with assistance in the layout and design of your business.
  • Franchising is similar to owning an independent small business but with a major advantage. You get the support of a big business network.

Drawbacks of buying a franchise

Although buying a franchise can seem the easiest way to owning your a business, there are still some downsides to it.

  • Being in a franchise means you will have to follow everything on the agreement which will inhibit your creativity.
  • Restrictions may be imposed on you such as where you can operate, your suppliers and the products you sell.
  • Bad customer service or performance by other franchisees can seriously hurt your franchise’s reputation.

Ultimately, franchising does not mean instant success. You should still employ the same principles of good management such as hard work, time management, informed decision-making and good customer service.

Going Online and Back Again: Why Online and Offline is the Way to Do Business

Business Owner in AucklandThere was a time not too long ago when every business owner was scrambling to build a web presence. Actually, that’s still happening now. And for good reason. Any business that ignores the need to have a website is throwing away opportunities to make more profits.

Going online

Not only do you need a professional website, but you also need to get busy building your profile on at least one of the most popular social networks. You choose the social network channel where most of your target customers are also present, and you build a following there.

Getting listed

You also need business listings on Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, Google, Bing, Yahoo! and others. Listings are very important for ranking on search results. Especially now that Google has updated with an algorithm called Possum by the SEO community, the search engine giant can recognise different listings of the same business, and the more listings you have the heavier their weight.

Going… offline?

An expert from Signsnstuff.co.nz reminds that it’s not all about going online, however. Pundits are now deciding whether the new trend is the reverse, as online businesses are at this moment scrambling to build their own brick-and-mortar stores. They’re choosing a space to lease, hiring industrial screen printing companies to do their signage and billboards, giving out business cards with more than just a web address printed on them, the works. These are offline activities that business owners almost turned their backs on just a few years ago. Now, the brick-and-mortar is once again the darling of the business sector.

This proves a few things. First, you can’t survive anymore unless you have a presence online. Second, people love choices and online presence and listings give them more choices, thus also giving businesses a fair chance at getting chosen. And third, people still like actual contact. You can buy your Nikes online, but it would just be nice to try a few pairs first, see how they feel on your feet, how they look with your new jogger jeans and so on.

With all these recent developments (and developments seem to be happening at a dizzying pace), you’d best keep up. Whether you’re a purely offline or an entirely online business, now you know there are things to be done to give your customers the best of both worlds.

Ways to Determine Your Branding Position

Marketing StrategySome marketing campaigns of companies fail because they lack the understanding of the importance of a strong brand position. They think that simply throwing resources at advertising will deliver the results they want and boost their profits instantly. However, this line of thinking will lead to failure most of the time. 

To prevent this from happening, you need to focus on positioning your products in the hearts and minds of potential consumers.

Distinguish Your Brand from the Rest

Made4media cites that you need to differentiate your brand from anyone else in the marketplace. This is your main selling point and the reasons a potential customer will choose you over the competition. Defining your market position takes certain tasks which include:

  1. Determining your point of difference, whether you are a high-end and luxury item or an affordable alternative. It can also be that your brand offers a different way to solve their problems better, cheaper or more effectively.
  2. Your brand has to attract potential customers to improve the possibility of a conversion; provide attributes or certain values that they need or may want.
  3. Provide potential consumers with an advantage they can only get with working with you or buying your offers.

Choose Customers

Choosing a market is part of your brand positioning campaign, you need to focus on which customers you serve best and provide you with the highest return on investment. Instead of selling and pleasing a large group of people, the first-rate companies cater to the needs of a select audience. Doing so allows you to provide better value and create meaningful experiences for loyal customers.

Find Your Niche

You can’t just enter a market and become profitable and a market leader instantly. Look at how your products or services fit within the landscape through the perceived ranking of your offering in the eyes of your potential customers and how you think will fare.

These are the steps in the process of enabling you to position your brand in a certain and profitable niche. Doing so enables you to become a market leader, boost conversion rates and increase profit.

Fixing Your Bad Credit Problem when Applying for Auto Loans

Bad Credit Auto-Loans in ArkansasRebuilding your credit after a financial struggle may feel overwhelming and unachievable. But, don’t let that worry you about your future credit status. With thorough research and with the help of experts, you can do something about your credit history.

A bad credit car loan from a reliable company is one way to climb the ladder of financial success and establish your credit status. Let this article be your guide.

Benefit from Bad Credit

Bad credit can’t deter you from getting a loan. Actually, the loan will come to your aid with credit problems. First, you get the financing for your dream car. Second, you are entitled to full access to your car without the need of much collateral. In addition, paying back the loan in time helps improve your credit score.

A payment schedule may come in handy in ensuring that you adhere to regular payments which in turn means a better credit report from you lender to the three major credit bureaus. This reflects better gains on your credit score, thus better rates in the future.

Fix Your Bad Credit

Fixing your bad credit will require you to take some steps into the loan repayment process. The major steps you can take are:

  • Increase your Down Payment: A larger down payment minimizes the risk of the lender coming back to repossess your car. Often, the large down payment could even be half the amount of the loan, but the effort of paying it is worthwhile in the long run.
  • Acquire a Co-signer: This requires using a person who knows you; however, he/she must have good credit. The co-signer takes the loan with you and shares the risk with you, especially knowing that you have bad credit.

Taking a bad credit auto loan in Arkansas involves a lengthy process. While the processing may take few minutes, getting you to understand the different available options may take time. Every bad credit situation is unique and requires specific advice to fit your situation. Consult a financial expert and get help to make the right choice, and most importantly rebuild your credit score.

Two Practices when Dealing with Small Business Insurance

Small Business InsuranceWhen starting your small business, one of the most important things you need to have ready is an insurance plan. The common misconception is that insurance is just an unnecessary expense to give you a piece of mind. That is not true at all. Insurance is an absolute necessity for anyone to protect their assets from unforeseen occurrences. Having an insurer may be an additional cost but it is worth every penny if you have the right coverage.

Here is a simple guide to finding the best insurer for your small business in Georgia.

Be aware of your coverage needs.

The first thing to do is list down the kind of coverage you need. This way, when you are shopping around for insurance companies, you can shortlist them based on who’s offering what. It is also not a bad idea to get started right away with getting quotes from multiple insurers. This way, you have an idea on what is the standard and what are special coverage, and prepare your budget accordingly.

Never overlook any small details about your coverage.

Always read the fine print about your coverage. The smallest detail left out could mean being left out in the cold when something bad happens. Do not ever rush this process. Knowing exactly what you are paying for will save you from many headaches when making future claims.

Getting insurance for your small business is no easy task and can take weeks of planning and comparing. However, with putting on your thinking cap, you can make the best choice based on your insurance needs.