5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Burnout

If you haven’t already started humming Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas, you might start after this! We all know that the holidays can be a tad overwhelming for any business. The holiday burnout usually begins with events and parties, work obligations and family commitments, finding time to shop – a lot of high expectations with only a little amount of energy to sustain it all could cause you to boil over.

Once November hits, finances, family issues, work, illness and over-scheduling are common obstacles. You can avoid the crazy holiday burnout with these 5 tips!

 

Plan Ahead

Small business owners don’t always want to completely leave their responsibilities for weeks on end. Rather than constantly checking your emails, or rushing to the phone whenever it rings, let co-workers and clients know the specific times and dates that you will check your emails and voicemail over the holidays. By planning ahead for regular check-ins, this will help keep your holiday burnout and stress levels to a minimum.

 

Tidy Your Desk

By avoiding the clutter on your desk, you’ll help avoid mental clutter. The last thing you want to do when you get back to the office after the holidays is deal with outdate items and papers on your desk. For each piece of paper, either toss it, pay it, file it, or act on it! Once you’re done organizing, both your mind and desk should be clearer and more relaxed.

 

Holiday Goals

Rather than telling yourself you’re going to bring in 12 more clients by the end of the year, set daily goals. Tell yourself that you’ll contact 6 of those clients today, 6 tomorrow. Breaking down a larger goal into daily, smaller goals, you’ll get your work done more efficiently.

 

Stuff Your Stocking, Not Your Inbox

Be sure to check that you have plenty of space in our inbox to store all your emails and also your voicemail while you’re away, your colleagues, clients and employees will feel a lot better knowing that their emails will be ready and waiting for you to open up when you return.

 

Step Away from The Desk

It’s the holidays, during those weeks leading up the holidays it’s important to take a break. Go for a walk, take some time to decompress and compose yourself! It’s important to schedule some quality downtime in order to maintain balance in your life. The holidays are no reason to stop exercising or taking care of yourself, no one needs the added stress of not fitting into your jeans post-holiday season!

 

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

 

Grow Your Business From Referrals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has to be one of the easiest and best ways to build a small business. Building a business off referrals saves you and your team a lot of time and money spent on marketing. It also gives you the upper hand. When you are referred to a new customer or client, they’ve already heard great things about your business.

In fact, if you’re using referrals to build your small business, these new customers and clients will come to you.  This gives you the freedom to say “yes” or “no” to anyone who comes our way. It gives you the ability to raise your rates more easily as these new people are more likely to say yes to your rates since they already know how awesome you are.

 

But how do you get those great referrals? Here are some times to help you start.

 

Do Good Work

This may be obvious but if you don’t do great work, you won’t get referrals from current or former clients. In general, the better the service you provide, and greater customer support you offer, the more your current clients will use your services. Leading to them telling their friends about their great experience, which can potentially bring you more business.

 

Ask Current Clients

It’s simple, ask. Most of the time, the reason you aren’t getting referrals, even if you are providing great service, is because you haven’t asked for them. Inform your clients about your desire to grow your business. Then, ask your clients to refer you! Your clients want to help your business grow. But they don’t think to refer you to others if you don’t ask them to.

 

Know When to Ask

The most ideal time to ask for referrals is right after they complement you, or right before a final deal closes. If things are going well, build off of that momentum. Ask if they would refer you, or if they know of anyone who could benefit from your services.

 

Keep it Simple

Make sure to tell your clients how they can refer you, and where they can go to write you a review. Give them an easy way to provide feedback, submit a new lead, or share your services through their social media. The easier you make it for them to share your services, the more likely they’ll be to refer you.

 

Thank Them

It’s always important to thank your clients for working with you and for referring our business to their peers. Without them, and their referrals, you may not have a successful business. Thanking them not only works as a reminder of your business, but as a relationship building strategy. Remember, growing your relationships with current clients will help you grow potential clients in the future.

 

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

How to Introduce New Products and Services

When developing new ideas, services or products for your business, it can be hard when you have so many different ideas whirling around in your head! Introducing something new to your business is an investment – one that requires an organized plan if you want the launch to be successful.

There is always the possibility of the launch being unsuccessful, but you can minimize that potential risk by asking yourself the following questions:

 

  • Will this improve your overall current business performance?
  • Can this improve the lives of your current existing customers?
  • Does this fit your current business plan and strengths?
  • Is this going to benefit your long-term goals?

 

Host a brainstorming session with your team to develop new ideas and strategies or take the time to survey your current existing customers. Always remember to keep up with trends going on in your industry and scope out the competition.

 

Once you have your new product, service or idea – it’s time to evaluate. Be sure to take into consideration that if once this idea launches and it takes off fast, can you handle the fast growth and can you meet a sudden increased demand? If you’ve answered no to either of those questions, delay your launch date until you answer yes.

 

Test the product or service out again so that it’s continuously giving consistent results. You can work out any of the kinks later, but it must work well enough so that your customers won’t get angry. Then, it’s time to prepare for the launch. Which typically will involve conducting research on the main competitors, identifying the target market and developing your marketing strategy.

 

Think you’re done? Nope, now it’s time to PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE! Start getting people talking about your product through a rolling launch, promote sneak peaks of your product a few weeks early leading up to the launch date. If you have loyal customers, offer them an exclusive preview or test run of the product. Send out an email newsletter or post on your social media platforms about contests and giveaways to help market your product.

 

After all of this, be sure to pay attention to reviews on and offline. Figure out how your customers are using your product or service, what they like/dislike about it, any improvement areas, etc. You might be surprised by seeing a customer use the product or service differently then you had originally imagined. Embrace this and just update your marketing strategy to go with it.

 

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

Slack vs Microsoft Teams: Which Do You Prefer?

 

Move over Slack, there’s a new kid in town. Most of you probably know already, Microsoft Teams is now available for Office 365 users. Both tools enable businesses and teams to chat in groups or one-on-one and also allows to send files, either on your phone or on your desktop. These collaborative tools have been designed to allow businesses communication ideas and goals, allowing their employees to share information to the entire group or someone individually. But, Microsoft Teams benefits from its connection to all of Microsoft’s productivity tools.

 

While both of these collaborative tools feel and look very similar, once you’ve worked with both of them – you’ll learn that they really aren’t that similar.

 

Slack

Slack to some, can be seen as the iMessage of business collaboration. Its overall growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. The application is easy to use, features excellent suite of mobile and desktop versions and includes a varied color scheme, making the tool easy to navigate.

By paying more, you’ll have access to more advanced features. If you’re looking for something basic, free and to integrate with multiple third-party applications, then you may want to go with Slack for your business.

 

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft teams allows its users to access all of the Office 365 tools – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Meetings, Notes, Planner, SharePoint, OneNote, etc. – without having to actually leave the application itself. With this, it allows your team to edit, create or view any Microsoft application.

If you’re a HootSuite user, you can connect and have access to it directly within the Teams app – along with many other third-party business tools. This function alone, allows you to delegate and communicate to your employees and external consultants, post content to social media and answer customer service requests – all without leaving the app!

 

If you’re a small business with limited revenue, consider trying out Slack as it’s cheaper than Office 365 and has the option of add-on applications and tools that will provide you with additional features and functions when needed. Larger businesses, would benefit more by using Microsoft Teams – especially if you already own Office 365. Teams was designed for businesses specifically and features the applications and tools that would overall benefit a larger business greatly.

 

Now tell us, which do you prefer?

 

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

 

Small Businesses: Avoid These Marketing Mistakes

Knowing when and how to invest in marketing for our business may be the key ingredient to your businesses’ success. Here are some common marketing mistakes that every business makes and how you can avoid them!

 

“Me” to “They”

One of the most common marketing mistakes is when business owners haven’t made the transition from “me” to “they.” Many small business owners start their businesses either because they are passionate about something or because they had a specific problem and found a solution that worked for them. You need to focus on providing products and services for your audience. So instead of thinking about what you want and what you want to promote, instead start thinking about what your audience wants and needs.

 

That’s Not Your Market

Sometimes business owners insist on going after a “broad” audience, when it’s just the wrong market. Whether they’re trying to sell equipment that’s worth thousands of dollars and going after clients that don’t have that kind of budget, or they’ve created something that would work with one type of market but insist on trying to sell to another as well. Business owners need to align their intentions and marketing with the correct marketing approach. Or else they’re going to keep spinning their wheels and losing money.

 

Putting Money Where They Shouldn’t

It’s no secret, a lot of marketing takes money, therefore it’s in your best interest to determine when to spend it and to make sure it’s on the right things. Whether you’re spending money on things you aren’t ready for yet or spending money without knowing how to properly measure the ROI. Instead, maybe spend those dollars on classes that can teach you things like how to use a website for sales and marketing.

 

Not Spending Money at All

Trying not to spend money on a business is a huge mistake. It can be scary to invest money yes, but you need to do it. There’s no way around this. Investing money isn’t the problem, investing in the wrong things is.

 

Even though there are plenty other marketing mistakes and there common, they are also avoidable.

 

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

 

 

Is Your Business’s Online Security at Risk?

One of your main priorities as a business owner needs to be your online security. If you don’t believe that your business could be a target for cyber-crime or cyber-attacks, think again. Statistics show 43% of cyber-attacks are focused on small businesses.*  Your business could lose assets, private information, lose revenue and develop an untrustworthy reputation – or you could go out of business. Knowing how you may be putting your business at risk could potentially save everything. But where should you start?

 

Employees

If you have careless or uninformed employees, this could be the main cause of security incidents or data breaches. Making sure that all of your employees, including yourself, are educated and trained on cybersecurity and cyber-attack basics. Closely monitor, control and manage all privileged credentials to stop any exploitation from happening. If an employee is let go, be sure that you terminate their accounts so they can no longer access inside your business networks.

 

Electronic Invoices

If you email your clients invoices, a hacker could easily intercept that email and alter the information so that instead of you being paid, the money is deposited into their account. So before sending an invoice, be sure to confirm that the client is legit and that you aren’t being scammed.  The security measures you take when sending information via email should be two-factor authentication and encryptions.

 

Personal vs. Work

Always remember to keep your personal devices and your work devices separate. Make sure you have dedicated accounts for your email and social media platforms for both professional and personal. If you keep private work information on your personal device and accidentally leave it somewhere, that data is now in jeopardy.

 

Third Party’s

Before you work with any third party provider, do your research and confirm that they’re reputable and know what they’re doing.  Verify that they use the best security practices and that they require unique credentials for each and every user.

 

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

 

 * “43% of Cyber Attacks Target Small Business”

Accounting Tips Business Owners Should Know

Accounting is often overlooked. Even if finance isn’t your strong suit, it’s absolutely necessary that you have basic accounting knowledge down pact so that you can keep your small business afloat when times get tough.  Starting a business requires diligence.

 

Payment Rewards and Incentives

Online and in-store payments be sure to mark-up your products slightly above your ideal margins so that you are able to offer discounts. Your customers will love getting more bang for their buck that way! When sending invoices to your clients, whether it’s digitally or on paper, you should offer some sort of incentive if they pay early. As long as you’re strategic with your incentives and discounts, it will surely boost your income margin rather than lose it.

 

Cash Reserve

Always have a contingency plan. A suggestion would be to have at least 4-6 months of runway cash on hands at all times. Every quarter you should be checking your reserves so that you know you can keep going for 6 more months. If you aren’t already doing this, I suggest you start now.

 

Delegate

Some business owners just aren’t meant to handle their own accounting. That still doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know the basics, but it may be best for both you and your business to hire or delegate this task to someone to handle your everyday finances.

 

Options

In almost every start-up life cycle, you’ll need to raise money some how and timing is everything. But when is the time right? Instead of looking angel investors or tradition venture capital that could take months, explore financing options. Always explore every option possible and do your research so your business never becomes stagnant.

 

As a small business owner, you carry the weight of your entire business on your shoulders. Your businesses financial health and stability is one of the main factors. Use these tips to better position you and your business for the path of success.

 

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

A Better Marketing Plan Can Increase Your Profits

If you’re a small business owner, then you already know that you have to fight daily to get your business message out and across to consumers. Some suggest that to increase profit you just need a better marketing plan, well that’s easier said than done. You know you must reach new people outside of your initial circle for your business to grow and succeed. But what’s the best marketing plan that will help you get paid better and faster?

 

With there being more content than ever before now, and multiple ways to consume products – it can be cutthroat sometimes. A marketing plan is non-optional; you need to cut through all the noise and get your business in front of your ideal customer. If you have a clear, thought out plan and have done your research then your business will grow. Growth means more profit.

 

Create a Plan

Once you know which direction you want your business to go in, you need to create a clear and concise plan. Find time in your day to sit down and map out a business plan for the next 5 years, and break down each year with specific goals such as; income, growth, target markets/demographics, different paths, the list goes on. Once you have these questions answered, it will make it much easier for you to begin to lay out a marketing plan for your business.

 

Know Your Target Market

If you don’t know your markets, you’re going to have a problem. Your businesses success will take hard work, and it starts by doing your research. Whether you’re selling yourself, your services or a physical product, you need to know why people are going to want to buy it from you. Ask yourself, what makes you stand out over your competitors?

 

Do Your Research

Turning all your planning and research into a business that regularly gets paid more than you’re making now, you need to start by focusing on your businesses current income. The first step to increasing your income is by increasing your customer base, from there you’ll reach the next income level, and so on and so forth.

 

Easy Payment System

If you have an easy to use payment system, it’ll make it easier for your customers to give you their money – you won’t want to make that one hard or they may not have the patience and go elsewhere.

 

Set up a proper marketing plan, make it clear and concise, do your research and watch your business grow.

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

Mobile Security Tips for Business

Mobile devices play important roles in all our daily lives, they’ve become a part of our everyday routine. Even thinking about going a day without using your phone you’re probably cringing. Because these useful gadgets have become so reliant, it’s opened the door of hackers and security vulnerabilities. Your cell phone might be more threatening than you think, so you need to know how to keep it secure.  

Specifically, business owners may use their phones to keep confidential information about work or clients, do transactions, send important emails or messages, the list could go on. Business owners need to be concerned about how secure their phones are.

 

Passcode Lock

No brainer. Having a passcode locks could be a specific word, a number code or probably the most secure one to have is the user’s fingerprint to unlock the device.

 

VPN

Using a Virtual Private Network can help encrypt your connection so that you’re left with no worries when going online on a public network. Without having it, your personal information could be sniffed out from someone else using the same public network.

 

Encrypt Your Storage

When you are concerned about data confidentiality, encryption comes in handy. If your phone were to be stolen or gone missing, you can be assured that a third party won’t be able to gain access to all your data and information.

  

Downloading from Trusted Sources Only

Downloading files or applications from secure and trusted sources should already be something you do, if not, you need to start.

 

Password Your Wi-Fi

By securing a strong password for your Wi-Fi network, it will protect you from attempts at gaining access to your network without permission.

 

Have a Reliable Anti-Virus Software

With virus attacks being a lot more common now than ever, mobile devices are just as prone to virus attacks. Making sure you have a good anti-virus software is a great way to stay safe.

 

Back Up Your Phone

You should be doing this on a regular basis already. At least once every week or two.

 

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

Being a Prudent Business Leader

Being A Prudent Business Leader

If you’ve ever thought about quitting your job and starting your own business, money may be a major concern. When becoming self-employed, most forget about the out-of-pocket costs along with the fact that you need to focus on making a profit so you can support yourself and your family. On the plus side, when starting a business, it doesn’t have to cost you a few limbs. If you focus on setting a clear and concise budget, you can cut down the costs of launching and growing your business.

 

Go Digital and Go Paperless

Naturally, going digital with your business will allow you to go paperless too. While there are tremendous opportunities to run a digital business its remarkable how often we invite paper back into the equation.  By operating without paper and diligently keeping digital documentation, you will gain flexibility and freedom from the constraints and pitfalls of paper based solutions.

 

Designated Office Space at Home

When working from home, your couch is not a feasible office space. If you’re going to be serious about your business having an appropriate workspace is critical.  The couch isn’t going to cut it.  A desk, a designated space will go a long way towards your success.  If you have a spare room and can convert it into an office space, you may be able to write it off on your taxes.

 

Free Apps and Websites

When starting a business, you’ll eventually be faced with new expenses that include monthly subscriptions to websites with services that can help simplify your processes. Though you may have a list of your favorites that you’re happy to pay for, there are quite few ways to save here as well.

 

Organic Social Media

Yes, you could pay for advertising for your business, but you can also grow your reach by organically increasing your following on social media platforms. People will see your promotions via social media which can then increase your leads.

 

With a prudent and pragmatic approach, you’ll be able to stretch your dollars further and drive your business growth and profitability.  Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

 

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