2019 February

February 27, 2019

When you think customer service, your head probably goes straight to sitting on the phone waiting for what feels like hours on hold for the “next representative to assist you”. While we’ve all experienced the nightmare of needing help with a product or service, we also know how much difference a helpful person with a great attitude can make.

No matter if you’re offering financial advising for debt consolidation, running tours of deserted islands, or selling homemade donuts at your coffee shop, the customer experience is almost completely determined by the service they experience while doing business with you.

Think of a time when you really needed help, and you contacted the company for assistance. Was your customer service representative helpful? Did he or she have a can-do attitude? Did he or she make you feel like you were his or her top priority, and helping to find you a solution to your problem was the only thing that mattered? If so, this probably not only made your problem seem less upsetting but, whether you know it or not, it made that company have a much better reputation in your mind.

Now think of another time when you needed help from an employee and you were left feeling much worse than when your problem started. Maybe that representative was in a bad mood that day, or was not competent and did not know enough about the product to help you find a solution. Assuming your problem did finally get solved, do you remember the feeling you were left with? Even if it’s not conscious, that representative left a bad taste in your mouth, which you associate with the entire company.

Business owners of all kinds must put the customer experience as one of their top priorities. Not only will it keep your customers happy, but a happy customer will eventually lead to more business and more successful sales in the long run.

For one thing, a customer who had a great experience working with you during his or her buying process is way more likely to tell his or her friends about you. Word of mouth is a great, personal way to spread the word about your business and let it grow.

Customer loyalty also relies heavily on the customer experience when it comes to doing business with you. If a customer feels special and feels that his or her needs were met in a timely fashion, there is a much bigger chance that the customer will stay loyal to you, and won’t want to move to a competitor (even if his product is slightly better).

For these reasons alone and many others, it is so important to make customer service a necessity when running a business. Any business owner will profit greatly from treating his or her customers well and giving them a positive experience that stays with them throughout their time doing business with you.

Ready to take your business to the next level? Find out more about the right small business loan for you with Onebox Funding, here.

February 25, 2019

In this day and age, becoming an entrepreneur and owning your own business is becoming more and more enticing. And why wouldn’t it? Make your own hours, be your own boss. As tempting and rewarding as being a business owner might be, it also requires loads of hard work and excellent time management skills.

The truth of the matter is, not everyone is cut out to run his or her own business. If you really do want to make it on your own, then it’s important to be aware of these common mistakes unsuccessful business owners make which ultimately brings them to failure.

Mistake #1: Not asking the advice of successful business owners

Although it may be tempting to try and make it on your own, you would be doing yourself a huge disservice if you aren’t looking around to see where others have failed in their own businesses. Not everyone has access to a close friend who can mentor you in the art of starting a business, but there is an infinite number of resources you can look into for insight. Many business owners have published books and lectures on tips and tricks for running a business. Maybe you even have a few friends who are willing to talk with you about some of the things they wished they’d known before diving in. Either way, it’s always a good idea to look to others and try to learn from their mistakes.

Mistake #2: Not having a solid growth projection for the future

Sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture of a business, especially when you’re just starting out. However, if you don’t have at least an idea of your goals for the next few months, 5 years, decade, etc. you could be setting yourself up to stay small. A good entrepreneur has a timeline of small goals and big milestones. These not only help to propel the business forward, but they also keep everything organized in order to grow in a smart way.

Mistake #3: Not having the proper funds to do the job and do it well

Unsurprisingly, it’s impossible to get your business up and running without a chunk of cash. However, even if you don’t have a big sum of money to utilize for starting your business, there are ways to get funded. A small business loan can be your golden ticket to having the funds to get everything started. For example, equipment financing is an option for business owners who need to make a bulk purchase of materials and/or tools to get their project rolling.

While it may be a little scary to get started, being your own boss really does have its perks, and the feeling of pride and freedom that it gives you is second to none. Make sure to have a solid plan, be ready to work hard and learn a lot, and avoid the common mistakes listed above, and you’ll be well on your way!

Ready to take your business to the next level? Find out more about the right small business loan for you with Onebox Funding, here.

February 22, 2019

Anyone who has ever started a company knows that it is the most thrilling and terrifying thing in the world to take your business to the next level and grow it. However, not scaling your business responsibly, with the right knowledge and tools, can be detrimental to your business’s success and can land you in some pretty hot water.

When you’ve had some success for a while, you may decide that it’s time to take the next step with your business. This could mean opening up new branches, taking on more customers or projects, introducing new products, etc. No matter how you want to scale, it’s imperative to have a solid plan and the resources to handle any growing pains you might encounter. Here are some questions you’ll want to ask yourself to see if you are indeed in a good position to take your business to the next step.

1. Do I have the manpower to scale?

While you may not have had any trouble managing 20 of your customers by yourself, you might find yourself gasping for air when you take on 100 of them. Making sure that you have enough employees available to maintain the level of service while upping the number of customers you have is absolutely vital to a successful business. If your existing customers feel that they are no longer receiving the quality of service they were previously receiving because you have spread yourself too thin, they will most definitely begin dropping you.

2. Do I have the finances to scale?

Maybe you have thought about hiring a few more hands to help you, but do you have the financial backing to be able to pay them? Money is probably the most important factor to take into consideration when trying to scale your business up. Maybe you will need to purchase new equipment or install new technology. Or maybe you will need money to grow your marketing campaigns online. Whatever the reason, you will need cash and lots of it. Luckily, there are small business loans available that can help you with everything from equipment financing to debt consolidation. Just make sure that you understand the terms of the small business loan (interest rate, payment amount, payment period, etc.), and that you will be able to pay it back when the time comes.

3. Am I ready for a possible setback or failure?

No business owner wants to believe that his or her business will fail. Unfortunately, growing a business is a learning experience, and mistakes can happen. Most likely, any business owner will come across at least one or two unexpected setbacks while trying to expand. The important thing is to be ready for anything and to have the strength to get back up and keep going.

Scaling your business is not easy, but it can be very rewarding and profitable if you have a good attitude, a great work ethic, and a drive for success. All the while, it’s important to remember to take things as slowly and surely as you need to, and to enjoy the journey while it’s happening.

Ready to take your business to the next level? Find out more about the right small business loan for you with Onebox Funding, here.

February 20, 2019

Over the past decade, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest have become hugely popular among children and adults, alike. Social media networks open up a whole world of connecting with old friends, sharing photos, discovering new recipes and DIY projects, and much more. With so many ways to benefit from these websites, it’s little wonder that they’ve become so popular.

But did you know that social media sites are not just for when you’re surfing the web in your free time? In fact, these sites are an enormously helpful tool in promoting and growing your business.

With the days of business owners advertising themselves in the local newspaper long gone, merchants now have the opportunity (and obligation) to reach out to potential customers on a global scale, online. Creating a company website is a great place to start, but if you don’t get the word out to enough of an audience, all of that hard work could be for nothing.

Social media sites are a fantastic way to get yourself and your business out there and noticed by the masses, and to begin marketing your way to successful sales. Here are three useful ways to use social media networks in order to grow your business.

1. Create Customer Relationships

With so much of our daily lives being conducted online, it’s important for your business to have a lively and active online presence. A Facebook page dedicated to your company allows for back and forth engagement with your customers and potential consumers. You can post your latest products and news, and your followers can like, share, and even comment their opinions directly onto your posts. By creating discussions with and between your customers, you will gain insights into their specifics needs and pain points, letting you better customize their customer experience. A customer who feels heard is much more likely to stay loyal to your company.

2. Drive Traffic to Your Site

As we mentioned previously, it’s no use building a website for your company if nobody is visiting it. Using social media, you can post links to your website or blog with eye-catching imagery and enticing campaign captions which will draw people to click. This brings potential customers out of the social media network and right into your website.

3. Track The Competition

Unless you have a completely and totally unique product or service to offer (which is almost unheard of nowadays), you probably have at least one or two competitor companies competing for your customers. If they are any good at what they do, most likely they are already utilizing social media to market themselves. Following your competitors’ pages is a great way to keep tabs on them, and see if they are doing something that you might have missed.

There are so many benefits to using and understanding social media to help your business flourish, it’s really a great loss to not utilize them. Any business owner will benefit from making social media a part of his or her small business marketing strategy.

Ready to take your business to the next level? Find out more about the right small business loan for you with Onebox Funding, here.