Black Friday Business Strategy: Amazon

While Thanksgiving is this weekend for our friends south of the border, businesses have their eyes on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – even though turkey, mashed potatoes and pie sounds really good! Everyone is prepping for the busiest shopping weekend of the year and strategizing how to become victorious in-store and online.

 

It may seem contradictory for businesses to discount their products just a few days out of the year. But it’s a phenomenon that has led to increased sales, fantastic promotional opportunities and success rate. Sales are expected to increase by 3.4% compared to last year, generating 1/3 of their overall sales.

 

Over the last few years, analysts have noticed a gradual shift in Black Friday shopping, many consumers have turned to the internet to do their spending rather than fighting through lines and hordes of people in-store.

 

The celebratory shopping day that is Black Friday continues through the weekend into Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday a great way for companies to drive increased sales and gain online traffic. It’s also a great strategy to combat slow business days following the mayhem shopping weekend. Shoppers can’t resist a good sale!

 

Amazon

Amazon has truly set the standard for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The company doesn’t limit their sales to just one or two days. They start Black Friday deals the Friday before the main event and call it “Black Friday Deals Week.” Amazon Prime members have access to deals at least 30mins before the general public. Their strategic move doesn’t just result in a high volume of online traffic, but results in an increase in sign-ups for Prime membership for the remainder of the year.

 

Overall, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have created a sales extravaganza that is bar none. Businesses both large and small continue to benefit from these shopping holidays. So much so that these two days of sales easily surpass the other 363 days of the year.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on productivity, marketing and risk mitigation. While you’re here, click below to get a quote!

5 Resolutions for Your Business to Adopt in 2016

Resolutions

As we wave goodbye to 2015 and welcome 2016 with open arms, this time of year presents small business owners, such as yourself, with a great opportunity to set New Year’s resolutions for your business. What important decisions should you make to propel your business forward onto the route of success? Now is a great time to make these decisions and an action plan to support them.

Here are some potential resolutions to make in 2016 to aid in your business’ growth and success:

 

1. Review and Assess Your Brands Online Image.

Has it been many years since your company’s last website facelift and/or are your customers not interacting with your website as intended? If the answer is yes, to either of those points, you may want to refresh your brands image and/or your site to make it easier for your customers to navigate and utilize. Your website should always be updated with promotions, news, and important insights for it to reflect your current offerings and to create a great first impressions for potential new customers.

 

2. Let Go of Employee’s That Bring down You and Your Team.

Do you have an employees on your team that make team-work extremely difficult and who bring an overwhelming cloud of negativity towards the business’s environment and objectives? If yes, then it may be time to let them go. By holding on to employees that emit such a negative influence and vibe in the office, you put your business on the brink of losing extremely valuable employees who drive your businesses success.

 

3. Can Clients and Potential Customers Find Your Business Online?

Depending on the services and/or products your business sells, potential customers who may be  interested in your offerings will search for your business online to read available reviews and to just get a sense of the value that your business offers. If your company doesn’t have an online presence in this day and age, it is as if your company doesn’t exist.  Without knowing, you may be turning away many potential customers by not having an a foot in the online sphere.

 

4. Focus on Making Your Existing Customers Happy.

As a small business owner, a lot of your focus and time is placed upon ways to attract new clients and how to offer them exceptional value. While this is great, it’s very important to remember to keep your current client base happy and satisfied in order to keep retention rates high. Although you strive to make new customers happy, the benefit of having a strong group of loyal customers will help your business soar for years.

 

5. Look at Expanding Your Business.

Gaining a lot of business and ongoing success? If things are in the positive and you see potential for expansion, now would be a great time to investigate your options and see what would work best for your business to continue its growth. Whether it be an additional physical location, additional staff or even opening an online version of your store, the options are endless. Be sure to keep your target market in mind when making such important decisions.

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right insurance for your business or for personal risk management, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!

5 Tips: Protect Your Business & Grow Sales During the Holiday Rush

Holiday_Rush

It’s the holiday season once again and your small business is most likely knee deep in the hustle and bustle of the season. As this is a very busy time of year for small businesses in Canada, like yours, it’s important to remember some important best business practices and to be cautious while taking advantage of the holiday rush.

Here are some tips to protect your business’ bottom-line this holiday season and increase sales in the process:

 

1. Be Sure to Not Over-Order Inventory yet Have Enough to Satisfy Demand.

A good way to estimate how much inventory you will need for the holiday season is to review your sales from the previous year and look at the various products you had available for sale and examine the quantities that were purchased. This will offer you a good starting point for planning your inventory numbers and allows you to estimate sales numbers.

 

2. Prepare Your Business for an Increase in Online Sales.

Does your business run predominantly online or does your physical store location also have a web purchasing option? As more and more Canadians are turning to online stores to do the majority of their purchasing during the holiday season, it’s important to expect and prepare for an increase of sales. Whether it be having enough inventory on hand or enough staff members available for preparing orders, don’t forget about having enough essentials on hand; shipping labels, bubble wrap, and even boxes.

 

3. Be Active on Social Media and Promote Your Sales.

Utilizing your social media platforms this time of year is a great way to boost your marketing efforts and highlight any sales you may be offering. As customers or members of your online communities post and interact with you on these platforms, take it as an opportunity to boost your customer service and build loyalty with them. From quirky contests to humorous holiday images, the options for utilizing your social accounts are endless. Remember to keep things tasteful!

 

4. Keep an Eye out for Potential Fraudsters.

This is a very important area of caution to keep in mind this time of year. As your business experiences an influx of customers coming through its doors, your employees are doing their best to juggle both their usual tasks and trying to provide great customer service to everyone who comes through your business’ doors. Fraudsters take advantage of these busy and hectic situations by intentionally confusing employees at the cash register for their own gain (financially). Here are some things you might want to implement with staff members who may be managing the cash registers on their shifts:

  • If a customer is making a very large and expensive purchase on credit card and doesn’t appear to ask any questions regarding their purchase, it doesn’t hurt to ask them for ID just to verify that the name on the credit card matches the name on their ID. Be sure to match the image on the card with the individual making the purchase.
  • If a customer is asking a lot of questions and seems flustered when making a payment, be sure to focus and double check the amount of cash handed to you before you enter it into the till. The customer may claim they provided you with more cash in order to fool you into giving them more change than required. If you find yourself confused by such a situation and questioning how much money the customer actually gave you, count you’re till to be sure.

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right insurance for your business or for personal risk management, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!

Tips to Make Your Website More Reputable and Trustworthy

reputable_website

Consumers love the convenience of shopping online but they’re also savvier than ever before.  They are also likely to have hundreds, maybe even thousands, of websites that they can pick from to purchase their goods and/or services from. If you want consumers to purchase from your site they need to feel confident that their personal information including payment details will be secure. They need to trust in what they’re buying, what kind of quality it will be, and what the experience will be like if they have a problem along the way. Trust is important because people tend to do business with those that they know, like and trust. If someone trusts your brand, they are more likely to purchase from you.

Here are some tips to help make your website more reputable and trustworthy:

 

Build a Professional Website.

Make sure that your site is visually appealing and easy to navigate. Also, make sure that the design elements fit your dedicated target market. Audit your site regularly to update content, fix broken links, and make regular improvements.  If you have a blog, try to keep it updated with new content. If the last post on your blog was 2 years ago, people will wonder if your business is still active.

 

Tell People Who You Are and What to Expect.

Have an About Us page that gives the story of your business; remember that people like to do business with those they know and like. Have a Privacy Policy that tells people how you handle their personal information and a Return Policy so they know what to expect in the event their purchase doesn’t meet their expectations. You can implement a FAQ page for any miscellaneous info specific to your site that consumers should know.

 

Legitimate and Easy to Find Contact Details.

The Contact Us page deserves its own category because it’s very important. If consumers don’t think there are real people behind the site then they are definitely less likely to trust it. The page should display contact information including a phone number, email address, mailing address and physical address (if applicable). Don’t be afraid to get personal by listing specific contact people rather than generic contact details. Most importantly, reply to all inquiries in a timely manner. Not replying is the easiest way to an unhappy or lost customer or both.

 

Get a Trust Mark or Certified Seal.

This reassures people that your website is safe and reputable. Check out Trust Guard or the Better Business Bureau (among others) to see what you need to obtain this type of third party endorsement. You will likely have to meet some guidelines for approval, which only helps improve your site in the long run.

 

Use a Secure Checkout.

By partnering with a reputable payment vendor you will help ensure that you don’t lose a customer at the very last stage of the purchase process. PayPal is one that most consumers know and trust, but you can also do your research and pick one that you think is best for your site. Make sure to use SSL encryption to prevent unauthorized access to client information and don’t be afraid to advertise this to clients in the checkout area.

 

Include Reviews.
Post reviews and testimonials from real customers to help new customers feel more confident about their purchase. Build credibility for the reviews by including a picture and some background information on the person giving the review.

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right insurance for your business or for personal risk management, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!

Building Trust With Your Customers

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After spending a lot of time, effort, and money getting your new business off the ground, the next thing you’re likely to think about is how to get people to purchase your products and/or services. You can invest a lot of money into promotion and building awareness for your business; however, that doesn’t guarantee that someone will actually purchase from you or that they’ll become a loyal customer. In order to achieve a successful business, you need to establish customer trust and make them feel good about buying from you and your business.

Here are some key strategies to establish trust between your small business and your customer base:

 

Referrals & Testimonials. 
People are more likely to trust a business has been referred to them by someone else they trust. Essentially, trust builds trust. If you know that someone has had a good experience with your business, ask them to refer you to a friend in exchange for a set percentage off their next purchase. Ask for reviews in store, by email or through social media and use them in your marketing initiatives. Also, don’t be afraid of bad reviews or feedback as this gives you an opportunity to fix the situation and improve for next time.

 

Give Great & Genuine Service.
Great customer service is a no brainer, but it needs to be genuine. Be interested in your customers and ask questions. Talk to them and listen to them, don’t give a sales pitch. If you think that they would be better served somewhere else or that your product isn’t a fit for them, tell them that. They will be much more satisfied and more likely to speak highly of your business then if they purchased something insufficient for their needs. Most importantly, make sure you only make promises that you can deliver on. It’s better to exceed expectations then to fall short.

 

Be Consistent & Transparent.
Showing a customer that you will be consistent over time allows them to predict your behavior and are therefore more likely to trust you. This means consistency in customer experience, in supply and quality, and in handling issues. Tell the truth when customers ask questions about your products and services, and be clear with them about what they’re receiving. You will lose their trust if the reality of what they purchased does not live up to their expectations. Besides, we all know honesty is the best policy.

 

Get Involved.
Whether it’s a cause or a community activity, get out there and stand behind something. Getting involved in something you care about outside of your business allows people see a different side of you. It also allows them to relate to your business in a different and maybe more meaningful way, therefore building trust.

 

There are many other ways that you can build trust with potential and existing clientele, but these are some starting points. Start small and use people that you’ve already established some trust with to champion your business, whether that’s customers, employees or friends and family. The more trust you can create, the better relationships you’ll build and the more loyal customers you’ll have.

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right insurance for your business or for personal risk management, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!

Tips for Growing Your Small Business

business-growth


So you’ve finally got your small business off the ground (congratulations!) and things are positively moving ahead. The next item on your to-do list is to continue to invest in your small business to ensure its ongoing growth and success.

To help your business on its journey through the competitive marketplace, here are some tips to consider to boost your business further ahead:

 

Make Networking a Priority.

Whether it’s going to industry information sessions or introducing yourself to your fellow local businesses, make networking an integral part of your business plan. In order to grow and expand your operations, you will need to make connections. From creating awareness of what your small business offers to even creating an extension of a current offering via a corporate sponsorship, when it comes to expanding your network, the possibilities are endless.

 

Create and Maintain a Strategic Direction.

Developing a strategic plan and setting out clear objectives is key to your business’ success. Along with helping your business stay focused, a strategic plan will aid your business in finding its place within the competitive marketplace and will shed light on any changes that need to be made. As you follow through with your plan, various external and internal factors may come into play that will require you to re-assess your strategy and make adjustments. In order for your business to progress and adapt, these small changes are necessary.

 

Keep Your Website Updated.

In order for potential new customers to find your business and assess the services and/or products it offers, it is imperative that your website is kept up to date. Whether it be ensuring that your site is properly reflecting changes in your branding or promoting new product/service offerings, it is important to keep your site updated in order to keep your customer base informed.

 

Keep an Eye on the Competition.

Assessing your competition in the marketplace is very beneficial and a must when it comes to growing your business. From advertising initiatives, changes in services or products or the way in which businesses are interacting with their customers, your competition offers insight into what is working in regards to growth and what potential gaps may be presenting themselves.

 

Utilize Social Media Platforms.

Depending on what industry your small business belongs to or what products/services it offers, utilizing social media platforms can be an important tool for interacting with your customer base and developing a community following. It is important to stress that just because you create a social media account on a specific platform doesn’t mean that your business will grow ten-fold over night. Make it routine to post useful and engaging content that your customer base will find appealing and resourceful.

 

Protect Your Business.

As your small business grows, it is imperative that you ensure it is properly protected with the right insurance policy. Whether your small business is a home business consisting of two employees or a niche advertising agency consisting of 15 employees, your risks will be unique and your insurance policy should reflect that.

 

Have any questions on the information above or want to speak to one of our licensed insurance brokers about getting the right liability insurance for your small business? Give us a shout today!

The New Fast & Easy Way to Get Liability Insurance for Your Business!

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Need liability insurance for your small business? Don’t have the time to fill out lengthy forms and wait days to receive a handful of quotes? No problem. Bullfrog has you covered.

It has never been easier to get the liability insurance coverage that your small business needs. In 90 seconds, you can fill out our short online quoting form and are instantly provided with multiple policies to choose from, all from Canada’s top insurance companies. Once provided with the various policies, you can then select the policy you want for your small business and proceed with purchasing it; all while online!

Although Bullfrog has made the process of obtaining liability insurance for your small business fast and easy, we haven’t forgotten about the questions you might have along the way. Along with our knowledge centre, we have our brokers available via phone or live chat to answer any question you many have. We’re here to help!

Have any questions on the information above or want to speak to one of our licensed insurance brokers about getting the right liability insurance for your small business? Give us a shout today!

Avoid the Burnout by Making Work-Life Balance a Priority

work-life-balance

As a small business owner and/or entrepreneur, you most likely find yourself working 24/7 and the idea of having a work-life balance is a mystical concept that doesn’t fit within modern day society. Although it can be difficult to implement and maintain, developing a work-life balance is possible and essential when it comes to avoiding the dreaded burnout.

It’s important to understand that everyone is different and so are our responsibilities, which is why there is no cookie cutter plan to ensuring an effective work-life balance approach and strategy . Between organizing effective growth strategies for your small business and ensuring your clients are effectively being taken care of and valued, do your best to make your personal life outside of the office a priority.

Here are some tips on how to incorporate a work-life balance into your schedule:

 

Unplug at the End of the Day.

Working 7 days a week and having your phone always within arms reach 24 hours a day will ultimately make you feel drained and pushed to your limits. Being on call 24/7 will ultimately lead to a burn out and will hinder your ability to focus 100% on your small business. Make it a priority to turn off all your devices at a specific time in the evening in order to re-energize and take a fresh approach to your tasks the following day.

 

Create a Schedule and Prioritize Items on a Daily Basis.

Whether the night before or the day of, make it an effort to put together a schedule for each day so that you can prioritize your tasks and tackle them effectively. Creating a list  will also allow you the opportunity to analyze what items are urgent, what items can be dealt with within the day, and/or what items may need further follow-up.

 

Make Time for Family and Friends.

Although this can seem impossible at times, your family and friends should always be a top priority because at the end of the day, these individuals are most likely your support system and deserve your time and attention. The key to ensuring you spend quality time with your family and friends is to pre-plan and book time off accordingly. By pre-planning, it refrains you from reverting back to the famous line of ‘If I have time after work.”

 

Delegate Work Off Your Plate.

Sometimes you have to give up the control and hand over some of your workload to your employees to handle. They are there for the common goal of seeing the business grow and succeed so let them aid in seeing those goals achieved. By trying to juggle everything at once, you risk not being able to effectively tackle tasks efficiently and with focus.

 

Invest in Your Well-being and Take Care of Your Health.

By getting a full nights rest, eating right, and making an effort to exercise when possible, you are making an investment in your health and your businesses success. By taking care of yourself, you are ensuring that you are always tackling your work as the most productive version of yourself. By investing in yourself you are investing in your business.

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right insurance for your business, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!

6 Tips for Taking Advantage of the Summer Slow Down

summer-small-business

Time goes by so fast! It’s now August and the summer is almost coming to an end. As your staff are finishing off their summer vacations and the business has slowed down, it’s a great time to take a breather and plan ahead for the coming months or catch up on some items.

Here are a few tips that you and your small business can implement and take advantage of before business begins to pick up again in the fall:

 

Review Invoices.

Make sure invoices are paid on time so that clients are happy and that there is no negative financial impact to your business. Instead of having only one individual who can sign off on cheques and authorize them, include another individual on this team so that there is always someone on staff with this responsibility.

 

Mid-Year Review.

The year is now halfway over and even though your fiscal year may not be in tandem with the calendar year, the summer provides an opportunity to review business objectives to see what is on track and/or what requires more attention.

 

Team Building.

As things may be slower around the office, it’s a good time to bring your staff together to discuss how they feel they can improve professionally on an individual basis, as a team and as a small business. From discussing these topics over a fun activity, perhaps trendy axe throwing competitions or even a team dinner, it allows for all staff to be open-minded and willing to offer constructive insight.

 

Online Reviews.

Potential new clients may be looking online for a company that offers the services/products that your small business provides; grab their attention, and business, by ensuring you have customer reviews available online. By having reviews and testimonials from your customers available online, whether through your business’ Google Plus page or another site such as Glassdoor, it provides potential and future clients with a window into what your business offers and how successful it is at providing it. You can request reviews from past and present clients/customers.

 

Community Involvement.

Small businesses rely on their communities, whether online or offline, to support their business endeavour and allow it to flourish. As things may have slowed down at the office or store during these summer months, it’s a great opportunity to head out to local events to spread the word on your small business. From attending street festivals and handing out information, to being a sponsor for an event that hits your target base, to even ramping up conversation on your social streams, staying connected with your community is important and will render positive results.

 

Take a Break!

With only a few weeks of summer left, treat yourself to some rest and relaxation. Although as a business owner it may be difficult to take a step back from your small business for a few days, it will give you the recharge needed to come back to work with more energy and with fresh new ideas on how to grow your small business. Avoid the burn-out!

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right insurance for your business, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!

Safety 101: Emergency Response Plan

emergency-response


With fast-moving wildfires continuously spreading across British Columbia, many are claiming 2015 to be the worst wildfire season in a decade. Bringing with it a path of destruction, these fires are an unfortunate reminder that a fire can break out anywhere and at any time.

When it comes to your small business, it is important to remember that it is also susceptible to fires and numerous potential hazards. Whether it is an overloaded circuit, over used and deteriorating electrical cords, heat producing equipment or electrical appliances left plugged in at the end of the day, there are a host of factors that can cause a fire in the workplace. The first step in protecting your employees from injury, and your small business from property loss, is to ensure an emergency response plan is in place.

Not sure where to start or what to include in your small business’ emergency response plan? Click Here or on the image below to download a basic version of an emergency response outline.

 

Emergency Response Plan Outline

Emergency-Response-Plan--Link

 

It is important to modify and fill in the document to reflect your business and how it is conducted. As some industries may face more risks than others, there are additional sections that may need to be added to your small business’ emergency response plan.

In addition to your emergency response plan, the items below should also be completed/indicated and reviewed on a regular basis:

 

  • Exit locations are clearly marked
  • Emergency procedures should be posted on each floor
  • Review emergency procedures on a regular basis with all employees
  • Conduct fire drills on a regular basis with all employees

 

Keep in mind that all aspects of your emergency planning should take into account the type of business you run and the nature of your workplace/worksite. For example, assembly area procedures will differ between a contracting business that works on different job sites, versus a retail business where the location is constant.

As the owner/employer you should be ensuring that a properly tailored emergency response plan is in place and up to date, whether it is run by you or an appointed member of management. If you have questions on developing your response plan or any other aspects of risk management, our Bullfrog Insurance agents are always available to assist.

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