Millennials and Small Business

Millennials at Work

Ah those tech savvy, free-spirited millennials. If you don’t have a millennial already working for you, then you probably will soon.  While generation Y, is inundated with student debt and the prospect of a recession strained economy, they are the backbone of many companies rising companies and present incredible potential for small businesses.  Millennials exhibit many traits that can be an asset to any small business plus they are attracted to many workplace features that small businesses can offer them.

 

Put Me In Coach

Millennials love to be coached. Millennials want to be guided, trained and know as much as they can about something. They’ve been receiving feedback and advice on everything they’ve been doing and have done since they could walk – the outcome is simple; they thrive on frequent communication and collaboration. A recent Microsoft survey says that 65% of millennials prefer to communicate face-to-face with their managers. This face-to-face preference and desire for personal interaction is a well liked facet of small business.

 

Customization is key

Not too surprising, millennials love customization in their personal life and workplace as well. The drive for personalization for millennials also manifests itself for their desire to use their own technology devices in the workplace. If you want to attract top talent, business owners need to think about the technology that will enable their employees to do their best work; not just get the work done. Small businesses can be a great fit for millennials as you can be agile and adjust their roles and responsibilities to suit each employee’s skills and interests.

 

Work-Life Integration

People talk about flexibility or unlimited vacation schedules, but its about much more than the sum of hours people work. Millennials want to bring their authentic selves to a workplace that reflects who they are. Today’s younger workforce has an independent mindset; they’re drawn to a company with a strong mission statement and even stronger values. Millennials gravitate to organizations that trust them to deliver – that’s where they thrive and put forth exceptional quality.  As small businesses continue to increase their hire of millennials, they will also need to adapt to the way this workforce operates in order to get the most out of them.

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Simple CRM Solutions

It’s the first month of a New Year and – like many small business owners – you’re probably considering how you can make 2017 a year of explosive growth.  When it comes to growing your business one of the most important instruments is the management of your pipeline and your customer relationships.  CRM (customer relationship management) software is built for that exact purpose.  Unfortunately, despite the appeal of such technologies, the idea of implementing a CRM system can often be overwhelming for small business owners.  As well, the costs of many systems can be prohibitive.

 

Fortunately, the Bullfrog team has done some research and found ways to achieve all of this without breaking the bank or spending countless hours trying to figure it all out. Below are 3 simple CRM solutions that can help you augment the CRM capabilities of your small business.

 

 

Insightly

Used by approximately 350,000 small businesses in 100 countries, Insightly is a powerful but simple CRM solution specifically designed for small business use. You can promptly access information about a contact including their background, email history, and any specific dates you may be searching for. Offering integration with Gmail, Google Drive, Outlook, Office 365 and social media accounts, Insightly allows you to capture a screenshot of conversations with your customers. With prices ranging from $12 – $99, Insightly is easy to use, set up and navigate whether you’re a CRM novice or an expert.

 

Nimble

Just like their name states, Nimble is all about helping your small business find smart and easy ways to track and develop contacts with current and future customers. Like other CRM systems, Nimble provides all the functionality you’ll need to manage information and relationships across multiple touchpoints. Instead of searching through your contacts social media profiles, Nimble automatically identifies them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – so no more scrolling for hours. Nimble offers one plan at $25 per month per user with an unlimited number of customer contacts.

 

Zoho CRM

This CRM system gives you all the tools and applications needed to capture leads from your businesses website, tracking sales activity, managing email marketing and accessing customer information without having to scroll or manually search it. Just by dragging and dropping your customization means that you’ll be able to easily make changes which is huge if you’re not super tech savvy or don’t already have a dedicated IT employee. Zoho CRM works with Gmail, Google Docs, Contacts, Calendar and Tasks and has plans starting at $0 – $100 per user per month.

 

When used correctly a CRM system is a powerful business tool.  In just one location, you’ll be able to manage all your touchpoints with current and future customers, discover their unique preferences, and use that information to build customer loyalty and generate more business in 2017!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Your Superbowl 2017 Party

Tips for Your Superbowl Party
The countdown is officially on for the Super Bowl, and between your snack foods and your game day guest list; you think you’re ready, right? Where’s everyone going to sit? Is the TV large enough? Preparing for the Super Bowl doesn’t have to be this stressful; in fact, the preparation can be just as fun as the game itself! Here’s how you can get your home ready to ensure you and your guests can watch all the commercials and touchdowns.

 

Refreshments Preferences

Most Super Bowl parties will have your typical finger foods and beverages, but be sure to check for any allergies or special dietary needs of your guests in advance. Ask them before hand for any suggestions or alternatives, making sure there is enough for a few people to ensure no one is feeling isolated. Offering a variety of beverages, and set them up in an area away from the television. There’s nothing worse than missing a touchdown when someone is standing in front of the screen grabbing a snack.

 

Gather Guests in Alternate Rooms

Even though the bulk of your guests will want to be in front of the television watching the game, there may be some guests who just thoroughly enjoy the company and camaraderie of the group environment but wish to be in a separate space. If the weather is nice, set up entertaining spaces outside or even in an adjacent living room if you have the space. Music, board games, a separate television where guests can mingle and have conversations.

 

Ask for Assistance

As enjoyable as entertaining may be for some, the preparation and everything beforehand can be a big task and can be stressful sometimes. If you’re planning on hosting a large party, delegate friends and family to help with food, décor, and setting up so it takes some of the stress from your shoulders. To cut back on the work and cost of food preparations, ask that guests each bring a main dish, side dish or drinks. The more help you get, the quicker everyone will enjoy a great time once the game begins!

 

The Super Bowl only happens once a year, so prepare your home for it and enjoy the big game! Use these tips and make this year’s Super Bowl party the best yet!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Your Business Winning Touchdown

Just because you can’t fork over $4.5 million dollars to get a 30-second ad in this year’s Super Bowl doesn’t mean you can’t piggyback on the huge popularity and the hype when the Super Bowl rolls around. Here are some ways to get your brand out them during this seasons game.

 

Offer Super Bowl-related Promotions

Come up with intriguing promotions and tie them to the big event. Restaurants and bars who want to draw in a crowd offer meal and drink specials – both in advance and on the actual game day.  The trick is to make your promotion stand out from the rest of them. Big ideas will generate free publicity and big results.  Come up with something unique and you’ll get customers talking and remembering you.

 

Use Social Media to Engage with Super Bowl Fans

Everyone knows platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and even Pinterest offer limitless ways for businesses to gain exposure. Football fans across the country will be talking about what’s going on in the game using hashtags like “#Superbowl2017”.  You can capitalize on all the hype promoting game-related products and information on social media.  This will generate traffic leading up to the game and encourage people to follow your social channels.

 

Create Your Own Super Bowl Commercial

If you don’t have millions to spend on a Super Bowl ad, you can still create game-related amusing, eye-catching graphics and videos and run them on social media and your website to generate attention.  Whatever you do, make sure you’re spending your time and money on promotions that offer the best bang for buck. Even if you’re not a Super Bowl advertiser, the event is large enough to be a huge marketing opportunity any business can capitalize on!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Business Opportunities of Wearable Tech

Wearable technology is the next chapter in innovation and will have incredible effects on business and marketing.  When smartphones first emerged several years ago, there was without a doubt a monumental change in innovation that affected everyone.  Today life is centered around our tech devices.  While some may get irritated with how glued people can be to their tech tools there is little doubt that our lives have improved in many ways due to smart devices and the internet of things.  Wearable technology is about to create a second wave of innovation and change.

 

If you have doubts about this, consider that analysts expect wrist based devices alone to account for $14 billion in 2017 and the wearable tech industry to reach a staggering $34 Billion by 2020 [1].  With products like the Apple Watch, Google Glass and now Virtual Reality headsets, technology continues to move forward and evolve and it’s moving into the workplace as well.  Retailers are seeing wearable tech used to pay and checkout. Most iPhones now have applications like PayPal or Apple Pay, which are accessible on smart watches, making payment and checkout processes more efficient.  Wrist displays or wireless headsets are also helping workers to look up information about products without having to leave the customers side.  This all increases customer satisfaction, since they get the information they need as quickly as possible and they’re able to pay and checkout in seconds without taking out a wallet.

 

People will be safer and more informed.  SmartGlasses present tradesmen with hands-free instruction manuals or schematics, improving overall work safety and productivity. There is even a product called the SmartCap — a hat that can monitor and advise a person of his or her level of alertness. Helmets are also being manufactured with smart technology that provides a rear view, camera, Bluetooth, integration with smartphones, GPS and infrared night vision — all within the visor – to give greater safety and information to motorcyclists!

 

These all provide “touchpoint” opportunities for businesses to market their products and services to wearable tech users.  Smartphones already allow us to find information in seconds.  Wearable technology allows the user to be constantly connected and informed. With a constant stream of live data available, the marketing opportunities for businesses looking to drive sales through a growing new channel are limitless.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

 

[1] “Wearable Tech to be worth $34 Billion by 2020”, Forbes Magazine

Healthy You – Healthy Business!

Stay Fit While Running Your Business!

Small business owners need to get creative when it comes to establishing times to work out and methods for staying fit. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but your business and everyone around you will thank you when you’re feeling more productive, active and excited about your company and your life. The challenge is: how do you stay fit while running a small business?

Take Exercise Breaks
When you stimulate blood flow you refresh your mind by giving it oxygen and an escape from staring at a computer screen.  Every hour just stand up and stretch, go for a quick walk around the building, do some squats or jumping jacks. On a conference call, walk around rather than sit.  The key is to get up and do something!  If you pause frequently enough, you can get in a few hundred squats or jumping jacks a day!  Studies have shown that breaking up your work leads to a more productive work day. Time spent on exercise is made back in improved productivity.

Don’t Forget a Healthy Lunch
You’re hurting your business if you don’t refresh your mind with a nutritious lunch break.  Your body needs nutrition to function properly.  Many small business owners skip breakfast and even lunch sometimes, running mainly off coffee all day.  Doing so is a recipe for disaster.  Skipping meals makes you less healthy and leads to weight gain, since your body reads no food as a signal to store whatever calories it gets.  You’ll be amazed how much more energy you can obtain from an apple, snack, salad or sandwich for lunch. Don’t skip meals!

Rest
Sleep is critical to your health and well being.  Entrepreneurs are the biggest violators of this because they have so much too do all the time.  Along with recuperation of the body sleep is the time used for clean up and repair of the brain as well.  Get the proper amount of sleep and you’ll be sharper and more energetic.  Skimp on rest and you’ll risk high blood pressure, possible stroke and a variety of heart related issues as well.  Bottom line – you’re not invincible, you need sleep!

By applying these healthy principles to your lifestyle, you’ll kick off 2017 with more energy to grow your business and you’ll be in better shape too!

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Make 2017 Your Best Year!

Succeed Like Never Before 

It’s the beginning of 2017 — a great time to reflect on last year and plan for the year ahead.  January is a terrific time to get a head start by really making those early days of the New Year count.  Here are some recommendations to help you increase your business success, while maintaining a work-life balance.

 

Consistent and Regular Promotion

Make the promotion of your business one of the top priorities. Usually landing at the bottom of the to-do list is the consistency and regularity of promoting your small business. To attract new customers, promotion is key. A New Year’s resolution could be to hire a marketing expert, or to take some time to create a marketing plan on your own that you’ll follow through with.

 

Learn to Delegate

You can’t do it all.  When running a small business, it’s easy to lose focus when there are so many things to be doing.  Then you’re stuck wondering why you never have enough time! It’s key delegate by assigning some tasks to others.

 

Learn from your failures

Taking review and planning is crucial to growing a healthy business. It allows you to assess what worked and what didn’t, then recalibrate and set new goals. Instead of doing it once a year or once a quarter, set aside time each week to review, adjust, and look forward.  You’ll not only be avoiding costly mistakes; you’ll be more focused and relaxed.

 

Be Realistic

Goal setting is a valuable habit, only if the goals lead to success rather than distress. Determine goals that will be achievable, rather than unrealistic pipe dreams that are too far out of reach that you’ll just be frustrated in trying to achieve them.

 

Make Time for You

Maintain a healthy work-life balance by taking time to refresh and recharge yourself! When your life is all work and no play, it’s a recipe for mental and physical disaster. If you’re having trouble finding free time block off time in your schedule to “meet with yourself” and stick to it!  By applying these New Year’s resolutions throughout the year, you’ll not only feel better but have more energy to put into your business and make it the successful business you deserve!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, sales and risk mitigation.

 

2016 Events That Impacted Small Business

2016 Events – How They Impacted Small Business 

As 2016 is ending, it’s time to look back on the news stories that affected business and prepare for what’s to come in the new year. From Pokémon Go putting small businesses on the map, to the “beast” of a wildfire that charred Fort McMurray, to the stunning U.S. election and everything in between 2016 was a year of incredible news headlines.  But how did these headlines impact small businesses?

 

Even though in the first half of 2016, Uber’s losses totaled at least $1.27 billion, the company still has between 84%-87% of the market in North America. Uber enabled common citizens to suddenly have access to a sizeable supplementary or full-time income as they instantly became self-employed cab drivers!  In an economy where it has become increasingly difficult to find work Uber was a small business opportunity that went viral.

 

The Pokémon Go App was putting small businesses everywhere on the map – literally!  After the official Canadian release of Nintendo’s wildly popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go in the summer, small businesses across North America started purchasing in-game items for a fraction of the cost of developing their own apps – resulting in higher foot traffic and sales.  By spending roughly $10 CAD on in-game items, such as a PokéStop, a lure outside a pizzeria or citing that their small business was close to a Gym, this was one app that small businesses capitalized on in the summer of 2016.

 

Named Canada’s biggest weather story of the year by the country’s top meteorologists, the “beast” of a wildfire that charred Fort McMurray, Alberta, caused over 90,000 people to be evacuated.  As well, an estimated 4,000 small businesses were affected by the wildfire in May.  This made business insurance one of the most talked about topics of 2016.  Since the tragic event, the Province of Alberta has allocated $15 million for its share of a program that is aimed to help small businesses affected by the wildfire. Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees, could receive up to $20,000 to cover costs, including property damage, cleanup and purchasing new equipment.

 

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Donald Trump shocked the world when he was elected as the country’s 45th president. With challenges like reducing the trade deficit and the trade gap dropping to $36.4 billion in September 2016, these issues were negatively impacting small businesses across North America. How Trump will help small business remains to be seen after he takes office, but if he follows through with his plans to lower the business tax rate from 35% to 15% conditions for small business should become more favorable.

 

Indeed 2016 was a year of highs and lows, both emotional and political.  Even though there were unsteady and hesitant moments for small businesses throughout the year with 2017 just around the corner it’s time to welcome new events, new stories and new opportunities for your small business. Here’s to your success in 2017 and beyond!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, sales and risk mitigation.

 

Shopping Cart Abandonment

Abandoned Shopping Cart? 

The reality of running an online business is that you work hard to get people to your site, then you work even harder to move them through the pages to purchase something. After tomorrow, Boxing Day in Canada means millions will be shopping online so entrepreneurs selling products online need to be as ready as possible in order to maximize sales and profit.

 

Unfortunately almost 70% of online shopping carts get “abandoned”  when it comes time to check out.  With a full basket of goodies, customers just leave.  So how can you avoid the abandonment of online shopping carts?  Here are some key snafus that cause customers to “walk away” from the checkout on a daily basis.

 

“10-14 business days to receive your product? No thanks!”

Businesses need to be clear on their shipping times, and offer options to deliver on an expedited basis — especially during the holidays. This one is pretty self-explanatory.  If you were about to swipe your credit card at the grocery store, and the cashier said you’re not going to get your groceries for another week, you probably wouldn’t be very pleased.

 

“6 steps to checkout? Seriously?”

If you have to ask questions ask the questions post-purchase.  That way the customer is satisfied with purchasing their items and will be more open to answering a few questions.  You’re about to checkout and you get hit with a 2-page questionnaire. A few questions aren’t an issue, but 2 pages is intolerable.

 

“Why do I have to check my email before I buy this?”

Requiring an email-verification before accepting payment is just another reason to close the checkout page and go elsewhere.  A person’s email inbox is full of distractions, including emails from your competitors.  Don’t send them there while they’re in the middle of your checkout process!

 

“If I use my Mastercard, I have to pay extra? Forget it”

Your website should accept multiple forms of payment, and have clear notices about the ones you don’t accept as early as possible to avoid abandoning of the shopping cart at the finish.  Many websites have limits to their payment options, but if your customer is in the final stage of the checkout process and then are told that the card they would like to use isn’t allowed without additional fees, they’ll abandon their cart and will also feel annoyed and frustrated, which will discourage them from returning to your site in the future as well.  Not good!

 

If your online store is suffering from shopping cart abandonment, you should perform an assessment of your checkout process. With an improved checkout process, your business will have more time to focus its attention on the things that keep your customers coming back.  Decrease complications and anything that may frustrate or cause a distraction to your customer.  The best checkout processes are quick and painless.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, sales and risk mitigation.

 

Keeping Hackers Out

Safeguarding Your Business from Hackers

Small businesses, beware: Your information can easily be accessed by hackers around the world. Cases of security attacks and breaches are serious and can take a serious toll on your business. While it’s suggested that hackers mainly steal usernames and passwords to send spam mail out on social-media accounts, hackers can do a lot more than manipulate your social media page.

 

To avoid attacks, businesses can consider insurance that specifically aims towards helping your business in the event of being targeted by hackers called Cyber Coverage, but that alone isn’t enough.  Business owners need to be doing all they can to secure their websites, confidential customer information, credit card numbers, and safety.

 

With 2017 approaching, there’s no better time for small businesses to raise efforts in their cyber security. Here are some ways to protect your business:

 

Understand the Risk

You can never be too prepared. Understand the internal and external liabilities that can affect your business, different methods and motives of hackers and where your systems have weaknesses.

 

Keeping Software Up to Date

Update, update, update! When it comes time to update your anti-virus and security software, avoid hitting the “Remind Me Later” notification, take some time and keep it up to date and secure to help avoid potential security threats.

 

Prepare an Incident Response Plan

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.  Having a plan of action in case of a security breach or cyber hack is vital for any business. Make sure all employees are aware, have practiced and know exactly what to do in if they’re ever put in that situation.

 

As technology and online security keeps on increasing, being protected and prepared have become extremely important for every business. In an online world where everything happens so rapidly, having a plan and being properly informed and prepared can be your businesses first line of defense towards cyber-attacks.  Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, sales and risk mitigation.

 

 

 

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